[What follows is excerpted from an item originally posted on this blog on this date in 2011:]
[This is the headline over an exclusive report published today on the website of the Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. It reads in part:]
The claims of the former justice minister in Libya's collapsing regime that Colonel Muammar Gadaffi personally ordered the Lockerbie atrocity have been described as "at the very least, unreliable" by Dr Jim Swire of UK Families Flight 103, who has met Gadaffi several times.
The claims were made to a Swedish tabloid newspaper, and have been given heavy coverage in UK tabloids and around the world.
No evidence has been offered to support the claims.
"If I were running away from my violent boss of many years in the hope of sanctuary with whatever might replace him, I too might be motivated to try to ingratiate myself with my chosen new protectors by offering them news blackening the name of my former boss," Swire told The Firm.
"The circumstances surrounding the story render it at the very least unreliable, in my view."
Swire also said that prior to the claims of responsibility emerging, he had predicted that such revelations would surface amidst the turmoil in Libya as the regime collapsed.
[Dr Swire's full statement to The Firm reads as follows:]
You will already be aware of the circulating story about the Gaddafi minister claiming that he can 'prove' that Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie event. It originated from a Swedish tabloid where it emerged as a tale translated into Swedish from the Arabic. It also said that while the defecting minister claimed to be able to prove this, he was not able to reach the supportive evidence 'at present'.
If I were running away from my violent boss of many years in the hope of sanctuary with whatever might replace him, I too might be motivated to try to ingratiate myself with my chosen new protectors by offering them news blackening the name of my former boss.
It is interesting that from my phone and emails, inquiries about this story have been from the Mirror, the Sun and the Express. Wisely none of the haughtier papers have deigned to become involved in it, at least not by involving me, neither have the BBC, nor Channel 4, though Sky did try.
The circumstances surrounding the story render it at the very least unreliable, in my view.
The position of people like myself and some other UK relatives has always been that whereas the evidence for Megrahi's guilt did not add up, and should never have led to a conviction, we do not know whether the Gaddafi regime was involved in Lockerbie or not. I have said on occasion to interviewers that I thought that at the very least it would be likely that Gaddafi would have known that Lockerbie was being planned.
Of course we would love to know for certain who really did plan it, but the use of a Syrian made specialised IED (as described to the Zeist court), at the behest of Iran, still smarting from the Vincennes 'incident' still seems the more likely explanation. It may turn out that Gaddafi really was responsible, in which case the nonsense about Megrahi risks being sidelined in history, the end being held to have justified the means. But the trial verdict will remain crippling to the Scottish justice system unless they take their own steps to review their precious verdict.
I had already sent out an email 48 hours ago, in which I warned that if the Gaddafi regime did collapse, I would anticipate that America would see to it that 'irrefutable evidence' of Gaddafi as the perpetrator would emerge from the wreckage. I am already receiving gloating 'we told you so' emails from the States. I should have twigged that absconders from Gaddafi's regime would also have a very strong personal motive - terror for their lives at the hands of 'the people' - for doing so too. I think this story may be too naive even for the CIA.
Time may show.
Me, I'm for waiting to see if any verifiable evidence for Gaddafi's guilt does eventually emerge once the dust has settled, meanwhile Scotland still has to wrestle with how her criminal justice system ever came to reach that verdict against Megrahi. (...)