Tuesday 5 April 2011

Koussa has "no secrets" over Pan Am 103

[This is the headline over an article on the website of Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. It reads in part:]

Saif al-Islam Gadaffi, heir apparent to Colonel Gadaffi, has said that former intelligence chief Moussa Koussa has “no secrets” to tell over the Pan Am 103 event and says that both the British and the American Governments are already aware of the full circumstances surrounding the destruction of the Boeing airliner over Lockerbie.

Saif Gadaffi, who met with Peter Mandelson to facilitate Abdelbaset Al Megrahi’s repatriation to Libya, has spoken before on the geopolitical aspects of the Megrahi case, denying that Libya had any involvement in the event, but accepted responsibility in order to allow the UN sanctions regime to be lifted.

“The British and the Americans, they know about Lockerbie. They know everything about Lockerbie. There are no secrets anymore,” Gadaffi told the BBC’s John Simpson.

The claim mirrors an earlier revelation made to Dr Jim Swire of UK Families Flight 103.

“One of our number was told by an official on the US Commission of Inquiry, in an aside that: 'Your government and mine know exactly what happened, but they're never going to tell'", Swire says.

Gadaffi added that Koussa is likely to “invent stories” for the British authorities in order to secure his immunity.

“If you press him and say “You have to invent stories in order [for us] to give you immunity, what can he do?. The British Government said he had no immunity unless he cooperated. So of course he will come out with funny stories,” said Gadaffi.

[The BBC interview with Saif Gaddafi and a related report can be accessed here.

A report in today's edition of The New York Times contains the following:]

The Obama administration dropped financial sanctions on Monday against the top Libyan official who fled to Britain last week, saying it hoped the move would encourage other senior aides to abandon Col Muammar el-Qaddafi, the country’s embattled leader.

But the decision to unfreeze bank accounts and permit business dealings with the official, Moussa Koussa, underscored the predicament his defection poses for American and British authorities, who said on Tuesday that Scottish police and prosecutors planned to interview Mr Koussa about the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and other issues “in the next few days.”

Mr Koussa’s close knowledge of the ruling circle, which he is believed to be sharing inside a British safe house, could be invaluable in trying to strip Colonel Qaddafi of support.

But as the longtime Libyan intelligence chief and foreign minister, Mr Koussa is widely believed to be implicated in acts of terrorism and murder over the last three decades, including the assassination of dissidents, the training of international terrorists and the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. (...)

On Tuesday, Scotland’s Crown Office prosecutors said they had met with Foreign Office officials to discuss access to Mr Koussa. “Steps are being taken with a view to arranging a meeting with Mr Moussa Koussa at the earliest opportunity in the next few days,” the prosecutors said in a statement.

The British foreign secretary, William Hague, told Parliament on Monday that officials would “encourage” Mr Koussa “to co-operate fully with all requests for interviews with law enforcement and investigation authorities in relation both to Lockerbie as well as other issues stemming from Libya’s past sponsorship of terrorism and to seek legal representation where appropriate.”

In a BBC interview in Tripoli broadcast on Tuesday, one of Colonel Qaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, charged that the British government had coerced Mr Koussa into speaking against the Qaddafi government.

“The British government said this: you have no immunity unless you cooperate,” Mr Qaddafi said. “He is sick, he is sick and old so if you put it this way — no immunity — of course I will come out with the funny stories.”

Brian P Flynn, a New Yorker whose brother, J P Flynn, died in the Lockerbie bombing, said the lifting of sanctions on Mr Koussa distressed him and other family members of the 270 victims. They have long believed that Mr Koussa had a role in ordering the bombing, and Scottish prosecutors have requested access to him.

“It’s all logical in the diplomatic game they need to play,” said Mr Flynn, vice president of Victims of Pan Am Flight 103. “But at what cost to our system of justice? He’s a mass-murder suspect.”

Administration officials hastened to say that dropping the sanctions, which were imposed on March 15, had no bearing on the investigation of any crimes that Mr Koussa might have committed in office. The American Lockerbie investigation has never been closed, and law enforcement officials said the FBI would like to talk with Mr Koussa.

[Because of duties at Gannaga Lodge (a virtually telecommunications-free area) it is unlikely that I shall be in a position to make further posts to this blog before Friday.]



    Saif al Islam Gaddafi tells the BBC's John Simpson on the Today Programme (02.40):

    "The British and the Americans they know about Lockerbie. They know everything about Lockerbie. So there's no secret anymore about Lockerbie."

  2. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc. nr.1229.rtf. (only in german):

    Ein massgebendes Geheimnis können die unveröffentlichen Files der 'Scottish Criminal Case Reappeal Commission' (SCCRC) und das Dokument unter 'National Security' (PII) preisgeben --- dass Mr Abdelbaset Al Megrahi und Libya nichts mit der Lockerbie Tragödie zu tun haben ----!

    Mr Seif El Islam ist der Inhalt der (SCCRC) Akten bekannt, deshalb kann er im heutigen BBC Interview mit Überzeugung bemerken, dass die USA und Great Britain die wahren Hintergründe im Lockerbie-Fall kennen und Mr Moussa Koussa keine Geheimnisse über den Fall PanAm 103, zu Lasten Libyen's, bekannt geben könne...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL: www.lockerbie.ch

  3. Today's assertion by Saif al Islam that the British and the Americans know everything about Lockerbie chimes well with what his father Col Gaddafi reportedly told an audience at the London School of Economics four months ago:

    On 2 December 2010, in a video conference link to staff and students at the London School of Economics, Libya's leader Muammar al-Gaddafi alleged that the case against Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi had 'been fabricated and created by' Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher and former US President Ronald Reagan. Gaddafi even suggested that US Central Intelligence Agency officials had been behind the 21 December 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people were killed.

    "These are the people who created this conspiracy" said Gaddafi, referring to the alleged role of Thatcher and Reagan in Megrahi's conviction and life sentence over the attack on Pan Am Flight 103.

    "The charges directed towards Libya were based on unfounded evidence in an attempt to weaken the Libyan Revolution and limit its resources and abilities."

    (Extract from 'Lockerbie Conspiracy' by Thatcher and Reagan)

  4. Patrick says, "Gaddafi even suggested that US Central Intelligence Agency officials had been behind the 21 December 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people were killed."

    The statement is completely false. The text of Gaddafi's Q&A was published on the website of his broadcasting service, in Arabic. That site is having trouble staying up right now, but a cached copy can be found here. Nowhere does Gaddafi suggest or say anything about a role of CIA officials in the Lockerbie BOMBING, nor does he threaten that Megrahi's family would sue for FALSE IMPRISONMENT. What he does say is the Lockerbie CASE was a conspiracy formulated by the administrations of Reagan and Thatcher, and Megrahi's family would sue for MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE. Anyone who can read the Arabic statements directly, or with the help of a competent translator, will see that Patrick is spinning a web of nonsense out of threads of falsehood. Old habits die hard for British diplomats like Patrick. Or, as the Libyan saying goes, and Highlanders might appreciate, "The piper dies with a finger fluttering."

  5. That's interesting Suliman and thank you for the translation. Most of the "news"papers here carried the same translation Patrick quotes and included the false imprisonment part.

  6. Good grief, Suliman making sense? Are the Latter Days upon us? (I'm pretty sure he's right in this instance though.)

    I still think Bush the Elder was the US half of the conspiracy though.

  7. What happened? I make a proverbial reference to piping, and all of a sudden the Scots are ready to declare me half human! Things are looking up. Next time I'll just post my best rendition of the Nouba of Sidi Othman. Actually I have thought for long it would be a nice project to produce a Libyan-Scottish piping duet, mixing Sidi Othman's Nouba with Amazing Grace, honoring the victims on both sides.

  8. Spare us. Logic, rationality and basing comments on the facts rather than fantasy will do instead.

  9. Dear Suliman,

    Whilst I am reluctant to damage your hard-earned reputation on this blog, I too feel I must add to the current flurry of praise for your recent contributions. This is now the third time in as many days that I have found myself in agreement with you. Quite a novel and sobering experience.


  10. Suliman I knew you were human that time you smiled at me on a thread.

  11. Suliman said: Anyone who can read the Arabic statements directly, or with the help of a competent translator, will see that Patrick is spinning a web of nonsense out of threads of falsehood. Old habits die hard for British diplomats like Patrick.

    My response to Suliman's accusation: In November 1982 I returned from a five-year diplomatic posting as Second Secretary at the British High Commission, Freetown, Sierra Leone. From then - until Foreign Secretary John Major sacked me in August 1989 - I managed to get out of the habit of being sent abroad to lie for my country!

    And since 21 December 1988, I have consistently maintained that UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, was the target of the Lockerbie bombing: no word of a lie!

    On 3 December 2010, Daily Telegraph journalist Murray Wardrop wrote an article entitled Lockerbie bomber's family 'preparing to sue Britain for false imprisonment'. I wasn't "spinning a web of nonsense out of threads of falsehood": I was quoting verbatim from Mr Wardrop's article!

    An abject apology, Suliman, would be good.

    FCO compensation for wrongful dismissal and an enhanced pension would be a heck of a lot better!

  12. Plus I'm still laughing at the "Discourage marriage and sexual activities for Scottish women so that zealots like Jo would not be disqualified from joining Gaddafi's brigades of Revolutionary Nuns." comment.

    But Suliman, a serious question. Who are the rebels in this revolt against Gaddafi? Do you know?

    There are rumours they are made up of all sorts of unsavoury types, maybe even Al Qaeda types. Do you think that's possible?

    You have shared with us your own views and experiences of life in Libya: are all sorts of factions and uncertainty about who is actually behind the revolt not worrying for you also? One of my main reasons for being uneasy about intervention was the fact that we knew nothing about who was leading the revolt.

    I also remain concerned that the public calls, from the present regime in Libya, for UN observers to be sent at once to Libya remain, as yet, unanswered even although they were made within 24 hours of the resolution being passed.

  13. And we still don't know when (if) Scottish police and prosecutors can question Moussa Koussa.

    Or whether the interview can be reported in the media.

    It's all gone rather quiet!

  14. http://tarpley.net/2011/03/24/the-cia%E2%80%99s-libya-rebels-the-same-terrorists-who-killed-us-nato-troops-in-iraq/
    Jo,for me the big mystery is the utter absence of curiosity in the Western media about who the rebels are. They are vaguely portrayed as being "kinda just like us" but there`s never anything concrete. The above is quite interesting though.
    Maybe the new, half human Suliman will help us.

  15. Grendal, couldn't agree more. I remain shocked that we know nothing about "the rebels" despite the fact that the PM, and cohorts, of the UK continue to refer to them as "the people of Libya" and in doing so ignore another collection of folk who also belong within that group and who appear to support Gaddafi.

    Emerging rumours that Al Qaeda could be in there too are extremely worrying. I'd imagine Mr Obama grows increasingly nervous over that. Maybe that's why he's pulling US people out. He hopes to be re-elected I believe? His first term has thrown up enough issues for him in the US without his move, to go gung-ho to arm an unknown group of rebels in an Arab country with little or no intelligence about the true situation to work from, being added to the list!

    Isn't it terrifying that the UK is guilty of the same charge and that we so hastily were offering weapons to and even getting involved ourselves militarily for a group about whom we do not know the first thing?

  16. Thanks for all the humbling kindness. I'm sure you've all seen by now the news about Mr. No-Clue McCue's performance in Benghazi, and the NTC's response to his statement. The man is a lawyer. Enough said.

    Patrick: Apologize for what? I didn't say you were spinning for your country, Bro. I wish I knew your spin orientation... seems paramagnetic to me.

    Here is some recommended reading for background on the "Rebels" and other things:

    1. A BCC piece on Key figures in Libya's rebel council

    2. For a view, with link's to counter views, on the Left's dilemma, (well-) written by a young Libyan woman, read The Price of the Divide on Libya

    I will try to come back with some of my own views and answers to questions such as Jo's.

  17. Suliman asserts: Nowhere does Gaddafi suggest or say anything about a role of CIA officials in the Lockerbie BOMBING

    Suliman's accusation: Patrick says, "Gaddafi even suggested that US Central Intelligence Agency officials had been behind the 21 December 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people were killed."

    The statement is completely false.

    Here is the text of Murray Wardrop's Daily Telegraph article: He [Gaddafi] even suggested that CIA agents had been behind the 1988 terrorist atrocity, in which 270 people were killed after a Pan Am airline blew up over Scotland.

    Surely you accept that I did not engage in any spinning there, Suliman? And, if there was any error in translation, it certainly wasn't down to me.

    So, an abject apology, Suliman, would be good!

  18. Suliman, I'll skip the BBC piece as I don't rate them at all when it comes to credibility.

    But the other piece, by Tasnim, is indeed very well written and I personally found it quite challenging given my own position. I have saved it and will read it over again. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

  19. Patrick all of us here at various times have owed other people an apology. We still manage to engage.

    If you are guilty of anything perhaps it was believing anything you read in a British newspaper. I know the "wrongful imprisonment" part was quoted widely but Suliman has established for us that it wasn't said.

    I think you should move on.

  20. Suliman says I am guilty of lying about what Col Gaddafi told the staff and students of the London School of Economics on 2 December 2010.

    Having demonstrated objectively by quoting from the Daily Telegraph that I was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I continue to believe that Suliman owes me an abject apology.

    Once Suliman is forthcoming, I'll be more than happy to "move on".

  21. Patrick using the word objectively while quoting from the Daily Telegraph is not something I would recommend when trying to prove a point. Gaddafi was not quoted directly. They simply ran a piece claiming to represent what he said. Therefore it is very much open to interpretation and as we know here it often isn't safe to trust the interpretation of many of our newspapers. They often cannot be trusted to carry plain English into their articles never mind Arabic!

    I doubt Suliman will be forthcoming with your requested apology. Having said that he has said unpleasant things to many of us (and taken his fair share back) yet we seem able to continue to engage in a civil manner. I think that is a good thing.

  22. Going to unblock my email address any time soon? Just wondering.

  23. Blogger Suliman said...

    Patrick: Just to be clear, I have no reason to apologize to you. I did credit you with saying what you said above in the italicized text which you also said was extracted not from anyone else's words but from your own words on the Facebook page you linked above. And on that page, you do not attribute the statement to anyone else. You say, with no quotes, no citations, "Gaddafi even suggested that US Central Intelligence Agency officials had been behind the 21 December 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people were killed." Now, Patrick is saying that is not his statement, i.e., when he presents it here and on Facebook without proper citation of its origin, he is indeed commiting plagiarism. Further, the statement in question is as I said from the start completely false. So what do I need to apologize for, exactly? For attributing to Patrick a statement he did nothing to dissociate from himself? Or for demonstrating that statement is false? If anything, I might only update my assertion to be: "Patrick is spinning a web of nonsense out of plagiarized threads of falsehood."

  24. How many angels does it take to dance on the head of a pin before Suliman has to admit that he was completely and utterly wrong?

    For those who have not been following Suliman's long-drawn-out dénouement, this is the answer!

  25. Poster 2 posts above. What have you done with the real Suliman? You continue to make sense and post reason. You'll never get away with it!

  26. Patrick, sorry. I think Suliman has made his case. You have to use quotes in many circumstances. You didn't. I think he has made his case. As before I would urge you to move on.