December 30 2021 — A document released today reveals why Tony Blair finally accepted the idea of a trial in a neutral country. Basically, Blair thought that Gaddafi was bluffing and would never hand over the two Libyans. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
QUICK NOTE — 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…!
December 30 2022 — Today, the National Archives released Cabinet Office files (PREM 49) covering the period 2000-2002.
The newly released files shed light on a range of subjects both at home and abroad under Tony Blair’s leadership, including file PREM 49/1811 DISASTERS.
Policy: part 4. This file contains a variety of letters of condolence from across the world, following the Paddington Rail Disaster and the Selby Rail Disaster. Material relating to discussions between the Prime Minister and Nelson Mandela about the Lockerbie bombing is also covered.
I was not able to locate this file online. Thus, I will rely on the parts quoted by The Guardian. In the piece — Blair government had misgivings about Mandela mediation role over Lockerbie — just posted, the following paragraphs got my attention.
At a Downing Street meeting in April 2001, the former South African leader told Tony Blair it was “wrong to hold Libya legally responsible for the Lockerbie bombing”, and against public international law, despite the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in January 2001 after a trial in the Netherlands.
Blair’s foreign policy adviser, John Sawers, later head of MI6.wrote that the crucial point was Libyan acceptance of responsibility. “We might even be able to use Mandela back against [Gaddafi] if the Libyan’s reject a reasonable offer,” he concluded.
In a briefing note to Sawers, Mark Sedwill, the private secretary to the foreign secretary, Robin Cook, wrote: “Mandela is, at best, suffering from selective memory and a basic misunderstanding of international law.”
Well, this is unfortunately NOT news! A few days after the verdict, Mandela said publicly:
“The condition that Qadhafi must accept responsibility for Lockerbie is totally unacceptable. As President [of South Africa] for five years I know that my intelligence services many times didn’t inform me before they took action. Sometimes I approved, sometimes I reprimanded them. Unless it’s clear that Qadhafi was involved in giving orders, it’s unfair to act on that basis.”
Mandela surely understood the difference between personal responsibility and state responsibility. So I doubt very much that he would have made such a statement if he had really believed that Megrahi (and Libya) was actually responsible for the Lockerbie tragedy. Do you seriously think Mandela would have visited Megrahi in prison?
Question — If it is ever proven — as I am absolutely convinced — that the CIA planted PT/35(b) at Lockerbie to incriminate Libya, do you think for a moment that the US Government will accept full responsibility for the acts and omissions of its officials, and agencies (CIA and FBI)?
END of UPDATE
Madeleine Albright & Lockerbie
On August 24 1998, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said it was time for Libya to turn its promises into deeds and surrender the “Lockerbie suspects” for trial immediately.
Secretary Albright then emphasized that the proposed plan was not negotiable.
“Let me be clear. The plan the US and the UK are putting forward is a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition.
It is not subject to negotiation or change.
Nor should it be subject to additional foot-dragging or delay.
We are ready to begin such a trial as soon as Libya turns over the suspects.
We expect — and the families deserve — an immediate answer.”
On August 28 1998, Colonel Gaddafi stated that he had no objections to handing over the two Lockerbie bombing suspects for trial in the Netherlands.
On March 19 1999, Nelson Mandela went to Tripoli to speak with Colonel Gaddafi with special UN permission.
Mandela announced that the Lockerbie suspects will be surrendered on or before April 6 1999.
On April 5 1999, the suspects were indeed taken into Dutch custody after flying from Tripoli to an airbase near The Hague and formally charged with the Lockerbie bombing.
Under Scots law, the accused must be brought to trial within 110 days. Lord Sutherland twice agreed 110-days extensions.
When the trial date finally approached (May 2000), Lord Advocate Colin Boyd applied for a further extension… on ground that the prosecution needed time to interview witnesses!
Obviously, the prosecutors were not that “ready to begin such a trial as soon as Libya turns over the suspects.”
The National Archives
Title: Conclusions of Cabinet Meetings 21-37. (Described at item level)
Item number: 5323011
Catalogue reference: CAB 128/124
Lockerbie — Newly Declassified Doc Reveals True Reason of Trial