[What follows is excerpted from a long article headlined Lockerbie bombing: Murder victim’s father blames Iran for atrocity and accuses the West of ‘sinister’ cover up published today on the website of the Dundee newspaper The Courier:]
More than 32 years have passed since Jim and Jane’s hearts were torn apart by the terrible events that took place in the skies above Lockerbie on December 21, 1988.
A terrorist bomb, loaded into the hold of their beloved daughter’s New York-bound aircraft, exploded 38 minutes after take off from Heathrow Airport, murdering 270 people.
At first, Jim accepted American claims that Libya was responsible.
But during the trial of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man eventually convicted of the atrocity, he began to have doubts. (...)
Over three decades, Jim’s search for the “truth” on behalf of Flora and all those who died has taken him from the corridors of power in London and Washington to the United Nations and Egypt, as well as to the inner sanctum of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Now having released his new book, co-written with Peter Biddulph, The Lockerbie Bombing: A Father’s Search for Justice, Jim explains why he remains disillusioned with the British and American establishment and why he firmly believes it was Iran – not Libya – that was responsible for the atrocity.
He also believes the 2001 Lockerbie trial verdict has inflicted “catastrophic” damage on Scotland’s criminal justice system.
“What matters most about Lockerbie is that 270 people died in a clear cut revenge attack launched at the behest of Iran, and our government both failed to take any notice of the warnings and failed to allow any inquiry into why the attack hadn’t been prevented,” says Jim, now 85, in an interview from his home in the North Cotswolds.
“It’s my view having studied the evidence very carefully over 32 years that the device never came from Malta, never came through Frankfurt airport but was delivered overland to Heathrow and put aboard there, despite the government having been warned about it.
“There’s plenty supporting evidence to show that, which leaves the question of how did it come about that the West mounted the trial that resulted in the conviction of one of one of those two Libyans when clearly that’s not how it was carried out at all?
“I think that’s a really sinister background.
“But the other thing that is monstrous, apart from the murders themselves, is the fact that for whatever reason the West, which really means America and Britain, decided that it was going to create an entirely false story to conceal the fact that they had other ambitions of the outcome from Lockerbie to serve some kind of purpose other than the truth.” (...)
He talks about his view – backed by Scots lawyers he’s spoken to – that the evidence at the Camp Zeist Scottish Court trial was “not coherent”.
While he thinks police in Scotland “did their best”, he believes a fundamental error was made when clothing wrapped around the bomb traceable to Malta was presented as evidence the bomb had come from Malta.
Jim believes that for geopolitical reasons, instead of looking for justice, politicians “wanted to divert blame away from Iran” and they “needed a scapegoat” which they found in Gaddafi’s Libya. Gaddafi admitted responsibility but maintained he did not order the attack.
Jim believes the conviction of al-Megrahi was “one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in the history of Scottish law” and believes future historians will piece together “what really happened” when confidential documents are made public. (...)
Flora, a brilliant medical researcher just a day short of her 24th birthday, was on her way to see her boyfriend in the USA for Christmas when she was murdered.
Describing bereavement as a “life sentence”, Jim admits he and his wife quietly reflect on the children their daughter might have had and the career she might have led.
But as a member of that unwanted club of families who have been affected by terrorist atrocities, he also reveals one of the worst things that happened to him during the last 32 years was when he received an email from a relative of one of the American victims whose daughter had been killed on the flight – sent at a time when it was known al-Megrahi had incurable prostate cancer.
“What she said to me was ‘Dr Swire, you are a doctor over there. Will you speak to the doctors over there and tell them that we don’t want painkillers to be provided to Megrahi. We want that man to die in the utmost agony’.
“What that told me was that poor lady: the hatred she had for the man she at that time very reasonably believed had murdered her child.
“That was another victory for the terrorists – her personality had been destroyed by the hatred that had been generated by the terrorist atrocity.
“One of the things that all of this nonsense about Malta and Libyans and all the rest of it has done is deny us so far the ability to even forgive those who really did murder our children who in this case was essentially the Ayatollahs of Iran and their minions.
“To be denied that and to protect those people from the wrath of international justice is one of the most dreadful things to have fallen out of this, apart from the dreadful murders themselves.”