Tuesday 6 October 2009

Lockerbie: the truth is finally coming out

[This is the heading over a recent post by Michael Meacher MP on his blog. It reads as follows:]

An international corruption scandal is fast brewing with potentially explosive significance for the reputation of the US. The lawyers representing Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of murdering 270 people in the bombing of the Pan Am flight 103 in 1988, have just published on-line the documents which they would have used for his appeal, had not Megrahi withdrawn his appeal last month after a deal was struck to release him on compassionate grounds since he has terminal prostate cancer. What the legal documents reveal is that the key prosecution witness, Tony Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper, and his brother had been secretly given rewards of $3 million in a deal discussed by Scottish detectives and the US Government. Gauci had given the crucial evidence at the trial declaring that Megrahi had bought clothes later used in the suitcase that allegedly contained the Lockerbie bomb. No other evidence connected Megrahi to the bomb. Now for the first time these latest documents disclose that in 1989 the FBI told the Scottish police that they wanted to offer Tony Gauci "unlimited money" and $10,000 straightaway. The US Justice Department was also asked to pay a further £1 million to Gauci's brother who did not give evidence, but halped to identify the clothing and to "maintain the resolve of his brother". The implications of these revelations are sensational.

These secret payments were brought to light by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, with many references contained in the private diaries of the detectives involved, though not in their official notebooks. Other highly relevant evidence is made known for the first time by these documents. They disclose that in 23 police interviews before the trial Gauci gave contradictory evidence about the person buying the clothes, his age, appearance, and the date of purchase. Significantly also Gauci said the area's Christmas lights were not lit when the clothese were bought (stated to be 7 December), but the current Maltese High Commissioner to the UK, then the local MP, has insisted that the lights were switched on on 6 December. But the key pointer is the bribe. If Gauci was telling the truth, why did he have to be bribed, and his brother bribed too to shore him up?

It neve made sense for Libya to have carried out the Lockerbie atrocity. But it did for Iran. The US navy in the Gulf had just previously without provocation shot down an Iranian civil airliner carrying 290 passengers. For a year after the bombing Iran was universally suspected of the crime, but then the Americans suddenly asserted that they had new evidence that pointed to the Libyan connection. American concerns had shifted towards a Middle East coalition for the containment of Saddam Hussein whose ambitions threatened the US long-term interest in Middle East oil, and they didn't want a hostile and vengeful Iran to scupper their plans, so a scapegoat had to be quickly found. Gadaffi's Libya, with which the US had had several brushes in the mid 1980s (including a US air attack in 1986 aimed at killing Gadaffi), fitted the role nicely. That just left the small matter of having to concoct the necessary evidence, and it is the breathtaking corruptness of the US Government in fabricating this lie which is now being brought to light.


  1. "For a year after the bombing Iran was universally suspected of the crime..."

    Not so!

    From very early on, I have been convinced that South Africa was responsible, and wrote to The Guardian on 7 December 1989 pointing the "Finger of suspicion" at the apartheid regime ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PatrickHaseldine3B.jpg ).

    Twenty years later, my view has finally received some powerful support.

    In September 2009, former Labour MEP Michael McGowan called for an urgent independent inquiry led by the United Nations into the Lockerbie disaster. In the Yorkshire Post, McGowan wrote that he was personally affected by the crash: "As President of the Development Committee of the European Parliament, I had invited Bernt Carlsson, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Commissioner for Namibia, to call in at Brussels in December 1988. He was on his way back to the United States from Namibia and agreed to address members of the Development Committee, which he did. In Brussels, he spoke about his hopes for an independent Namibia and the end of apartheid in South Africa to a packed meeting of MEPs.

    And afterwards he confirmed his acceptance to visit Leeds the following year to give the 1989 Peace Lecture in honour of Olof Palme, the former Swedish Prime Minister, who was murdered in Stockholm on February 26, 1986. He said how much he was looking forward to coming to Leeds to pay tribute to his fellow Swede with whom he had worked closely as international secretary of the Social Democratic Party of Sweden, and also as a special adviser to Palme. Bernt Carlsson did not make that visit to Leeds in 1989. He was a passenger on Pan Am Flight 103 and he died when the plane was blown up over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988. He was a giant of diplomacy, gentle, quiet, but a tough negotiator. His death, like that of his friend and fellow Swede, Prime Minister Palme, who was murdered in the street in Stockholm returning with his wife from a night at the cinema, was the result of a terrorist act and remains a mystery.

    A call by the British Government for an independent inquiry led by the United Nations to find out the truth about Pan Am flight 103 is urgently required. We owe it to the families of the victims of Lockerbie and the international community to identify those responsible. That Bernt Carlsson was on that plane should be an extra incentive for the UN to take action in view of the fact that this impressive diplomat was dealing with some of the most sensitive and violent situations being perpetrated by the brutal apartheid regime in both South Africa and Namibia, besides his work in the Middle East. The best tribute to the lives and families of the 270 victims of Lockerbie, including Bernt Carlsson, and the most positive action for the international community to take against terrorism, is to launch an independent inquiry into this gross act of mass murder. Nothing less will suffice." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernt_Carlsson )

    Last week, Number 10 approved my petition calling for a United Nations Inquiry into the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

    The first signatory is Robert Black QC, Emeritus Professor of Scots Law at Edinburgh University. 500 signatures are required by the 28 January 2010 closing date in order to trigger an official response from the PM.

    British citizens can sign up at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/BerntCarlsson/

  2. Best wishes for the petition, wish I could join.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. The agenda for this urgently-needed United Nations Inquiry into the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 21 December 1988 Lockerbie bombing is likely to include:

    1. An analysis of the ten-year delay in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 435 of 29 September 1978, which called for South Africa's immediate withdrawal from its illegal occupation of Namibia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_435 ).

    2. A review of the Settlement Proposal which led to the signature of the New York Accords at UN headquarters on 22 December 1988 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Settlement_Proposal ).

    3. An investigation into the travel arrangements for the 23-strong delegation of South African negotiators heading for New York. Direct flights to US airports by South African Airways were banned ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comprehensive_Anti-Apartheid_Act ) so the whole delegation, led by Foreign Minister Pik Botha, were booked on Pan Am Flight 103. Their SAA flight arrived early at Heathrow, having cut out a scheduled stopover at Frankfurt, and six of the party - including Botha - were rebooked on the morning Pan Am Flight 101. The remainder of the party cancelled the PA 103 booking, and returned to Johannesburg ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_talk:REUTERS12NOV94.jpg ).

    4. UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, was returning to New York for the signing ceremony and had been invited to speak to the European Parliament's Development Committee in Brussels on 20 December 1988 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernt_Carlsson ). Carlsson cancelled his Sabena flight from Brussels to JFK and, instead, travelled to Heathrow by BA 391, arriving at 11:00am on 21 December 1988. He was met there by a representative of De Beers, and was driven to London. Carlsson was back at Heathrow by 17:30, in good time for the scheduled 18:00 departure of Pan Am Flight 103 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_talk:IDAG(1)12MAR90.jpg ).

    5. Scottish police, in what seems to have been a cursory investigation into Bernt Carlsson's murder, were unaware of this background. Detective Constable John Crawford stated in his 2002 book (The Lockerbie Incident: A Detective's Tale, pages 88-89):
    "We even went as far as consulting a very helpful lady librarian in Newcastle who contacted us with information she had on Bernt Carlsson. She provided much of the background on the political moves made by Carlsson on behalf of the United Nations. He had survived a previous attack on an aircraft he had been travelling on in Africa. It is unlikely that he was a target as the political scene in Southern Africa was moving inexorably towards its present state....I discounted the theory as being almost totally beyond the realms of feasibility" ( http://books.google.com/books?id=Nh9_p8RjikQC&pg=PP1&dq=Lockerbie+Incident:+A+Detective%27s+Tale#v=onepage&q=&f=false ). The same DC John Crawford was highly critical of Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's decision to grant compassionate release on 20 August 2009 to Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, saying:
    "I think the compassion angle was all wrong. It was inevitable that people would use it against the decision he made as it was so obvious that Megrahi did not show one jot of compassion when he cold bloodedly went about his business of killing 270 innocent people" ( http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/2009/08/lockerbie-detective-macaskill-was-naive.html ).

    It is obvious that apartheid South Africa had the means, motive and opportunity to target Bernt Carlsson in the Lockerbie bombing. Only a United Nations Inquiry has the power to uncover all the incriminating evidence and to determine whether the apartheid regime was primarily responsible - perhaps in collusion with other countries - for the execution of this crime.

  5. Seriously, Patrick, should we really believe your 20 year vendetta is so unbiased...

    This coming from a man who was "On 21 March 1989, following a disciplinary proceeding, he was called to resign or be dismissed" for reasons not at all related to the Lockerbie bombing.


    Even earlier, before the bombing, in February 1988, Haseldine was a member of the invited studio audience of Question Time. Fifteen minutes into the programme, a student asked whether the British government was justified in its opposition of economic sanctions against South Africa in the face of calls for sanctions by Nelson Mandela, Bishop Tutu and by most of the European Community. Sir Robin Day asked the audience to raise their hands if they were in favour of economic sanctions against South Africa. Haseldine was the first member of the audience to vote on that question of sanctions.

    In March 1988, after repeatedly circulating material within the civil service without authorisation, Haseldine was suspended from his job in Defence Department for six months.

    On 7 December 1988, Haseldine wrote a letter to The Guardian mentioning to the Coventry Four, four South African businessmen charged in 1984 with evading the United Nations Security Council Resolution 418 ban on military exports, calling them terrorists in order to trigger automatic sanctions against S.Africa.

    Bearing in mind all of this happened BEFORE the Lockerbie Bombing, it would seem that you have an axe to grind with South Africa, as much as Liberia could profit from admitting guilt, or the US by blaming Iran...

  6. Why so long to react auto [admin]?

    What also happened BEFORE the Lockerbie bombing (on 3 July 1988 in fact) was the shooting down by the US Navy of Iran Air Flight 655.

    Now read Lockerbie: Ayatollah's Vengeance Exacted by Botha's Regime.

    Please try to react a bit quicker this time, auto [admin]!