Sunday 27 February 2011

Abu Nidal chief jumps on the bandwagon

[The following are excerpts from a reportby Ben Borland in today's edition of the Sunday Express:]

The full details of how Colonel Gaddafi colluded with the Lockerbie bomber to blow up Pan Am Flight 103 can today be revealed by the Sunday Express.

Explosive new revelations emerging from crisis-torn Libya last night included:

- Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi’s threat to confess and expose Gaddafi unless Tripoli found a way to get him home to his family.
- The Libyan dictator ordering the execution of other agents involved to cover up the Lockerbie trail.
- Specific details of how the bomb was made in Lebanon and smuggled through the Congo.
- Gaddafi personally sanctioning Palestinian mercenary Abu Nidal to assist the terror attack.

The new allegations have come from former terror general Atef Abu Bakr, who has broken his silence as Gaddafi’s brutal 40-year reign enters its final days.

His confession could finally end the doubts surrounding Megrahi’s conviction and even see further charges brought in Scotland against a host of co-conspirators. So far, Megrahi is the only man ever convicted over the December 1988 bombing, which killed all 259 passengers and crew on board the New York-bound Boeing 747 and 11 people in Lockerbie.

Bakr also predicted the collapse of the regime would “open the door” to Gaddafi’s involvement in a number of other bombings and assassinations.

Now a frail, balding man in his 60s, he was once second-in-command to Abu Nidal, a Palestinian terrorist who was the world’s most wanted man in the Eighties. His feared militia was linked to more than 100 murders, aircraft hijackings and bombings, as well as the kidnap of journalist John McCarthy and machine gun attacks on passengers at Rome and Vienna airports.

The group, called the Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO), had a base in Tripoli until 1999, shortly before Megrahi was handed over to the British authorities.

Nidal was shot dead in Iraq in 2003 and Bakr said he had decided to speak out because be believes Gaddafi is now powerless to punish him.

He revealed the attack on an American passenger jet was ordered in retaliation for the 1986 US bombing of Benghazi and Tripoli, in which Gaddafi’s daughter was killed.

The bomb itself was built by the ANO’s “scientific committee” in a village “in the southern part of Mount Lebanon”.

Bakr said: “I can assure you categorically that the two processes [making the bomb and destroying the plane] were the outcome of a partnership between the Abu Nidal group and the security of the Libyan Jamahiriya.

“The committee, which was run by a Palestinian, prepared explosive radios of around three or four inches in thickness and put a rule of Semtex of less than four hundred grams in the vacuum in the speakers and under the metal plate.

“Then they put the explosive in the form of a gift and sent them to Tripoli, with timers. As always in such cases, the gift carrier did not know the nature of the gift.”

Bakr, who did not explain his own role in the operation, said the deadly “gifts” were smuggled into Libya via Brazzaville, the Congolese capital, and the couriers were later murdered by Gaddafi and Nidal.

He said: “Two of the group were met by members of Libyan intelligence and under the cover of the son of leader Patrice Lumumba. The killing of the two people who belong to the group took place later, the first in Beirut and the second in Libya.”

Lumumba, a Congolese prime minister who was murdered in a coup in 1961, had four sons – Francois, now leader of his father’s party, as well as Patrice Jr, Roland and Guy-Patrice.

The bomb was then taken from Tripoli to Malta, which fits with the case built by Scottish police and proved by the Crown during Megrahi’s trial.

Bakr said: “The Lockerbie explosive came from Tripoli to Malta and was then shipped from Malta. I want to emphasise the shipment came from Malta. There were members of the group visiting Malta, sometimes using Libyan passports and cards for the Libyan Aviation Office in Malta to be able to access and to facilitate shipping.”

He added: “The Abu Nidal group has subsequently liquidated a number of elements who have played a role in this process, including an official in the intelligence community.

“For their part, the Libyans had to liquidate a number of elements, including a former official in the intelligence.”

Bakr said the head of Libyan intelligence Abdullah al-Senussi was also involved in the plot. And he claimed that Megrahi, who worked for Senussi and may have played only a minor part, promised on the night before his extradition to keep silent about Gaddafi’s involvement.

However, he later went back on his word and recently “threatened to expose the whole process unless the Libyan authorities made efforts to secure his release, which is what has happened.”

Bakr, who led a rebel faction that split from the ANO in the 1990s, also recalled how Nidal ordered his men not to reveal their role in the bombing.

He said: “Abu Nidal laughed at the meeting and said, ‘No responsibility can be claimed. I will tell you this process was for us and our Muslim brothers in Libya. But discretion must be complete.’”

Bakr himself issued a statement to reporters in Beiruit in December 1988, denying any ANO involvement and expressing his condolences to the victims. His new confession was made yesterday to Al Hayat, one of the most respected newspapers in the Arab world. (...)

[On Caustic Logic's blog The Lockerbie Divide there is a recent post headed Rats, sinking ship, etc which is well worth reading, along with the Ian Bell article featured on this blog yesterday.]


  1. Only, this 'rat' was not on the ship? So, if it is a fabrication, why?
    The subsequent murders of the couriers and Libyan intelligence officers can be verified, one can assume by the Sunday Express, to substantiate his story, or not. Hope they're on the case.

  2. Remember, the crown case was that Megrahi bought the clothes from Tony Gauci, and assisted in the clandestine smuggling of the bomb on to KM180 on the morning of 21st December. That is what is being challenged as having no evidence to support it.

    Doesn't seem to me that has been addressed at all by these revelations.

    Bakr said: “The Lockerbie explosive came from Tripoli to Malta and was then shipped from Malta. I want to emphasise the shipment came from Malta. There were members of the group visiting Malta, sometimes using Libyan passports and cards for the Libyan Aviation Office in Malta to be able to access and to facilitate shipping.”

    Who knows what the means?

    If what is being alleged is that Megrahi was involved in the bomb plot but not in the way proposed by the Zeist trial, that doesn't leave Scottish justice in any better a position.

  3. I'm now confused, so help me.
    I put "Atef Abu Bakr" into Gooogle to verify his nationality, or similar. I get this hit, from 2002 in the Birminham Post, a quote on the death of Abu Nidal by Atef Abu Bakr saying exactly what the Sunday Express says he said yesterday. Is this just old rehashed news?

    "Abu Nidal, the Palestinian terrorist found dead in Iraq this week, claimed he was behind the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie.

    Atef Abu Bakr, a former spokesman for Fatah-Revolutionary Council, the radical group headed by Abu Nidal, told the Arabic al-Hayat newspaper that Abu Nidal made the claim to a meeting of the group's council.

    The attack has been blamed on Libya.

    The spokesman for Abu Nidal's group in Beirut, Ghanem Saleh, could not be immediately reached for comment.

    'Abu Nidal told a meeting of the Revolutionary Council …"

  4. "The bomb was then taken from Tripoli to Malta, which fits with the case built by Scottish police and proved by the Crown during Megrahi’s trial."

    Actually it wasn't. The judgement actually contradicted evidence brought during the trial. Air Malta was the party which proved the bomb wasn't on the plane when it left Luqa. And it provided documentation showing all baggage was accompanied and accounted for at Frankfurt.

    Secondly, and most importantly, Megrahi did NOT need Gadaffi to get him out of prison. He had an appeal sitting with SIX grounds to suggest a miscarriage of justice could have occurred one of which involved the payment of millions of dollars by the US to witnesses.

    I'm sorry, I'm not buying any of this, but how can we be surprise that the West intends to buy the lot! It will NOT change the SCCRC report.

  5. UN Security Council has just voted to impose sanctions on Libya and to freeze all assets. In a memorable quote the American accent making the announcement said action had to be taken against those who slaughter innocent civilians. Isn't it bizarre that the US and the UK can can associate themselves with such words after their illegal invasion in Iraq during which tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis were slaughtered. On that occasion these two fine upstanding Western democracies simply ignored the Security Council because they weren't going to win the vote!

  6. Blogiston seems to have cracked the latest, anyway. Rehash of nine-year-old conspiracy theory.

  7. It gets better. Birmingham Post article dated 23rd August 2002, same date as the other one. Looks like a riposte printed in the same edition.

    "Scottish prosecutors dismiss report Abu Nidal was behind Lockerbie bombing"

    Dateline: LONDON The Scottish prosecutors' office on Friday dismissed a published report that Abu Nidal, the Palestinian terrorist found dead in Iraq this week, was behind the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, for which a Libyan has been convicted.

    "We deal, and have dealt with, evidence not rumor or speculation, especially about allegedly dead terrorists," a Scottish Crown Office spokeswoman said on customary condition of anonymity.

    The Arabic newspaper al-Hayat on Friday published an interview with Atef Abu Bakr, a former spokesman for Fatah-Revolutionary Council, the radical group headed by Abu Nidal, saying Abu Nidal told a meeting of the group's council …

  8. I think the new bit is, Bakr has since added, a Nidal cell, working out of Tripoli, to his 2002 story, which now implicates Libya.
    I'll wait for his book :) - the book shop shelves will be groaning soon on this subject.

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  10. Well, it was never impossible that Libya might have been involved in PA103. Just there wasn't any particularly compelling evidence for that. But if it was the case, then any Libyan agent might have been involved in some way.

    This seems to have nothing at all to do with the subject on the card, which is the crown case that Magrahi bought clothes from Tony Gauci and smuggled a bomb on board KM180 at Malta.

    For which there is still no evidence at all.

  11. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc. nr.1061.rtf.:
    The rats are leaving the sinking ship ...

    1) Mr. Nuri al-Mismari, Former Libyan head of protocol, fled to France and he know exactly that be can demonstrated , not a "Bomb Bag" from Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, was transported to Frankfurt on 21 December 1988, by Air Malta flight KM-180 !
    There is to day clear evidence, no "Bomb Bag" was transported with Air Malta flight KM-180 from Malta to Frankfurt !

    2) Former Libyan Justice Minister (2010) Mohamed Mustafa Abud Al Jeleil and Former Libyan head of protocol Nuri al-Mismari - who has been at Gaddafi's side for almost 40 years although he left Libya on autumn 2010 to France - on Monday resigned from his post as chief of state protocol, both officials know that the official Abdelbaset Al Megrahi (of the time as yet out of unpublished secret reasons) not the "Pan Am 103 Bomber" can be !
    In german language:

    1.) Nuri Al-Mismari, ehemaliger Libyan head of protocol (im Herbst 2010 nach Frankreich geflüchtet) muss darüber informiert gewesen sein, dass nachweislich kein "Bomb-Bag" von Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, am 21. Dezember 1988 mit Air- Malta, Flight KM-180, nach Frankfurt transportiert wurde !

    2.) Früherer Libyan Justice Minister (2010) Mohamed Mustafa Abud Al Jeleil und Mr. Nuri al-Mismari -- welcher während 40 Jahren an Gaddafi's Seite Protokollführer war--, müssen wissen, dass Abdelbaset Al Megrahi (aus zur Zeit noch geheim gehaltenen Gründen) als "PanAm-103 Bomber", absolut ausgeschlossen werden muss und somit nicht in Verbindung mit der "Lockerbie-Tragödie" gebracht werden kann !

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland. URL:

  12. An embarrassment to the legal credibility of the Scottish Crown. However, the investigation was flawed within two hours of the plane hitting the ground as the FBI and CIA tampered with evidence. I.E the suitcase with $500,000 found in a field, the cover up re. 5 CIA officers on a plane and the removal of a CIA body. The fabrication of evidence by now dis-credited FBI agents, the pay-off of key witnesses and the political pressure put on Scotland to find a 'suspect' at a time when we were going to war with Iraq and needed support from Iran and Syria-all adds up to the biggest fraud in Scottish history. Worse the Darien Expedition. If the 'real terrorists' are found will the $270Bn ever be paid back to Libya or does that not matter as the regime has nearly toppled. No wonder Spieldberg wants to make a movie about it. Nobody could ever invent this. A travesty of justice for the 270 people killed.

  13. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc. nr.1062.rtf. sorry text only in German, translation in english too complicated:
    The newspaper "The Australian" scattered around:

    Die Zeitung "The Australian" streut herum und die Medien werden sich vermutlich darauf abstützen >>
    "Lockerbie killer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi 'blackmailed dictator for his release' ...
    Solch einen Blödsinn ist schon lange nicht mehr verbreitet worden !
    Al Megrahi wollte selber, nur durch die Scottish Justice rechtsgültig, als unschuldig freigesprochen werden. Leider wurde er gezwungen, (aus zur Zeit noch geheim gehaltenen Gründen) sein Erfolg versprechendes Appeal, datiert auf Dezember 2009 (4 Monate nach seiner fragwürdigen Freilassung) zurückzuziehen, damit er gegen seinen Willen, nach Libyen abgeschoben werden konnte...
    Das Interesse des Scottish Government's lag am unbedingten Rückzug, Al Megrahi's, Appeal, welches bereits vorab von der Scottish Criminal Cases Appeal Commission (SCCRC) in 6 Punkten als "Miscarriage of Justice" erklärt wurde ! Das aufdecken der Wahrheit, hätte im "Scottish Parliament" ein politisches Erdbeben ausgelöst !

    Some of the Scottish Officials are the true criminals in the Lockerbie Affair are responsible for manipulating evidence in the Lockerbie Affair and are still protected by the Scottish Justice !
    (They are not involved in the PanAm 103 bombing, but responsible for the conspiracy against Libya).
    The honour of Mr. Al Megrahi and the prestige of people Libya's must be finally repaired. Libya and its Official Al Megrahi have nothing to do with the Lockerbie tragedy. The Scottish "Lockerbie-Trial" in Kamp van Zeist, was far from fair and proper.
    NOW its the right time: Justice for Megrahi and the libyan people !

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL:

  14. I'd say that there are now some very frightened people who are spreading disinformation which they hope will bury the real story of Megrahi giving up his appeal and the events surrounding his release.

  15. The recent claim by Atef Abu Bakr, former spokesman for Abu Nidal Organisation, is that the ANO made the bomb and Libyan Intelligence/Security planted the bomb.

    Yes, Bakr claimed in 2002 the ANO was behind the bombing, but he didn’t at that time state the Libyan connection.

    This is not a rehash of the same story as “Blogiston” asks. Bakr has given two interviews: one in 2002 and one in 2011.

    Two former Libyan ministers have both claimed Gaddafi ordered/sanctioned the bombing. This fits in so far with the claims made by Bakr.

    However, the story is by no means resolved and there are just as many questions.

    It adds relevance to the claims that the warning was given before the bombing and explains why CIA were at the scene very quickly after the plane came down. However, it doesn’t answer why other CIA travelled on the plane if they thought it was going to be bombed. There must have been alternative flight routes available.

    ANO were known to claim credit for incidents that had nothing to do with them, so one wonders why they didn’t claim credit for Lockerbie at the time. However, Bakr’s comments indicate this was a joint operation. It is quite possible, indeed probable, that Gaddafi did not want any organisation to claim resposibility. It was after all, a revenge attack. He’d want the Americans to suspect it might be him without being able to find a connection. Libya could be bombed again if a connection was found. Gaddafi and Abu Nidal were very close at the time. ‘Keeping-the-Americans-guessing’ may have been the one of the objectives. Many of the people supposedly involved in the plot were killed soon afterwards.

    Regarding the point made by “Jo G” that al Megrahi didn’t need to be released because he would have got out on the second appeal. That would still have been the second option from his perspective. A guaranteed get out now on compassionate grounds and go back to Libya - OR - go through the all the legal process of the second appeal the outcome of which was not guaranteed nor the duration, risk upsetting Gaddafi, risk your family back in Libya if you upset Gaddafi, and risk Gaddafi not accepting him back into Libya. Gaddafi could have turned his back on al Megrahi at any time. I assume the al Megrahi family and descendents will never have to work again, whichever version is accepted.

    There are still many questions from the trial itself which Bakr’s interviews don’t address. Al Megrahi may have been involved on the Libyan side but not directly, is one possibility, as many seem to have since been killed. He may have thought he was going for trial but believed he wouldn’t be convicted. The ‘west’ were probably keen to secure a conviction, “whatever it took.” Or he might have been tucked-up by Gaddafi.

    With the possibility of both Gaddafi’s and al Megrahi’s death coming soon, unless there are any other people who were directly involved and still alive, which seems unlikely though not impossible, this may be all we ever find out.

  16. What I want to find out is where that bomb was introduced into the airline baggage system, and who bought the clothes from Tony Gauci.

    Megrahi was convicted on the grounds that the bomb was loaded on KM180 as unaccompanied luggage, and he bought the clothes that were packed in the suitcase with the bomb.

    If either of these things were true, I would be pretty comfortable that the Zeist verdict was likely to be well-founded. The problem is, neither appears to be true. And in that case, the trial was a travesty and the verdict perverse.

    And we still have no evidence at all apart from someone claiming privileged insider information, which everyone seems to be falling over themselves to believe.


  17. "The Libyan dictator ordered the murder of other agents involved to cover-up the Lockerbie trail".

    See the letter "Spiro did not kill self, family, Libyan agents most likely involved" Michigan Times Jan 30th 2004 written by "epiceraser" (rubbing things out on a grand scale?)actually a Mr M.J.Carson of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

  18. Richard, the fact that the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PAID TWO WITNESSES 3 MILLION DOLLARS is a small detail you haven't mentioned. Why would the US do that if it didn't have to?

  19. Ah, Jo, you just don't understand. That wasn't a bribe, it was a Reward for Justice.

    In Scotland, if you are a witness to fact in a crime, and your involvement is due to the police having traced you as a potential witness, you will be lucky to get your bus fare to court and a limp sandwich for lunch. In America, they pay people who were lucky enough to have sold some goods to a criminal millions of dollars for testifying in court - even though these people didn't come forward of their own volition but were traced by the police.

    Well, you know, the Gauci brothers might have found Malta not so friendly after they gave that evidence, so they deserved to be made millionaires and relocated in Australia with new identities!

    I wonder if Vincent Vassallo ever regretted not taking up Harry Bell's similar offer to him. Lots of money and a new life away from Malta if he happened to have seen either Fhimah or Megrahi with a brown Samsonite suitcase that day. He was outraged, and went to the Maltese police to complain, but got the brush-off. So much so that although he reported the attempted bribery in his Zeist evidence, he down-played it.

    I still wonder if Bogomira Erac got any of these rewards. Her souvenir was at least as important as anything Tony Gauci said. Is she living in luxury somewhere in Slovenia, courtesy of the US taxpayer, I wonder?