Saturday 5 December 2020

Majid Giaka's CIA handler speaks out "after a lifetime of silence"

[What follows is excerpted from a report by Paul Martin headlined Former CIA agent reveals he was excluded from Lockerbie bombing inquiry published today on The Telegraph website:]

A former CIA agent has claimed he was excluded from the original Lockerbie bombing trial and that investigators should turn their attention to the "true culprit" – Iran.

John Holt, 68, says he was the author of secret cables showing that the Libyan double agent put forward by Scottish prosecutors as the star witness in the Lockerbie bombing trial had a history of "making up stories".

Mr Holt was never sent to the trial by his bosses, even though he had been the CIA handler for Libyan double agent and principal witness Abdul-Majid Giaka.

"I have reason to believe there was a concerted effort, for unexplained reasons, to switch the original investigations away from Iran and its bomb-making Palestinian extremist ally the PFLP General Command. Now we should focus a new investigation on the Iranians and their links with the bomber," he told The Telegraph in an exclusive interview.

"I would start by asking the current Attorney General, William Barr, why he suddenly switched focus in 1991, when he was also Attorney General, from where clear evidence was leading, toward a much less likely scenario involving Libyans."

Mr Holt spoke out for the first time as Scottish Supreme Court judges consider whether to quash the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who died of cancer in 2012. (...)

Giaka became a US asset after claiming he had information about Libyan involvement with terrorism while working as an assistant to the station manager of Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA) in Malta.

Explaining the key importance of his cables, Mr Holt said: "I handled Abdul-Majid Giaka in 1989 for a whole year during which he never mentioned Libyan involvement in the bombing.

"My cables showed he was a car mechanic who was placed by Libyan Intelligence as Malta Airport office manager with Libyan Arab Airlines and had very little information about anything to do with bombs – or Lockerbie.

"He felt humiliated by Megrahi, who was an official with the Libyan Intelligence Service. 'I was treated,' he said, 'like a dog when Megrahi came to the office.'  

"That's all reported in my cables, so the CIA knew Giaka had a grudge against Megrahi.

"Every time I met Giaka, which was each month or two, I would also ask him if he had any information at all about the Pan-Am bombing. All of us CIA and FBI field officers were asked by the CIA to keep pressing our assets for any answers or clues.  His answer was always: No.

“I expressed my opinion to the FBI that Giaka was nothing more than a wannabe who was not a real Intel Officer for the Libyans. He had no information re Lockerbie, and I told the CIA all this in comments I made in my cables. He went back to Libya at the end of 1989 and I moved on to another assignment.  

"In 1991 Giaka told the CIA that he had been exposed and the Libyans would kill him. When he was told he was useless to our intelligence services [the CIA and FBI], he began making up stories.

"It was only when he needed desperately to get some financial and logistical support from the US to flee Libya in 1991 that he started telling the CIA things relevant to the PanAm-103 bombings – like hearing Megrahi and another man talking about a plan to bomb an American airliner." (...)

Mr Holt alleges he first realised there was an effort to distort the realities when called into the office of the CIA director George Tenet.  

There, his description of Giaka was not included in the initial presentation of evidence to the trial. Later, summoned a second time to the director's office, his cables were thrust in front of him by FBI agents and he claims he was told to sign that they were written by him. He says no explanation was given. These were eventually released to the trial by the CIA, with some 'redaction', in 2000.

"Operational cables that I wrote did not get sent to the original trial," he revealed. "They were withheld by the CIA and the FBI, who – even when my cables did emerge – declined to let me give evidence to the Scottish court hearing, held in Camp Zeist near Utrecht.  

"We now all need to admit we got the wrong man, and focus on the real culprits."

After 24 years of distinguished service with the CIA, Mr Holt has had deep concerns about speaking out. He has chosen his words with great caution, anxious to avoid accusations that he has leaked any secrets that could compromise his former agency.

"I'm speaking out now, after a lifetime of silence. But I feel deeply frustrated and I want justice to be done," he said.

Mr Holt believes intelligence services worldwide already have enough evidence to pinpoint the Lockerbie perpetrators.

"Whatever the Scottish Supreme Court decides, Britain should reopen the whole Lockerbie saga, have a heart-to-heart with the Americans, and go after Iran," he told The Telegraph.

"I have reason to believe that the three security agencies of the US Government were working on evidence pointing directly to Iran, before the Libyan connection was brought into play.  I believe the US Government tried to hide evidence for political reasons, and Britain also was willing to go along with this.

"I have reason to believe that a crucial decision was made in 1991 by the US Justice Department and its enforcement arm the FBI: to drop all evidence pointing toward Iran and instead manipulate the evidence to place blame on Gaddafi's Libya. Gaddafi was a long-time nemesis to numerous US presidents."

Mr Holt feels that Americans were particularly keen to pin the blame for Lockerbie on Libya because of an ongoing feud. After the coup that brought Gaddafi to power, the Libyans had expelled American oil companies from oil drilling fields, and US forces from a massive American-built airbase constructed during the Cold War.

And in the 1980s the Gaddafi regime was suspected of being a massive danger to the West by developing a secret WMD programme.

He said the first thing British and US intelligence officers should do is demand access to the former chief of Libyan intelligence, Abdallah Senoussi, son-in-law of Colonel Gaddafi, who is still languishing in a Libyan jail under sentence of death. 

Gaddafi and his henchmen were overthrown, with British military intervention, in 2011 and Senoussi, now aged 60, was convicted in 2015 for crimes against humanity that had no connection with Lockerbie.

"An interpretation is that the British and the US are not demanding to see him – because they already know Libya did not do it," says Mr Holt.


  1. It is a pity that retired CIA agent Holt did not speak up and honour his conscience during the original trial and what has been effectively three appeals. Only now, when the legal windows have all closed, is he revealing all. Claiming that the evidence, without doubt including the famous timer board fragment was fabricated, now conveniently switches the spotlight onto Iran. A nation which America is attempting to destroy financially and politically.

    This is all too late. The appeal judges cannot consider it. They have heard the evidence in the latest appeal, and their judgement must be based on that. Unless, of course, they need time to be "briefed" [a word used in the run-up to the trials of Oliver North et al during the Iran-Contra scandal of the mid eighties] by the CIA or MI6, prior to making their decision.

    1. This doesn't change much. The court at Zeist rejected Giaka's evidence.

  2. There were plenty of people who could point to Iran without security clearance related to lockerbie. The bush administration took off witnesses who could destroy the official story by giving Libya it's sit on the UN human right commission in exchange for it's cooperation. The English got information on Libyans it did not like in deals as well. Later, one tortured Libyan sue England and got 2.2 million pounds for his torture on info Gaddafi gave. Libya just wanted the sanctions off and gave away its protection doing it.

  3. MEBO takes hold >>> After a Scottish 'wrong court decision' against Abdelbasset Al Megrahi & LIBYA > 2000/01 in the "Lockerbie -PanAm103 case" >
    We, Edwin Bollier and MEBO Ltd. receivend severely damaged caused by the "Lockerbie Affair" after 19 years of the wrong court judgement 2000/01, increased from U$ 200 million until to day of 250 millions.
    The Police Sotland were not willing to accept the fact that criminal handlings was occurred from Officials.. Therefore we filed a “Criminal Complaint against Police Scotland”... concerning facilitation of criminal activities and fraud of evidence... The responsible officials must be prosecuted for their criminal handlings.
    Based on conclusion of our fact finding mission, the focus needs to be directed to Dr.Thomas Hayes. The following supplementary report shows – step by step - how the manipulations and lies under oath at the Court occurred
    According to a court decision in Zeist (2000/01), the MST13 timer fragment (PT35) was discovered by expert Dr Thomas Hayes - on 12 May 1989, at RARDE, in a "SLALOM shirt". The testimony by Dr Hayes was a decisive LIE and supported by a manipulated additional page No.51, which was compiled by Dr Hayes, dated May 12, 1988, and inserted into the RARDE Report 181. The original pages No.51 to 56 had to be overwritten by Dr Hayes with No.52 to 57, etc...
    The grill questions about Dr. Hayes today must be: who hid at RARDE, the manipulated MST13 Timer Fragment (PT35) in a white piece of *jumper, in the period between the end of November 1989 and 22 January 1990; and
    who commissioned RARDE photographer Stephen Haines to take the MST13 timer fragment (PT35) discovered by Dr. Hayes, together with Label No.(168/PI'995) and other material, as an important evidentiary photograph No.329
    *(the fragment (PT35) had not been discovered in a grey SLALOM shirt, as Dr. Hayes stated and noted on page 51)
    According to the manipulated EXAMINATION additional on page nr.51, photo.329 existed since May 12, 1989, which turns out to be another LIE, as the three clearly visible scratch marks and the letter (M) on the fragment (PT35) were scratched by Eng. Lumert, according to certified confirmation by Eng. Ulrich Lumpert, at the end of autumn 1989, during a visit by FBI expert Tom Thurman to MEBO AG in Zurich.
    The whole process in the Scottish Lockerbie evidence scam - against LIBYA and Mr Abdelbasset al Megrahi - is from A-Z a criminal reverse engineering with two manipulated MST13 timer fragments (PT35) and PT35/B).
    Mr. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi was not the clothes buyer at MALTA!
    The further search for the real culprits must be directed in another direction !
    by PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, FACT-FINDING COMMITTEE Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd Telecommunication Switzerland -

    1. There are commerical and political reasons that Iran evidence was protected from submission. Iran pumps north sea oil and iran commercial dealings with the UK. In the end, money is always a consideration.

      From :Father-in-law former colonial governor under the British in Iran

    2. I'm particularly interested in how the photo of the timer was taken, and the difference in alloy compared with tin. Can anyone enlighten me? I wrote the story to which this comment is linked.

    3. This piece (and the two referred to in it) may help: