Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Damages for DEA official over Lockerbie film

[What follows is a snippet published on this date in 1997 on the Libya: News and Views website:]

An American Drug Enforcement Agency official won libel damages earlier this week over a Libyan-backed film that suggested DEA negligence was partly to blame for the deadly bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. Britain's High Court awarded Michael Hurley $29,000 plus costs from Channel 4 television, which broadcast the film. The film, The Maltese Double Cross, revived allegations, which arose soon after a Pan Am jet exploded over Lockerbie in December 1988, that Libya was not behind the blast. (AP)

[RB: Another report reads as follows:]

A retired US Federal Agent has accepted £17,500 in damages from Channel 4 which linked him to the Lockerbie bombing. Michael Hurley who worked with the US Embassy in Cyprus took Channel 4 to court over the May 1995 programme which he said implicated him in the bombing. Channel 4 alleged one of Mr Hurley's agents had been a passenger on the flight and the bombers had swapped bags. His lawyer said it suggested the PanAm blast was due to his negligence.


  1. I never knew that! So Channel 4 had to pay out in spite of all the checking they did (as recounted in that article by Lesley Riddoch) and only broadcasting an edited version of the film.

    I'm slightly surprised Michael Hurley got damages personally as I don't even remember him being named in the film let alone blamed.

  2. The DEA's front company in Cyprus - "Eurame" did indeed exist, and Hurley was the head man. The controlled system of drug shipments did indeed exist, and John Mosey's meetings with farmer Jim Wilson were pretty good evidence that a consignment of drugs was on the Lockerbie plane.

    But there was no proof that the Wilson drug suitcase came from Hurley and Eurame. And the theory promoted by Juval Aviv and others that a drug suitcase was switched by the Jibril group for one containing a bomb was unproven.

    Hence, Hurley had a strong case for claiming damages. Tough for Channel 4, but that's the way it was.

  3. It always struck me that the Wilson suitcase, if it proved anything (and of course its very existence can't be proved), showed that the drug shipment hadn't been switched for anything. I have a transcript of The Maltese Double Cross, I'll need to check it to see exactly what they said about Hurley.

    I have no idea what Juval Aviv was up to. The story he tells seems incredible, the details of car hires and so on that he gave didn't check out, and although he claims to have had a videotape showing the switch he says he gave it to the CIA or somebody and it has vanished. You could copy videotapes even in 1989 you know.

    And whatever he did or didn't see, the bomb suitcase wasn't on the feeder flight anyway.

  4. My bad memory. Michael Hurley was named personally on multiple occasions in the film. I'm not surprised he was successful if these passages were broadcast by Channel 4. (I assume they were - my transcript is of the uncut film though, and the version C4 showed was about an hour shorter. I don't know what C4 cut.)