Sunday 23 December 2012

The claims that 'prove' the Lockerbie case fiasco

[This is the headline over a long article by Greg Christison in today’s edition of the Sunday Express.  It reads in part:]

Eight damning claims that have sparked a bitter row within Scotland’s legal hierarchy over the Lockerbie investigation can be exclusively revealed today.

Campaign group Justice for Megrahi (JfM) has opened a 39-page dossier containing accusations that, if proved, would rock governments on both sides of the Atlantic.

JfM, which has the support of leading lawyers, claims that Crown Office officials and police officers attempted to pervert the course of justice during the investigation and trial following the 1988 disaster.

Our investigation comes just days after Scotland’s Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, launched a scathing attack on “conspiracy theorists”, whose attacks were “defamatory” and “without foundation”.

His comments have further angered campaigners, already infuriated that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill forwarded their complaints to the Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary – the very organisations accused of wrongdoing.

It is alleged the authorities deliberately misled judges during the 36-week hearing at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2000 in an attempt to frame Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and his co-accused Lamin Khalifah Fhimah.

The group believes that vital evidence suggesting the bomb was planted at Heathrow Airport rather than in Malta, as found by the court, was intentionally overlooked in order to achieve a conviction against the two Libyans.

Backed by evidence from a “wide variety of sources”, the dossier also includes claims that prosecutors passed on false information to the court and key statements were deliberately “buried”.

Prominent Scots lawyers Ian Hamilton and Robert Black both support the claims and insist an independent inquiry must be held into the Lockerbie case.

Retired QC Mr Hamilton said: “Prima facie, all of the allegations hold water. But put together, there is such a defence case here that I find it incredible that any responsible Crown Office should not welcome an inquiry.

“The whole case against Megrahi was soured and poisoned from the very beginning by the CIA. They wanted a conviction at any cost to satisfy the understandable desire of the victims, many of whom were American citizens, for vengeance. I’m afraid Dumfries and Galloway Police and the Scottish Crown Office caved into this desire.

“It seems to me that this prosecution was conducted with a desire to get a conviction at all costs, even at the cost of justice itself. This has gone on too long and is a blot on Scotland’s reputation for fair trials.”

Reacting furiously to Mr Mulholland’s “defamatory” claims, he added: “It is very, very right for people to criticize an administration of justice which appears to be so corrupt as this one.”

JfM committee member Mr Black, also a [retired] QC and Emeritus Professor of Scots Law at the University of Edinburgh, said the Scottish legal system had collapsed under a “real determination” for a conviction. (...)

Megrahi, who died in May, is the only man ever convicted of the bombing, which killed 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, in December 1988. Fhimah was acquitted.

He always maintained his innocence and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission ruled there may have been a “miscarriage of justice” in his trial.

On Friday, speaking as the Libyan Government vowed to release all files related to the disaster, Mr Mulholland told a national newspaper [The Times] that he had already appointed “outside counsel” to conduct an independent review of the evidence and found Megrahi’s conviction was sound.

He added: “I am hugely frustrated that there is an unfounded attack on the integrity of the judges involved in the process.”

In response, JfM secretary Robert Forrester hit back: “To say our allegations are defamatory is a joke. Of course they are defamatory – if you point the finger at somebody and say they broke the law you are impuning their reputation.

“There is substantial evidence contained within the documents which supports these allegations and the Crown Office, along with Dumfries and Galloway Police are obliged to investigate.

“Our allegations were met with a prolonged period of silence, it is now interesting to see the Lord Advocate using the media rather than choosing to respond to us directly.”

A Crown Office spokesman said it “would not be appropriate” to name the counsel appointed to review the case.

* Crown Office officials attempted to cover up damaging information contained within CIA cables about their star witness Abdul Majid Giaka, who said he saw Megrahi and Fhimah at Luqa Airport with a “suspicious” suitcase. Giaka was later found to be an unreliable witness.

* In the early stages of the inquiry, Dumfries and Galloway officers and Crown Office officials “deliberately ignored” compelling evidence suggesting the bomb was loaded on to Pan Am Flight 103 at Heathrow Airport.

* A statement by Heathrow security guard Raymond Manly, who discovered a break-in 18 hours prior to the departure of Flight 103, was “buried” and not disclosed during the trial.

* The Crown Office presented a false scenario to court concerning the positioning of the Samsonite hardshell suitcase – identical to the one containing the bomb – which was seen in Flight 103’s luggage container at Heathrow, at least an hour before the Frankfurt feeder flight landed.

* A witness for the prosecution, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, intentionally failed to point out a “crucial discrepancy” with a key piece of evidence.

* Dumfries and Galloway Police did not ascertain whether the company which made the MST-13 circuit boards had the capability to create the type of circuit board found at Lockerbie. In 2008, the defence team found the firm could not produce that type of circuit board.

* The Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary failed to disclose critical evidence relating to the scientific analysis of the circuit board.

* Megrahi’s identification by witness Tony Gauci was not handled correctly by the authorities and did not show the expected level of fairness to the accused.

[The precise nature of the criminality alleged is outlined in a 4-page press briefing document produced by Justice for Megrahi.  It can be read here.]


  1. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2012: unfortunately - largely under German language:

    A US TV documentary film will show Crucial Details...
    The "SCRIPT" - a evolution for a planned "PanAm bombing" as well as an accompanying "instruction accusation" against the alleged perpetrators, the former Gadhafi regime in Libya, was obviously in October 1988, ready...

    Das "Drehbuch" eines Werdegangs für ein geplantes "PanAm Attentat" sowie eine dazugehörende "Instruktions-Beschuldigung" gegen den angeblichen Urheber, das damalige Gadhafi Regime in Libya, musste offensichtlich ab Oktober 1988, einsatzbereit gewesen sein.

    Alle kriminellen Vorbereitungen um die Urheberschaft nach einem "PanAm Bombing" Libyen zuzuweisen, waren bis auf einige "Regiefehler" fast perfekt..

    (All criminal preparations to the authorship to a "PanAm bombing" against to Libya, were up on some "directed by error" almost perfect...)

    Im kommenden Dokumentar-Film von *Ken Dornstein sollte unter anderem darauf hingewiesen werden, dass ein unbekannter Agent (vermutlich eines Intelligence Services) bereits 9. Tage nach der Lockerbie-Tragödie, am 30. Dezember 1988, die "Vorgeschichte" über das PanAm 103 Attentat kannte - (Libya -- MST/13 Timer - Malta- PanAm 103 - Brief an die CIA).

    *The extensive details and statements in the professional documentary TV film", (expected release t.b.a.), by Senior Producer Ken Dornstein (he made several documentary films for Frontline) will feature some surprising sequences and hopefully will turn out to be “an eye-opener” for many of the still sceptical people, authorities and agencies.

    Wurde am Gericht in Kamp van Zeist bewusst diese "Begegnung" mit Edwin Bollier und dem unbekannten Besucher, welcher bei MEBO am Freitag den 30.Dezember 1988 auftauchte, als Agentenstory unglaubwürdig - ja sogar lächerlich gemacht ! (Vergleich aus dem Film "Der dritte Mann" welcher vor MEBO's Office Zither spielte)...
    Q. He didn't happen to have a trilby pulled down over his eyes, did he, Mr. Bollier?
    A. No. He didn't.
    Q. No trilby. Do you recall hearing zither music when heapproached you, Mr Bollier?
    A. [Microphone override] -- music?
    Q. There was no zither music?
    A. No.
    Merry Christmas
    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd.. Switzerland. URL:

  2. I look forward to seeing this documentary.

    In respect of the eight allegations, having pointed out to the Crown Office in July 1996 that there was compelling if not irrefutable evidence that the primary suitcase was introduced at Heathrow, I certainly support the second allegation. Of course the Crown Office had no interest in anything that contradicted the former Lord Advocate Andrew Hardie QC's submission (unsupported by evidence) to the Fatal Accident Inquiry that the primary suitcase arrived at Heathrow on PA103A.

    I am not too sure what the 6th allegation fully reflects the true position that the Crown Office and Police failed to disclose critical evidence concerning the circuit board.

    The Lord Advocate has expressed his great respect for the SCCRC whose attempts to explain away evidence of very serious wrongdoing by officials of RARDE in respect of the supposed discovery of exhibit PT35b are simply not credible.

  3. What do you think is wrong with the sixth allegation? The Henderson memo and the original results and annotations from the 1991 RARDE metallurgy tests were not disclosed to the defence, and that's what it says. Do you know of anything more?

    As regards Hardie and the FAI, don't you think there's something that hasn't been adequately commented on, there? That chunk of Bedford's evidence from the FAI that got into the Zeist transcript.

    The gist of the matter is that Bedford said on 9th January 1989 that the suitcase was a brown Samsonite hardshell. On 13th February 1990 he said that on reflection he believed it was actually maroon. In the witness box at Dumfries Crown counsel (Hardie, I think) worked hard to try to get him to say it wasn't brown and indeed may have been blue.

    Now if you've seen the pictures of the "antique copper" Samsonite, either brown or maroon (or maybe bronze) would equally well describe it. My point is, while it might have been legitimate at Camp Zeist for the prosecution to try to shake Bedford's description of that case, this seems to me to be highly improper in the course of a Fatal Accident Inquiry where the purpose is merely to find the facts and not to accuse any particular party of a crime.

    I believe Hardie's attempt to shake Bedford in 1990 shows that even then they knew that suitcase was trouble and wanted to bury it any way they could. This is surely entirely wrong.

  4. I do not think there is anything wrong with the 6th allegation if I knew what it was that was being alleged. I thought it didn't go far enough and I thibk the SCCRC's discovery, for example, that the original page 51 of Dr Hayes notes had been removed and replaced with a new page 51 (and perhaps 50) as well was of some importance. (The SCCRC seem to have glossed over whether the imprint of page 49 appeared on 50) I note from the 4 page briefing document that JfM do not allege that the timer fragment was planted. I would want to see the full statement of the document examiner first.

    The only point I was making about Hardie's submission was that it committed the Crown Office and his successors to a "conspircay theory" for which the evidence had to vbe created.

    I also think it quite remarkable that in respect of the 1st allegation nobody has heard a peep from Majid Giaka in the nearly 12 years since he gace evidence. Is he supposed to be in hiding somewhere?

  5. In reverse order. Majid Giaka was reported to have been provided with a new identity (including plastic surgery to alter his appearance) and a new life in the USA. Obviously I can't prove he's still alive or that he wasn't "rubbed out" after Zeist, but I'm not in the least surprised that he has apparently disappeared from the face of the globe. That's kind of the point of the US witness protection programme, which is what he was on.

    I rather take the view that Hardie's submission demonstrates that the Crown explicitly realised at that stage that the evidence for the Bedford case being the bomb was very strong, and had decided to try to neutralise it as far as possible. That stage was October 1990, before the Scottish investigation had even heard of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, never mind become aware that he had been at Luqa airport on the morning of 21st December 1988. I find this strangely interesting.

    The JFM submission does not allege that PT/35b was planted, because we're not convinced the evidence is strong enough to sustain that allegation at present. If something more emerges, another allegation can be added, of course.

    It's also strategic. The Crown is used to opposing the "conspiracy theory" that the fragment was a fabrication. It has gone through so many stages, from Edwin's "inoperative brown prototype" to the false assertions that the curvature of the edge didn't match the original, and the irrelevant distractions about whether or not it was taken to the USA by the Scottish police. They're expecting that one. They're not getting it. At least, not without something more definite to back it up.

    The actual allegations relate to the provable fact that the Crown knew that the metallurgical analysis showed the fragment was different from the Thuring boards, and concealed this from the court. One witness told a clear lie in the witness box, some crucial evidence was withheld from the court, and some of that was actually withheld from the defence.

    It's not that dissimilar to what was done with the Heathrow evidence. Some crucial evidence was withheld from the court (Henderson, Sidhu and Manly, mainly), and some of that was actually withheld from the defence (Manly).

  6. Just a little parting thought. The metallurgical evidence has been in the public domain since last February. It has been widely discussed.

    Edwin is still spamming these comments threads with the same old same old, and he hasn't mentioned it once that I've seen.