Lockerbie — Was Megrahi a Libyan Intelligence Officer?

“Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (1 April 1952 – 20 May 2012) was a Libyan who was head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in Tripoli, Libya, and an alleged Libyan intelligence officer.”

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi — Wikipedia

Mandela visiting Megrahi — aka the ‘Lockerbie bomber’ — in prison. Many thanks to John Ashston who took the picture.

April 28 2020 — At the start of a recent RT interview, Afshin Rattansi  refers to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi as a Libyan Intelligence Officer. In truth, there is not a shred of evidence that Megrahi was a Libyan Intelligence Officer. And yet, to my surprise, Aamer Anwar did not correct the statement from Afshin Rattansi.  Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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The media almost always refer to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi as the “Lockerbie bomber” and describe him as a (high ranking) Libyan Intelligence officer.

So, let me ask a simple question. Is there any EVIDENCE that Megrahi was a Libyan Intelligence officer?

Over the years, I have read all the declassified CIA cables and I cannot remember one of these cables stating that Megrahi was a spy.

By his own account, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi  was seconded to the Jamahiriya Security Organisation [JSO] for several months (January 1986 to November 1986) while he was head of airline security for Libyan Arab Airline [LAA].

Megrahi of course had some close family connections to some sinister figures in the Libyan security establishment.

But none of this information amounts to evidence that he was a Libyan Intelligence Officer, let alone a high-ranking intelligence agent.

So yesterday (April 27 2020), I decided to ask some of the top experts on Lockerbie what they think about this issue.

Dr Jim Swire, Professor Robert Black, journalist John Ashton and  Paul Feeney, an independent researcher in politics and terrorism, kindly answered my request.

Robert Black is now Professor Emeritus of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh. He has been a member of the Scottish Bar since 1972 and a QC since 1987.

RELATED POST: Lockerbie and the SCCRC — A primer from Law Professor Robert Black

Professor Black has taken a close interest in the Lockerbie affair since 1993, not least because he was born and brought up in the town, and has published a substantial number of articles on the topic in the United Kingdom and overseas. He is often referred to as the architect of the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands. [Lockerbie Case]

“The only evidence that was led at Zeist to the effect that Megrahi was an intelligence agent came from Majid Giaka.

The trial judges rejected his evidence as wholly and utterly unworthy of credit, with the sole exception of his evidence regarding the Libyan intelligence service and Megrahi’s position therein.

The court provided no reasons for accepting Giaka’s evidence on this issue while comprehensively rejecting it on every other matter.

However, in the indictment Megrahi was described as being a Libyan intelligence officer.

If this is to be regarded as a special capacity, the prosecution do not require to lead evidence to establish it.

The court must accept that the accused has that special capacity, unless he gives notice of objection before the trial starts. [Criminal Procedure (Scotland Act 1995, section 255.)]

As far as I know Megrahi’s legal team did not lodge such a notice of objection.”

John Ashton is a writer, a researcher, and a TV producer. He has studied the Lockerbie case for more than two decades. Ashton was a researcher with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s legal team. He is the author of “Megrahi: You Are My Jury”.

“Given that he travelled widely and had high-level intelligence connections, it would be surprising if he didn’t report back to the JSO, just as UK government FCO employees abroad routinely report back to MI6.”

Dr Jim Swire is an English engineer [electronics] as well as a medical doctor.

RELATED POST: TOP INTEL TODAY 2019 STORIES — #1 : Lockerbie — Dr Jim Swire : “Let this be the year when the Scottish criminal justice system gives clarity on Lockerbie.”

Dr Swire is best known for his involvement in the aftermath of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, in which his daughter Flora was killed.

“So far as I know Baset [Megrahi] worked to try to secure spares for Libyan airlines Boeing aircraft.

Sanctions on Libya forbade the selling of such spares to them, hence his multiple mysterious passports.”

Paul Feeney has a Master of Science (MSc) in Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Studies awarded by The University of East London in 2008.

He is an independent researcher in politics and terrorism. He worked for 24 years for the British Council and in diplomatic posts abroad.

“Megrahi was a fully trained, qualified and experienced flight dispatcher.

The JSO was directly responsible for airline security and, later, the JSO staff who worked as airline security guards were made employees of the airline.

There was, clearly, a very close relationship between the JSO and airline security – as exists with just about every major airline around the world.”

This author has nothing against the RT News Network. Actually I enjoy some of their programmes, including Going Underground, which presents an alternative view of British and international politics.

But an alternative view does not mean reporting wild allegations as fact. There is something seriously wrong when RT manages to be less reliable than Wikipedia!

Aamer Anwar should have pushed back. I will not judge him on a TV interview as I know that it can be tricky and Afshin Rattansi  is famous for making both the questions and the answers on his show.

But one thing is certain. Anwar will have to be far more accurate when the new Lockerbie trial begins. This should be a warning, or else this trial will be just another disaster.

Lockerbie Bombing: Libyans Punished for a Crime They Did Not Commit!

REFERENCES

Megrahi, Convicted in 1988 Lockerbie Bombing, Dies at 60 — NYT

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Lockerbie — Was Megrahi an Libyan Intelligence Office?

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