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A special report from

Lockerbie
The Flight
From Jus­tice

by pAUL fOOT
Dramatis Personae Gilchrist, DC: Dumfries and Galloway
police officer
connection, were published in a
German magazine in 1997
Aitken, Ian: Guardian journalist, guest Gill QC, Mr: Counsel for the bereaved Mifsud, Major: chief meteorologist
at Garrick lunch families from Luqa airport
Al Megrahi, Abdelbasset Ali Gobel, Rainer: physicist for German Morris, Harvey: Independent Middle
Mohamed: Senior JSO officer, tried police East editor who broke the story of
and found guilty of bombing Goben, Mobdi aka ‘The Professor’: Libyan involvement
Anderson, Jack: Washington Times Palestinian bomb-maker Mowat, John, Sheriff Principal:
journalist Hayes, Thomas, Dr: forensics expert conducted the fatal accident inquiry
Annan, Kofi: secretary general of the working for RARDE Oakley, Robin: Times journalist, guest
United Nations Hendershot, Hal: FBI officer who at Garrick lunch
Ashton, John: researcher for Channel 4 interrogated Giaka Orkin, John Scott: CIA electrical
Documentary Hussein, Saddam: Iraqi leader engineer
Assad: Syrian dictator Jibril, Ahmed: leader of the Popular Parkhouse, Geoffrey: Glasgow Herald
Bedford, John: Heathrow baggage Front for the Liberation of Palestine journalist, guest at Garrick lunch
handler – General Command (PFLP-GC) Parkinson, Cecil: Paul Channon’s
Bell, DCI: of Dumfries and Galloway Johnston, David: Scottish radio successor as Secretary of State for
police, he interviewed Gauci in 1989 reporter questioned after suggesting Transport
Black, David: Independent journalist the investigation was delayed for Prince Bandar bin Sultan: Saudi
who broke the story of Libyan two days whilst CIA agents rifled Arabian prince, one of two men
involvement through the luggage chosen by Nelson Mandela to
Black, Robert, Professor: head of the Johnston, Sergeant David: Dumfries negotiate with Colonel Gadaffi
department of law, University of and Galloway Police Rozenberg, Joshua: BBC’s crime
Edinburgh. Kamboj, Sulkash: baggage handler who correspondent
Bollier, Edwin: director of MEBO, denied x-raying the luggage Rufford, Nick: Sunday Times journalist
Swiss manufacturer of timer devices Keen, Richard QC: representing Salem, Mohammed: Palestinian
Boyd, Colin, QC: who replaced Lord Fhimah identified as ‘someone who looked
Hardie as Lord Advocate at the Khreesat, Marwan: Jordanian bomb- like the man’ who could have
Lockerbie trial maker bought the clothes in Malta
Brisbane, Jim: prosecution for the Koca: baggage handler who made Scicluna, Inspector: of the Malta
Crown crucial entry in worksheets but did police, he interviewd Gauci in 1989
Buckland, Chris: Today journalist, not give evidence at the trial Senussi, Abdullah: head of the JSO’s
guest at Garrick lunch Koscha, Joachim: baggage handler at operations administration
Bush, President George: the first Frankfurt airport Smith, Ron: employee of Galloway
Campbell, Alistair QC: Advocate Langdon, Julia: Daily Mirror journalist, Mountain Rescue, related story of
Depute for the prosecution guest at Garrick lunch red tarpaulin and the box
Cannistraro, Vince: former head of Leppard, David: Sunday Times Talb, Abu: Palestinian terrorist
CIA’s counter-terrorism section journalist and author of series of Taylor, William QC: representing
Channon, Paul: Secretary of State for articles about Lockerbie in 1989 Megrahi
Transport in 1988 Lloyd, Tony: Minister of State at the Thatcher, Margaret: British Prime
Cook, Robin: British Foreign Secretary Foreign Office Minister at time of Lockerbie
Dalkamoni, Hafez Kassem: member of Lord Coulsfield: Judge at Lockerbie Thurman, Tom: forensic investigator
PFLP-GC trial for the FBI
Dalyell, Tam: Labour MP for Linlithgow Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: Lord Turnbull, Alan QC: prosecutor at
Diab, Ramzi: Palestinian terrorist Advocate in charge of fatal accident Lockerbie trial
Duff, Alistair: criminal lawyer from inquiry Van Atta, Dale: Washington Times
Edinburgh representing Al Megrahi Lord Hardie: the New Labour journalist
Elias, Abu: Palestinian terrorist Scottish Lord Advocate who Williamson, ‘Willy’ DCI: Scottish
Fereday, Allan: Britain’s foremost dropped out of the trial when he police Lockerbie squad
forensics expert became a judge Wilson, Jim: Farmer who reported
Fhimah, Lamin: colleague of Giaka, Lord Maclean: judge at Lockerbie trial suitcase of drugs in his field
eventually put on trial for the Lord Sutherland QC: chair of
bombing Lockerbie trial judges
Fieldhouse, Dr David: Police surgeon
Forsberg, Ulf: Uppsala district
Maier, Kurt: the man who ran the x-ray
machine at Frankfurt, he did not
Acronyms
prosecutor presiding over Abu Talb BKA: The German police
give evidence
extradition hearing Mandela, Nelson: he was instrumental CIA: Central Intelligence Agency
Gadaffi, Colonel: Libyan leader in persuading Gadaffi to release the FAI: Fatal Accident Inquiry
Gannon, Matthew: formerly deputy two men for trial FBI: Federal Bureau of
CIA station chief in Beirut Marshman, Edward: FBI agent Investigation
Gauci, Tony: unfortunate Maltese McColm, DC: Dumfries and Galloway JSO: Libyan Intelligence
boutique owner police officer Organisation
Gerwel, Jakes, Professor: Secretary to McFadyen, Norman: masterminded the MEBO: Swiss manufacturer of
the South African Cabinet and prosecution for the Crown timer
former vice chancellor of the McKee, Major Charles: CIA Agent PFLP-GC: Popular Front for the
University of the Western Cape, one instrumental in release of hostages Liberation of Palestine –
of two men chosen by Nelson in Beirut and victim of the bomb General Command
Mandela to negotiate with Colonel Meister, Erwin: director of MEBO, RARDE: Royal Armaments Research
Gadaffi Swiss manufacturer of timer and Development
Giaka, Majid: Libyan who defected to devices Establishment
US claiming to be a Senior Mesbahi, Abolghasem: witness whose UNITA: National Union for the
Intelligence Officer claims, disproving Libyan Total Independence of Angola

2
Chapter One

THE HUNT FOR THE


FIRST SUSPECTS
At just after seven in the
evening,  four days before
Christmas 1988, what seemed at the
time like a fireball smashed into the
small Scottish border town of
Lockerbie. A Pan Am jumbo jet
airliner had exploded in mid-air,
killing all its 259 passengers and
crew. As the fireball ripped through
the town, 11 more were added to the
death toll. It was the biggest air
disaster in British history, but it was
no accident. After an anxious few
days over Christmas, it was
established that the airliner, Pan Am
103, had been blown up by a bomb.
The Lockerbie bombing became the
biggest mass murder in British
history and led to an international
hunt for the murderers – a hunt
which was to last for more than
twelve years and is still not over.

Channon Fodder First, it was discovered beyond all


doubt that the plane had been blown up
Channon. The immediate cause of the
row was a press campaign started off

A LMOST at once it was established


that Pan Am 103 had been blown
up by an explosive device, or bomb.
by an explosive device. Then it was
revealed that the bomb had been
disguised in a Toshiba cassette recorder
apparently by a secret “lobby” lunch at
which Channon had been the guest of a
self-styled luncheon club of political
Then news broke which shocked and and packed in a suitcase in the aircraft’s journalists.
dismayed the relatives. There had, it hold. Then in March 1989, there came The venue for the lunch was a small
emerged, been secret warnings that a what seemed to be a breakthrough. dining room at the Garrick club.The five
terrorist attack was being planned on A row broke in the House of journalists were Ian Aitken of the
American airlines in Europe. Commons over the head of the Guardian, Chris Buckland of Today,
Transport secretary of state Paul unfortunate transport secretary Robin Oakley of The Times, Julia
Channon, who had not endeared Langdon of the Daily Mirror and her
himself to the relatives by flying off on a husband Geoffrey Parkhouse, then of
Christmas holiday to the Caribbean the Glasgow Herald.
island of Mustique almost immediately The rules of the unofficial luncheon
after the disaster, revealed in the House club, which had been set up by
of Commons on his return that there Parkhouse and Langdon, were strict;
had been no less than 215 warnings anything said by the guest at the lunch
against aviation in 1988. was “on lobby terms”, and therefore
The most remarkable was a call to could not be directly attributed. These
the American embassy in Helsinki, the rules comforted the guests into talking
capital of Finland, on 5 December 1988, freely in the certain knowledge that they
a fortnight before the disaster. The caller could not be quoted.
warned that a Finnish woman would The Budget that March was on
carry a bomb onto a Pan Am airliner Tuesday 14 March, and the lunch was
from Frankfurt bound for America. two days later, on the 16th. The
Exasperated attempts by some of the conversation turned to the Lockerbie
relatives to get more information on this disaster, which was to be the subject of
and the other warnings were singularly a special statement by the Scottish Lord
unsuccessful during those first three Advocate the following day.
anxious months after the disaster. More Exactly what Channon said at the
news trickled out week by week. Paul Channon lunch can never be established, but it

3
A reproduction of
the bomb in the
Toshiba cassette

led to some extravagant reporting,


notably by Chris Buckland of Today on
news for the House of Commons, to
which he added a surprisingly firm
PARKINSON’S LAW
17 March. His report indicated that
Channon was plainly satisfied that
thanks to the brilliant detective work by
assurance: “The bomb that caused the
disaster had been contained in a radio
cassette player packed in the luggage –
A FTER a decent interval, Channon
was sacked and replaced as
Transport Secretary by Cecil Parkinson,
the Dumfries and Galloway police, the luggage which almost certainly did not former chairman of the Tory party who
smallest police force in the country, the originate from Heathrow.” So the had resigned as Margaret Thatcher’s
Lockerbie bombers would soon be department sent out another circular trade and industry secretary after being
brought to book. warning of such devices and issued exposed by Sara Keays as the father of
This article was taken up and instructions on how to prepare for them. her child.
embellished still further in the Scottish Channon went on to deal at some Always deeply devoted to Parkinson,
Daily Record. The combined articles led length with the Helsinki warning and Margaret Thatcher had brought him
to a storm in the House of Commons the concluded, with the American back into government in 1987, and now
next Tuesday, 21 March. The row was ambassador to Finland, that the warning picked him to replace Channon as
set off by the leader of the Labour Party was a hoax.When asked about the lunch Transport Secretary.
Neil Kinnock, who put down a special at the Garrick he refused to “comment At once, Parkinson was plunged into
private notice question to Paul Channon. on meetings with individuals” and the Lockerbie controversy. In September,
Channon gave a detailed reply, insisted that he had said nothing about he attended a meeting with the bereaved
referring MPs to a statement on the Lockerbie which had not already been families and immediately appeared to
criminal inquiry into Lockerbie given said by the Lord Advocate and therefore accede to their demand for a full-scale
the previous week by the Lord had said nothing about arrests or public inquiry into the Lockerbie
Advocate. He went on: “Late in October impending arrests. disaster. They would have their inquiry,
1988 the German police in Frankfurt Channon’s denials were not acceptable promised Parkinson, if he could clear it
discovered a radio cassette bomb which to the editor of the Daily Mirror, Richard with his colleagues.
contained barometric and timing devices Stott, who knew perfectly well that Everyone at the meeting assumed
indicating that it was intended to Channon had had lunch with his political that in this context there was only one
sabotage an aircraft.” correspondent, Julia Langdon, and what colleague who mattered: Prime Minister
This information, he went on, was he had said there. Thatcher herself. She at once rejected
passed to the British Department of On Tuesday 22 March, the Mirror front her favourite Minister’s plea. There
Transport which “issued a warning by page carried the bold announcement would, he disconsolately revealed to the
telex on 22 November 1988 to UK YOU’RE A LIAR, MR CHANNON. The families at another meeting, be no
airports and airlines pointing to the paper claimed that Channon had indeed public inquiry.
possible existence of other such talked about impending arrests and to test Years later, in 1994, after a television
devices”. On 19 December, the the matter, challenged the Transport programme about another disaster – the
department drafted a warning circular. It Secretary to issue a writ for libel against sinking of the cruise boat Marchioness
was “not sent out because of the need to the Mirror. Channon refused to do so, and in the summer of 1989 – Parkinson was
obtain reproduction photographs in most commentators, including Private Eye asked to reflect on Lockerbie. After
colour”. Two days later, Pan Am 103 (1 April, 1989), predicted that his days ascertaining that he was “off the record”
was bombed over Lockerbie. in the Cabinet were numbered. So they and without knowing that he was being
On 16 February, Channon had more were. recorded, Parkinson said: “I was

4
discussing with the Lockerbie relatives down by a US warship of an Iranian Leppard. In the 1960s and 1970s the
whether we couldn’t have some form of airbus over the Persian Gulf, Jibril had Sunday Times had established a
public inquiry which would have gone to Iran and struck a deal with the reputation for independent investigation
meant, because the security services authorities there to blow up an and assessment of public affairs. The
were involved, inevitably a certain American plane in revenge. paper’s Insight column had investigated
amount of suspicion – and I wondered The article continued: “When the big public scandals including major
whether I couldn’t get a High Court intelligence reports began to leak last political events such as the Bloody
judge to look into the security aspects March, Thatcher called Bush to discuss Sunday massacre in Derry in 1972.
privately and report to me. their problem. Bush didn’t argue when The tradition of the Insight column
“If I could get the relatives to agree Thatcher suggested that they ‘low-key’ was that its journalists chose their own
with that, if I got that done, that would the findings. After the call, word was subjects for inquiry, independently even
satisfy them. Because when you get into quickly passed to top officials of the editor, and proceeded on their
the Lockerbie business – how did we conducting the Pan Am investigation own initiative to carry out their own
find out certain information, how did we that they were not to make any off-the- investigations and produce their reports.
know this, how did we know that? – you record remarks implicating Jibril or Iran This tradition was continued under
would have had to recall not only our in Britain.” successive Insight editors. In 1981,
own intelligence sources but information Jack Anderson’s contacts in high Christopher Hird, who had worked as
we were recovering from overseas. Washington politics were impeccable deputy editor at the New Statesman to
Therefore that had to be a closed area.” and it seems most unlikely that his the former Insight editor Bruce Page, was
report of the phone call was entirely appointed editor of Insight, and
wrong. What he may have missed was continued in the tradition of
THE ANDERSON the relevance of the date of the call, independent investigation and reporting.
PAPER which he gave as “mid-March” 1989 –
precisely the time of the row in the
In 1983, the new owner of the
Sunday Times, Rupert Murdoch,

O UT of the mouths of former


Cabinet Ministers talking off the
record, come forth gobbets of truth.
press and the House of Commons about
Mr Channon and the Garrick lunch.
If the top level call did take place at
appointed a relatively unknown
journalist, Andrew Neil, as Sunday
Times editor. Neil’s first act was to sack
The fascinating aspect of this that time, it was most probably inspired Christopher Hird and to make it clear
revelation from Parkinson was his by the headlines following the Channon that he disapproved of the Insight
confirmation that the real problem with lunch. No doubt poor Paul Channon column and its traditions. In future, he
finding out the truth about Lockerbie was among the first to taste the fury of decreed, all investigations would be
was the damage that truth might do to his Prime Minister about his controlled and supervised by himself.
the security services. indiscretions at the Garrick. The Insight logo, though it
Yet, in spite of the fact that the But there was something else about re-appeared from time to time, was
relatives had apparently approved a Anderson’s speculation which didn’t effectively junked. One casualty was the
course of action that would shunt all quite ring true: the notion that George tradition of independent journalistic
security matters off onto a dependable Bush and Margaret Thatcher would investigation. This was replaced in the
High Court judge, Thatcher had still – agree a “low key” approach solely main by material which posed as
in December 1989 – rejected any because they could not do anything to “investigative” but which in fact
question of a public inquiry. avenge themselves and the Lockerbie recycled information from safe sources,
A clue to Thatcher’s attitude at the relatives on Iran. safest of which were the police and the
time came in an article in the Washington Just as likely was the fear in both their security and intelligence services.
Post the following January (1990) by the minds that the Lockerbie bombing had David Leppard borrowed heavily
celebrated American columnist Jack exposed a gaping hole in their intelligence from both for his Lockerbie series. The
Anderson and Dale Van Atta. services which would, if the matter was first of these articles, published on page
The article started with the surprising fully aired, be proved to have been 1 on 29 October, 1989, was headed
revelation: “President Bush and British incompetent to stop a murderous plot LOCKERBIE: DISASTER TRAIL LEADS
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher they knew about. At any rate, the TO MALTA.
secretly agreed last spring to play down Anderson article provided some The first word betrayed the source of
the truth about who blew up Pan Am explanation for the curious official silence this astonishing revelation. “Police
flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. of both heads of state after March 1989. investigating the Lockerbie air disaster
“After both leaders had intelligence have uncovered evidence which
reports pointing the finger at a terrorist
hired by Ayatollah Khomeini, Thatcher THE SUNDAY suggests that the bomb which destroyed
the American jumbo jet was originally
called Bush. In that conversation they TIMES REVEALS loaded on to a plane at Malta.
agreed that neither could stand the
political heat of making the evidence THE TRUTH “The evidence is a computer loading
list of all luggage put on board the first
public because both were impotent to
retaliate.”
The article went on to reveal that in
I N any case, neither leader proved
very successful in damping down
the enthusiasm of the police forces and
leg of the doomed Pan Am flight 103
from Frankfurt to London on 21
December last year. The list shows that
March 1989, just a few months after the intelligence organisations who were hot one suitcase was transferred on to a
bombing, intelligence in both the United on the trail of the Lockerbie bombers. Frankfurt flight from Malta without an
States and Britain had discovered the By the autumn of 1989, massive new accompanying passenger. This crucial
culprits for the Lockerbie bombing. They doses of information about the disaster evidence, given to Scottish detectives in
were terrorists under the control of the reached the public from the sources August, had been available to German
Popular Front for the Liberation of Thatcher and Parkinson had apparently police since February.” The article then
Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) been so anxious to protect. published the following crucial
under the leadership of Ahmed Jibril. On 29 October, 1989, the Sunday information.
Anderson and Van Atta asserted that Times started a long series of articles on “The suitcase which carried the
in July 1988, soon after the shooting Lockerbie by their staff journalist David bomb was a Samsonite hardshell.

5
A Samsonite For instance, the original story said the
suitcase packed bomb suitcase went on at Malta
with a cassette unaccompanied. Two weeks later it was
recorder and “carried aboard a plane to Frankfurt by
clothes like the an innocent passenger duped by the
bomb suitcase terrorist gang”. But the essence of the
on Pan Am 103 information did not change at all.
The fourth article, on 19 November,
once again concentrated on Talb. “Talb
flew out of Malta on 26 November last
year” wrote Leppard, “only three days
after a man walked into a boutique in
the tourist resort of Sliema and bought
clothes which were later wrapped
around the Pan Am suitcase bomb.”
This article dealt with another
It named the principal mystery. “The bombs discovered in the
Lockerbie bombers, identified Frankfurt flat were connected to altitude-
who paid them and exposed how sensitive devices designed to set off a
they planted the bomb on board 45-minute timer at 3000 feet. This has led
Flight PA 103. “Western to speculation that the Lockerbie bomb
intelligence,” he went on, “is could not have been loaded anywhere
convinced that Iran paid millions but London because of the interval
of dollars to Ahmed Jibril to carry between the jet leaving Heathrow and it
out the bombing as revenge for exploding over Lockerbie.”
the shooting down of an Iranian But this speculation was not at all in
airbus by an American warship agreement with what was exercising the
over the Gulf in July last year.” minds of the Sunday Times sources –
As promised, the article the Scottish police. “Scottish police
named the chief conspirators: however,” reported Leppard, “believe a
Hafez Kassem Dalkamoni who PFLP-GC member smuggled the bomb
recruited “a Jordanian terrorist” last November from West Germany to
called Marwan Khreesat, to make Malta.”
the bombs. Dalkamoni was The fifth article (on 5 December 1989)
arrested by German police. So was finally certain about one of the main
was Khreesat, who was released suspects. LOCKERBIE TRIAL FOR
“for lack of evidence” even ‘BOMB MAN’ was the headline over a
though “a barometric (altitude Leppard article from Uppsala, Sweden,
sensitive) bomb of the type which stated boldly that Abu Talb was
The case was packed with clothes eventually used at Lockerbie was about to be extradited from Sweden to
bought from a shop in Malta. found in his car when he was arrested”. Britain to stand charges over the
The shopkeeper who sold the clothes The bomb made by Khreesat was Lockerbie bombing: “The Sunday Times
was interviewed by a squad of Scottish “concealed in a Toshiba radio cassette”. which first named Talb as a suspect last
police. It was smuggled to Malta by a known month, can reveal that he has been
The shopkeeper told them that he PFLP-GC terrorist called Ramzi Diab, positively identified as the person who
had sold the clothes ‘to a man he and handed over to a Palestinian cell bought the clothes from a shop in Malta
believed was a Libyan’ a month before there. Dalkamoni and “another which have been linked by British
the bombing.” Palestinian terrorist” called Abu Talb forensic scientists to the suitcase bomb.”
All these facts stood the test of time. then went to Malta and “instructed the Leppard, who was presumably
The official British investigators duly cell to plant the bomb on an Air Malta present outside the court, then reported:
concluded, wrote Leppard, that “the flight bound for Frankfurt”. “During a 90-minute closed court
bomb was smuggled from West Germany This second article ended with some session Ulf Forsberg the Uppsala district
into Malta” and back again to Frankfurt criticism of the German police for the prosecutor told the presiding magistrate
airport, and on to Lockerbie. bungling of the investigation, and that the owner of a boutique in Sliema,
Who carried out this complicated especially for the release of the bomb- Malta, had identified Talb as the man to
plot? David Leppard’s “security sources” maker Khreesat. In a huge, rather whom he sold the clothes.”
knew the answer to that as well. “Iran repetitive, article Khreesat was said to On 10 December, for his sixth article
paid the Popular Front for the Liberation be suspected of being “a triple agent” on the subject, David Leppard disclosed
of Palestine – General Command, a hard- who intended to bomb Flight PA 103. that “two detectives from Lockerbie flew
line Palestinian terrorist group, up to 10 The chief suspects, therefore, were to Belgrade last week to question friends
million dollars in advance to carry out a Dalkamoni, Khreesat, Talb and a Libyan and relatives of Mobdi Goben, a 42-year-
revenge attack for the shooting down of explosives expert known as The old Palestinian nicknamed ‘the
an Iranian airbus by an American Professor. Professor’ because of his alleged bomb-
warship in the Gulf in July 1988.” The third article, published on 12 making expertise.” (This was the man
By the following week, David November, reported that Scottish police identified by Leppard only two weeks
Leppard’s investigations into Lockerbie were about to fly to Sweden to visit their previously as a Libyan).
had been awarded the treasured (and suspect, Abu Talb, who was in prison But the main point stayed firm.
meaningless) Insight logo. “Insight’s there on terrorist offences. The detail of “Goben is believed to have supplied the
account,” he boasted, “is based on the story was shifting all the time, material for the Lockerbie bomb to
information pieced together by Western probably because of new information Hafez Dalkamoni, who leads the PFLP-
intelligence sources.” available to Leppard’s security sources. GC’s European network.”

6
The seventh article was entitled time before attempts were made by the not permitted to inquire into likely
POLICE CLOSE IN ON LOCKERBIE brilliant Scottish police backed up by suspects – that was left entirely to the
KILLERS and started with the bald their brilliant forensic scientists at CIA, the FBI and the Dumfries and
statement that police now had the RARDE (Royal Armaments Research and Galloway police.
necessary evidence to charge the Development Establishment), to One final fling at the PFLP-GC and
Lockerbie bombers. extradite those responsible so they their connections before the bombing
This was backed up by another could stand trial for the murder of 270 with Malta was made on Granada
massive full-page article, this time by people at Lockerbie. Television in November in the run-up to
David Leppard and Nick Rufford, It is worth pointing out that at that the second anniversary of the disaster.
modestly entitled LOCKERBIE: THE stage, at least according to the Sunday The programme focused on a bakery
FINAL RECKONING. Perhaps it was the Times, there was not a jot of evidence to in Malta and a Palestinian cell based
addition of Rufford to the team that incriminate anyone outside the PFLP- there. The programme made the same
uncovered a new and apparently vital GC or their paymasters in Iran. There connection as the Sunday Times had
piece of evidence. was, in addition, an obvious motive for done a year earlier – between the fact
“From the moment a policeman the Lockerbie bombing – revenge for the that the clothes in the bomb suitcase
picked up a little piece of printed Iranian airbus so recklessly shot down were bought in Malta and the less
circuit board which had fallen onto the by an American warship in the Gulf a certain fact that an unaccompanied bag
floor from a shattered luggage pallet, few months earlier. from Malta was loaded onto a Pan Am
investigators were on their way to Moreover the Iran/PFLP theory feeder flight from Frankfurt to London
solving the mystery of who had carried corresponded closely to what Paul and thence to Pan Am 103. To illustrate
out the biggest mass murder on British Channon had told the journalists over this hypothesis, the programme showed
territory.” lunch at the Garrick, and to what a sinister-looking Arab checking in a bag
Thanks to what the article described Anderson had ascribed to Bush and at Malta airport and then sliding
as “the brilliance of Allen Fereday, Thatcher in their conversation at about surreptitiously away while the plane
Britain’s foremost forensics expert” the the same time. By the end of 1989, a full took off.
fragment was traced to a Toshiba radio year after the bombing, every other This was too much for Air Malta,
cassette recorder which had contained media, police or intelligence who sued Granada for libel. Norton
the explosive device. The Toshiba was investigation of the issue on both sides Rose, the London commercial solicitors,
in turn traced to a Samsonite suitcase of the Atlantic arrived at the same compiled a huge dossier detailing
placed by “probably the most brilliant conclusion. almost everything about the flight from
piece of detective work in the inquiry” There was, finally, in all the Malta to Frankfurt on the day of the
in the second layer of a luggage pallet thousands devoted to the subject by the Lockerbie bombing and proving that all
on Pan Am 103. Sunday Times, or by anyone else, not a 55 bags checked in on the flight could
From there the interminable story word about Libya – save only for the be ascribed to passengers, none of
repeated itself: the clothes in the bomb description of the man to whom the whom travelled on to London. The
suitcase had come from Malta, and from Maltese boutique owner, Tony Gauci, evidence was so powerful that Granada
Malta, according to documents from sold clothes as “a Libyan” and the settled the action before it got to court.
Frankfurt, an unaccompanied bag had reference to “the Professor” Goben as a They paid Air Malta £15,000 damages
flown to Frankfurt. Libyan, when in fact he was nothing of and all the costs of the case.
In the eighth and last of the articles, the kind. The only time these matters had been
published on Christmas Eve 1989, The forensic evidence, including the tested in a legal action, the Maltese
almost exactly a year after the bombing, fragment of circuit board allegedly connection to the bomb suitcase was
David Leppard revealed another piece picked up off the floor of a pallet, comprehensively demolished.
of evidence to prove his theory. incriminated the PFLP. Police,
“Ministry of Defence officials now intelligence, top politicians and every Continued page 10
believe a white plastic residue journalist who
recovered from the crash site is the investigated the
same material as that in alarm clocks story came to the
bought by the group at the shop in same conclusion.
Neuss, near Dusseldorf, two months There was one set of
before the bombing.” suspects, the PFLP-
In such continuous regurgitation of a GC, and only two
repeated story it is perhaps not countries were
surprising that there were a number of implicated, Iran and
contradictions or that David Leppard Syria.
and/or Nick Rufford occasionally For the first half
contradicted themselves in the detail. of 1990 very little
But throughout the whole the basic was said in public
theme was clear and consistent. The about Lockerbie. The
bomb was in a Toshiba cassette recorder, families kept
packed in a Samsonite case. campaigning for a
In the weeks before the bombing, a public inquiry, but
Palestinian terrorist gang acting under all they got was a
the orders of the PFLP-GC were engaged fatal accident
in making bombs and fitting them to inquiry held in
Toshiba recorders with the intention of Scotland that started
planting them on an American aircraft. in October 1990. The
Indeed, the German police, in an inquiry was heavily
operation they called “Autumn Leaves”, controlled by the
had actually arrested members of the Scottish Lord
PFLP-GC gang. It was only a matter of Advocate and was The Rev. John Mosey, whose daughter Helga died at Lockerbie

7
Appendix 1

the
Unexplained
mysteries
at the
disaster site
THE SMEARING OF DR FIELDHOUSE
A n early visitor to Lockerbie
on  the night of the bombing
was a police surgeon from Bradford
A. It would be some months later before we were able to
ascertain the complete information we had to hand.
Q. It is clear, Sergeant, that it is scarcely a very
called David Fieldhouse. His ordeal satisfactory state of affairs?
was first reported in the Eye on the A. It was not very satisfactory, sir.
third anniversary of the bombing, THE Eye reported (no. 783, 20 December, 1991): “The
21 December 1991. picture was complete. The grieving families were presented
He was watching television at his with the notion of a slightly deranged surgeon driving up in
home in Bradford when news of the the middle of the night to certify bodies without liaising
disaster flashed up on the screen. with the police or anyone else and then taking several
He left the house at once and drove months to report what he had found.”
to Lockerbie. There he contacted the This complete picture, however, was entirely false. When
police, explained who he was and offered to help. Dr Fieldhouse heard of the sergeant’s evidence, he insisted
A police officer was assigned to him and he spent the on giving evidence to the fatal accident inquiry. In a long
whole of that night and all the following day searching out session under oath the doctor insisted that on the night of
bodies, labelling them and pronouncing them dead. For all the disaster a policeman had been with him all night, and
that time he worked relentlessly, with nothing to eat except the following morning the officer was replaced by three
a biscuit. At darkness on the 22nd, he had found and others from Cumbria police, whom he named.
labelled 59 bodies. After spending that night with a friend in At least two of those officers, he said, were with him all
Carlisle, Dr Fieldhouse went back again to Lockerbie on the day during which he certified some 47 bodies over an area
23rd to keep an early appointment with a detective chief of about 20 square miles. After exposing the police smears,
inspector of Dumfries and Galloway police. Dr Fieldhouse got an apology, not from the police but from
The inspector never arrived for the appointment, but, John Mowat, the Sheriff Principal who conducted the fatal
much to his irritation, Dr Fieldhouse was told by another accident inquiry.
policeman that his 59 tags had been replaced by 58 official The apology was at least partially reinforced by a letter to
ones. He went home, wrote a full report of his activities and Tam Dalyell MP from the Minister of State at the Foreign
posted it to the Dumfries and Galloway police headquarters. Office, Tony Lloyd, on 17 February 1998. Mr Lloyd accepted
He never understood what happened to the 59th body, and rather shamefacedly that Dr Fieldhouse had indeed passed
was not especially surprised when the official police count on the information about the bodies he’d certified on the
of the bodies which he had certified only came to 58. evening of 22 December but that this “very unfortunately”
In ordinary circumstances, he might have expected a had been overlooked.
word of thanks or appreciation from the authorities, but Moreover, Mr Lloyd agreed that Dr Fieldhouse had
instead, without warning and in his absence, he was written to the police a few days after he got back from
subjected to a sinister smear – from the police force he had Lockerbie. Mr Lloyd said he could “well understand” the
so selflessly assisted. distress caused by these “discrepancies” but could offer no
At the fatal accident inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing, explanation why a conscientious police surgeon should have
the Scottish equivalent of an inquest, in October 1990, been smeared by police and lawyers at a fatal accident
Sergeant David Johnston was asked by the Lord Advocate, inquiry set up by the government.
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, about one of the bodies found and These official apologies and understandings were not
labelled by Dr Fieldhouse. It was clear from the line of much consolation to Dr Fieldhouse. On 21 December 1993,
questioning that for reasons not entirely clear the Lord the fifth anniversary of the bombing, he had been summoned
Advocate, the senior Scottish law officer, was rather cross to a meeting of senior police officers in Wakefield, and
about the doctor’s performance. sacked. No credible explanation was given to him or to
Q. Would this be another example of Dr or Mr Fieldhouse anyone else for this sacking.
carrying out a search on his own? It came a few days after he was interviewed by researcher
A. It would, my Lord. John Ashton for a two-hour Channel 4 documentary on the
Q. And marking the body of the person who is dead Lockerbie bombing. Dr Fieldhouse told the Eye (no. 849, 1
without notifying the police? July, 1994): “I’ve racked my brains and neither I nor any of
A. That is correct. my colleagues can think of any relevant reason for my
Sgt Johnson was also questioned by Mr Gill QC, counsel sacking. I believe my contract was not renewed because I
for the bereaved families: stood up for myself at the fatal accident inquiry and was not
Q. Can you tell me when it was that Dr Fieldhouse prepared to condone perverting the course of justice.”
provided the information [about the bodies he’d found] to Dr Fieldhouse’s experiences in the grim aftermath of the
the Lockerbie inquiry office? bombing were not unique.

8
“As you know,” wrote Mr Lloyd, “a story appeared in
Private Eye suggesting that armed men in an unmarked
THE WHITE white helicopter warned off Mr Ron Smith of Scottish
Woodlands from approaching something which was covered
HELICOPTER AND by a red tarpaulin.
“Mr Ron Smith told Dumfries and Galloway police on 26
THE RED TARPAULIN March 1995 (the day after the article appeared) that no such
thing had happened to him. He had simply heard this story
secondhand from another unidentified person. There is no
M R Ron Smith was working for a team employed by
Galloway Mountain Rescue searching among the
debris left by the exploded plane.
evidence of any incident which might have given rise to this
rumour. Mr Smith told Private Eye that the story they
reported was untrue.”
Three days after the bombing, he told the Eye (no. 868, 24 Mr Tony Lloyd cannot be counted among the many MPs
March 1995): “We were told that a search team had come who read Private Eye, and obviously had not read the story
across a huge red or orange tarpaulin in an open field. It he sought to discredit. If he had, he might have noticed this
covered a large box or container – far larger than a recording sentence: “Ron Smith tells the Eye that he was not involved
box or anything like that. in this incident but he is sure it happened.”
“Above the tarpaulin hovered a helicopter. A man with a He never contacted the Eye to denounce the story that he
gun stood in the door waving away anyone who approached so freely volunteered. Moreover, most surprisingly, he never
the tarpaulin. Naturally no one went near it. When the mentioned the colour of the helicopter or the markings on it.
searchers went back to the scene the next day, they reported These were not mentioned anywhere else in the Eye article
nothing but a large hole. The tarpaulin and the container though Mr Lloyd attributed to the Eye the information that
had vanished. the helicopter was “white” and “unmarked”.
“It certainly could not have been removed except by a “At one stage,” Lloyd explained helpfully, “the air
large vehicle, yet there were no track marks in the field. accident investigation branch and the police used a white
They concluded that the container must have been lifted helicopter hired from a private company. This bore no
away in the air.” markings other than the small registration markings on the
Mr Smith talked to Private Eye quite openly and had no tail boom. In some instances, this helicopter was flown with
objection to the use of his name. What he said was one of the rear door removed to allow better visibility and
the matters referred to in Mr Tony Lloyd’s letter to Tam observations were conducted in this manner with binoculars
Dalyell MP mentioned above. and cameras.”

release of hostages in Beirut, had been mysteriously carried

THE SUITCASE FULL away from the piles of wreckage left by the crash and even
had a large hole cut into it before it was returned to the

OF DRUGS investigators. The specific intention of cutting the hole, it


was agreed, was to inspect the contents of the suitcase long
before its evidential value could be established.

A NOTHER weird story from the hours after the


disaster  came from Mr Jim Wilson, a farmer at
Tundergarth Mains.
The fact that Major McKee and his CIA associate Matthew
Gannon, formerly deputy CIA station chief in Beirut, were
among the dead passengers may have explained at least
After the crash, his fields were littered with bodies and some of the mysterious happenings in and around Lockerbie
debris from the airliner. The mess included a suitcase, neatly after the disaster.
packed with a powdery substance that looked like drugs. Some of these matters were addressed in a book written
He was worried in case the substances could harm his almost immediately afterwards by Scottish radio reporter
sheep and he contacted the police. Eventually, after some David Johnston. He suggested on radio at the time that the
delay, the suitcase was removed. Farmer Wilson was one of investigation had been held up for at least two days while
the first witnesses to give evidence when the fatal accident the CIA hunted for and inspected the luggage of their dead
inquiry started in October 1990. He answered questions, but officers.
was very surprised when no one asked him about the drugs Support for this theory came from another strange
suitcase. discrepancy. Martin and Rita Cadman, whose son Bill, a
Twice the Lord Advocate’s office promised relatives that sound designer and director, had been one of the victims on
the matter would be “taken care of” but it never was. Some the plane, were infuriated early on when they noticed that
relatives discovered that the name printed on the suitcase, their son’s death certificate was dated 24 December, when he
which Jim Wilson remembered exactly, did not appear on had obviously died on the 21st. In all the time since they
the list of passengers for Pan Am flight 103. have never had any credible explanation for this
Others couldn’t help remembering Dr Fieldhouse’s discrepancy.
testimony that he had labelled 59 bodies, while the police Almost as soon as his broadcast went on air, Mr Johnston
had labelled 58. Was Tony Lloyd from the Foreign Office was astonished to be approached by two very senior police
referring to this suitcase when he wrote to Tam Dalyell: “as officers who demanded to know the source for his story.
for the allegation that United States officials removed a case When he refused, he was begged to betray his source to
from the wreckage, this did not happen”? anyone he liked, even the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Mr Lloyd followed the assurance with another of the He declined, and heard no more.
same kind. “There is no question,” he wrote, “of any items But as these stories started to circulate among those of the
being released in the early stages of the investigation before bereaved relatives who were already inclined to doubt the
their evidential value could be established.” official stories, the suspicion started to grow that there was
In the recent murder trial of two Libyans for the more to this disaster than tragedy or terrorism, and that
Lockerbie bombing, reference was made to the fact that a some other force outside the normal processes of democratic
suitcase belonging to Major Charles McKee, a senior CIA government was at work. Everything that happened in the
agent who had been involved in the negotiations for the next twelve years sustained and nurtured that suspicion.

9
Chapter Two

THE HUNT FOR


NEW SUSPECTS
The Gulf War culprits. Iran had been suspect ever since
the 1979 revolution there and the taking
complicity of Iran and Syria in the
Lockerbie bombing was replaced with a
and the problem of American hostages. Syria had been completely different story with
of Syria beyond the pale as a state that harboured
terrorists, and had been blamed for
completely different suspects.
The first signs of change came as the

I N all the months of 1990, before the


fatal accident inquiry and the
Granada programme, there had been a
overtly terrorist attacks against American
property. But now, thanks to the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait, an entirely new
opposing armies started to build up in
the desert.
In October 1990, a series of
strange silence about Lockerbie from approach was called for. newspaper reports indicated that the
government and from media. If the US was to go to war in the guilty country responsible for Lockerbie
Throughout that year, there was a Gulf, Iran would have – at the least – to was not Iran or Syria or even Palestine.
dramatic shift in the political situation be neutralised. More importantly, Arab The guilty country was Libya.
in the Middle East. The long, ghastly support had to be found to bolster the These new suspicions were not
and pointless war between Iran and Iraq US/UN forces preparing to invade reflected in either of the two official
ended after 10 years and a million Kuwait. Egypt was at once on side but inquiries into the Lockerbie disaster. In
corpses in the summer of 1988. Egypt was almost too reliable. The US October 1990, the fatal accident inquiry
Throughout the war, the US required other less subservient allies to started under the aegis of the Sheriff
government under Ronald Reagan boost its invasion army, and Syria was Principal in Scotland.
pretended to be neutral but increasingly the obvious choice. Out of deference to the continuing
sided with Iraq. When the war ended, If Syria could be brought on side over inquiries of the Dumfries and Galloway
there was a stampede by the western Iraq, the Arab forces on the other side – police, the FAI did not even ask who
arms industry to sell their arms to the mainly Jordan and the Palestinians – was responsible for the bombing. But in
Ba’ath government in Iraq led by the would dwindle almost to nothing. For so far as it dealt with matters of aviation
dictator Saddam Hussein. his own reasons the Syrian dictator security, all its questions and
No sooner had many of the wartime Assad was worried about the conclusions stuck closely to the
arms controls been dropped, and arms expansionist plans of his tyrannical received version about the PFLP and
sales to Iraq redoubled, than Saddam neighbour Saddam Hussein. Assad was their gang in Germany.
Hussein, encouraged by his favourable not averse to joining the UN force to A similar approach was adopted by
status in the West and the new supply push Saddam out of Kuwait. Thus, very the American Presidential Commission
of western arms, sought to embark on quickly in the summer and autumn of on Aviation Security and Terrorism. The
new imperialist ventures in the Arab 1990, a sea change took place in the Commission was made up of seven
world. Gulf. The US, UK and their allies started members, including two senators and
As Saddam’s plans to invade to negotiate with their former enemies. two members of Congress. It invited
neighbouring Kuwait became clear to All this was completed quickly – in questions from the bereaved families.
western intelligence, the leaders of the November 1990, new deals were signed Sixty-six questions were submitted,
western powers took fright. Kuwait to neutralise Iran and bring Syrian forces some of which referred to the PFLP-GC.
supplied eight per cent of the cheap oil into the combined operation against For instance, question 45 asked: “Is it
on which the US economy depended, Saddam already known as Desert Storm. true that the US government
and the prospect of all that oil passing Obviously the deal meant disposing approached the Syrian government at
into the hands of a strong and ambitious of the old suspicions of both Iran and Damascus with a request to close PFLP-
dictator, as opposed to the weak and Syria as harbourers of terrorists. This in GC training camps there because the US
pliant dictatorship in Kuwait, was turn meant dropping suspicions against government had proof that this group
horrifying. As Saddam’s plans became both countries over the Lockerbie was responsible for the bombing of
clearer and clearer in the spring and bombing. This was done very simply by Flight 103?”
summer of 1990, so the western powers stopping all official references to the These questions were not answered
prepared for war against him. “Autumn Leaves” investigation, to the directly, but dealt with in varying
At the same time, and as a direct German police inquiries, to the PFLP- degrees of thoroughness in the body of
result of this shifting scene, a new GC or to their Syrian controllers. the report. The Commission conducted
official approach to the Lockerbie President Bush took the lead in this its extensive inquiries in several
bombing emerged. As we have seen, all matter by declaring, almost out of the countries between October 1989 and
through 1989 and for the first few blue, that “Syria took a bum rap on this”. February 1990. Most of its inquiries and
months of 1990, the received view in The evidence against the PFLP which recommendations dealt with security at
government intelligence and the had been so carefully put together and airports. The Commission did not
western media was that the bombing was so immensely impressive was provide any theory as to who bombed
had been planned and perpetrated by quietly but firmly junked. Flight 103, but it did produce
people in Iran and Syria. Obviously an alternative story was considerable material about the Autumn
These were, for the purposes of needed to replace it. Slowly at first but Leaves investigation, about the PFLP-
western government and their with gathering speed the evidence so GC, and about security at Frankfurt
intelligence services, perfectly acceptable painstakingly put together to prove the airport and at Heathrow.

10
There was hardly a mention of Libya anyone else was able to explain why a MST-13 timers to Libya. By the time the
in the report. Its members plainly did fragment first investigated by Hayes in US air forces started bombing Iraq and
not even contemplate the possibility May 1989 was not photographed nor the Gulf War started in January 1991,
that Libya might have been linked to the why, when it was first sent to the the first piece of evidence apparently
bombing. Thus, by the spring of 1990, Scottish police four months later, linking the Lockerbie bombing to Libya
as the war drums began to beat in the Fereday felt it necessary to apologise for was tentatively in place.
Gulf, the two main official inquiries into the “short time” he had had to take a
Lockerbie on both sides of the Atlantic
– the fatal accident inquiry in Scotland
photograph.
In due course, after several fruitless
THE LINK TO LIBYA
and the Presidential Comission in the
United States – in so far as they referred
at all to the culprits for the bombing had
journeys to circuit board manufacturers
in Europe, Williamson sent the fragment
on to the United States. So it was that in
T HESE “discoveries” about the
fragment and the timer led to
reports in the media linking the
concentrated exclusively on the theory June 1990, a couple of weeks before bombing – for the first time in nearly
that the bombers were Palestinian Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, two years of official investigations – to
terrorists paid for by Iran. Williamson found himself and his Libya.
colleagues in Washington comparing the In September 1990, only a few weeks
TOM THURMAN fragment to that of an MST-13 timer
showed to them by the Americans.
after the visit of Scottish police to
Washington and their meeting with Tom
FINDS A CLUE Tom Thurman pointed out that there Thurman and only a month after the
were certain similarities between the invasion of Kuwait, the French news
T HE first sign of a shift in the
official view of the bombing starts
with a phone call in July 1990 from
tracking marks on the fragment
originally found in the shirt and marks
magazine L’Express reported that the
detonator fragment found at Lockerbie
on the timer. Moreover, as he was identical to a number of others
Tom Thurman, forensic investigator for
triumphantly revealed, there were some seized almost three years before by
the FBI, to DCI “Willy” Williamson of
printed letters on the timer. The letters, Senegalese police from two Libyan
the Scottish police Lockerbie squad.
they all concluded, were MEBQ, which secret agents.
He asked the policeman to travel to
they later translated as MEBO, the name Before long this was being published
Washington to have a look at what
of a firm in Switzerland. in other Western media. On 14
Thurman regarded as important new
This new information led the police December, 1990, for instance, the
evidence. Williamson duly flew to
on further trips to have a look at similar Independent in London, which had been
Washington with two other Scottish
timers originally recovered or among the most faithful followers of the
policemen and the forensic expert from
photographed in Senegal. Eventually, on PFLP-GC scenario, reported: “Libya was
RARDE, Allen Fereday.
15 November 1990, as war in the Gulf behind the bombing of Pan Am 103 two
These men met Thurman at FBI
seemed more and more certain, the years ago, according to sources close to
headquarters. Thurman showed them a
police, shadowed as always by agents the inquiry. The proof, described as
timer for an explosive device known as
from the FBI or CIA or both, went to ‘conclusive’ by high-level sources, is
MST-13 which he suggested resembled a
Switzerland where they interviewed based on analysis of a detonator fragment
tiny fragment of material discovered
Edwin Bollier and Meister, directors of recovered from the Lockerbie debris. The
after the bombing by the Scottish police.
MEBO, the firm that made the timers. evidence has come to light only in the
This fragment had a strange history.
Bollier and Meister turned out to be last three months.”
It was first found in the neck of a shirt
difficult interviewees and their answers, The article went on: “One source
collected from the luggage off the
like their evidence in the trial 10 years said: ‘Not only do we now know
stricken plane. The material found in
later, were often contradictory. But they Gaddafi was responsible, he also knows
the shirt was first marked “cloth,
did confirm that they had delivered we know’.” The identity of this “source”
charred”, but this had been overwritten
by a Scottish policeman with the word
“debris”. The policeman who found it,
DC Gilchrist, was never able to give a
credible explanation for this alteration.
The fragment lay in a store with
quantities of other material at least until
May 1989 when it was examined by Dr
Thomas Hayes at RARDE. Dr Hayes saw
nothing specially relevant in the
fragment, and apparently did nothing
about it. His own note about his
examination originally appeared on
page 51 of his notes. The following
pages were originally numbered 51-55,
but the numbers were overwritten later
to 52-56. Dr Hayes was never able to
explain this re-numbering.
Four months later, in September 1989,
Allen Fereday of RARDE wrote a note to
DCI Williamson in Scotland asking him
to look at a Polaroid picture of the
fragment. Usually, RARDE experts would
have had a proper photograph taken, but
the Polaroid, wrote Mr Fereday, was “the
best I can do in a short time”.
Photo of the charred shirt from the Lockerbie debris, and the tiny fragment of circuit
Neither Mr Fereday, Dr Hayes nor
board (circled)

11
was not revealed in the article but it American hostility to Libya and the fear
cannot have been the official spokesman of terrorism from there, any source,
of the Scottish police who was quoted even if unreliable, was better than none.
saying he had “absolutely no comment” Scraps of information passed on by
on the revelation. The Independent Giaka during 41 clandestine meetings
article, which was written by David between August 1988 and July 1991
Black and the paper’s Middle East editor were duly logged. In October 1988 he
Harvey Morris, did however concede revealed that a managerial colleague at
that it was “still unclear why it took Luqa airport, Lamin Fhimah, had kept
investigators so long to make the link”. explosives in his desk drawer. In
A few days later, on 19 December December 1988, the month of the
1990, another Independent article gave Lockerbie bombing, he was asked about
a clue as to the source of the first one. the movements of JSO officials through
Leonard Doyle from New York reported: Luqa airport. He replied that a man he
“The former head of the CIA’s counter- regarded as a senior JSO officer,
terrorism section yesterday said the Abdelbasset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi,
Independent’s report of a Libyan link to had passed through Luqa airport on
the Lockerbie bombing was accurate.” Abu Talb 7 December. These two men eventually
Who was he? “Vince Cannistraro, 1989, Gauci’s brother Paul showed him became the suspects for the Lockerbie
who left the CIA in September.” an article in the Sunday Times series bombing.
Cannistraro had worked with Oliver which featured a photograph of the Yet none of Giaka’s information about
North in President Reagan’s Security Sunday Times’ chief suspect, Abu Talb, them seemed even remotely interesting
Council. He had been a leading figure in under the headline BOMBER. Gauci at the time, and the CIA agents in Malta
the illegal campaign to support the told his brother: “I thought that was the began to grow weary of Giaka’s
Contras against the revolution in man who bought the clothes from me. interminable visits. He begged for fake
Nicaragua, and the rebellion against the His face and hair were similar.” surgery to cause injury to his arm so
government of Angola by Unita. that he could escape Libyan army
His speciality was Libya, and he service. He also wanted money to set up
became an expert above all else in GIAKA OF ALL a hire car business in Malta.
providing and circulating information
damaging to the Libyan regime. He had
TRADES He was becoming a nuisance and the
agents told him so. On 4 September
been head of the CIA inquiry into
Lockerbie during all the period in
which the finger of suspicion had been
T HE position, then, as the US
bombing of Baghdad started in
January 1991, was that the police in the
1989, his CIA handlers in Malta told
Giaka he was “on trial” until the next
New Year (1990). Somehow he survived
pointed at the Syrians. Exactly as the US and in Scotland had some tentative the New Year deadline but in February
Syrians were joining the allied forces evidence linking a fragment found in 1990 a CIA cable from Malta told
against Saddam Hussein, he confirmed the debris of Pan Am 103 with MST-13 headquarters: “Giaka is becoming
that the new suspects for the bombing timers some of which had been desperate.” Giaka must have wondered
were Libyans. supplied to Libya and had revived their how he survived those first few months
With Libya at least tentatively in the interest in Tony Gauci and his shop. in 1990, and how and why the payments
frame, the investigators’ attention What they required for the pursuit of continued. He could hardly have
turned once more to Malta, where the this line of inquiry was a suspect. understood the significance or the
clothes in the bomb suitcase had been Further inquiries by the CIA soon relevance of the looming confrontation in
bought from Tony Gauci’s shop in revealed that they already had, in their the Gulf, though he must have noticed
Sliema. Libya is close to Malta and the own control, a man who had defected to that the questions from his handlers
two countries have close links. the CIA. He was allegedly from Libyan about the JSO officers he had already
In 1989 and 1990 Tony Gauci had intelligence, who also had strong named were increasing in intensity.
been interviewed again and again by connections with Malta. His name was As the hot war started in the Gulf
police who, as the Sunday Times Majid Giaka. early in 1991, the US enquiries into the
articles demonstrated, were anxious to He originally approached the Lockerbie bombing gathered momentum.
link the buying of the clothes to American embassy in Malta in August In February 1991, Scottish police showed
terrorists in the PFLP-GC. 1988, four months before the Lockerbie photographs of Megrahi, the man Giaka
Gauci’s first interview with Scottish bombing. His long series of meetings had identified as a senior JSO officer
police was in September 1989, ten with American intelligence officials in more than two years previously, to Tony
months after the bombing. He confirmed Malta began in September 1988, the Gauci the Maltese shopkeeper. Gauci had
then that the clothes in the bomb same month he started getting regular said that the man who bought the clothes
suitcase were bought in his shop, and payments from the CIA. was at least 50 years old. Megrahi was
thus let himself in for more than 11 His information was patchy and 37. Yet the shopkeeper agreed that the
years of interviews in which he tried his unreliable. He pretended he was a photo resembled the man, “though he
best to identify the man who had bought senior official in the Libyan intelligence would have to be ten years older”.
them. All the early interviews with organisation JSO though in reality (as This rather unreliable identification
Gauci were designed to discover the Americans quickly realised) he was was enough for the CIA. They had their
whether or not he had sold the clothes a former garage mechanic who helped to Libyan suspect. Indeed, if they could rid
to known Palestinian terrorists. maintain JSO vehicles and had themselves of their original scepticism
In September 1989 he was shown a graduated to the exalted position of about Giaka, they had a second suspect
photo of Mohammed Salem, a assistant station manager for Libyan – the man who, according to the self-
Palestinian with Maltese connections, Arab Airlines. promoting garage mechanic, had kept
and signed it as “someone who looks The CIA kept him on their payroll explosives in his desk drawer at Malta
like the man but is too young by 20 with increasing reluctance. They had airport – Lamin Fhimah.
years”. At that time Mohammed Salem few other direct human contacts with Suddenly the agent who had almost
was in his mid thirties. In December Libyan intelligence, and in view of the been sacked because he couldn’t come

12
up with any useful information became discouraged on the ground that the two against the Libyans leaked out to the
a man of supreme importance to the men were charged and the matter was public. In January 1994, the BBC Radio
CIA. On 11 July 1991, the US sub judice. In many ways the stalemate investigative programme File on Four
Department of Justice let Giaka know satisfied both sides. The Libyan revealed that the timers sold by Edwin
that they would “accept or reject him government and the two suspects were Bollier’s firm had not, as claimed by the
based on his response to their not obliged to state their case in public, CIA, been sold exclusively to the
inquiries”. On 12 July, with the Gulf and the United States government went Libyans. Some had been sold to the
War won and Saddam’s troops blitzed on asserting the men’s guilt in the fairly secret police of East Germany and
out of Kuwait, Giaka, to his intense confident certainty that they would therefore might have been used by a
gratification, was taken off Malta by an never be released. terrorist gang operating in West
American warship, and interrogated Scepticism about what became known Germany.
there by an FBI officer, Hal Hendershot. as “the official version” continued This information was passed by the
Before long he was safe in the US unabated. Again and again, Tam Dalyell, BBC to David Leppard of the Sunday
where he was later joined by his wife. the indefatigable MP for Linlithgow, Times, which promptly presented it as
He was paid a regular salary in raised the Lockerbie issue in the House their own. The Eye reminded its readers,
exchange for constant interrogations by of Commons, making plain each time under the headline HOW THE LEPPARD
the CIA and the FBI. What he told them that he was entirely dissatisfied with CHANGED ITS SPOTS, that Leppard
plainly satisfied them. In October, in constant official ducking behind the sub had in 1989 comprehensively convicted
conditions of great secrecy, he gave judice fiction. He kept reminding the Iranians, Syrians and Palestinians of the
evidence to a US Grand Jury. authorities of their previous commitment Lockerbie bombing, but had since
The result, in November 1991, was a published a book accusing Libyans.
detailed indictment charging Megrahi In August 1997, the German
and Fhimah with murder by planting a magazine Der Spiegel published a long
bomb in a suitcase on a flight from Malta article about Lockerbie that was
to Frankfurt and thence to London – and completely ignored in the British Press.
the explosion over Lockerbie. It cited “a new witness who has been
The indictment came as a complete making detailed statements to the
surprise to the British relatives of the German police and prosecutors”. The
Lockerbie dead. Though they were man was named as Abolghasem
anxious that the trail, so hot in 1989, Mesbahi and was described as “a
seemed to have gone dead in 1990 and credible witness”. What he was saying
1991, they still believed that the police’s contradicted “the Anglo-American
main suspects were the PFLP-GC and thesis of the sole involvement of Libya”.
had no idea that Libyans, let alone the Mesbahi’s story was as follows: “The
ones named, were even in the frame. bomb had been loaded in single pieces
Nevertheless, the Scottish legal at Frankfurt airport into an aeroplane to
authorities, led by Lord Fraser of London. The head of Iran Air at
Carmyllie, snapped to attention and Frankfurt at that time, a secret service
announced that the two Libyans were man, had smuggled them past the
now wanted for murder. airport controls. They had then been
Lord Fraser said into the bargain that assembled in London and put on the
the case against both men was Pan Am clipper.” Der Spiegel
“incontrovertible” and the failure of the commented wryly that “if Mesbahi’s
Libyan authorities to release them for statements were proved to be correct,
trial in Scotland was an insult to then the theory held up to now that
international law. (Eye 783, 20 Tam Dalyell, MP for Linlithgow Libya was the sole perpetrator, is out.”
December, 1991). Almost at once (on 21 Despite Der Spiegel’s evidence for the
January 1992) the UN Security Council to the theory that Palestinians, Syrians credibility of Mesbahi, and his
passed a resolution imposing sanctions and Iranians had been responsible for the numerous high-level contacts in Iranian
on Libya unless the Libyan government bombing, not Libyans. intelligence, this story was quickly and
released the two men for trial in the US In January 1992, he embarrassed the effectively buried.
or in Scotland, and renounced terrorism government by reading out a report In Britain meanwhile the new
in general. The sanctions were renewed compiled by the Dumfries and Galloway Labour government elected in May
in March 1992 and November 1993 and police in March 1989, three months 1997 wrestled with the Lockerbie
remained in force for most of the rest of after the bombing. The report was stalemate. The former Labour leader
the decade. entitled: Bombing of Pan Am 103: Neil Kinnock had promised the
Interview of Marwan Abdel Razzaq relatives of the dead that he would set
Mufit Khreesat as a suspect. up the public inquiry they wanted, but
The Long The conclusion of the report was his successors John Smith and Tony
Stalemate clear: “There can be little doubt that
Khreesat is the bomb-maker for the
Blair had been more circumspect. The
indictment against the two Libyans,

D URING all this period there was a


stalemate on Lockerbie. The
Libyan President Gadaffi refused to
PFLP-GC, and there is a possibility that
he prepared the explosive device which
destroyed Pan Am 103. As such he
they argued, made it impossible to hold
an inquiry without being in contempt
of the Scottish courts.
release the two suspects for trial and should not be at liberty.” (See Eye 786, Ministers in the new government,
the US, Britain and the UN insisted that 31 January, 1992). Other questions from however, responded sympathetically not
until he did so there could be no Dalyell in 1995 about Khreesat were only to continued debates in the House
further progress on Lockerbie. The turned down by the House of Commons of Commons – usually initiated by Tam
sanctions remained in force. Table Office (see PLAY IT AGAIN TAM, Dalyell – but also to the relatives in
During this period all questions Eye no. 872, 19 May, 1995). person. Neither Thatcher nor Major had
about Lockerbie were officially Titbits of information about the case agreed to meet the relatives, but on 10

13
December 1998, a week before the 10th
anniversary of the disaster, Prime
Minister Tony Blair did so, and the
foreign secretary Robin Cook and his
ministers had already made it clear that
they would seek to negotiate a way out
of the stalemate.
In this endeavour they had
substantial help from Tam Dalyell, from
Jim Swire, whose daughter died on the
bombed plane, and from Professor
Robert Black of the department of law at
Edinburgh University, all of whom
sought a way out of the impasse.
Professor Black had been involved in
the case from soon after the disaster, and
in 1994 first formally proposed a trial at
an international court presided over by
international judges. This proved totally
unacceptable to the Scottish judiciary, so
Professor Black and his fellow
negotiators fell back on the idea of a
hearing on neutral territory in Europe
presided over by Scottish judges.
There were two immediate problems.
The first was the Libyan government
and its president Colonel Gadaffi, who
President Mandela and Gadaffi
for obvious reasons was unhappy about
releasing his subjects for a foreign trial.
The second was the United States The negotiations went on for a year In other respects the world remains
government which stuck firmly to its until 5 April 1999 when the two with us: we talk, even though with
insistence of a trial either in Scotland suspects finally gave themselves up for almost disinterested passion, tonight
or, preferably, in the United States. trial by Scottish judges under Scottish of Kosovo and our different readings
law (with one exception: everyone of it: Gadaffi and Bandar banter

ENTER MANDELA agreed that the men should be tried


without a jury). On that morning
about Arab politics and let Jaakis (as
Gadaffi calls me) into it. As Africans

T HE stalemate seemed cast in


concrete, and was only broken
eventually by the sustained and
Professor Gerwel wrote a dramatic and
moving account of the negotiations:
“As I write this, I am sitting in a
Gadaffi and I solve the problems of
our continent with Bandar fully
sharing as contributing translator.
passionate intervention of Nelson Libyan Air Force plane high over the “Overall our conversation and
Mandela, President of South Africa. desert flying to Djerba, the airport in banter, though, hover, like bats on a
Mandela was irritated by the Tunisia from where I so often in these Karoo night, our unspoken thoughts
continued sanctions on Libya. He was last twelve months had to undertake of Megrahi and Fhimah, Libyan sons
friendly with Gadaffi, who had that five-hour car journey to Tripoli whom all three of us have handed
contributed generously to the African and back, because of the UN over to foreign jurisdiction.
National Congress, Mandela’s party, when embargo on direct flights to Libya. Understandably, most would see this
it was engaged in illegal and armed “This flight itself is historic; it is day as one of proud achievement and
opposition to the apartheid regime. the first across Libyan borders since fulfilment for us – for President
He firmly believed that Libya was the suspension of sanctions came into Mandela, South Africa, myself
being singled out for special hostility by effect earlier this afternoon. Prince personally and our negotiating allies,
the United States, and in the case of Bandar bin Sultan, my Saudi the Saudi sovereign and Crown
Lockerbie he regarded the treatment of counterpart and negotiating partner, Prince and Prince Bandar in
Libya as unfounded and unfair. To the and I are returning from a visit to pay particular. Yet one’s major feeling
intense irritation of the US State respects to the Libyan leader Colonel tonight is one of quiet sadness.
department he launched a diplomatic Gadaffi in the oasis town of Sebha far “This morning was the first time
offensive to persuade Gadaffi to release down south in the great Libyan that I or Bandar met Megrahi or
the two men for trial by Scottish judges desert. Earlier tonight the three of us Fhimah. The two of us were there as
in Europe. were sitting there, almost huddled special guests of the government and
He chose as his chief negotiator and together in one of those large and people of Libya. Many will now claim
plenipotentiary his most trusted adviser colourful makeshift tents the Colonel the credit for this saga being
and confidant, the secretary to the South loves so much: talking, reflecting, concluded. If you were to ask the
African Cabinet and head of the ruminating, laughing sometimes Libyans and Gadaffi you will be told
country’s civil service, Professor Jakes ruefully and at times raucously over that it was the word and moral
Gerwel, former vice chancellor of the muscular Arab jokes. authority of Mandela that provided
University of the Western Cape. Mandela “In some ways we are for these to them sufficient guarantee and
also persuaded Prince Bandar bin Sultan few hours three men far away from persuasion to take this step. And
of Saudi Arabia to take part in the the maddening crowd; in various concretely that it was Jakes and
negotiations with Gadaffi. The prince stages of over fifty, from different Bandar who patiently over many
and the cabinet secretary, Mandela knew, political and social backgrounds and months, many meetings over long
were trusted by the Libyan president as countries but for that time just three hours of discussion often late into
much as anyone else in the world. men enjoying each other’s company. the night built personal relations of

14
trust with the Leader. Gadaffi deeply started, Lord Hardie applied to become He wrote an article for the Guardian,
distrusts the West and the United a High Court judge and dropped out as published on 5 June 2000. WHO
States in particular, while their chief Lockerbie prosecutor. BROUGHT DOWN THE LOCKERBIE
distrust and vilification of him are no The Eye reported (no. 1001, 5 May, TRIAL? asked the headline. WHY IS
less intense. In the end it was us that 2000): “Hardie had been a pivotal figure THE MOST IMPORTANT TRIAL IN
he trusted and because of whom he in the authorities’ handling of the THE WORLD BEING IGNORED BY
conceded. Lockerbie disaster. During the last Tory THE MEDIA? The entire proceedings
“Now we are here this morning to administration he served as deputy seemed to him to be plunged into chaos
be a Libyan part of the surrender of Crown spokesman at the 1990- 91 fatal and impossible to follow.
the two men. We were first let in to accident inquiry into the disaster. Facilities for journalists, though
greet the men and sit with them prior “His abrupt decision to cut off all lavish, were absolutely useless when it
to departure. We were the two asked connection with the trial only two-and-a- came to finding out basic information.
to accompany them on to the tarmac half months before it was due to begin Even the list of witnesses was withheld
and to the plane. All along Bandar was greeted with consternation by the from the media. The lawyers were
and I had been dealing with matters relatives. On 18 February Pam Dix, separated from the journalists, public
of international diplomacy, politics secretary to UK Families Flight 103, and relatives of the dead by screens.
and law, seeking to secure the whose brother died at Lockerbie, wrote The reporters had nothing more to go on
‘handing over of the suspects’. Now to Lord Hardie to express the families’ than the formal indictment issued nine
beside us were two men, fathers of ‘great surprise and indeed shock’ at his years previously.
five and seven children respectively. decision. ‘I would be grateful,’ she The Lord Advocate Colin Boyd didn’t
He married at 21, Fhimah explains continued, ‘if you could clarify whether like questions, and found it hard to
his seven children to me. They the decision was yours alone.’ So explain why “an official from the
(Megrahi and Fhimah) are smartly disturbed was the noble lord by this United States Justice Department sits
dressed in Italian suits and look anxious letter that he did not bother to next to prosecution lawyers in court”; or
exactly like two gentlemen from reply.” what the official told the victims’
Belhar where I live. They carry heavy Lord Hardie was replaced as Lord families at briefings every evening; or
overcoats and remark about the cold Advocate by his successor Colin Boyd why the prosecution again and again
this time of year. I shiver when I think QC and his Advocate Depute Alistair ran out of witnesses, forcing
of the kind of cold they are going to.” Campbell QC. They were supported by unnecessary adjournments.
The terms for the release and trial of yet another QC, Alan Turnbull and two The whole trial seemed to be
the two men were set out in an annexe to American lawyers who sat with them. deliberately bunged up with issues that
a letter to the Libyan head of state from Megrahi was represented by William would never have arisen in an ordinary
the secretary general of the United Taylor, QC, 56, a former Edinburgh criminal case, and hours were wasted on
Nations, Kofi Annan, a few weeks before Labour councillor and a Parliamentary what seemed to be quite uncontroversial
the men’s surrender on 17 February Labour candidate. Fhimah’s QC was evidence. No wonder, thought Rozenberg
1999. They would be “transferred from Richard Keen, 46. as he headed for home, so many
Libya to the Netherlands and tried under The key solicitor for the defence, who journalists were giving the trial up for
Scottish law before a Scottish court represented Megrahi, was Alistair Duff, a lost, and so little even of the bare bones
sitting in the Netherlands”. If found criminal lawyer from Edinburgh, who of the proceedings were appearing in the
guilty, after any necessary appeals had been associated with the case since media. “Justice will be the loser,” he
process, they would serve their prison first approached in 1993. Mr Duff has a predicted grimly, and he was right.
sentences in Scotland. If not convicted, reputation in Scotland for
they were free to return to Libya believing in and fighting
unimpeded. They would be absolutely for his clients: a reputation
free from any interview unconnected powerfully vindicated
with the trial. They “will not be used to throughout the Camp Zeist
undermine the Libyan regime”. trial. The trial opened on
In exchange, the security council 3 May 2000 and dragged
sanctions resolutions 748 and 883 would on through numerous
be suspended immediately the two men postponements and delays
arrived in The Netherlands, and could until judgement day on 31
only be re-imposed by a vote of nine January 2001.
members of the Council, including the From the outset it was
votes of all permanent members. clear that the trial would
The sanctions were suspended in take so long and its
April 1999, and an entirely new court proceedings were so
was built at great expense at a disused insufferably boring that
military base at Camp Zeist near Utrecht few journalists would last
in Holland. the pace. The point was
made graphically by the
Hardie Amiss BBC’s crime
correspondent Joshua

T hree judges were appointed – all


Lords. In the chair was Lord
Sutherland, 68, a Queens Counsel since
Rozenberg. Rozenberg
was, and is, a firm,
believer in British justice.
1969. The others were Lord Coulsfield, He had recently
66, QC since 1973, and Lord Maclean, published a rather
61. The prosecution was originally to flattering analysis of
have been led by the Blairite peer Lord British judges. He
Hardie, the new Labour Scottish Lord was horrified by what he Lord Hardie, Blairite peer and former Lord Advocate
Advocate. Not long before the trial found at Camp Zeist. of Scotland (right) and his successor Colin Boyd QC

15
Chapter Three

Trial…

Left to right:
Lords
Coulsfield,
Sutherland
and
Maclean

I’M ALL RIGHT, prosecution and defence.


At first the CIA resisted any
saying any such thing but could not
explain how his handlers arrived at
GIAKA disclosure of the cables, and when they such an absurd invention. He grossly

F OR many years before the Camp were eventually disclosed many had exaggerated his role in the JSO and even
Zeist trial there were carefully- been censored with whole paragraphs suggested that he had “long-standing
nurtured rumours that the CIA and the and sentences scored out, or “redacted”. personal relations” with Abdullah
American Justice department had been By early August 2000 it emerged that Senussi, the head of the JSO’s
taking care of a witness who would the prosecution in the case had seen the operations administration. He had not –
conclusively prove the guilt of the two cables before they had been censored, he hardly knew Senussi.
defendants. but these had not been shown to the It was obviously important for Giaka
These rumours appeared in the Eye defence. to impress his CIA contacts. He
as early as 31 January 1992 (no. 786). This unusual approach to disclosure depended on them for money – he got a
“What is the evidence which leads the was stoutly defended in open court by thousand dollars a month rising to
US government and, in pathetic chorus, the new Lord Advocate of Scotland, $1500. The CIA showered him with gifts
the Scottish Lord Advocate and his Colin Boyd, a Minister in the New of clothing and radio sets, and even
government in Whitehall to the Labour administration. “I emphasise,” arranged for sham surgery to his arm.
certainty that the two Libyans are he told the judges on 22 August 2000, But in spite of this largesse the CIA
responsible? The answer is that they “that the redactions have been made on handlers in Malta got increasingly fed up
have ‘a witness’.” the basis of what is in the interests of a with Giaka’s prevarications, and started
When documents started to be friendly power. In my submission there to conclude he was not worth the
revealed before the case, this witness is nothing unusual in Crown counsel money.
turned out to be the garage mechanic being aware of information which the By December 1990, their cables
Abdul Majid Giaka, who had been defence is not aware of.” decribed Giaka as “desperate”.
spirited out of Malta on an American Boyd and his team were rather ill at Somehow he managed to keep the CIA’s
warship soon after the Gulf War was ease when pressed by the judges to confidence all through the Gulf War but
over in July 1991. Down on his luck, ensure that there was nothing in the by July 1991 his situation seemed to be
irritated by his employers in the Libyan censored cables to affect the credibility even worse. The CIA contacted him in
intelligence JSO, Giaka secretly of the Crown’s star witness, Giaka. Libya, and he returned to Malta to meet
approached the CIA in the American Eventually, after much argument, the them. He was told that a meeting had
embassy in Malta several months before uncensored cables were released. It been set up with officials from the US
the Lockerbie bombing. became clear at once that there was no Department of Justice, and that his
For many months after the bombing doubt at all that the cables utterly future depended on what he disclosed
he said nothing at all about Lockerbie, destroyed the credibility of the at that meeting.
even when he was asked about it. The imaginative garage mechanic. Almost at once he started to barter
CIA’s rather bleak assessment of Giaka To start with, he had repeatedly lied with his handlers, only to be met with a
in all those months was sent back to to the CIA to impress them with his threat that unless he could come up
CIA headquarters in the US by cable own importance. He told his handlers with something about his former
from Malta. These cables became an he was related to the former King Idris colleagues in the JSO that might
early issue of contention between the of Libya, which he wasn’t. He denied incriminate them in the Lockerbie

16
bombing, he would be abandoned in witness on any matter except his map in the Middle East was changing.
Malta and cut off without a penny. At description of the organisation of the The third point was that the names of
the trial, on September 26 2000, Mr JSO and the personnel involved there.” both defendants, Fhimah and Megrahi,
Taylor asked him: Giaka’s evidence had been absolutely had first come to the attention of the
Q. You see, you’ve been told that you crucial to the prosecution case against authorities from the mouth of the
are going to meet the Department of Fhimah. In one of the many twists in mendacious double agent Giaka.
Justice; you’ve been told that you are his story, he had linked Fhimah to a Acquit Fhimah, and remove Giaka, as
going to be cut off without a penny Samsonite suitcase at Malta airport on he should have been removed long
unless you come up with some evidence the day of the Lockerbie bombing. before the trial, and what was the
that they like. There are no guarantees. Without this evidence there was really remaining evidence against Megrahi?
And you are being asked to go on an no case at all against Fhimah, and the The story told by Advocate Depute
American warship. All that I am judges duly acquitted him. Alistair Campbell for the prosecution
suggesting to you is that you indicated There were however three points went like this: Megrahi had bought
to your handler that there was no about Giaka’s appearance at the trial and clothes at Mary’s House, Sliema, Malta,
concrete commitment from America at his evidence that were overlooked by some time before the bombing; he had
this stage, and you wanted one. You the judges. been at Malta airport on 21 December
were upset that the Americans had not First, why was such an obviously 1988 and had managed to smuggle an
given a concrete commitment. corrupt and desperate liar produced by unaccompanied Samsonite case packed
A. I expressed the fact that I was the prosecution at all? The wretched with the clothes and an explosive
not happy with the way they had device onto a flight to Frankfurt;
contacted me. whence it was unloaded and transferred
A little later, the exchange continued: to Pan Am 103A to London. In London,
Q. The cable goes on: “During a rather the story went on, it was unloaded again
emotional discussion, Giaka revealed and transferred to Pan Am 103 bound
that his wife is four months pregnant, for New York. With Fhimah acquitted,
and with the added responsibility of a conspiracy charges dropped and no one
family he needed to know more about else indicted the court was left with no
his security... without making any firm other possibility than that Megrahi did
commitments, and pegging the all these things himself or with persons
Department of Justice meeting as Giaka’s unknown and utterly unidentified.
last hope for his wife and baby, we were
able to convince Giaka of the merits of
the exit scheduled to begin later that
THE MALTESE
afternoon.” You see the documents speak CONNECTION
W
for themselves. They build up to a
HAT was the evidence that the
crescendo as I’ve described. It’s not me
bomb went on a plane at Luqa
that is doing it. It’s the documents that
airport, Malta? None whatever.
are doing it. And lo and behold the
Reject the evidence of Giaka, as the
deafening silence (about Lockerbie) ends
judges did, and you are left, as they
the very next day, when you come up
freely admitted, with no evidence of any
with a brown Samsonite suitcase and
kind that a bomb was smuggled on to a
this rubbish about Customs. The very
flight to Frankfurt. We have seen how, in
next day is the first mention by you,
the libel action brought by Air Malta
Giaka, of these matters. What do you
against Granada, the evidence collected
have to say about that?
by London solicitors Norton Rose
Giaka could only stammer: “When I
provided overwhelming evidence against
met with the representatives of the
the theory that any unaccompanied bag,
Department of Justice, they are very good William Taylor, QC for Megrahi let alone one loaded with a bomb, went
investigators, and they can distinguish
on the Frankfurt flight. Fifty-five bags
truth from lies. One way or another, they
Giaka’s total dependence on the CIA, FBI were counted onto the flight and 55 bags
can obtain what they want.”
and the Justice Department was exposed counted off it at Frankfurt. All were
throughout his evidence. In answer to reconciled with the passengers on the
THE ACQUITTAL difficult questions, he gazed pathetically flight, none of whom travelled on to
OF LAMIN FHIMAH and helplessly from behind his screens
at his American minders sitting in the
Heathrow. The judges concluded
(para 39):

E very little bit of information


incriminating Megrahi and Fhimah
was imparted by Giaka either in the
court with the prosecution. The very fact
that the prosecution should rely on a
man who had been so remorselessly
“If therefore the unaccompanied bag
was launched from Luqa, the method by
which it was done is not established
hope of financial reward or under bribed to invent a story was a measure of and the Crown accepted that they could
threat of being cut off by the CIA. the depths to which the Crown lawyers not point to any specific route by which
The credibility of this palpable liar were prepared to sink. the primary suitcase (with the bomb in
need not detain us much longer. It was The second point concerned the it) could have been loaded. The absence
well summed up by the judges who timing of Giaka’s miraculous of any explanation of the method by
variously described Giaka’s evidence as revelations. At first he had nothing at which the suitcase might have been
“at best grossly exaggerated, at worst all to say about Lockerbie. His lack of placed on board KM 180 (the flight from
simply untrue” and “largely motivated interest and knowledge about a Malta to Frankfurt) is a major difficulty
by financial considerations”. They Samsonite suitcase at Luqa airport for the Crown case.”
concluded: “Putting the matter shortly, lasted all through 1988, 1989 and 1990 It was more than a “major difficulty”.
we are unable to accept Abdul Majid and only surfaced in detail when the For if the bomb suitcase did not go on
[Giaka] as a credible and reliable Gulf War was waging and the political the flight from Malta, then that was the

17
end of the prosecution case. The and a bag for Pan Am 103A being coded submissions, showing in the most
connection of the bomb to Malta was an at the same station at 13.07. This was meticulous detail how the timings on the
absolutely necessary condition for the the coincidence in timing that coders’ worksheets could go wrong, or
entire prosecution. convinced not only the prosecution in how the computer clock could slip out of
There was however some evidence 2000, but the Dumfries and Galloway line with the coders’ watches. Staff at
that an unaccompanied bag from the police, the CIA and the Sunday Times Frankfurt airport in December 1988 were
flight from Malta was loaded at eleven years earlier so soon after the under great pressure to shift luggage fast,
Frankfurt onto Pan Am 103A to bombing. and the coders were far more interested
Heathrow. This evidence was seized on There were clothes in the bomb in the destination of luggage than in
by the prosecution, and became the suitcase that had been bought in Malta – where it had come from. Even the
lynch-pin of their case. and here, apparently, was proof on a slightest discrepancy in time, he argued,
It depended on two pieces of paper. computer at Frankfurt that an could ruin the coincidence on which the
The first was a worksheet of the unaccompanied bag from a flight from prosecution relied, and could jeopardise
operator who coded the baggage from Malta had been transferred at Frankfurt the possibility that a bag from the
the Malta flight into the computerised on to a feeder flight to the plane that Maltese flight went on to 103A.
baggage system at Frankfurt. This man’s ended up in pieces round Lockerbie. Methodically, Mr Taylor examined
name was Koca. He was crucial to the There were however huge holes in both possible end-times for the coding of
prosecution case, and was listed as a the coincidence that depended upon bags from the Maltese flight. If the end-
prosecution witness, but was not called such split-second timing. Mr Taylor for time was 13.10, he said, and the coder’s
to give evidence. No explanation for Megrahi emphasised the point that no watch or clock was “fast by one or more
Koca’s mysterious absence from the one could say what kind of bag had minute, then the encoding for KM 180
witness box was offered by the gone on 103A at Frankfurt, or even will have concluded by the time the
prosecution. entry was made”. If, on the other hand,
Koca’s worksheet showed that he the end-time was 13.16 this left a gaping
started coding the bags from the Malta  Just fancy that… hole in time when other bags may have
flight at 13.04 on the afternoon of 21
December 1988. The time he finished
or not as the case been encoded through the same station
that did not come from Malta at all.
coding the bags was, and still is, a may be Indeed, another flight, from
mystery. Mr Koca’s handwriting was so Damascus, had arrived at Frankfurt at
Lord Sutherland: Thank you very
vague that the finishing time could have almost the same time as the Malta flight.
much, Mr Salinger. That’s all.
been 13.10 or 13.16. The difference Most of the bags from Damascus had
Salinger: That’s all? You’re not
between the two turned out to be crucial gone to coding stations 202 and 207.
letting me tell the truth. Wait a
since the entire supposition that a bag And one-and-a-half wagons of luggage
minute. They’re not letting me tell
from Malta went on the flight to from that flight could not be accounted
the truth. I know exactly who did
Heathrow depended on the coincidence for. “It seems a not unreasonable
it. I know exactly how it was
in time between Mr Koca’s worksheet inference,” concluded Mr Taylor, “that
done. You have to do that here.
and a print-out from the computerised some of this baggage, even if only half a
records at Frankfurt airport. Lord Sutherland: Mr Salinger, we will wagon, was encoded at station 206
This was printed out on the day after run the court in accordance with between 13.04 and 13.16.” In other
the Lockerbie bombing by Bogomir Erac, our normal principles. We rely words, if the coding of bags from Malta
who was in charge of the software for upon counsel in this court to ask was finished at 13.10, it took only a tiny
the baggage system at Frankfurt. She the questions that they think are discrepancy in clocks and watches to
recovered the print-out in case it relevant, and we will deal with ensure that all the bags had been coded
revealed anything interesting about the that information. If you wish to by the time the suspect bag went
luggage loaded on to flight 103A to make a point somewhere, you may through the system. If it did not end
Heathrow, which linked to the separate do so elsewhere, but I’m afraid you until 13.16 there was every likelihood
and doomed flight 103. may not do so in this court. that other bags from other flights were
Mr Campbell for the prosecution being coded, any one of which could
explained: “The printout shows that at have ended up on flight 103A. To back
13.07 on 21 December 1988, tray whether it was a bag at all. It could have up this reasoning, Mr Taylor referred
number 8849 was coded in at a coding been a wine crate or a set of golf clubs. again and again to the voluminous
station with reference number S0009. Nothing in the computer system evidence of baggage handlers and
The interpretation document shows that described the bag on tray number 8849. supervisors at Frankfurt airport to the
reference number S0009 means coding The only proof that it had come from effect that mistakes, especially small
station 206. Each tray holds one piece of Malta was the time it was encoded – mistakes in timings of the type that
luggage. From that it may therefore be 13.07. The whole proposition, said would have destroyed the prosecution
concluded that a bag from KM 180 (the Taylor, depended “on your Lordships case, were commonplace.
Maltese flight) was transferred as an accepting a degree of accuracy in Even if such an interline bag from
interline bag from KM 180 through the relation to documentation, time Malta had got through the coding station
computerised baggage system to Pan Am recording and work practices, none of at Frankfurt, it would have been x-rayed
103A. As all the passengers recovered which are warranted”. The whole theory by staff who were on special alert for
their luggage and none were booked for depended on the exact and coincidental explosive devices packed in electronic
onward travel to the United States, it accuracy of the computer clock at equipment. The man running the x-ray
may be concluded that the bag was an Frankfurt airport and the watches of the machine was Kurt Maier. He was ill, so
unaccompanied bag.” coders from which they took the times his evidence was given to the court
Perhaps naturally, Mr Campbell did they entered on their worksheets. The through his statements. These confirmed,
not emphasise that his conclusion, so picture was made all the more confusing as did his colleagues that
vital to his case, depended entirely on by the absence of Mr Koca – the witness a) he was a careful operator and b) that
the coincidence in timing between the who was directly involved. on 21 December 1988 he had been
bags from Malta being coded at station Mr Taylor spent much of 12 January warned to look out for electronic devices
206 in between 13.04 and 13.10 or 13.16 2001, the second day of his four-day such as Toshiba cassette recorders.

18
His equipment could identify where the forensic evidence
recorders and any explosive packed into suggested it was at the time
them. He x-rayed all the interline the bomb exploded.
baggage which was loaded on Pan Who put the bag on the
Am103A, but did not see anything container? Mr Bedford told the
remarkable enough to make him stop fatal accident inquiry that
the machine and call his supervisor. So another baggage handler,
even if a bag that apparently never left Sulkash Kamboj, had told him
Malta arrived in Frankfurt and was that he, Kamboj, had put the
coded into a station for Pan Am 103A to bags on after x-raying them,
London, it would still have had to pass but in interviews with the
the vigilant eye of an x-ray specialist at police at the time and again on
Frankfurt who had recently been oath at the fatal accident
instructed of the dangers of explosives inquiry Mr Kamboj denied
packed in Toshiba cassette recorders. saying any such thing.
In the background of the
picture of chaotic, insecure
THE HEATHROW conditions at Heathrow airport
CONNECTION in December 1988, Mr Kamboj
also pointed out that

N O subject absorbed the trial more


than the question: at which airport
did the bomb suitcase first go on the
“anybody” could approach a
container with luggage and
slip another bag in; and that
plane? the x-raying of bags for Pan
As we have seen, there was no Am 103, of which he was in
evidence that it got on at Malta; and charge, was not covered by the
debatable documentation to suggest that warning issued at Frankfurt –
it went on at Frankfurt. Another theory, to keep a special look-out for
fielded at great length and thoroughness electronic devices such as
by Mr Taylor for Megrahi was that the Toshiba cassette recorders.
bomb suitcase went on Pan Am 103 at This rather devastating Jim Swire demonstrates the ice-cube timer which
Heathrow, London. information available so soon would have detonated the bomb on Pan Am 103 at
Mr Taylor produced 20 points in after the disaster, namely that exactly the time it exploded
support of this proposition. The most a bag exactly similar to that
powerful of these was that a “maroony which contained the bomb, capacitor and will tend to stabilise the
brown Samsonite” suitcase was put on was put into the container from which time delay as discussed below.” This, he
the baggage container that carried the the bomb eventually exploded, was said, was known as the “ice-cube timer”
explosive device to the plane. This greeted at the time with strangely scant and was a far more inaccurate form of
evidence came from the man who interest. We have seen how Paul timer than the MST-13, but it was the
loaded the container, Heathrow Channon, Transport Secretary, had told one usually used by terrorists in the
employee John Bedford. the House of Commons soon after the Middle East.
He said that in the late afternoon of disaster that the luggage with the bomb A clearer description of this ice-cube
21 December 1988 he’d left the probably didn’t go on at Heathrow, but timer was given the same day by Rainer
container on the tarmac during his tea the only evidence from any airport that a Gobel, physicist for the German police,
break before he loaded its baggage on Samsonite had been loaded was from the BKA. He had a remarkable insight
the plane. When he returned from his Heathrow. “My submission,” said Mr into how long such a timer would take to
break, which he estimated at three- Taylor at the end of his long and set off an explosion. “Pressure change in
quarters-of-an-hour, he noticed that meticulous submission on this subject, the cabin,” he said, “is regulated
there were two extra bags in the “is that all of the above render the choice automatically. It happens more slowly
container, and one was a “maroony of Heathrow a much more likely one. than the drop of pressure in the air
brown Samsonite”. No other passenger And when that possibility is considered, through which the plane is flying, which
on the plane had such a case, and all one finds that there is a compelling body means, according to the documents
the experts agreed that a Samsonite case of evidence that points to Heathrow as which were provided to me, in a plane of
exploded with the bomb in it. being the point of ingestion.” the aforementioned class, about seven
John Bedford gave evidence at Camp There was further technical evidence minutes after take-off the pressure within
Zeist but he was not asked to rely on his that the bomb went on at Heathrow, the cabin will have dropped to such an
memory of what had happened 12 years provided by two witnesses who did not extent that 950 millibars or hectopascals
previously. He had been asked about get much publicity. John Scott Orkin, a will have been reached at which the
these matters only a fortnight after the CIA electrical engineer, gave evidence barometric gauge would be involved and
disaster, on 3 January, 1989. In that on 17 November, 2000, and told the a circuit, a current, would be activated.”
police interview, at the fatal accident court how the barometric timer usually The device would be set off by the
inquiry and at Camp Zeist he used by Middle East terrorists worked. change in the pressure in the aircraft.
continuously and coherently repeated “Normal operation of the timers How long would it take to set off the
the story of the Samsonite case. This would be to connect a battery to the explosion? Mr Gobel read out an
was the only direct evidence from terminals and place the switch in an evaluation from his own report: “The
anywhere that a Samsonite case was ‘On’ position. After the timing cycle is course of the operational sequence of the
loaded at any of the relevant airports. completed, a small incandescent lamp detonators examined, and taking account
Moreover, Mr Taylor insisted, the case will light and be seen through the of unavoidable tolerances, fits in very
ended up in the precise position a) transparent potting material. This test well with the conditions during take-off
where an explosion in it would cause phase is very important for these timer and the initial flight phase of PA 103
the maximum damage and b) exactly designs since it conditions the timing from London to New York. The design of

19
sold to the East German secret police,
the Stasi, who had co-operated in
several terrorist bombings in Western
Europe. A former Stasi officer confirmed
that his force had indeed bought MST-
13 timers from Libya, though he thought
they had all since been destroyed.
The fragment led to Bollier, and
Bollier led, at last, to a real human
suspect. He was asked about the Libyan
intelligence agents identified by Giaka.
Yes, he said, he knew Megrahi with
whom he had done business. He had, in
his dealings with Libya, some contact
with Megrahi and had rented an office
in Switzerland to a firm in which
Megrahi was involved. As for the
timers, Megrahi and Bollier didn’t even
meet each other until two years after the
timers were supplied.
Excluding Giaka and Fhimah, the
position for the prosecution was
therefore as follows. Megrahi was at
Luqa airport on the morning of the
The reconstructed baggage container which went in the hold of Pan Am 103 with the bombing. He was travelling at the time
bomb suitcase under a false passport. There was no
evidence at all that he or anyone else
put the bomb suitcase on another plane
the devices is such that it would have of metal was found in a shirt recovered to Frankfurt; no evidence indeed that
been impossible, we conclude, for a from the plane’s debris by a Scottish Megrahi had ever seen or had any
primed explosive designed as above to policeman, who could not explain why contact with any explosive material,
have been carried on flight PA 103 from he interfered with its label; how it was still less that he had put it on a plane.
Frankfurt to London without detonating transferred to RARDE where four This summary of “evidence” was
and that the same explosive would then months later it was examined by Dr hardly enough even to hope to convict
have detonated 38 minutes into flight PA Hayes; how Dr Hayes re-paged his notes anyone. Something else was necessary
103 from London to New York. If we at just the day he was examining the to link Megrahi more closely to the
assume that an explosive of similar fragment; how four months later still Mr actual bombing. The police and
design was used for the attack, it must Fereday sent it back to the Scottish intelligence investigators fell back on
have been put on board in London, or at police, apologising for the urgency (four the witness they had interviewed so
least primed there by plugging in the months delay) which had obliged him often in the year after the bombing: the
main switch.” not to take a proper photograph or even unfortunate shopkeeper of Mary’s
The significance of this evidence a drawing of the fragment; how Fereday House, Sliema, Tony Gauci.
appears to have been lost on the and his fellow investigators in the
prosecution. It was that if an ice-cube
timer of the type conventionally used
Scottish police went to Washington to
look at an MST-13 timer and to examine
TONY GAUCI
by Middle East terrorists was used in
the explosive device that blew up the
plane over Lockerbie, it would not have
its alleged similarities to the fragment
found after Lockerbie.
The whole story stank. It also
W E HAVE seen how many times
Gauci was interviewed by police
in the two years after the bombing,
been put on luggage at Frankfurt unless suggested that the fragment, even if it especially in 1989 and 1990, and how
it was re-primed in London; and, more was genuine, was anyway unlikely to be at that time the chief suspects were
significantly, if it had been put on the conclusive evidence of the type of timer Palestinians connected to Syria and
plane at Heathrow, the bomb would used at Lockerbie. Nevertheless the Iran; how keen the police were to elicit
have exploded 38 minutes into the meeting with Thurman led Scottish from Gauci a credible identification of
flight – exactly the time it did explode. police to Senegal and then eventually to the man who bought the clothes which
This staggering coincidence of times Edwin Bollier and Erwin Meister and ended up in the bomb suitcase over
was not properly addressed by the their firm MEBO in Switzerland. Lockerbie.
prosecution whose spokesmen assumed Bollier and Meister gave long, We have seen how, at Camp Zeist,
throughout that the timer used to confusing and contradictory evidence at more than eleven years after he sold the
explode the bomb over Lockerbie was Camp Zeist. clothes, and at a time when pictures of
the much more sophisticated MST-13. Three facts emerged unchallenged. Megrahi had been plastered over press
For a start, as Mr Gobel explained, The first was that Bollier had had close and television, Gauci picked Megrahi
the MST-13 would have ensured that contacts with the Libyan government from an identification parade as the
the bomb would go off at a time and had in the past sold them MST-13 man to whom he sold the clothes. In the
selected much more accurately by the timers. The second was that he had absence of any other credible evidence
people who put it on the plane, who never seen the fragment which, he was this identification by Gauci became
were more likely to choose a time on a told, was supposed to be part of one of crucial in the attempt to link Megrahi to
trans-Atlantic flight when the plane was his timers, so could not comment on it. the bombing. It divided itself naturally
over the sea. But the whole MST-13 The third was that although he had into two sections.
theory was, anyway, riddled with initially said that all his MST-13 timers All the early media reports of the
contradictions and difficulties. had been sold to Libya, he now Maltese connection, especially the long
We have seen how the tiny fragment accepted that at least some had been series in the Sunday Times, assumed

20
that the clothes were bought late in
November 1988, or as the Sunday Times
WHAT DID THEY clothes? Yes, he was staying in the
Holiday Inn in Sliema on 7 December,
pointed out, “a month before the DO WITH THE 1988. So the thrust of the prosecution
bombing”.
These assumptions were drawn from
RAIN? inquiries about the sale of clothes shifted
from 23 November to 7 December. But
the early interviews with the
shopkeeper, Tony Gauci. On 19
September, 1989, Gauci asserted in a
T HERE was further, much more
reliable evidence as to the date of
the sale. From the outset, Mr Gauci told
was it raining on 7 December?
At first glance, it wasn’t. The police
records for rainfall at Sliema on 7
statement to police: “At Christmas time his interrogators that it was raining on December showed a complete blank. The
we put up the decorations about 15 days the day of the sale: that the man who prosecution claimed that this was not
before Christmas. The Christmas bought the clothes noticed it was decisive since the blank referred to the
decorations were not up when the man raining, and had bought an umbrella. period from noon on the previous day (6
bought the clothes.” On 10 September, As he left the shop, he opened the December) to noon on the 7th. So it
1990, Mr Gauci told DCI Bell of the umbrella, and walked down the road to could still have been raining at the time
Scottish police: “I’ve been asked to try pick up a taxi. The question of the the clothes were sold – at about 6.30pm
again and pinpoint the day and date I incidence of rain on various dates at on the 7th. But was it? The witness from
sold the man the clothing. I can only Sliema preoccupied the trial for many Luqa, Major Mifsud, who gave evidence
say it was a weekday; there were no hours. on 5 December 2000, was asked:
Christmas decorations up, as I have To start with, there was no doubt, Q. Just confirm with me, please,
already said, and I believe it was at the and it was not denied, that there was apart from the trace of rain that we
end of November.” light rain in Sliema on the evening of discussed that fell or was measured at
Mr Gauci was able to provide the Wednesday 23 November, 1988. Major 9.00 in the morning of Wednesday
court with a clue as to the date the Mifsud, chief meteorologist from Luqa December 7, did any rain fall at Luqa?
clothes were sold. His brother Paul, who airport, told the court. “0.6 millimetres A. No, no rain was recorded. No, no
normally assisted him in the Sliema of rain is not that much so the cloud rain was recorded.
shop, was not there when the man would not have been that thick, but it Q. Up to midnight?
called. He had, said Mr Gauci in did give some rain, yes.” A. Up to midnight.
evidence “gone home to watch a So the early recollection of Paul How far is Sliema from Luqa? Mr
football match on television. He may be Gauci and the evidence about the rain Mafsud estimated “about five kilometres
able to recall the game, and this could both pointed to 23 November as the day as the crow flies”. Major Mifsud was
identify the day and date that I dealt the clothes were bought, and this asked whether it could possibly have
with the man at the shop.” Paul Gauci explained the conclusion in the early been raining at Sliema when it was not
was duly listed by the prosecution as a media reports, especially the Sunday raining at Luqa. He replied:
witness, but in what Mr Taylor called “a Times, that the clothes were bought on “According to the situation, there
continuing refrain in this case” he was 23 November. No doubt this fitted was in fact a small ridge of high
not called to give evidence. nicely with the police view that the pressure which was covering the central
The Eye has obtained some of Paul main suspect, the man who bought the Mediterranean. Before that the rain we
Gauci’s statements to the police, clothes, Abu Talb, was in Malta in late had in the morning was basically due to
including one on 19 October, 1989 to November, but not later. a depression which was moving north-
DCI Bell from Dumfries and Galloway But this evidence was no use at all to east over the southern Ionian. And then
and Inspector Scicluna of the Malta the prosecution of Abdelbasset Megrahi, we had an interval, this ridge of high
police. “On Thursday 19 October 1989 who was certainly not in Malta on 23 pressure was coming in, and naturally
Mr Bell called at my shop at 63 Tower November. Was there any other day he on the 8th there was another depression,
Road where I was shown a list of was in Malta and could have bought the a desert depression, in fact, which came
European football matches
I know as UEFA. I checked
all the games and dates. I
am of the opinion that the
game I watched on TV was
on 23 November, 1988: SC
Dynamo Dresden v AS
Roma. On checking the 7th
December 1988, I can say
that I watched AS Roma v
Dynamo Dresden in the
afternoon. All the other
games were played in the
evening. I can say for
certain I watched the
Dresden v Roma game. On
the basis that there were
two games played during
the afternoon of 23
November and only one on
the afternoon of 7th
December, I would say that
the 23rd November 1988
was the date in question.”
No wonder Paul Gauci was
not called to give evidence
for the prosecution. The police records for rainfall at Sliema in December 1988

21
and Fhimah were anxious that the
judges should have a full picture of the
way in which the PFLP-GC were
regarded by the investigating police and
their governments as first suspects.
They had two big chances to develop
this information in evidence.
The first was that Abu Talb was
brought from his Swedish prison to give
evidence for the prosecution. The
prosecution called him to establish that
he had nothing to do with the bombing,
but in the course of his time in the
witness box, during all of which he
seemed supremely calm and confident
Tony Gauci and his Maltese shop as well as politically determined, it
emerged, as we have seen, that all the
members of a terrorist gang financed by
Iran and harboured by Syria were at
sucking up to the Syrians. This was two- large in Germany in December 1988, and
and-a-quarter years after the incident, were making bombs – some of which
and poor Mr Gauci had already been they disguised in Toshiba cassette
shown numerous photographs of recorders in order to pack them in
so-called suspects, and had even half- suitcases and smuggle them onto aircraft.
identified two of them. Of this occasion Talb himself was in Malta between
(15 February 1991) he said: 19 and 26 October 1988, and had a
“I would say that the photograph at ticket that would gave got him back to
number 8 (Megrahi) is similar to the Malta in late November. Talb had stayed
man who bought the clothing. The hair in the same Maltese hotel as another
out and gave us all the rain on the 8th. is perhaps a bit long, the eyebrows are Palestinian terrorist called Mohammed
We had no rain all right between 6 and the same, the nose is the same and the Salem, whose brother owned a bakery
7 at Luqa, so I do not altogether exclude chin and the shape of the face are the in Malta that was often used as a base
the possibility that there could have same. The man in the photograph is in by Palestinian terrorists. Though Talb
been a drop of rain here and there.” my opinion in his thirties. He would insisted he had nothing to do with
Later, he was more specific: “If you perhaps have to look about ten years or planting the bomb that blew up Pan Am
ask for a percentage, if I have to talk more older, and he would look like the 103, he could well have bought the
about a percentage probability, I would man who bought the clothes. It’s been a clothes at Mary’s House. Indeed, when
say that 90 per cent there was no rain. long time now and I can only say that police raided his home in Sweden after
And there was always the possibility this photograph resembles the man who the bombing they found other clothes
that there would be some drops of rain, bought the clothing.” and articles bought in Malta.
about ten per cent possibility.” The “few In all the interviews with police on This was the evidence piled up
drops” rather reluctantly conceded as a this subject Mr Gauci was quite against the PFLP-GC, Iran and Syria
10 per cent possibility by the witness consistent on two points. The man was before the switch of suspects in 1990.
would not have been enough to wet the about fifty years old and more than six And even at the Camp Zeist trial in
ground. feet tall. During these interviews the 2000 and 2001 it still looked much
The records and expert evidence, police were hoping for an identification more powerful than the prosecution
therefore, were not absolutely conclusive of their suspects, Abu Talb and case against the Libyans.
on this important point, but most of Mohammed Salem, a Palestinian based
them pointed embarrassingly away from in Malta. Later in the proceedings, as
the 7 December as the date the clothes
were bought. And 7 December was the
we have seen, their suspect changed, THE KHREESAT
only date that they could have been
though the two basic descriptions by
Gauci did not change at all. It was only
CONNECTION
I
bought by Abdelbasset Megrahi. when he came to give evidence that the t looked even stronger when the
shopkeeper became vague. defence called Edward Marshman,
THE MAN WHO Q. What age would you say he was?
A. I said before – below six... , under
an FBI agent.
He was sent to Amman in Jordan by
WAS TWENTY 60. I don’t have experience. I don’t have the FBI in September 1989 where he

YEARS TOO YOUNG experience on height or age.


In 1989, he was quite prepared to
interviewed Marwan Khreesat. We have
come across Khreesat earlier in the

H OW credible was Gauci’s


identification of the accused? As
early as September 1989, Gauci had
estimate the height and age of the man,
but when he came to the trial he was
not so sure about either. No wonder Mr
pages of the Sunday Times and
elsewhere where he was named as the
man who was making bombs for the
told police the man who bought the Taylor concluded that Gauci’s evidence PFLP-GC terrorist gang in Germany.
clothes was “six foot or more in height” about Megrahi was “utterly unreliable”. The Sunday Times at that time did
and over 50 years old. It was part of the defence of the two not know that Khreesat was an
At the time Megrahi, five foot eight defendants that Libya and Libyans had intelligence agent working at one level
inches in height, was 37. We have seen nothing to do with the Lockerbie for his native Jordanian government, and
how the first time there was any bombing, and there were far more likely at another for the CIA. These excellent
suggestion of such an identification was culprits elsewhere – in the PFLP-GC contacts in high places no doubt explain
on 15 February 1991, as the Gulf War harboured by Syria and paid for by Iran. why Khreesat was released so soon after
was raging and the US intelligence was Naturally, the lawyers for Megrahi being arrested with a home-made

22
“Toshiba bomb” in his car in Germany once mentioned the Libyan government
shortly before Lockerbie. or Malta airport or anyone employed by
Khreesat was obviously highly either.”
relevant to the Camp Zeist trial but his
Jordanian bosses (and the Jordanian
government) obstinately refused to
THE GOBEN
release him. So Edward Marshman was MEMORANDUM
S
called to give evidence of what Khreesat
OON after Mr Marshman gave
had said to him in their interview in the
evidence, the trial was subject to
autumn of 1989. What Khreesat told
yet another delay.
Marshman was reported in the Eye (no.
The prosecution explained that they
1019, 12 January 2001).
had had notice from a foreign
“On 13 October, 1988, two months
government that more information might
before the Lockerbie bombing, Khreesat,
be available that would be relevant to the
who had infiltrated the PFLP and was
trial. The foreign government, it later
respected in that organisation as an
emerged, was Syria and the information
expert with high explosives, travelled
was known as the Goben Memorandum,
from Jordan to Germany with his wife.
of which the full text was now in the
The couple were met by a PFLP member
hands of the government in Damascus.
called Dalkamoni, who told Khreesat he
Goben was the Palestinian
was expecting another PFLP contact
“professor”, based in Yugoslavia, who
called Abu Elias. When Khreesat asked
was said to have played a crucial part in
what role Elias would play in the
Edward Marshman the PFLP-GC/Iranian plot to blow up an
PFLP’s terrorist plot, he was told that
aircraft in revenge for the Iranian airbus
Elias was an expert in airport security, disguised as a Toshiba cassette shot from the skies by a gung-ho
while Khreesat was an expert in making recorder.” American sea captain in the Gulf in July
bombs. The Eye concluded: “Mr Marshman 1988. On his death bed, it was
“The plan was for Khreesat to make was a witness for the defence and was rumoured, Goben had set out the entire
bombs and for Elias to smuggle them on questioned first by William Taylor QC “Autumn Leaves” conspiracy. He had
to an aircraft. On 22 October Khreesat for Megrahi, the first defendant. Mr since died and, after a few more weeks’
saw his wife off on a plane back to Alan Turnbull, for the prosecution, delay to the trial, the Syrian government
Jordan – from Frankfurt airport, where followed with a line of questions made it clear that if there was any such
he spent some time researching plane designed to prove that Khreesat did not memorandum, they had no intention of
schedules. That evening, in a house make the bomb that brought down Pan releasing it.
owned by another PFLP member, Am 103. But his questions did not even The end of what had seemed an
Khreesat started making five bombs and start to shake the main point: that a few endless trial came quickly. On the
disguising them so that they could be weeks before the Lockerbie bombing a morning of 31 January the judges
put on an aircraft. Khreesat told gang working ostensibly for Palestinian assembled to deliver two rapid verdicts.
Marshman that he ‘did not know any of terrorists, but mostly for various Megrahi was guilty of murder, Fhimah
the details as to exactly how the devices intelligence services, were busily not guilty. The verdicts were followed
were going to be put on board aircraft. building bombs disguised as cassette in due course by a written opinion of 90
Elias had all the details’. recorders and intended for planting on paragraphs which the judges did not
“On 24 October, Khreesat’s story went aircraft. Perhaps the most remarkable read out. This is a remarkable document
on, he stopped work for a break. While aspect of Mr Marshman’s evidence was that claims an honoured place in the
he was in the shower, Dalkamoni that neither he nor Mr Khreesat ever history of British miscarriages of justice.
knocked on the door and said he was
leaving to go to Frankfurt. When
Khreesat got back to his work, he noticed
that one of the bombs had disappeared.
The next day, 25 October, he phoned his
controlling officer in Jordanian
intelligence with the news that he had
made the bombs and that one of them
had been passed on to Elias.
“Later that day, Khreesat and
Dalkamoni went to Dusseldorf airport
where they wandered around picking
up timetables and discussing airline
schedules. The next day still, 26
October, Khreesat and Dalkamoni left
their home to go to meet Elias. The car,
with a bomb inside, was stopped by
German police and the two men were
arrested. Marshman’s official note of the
interview concluded: ‘Khreesat advised
that he did not think that he built the
device responsible for Pan Am 103, as
he only built four devices in Germany,
which are described herein.’ ‘Described Norman McFadyen (right) masterminded the prosecution for the Crown.
herein’, however, were not four devices He joined his fellow prosecutors including Jim Brisbane (left) in
but five, and the missing one was triumphalist meetings with the Lockerbie relatives after the trial

23
Chapter Four

…and error
THREE LORDS the check-in desks or in the baggage
area or by approaching the loaders”, the
What about the x-ray system at
Frankfurt? Would that not have caught
LEAPING TO judges concluded: “If therefore the the Toshiba bomb, especially after the
CONCLUSIONS unaccompanied bag was launched from
Luqa, the method by which that was
evidence that Kurt Maier, the x-ray
operator, was a careful and conscientious

I T deals only in passing with the


defence submissions that the PFLP/
Autumn Leaves gang may have been
done is not established by the Crown.
The absence of any explanation of the
method by which the primary suitcase
worker who had worked out a drill for
spotting electronic equipment containing
bombs? The judges thought not: “Mr
responsible for Lockerbie. might have been placed on board KM Maier’s description of what he looked for
“We accept that there is a great deal of 180 is a major difficulty for the Crown does not suggest that he would
suspicion as to the actings of Abu Talb case” (38). necessarily have claimed to be able to
and his circle, but there is no evidence to There was no evidence that an detect explosives hidden in a radio
indicate that they had either the means unaccompanied bag went on the plane cassette player” (34). (Note the use of
or the intention to destroy a civil aircraft at Malta – but lo and behold there was, that useful word “necessarily”). All in
in December 1988” (para 81). No means, as far as the judges were concerned, all, the conclusion was emphatic:
that is, beyond working with a bomb- plenty of evidence that an “None of the points made by the
maker who specialised in disguising unaccompanied bag arrived from Malta defence seems to us to cast doubt on the
explosive devices in cassette recorders so at Frankfurt. The judges sailed happily inference from the documents and other
that they could be smuggled on to past the defence objections to the evidence that an unaccompanied bag
aircraft. No intention except visits to accuracy of the documents on this from KM 180 was transferred to and
airports and the studying and hoarding matter. There was, they agreed, some loaded onto PA 103A”. (35)
of aircraft schedules, including some evidence that the suspect bag might What of the case, so carefully
from Pan Am. have come from a flight from Damascus, presented by Mr Taylor, that the bomb
Where did the bomb suitcase first get and the records did suggest that an may have gone on to a plane for the
on a plane? The judges worked their unaccompanied bag from Warsaw may first time at Heathrow, London?
way carefully through the theory that a have been coded in to the system taking The judges recited the evidence of the
bomb suitcase was put on a plane at it to Pan Am 103A. There may have loader John Bedford, given to police so
Luqa airport. The tight security been discrepancies in the times and soon after the bombing, that, after coming
arrangements at Luqa airport, they numbers of bags arriving at the relevant back from a tea break, he discovered a
conceded, “seem to make it extremely coding system, but some of these could “maroony brown Samsonite” case in the
difficult for an unaccompanied and be accounted for by figures relating to luggage container in which the explosion
unidentified bag to be shipped on a other flights and “the remaining later occurred. He had not put it there
flight out of Luqa. After discussing the discrepancy might be accounted for as himself. He said his colleague Sulkash
evidence of Maltese airport officials that late arrival luggage which, according to Kamboj told him he had put the case
it was impossible or highly unlikely that some of the evidence, might not go there – but Kamboj denied it.
a bag could be introduced undetected at through the automated system”. The judges fought their way through

Arriving for trial in


Holland: Lamin Fhimah
former official of Libyan
Arab Airlines who worked
at Luqa airport, Malta

24
this contradiction by believing Bedford The judges noted the various there. The judges also conceded that
and not believing Kamboj. But how did difficulties that had arisen in the finding Bollier had also sold MST-13 timers to
they deal with the powerful argument of the fragment. The overwriting of its the former East German secret police (the
that a brown Samsonite case, of the type label by DC Gilchrist was inexplicable. Stasi), but concluded, nevertheless, that
in which the explosion actually The policeman’s explanation to the the Lockerbie bombing was “of Libyan
occurred, was put on the plane at court, said the judges, was “at worst origin”.
Heathrow in a position extremely close evasive and at best confusing” (13). They The three main witnesses in the trial,
to the place where the bomb eventually noted, too, the re-pagination of notes by the judges concluded, were the grass
went off? This, they reckoned, would Dr Hayes from the moment he started to Giaka, whose evidence they discounted,
have required re-arrangement of the deal with the fragment, but dismissed Bollier the arms salesman, most of
luggage before it was finally loaded. “But this as “of no materiality”. Not material whose evidence they discounted, and
if there was such a re-arrangement”, they either, apparently, was the second four- the only witness they found reliable,
said, “the suitcase described by Mr month delay until Mr Fereday sent the Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper.
Bedford might have been placed at some fragment to the Scottish police. None of Despite the dramatic shifts in Mr
remote corner of the container.” these things worried the judges. “While Gauci’s identification of the man who
Note again the judicial “might” to it is unfortunate,” they concluded, “that bought the clothes that ended up in the
provide an explanation for which there this particular item which turned out to bomb suitcase, the judges responded
was no evidence at all. True, the be of major significance to this enquiry warmly to him. They did not see
Samsonite might have come from Malta despite its minuscule size may not anything significant in the fact that his
via Frankfurt. There was no evidence of initially have been given the same first identification of Megrahi as the
a Samsonite at either place. But there meticulous treatment as most other clothes-buyer was in February 1991,
was evidence of a Samsonite going in items, we are nevertheless satisfied that more than two years after the bombing
curious circumstances onto Pan Am 103 the fragment was extracted by Dr Hayes – during which time he had seen scores
at Heathrow. in May 1989 from the remnant of the of police photographs and part-
Finally, what had the judges to say Slalom shirt found by DC Gilchrist and identified two Palestinian terrorists.
about the amazing coincidence that a DC McColm.” The judges conceded that the
bomb of the type normally made by the The fragment led to the MST-13 which difference between Gauci’s original
PFLP-GC would have been set off by an led to Edwin Bollier, whom the judges description of the man as six feet tall
ice-cube timer, which would have found a most unsatisfactory witness, and 50 years of age and Megrahi’s actual
exploded some 38 minutes after take off prone at best to glaring contradictions height and age (five feet eight inches, 37
– and the bomb went off over Lockerbie and at worst to delusions, fantasy and years of age) was “a substantial
exactly 38 minutes after take off? So lies. Nevertheless, the judges concluded, discrepancy” (68). But Gauci’s
impressed were the judges by this Bollier had sold timers to the Libyan identification was, they concluded,
coincidence that they did not refer to it. military, had tested some of them in the “entirely reliable”. In what must have
They concluded that the Lockerbie Libyan desert, and had gone to Libya to been a novel interpretation of Scottish
bomb was not set off by an ice-cube timer, sell MST-13 timers shortly before the law, they went further. “There are
but by an MST-13 timer. The evidence for Lockerbie bombing. Mr Bollier, they situations,” they said, “where a careful
this came from the forensic scientists noted, had also had business dealings witness who will not commit himself
Hayes, Fereday and Thurman. In June with Abdelbasset Megrahi, the first beyond saying that there is a close
1990 a posse of Scottish detectives had accused, and had rented his firm an resemblance can be regarded as more
been over to Washington to test Mr office in Zurich – though there was no reliable and convincing in his
Thurman’s theory that a fragment found evidence that he had met Megraghi on identification than a witness who
from the Lockerbie debris looked like the his visit to Libya in December 1988, still maintains that his identification is 100
circuit board of an MST-13. less that he conveyed a timer to Megrahi per cent certain” (69).
Continued page 27

Arriving for trial in


Holland: Abdelbasset Ali
Mohamed Al Megrahi, an
official for the Libyan
Intelligence Service JSO,
who occasionally travelled
on a false passport

25
Appendix 2

THE THREE FORENSIC GENIUSES


T hroughout the Lockerbie
contro­versy, all officialdom
agreed that the real geniuses of
on: “Another serious admission
revealed by the RARDE notebooks
was that during the Maguire trial, cer-
attached to an explosive device… I
came to the conclusion that it could
only be designed and manufactured
the piece, the back-room boys tain experiments were carried out at for a terrorist operation.” The judge
who really solved the mystery, RARDE but the results were only par- was so enchanted by this evidence
were the forensic scientists. tially disclosed. For instance in one that he had it transcribed and read it
The three main geniuses, who case at which the inquiry looked quite out to the jury. Ten months later the
crop up again and again in the closely, a positive finding was record- conviction was quashed by the Court
narrative, were as follows. ed and reported to police where the of Appeal, and the prosecution
Rf value was as much as 0.12 lower appealed to the House of Lords. There,
MAKING HAYES than the standard. Dr Hayes, who has 12 years after Berry was first arrested,
■ Dr Thomas Hayes, of RARDE, the confirmed the results, was unable to it was established that what Fereday
Royal Armament Research and give an explanation so long after the told the court was completely wrong.
Development Establishment in Kent, event.” As Lord Taylor pointed out it in his
part of the Ministry of Defence. During Another infamous case in which judgement: “Each of the expert wit-
his evidence at Camp Zeist, Dr Hayes RARDE expertise was tested in nesses disagreed with the extremely
had a rather torrid time being cross- Hayes’s time there was that of Judith dogmatic conclusion expressed by Mr
examined by Richard Keen QC. Mr Ward. Her wrongful conviction for a Fereday in his evidence at the trial.
Keen started by asking Hayes whether murder on a Lancashire motorway The effect of their evidence was that
he was still a forensice scientist, and was eventually overturned after the timer is indeed a timer and noth-
was told no, he was now practising as Judith Ward spent 18 years in prison. ing more”. The conviction was
a chiropodist. He had changed profes- In the court of appeal, Lord Justice quashed and the judges apologised to
sions simultaneously with the publi- Glidewell described it as “conviction Mr Berry. Among the disclosures to
cation of the report of the inquiry by by ambush”. The Lord Justice embel- the court was the remarkable fact that
former judge Sir John May into the lished this description with a fero- Mr Fereday had no scientific qualifi-
Maguire case, one of the more cele- cious attack on the senior scientists cations whatever.
brated and disgusting of the infamous at RARDE. “The disclosure of scien-
English miscarriages of justice. tific evidence was woefully deficient. TOM THE LEGEND
The Maguires, members of a Three senior RARDE scientists took ■ FBI forensic expert Tom Thurman
respectable family in west London the law into their own hands and was described by Time magazine in
whose main crime was that they were concealed from the prosecution, the 1996 as “a legend” for his brilliance
Irish, were convicted of handling defence and the court matters which in matching a fragment found from
explosives connected with the IRA. might have changed the course of the the Lockerbie bombing with a timer
The main evidence against them was trial.” Asked whether at least two of he linked to Libya. A rather different
these scientists were his close col- view of Mr Thurman’s expertise was
leagues, Dr Hayes agreed, but insist- taken by Dr Frederick Whitehurst,
ed: “I was unaware and would have one of Thurman’s senior predeces-
been very concerned to know if there sors at the FBI. In an internal memo­
was any such, for example, suppres- ran­dum highlighted in Eye no. 997
sion of evidence.” (20 September 1996) Whitehurst
denounced Thurman for systematic
FEREDAY’S LORE fabrication of evidence in criminal
■ Dr Hayes’s close colleague at the trials. He had, alleged Whitehurst,
time of the Lockerbie bombing was circumvented established procedures
Allen Fereday, who was singled out and protocols in the assignment of
for special praise by David Leppard of evidence to examiners… he testified
The Maguire family: wrongly convicted the Sunday Times and other friendly to areas of expertise that he had no
on bogus forensic evidence from RARDE journalists. Eye no. 841, 11 March, qualifications in, therefore fabricat-
1994, referred to another case in ing evidence. Though he was for-
forensic – from the top men at RARDE. which Mr Fereday was involved – mally cleared of the charges in an
Sir John May discovered that the sci- that of John Berry who was convicted investigation by the Inspector General
entists at RARDE had deliberately in 1983 of selling explosives to the of the US Department of Justice in
hidden certain facts about the explo- Middle East. Mr Berry claimed that he April 1997, Mr Thurman left the FBI
sive tests they had carried out on the was selling electric timers for civilian soon afterwards.
hands of the accused – facts which purposes, chiefly for airport runway For reasons which were never
suggested that if they had been in lights. The case against him depended made clear, Mr Thurman, whose evi-
touch with explosives (which they entirely on the evidence of Allen dence about the timer was obviously
hadn’t) the type of explosive was not Fereday from RARDE, who told the so crucial to the course of the foren-
normally used by the IRA. This was court: “The timing device was specifi- sic investigation after the Lockerbie
denounced by Sir John May as “whol- cally designed and constructed for a bombing, was not called to give evi-
ly misleading”. The May report went terrorist purpose, that is to say to be dence at Camp Zeist.

26
protect him from the rain on a day it Paragraph 89 opened with a curious
most probably was not raining. He was disclaimer. “We are aware that in relation
a business associate of Bollier, and had to certain aspects of the case there are a
never bought any timers from him. number of uncertainties and
There was no evidence at all that he had qualifications. We are also aware that
made the bomb, packed it in a case and there is a danger that by selecting parts
put it on the plane at Malta, but he of the evidence which seem to fit
obviously had. together and ignoring parts which might
Paragraph 86 of the judgement starts: not fit, it is possible to read into a mass
“We now turn to the case against the first of conflicting evidence a pattern or
accused”, and quickly makes it clear that conclusion which is not really justified.”
any evidence against the second accused, Quickly abandoning their own
Fhimah, cannot apply to the first. There precautions about these matters, the
were then four paragraphs left. The first judges concluded, unanimously, that the
starts with the observation that on 15 case against Megrahi “does fit into a real
June 1987, eighteen months before and convincing pattern. There is
Lockerbie, Megrahi was issued with a nothing in the evidence which leaves us
false passport, which had been used on with any reasonable doubt as to the
visits to Nigeria, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia guilt of the first accused and
and Cyprus. accordingly we find him guilty”.
Paragraph 88 deals with the There was, however, nothing remotely
identification of Megrahi by Tony Gauci. real or convincing (let alone any kind of
“While recognising that this is not an pattern) in the case against Megrahi.
unequivocal identification...it could be There was no evidence that the bomb
inferred (infer is one of the judges’ went on at Malta, still less any evidence
Martin Cadman
favourite words) that the first accused that Megrahi put it there. All the other
was the person who bought the clothing evidence against him – including the
On what date were the clothes which surrounded the explosive theory that the Lockerbie bomb was set
bought? As we have seen, a crucial device.” Naturally, “if he was the off by an MST-13 timer, the vague
factor was the weather. The man who purchaser of this miscellaneous nature of the Gauci identification over a
bought the clothes bought an umbrella collection of garments, it is not difficult period of more than ten years and the
which he put up against the light rain to infer that he too must have been date the clothes were bought – were all
that was falling. There were two aware of the purpose for which they plagued by precisely the “uncertainties
possible dates when Tony Gauci would were being bought”. and qualifications” mentioned by the
have been alone in the shop while his Add this to the fact that he was judges. The judges, moreover, under
brother Paul was watching football: 23 “involved with Mr Bollier, albeit not Scottish law had the option of finding
November and 7 December. specifically in connection with MST the case against Megrahi “not proven” –
“There is no doubt,” said the judges, timers” and had been in Malta on 20th though in truth the only proper verdict
“that the weather on 23 November would and 21st December 1988, and “it is was not guilty.
be wholly consistent with a light shower possible to infer that this visit under a In these circumstances the judgement
between 6.30 and 7.00pm. While Major false name the night before the and the verdict against Megrahi were
Mifsud’s evidence was clear about the explosive device was planted at Luqa, perverse. The judges brought shame and
position at Luqa, he did not rule out the followed by his departure for Tripoli the disgrace to all those who believed in
possibility of a light shower at Sliema. following morning at or about the time Scottish justice, and have added to
Mr Gauci’s recollection of the weather the device must have been planted, was Scottish law an injustice of the type
was that ‘it started dripping – not raining a visit connected with the planting of which has often defaced the law in
heavily’ or that there was a ‘drizzle’ and the device”. That paragraph, perhaps England. Their verdict was a triumph
it only appeared to last for the time that unintentionally, also contained a sound for the CIA, but it did nothing at all to
the purchaser was away from the shop to explanation as to why Megrahi had a satisfy the demands of the families of
get a taxi.” false passport, “he was a member of the those who died at Lockerbie – who still
Then there was the conclusion. JSO (Libyan intelligence) occupying want to know how and why their loved
“Having carefully considered all the posts of fairly high rank”. ones were murdered.
factors relating to this aspect we have In February 1990, a group of British
reached the conclusion that the date of relatives went to the American embassy
purchase was Wednesday December 7.” in London for a meeting with the seven
Among the factors not very carefully members of the President’s commission
considered was that Major Mifsud had on aviation security and terrorism.
estimated the chances of rain at most at Martin Cadman remembers: “After we’d
10 per cent, that there was no rain at all had our say, the meeting broke up and
five kilometres away at Luqa. But we moved towards the door. As we got
perhaps the factor most carefully there, I found myself talking to two
considered was not meteorological at all members of the Commission – I think
– that Abdelbasset Megrahi was not they were senators. One of them said:
even in Malta on 23 November and ‘Your government and our government
therefore could not have bought the know exactly what happened at
clothes on that date. Lockerbie. But they are not going to tell
The conclusions followed swiftly. you.’ ”
Megrahi, though he was nothing like six Eleven years later, after a prolific
feet tall and nowhere near 50, had Pam Dix, secretary to UK Families waste of many millions of pounds and
bought the clothes and an umbrella to Flight 103 words, that is still the position.

27
Appendix 3

Report on and evaluation of the Lockerbie Trial conducted by


the special Scottish Court in the Netherlands at Kamp van Zeist

by Dr. Hans Köchler, University Professor, international observer of the


International Progress Organization nominated by United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the basis of Security Council resolution 1192 (1998)
Santiago de Chile, 3 February 2001/P/HK/17032 2. The circumstances of detention of the two accused
at Her Majesty’s Prison Zeist were in conformity with
The undersigned observed the proceedings of the High national legal requirements and international legal
Court of Justiciary at Camp Zeist (Netherlands) since the and human rights standards. According to the
beginning on 5 May 2000 until the announcement of the information given by the accused in a private
verdict and sentence in the causa Her Majesty’s Advocate interview with the undersigned, no people had access
v Abdelbasset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi and Al Amin to them without their consent. In particular, the
Khalifa Fhimah on 31 January 2001. He regularly medical services and the medical care for the second
attended the sessions of the Court, repeatedly met with accused (who needs permanent medication) were up
the prosecution and defense teams, interviewed the to the required standard. Upon their special request,
Registrar and staff members of the Scottish Court Service the undersigned sent a note about his meeting with
at Kamp van Zeist, inspected HM Prison Zeist, met with the accused in May 2000 and conveyed their concerns
the Governor and Deputy Governor of HM Prison Zeist in regard to certain political aspects of the United
and with the Chief of the Scottish Police at Kamp van Nations arrangements and conditions for their coming
Zeist. He interviewed the two accused Libyan nationals at to the Netherlands to the Secretary-General of the
the beginning of the trial and again – in separate United Nations. The Governor of HM Prison Zeist
meetings – after the passing of the verdict and sentence forwarded the undersigned’s confirmation note on the
on 31 January 2001. All meetings were arranged through forwarding of this message to the two accused. The
the Scottish Court Service. The undersigned further had prison administration was fully co-operative in regard
access to the complete transcripts of the Court’s to the undersigned’s requests in the exercise of his
proceedings and exchanged notes with the additional observer mission.
international observer of the International Progress
Organization, Mr. Robert Thabit, Esq. 3. The extraordinary length of detention of the two
suspects / accused from the time of their arrival in the
On the basis of his first exploratory visit to Kamp van Netherlands until the beginning of the trial in May
Zeist and of the interview with the two accused, the 2000 has constituted a serious problem in regard to the
undersigned, in May 2000, sent a confidential message basic human rights of the two Libyan nationals under
to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. He made general European standards, in particular those of the
no public comments during the entire period of the trial European Convention on Human Rights. In general, the
and did not seek a meeting with the panel of judges, highly political circumstances of the trial and special
Lord Sutherland, Lord Coulsfield and Lord Maclean. He security considerations related to the political nature
exercised his observer mission on the basis of respect of of the trial may have had a detrimental effect on the
the constitutional independence of the judiciary and rights of the accused, in particular in regard to the
interpreted his mission – in the absence of any specific duration of administrative detention.
description of the tasks of international observers in the
respective Security Council resolution – in the sense of 4. As far as the material aspects of due process and
evaluating the aspects of due process and fairness of the fairness of the trial are concerned, the presence of at
trial. He reached agreement on the nature of this least two representatives of a foreign government in
observer mission with the additional observer of the the courtroom during the entire period of the trial was
International Progress Organization, Mr. Robert Thabit. highly problematic. The two state prosecutors from the
US Department of Justice were seated next to the
Based on his observations during the entire period of the prosecution team. They were not listed in any of the
trial and on the information obtained in the numerous official information documents about the Court’s
meetings with the protagonists of the trial mentioned officers produced by the Scottish Court Service, yet
above, the undersigned presents the following they were seen talking to the prosecutors while the
evaluation in regard to the aspect of due process and the Court was in session, checking notes and passing on
question of the fairness of the trial: documents. For an independent observer watching this
from the visitors’ gallery, this created the impression of
1. All administrative aspects of the trial were handled “supervisors” handling vital matters of the prosecution
with great care, efficiency and professionalism by the strategy and deciding, in certain cases, which
staff of the Scottish Court Service at Kamp van Zeist. documents (evidence) were to be released in open
Apart from minor problems with simultaneous court or what parts of information contained in a
interpretation at the beginning of the trial, there were certain document were to be withheld (deleted).
no major weaknesses that might have affected the
fairness of the proceedings. The problems of 5. This serious problem of due process became
interpretation were solved in a satisfactory manner. evident in the matter of the CIA cables concerning
The Scottish Court Service did its best to assist the one of the Crown’s key witnesses, Mr. Giaka. Those
undersigned in the accomplishment of his observer cables were initially dismissed by the prosecution as
mission. “not relevant,” but proved to be of high relevance

28
when finally (though only partially) released after a a foreign government. The alternative theory of the
move from the part of the defense. Apart from this defense – leading to conclusions contradictory to
specific aspect – that seriously damaged the integrity those of the prosecution – was never seriously
of the whole legal procedure –, it has become investigated. Amid shrouds of secrecy and “national
obvious that the presence of representatives of security” considerations, that avenue was never
foreign governments in a Scottish courtroom (or any seriously pursued – although it was officially declared
courtroom, for that matter) on the side of the as being of major importance for the defense case. This
prosecution team jeopardizes the independence and is totally incomprehensible to any rational observer.
integrity of legal procedures and is not in conformity By not having pursued thoroughly and carefully an
with the general standards of due process and alternative theory, the Court seems to have accepted
fairness of the trial. As has become obvious to the that the whole legal process was seriously flawed in
undersigned, this presence has negatively impacted regard to the requirements of objectivity and due
on the Court’s ability to find the truth; it has process.
introduced a political element into the proceedings
in the courtroom. This presence should never have 8. As a result of this situation, the undersigned has
been granted from the outset. reached the conclusion that foreign governments or
(secret) governmental agencies may have been
6. Another, though less serious, problem in regard to allowed, albeit indirectly, to determine, to a
due process was the presence of foreign nationals on considerable extent, which evidence was made
the side of the defense team in the courtroom during available to the Court.
the whole period of the trial. Apart from the presence
of an Arab interpreter (which was perfectly reasonable 9. In the analysis of the undersigned, the strategy of
under aspects of fairness and efficiency of the the defense team by suddenly dropping its “special
proceedings), the presence of a Libyan lawyer who defense” and cancelling the appearance of almost all
had held high posts in the Libyan government and defense witnesses (in spite of the defense’s ambitious
who represented the Libyan Jamahiriya in its case v announcements made earlier during the trial) is
the United States and the United Kingdom at the totally incomprehensible; it puts into question the
International Court of Justice gave the trial a political credibility of the defense’s actions and motives. In
aspect that should have been avoided by decision of spite of repeated requests of the undersigned, the
the panel of judges. Though Mr. Maghour acted defense lawyers were not available for comment on
officially as Libyan defense lawyer for the accused this particular matter.
Libyan nationals and although he was not seen by the
undersigned as interacting with the Scottish defense 10. A general pattern of the trial consisted in the fact
lawyers during court proceedings, he had to be that virtually all people presented by the prosecution
perceived as a kind of liaison official in a political as key witnesses were proven to lack credibility to a
sense. It has to be noted that the original Libyan very high extent, in certain cases even having openly
defense lawyer, Dr. Ibrahim Legwell (chosen by the lied to the Court. Particularly as regards Mr. Bollier
two suspects long before their transfer to the and Mr. Giaka, there were so many inconsistencies in
Netherlands), resigned under protest when the Libyan their statements and open contradictions to statements
government introduced Mr. Maghour as new defense of other witnesses that the resulting confusion was
lawyer for the two accused. In sum, the presence of de much greater than any clarification that may have
facto governmental representatives of both sides in the been obtained from parts of their statements. Their
courtroom gave the trial a highly political aura that credibility as such was shaken. It seems highly
should have been avoided by all means, at least as far arbitrary and irrational to choose only parts of their
as the actual proceedings in the courtroom were statements for the formulation of a verdict that
concerned. Again, as to the undersigned’s knowledge, requires certainty “beyond any reasonable doubt.”
the presence of foreign nationals on the side of the
11. The air of international power politics is present
defense team was mentioned in no official briefing
in the whole verdict of the panel of judges. In spite of
document of the Scottish Court Service.
the many reservations in the Opinion of the Court
7. It was a consistent pattern during the whole trial explaining the verdict itself, the guilty verdict in the
that – as an apparent result of political interests and case of the first accused is particularly
considerations – efforts were undertaken to withhold incomprehensible in view of the admission by the
substantial information from the Court. One of the judges themselves that the identification of the first
most obvious cases in point was that of the former accused by the Maltese shop owner was “not
Libyan double agent, Abdul Majid Giaka, and the CIA absolute” (formulation in Par. 89 of the Opinion) and
cables related to him. Some of the cables were finally that there was a “mass of conflicting evidence”
released after much insistence from the part of the (ibid.). The consistency and legal credibility of the
defense, some were never made available. The Court verdict is further jeopardized by the fact that the
was apparently content with this situation, which is judges deleted one of the basic elements of the
hard to understand for an independent observer. It indictment, namely the statement about the two
may never be fully known up to which extent relevant accused having induced on 20 December 1988 into
information was hidden from the Court. The most Malta airport the suitcase that was supposedly used
serious case, however, is related to the special defense to hide the bomb that exploded in the Pan Am jet.
launched by defense attorneys Taylor and Keen. It was
12. Furthermore, the Opinion of the Court seems to
officially stated by the Lord Advocate that substantial
be inconsistent in a basic respect: while the first
new information had been received from an unnamed
accused was found “guilty”, the second accused was
foreign government relating to the defense case. The
found “not guilty”. It is to be noted that the
content of this information was never revealed, the
judgement, in the latter’s case, was not “not proven”,
requested specific documents were never provided by
but “not guilty”. This is totally incomprehensible for

29
any rational observer when one considers that the international public.
indictment in its very essence was based on the joint
action of the two accused in Malta. 17. The international observer may draw one general
conclusion from the conduct of the trial, which
13. The Opinion of the Court is exclusively based on allows to formulate a general maxim applicable to
circumstantial evidence and on a series of highly judicial procedures in general: proper judicial
problematic inferences. As to the undersigned’s procedure is simply impossible if political interests
knowledge, there is not one single piece of material and intelligence services – from whichever side –
evidence linking the two accused to the crime. In succeed in interfering in the actual conduct of a
such a context, the guilty verdict in regard to the first court. We should remember the wisdom of Immanuel
accused appears to be arbitrary, even irrational. This Kant who – in his treatise on eternal peace (Zum
impression is enforced when one considers that the ewigen Frieden), elaborating on the essence of the
actual wording of the larger part of the Opinion of the rule of law – unambiguously stated that secrecy is
Court points more into the direction of a “not never compatible with a republican system
proven” verdict. The arbitrary aspect of the verdict is determined by the rule of law. The purpose of
becoming even more obvious when one considers intelligence services – from whichever side – lies in
that the prosecution, at a rather late stage of the trial, secret action and deception, not in the search for
decided to “split” the accusation and to change the truth. Justice and the rule of law can never be
very essence of the indictment by renouncing the achieved without transparency.
identification of the second accused as a member of
Libyan intelligence so as to actually disengage him 18. Regrettably, through the conduct of the Court,
from the formerly alleged collusion with the first disservice has been done to the important cause of
accused in the supposed perpetration of the crime. international criminal justice. The goals of criminal
Some light is shed on this procedure by the otherwise justice on an international level cannot be advanced in
totally incomprehensible “not guilty” verdict in a context of power politics and in the absence of an
regard to the second accused. elaborate division of powers. What is true on the
national level, applies to the transnational level as
14. This leads the undersigned to the suspicion that well. No national court can function if it has to act
political considerations may have been overriding a under pressure from the executive power and if vital
strictly judicial evaluation of the case and thus may evidence is being withheld from it because of political
have adversely affected the outcome of the trial. This interests. The realities faced by the Scottish Court in
may have a profound impact on the evaluation of the the Netherlands have demonstrated this truth in a very
professional reputation and integrity of the panel of clear and dramatic fashion – the political impact
three Scottish judges. Seen from the final outcome, a stemming, in this particular case, from a highly
certain coordination of the strategies of the complex web of national and transnational interests
prosecution, of the defense, and of the judges’ related to the interaction among several major actors
considerations during the later period of the trial is on the international scene.
not totally unlikely. This, however, – when actually
proven – would have a devastating effect on the 19. The undersigned would like to express his
whole legal process of the Scottish Court in the humble opinion – or hope, for that matter – that an
Netherlands and on the legal quality of its findings. appeal, if granted, will correct the deficiencies of the
trial as explained above. It goes without saying that
15. In the above context, the undersigned has reached all will depend on the integrity and independence of
the general conclusion that the outcome of the trial the five judges of an eventual Court of Appeal
may well have been determined by political operating under Scottish law.
considerations and may to a considerable extent have
been the result of more or less openly exercised 20. The above evaluation should in no way be
influence from the part of actors outside the judicial interpreted as to diminish the idealistic contribution
framework – facts which are not compatible with the and commitment of so many civil servants of the
basic principle of the division of powers and with the Scottish Court Service and the Scottish police
independence of the judiciary, and which put in authorities who guaranteed the smooth functioning of
jeopardy the very rule of law and the confidence the whole court operation at Kamp van Zeist under
citizens must have in the legitimacy of state power and difficult and truly extraordinary circumstances.
the functioning of the state’s organs – whether on the
traditional national level or in the framework of
international justice as it is gradually being established The undersigned would like to emphasize that the above
through the United Nations Organization. remarks constitute a personal evaluation by himself
alone and that he is only bound by the dictates of his
16. On the basis of the above observations and conscience; as an international citizen committed to the
evaluation, the undersigned has – to his great dismay goals and principles of the United Nations Charter, he
– reached the conclusion that the trial, seen in its does not accept any pressure or influence from the part
entirety, was not fair and was not conducted in an of any government, political party or interest group.
objective manner. Indeed, there are many more
questions and doubts at the end of the trial than there Truth in a matter of criminal justice has to be found
were at its beginning. The trial has effectively created through a transparent inquiry that will only be possible
more confusion than clarity and no rational observer if all considerations of power politics are put aside. The
can make any statement on the complex subject rule of law is not compatible with the rules of power
matter “beyond any reasonable doubt”. Irrespective of politics; justice cannot be done unless in complete
this regrettable outcome, the search for the truth must independence, based on reason and the unequivocal
continue. This is the requirement of the rule of law commitment to basic human rights.
and the right of the victims’ families and of the  Dr. Hans Köchler

30
LEST THEY FORGET

The Dean of Westminster, Duke of York, Prime Minister Tony Blair and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
at Westminster Abbey for a Remembrance service on the 10th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster

1988 21 December. Pan Am Jumbo jet flight 103 bombed over 1991 January. Desert Storm bombing of Iraq begins.
Lockerbie. 259 crew and passengers and eleven on the 1991 February. Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci first shown
ground killed. photograph of Abdelbasset Megrahi, a Libyan
1989 February. Forensic investigations show that the bomb went intelligence agent, and half-identifies him as the
off in a Samsonite suitcase in the hold of the plane. In the purchaser of clothes in his shop.
case were clothes bought in a shop in Sliema, Malta. 1991 July. CIA informer, garage mechanic and Libyan airline
1989 March. Transport Minister Paul Channon tells journalists manager Majid Giaka, taken off Malta in a US warship
at the Garrick Club that police have found the terrorists and interviewed by FBI agent.
responsible for the bombing and arrests are imminent. 1991 October. Giaka gives evidence at a US Grand Jury.
1989 March. President Bush rings Prime Minister Thatcher 1991 November. US indictments name Megrahi and Libyan
with suggestions to “low key” inquiries into Lockerbie. airline manager Lamin Fhimah as Lockerbie conspirators
1989 September. Scottish police interview Maltese shopkeeper and murderers. Scottish legal authorities follow suit.
Tony Gauci for the first time. Show him pictures of 1992 January. UN imposes sanctions on Libya until the two
Palestinian terrorists. suspects are released.
1989 October. Sunday Times starts long series of articles 1992-1998 Stalemate as Libya refuses to release suspects.
identifying the Palestinian PFLP-GC as the organisation
1998-early 1999 Negotiations inspired by South African
responsible for the bombing.
President Nelson Mandela.
1989 December. Prime Minister Thatcher turns down demands
1999 April. Suspects give themselves up for trial under
for a public inquiry into Lockerbie.
Scottish law in a special trial in Holland.
1990 February. American Presidential Commission on
2000 May. Trial opens under three Scottish judges (and no
Aviation Security and Terrorism reports. Includes several
jury) at Camp Zeist in Holland.
references to PFLP-GC.
2001 January. Megrahi convicted of murder, Fhimah
1990 July. FBI agent Tom Thurman invites Scottish police to
acquitted.
Washington. Shows them MST-13 timers, and suggests
similarities with fragment found from Lockerbie debris.
1990 2 August. Iraq invades Kuwait. UN forces start to gather
in Saudi Arabia in combined operation against Iraq Thanks
known as Desert Storm.. Pamela Dix, who lost her brother at Lockerbie,
1990 September. First reports in western media, notably Martin and Rita Cadman who lost their son, Jim and
L’ Express, naming Libya as possible suspects for Jane Swire who lost their daughter, as did John and
Lockerbie bombing. Lisa Mosey, have all helped the Eye with this story
1990 October. Fatal accident inquiry into Lockerbie starts in over the last twelve years. Others who have helped
Scotland. No inquiry or conclusion into who was with this story include Tam Dalyell MP, Professor
responsible for the bombing. Robert Black, John Ashton, Anthony Sampson and
Margaret Renn. Few if any of these people will agree
1990 November. Syria removed from US list of countries
with the style or conclusions here, which makes
harbouring terrorists. Syrian forces join Desert Storm.
their help all the more invaluable.
Libya first named in British media as possible suspect for
bombing.

31
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