“Hans Köchler, a United Nations observer, called the trial ‘a spectacular miscarriage of justice,’ words echoed by Mr. Mandela. Many legal experts and investigative journalists challenged the evidence, calling Mr. Megrahi a scapegoat for a Libyan government long identified with terrorism.”
New York Times — May 20 2012
“The Myth surrounding Libya and Megrahi now quietly slides into history. Political Expedience rules over Truth.”
Richard C. Fuisz M.D. — Email to Intel Today (December 21 2018)
“I regard the Lockerbie verdict against Megrahi as a ‘Grand Monument to Human Stupidity’. Indeed, the written opinion of the Lockerbie judges is a remarkable document that claims an ‘honoured place in the history of British miscarriages of justice.’ If the [SCCRC] Commission accepts the application for a full review, the infamous Zeist verdict doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving.”
INTEL TODAY — July 5 2017
May 20 2019 — The case against Megrahi is nonsense, utter nonsense. Despite its complexity, the absurdity of the Lockerbie case is rather obvious for anyone who is willing to approach this affair with an open mind. Here is a crash course. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
Robert Black QC FRSE – Professor Emeritus of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh and best known as the “Architect of the Lockerbie Trial” — has written :
“The Lockerbie trial is the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years. Every lawyer who has read the judgment says ‘this is nonsense’. It is nonsense.”
Most Intel Today readers (88%) believe that the Lockerbie verdict is a spectacular miscarriage of justice. I understand that a similar poll among Scotland lawyers would be even more devastating. Truth never dies.
The Case Against Megrahi
The initial charges against Megrahi are basically the following:
On 7 December 1988 , Megrahi purchased a quantity of clothing and an umbrella in the shop premises known as Mary’s House at Tower Road, Sliema, Malta.
On 20 December 1988, Megrahi — using a passport in the false name of Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad — travelled to Malta with a brown Samsonite suitcase.
On 21 December 1988 at Luqa Airport, Megrahi placed — or cause to be placed — on board an aircraft of Air Malta flight KM180 to Frankfurt am Main Airport, Federal Republic of Germany the Samsonite suitcase, containing the clothing and umbrella bought on December 7 1988, and an improvised explosive device containing high performance plastic explosive concealed within a Toshiba RT SF 16 “Bombeat” radio cassette recorder.
The IED was programmed to be detonated by a Swiss electronic timer only supplied to Libya and the luggage was tagged as to be carried by aircraft from Frankfurt am Main Airport via London, Heathrow Airport to New York, John F Kennedy Airport, United States of America.
On December 21, the IED exploded at 7:03 over Lockerbie, destroying instantaneously Pan Am 103 and killing 259 people on-board and 11 residents on the ground.
In its final submissions the prosecution dropped the charges of conspiracy and breach of aviation security and focused solely on the charge of murder. The reasons for dropping these charges are easily understood.
It was immediately obvious that there was simply no case against Fimah. Thus, there was no credibility to the charge of conspiracy.Indeed, the court eventually returned a ‘non-guilty’ verdict and Fimah was free to go home.
Also, as the judges pointed out, the prosecution failed to suggest an explanation as to the method by which the suitcase was introduced on board of Malta Flight KM180. Therefore, charge of ‘breach of aviation security’ had also to be dropped.
In their opinion, the judges wrote (39):
“If therefore the unaccompanied bag was launched from Luqa, the method by which that was done is not established, and the Crown accepted that they could not point to any specific route by which the primary suitcase could have been loaded. (…) The absence of any explanation of the method by which the primary suitcase might have been placed on board KM180 is a major difficulty for the Crown case, and one which has to be considered along with the rest of the circumstantial evidence in the case.”
The Maltese Shopkeeper’s Identification
Many experts believe that the crucial testimony given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci was simply false and should have been ruled inadmissible.
In a 2009 piece titled “Lockerbie: J’accuse”, I explained why I came to regard Gauci’s testimony as a complete fabrication.
I will not repeat the arguments in this post. But keep in mind that the ‘identification’ should be a textbook example of what was actually a non-identification!
On September 13 1989, during a photofit session, Gauci stated that the buyer was about 50 years old. Born on April 1, 1952, Megrahi was 36 in late 1988.
In his first interview held on September 1 1989, Gauci told DCI Bell that the mysterious buyer was 6 feet tall or more. Megrahi is 5 feet 8, a significant discrepancy considering that it comes from a man who sells clothes for a living.
The Samsonite Luggage
According to the indictment, an unaccompanied suitcase — containing the IED — arrived in Frankfurt on Air Malta Flight KM 180. There, the suitcase was transferred on to Flight 103A to London where it was transferred — again — to Pan Am 103. The modus operandi has always appeared dubious to terrorism experts.
Actually, a ‘FBI Briefing Paper’ (marked “Director FBI/Priority”) disclosed in 1995, revealed that:
“There is no concrete indication that any piece of luggage was unloaded from Air Malta 180, sent through the luggage routing system at Frankfurt airport, and then loaded on board Pan Am 103.”
Why did the FBI investigators believe that Megrahi arrived at Malta with a brown Samsonite suitcase.?
The answer to this key question is very simple and rather disturbing. Libyan defector and CIA asset Magid Giaka lied to them, and the CIA knew that the ‘super-star witness’ was lying.
Lockerbie investigators have long been puzzled by the fact that Giaka — despite being paid by the CIA to spy on Megrahi and other colleagues — never mentioned the 20 December trip to his CIA handlers.
Richard Marquise — the special agent who led the FBI investigation — has suggested an explanation in his book.
“Giaka has met his CIA handlers in the morning of December 20, 1988. He had not yet been to the Luqa airport. (…) He next met his CIA handler about one month later and this travel was not fresh in his mind; He either did not report it or his CIA case officer failed to document it.”
The truth, as I reveal here for the first time, is actually far more simple. Giaka did not report this event because he never witnessed it. The debriefing with his CIA handler did NOT occur in the morning of December 20 but in the afternoon, between 12:00 and 18:00.
Megrahi and Fimah arrived in Malta with Flight KM 231 which landed in Luqa airport at 17:15.
Actually, Giaka testified that Megrahi and Fimah arrived at Malta in the evening, when the LAA (Libyan Airline) flight landed around 8:00 pm.
Nobody ever paid attention to that error. The CIA knew that Giaka could not have witnessed the arrival of Megrahi in the afternoon but they never told the FBI. Why not?
What about London? The judges accepted the evidence from a baggage handler that a suitcase which could fit the description of the infamous ‘brown Samsonite’ was in the container loaded on Pan Am 103. Not everyone agree.
Jessica de Grazia — former chief assistant district attorney in New York — and Philip Corbett — a former police officer and ex-security advisor to the Bank of England — investigated several aspects of the Lockerbie Case.
Their report, which was written in 2002, was never published. I had the opportunity to read it. The authors suggest that the Lockerbie investigators were “directed off course” and that this was “most likely” done by a senior official in the CIA.
“We have never seen a criminal investigation in which there has been such a consistent disregard of an alternative and far more persuasive theory of the case,” the report states.
Corbett and de Grazia investigated the background of Mr Bedford, the baggage handler who ‘saw’ the primary suitcase in the container before it was loaded on PA103. They were told by his supervisor that Bedford was a thief and should not be trusted.
Moreover, as it was pointed out long ago by a former Hong Kong police officer, the official story is simply idiotic as Bedford claimed to have seen the ‘primary luggage’ — coming from Frankfurt — one full hour before the feeder flight — Pan Am 103A — landed in London! I kid you not. The verdict is that STUPID!
The forensic investigation was no better work. Discredited ‘scientists’ first established that the primary suitcase was lying directly on the floor of the container, as it would be if it had originated directly from London. Later, they ‘relocated’ the luggage to the second layer of baggage, as it would have been if the suitcase had come from Luqa and Frankfurt airports.
Eventually, the CIA solved the issue by hiring psychic spies, people with mysterious super-natural powers. Again, I kid you not! It is that CRAZY.
Project SUN STREAK — n°: 5269 (Pan Am 103)
“The mission of Project n° 5269 was to identify the location of the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988. This ‘Remote Viewing’ project concluded that the bomb was sitting on the floor of the luggage container.”
Just ask yourself a simple question: why on earth would the CIA rely on ‘psychic spies’ and ‘remote viewers’ to locate the position of the ‘Lockerbie bomb’?
The ‘Suspicious’ VISA
The use of a false name and coded passport by Megrahi on his trip to Malta played a critical role in the ruling of the judges.
“It is possible to infer that this visit under a false name the night before the explosive device was planted at Luqa, followed by his departure for Tripoli the following morning at or about the time the device must have been planted, was a visit connected with the planting of the device.
Had there been any innocent explanation for this visit, obviously this inference could not be drawn.”
The time has come to address this issue. Before I reveal the truth on this point, you should be aware of three facts.
Megrahi himself provided his coded passport to the Lockerbie investigators. A Libyan official testified about the use of such a passport by Megrahi at the Lockerbie trial. Finally, and that is the weird point, Megrahi needed no passport to enter Malta as he was a well-known Libyan Airline officer. Why then did he use it?
Well, sometimes life can be messy. Megrahi had a mistress in Malta. Although, he did not need to use a passport to enter the island, there was some ‘little advantages’ to do so. The use of a coded passport allows access to a linked bank account. In short, Megrahi could visit his mistress for a night in Malta without his wife, or anybody else, ever knowing and get his employer to pay for the expenses. It seemed like a truly great idea at the time!
But as the old adage goes: “Man plans, and God laughs.” Megrahi was between a rock and a hard place. And the CIA knew that. Of course, he would deny his trip to Malta to hide his adultery. (Remember Clinton? “I did not…) And for sure, he will try to hide the truth about the money.
Although the investigators officially linked Megrahi to the Lockerbie disaster in the fall of 1990, a CIA Cable dated October 17 1989 already connects Megrahi to Lockerbie!
When I showed this document to FBI Richard Marquise, he was so shocked that he could not believe that the document was genuine. The information was eventually confirmed to him by a US Intelligence Agency.
[NOTE: Marquise believes that I do not recollect this event correctly. Even if he is right, the mystery of this CIA cable remains…]
So, Why the Lies?
In the immediate aftermath of the Lockerbie tragedy, the decision was made to send US Intel officers on the ground. The FBI has acknowledged the presence of their agents at Lockerbie. The CIA has always denied having men on the ground.
But there is no doubt that they were busy removing some items belonging to US major Charles McKee. As the story of Dr Fieldhouse suggests, they may have removed more than a few objects. You may also wonder if they did not add a few items to the crime scene?
RELATED POST: Ten Years Ago — Dr David Fieldhouse and Lockerbie
On December 28 — just one week after the tragedy — UK authorities announced that Pan Am 103 had been destroyed by a bomb. A criminal investigation — the biggest and most expensive the world had ever seen– was launched.
The spooks quickly wrote the story — let us call it ‘Script One’ — of the Lockerbie bombing. First thing first, they picked a culptit: IRAN.
Motive, Means, & Opportunity — The motive was rather obvious: revenge for the downing of Iran Flight 655 on July 3 1988 by the USS Vincennes over the Persian gulf. The means were provided by a Syrian-based terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command. The perfect opportunity presented itself when an innocent US citizen, of Lebanese background, accepted to carry the Toshiba radio, not knowing that it contained an IED.
‘Script One’ was rather well written and quite credible, even if a few mistakes were made.
When the CIA launches a disinformation campaign, their spooks make sure that the script contains plenty of real events. Then they had some information from the Intelligence Community. Some of it is perhaps dubious while some may be true. Parts may be declassified while some documents are protected for National Security reasons. Finally, they had just a couple of lies, and the script is ready to be leaked, bits by bits, to ‘friendly journalists’.
And indeed, most of the information contained in ‘Script ONE’ was based on a real operation — Autumn Leaves — that occurred in Germany during October 1988. All the elements of the ‘Lockerbie case’ feature in that operation: Semtex, Toshiba radio, clothes from Malta (including a Babygro!), and of course the infamous brown Samsonite luggage.
However, something rather unusual happened. By mid 89, the realm of geopolitics had begun to shift and the spooks were tasked with framing a new culprit! Explanation.
First, Ayatollah Montazeri — a hardliner expected to succeed Khomeini — had been sacked. Khomeini died on June 3 1989. Ali Khamenei quickly succeeded and, most importantly, Rafsanjani was elected Iran’s president on August 3 1989. Rafsanjani was a known quantity to US officials as he was their contact during the Iran-Contra scandal.
By September 1989, blaming Iran for Lockerbie would no longer serve the geopolitical interests of the US. And this gave rise to ‘Script TWO’. Think of this as a geopolitical palimpsest!
But, clearly, the task was very tricky. One must keep most of the ‘initial evidence’ developed to frame Iran and subtlety adapt it to a new culprit: Libya.
At the very minimum, the new script needed a different trigger mechanism (an electronic timer solely sold to Libya instead of an ‘Ice Cube’ altimeter used by the PFLP-GC) as well different type of Toshiba radio (A black twin-speakers sold uniquely to Libya instead of a white single speaker model used by the German cell to assemble an IED that was — allegedly — never recovered.)
And lo and behold, in October 1989, a CIA cable from Malta (SUBJECT: Libyan Activities Leading Up to Pan Am Bombing — Abdalbasit Ali Al-Magrahi) established — out of nowhere — a link between Megrahi and Lockerbie.
Soon after that, thanks to the mysterious ‘discovery’ of a tiny circuit board known as PT/35(b), the investigation moved away from Iran to solely focus on Libya. The rest is History…
Justice was not served. But as Marcel Pagnol wrote:
“A wise man does not look for the culprit of a crime. A wise man chooses the right culprit.”
And this is exactly what the US and the UK did at the Lockerbie trial. Why? The early 90s was a unique era of unilaterally. The US knew full well they it would be easy to buy a UN Security Council vote to impose sanctions on Libya. The UN sanctions were the of course the real goal of the ‘Lockerbie Solution’. Neither the US nor the UK were interested in a trial and that is why they rejected all proposals for as long as they could.
Those who still care about the truth are left with three basic questions. What really happened to Pan Am 103? Why did they die? And why was the truth hidden?
Secret CIA testimony identifies real Lockerbie mastermind
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi — Wikipedia
On This Day — Megrahi, Convicted in 1988 Lockerbie Bombing, Dies in Tripoli (May 20 2012)