“[Operation El Dorado Canyon] turned out to be a more decisive blow against Libyan-sponsored terrorism than I could ever have imagined. … There were revenge killings of British hostages organized by Libya, which I bitterly regretted. But the much-vaunted Libyan counter attack did not and could not take place … There was a marked decline in Libyan-sponsored terrorism in succeeding years.”
British prime minister Margaret Thatcher — The Downing Street Years (Memoirs 1993, pp448-9)
“The Cabinet Office, which is responsible for the release of the records at the National Archives, declined to comment on the record when I asked, specifically, why files on the Scott inquiry and Lockerbie were being withheld. (…) That body has not had the inclination, and the staff of the National Archives have not had the clout, to argue with Whitehall departments, and in particular the Cabinet Office, the powerful bastion of official secrecy at the heart of government. Until and unless they do, or the act is reformed, we will continue to be prevented from knowing about, and learning from, our recent history.”
On July 24 2018, the National Archives released files from the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office predominantly covering the year of 1993. A Lockerbie file dated 1992-93 has been withheld, as well as four files relating to the Scott arms-to-Iraq inquiry. This amazing ‘coincidence’, unnoticed by the media, deserves some explanation for it may not be a coincidence at all. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
RELATED POST: Lockerbie and the Secret Doc: Why the PII Certificate?
RELATED POST: CIA Asset Dr Richard Fuisz : TEREX & Lockerbie
The newly released Cabinet Office files (CAB and PREM) shed light on a range of subjects both at home and abroad under John Major’s leadership.
The files are available to view in the public reading rooms at The National Archives, Kew.
that many entire files have been retained, some temporarily, most indefinitely.
A file dated 1992-93 on the Lockerbie bombing, the Pan Am disaster of 1988, has also been withheld.
Even more curiously, four files relating to the Scott arms-to-Iraq inquiry have been retained. The judge-led public inquiry that was bitterly opposed by ministers who had been involved in supplying Saddam Hussein with equipment he used for his weapons of mass destruction programme, heard devastating evidence. It included the Thatcher government’s secret decision to supply Saddam with equipment that could be used to manufacture weapons after he shelled the Kurdish town of Halabja in March 1988 with gas bombs, killing an estimated 5,000 civilians and maiming thousands more.
As for the Lockerbie file, I am not surprised. On November 2 2016, the UK Government [Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)] decided to withhold all Lockerbie air accident investigation reports [dating from 1990 Jan 01 to 1992 Dec 31] until at least 2026.
Some experts are well aware that Thatcher knew full well that Libya was not responsible for the Lockerbie tragedy. But very few people know that the two subjects — Lockerbie and the Scott arms sale to Iraq — are actually connected. Here is a quick primer…
15 April 1986 — Operation El Dorado Canyon (air strikes by the United States against Libya with help from the UK)
21 December 1988 — Pan Am flight 103 fell out of the sky. All 259 passengers and crew members died. Eleven residents of Lockerbie were killed.
14 November 1991 — The Lord Advocate and the acting United States Attorney General jointly announced that they had obtained warrants for the arrest of two Libyan citizens: Abdelbasset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah.
21 January 1992 — The United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 731 calling on Libya to surrender Megrahi and Fhimah for trial either in the United States or in the United Kingdom.
25 January 1992 — Seymour M. Hersh published an article in the NYT headlined “U.S. Linked to Iraq Scud Launchers”. Hersh reported that a Congressional subcommittee was investigating allegations against the Terex Corporation made by Dr. Fuisz. In Sept. 1987, Dr Fuisz was given a tour of the main Terex plant in Motherwell, Scotland. The Terex Corporation was at the time a subsidiary of KCS of Westport, Connecticut.
28 February 1992 to 6 March 1992 — Five tests were carried out on PT/35(b), the key piece of evidence linking Libya to Lockerbie. The conclusion of the report states that none of the scientists would say conclusively that PT/35(b) and DP/347(a) [control sample ] were specifically the same material or from the same source.
31 March 1992 — The Security Council passed resolution 748 imposing mandatory sanctions on Libya for failing to hand over Megrahi and Fhimah.
18 October 1993 — Thatcher’s Memoirs — The Downing Street Years –are published
11 November 1993 — The Security Council passed resolution 883 that imposed further international sanctions on Libya.
1994 (Fall) — The Clinton administration placed a gag order preventing Dr Fuisz from publicly discussing his knowledge of the Pan Am 103 bombing. Fuisz had told a US congressional staffer that the perpetrators of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie were based in Syria. He was adamant that Libya had played no role whatsoever in the tragedy.
September 1996 — Jordan sends two secret papers to John Major. The SCCRC concluded that if that document – which we believe deals with the MEBO timer (MST13 & PT35b) and the PFLP-GC of Ahmed Jibril – had been made available to the defence of Megrahi, the judges could not have reached some of the conclusions that were necessary to convict Megrahi.
Lockerbie Secret Files
Until this week, we knew of two secret sets of Lockerbie files. The first is the so-called Lockerbie X file. This set of docs deals with Major McKee, CIA Matt Gannon — and others US personnel — who died on Pan Am 103. It probably also deals with the large amount of cash and drugs recovered from the crash site as well as the presence of US explosives illegally carried by the civilian airliner. It is unlikely that this file was updated in 1992-93.
We also knew from the SCCRC Report that the two secret letters (under PII) were sent by the King of Jordan to John Major in September 1996.
I have already explained that the SCCRC findings clearly suggest the content of this letter. The reasoning of the SCCRC implies that these “SECRET Letters” point to the PFLP-GC having received – one way or another – at least one MST-13 timer. (Whether this allegation is true or false is yet another story.)
The SCCRC concluded that if these documents had been made available to the defence, the judges could not have reached some of the conclusions that were necessary to convict Megrahi.
RELATED POST: LOCKERBIE SECRET DOC – What Do We Know?
RELATED POST: The Lockerbie Secret Doc: Khreesat and the Swiss
The undisclosed 1992-93 Lockerbie file from the Prime Minister almost certainly deals with yet another aspect of this extraordinary scandal.
Dr Richard Fuisz & the TEREX Affair
On January 25 1992, Seymour M. Hersh published an article in the NYT headlined “U.S. Linked to Iraq Scud Launchers”.
Hersh reported that a Congressional subcommittee was investigating allegations against the Terex Corporation made by Dr. Fuisz.
In September 1987, Dr Fuisz was given a tour of the main Terex plant in Motherwell, Scotland. The Terex Corporation is a subsidiary of KCS of Westport, Connecticut.
“I had noticed two large armor-plated vehicles painted in desert camouflage with specially attached steel backs.
I asked the plant manager, Art Rowe, about them and was told they were missile launchers for the Iraqi military,” Fuisz said in an affidavit taken for a US Congressional subcommittee investigating the matter.
“These shipments were all requested by the C.I.A. with the cooperation of the British intelligence people,” David J. Langevin, the vice president of Terex, told Fuisz according to his deposition.
On February 23 2003, the Sunday Herald published a story headlined “Revealed: 17 British Firms Armed Saddam with his Weapons”.
The Terex Corporation is listed as a UK company having provided rocket technology to Iraq.
In the fall of 1994, the Clinton administration placed a gag order preventing Fuisz from publicly discussing his knowledge of the Pan Am 103 bombing.
Fuisz was — and still is — adamant that Libya had played no role whatsoever in the tragedy.
“If the United States government would let me, I could identify the men behind this attack [Pan Am 1003] today. I could do it right now. You want a police line up? I could go into any crowded restaurant of 200 people, and pick out these men. […] And you know what? You won’t find this restaurant anywhere in Libya. No, you will only find this restaurant in Damascus.”
The Sunday Herald picked up the story on May 28 2000.
“The 1994 gagging order was issued following disclosures by Fuisz during other legal proceedings about alleged illegal exports of military equipment to Iraq.
The order claims that the information held by Fuisz is vital to the nation’s security or diplomatic relations and can not be revealed no matter how compelling the need for, and relevance of, the information.
The submission also makes clear that the government is empowered to protect its interests in this case in the future, thereby gagging Fuisz permanently.”
Upon learning this amazing story, Eddie MacKechnie – the lawyer for one of the Libyan indicted of the bombing of Pan Am 103 – instructed his US partners to obtain a deposition from Dr Fuisz under oath and before a judge.
Fuisz was deposed in December 2000 in presence of three CIA attorneys as well as two others from the US DoJ. As not one single question, no matter how much trivial, was answered, the judge decided to adjourn.
In a matter of days, George “Jorge” Tenet — the head of the CIA — personally wrote to the judge to seek his help in ending the legal process. Nevertheless, in a second meeting, Fuisz admitted that he had high level contacts in Damascus.
Vital information was placed under double seal. Neither the content of George Tenet’s letter nor the information under double seal was ever revealed, but it had become abundantly clear that Richard Fuisz was a high level CIA HUMINT asset.
Why Hiding the 1992 Lockerbie File?
PT/35(b) is a small fragment of a circuit timer that was allegedly found among the debris of Pan Am 103 near the town of Lockerbie.
PT/35(b) was the key piece of evidence of the Lockerbie Case. As Richard Marquise (FBI Agent who led the US side of the investigation) himself said: “Without PT/35(b), there would have been no indictment.”
This fragment was eventually matched to a timer (MST-13) discovered among the weapons and material seized from rebels after an attempted coup in Togo on 23rd September 1986.
RELATED POST: Lockerbie — The Fairy Tale of the Togo Timers
This MST-13 had been manufactured by the Swiss company MEBO and supplied “solely” to Libya.
Today, we know that PT/35(b) is a forgery. We also know that at least one witness was well aware that PT/35(b) could not have been part of the MST-13 timers delivered to Libya and that this witness deliberately withheld this information from the court.
But back in 1992, it would appear that some folks at the Crown office had their own doubts…
RELATED POST: PT/35(b) TIMELINE PART V: Scientific Inquiries in 1992
Following submission of the Police Report (section 30.0 dealing with PT/35b to the Crown), it was requested that certain further tests which had earlier been carried out on the fragment also be performed on the control sample [ DP/347(a)] of MST-13 circuit board.
Five tests were carried out in the period from 28 February 1992 to 6 March 1992. The conclusion of the report states that none of the scientists would say conclusively that PT/35(b) and DP/347(a) were specifically the same material or from the same source.
In fact, all these scientists had pointed out correctly various methods to establish that PT/35(b) was NOT similar to the control sample of the timers delivered to Libya.
At that point in time, it would have been scientifically straightforward to demonstrate that PT/35(b) — the key piece of evidence linking Libya to Lockerbie — was a forgery.
But nothing was done and a few weeks later — on 31 March 1992 — the UN Security Council passed resolution 748 imposing mandatory sanctions on Libya for failing to hand over Megrahi and Fhimah.
As Dr Fuisz told me last night, “The truth no doubt will never be told.”
Prince Andrew & Margaret Thatcher At Lockerbie Crash Scene
Prime Minister’s papers from 1993 released — National Archives
UK — National Archives Release Prime Ministerial 1993 Papers, Withhold Lockerbie File