Monday 21 December 2009

Megrahi's reaction to Swiss bank account story

[What follows is the text of a statement issued last night on behalf of Abdelbaset Megrahi by his Scottish solicitor.]

Abdelbaset Al Megrahi in response to the report in today’s Sunday Times newspaper makes the following comment:

“It is wrong to say that in 2001 I had access to £1.8million in a Swiss bank account. There were investigations into the content of my account in Switzerland at the time of my trial in Zeist. This information was not gone into at trial.

When the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission looked at my case they reviewed, in full, the accounts held by me. There was no question of my 'hiding' any aspect of my financial affairs, as has been reported.

The Sunday Times reports that the Crown Office refused me bail in the course of my appeal because of the information. This is to misunderstand the position completely. The Court of Criminal Appeal is the only body empowered to grant or refuse me bail. It heard full submissions and did not refuse me bail on the basis of what has been reported. The Crown mentioned, in their Answers to my bail application, my bank accounts under the ground of opposition: Risk of Flight. The Court concluded that prosecutor’s argument about this were irrelevant. [Opinion, 14th November 2008, para 14]. The Court refused me bail because, it said, it: 'is not persuaded that the stage has been reached when early release is appropriate' [Opinion, 14th November 2008 para 15].

I fail to see how this information – either that reported or what was in actual fact the case regarding my account ‐ could amount to a conclusion that I was 'an international coordinator of terrorism for Libya'. This was not alleged against me, no evidence was led to form the basis of such a conclusion and the court did not make such a finding. If the information about my account could have formed the basis of such a finding one would have expected the trial court to have heard it and, more significantly, it would have influenced the Commission.

The Commission, having reviewed my case, including the material concerning my account, were not swayed from the conclusion that I may have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice”


  1. The money in Abdelbaset Megrahi's Swiss bank account was not for terrorist purposes. It was to circumvent a non-binding, unilaterally-imposed United States embargo, and obtain spare parts for civilian aircraft operated by Libyan Arab Airlines.

    On the other hand, a mandatory arms embargo, including the prohibition of exporting aircraft spares, was imposed by the UN Security Council on apartheid South Africa in 1976. That embargo was breached with impunity by both the US and Britain
    (see ).

    And Libya did not target UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: it was P W Botha's apartheid regime (see ).

    When are we going to get a United Nations inquiry into Bernt Carlsson's murder on Pan Am Flight 103?

  2. "And Libya did not target UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: it was P W Botha's apartheid regime"

    So... (aplogies for any imprecisions on my part) Were the South Africans responsible for the $10 million transfer from Iran to the PFLPGC to blow up a plane with Americans as revenger for IA655? Did Botha have a hand in getting Khreesat's bombs made in Frankfurt? Or in smuggling one of them onto PA103 in London? Or is it just a coincidence that the South African method happened to so resemble a Khreesat bomb in blowing up 38 minutes after takeoff? And a coincidence the SA job so reflected the shoot-down of IA655? Why do you suppose the Iranians never got their revenge they paid for? Do you have a supposition at all on how they did it, or do you even care?

    Also, why - when he was a supporter of Megrahi - was Nelson Mandella unable to expose his predecessors' true involvement?

    Just asking questions. I'm sure you've got the answers somewhere or you wouldn't be so sure the SA folks did it. (If you can't provide answers, I will just flat ignore you for good)

    And otherwise, I agree with your analysis.

    And Mr. Megrahi, that's a great smack-down that makes me wish you'd been able to speak up at your own trial. Best wishes.

  3. I don't pretend to know the full answers to the questions posed by Caustic Logic, but here are my preliminary suggestions:

    a. South Africa's National Intelligence Service (NIS) was an integral part of Western intelligence;

    b. Marwan Khreesat was a double/triple agent, and a CIA asset;

    c. one of Khreesat's bombs might have been smuggled onto Pan Am Flight 103 at Heathrow (or it could have been a replica device made by a dedicated bomb-making section of the SADF's Directorate of Military Intelligence);

    d. the Heathrow break-in on 20/21 December 1988 was a classic decoy operation, probably carried out by South Africa's Civil Cooperation Bureau;

    e. thanks to South Africa, and with CIA support, Iran got their "revenge". (Whether the Iranians had to pay for it is another matter: there's no audit trail for the $10 million "transfer");

    f. Gaddafi funded the ANC, and when Nelson Mandela was released from jail in 1990 (18 months before Megrahi and Fhimah were indicted), Libya was the first country he visited;

    g. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 1996 was, I believe, precluded from investigating the regime's involvement in crimes committed overseas, unless amnesty had been applied for them. Since no-one applied to the TRC for amnesty over the Lockerbie bombing, it was not investigated. Lockerbie was however mentioned in the context of an amnesty granted to South African spy Craig Williamson for the 1982 bombing of the ANC offices in London (see ).

    I could say a lot more, but that's probably enough for now.

  4. Mr. Haseldine, thanks. That definitely forestalls "putting you on ignore." For what that's worth. (?) For the record a few notes on your thoughts here:

    a- almost seems a counter-point, but okay...

    b - I suspect tangential relationship - could a good chunk of a $10 million prize (plus genuine disgust with the IA655 incident) turn a single agent into a temporary double one?

    c - may and may. Okay, but no specific supports. Duly noted.

    d - Decoy? They specialize in cut-lock decoy ops more so than other groups?

    e - Something tells me for revenge to work, one has to deliver the pain oneself, or on one's own orders. Your take seems that SA did this to kill Carlsson and, perhaps to claim Iran's prize at the same time? Otherwiise they didn't get their revenge if someone else did. They could as well predict 10,000 US flu deaths in the winter of 86 and call that more than enough revenge for their piddling 290.

    f - yes, thanks. And he, as President, found no evidence of Botha et al's involvement to help get Libya off the hook? That definitely did not answer that important question.

    g - Okay, that starts to answer it. Did anyone have reason to ask for that investigation? None that I've seen. The US drive against Libya as the villains of Lockerbie AND Mandella's presidency were both years old by 1996, and this question not entering the picture supports there being no such evidence.

    The link just says ""If you look at the Lockerbie disaster - this is very similar. I think Britain would like to see these guys are prosecuted in England even though they get amnesty here."
    That reads to me as a comparison of jurisdiction and amnesty issues using a then-current high-profile case involving those sort of issues. It does nothing to support South African involvement in Lockerbie, whatever other heinous crimes they were guilty for.

    Perhaps they're just really good at covering their tracks too. But some are perceptive enough to see the tracks anyway in the random jumble of the forest floor. Being able to make others see them is the tricky part though. No one else is seeing it, so maybe... it's not really a covered track? Just in case you hadn't considered that yet...

  5. So tell me again why they chose to target PA103. You know, the plane Botha was booked to fly on and Carlsson wasn't....

  6. Even if President Mandela had found the "evidence of Botha et al's involvement to help get Libya off the hook", he could not have acted against his apartheid predecessor. That was the TRC's responsibility.

    The TRC did investigate the 1986 aircrash which killed President Samora Machel of Mozambique, and heard evidence suggesting that the apartheid regime had deployed a decoy radio navigation beacon to cause the aircraft to crash in South Africa (see ). Machel's widow Graca, now married to Nelson Mandela, is convinced that P W Botha's government were responsible for her husband's death. In 1998, P W Botha refused to testify at the TRC, and was given a suspended jail sentence (see ).

    The following information has recently been supplied to me by Gordon D. Brown (see ):

    From 1967 when South West Africa (Namibia) became the responsibility of the United Nations until the territory gained its independence in 1990, a period of 23 years, De Beers/Anglo American and the Apartheid State illegally removed (in breach of United Nations Council for Namibia Decree No 1):
    • 44 million Diamonds, weighing
    • 33 million Carats, with an average diamond size of
    • 0,75 Carats per Diamond.

    The Present Value (2009) of those diamonds and its distribution amounted to:
    • £11.0 billion, ($18.7bn.) being Revenue from Diamond Sales (Standard Selling Value)
    • £ 3.3 billion, ($5.6bn.) spent on Working Costs and Capital Expenditure, leaving
    • £ 7.7 billion, ($13.1bn.) of Working Profit, distributed as follows:
    • £ 4.4 billion, ($7.5bn.) as De Beers/ Anglo American’s Profit Share, and
    • £ 3,3 billion, ($5.6bn.) as Apartheid State’s Profit Share through Taxes, Royalties, etc.

    If Bernt Carlsson had survived to take charge of the territory upon signature of the Namibian independence agreement on 22 December 1988, he would have instituted proceedings under UNCN Decree No 1 against De Beers/Anglo American and the apartheid government for plundering Namibia's resources. To me, that seems to be a compelling motive for the apartheid regime to have targeted the UN Commissioner for Namibia on Pan Am Flight 103!

  7. So tell me again why they chose to target PA103. You know, the plane Botha was booked to fly on and Carlsson wasn't....

  8. South African Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, Defence Minister, Magnus Malan, Director of Military Intelligence, General Van Tonder, and a party of 20 negotiators were booked to travel on Pan Am Flight 103 to New York. Of those 23 South Africans with reservations, not a single one of them actually took the flight.

    UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, was to have travelled direct from Brussels to New York. Instead, Carlsson was persuaded by De Beers (who he called "polished gangsters") to stopover in London and arrived on flight BA391 at 11.06am. Carlsson was met at Heathrow by De Beers' representative, Bankole Timothy, and taken to London for a meeting with the diamond mining and marketing firm. He was returned to the airport by about 17.30 to catch the only flight which could get him to New York in time for the Namibia Independence Agreement signing ceremony at UN headquarters on 22 December 1988 (see ).

    Thus Bernt Carlsson, the most prominent of the 270 Lockerbie bombing victims, perished on Pan Am Flight 103.

  9. So, you can't explain why apartheid SA chose to target a flight Pik Botha was booked on and Bernt Carlsson wasn't, and then had to manipulate both parties at the last minute so that Botha caught a different plane and Carlsson caught the doomed flght.

    Epic fail.

  10. Two intriguing questions requiring answers are:

    1. Why was the Pan Am Flight 103 booking by the 23-strong South African delegation headed by Pik Botha kept hidden for six years (21 December 1988 - 12 November 1994)?

    2. Why has the fact of Bernt Carlsson's stopover in London to meet De Beers never been published in the English-speaking media?

    These and all the other questions and explanations that Rolfe says he wants answers to are within the ambit of a United Nations inquiry into the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson (see ).

    Presumably, Rolfe is in favour of the UN inquiry that I am advocating?

  11. I can see a perfectly reasonable (and indeed sinister) explanation for all that, as I've said before.

    That the apartheid SA government had knowledge that PA103 on 21st December was the specific target of a terrorist bomb. PFLP-GC, someone else, who knows. That they used this knowledge not just to make sure Botha and his party didn't travel on that flight, they also manipulated Carlsson's itinerary so that he ended up catching it.

    Even that is pretty scurrilous. And fiendishly clever, really - if the warning turned out to be wrong, or the bomb aborted for some reason, well, no harm done. Carpe diem and all that.

    This theory at least fits the observed facts, and is rational. The idea that the SA government actually carried out the bombing, planning to hit PA103 even though their target wasn't booked on it and their own delegation was, is risible.


  12. I'm the one who is having a laugh at your contortions, Rolfe!

    Are you or are you not in favour of a United Nations inquiry into the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson (see )?

    Yes or no?

  13. Who cares? It's a side issue, and my opinion on whether such an enquiry should happen is hardly going to sway the great and the good.

    Your inability to see the glaring illogic in your own theory, or to contemplate any more rational explanation for the events, is pathetic.

  14. "The idea that the SA government actually carried out the bombing, planning to hit PA103 even though their target wasn't booked on it and their own delegation was, is risible."

    Rolfe really ought to get his facts straight: according to Swedish journalist, Jan-Olof Bengtsson, Bernt Carlsson's booking on Pan Am Flight 103 was made on or about 16 December 1988. There was nothing last-minute about it (see ).

    And the decision by the 23-strong South African party not to fly on PA 103 was apparently taken on the morning of 21 December 1988.

    "Gerrit Pretorius, at the time Botha's private secretary, said the then foreign minister and 22 South African negotiators, including defence minister Magnus Malan and foreign affairs director Neil van Heerden, had been booked on flight 103. 'But to London an hour early and the embassy got us on to an earlier flight.' He said the flight from Johannesburg arrived early in London after a Frankfurt stopover was cut out." (see Reuters report of 12 November 1994 ).

    There is therefore nothing 'illogical' about apartheid South Africa targeting the UN Commissioner for Namibia. Indeed, these quoted extracts reinforce the case against the apartheid regime and emphasise the need for a United Nations inquiry into Bernt Carlsson's murder.

  15. If demonstrating motive for a killing was sufficient to prove guilt, there would be few unsolved murders in the world. It's awkward though, you do have to show a bit more than that.

    As to plausibility, I'm having fun picturing the scene.

    Boss: Well, have you got the bomb on board Carlsson's plane?

    Henchman: I got good news and bad news on that one, boss.

    Boss: ?

    Henchman: I got the bomb on the plane all right, but it's not the plane Carlsson's going to fly on. I got it on the plane Botha's booked to travel on.

    Boss: No problem. Just divert Botha's feeder flight so he catches a different transatlantic plane, and delay Carlsson on some pretext so that he has to re-book on PA103. Perfect! Nobody will notice.

    Henchman: Sure, boss.

    Completely natural and plausible. Not.

    I'd be interested in your estimate as to when this singular exchange actually took place.

  16. Poor Rolfe!

    He now realises that Bernt Carlsson was booked on Pan Am Flight 103 on 16 December 1988, and is flailing about trying to extricate himself from the mess that he has created.

    Rolfe even talks about "boss" as though it relates to the South African Bureau of State Security which, as we all know, was abolished in 1980 and replaced by the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

    Rolfe knows, as of course we all do, that what is now urgently needed is a United Nations inquiry into the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing (see ).

    The truth is that Rolfe just can't bring himself to admit it!

  17. Rolfe is hoping (much against hope) that you'll present a coherent case for your theory. Hasn't happened yet.

    You now indicate that Carlsson's booking was changed several days before the flight. How does that square with the version that says he was delayed in discussions so that he pretty much missed his booked flight and was forced to travel on 103 at the last minute?

    Are you now giving up the idea that Carlsson's change of booking was instigated by the SA regime, then?

    My God, it's like pulling teeth. You wouldn't consider posting your actual theory, complete with supporting evidence, instead of that boilerplate call for an enquiry, embellished with sarcasm, insults and false assumptions about other posters?

    And you know what? This isn't a competition. I'm interested in figuring out what happened. If all you care about is scoring points that's your prerogative. But you aren't going to get very far until you start explaining your hypothesis.

    I don't think you can.

  18. Countdown to Lockerbie : recapitulation

    1. UN Council for Namibia Decree No 1 prohibits exploitation of Namibia's mineral resources - particularly diamonds and uranium. Enforcement action is planned in the Netherlands.

    2. UN Security Council Resolution 435 of 1978 orders apartheid South Africa to withdraw from its illegal occupation of Namibia.

    3. Reagan/Gorbachev summit of June 1988 decides on Namibian independence. The New York Accords are scheduled for signature on 22 December 1988 by US/Soviet client states (South Africa, Cuba and Angola).

    4. In September 1988, UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, is invited to address the Development Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels on 20 December 1988.

    5. Following Carlsson's criticism of De Beers' over-exploitation of Namibia's diamond reserves in the Granada TV documentary "Disappearing Diamonds" early in December 1988, De Beers summon him to a meeting in London on 21 December 1988. On 16 December 1988, Carlsson cancels his return flight booking from Brussels to New York. Instead, he books himself on British Airways Flight 391 to London for the meeting with De Beers, and on Pan Am Flight 103 from Heathrow to JFK. (This information is derived from Jan-Olof Bengtsson's article in the Swedish newspaper iDAG of 12 March 1990. It has never been published in English. Why?)

    6. A 23-strong delegation from South Africa are also booked on Carlsson's flight. Their South African Airways flight from Johannesburg is prohibited by the US Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 from continuing to New York. So Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, Defence Minister, Magnus Malan, Director of Military Intelligence, General Van Tonder, and 20 negotiators have to suffer the indignity of alighting at Heathrow and of taking another carrier, Pan Am Flight 103, to JFK. In the event, none of the 23 South Africans travelled on Carlsson's flight. Six are reported to have taken the morning Pan Am Flight 101, and 17 are understood to have returned by SAA to Johannesburg. (The fact that Pik Botha's delegation were booked on Pan Am Flight 103 was suppressed for six years - until the Reuters news agency reported it on 12 November 1994. Why?)

    No attempt has yet been made to formally investigate the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson. The decision not to investigate was taken by a junior Scottish policeman, Detective Constable John Crawford, on the basis of information supplied to him by "a very helpful lady librarian in Newcastle".

    An urgent inquiry by the United Nations is required.

    A. History of Namibia (
    B. UNCN plans enforcement action in respect of Decree No 1 (;col1).
    C. Michael McGowan's invitation to Bernt Carlsson (
    D. "Finger of suspicion", The Guardian, 7 December 1989 (
    E. Jan-Olof Bengtsson, iDAG, 12 March 1990 (
    F. Reuters report, 12 November 1994 (
    G. "The Lockerbie Incident : A Detective's Tale", John Crawford, 2002 (pages 88/89) (
    H. Former MEP calls for urgent inquiry by the UN (

  19. And that provides evidence that the SA regime planted the bomb, how, exactly?

    Evidence of motive is not evidence of action.

  20. Means, motive, opportunity + UN inquiry = Evidence of action = Apartheid regime did it. Quod erat demonstrandum.