October 12 2020 — On October 12 1984, Patrick Magee made an audacious attempt to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet by exploding a bomb at the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the Conservative Party Conference. The Prime Minister was unharmed but five people were killed in the attack and many more injured. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
QUICK NOTES — To make it easier for the readers to retrieve various chapters of my book, I have created a special page “Lockerbie” where all the links to the chapters will be listed with a brief description. You can access that page directly as it appears at the far right of the top bar of this blog.
Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
“The only sorrow of the Brighton bombing is that Thatcher escaped unscathed.”
Steven Patrick Morrissey — English singer, songwriter and author
The IRA carried out its most audacious attack on this day in 1984 – bombing the Grand Hotel in Brighton in an attempt to wipe out Margaret Thatcher and her government.
The IRA hatched its plan to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – who they blamed for the death of hunger strikers including Bobby Sands – in 1983. The terrorist group chose the following year’s Conservative party conference in Brighton and the town’s Grand Hotel, as the location – and chose explosives officer Patrick Magee as the man to plant the bomb.
The plan was to use a bomb with a very long delay – and so three weeks before the conference, Magee and a female accomplice checked into the Grand Hotel for four nights under a false name. They stayed in room 629 – five floors above the hotel’s VIP suites – and Magee planted the 20lb gelignite bomb (which used a timer from a VCR) behind the bath panel in the bathroom. He programmed the device to detonate 24 days later, at 02:53am on the last night of the Conservative party conference.
The Tory party conference was a great success – and on the final night, Thatcher stayed up past midnight in her first-floor VIP suite, working on the speech she would be giving to the conference the following day.
The bomb exploded at its planned time, when most of the hotel’s 318 guests were asleep in bed. Thatcher, however, had still been up in her sitting room, working with her private secretary, just moments before. “Both she and I knew immediately that it was a bomb,” he later said.
The explosion ripped through the top floors of the hotel, creating a huge hole in its front and causing a chimney stack to collapse and crash through the centre of the building. It missed Thatcher’s living room by inches, but hit her bathroom and bedroom, where her husband Dennis was sleeping.
Many guests and delegates – including cabinet minister Norman Tebbit and his wife Margaret – were trapped by falling masonry and rubble as the rooms collapsed in the centre of the hotel. There were chaotic scenes as wounded survivors made their way out, covered in dust – but fire officers were at the scene by 3am. Margaret and Denis Thatcher were rushed out of the rear of the hotel and taken by car to Brighton police station.
It wasn’t until the following morning that it became clear that several people had died in the explosion and more than 30 had been severely injured – including Tebbit and his wife.
Margaret Thatcher insisted that the conference would continue as scheduled that day – and as she made her way to the conference centre, the IRA issued a statement taking responsibility for the bomb. “Today, we were unlucky. But remember, we only have to be lucky once; you will have to be lucky always,” it warned. “Give Ireland peace and there will be no war.”
The Prime Minister went against police wishes and entered the conference centre by its front entrance in full glare of the media and gave a redrafted speech to the conference. “The fact that we are gathered here now – shocked, but composed, and determined – is a sign that not only this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail,” she said, defiantly.
Five people were killed and 34 were injured in the Brighton bomb blast. Those who died included Sir Anthony Berry MP and Roberta Wakeham, wife of Parliamentary Treasury Secretary John Wakeham. Norman Tebbit’s wife Margaret was left severely and permanently paralysed.
Once police had discovered that the bomb had been planted in room 629, they traced every guest who had stayed there. Three months after the explosion, they found Patrick Magee’s fingerprints on his registration card for the hotel room.
Magee was arrested, found guilty, and given 8 life sentences; the judge recommended he served a minimum of 35 years. Four other members of the IRA were also jailed for their involvement in the plot.
The hotel was re-opened on August 28, 1986 and the re-inauguration was attended by both Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit.
Patrick Magee served 14 years of his prison sentence. He was released in 1999, under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
In 2000, Magee met with Jo Berry, the daughter of Sir Anthony Berry, who was killed in the blast. Berry had decided to dedicate her life to conflict resolution, and Magee is now also actively involved in peace work. The pair now often travel and work together under the banner of Berry’s charity Building Bridges for Peace.
Thatcher Assassination Attempt – 1984 | Today In History | 12 Oct 17
To Kill The Cabinet – Brighton Bomb Documentary
BBC News Special I produced and directed on the police investigation that led to the capture of Patrick Magee: the man responsible for the Brighton Bomb. On 12 October 1984, Magee made an audacious attempt to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet by exploding a bomb at the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the Conservative Party Conference.
The Prime Minister was unharmed but five people were killed in the attack and many more injured.
Broadcast on BBC1 in June 1986, around the time Magee and his accomplices were convicted of the Brighton Bomb and plotting another IRA mainland bombing campaign in 1985 when they were captured at a hideout in Glasgow in June of that year.
Understanding the Lockerbie Solution
In her 1993 memoir The Downing Street Years, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wrote that after the 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya:
“There were revenge killings of British hostages organized by Libya, which I deeply regretted. But the much vaunted Libyan counter-attack did not and could not take place.”
As I pointed out to Edward S. Herman — The New York Times on the Libya-Pan Am 103 Case: A Study in Propaganda Service (Global Research – September 2007) — it was rather obvious that the “Iron Lady” knew that Gaddafi and Libya had nothing to do with Lockerbie.
“Ms. Thatcher seems to have forgotten Pan Am 103, or could she have momentarily forgotten that Libya was supposed to have been guilty of this act, and, writing honestly but carelessly for the historical record implicitly acknowledged here that this was a fraud that she had helped perpetrate.”
RELATED POST: Remembering Lockerbie — Pan Am 103 Quotes
The Brighton bombing made it clear to Thatcher that the Libyan supply of weapons and explosives — SEMTEX — to the IRA had to be stopped at any cost.
A few months later (May 1985), Graham E. Fuller — National Intelligence Officer for NESA — drafted a memorandum that paved the way for one of the greatest scandals in modern US history.
To make it simple, Fuller argued that the US should have a friendly relationship with Iran and blame everything wrong under the sun on Gaddafi’s Libya. And this is exactly what Reagan and Bush did.
On April 5 1986, the La Belle Disco bombing provided Reagan with an excuse to accuse Libya.
On April 14 1986, Ronald Reagan ordered retaliatory strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi.
Although European allies — including France and Spain — denied airspace, the UK provided assistance… many months BEFORE the bombing of the La Belle Disco bombing.
Why did Thatcher accepted this deal with Reagan, a man she described as having nothing between the ears? Back to SEMTEX and the IRA.
On July 17 1986, the US Senate ratified the Supplementary Extradition Treaty (Supplementary Treaty) between the United States and the United Kingdom.
“The pact was eagerly sought by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who seeks the return of Irish Republican Army members accused of crimes in Great Britain.”
“President Reagan had asked for quick Senate approval of the treaty as a sign of gratitude to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for her support of the April 14 U.S. bombing raid against Libya.” [NYT PACT WITH BRITAIN ON EXTRADITIONS BACKED BY SENATE]
On July 23 1986, the White House planted fake stories regarding a Libyan Plot to Bomb US Embassy in Lomé, Togo.
The CIA planted “incontrovertible evidence” of the Libyan involvement in the bombing attempt: an electronic timer — MST-13 — manufactured by a Swiss company and delivered solely to Libya.
And lo and behold, a tiny fragment of this timer will be discovered among the debris of the Lockerbie crash site… by an FBI agent who has been described as an expert in the fabrication of evidence.
Most Intel Today readers (91%) 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.
In the Lockerbie case, 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.
Francis Boyle — International Law professor — has written about this case and provided very clear explanations as to how the US bought the key votes.
“So Resolution 731 was adopted. Everyone at the Security Council knew it was wrong. Everyone knew that Libya had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing, and that Libya had once again been made a scapegoat by the United States.”
To those who care for the truth, the Lockerbie solution is a bitter disappointment. To the people who see the world as a giant political chess board where only realpolitik applies, Lockerbie was a magnificent move played by the CIA.
On April 10 1998, the Good Friday Agreement for Northern Ireland was signed by the British and Irish governments.
RELATED POST: 20 Years Ago — The Good Friday Agreement (April 10 1998)
Without the Lockerbie Solution, the Good Friday Agreement would have been all but impossible.
This chapter of History has yet to be written. One man — who long benefited the help from Gaddafi — never forgot how much he and his country owe to Libya. I regard Mandela as the wisest politician of the 20th century.
PS: Today, we KNOW that the fragment of the MST-13 timer allegedly found among the debris of Lockerbie is a fabrication. We also know that there is no evidence — repeat ZERO evidence — of SEMTEX being used to destroy Pan Am 103. And in case you wonder, there is also no recording of a noise due to the explosion… Truth never dies.
Brighton hotel bombing — Wikipedia
October 12, 1984: Five die as Brighton bomb blast rocks Conservative party conference — BT
On This Day — The Brighton Bombing (October 12 1984)
35 Years Ago — The Brighton Bombing (October 12 1984) [Understanding the Lockerbie Solution]
On This Day — The Brighton Bombing (October 12 1984) [Understanding the Lockerbie Solution]