Sunday 18 October 2015

Lockerbie bomb suspect ‘close to being indicted’

[This is the headline over a report in today’s edition of Scotland on Sunday. It reads as follows:]

One of the new suspects in the Lockerbie bombing was “very close” to being indicted at the original trial along with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, according to the former FBI agent who headed up the US investigation.

Dick Marquise said prosecutors decided against the move to pursue Abu Agila Mas’ud because they didn’t believe the case was strong enough.
Scottish prosecutors last week announced that are seeking permission to interview two new suspects, later confirmed as Mas’ud and Libya’s ex-intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.

Both are currently incarcerated in the strife-torn North African state with Senussi facing the death sentence and Mas’ud jailed for ten years.

Marquise is a former FBI agent and was head of the US government’s investigation of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people in 1988. He said both men were on the radar in the original investigation.

“Senussi was [former Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi’s intelligence chief as I recall,” he said.

“We had him as a possible suspect only because of his rank in the government and what he did there. We didn’t have any evidence against him, but he was someone we were well aware of and we had heard stories that he was involved deeply in terrorist plots, but nothing specific in regard to Lockerbie.

“Mas’ud on the other hand, he was very close to being indicted back when Megrahi was. We were aware of his travels with Megrahi in and out of Malta, a number of times. The last time that we were aware of was the morning that the bomb bag left. He and Megrahi were on the same plane.

“So we were aware of him. He was, we believed he was, a technician of some kind – a bomb builder. However, there was no real evidence against him other than that he was a bomb technician and he was on a flight with Megrahi. So prosecutors decided back in 1991 not to indict him.

“I think the prosecutors erred on the side of caution to say there’s no real concrete evidence. Nobody told us, well he came here and armed the bomb or put the timer together. There’s no real proof of that.”

A US documentary made by Ken Dorstein, whose brother David was on board Pan Am Flight 103, presented evidence last month which suggested that Mas’ud was the Lockerbie bomb-maker. It tracked down a former Libyan operative Musbah Eter, who had confessed to the 1986 bombing of Berlin’s La Belle disco which left three dead. Eter said Mas’ud brought the bomb into Berlin’s Libyan Embassy and showed him how to arm it.

Mas’ud did feature in Marquise’s book about Lockerbie, but he was asked to change it by the FBI when it went through the approval process, because it was believed that he could be indicted in future.

Senussi has been condemned to death by firing squad and Mas’ud has been jailed for ten years over charges of bomb-making.

Dr Noel Guckian, a former chargé d’affaires of the UK embassy in Libya, has warned that prosecutors face a legal and diplomatic minefield in securing access to the pair.

“The problem with Libya is that Libya has collapsed,” he said. “There are something like 1,700 militias and that can be just a group of people, to the extremist Islamic State. Some are tribal, some are pro-Gaddafi.”

Libya is divided between the internationally recognised government in Tobruk and the rival non-extremist Islamist regime which is also vying to be seen as the country’s government. It is the latter which the Scottish authorities have approached with a view to interviewing the new suspects.

Guckian, who spent five years in the North African country, warned of Foreign Office advice not to travel to Libya and added: “It’s going to be a hugely difficult operation to get people to talk to these two people and to do it in Libya.”



    Access to original MST­13 Fragments stonewalled...

    The Lockerbie case is finally back in the news, triggered by Ken Dornstein’s filmdocumentation “My Brother's Bomber”. The CROWN Office and the FBI once again declared that the search for truth in the Lockerbie case is still an ongoing operation... The case is definitely not closed.

    The latest development... "The Lord Advocate has, issued an International Letter of Request to the Libyan Attorney General in Tripoli which identifies the two Libyans assuspects in the bombing of flight Pan Am 103. The Lord Advocate and the US Attorney General are seeking the assistance of the Libyan judicial authorities for Scottish police officers and the FBI to interview the two named suspects in Tripoli.
    Both suspects are currently held in a Libyan prison for various reasons. They should be transferred as soon as possible to the ICC in The Hague. There they can expect fair judicial treatment. Evidence will either prove: Their innocence or their involvement in the Lockerbie case...

    The continued chase for new suspects is one thing, but authorities should also make acredible effort, to review the allegations, around the manipulations of the MST­-13 timer fragment (PT-35). It was an important key piece of evidence at the court in Zeist.

    Retired Special Agent Richard A. Marquise, FBI's chief investigator of the Pan Am Flight 103, said that there would have been no conviction without this piece of evidence.

    Filmmaker Ken Dornstein, had enough material to show more about, the importance of the manipulated MST-­13 timer fragment (PT-35) , allegedly found in Lockerbie.
    A big disappointment –according to a mail from Ken Dornstein was the fact – that the Scottish authorities did not allow to film the MST­-13 timer fragment. They still believe that they need to preserve the evidence in case of another trial, or at least that’s what they say. The Scottish authorities must have good reasons to “stonewall” the access to the fragment...

    Notabene: Mail from Ken to us MEBO, 4.Juli 2014:
    I have tried to get access to any evidence held in Scotland—even things much less sensitive than the fragment—and they won’t allow it. They still believe that they need to preserve the evidence in case of another trial, or at least that’s what they say. But, trust me, I haven’t given up either!

    Edwin Bollier / Mebo have been requesting, for a long period of time, for a new independent forensic examination, but so far it has been ignored without reasons. He suspects that the Scottish authorities have “something” to hide. Blocking the filming of the fragment by Ken Dornstein, makes it look even more suspicious.
    A new forensic examination is long overdue and would either prove or reject the allegations of manipulations and a miscarriage of justice!

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:

  2. " However, there was no real evidence against him [Masud] other than that he was a bomb technician and he was on a flight with Megrahi. So prosecutors decided back in 1991 not to indict him."

    A bomb technician! Not indicted. Not even brought up.
    What, in comparison, was then the 'real evidence' against Megrahi?
    Giaki and Gauci. Fine evidence.
    Fhimah was indicted. He had, after all, written 'taggs'.
    Definitely real.

    I can not reveal my source, but I have come to know of a few more people we may see indicted soon.

    Ms El-Ectriciah, a woman who knew one of Megrahi's cousins. She worked in an electronics factory assembly line and is known to have fixed her family's ghetto-blaster on more than on occasion.

    Mr. Hash-Al-Ot, a Tripoli department-store owner. For sale were both (Toshiba-)players and Samsonite suitcases, and he must have known what they might be used for. It is also known that Ms. Ectriciah had been shopping there several times.

    So had Mr. Ich-bin-Laden, who lived an Frankfurt and was owed money by brother of a man that worked in the airport there.

    Ms. Ana Bolic, the sumo-wrestling girlfriend of Mr. Sonaive, working in Luqa Airport.
    She frequently came to visit him, there and she was strong enough to carry suitcases and nobody would dream of trying to stop her, or even look in her direction.

    Who could deny that it clearly does fit together to form a real and convincing pattern.

    If not convincing enough, find some who, like Megrahi was, are in some jail with no hope.
    There's hardly anything they would not say or sign.

    But who would think that the world will ever see a new Lockerbie trial held, least of all under circumstances that acquire or allow scrutiny of any proof. Not even to the degree of one that convicted Megrahi.

    It is also not what it is all about.
    As we all know, for most people the appropriate forum for determining guilt or innocence is the mainstream press.

  3. Yes. Certainly they had the Gauci identification against Megrahi, and there was Giaka's lying-for-money evidence against both, and Fhimah's diary entry. But if they had general evidence that Masoud had a terrorist history involving bomb-making (something neither of the other two had) and he was also at Luqa at the crucial time (presumably he also checked in for LN147), it's inexplicable why they didn't indict hm.

    First because having someone with a history of terrorist activity on the charge sheet would have strengthened the overall case. Second because if there was enough evidence to convict Megrahi then Masoud's accompanying him on the flight back, and presence at the airport at the salient moment, would surely have given them a decent shot at convicting him too. (As it turns out there was more evidence against Masoud than there was against Fhimah. If the judges bought the Malta fairy-story, which they did, they could have got two out of three.) And third because these indictments were never meant to lead to a trial anyway. They were a device to put the lid on Gaddafi and screw it down hard. They could easily have included Masoud and I struggle to see why they didn't.

    There's more going on here than meets the naked eye. Or there was, in 1991.