Saturday 3 September 2011

A Postscript on Lockerbie

[This is the title of an article published in today's edition of the Criminal Law & Justice Weekly by David Wolchover, barrister and Head of Chambers Emeritus at 7 Bell Yard. It forms a postscript to Mr Wolchover's earlier Lockerbie articles which are referred to here and here. One section reads as follows:]

The Smoking Gun of Injustice: X-rays at Frankfurt

We have seen how the court’s reliance on a wildly improbable series of coincidences and a circularity of assumptions might have justified describing the trial as a merry farce had it not amounted to such an unfunny disgrace. But quite aside from all that, there was one very simple error of fact which alone irrevocably destroys the basic premise on which the Crown and the Judges relied, the premise that the suitcase containing the radio-cassette player bomb was flown from Malta on the morning of December 21, 1988 and was interlined at Frankfurt on to Pan Am feeder flight PA103A. Although the error might aptly be described as Lockerbie’s smoking gun of injustice it appears to have been almost entirely overlooked in the critical literature.

A discrepancy in the baggage tally points to the possibility that an item which may have come from Air Malta flight KM180 from Luqa may not actually have ended up on the feeder flight at all. But if it did, it would certainly have been screened by Frankfurt x-ray operator Kurt Maier.

The main article mentioned that giving evidence the US civil proceedings against Pan Am and their insurers in 1992 Maier stated that he would certainly have alerted his supervisor had he seen a radio or radio-cassette player on his screen. It also mentioned that he was not called as a witness at Zeist owing to serious illness. Unfortunately, what it did not also mention was that the judges, incredibly, were never referred to his 1992 evidence but only to the notes of his January 1989 interview (conducted in English) by US Federal Aviation Administration investigators (Zeist Production 1792; Zeist transcript, pp1866-7). The notes record that if “he found something unusual ... he would call his supervisor if necessary,” and that “he could say without question that there was no explosives” [sic] in any of the bags. But the notes also purport to attribute to him the odd notion that an external plug on an electrical device “clears his doubt about any explosive device.” The judges accordingly observed that Maier’s “of what he looked for does not suggest that he would necessarily have claimed to be able to detect explosives hidden in a radio cassette player.” Since this declaration evidently formed the basis of their finding that Maier must have let the bomb through it is clear that they misconceived the nature of his duty in the context of the “Toshiba warning.” That duty was not to “detect explosives” in a radio-cassette player but to look out for and report any radio-cassette player in luggage.

This would have become apparent from what he asserted in the 1992 civil trial. Closely cross-examined on his FAA interview, he insisted that if he had seen a radio-cassette player he would have called his supervisor for the very good reason that in view of the Toshiba warning he had specific instructions to do so (see transcript JA 1099-1100). The crucial point he was making was that in accordance with those instructions he would have called the supervisor regardless of his personal opinion of what made a radio-cassette player suspicious. That he would have followed his instructions is supported by the fact that he was described as a careful and serious-minded employee (Zeist transcript, p1848). He did not call his supervisor. Therefore none of the bags he screened contained a radio-cassette player. QED. It was and remains as simple as that.

Although there was said to be some doubt about the quality of the US court’s German-English translation, it is arguable that any uncertainty is more likely to have originated from the interview, which was conducted in English, a language Maier plainly found difficult else he would hardly have needed an interpreter for court. In contrast with the court video record the interview notes did not represent a verbatim minute and moreover, although the FAA investigator (Saunders) who was called at Zeist to produce the notes stressed that she and her colleague (Tiedge) had signed them, significantly she made no reference to Maier himself having done so.

Because the Zeist judges relied exclusively on the notes and remained blissfully unaware of his sworn courtroom testimony they were precluded from making a valid assessment of the totality of his evidence on the crucial point. It was an elementary and fundamental error of process that was completely avoidable, went to the heart of the allegation and proved catastrophic.


  1. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, Document. nr.7019.rtf. in German language; a translation in English language is in preparation. The untold Story...

    With its fatal LiesText: --- X (cross) "Take TAGG from Air Malta" OK" ---
    was found two years later, on 22nd April 1991, by Scottsh Police officer Henry Woods Bell, in Fhimah Khalifa's diary on page, dated 15 December 1988, brought him, Fhimah Lamin Khalifa and his colleague, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi in connection with the alleged transportation of a "Bomb-Bag" on AirMalta Flight KM-180...

    Die Annahme des Gerichts in Kamp van Zeist, das "Bag" No. B-8849 sei das "Bomb-Bag" aus Malta gewesen, welches die PanAm-103 zum Absturz gebracht habe, ist infantil !
    Dass das "Bag" No. B-8849 kein interline "Bag" von AirMalta, Flug KM-180 war, sondern von PanAm-643 aus Berlin-Tegel, ist in den vorangegangenen MEBO-Publikationen, beweisbar dargestellt worden. see URL:

    MEBO entlarft nach neuen Zusatz-Erkenntnissen, eine entscheidende Beweis-manipulation im Notizbuch 1988, von LAA- Stationsmanager Fhimah Lamin Khalifa in Malta.

    Zur Erinnerung: In den "Indictments" von USA (Criminal nr.91-0645) und Scotland U.K., gegen die beiden libyschen Angeklagten Abdelbaset al Megrahi und Fhimah Lamin Khalifa, datiert vom 14./15. November 1991, wird unter Absatz Nr.17 (Scottish Statement of Facts U.K. Aviation Security Act 1982, Section 2) folgendes festgehalten:

    The words "TAGGS" and "OK" were written in the Roman alphabet. Fhimah kep a diary in Malta containing references to Megrahi as Abdelbaset and Abdel Baset Al Megrahi, including telephone numbers in Tripoli. In his diary he has made, in Arabic, some dated 15 December 1988:
    "Abdelbaset is coming from Zurich with Salvu and -- X take TAGGS from the Maltese Airlines OK".
    and has separately noted, 14Dec. 1988:
    "Bring the TAGS from the Airport (Abdel Baset, Abdul Salam)"


    Bei der Planung durch eine "Gray-Eminence", Libya mit einem Attentat auf ein US-Flugzeug in Verbindung zubringen, in diesem Fall auf PanAm-103, traten nach dem Attentat, am 21. Dezember 1988, Beweis-Probleme auf, welche nachträg-lich, mit "falschen" Beweismittel, für die Anklage "nachfabriziert" und ergänzt wurden...

    Weil kein realer Beweis erbracht werden konnte, dass Abdelbaset Al Megrahi ein "Bomb-Bag" auf den AirMalta Flug KM-180 eingeschleust habe, wurde offensichtlich eine Möglichkeit geschaffen, auf der ein Kontext mit AirMalta Flug KM-180, aufgebaut werden konnte...
    Zu diesem Zweck wurde im Notizbuch von Fhimah Lamin Khalifa, zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt (1990) die Seite vom 15. November, 1988 zusätzlich mit einer falschen Information erweitert-- (den Alterungs Unterschied der Texte, kann heute forensisch nachgeprüft werden) !

    Der angebliche Transport eines unbegleiteten Gepäckstückes (Bomb-Bag) auf AirMalta, Flug KM-180; transit via Frankfurt (PA-103/b) nach Heathrow auf
    (PA-103, main flight), wurde von der "Scottish Justice", hauptsächlich auf oben genannten "Notiz-Beweis" abgestützt:

    --- X (cross) "Take TAGGS from AirMalta" OK --- !

    continuation below >>>

  2. >>> continuation:

    In den US/UK "Indictments" wurden die Einträge im Notizbuch vom 15. Dezember 1988 --- "Abdelbaset is coming from Zurich with Salvu"--- vorsätzlich mit dem später geschriebenen Zusatz-Text --- X take TAGGS from the Maltese Airlines OK--- als Täuschung, zusammenhängend dargestellt und mit dem Text auf Seite, vom 14. Dezember 1988: --- "Take/collect tags from the airport (Abdulbaset / Abdussalam)"--- ebenfalls in Zusammenhang gebracht !

    MEBO hatte damals als erster "Privat Investigator" den in arabisch geschriebenen Text auf Seite, vom 15. Dezember 1988 in Fhimah Khalifa's "Diary", Mitte 1990 vom Redaktor der Arabe Voice Mr.Yasser, in englisch übersetzen lassen:

    Diary, page of 15th of December 1988:

    Text nr. 1: 8:30 in the morning with the owner of the shop Valetta OK

    Text nr. 2: Abdelbaset coming from Zurich

    Text nr. 3: with Salvu (or Salva)
    1) postbox
    2) half of aluminium price
    3) priority after 4 years (sellor rent)

    Text nr. 4: --- X (cross) "take TAGGS from Air Malta" OK ---

    Die Wörter "TAGGS" und "OK" waren in English geschrieben; OK mit einer anderen Farbe.

    Der Text auf der Seite vom 14.Dezember 1988: --- "Take/collect tags from the airport (Abdulbaset / Abdussalam)"--- ist normal und hat keinen Bezug auf Air Malta TAGGS und kann deshalb nicht mit dem anderen Text in Zusam-menmenhang gebracht werden !

    Chronologischer Background:

    > Position und Umfeld von Fhimah Lamin Khalifa;
    > Kündigung von Fhimah als Stationsmanager bei Libyen Arab Airlines LAA in
    Malta, im November 1988;
    > Planung einer Reiseagentur (Medtours) Fhimah zusammen mit Vincent
    Vassello, seit Oktober-Dezember 1988. Production 529, page 19, the company
    was actually registered on 5th June 1989 and that followed the signed docu-
    mentation in respect of the company on 27th February 1989.
    > Besuche bei Fa. Medtour von Scottish Police Offizier, Harry Bell & Co. 1989, ab
    22. April 1991;
    > Wie Fhimah sich selber und Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, durch den verhängnisvollen
    Zusatztext in seinem Notizbuch:-- X "take TAGGS from Air Malta" OK--- in die
    "Lockerbie-Affäre" verwickelte;
    > Zeugenbefragungen im Zusammenhang mit Medtour, Fhima's Notizbuch etc.;
    > Freilassung aus Kamp van Zeist als 'nicht schuldig' und Rückkehr nach Libyen;
    > Einzug seines Reisepasses durch die Justiz in Libyen und Ausreiseverbot;
    > Antworten auf offene Fragen;
    > Schlussfolgerung: Durch "spezielle" Hintergründe, können Fhimah Lamin
    Khalifa und Abdelbaset Al Megrahi. mit dem realen Attentat auf PanAm 103
    nichts zutun haben.

    Öffnung der ganzen Story in schriftlicher Bearbeitung.

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

  3. David Wolchover is simply underlining the conclusion he reached several months ago: "It should have been as 'plain as a pikestaff' that [the Lockerbie bomb] was smuggled into the system at Heathrow."

  4. It's all gone blue!

    I guess we'll get used to it....

  5. But Maier's evidence was not believed at the Civil proceedings in which he gave evidence. Possibly on the "deepest pockets" principal Pan Am and their co-defendants Maier's employers Alert Security were found negligent.

    Pan Am had commissioned Juval Aviv's "evidence-lite" Interfor report which claimed the primary suitcase had bypassed security at Frankfurt, a claim repeatedly made by proponents of the "drug conspiracy theory" (rightly described by David Wolchover as a "red herring".)

    Is Mr Wolchover claiming that if Maier had given evidence Megrahi would have been acquitted (despite the Judges propensity to dismiss any evidence in his favour) or is he just saying whatever the verdict Megrahi was innocent?

    Much more interesting is whether the Bedford bags were x-rayed at Heathrow. It was there not Frankfurt that security seems to have been circumvented.

  6. Mission Lockerbie, 2011. attn. baz:
    DUTY REPORT of officer Kurt Maier, Frankfurt Airport:

    Report, Police Reference: DW 26, date: 21/12/ 1988 (KHK insp. FUHL).
    Production: nr.1076, from the High Court of Justiciary, Kamp van Zeist.

    Duty officer Kurt Maier, (Security Company. ALERT) .
    system made ready for starting, Operational check and trial run carried out.
    Position: Transit x-ray B46, Frankfurt Airport
    Time: 9.00 a.m., date 21 December, 1988.
    Time: 15.30, x-ray machine started up for second time.

    Paggages for flight PA-103/A >>> IN- time: 16:25
    During the scanning procedure 10 suitcases, 2 travel bags and 1 box measuring approximatly 30x20x20 cm were sent through the system,
    OUT time 16:30;
    No unusual features were seen on the monitor. (signed)

    by Edwin Bolllier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL: