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Lockerbie Conspiracy


John Simkin
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On Wednesday 21 December 1988, a Boeing 747-121 named Clipper Maid of the Seas—was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Eleven people in Lockerbie, south Scotland, were killed as large sections of the plane fell in and around the town, bringing total fatalities to 270. In 2001, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan man, was convicted of involvement in the bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment.

However, many of the relatives of those who died, believe it was Iran, not Libya, who was behind the Lockerbie bombing. The former Iranian intelligence official, Ahmad Behbahani, has said that he was responsible for all "terrorist" operations carried out by the Iranian Government beyond its borders - including the Lockerbie bombing.

Iran's alleged motive for carrying out the attack was assumed to be a desire for revenge for the shooting down of an Iranian civilian flight by the US warship, the Vincennes, killing all 290 passengers and crew aboard, on 3 July 1988. Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini vowed at the time that the skies would "rain blood" in revenge.

Mr Behbahani told the CBS 60 Minutes programme he himself had first suggested the plan to bomb the Pan Am flight to Ahmad Jibril, who heads a Syrian-backed armed group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).

It has been claimed that the CIA and the Iranian intelligence agencies did a deal that involved Libya being blamed for the terrorist attack. Maybe this has something to do with the Iran-Contra deal that Reagan agreed with Iran before he replaced Jimmy Carter.

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Judges have accepted an application by the Lockerbie bomber to drop his second appeal against conviction. This has upset those campaigners who have been arguing that it was Iran who was behind the bombing. It was hoped that during the appeal the intelligence agencies would have been forced to release documents suggesting a Iran/CIA/Reagan deal to cover-up the case.

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Judges have accepted an application by the Lockerbie bomber to drop his second appeal against conviction. This has upset those campaigners who have been arguing that it was Iran who was behind the bombing. It was hoped that during the appeal the intelligence agencies would have been forced to release documents suggesting a Iran/CIA/Reagan deal to cover-up the case.

John,

I've been following this story, and it looks like the Scotts are going to spring the guy "on humanitarian grounds."

While the Iranians had a motive in revenge, the investigators positively IDd the guy they got and convicted as having purchased items that were with the bomb in a store in Malta, so whoever he was working for, he was part of the operation.

And if Iran was behind it, why did Quadafi acknowledge guilt and pay out billions to the families of the victims?

I know two of the families - Cohens of Cape May NJ and a guy from Cherry Hill NJ, both of whom lost children - who lobbied the government to take steps against terrorism and Libya.

Squeeky Frome is out, this guy is getting out, is Hinkley next?

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Iran-Contra was never REALLY investigated [yes, a controlled, partial, modified-limited hangout 'investigation'] because it would have let to all too many important other operations, persons, agencies, off-the-shelves, and groups.... Wilson would know a hell of a lot - but he's not talking. No one knows where Terpil is and he wouldn't talk - nor be allowed to - if found. BCCI, Nugan-Hand, Palme, Pan-Am crash, Gander, and much more - all inter-connected...and, IMO, leading back to threads and personages to the events of Dallas.

Ted Shackley is the main link between the JFK assassination and Iran-Contra.....and many other things, along with his #2, Ray Clines,....and all their little minions..... still active [or their heirs] active today. You and I know one of our main sources of 'inside' information won't even 'go there' when it comes to Ted Shackley.....more than a gentle hint......

Ted is dead....but the 'entity' that Ted worked for is alive and well and in its ascendency, IMO. I'll go one step further. If not stopped soon, the 'entity' that Ted [and others like him] worked for are not exposed and stopped, humanity will be stopped dead in its 'tracks'...rather soon, and in rather a very nasty manner....along with other life on this small Planet, that now [sadly] depend on our lack of morality, wisdom....and natural philosophy.

Edited by Peter Lemkin
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From the Daily Mail last week:

Relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing have joined politicians in accusing the Scottish Government of a cover-up after the only man found guilty of the atrocity dropped his second appeal against his conviction.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, is likely to be freed next week. Had he continued with his appeal, families of the victims believe it would have gone some way to exposing what they claim is a cover-up.

They accuse the Scottish Government of striking a deal with the convicted bomber that he drop his appeal, which may have exposed a miscarriage of justice, in exchange for repatriation.

Talking to The Times, Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, said: 'It’s pretty likely there was a deal,' adding that the British and Scottish governments were anxious to avoid the appeal.

The move now means the families of the 270 passengers killed when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the sky in 1988 have lost their final chance to expose the truth.

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Lockerbie bomber returns to heroes welcome

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8213352.stm

Relatives of those who died in the bombing of a US plane over Lockerbie voiced anger as the man convicted of the attack was welcomed home in Libya.

Crowds in Tripoli greeted Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, after he was freed from prison on compassionate grounds.

The son of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi called his release a courageous step by Scotland and Britain.

But there was angry reaction from families of those killed in the bombing and from US President Barack Obama.

Most of the 270 people who died when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie in 1988 were Americans.

Mr Obama said Megrahi's release, eight years into his life sentence, was "a mistake".

He said his administration had told the Libyan government that Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, should not receive a hero's welcome and should be placed under house arrest.

Hundreds of people, nonetheless, turned out to meet Megrahi's plane as it landed in Tripoli, many waving flags.

Megrahi, who had changed from tracksuit he wore to leave Greenock prison in Scotland into a dark suit, was met by Col Gaddafi's son.

"I would like to thank the Scottish government for its courageous decision and understanding of a special human situation," Seif al-Islam Gaddafi was quoted as saying.

There was a considerable amount of new evidence to show that he was innocent, he is reported to have added.

Megrahi was then taken to his family home where his wife, Aisha, said she was "overjoyed".

"It is a great moment, which we have been waiting for for nine years," she said. "The house is full to bursting, everyone who loves Abdelbaset is with us."

'An insult'

But relatives of those who died voiced growing anger and outrage at the decision to release him.

Susan Cohen of New Jersey, whose 20-year-old daughter Theodora died in the bombing, said it was "so sickening I can hardly find words to describe it".

"You want to feel sorry for anyone, please feel sorry for me, feel sorry for my poor daughter, her body falling a mile through the air," Ms Cohen told CNN.

Kara Weipz, who lost her brother, said the move was an insult. "I don't show compassion for someone who showed no remorse," she said.

But other relatives reacted differently to the news.

British relatives' spokesman Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the atrocity, reiterated his view that Megrahi had "nothing to do with" the bombing

I am ashamed to be Scottish today. Where is the justice for the victims?

Ross MacDonald, Edinburgh

"I don't believe for a moment that this man was involved in the way that he was found to have been involved," he said.

Megrahi was convicted of murder in January 2001 at a trial held under Scottish law in the Netherlands but has always denied being behind the bombing.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the release order on Thursday morning, saying Megrahi probably had about three months to live.

The fact that Megrahi's victims were shown no compassion was "not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days", he said.

In London, a spokesman for the Foreign Office said any decision to release Megrahi "was for the Scottish government and ministers to take, as they have done".

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Tripoli says that in the short time Megrahi is believed to have left to live, he is likely to be feted as a national hero in Libya.

But when he does die, says our correspondent, he will go to the grave a convicted murderer.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/21/l...hi-libya-return

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/21/l...-megrahi-libya-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/severincarrell

The Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi returned home to a crowd of thousands of cheering young men this morning, in a move that ignored Barack Obama's warning against a hero's welcome for the convicted Lockerbie bomber.

As Megrahi disembarked at the military airport in Tripoli where his plane landed, cheering supporters, some wearing T-shirts bearing his picture, threw flower petals in the air and waved Libyan and miniature Scottish flags, while Libyan songs played in the background.

Having changed out of the white tracksuit he was wearing when he left Scotland into a dark suit and burgundy tie, Megrahi left the plane with the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif, who raised his hand to the crowd before they sped off in a convoy of white sedans. Megrahi was reportedly on his way to meet his 95-year-old mother.

Obama last night denounced Scotland's release of Megrahi as a mistake, and revealed the US had opened talks with Libya urging the regime to keep the terminally-ill man under house arrest until his death.

Megrahi, who is thought to have only three months to live, was freed on compassionate grounds yesterday. But as the Afriqiyah Airways jet taking him home to Tripoli took off from Glasgow airport at 3.26pm, it left in its wake a torrent of international condemnation.

Obama led the strong US criticism of the decision. "We have been in contact with the Scottish government, indicating that we objected to this," he said. "We thought it was a mistake."

Earlier on, in a carefully choreographed day, it took just 67 minutes to free the man who it had taken more than a decade to catch and convict for plotting Britain's worst terrorist atrocity, the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.

At 1pm, the Scottish justice secretary, Kenny Macaskill, told a press conference of his decision to free Megrahi because spreading prostate cancer is killing him.

At 2.29pm, the white A300 airliner touched down in Glasgow, while at Greenock prison, Megrahi, frail and bowed by his illness, walked slowly into a prison van, his face swathed in a white scarf.

At 2.37pm, a small convoy of six police vehicles flanked by police outriders swept him under the prison's arch. About 80 local residents had gathered outside the gate. Some shouted abuse while some cheered ironically, as the convoy passed.

Roads were closed as the convoy was shepherded through Greenock by its outriders and down the M8 to Glasgow airport, shadowed by a small squadron of police and TV helicopters.

At 3.09pm, Megrahi stepped from the van onto the airport tarmac, his face obscured by a white baseball cap and the scarf. After a handshake with prison guards, Megrahi leaned on a walking stick and pulled himself up the aircraft steps.

Megrahi had repeatedly denied his guilt – protesting his innocence again in an emotional statement yesterday – but he left Scotland a convicted mass murderer, after dropping his appeal against conviction in order to expedite his release.

In his hand he held papers that threatened "recall to custody" if he did not comply with the terms of his release, including giving monthly health updates and being interviewed by a supervising officer. Last night, Scottish opposition politicians said the terms were unenforcable.

American relatives of those killed in the bombing condemned the release. Showing Megrahi any compassion was "utterly despicable", said Kara Weipz, 36, whose brother Rick was killed in the atrocity.

"The interests of justice have not been served by this decision," said Eric Holder, the US attorney general, who helped investigate the bombing originally. "There is simply no justification for releasing this convicted terrorist whose actions took the lives of 270 individuals."

But Macaskill, the Scottish justice secretary and former criminal defence lawyer who issued Megrahi's release papers, said his decision was a moral act.

"In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity. It is viewed as a defining characteristic," he told a packed press conference in Edinburgh.

"The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live. Mr al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. [but] compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people, no matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated.

"For these reasons alone, it is my decision that Mr al-Megrahi be released on compassionate grounds and allowed to return to Libya to die."

Macaskill released medical reports on Megrahi's condition. His cancer, diagnosed in September 2008, failed to respond to hormone treatment. The cancer hit nine out of 10 on the "Gleason score" of severity. The official medical report stated that Megrahi's condition had "declined significantly" earlier this month. "The clinical assessment, therefore, is that a three-month prognosis is now a reasonable estimate for the patient."

Megrahi issued a statement stressing his innocence, saying his conviction was "a disgrace" and his imprisonment had been a "horrible ordeal".

"I am obviously very relieved to be leaving my prison cell at last and returning to Libya, my homeland," he continued. "Many people, including the relatives of those who died in, and over, Lockerbie, are, I know, upset that my appeal has come to an end; that nothing more can be done about the circumstances surrounding the Lockerbie bombing.

"I share their frustration. I had most to gain and nothing to lose about the truth coming out – until my cancer diagnosis. To those victims' relatives who can bear to hear me say this: they continue to have my sincere sympathy for the unimaginable loss they have suffered. To those who bear me ill will, I do not return that to you."

Obama said he had contacted families of the deceased and indicated to them that the release was inappropriate. He added: "We have been in contact with the Scottish government indicating we object to this. We thought it was a mistake. We are now contacting the Libyan government to make sure that if this transfer has taken place, he is not welcomed back in some way but should instead be under house arrest."

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Best analysis so far:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/poli...icle6806482.ece

From The Sunday Times

August 23, 2009

The Libyan Ultimatum

Despite denials, talk persists of pressure and plots behind the freeing of the Lockerbie bomber

Matthew Campbell

They are expecting a magnificent party in Tripoli a week on Tuesday when Libya marks the 40th year in power of Muammar Gadaffi and pays tribute to the deft diplomatic footwork of Saif al-Islam, his son.

The only man convicted for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 is finally home; and the suave, shaven-headed Saif, whose name means “sword of Islam”, is credited with a key role in making it happen.

An agreement struck long ago between Tony Blair and Gadaffi had threatened to fall apart with potentially catastrophic consequences for Britain: it has emerged that Libya threatened to freeze diplomatic relations if Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, said to be suffering from cancer, was not released under a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.

In the end, he was freed by Scotland on “compassionate” grounds and escorted home to Tripoli by Saif, who thrust Megrahi’s hand into the air as they came down the steps of Gadaffi’s airliner to a hero’s welcome that has outraged the families of Lockerbie’s victims.

Yesterday the protests were undimmed, but the official responses were evasive — unsurprisingly, because behind Megrahi’s release lie weeks of intrigue between Westminster, Tripoli, Edinburgh and Washington.

Apart from the unfortunate Lockerbie families, everyone seems to have got what they wanted. Gadaffi and his son have their man. Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice secretary, who signed the release order, has burnished his humanitarian credentials. Gordon Brown has preserved Britain’s politically and economically valuable new relationship with Libya while avoiding any blame for the release. And American politicians have been able to bluster in protest while exercising none of their considerable clout to stop it happening.

The whole exercise reeks of realpolitik and moral evasion.

The reality is that Megrahi’s freedom is a product of the effort to bring Libya out of dangerous isolation. This is as much to America’s advantage as Britain’s, but Washington has too much baggage to be openly involved; it bombed Libya in 1986 in punishment for supporting terrorism, and Gadaffi remains a bogeyman to many Americans. So Britain takes the lead — except when it can devolve the dirty work onto a Scottish politician.

A so-called “deal in the desert” reached between Gadaffi and Blair in a tent outside Tripoli in 2004 led to a broad rapprochement with Libya and a prisoner transfer agreement that Gadaffi saw, from the outset, as a means of bringing home Megrahi. The Libyans became increasingly angry, however, at what they regarded as British foot-dragging over the transfer.

“They were furious with the Foreign Office because things were not panning out as they were told they would,” said a source close to the Scottish administration. “The Foreign Office had been telling the Libyans that they were confident the Scottish government would agree to their prisoner transfer request.”

Megrahi was finally released without resort to the prisoner transfer agreement, but British businessmen made no secret of the pressure they had applied to the government to agree to the prisoner treaty so Megrahi could be repatriated. This removed what Saif regarded as a significant impediment to more lucrative British oil deals with his country.

British officials strongly denied that they had put pressure on Scotland to release Megrahi — or signed the prisoner transfer agreement with Libya — in order to smooth the way for oil deals. But on the way home to Tripoli on Thursday, Saif seemed to contradict them. “In all commercial contracts for oil and gas with Britain, Megrahi was always on the negotiating table,” he said.

There were anxieties in Edinburgh and Westminster when the Libyans raised the prospect of breaking off diplomatic relations, which in effect would have frozen all British dealings in Libya.

“Look at what he’s done to Switzerland,” said Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya. “He [Gadaffi] can make life very unpleasant for us all.”

This was a reference to the undeclared war that Gadaffi has waged against the Swiss over the past year since Hannibal, a younger brother of Saif who is renowned as an exuberant playboy, was arrested in a Geneva hotel after complaints that he had been beating his servants.

Gadaffi cut off oil supplies to the Swiss and withdrew billions of pounds from their banks. Switzerland’s grovelling — a formal apology was issued last week for Hannibal’s “wrongful” arrest — might secure Gadaffi’s forgiveness but that is by no means certain and the Swiss stand to lose billions in business.

Some of the secret background to Megrahi’s release has now emerged with the leak of a letter from Ivan Lewis, a junior minister at the Foreign Office, encouraging MacAskill to “consider” Libya’s application for Megrahi to be sent home. It is part of the political game of pass the parcel between Brown and Alex Salmond, the nationalist Scottish first minister.

This began with a fiction that suited both sides. The prime minister claimed that the decision on whether to release the man convicted in a Scottish court of killing 270 people lay exclusively with ministers in the devolved Scottish administration.

Brown, who has a Macavity reputation of knowing when to hide from no-win situations, realised his reputation could be damaged by any association with the decision on Megrahi’s fate. However, no political insider seriously believed that the Westminster government would leave a matter as sensitive to this to Salmond’s unpredictable justice minister.

The idea that the Scottish executive alone was making the decision appealed to Salmond’s vanity. The fact that President Barack Obama publicly criticised the “Scottish government” for its decision to send the Libyan bomber home served only to boost the egos of those involved.

However, the images of Megrahi receiving a hero’s welcome on his return home to Libya on Thursday altered the political dynamics. The Scottish administration faced a public backlash.

UK ministers continued to deny any involvement. Lord Mandelson, the business secretary — who had discussed Megrahi with Saif while on holiday in Corfu this summer — said when leaving hospital yesterday after a prostate operation: “The issue of the prisoner’s release is quite separate from the general matter of our relations and indeed the prisoner’s release has not been influenced in any way by the British government.”

Lewis’s leaked letter to MacAskill suggested otherwise. Writing on August 3, Lewis told MacAskill there was no legal reason not to accede to Libya’s request to transfer Megrahi into its custody under the terms of the treaty agreed between Tony Blair and Gadaffi in 2007.

A source who saw the letter said Lewis added: “I hope on this basis you will now feel able to consider the Libyan application in accordance with the provisions of the prisoner transfer agreement.” The source said the Scottish government interpreted this as an attempt to influence MacAskill’s decision.

Brown’s involvement was highlighted yesterday when Downing Street released a letter he sent to Gadaffi on Thursday, tipping him off that Megrahi’s release was imminent before the decision was announced in Edinburgh.

The jubilant scenes greeting Megrahi’s return to Tripoli also forced some fast footwork in Washington. Obama initially appeared content to express muted disapproval of Megrahi’s release, but once US evening news broadcasts began running extensive reports from Libya, he described the scenes from Tripoli as “highly objectionable”. Yet there was no indication that the administration was planning to take the matter further, and many of the complex commercial considerations that have overshadowed Britain’s handling of the affair also apply in Washington.

Indeed, while politicians and senior administration officials were expressing dismay early last week at the release of a convicted terrorist, a congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate, was in Libya.

McCain reported on Tuesday via Twitter, the instant internet messaging site, that he had met Gadaffi, whom he described as “an interesting man”. McCain was reported by the Libyan news agency to have praised Gadaffi’s peace-making efforts in Africa and to have called for expanded US ties with Libya. Exxon and Chevron, the American oil giants, are among companies vying for lucrative new exploration contracts.

Yesterday, Robert Mueller, the head of the FBI, said Megrahi’s release “rewards a terrorist”. Nevertheless, diplomatic sources said Washington expected Gadaffi to pay his first visit to America later this year for the next UN general assembly.

From the western point of view, a key part of the process of Libya’s rehabilitation is the courting of a new leadership generation friendly to America and Europe. This is not an exercise in democracy-building, however, and the emergence of Saif as a key player is seen as an advantage — if he can retain his prominence.

For Libya watchers, the recent antics of the young Gadaffi, whose back-channel diplomacy has included befriending Prince Andrew as well as Mandelson, has bolstered the view that he is being groomed to succeed his 67-year-old father.

“I don’t think Gadaffi particularly wants people to know who his successor is but is probably thinking ‘let’s see what the young man can do’,” said Sir Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Libya, who calls Saif “very personable”.

In his well-cut suits and Bond Street shoes, Saif, a 37-year-old engineer with artistic leanings and a degree in governance from the London School of Economics, is just as much at ease on the business cocktail circuit as he is in his father’s Bedouin tents.

“He has no executive role, but likes to behave like a young prince,” says Dalton. “His father sees virtue in that, provided that he doesn’t cause too much trouble with other constituents.”

This was a reference to the diehard revolutionaries of Gadaffi’s regime who are uncomfortable with the process of modernisation espoused by Saif and other western-friendly technocrats.

Saif’s prominent role in Megrahi’s return should reap him dividends in popular support.He seems to get “more latitude” than Gadaffi’s seven other children, says an acquaintance, adding: “I think all bets are that Saif is the guy who’s going to emerge, but who knows? His father has stayed in power ... by being crafty.”

Gadaffi presents himself as the spiritual guide of the nation but maintains absolute control through the ruthless suppression of all opposition. Human rights groups have denounced torture and other abuses. Foreign workers have been held hostage.

From Facebook to Windsor Castle, where he has been a guest, Saif is the human face of the regime, a behind-the-scenes negotiator attracting sympathy for his quest to bring Libya into the modern world. His hand was detected in the process that led to his father’s abandonment of a programme to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

Last year when Condoleezza Rice, the former American secretary of state, visited Tripoli,Saif exhorted fellow Arabs to support American efforts to promote democracy.

“Instead of shouting and criticising the American initiative, you have to bring democracy to your countries,” he told Al-Jazeera television. “Then there will be no need to fear America or your people. The Arabs should either change or change will be imposed on them from the outside.”

The clues that led to Megrahi

It is almost 20 years since The Sunday Times revealed how the trail to the key suspect in the Lockerbie bombing led to Malta, writes David Leppard.

Painstaking work by British forensic scientists showed how clothing wrapped around the Semtex bomb when it exploded had been made in a factory on the island.

When detectives travelled there in August 1989, nine months after the bombing, they interviewed a shopkeeper called Tony Gauci. As this newspaper reported, he recalled how just two weeks before the bombing a man he described as “a Libyan” had walked into his shop and bought a random selection of clothing. These included a blue Babygro, checked trousers, an imitation Harris tweed jacket and a black umbrella.

Gauci’s unprompted description matched almost exactly the contents of the Lockerbie bomb suitcase.

He later claimed to have identified the Libyan as the purchaser. The breakthrough eventually led to the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, for the murder of the 270 victims.

There were question marks over the reliability of Gauci’s eye-witness testimony; Megrahi always insisted Gauci had the wrong man. His planned appeal might well have vindicated him but Megrahi’s return to Libya now means there will always be uncertainty about his involvement.

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Interesting article by Lisa Pease on Consortium News. It is well worth reading the whole article but here is a taster:

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/082109a.html

Scottish journalist Magnus Linklater, in an article for the London Timesonline on Aug. 13, noted that this was hardly a wild conspiracy theory at the time:

“It is sometimes forgotten just how powerful the evidence was, in the first few months after Lockerbie, that pointed towards the involvement of the Palestinian-Syrian terror group the PFLP-GC, backed by Iran and linked closely to terror groups in Europe. At The Scotsman newspaper, which I edited then, we were strongly briefed by police and ministers to concentrate on this link, with revenge for an American rocket attack on an Iranian airliner as the motive.”

Indeed, the Sunday Times of London reported in its front-page headline of March 26, 1989, “Pan Am Bombers Identified.” The article stated that anonymous intelligence sources knew who was behind the bombing: “the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command, led by Ahmed Jibril, a Damascus-based PLO renegade who opposes Yasser Arafat’s current peace drive.”

The paper claimed that PLO sources had told it the group had received $10 million to bring down the plane in retaliation for the downing of an Iranian civilian airline by the American cruiser Vincennes the summer before.

(The U.S. claimed the Vincennes thought it was being attacked, and fired in self-defense, a claim which had no basis in reality, despite having been voiced by President Ronald Reagan and Vice President and former CIA director George H.W. Bush. President Reagan refused to apologize to Iran for this tragic mistake.)

The Observer reported that, after the shootdown of the Iranian plane, the Iranian chargé d’affaires in Beirut invited Ahmed Jibril and other terrorists to a meeting attended by representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, where plans were made to bring down a plane with a bomb.

The final meeting purportedly took place at the Carlton Hotel in Beirut just days before the Lockerbie incident.

On Dec. 24, 1989, the Sunday Times reported that white plastic residue found at the Lockerbie crash site matched material in alarm clocks purchased from a couple of Jibril’s PFLP-GC associates just before their arrest in West Germany in October 1988, just two months before the Lockerbie bombing.

As Bill Blum’s report, recently republished at Consortiumnews.com, noted, the Iranian-PFLP-GC conspiracy “was the Original Official Version, delivered with Olympian rectitude by the U.S. government — guaranteed, sworn to, scout’s honor, case closed — until the Gulf War came along in 1990 and the support of Iran and Syria were needed.”

Enter the political truth. With Iran and Syria no longer available as sponsors, given the new political reality, Libya became the new enemy. Never mind that the evidence was nearly nonexistent.

In a BBC report from 2002, U.N. trial observer Koschler stated it appeared to him the U.S. and UK authorities exerted undue influence over al-Megrahi’s trial. Why would U.S. and UK authorities try to influence the court? Beyond their roles as advocates for the victims, what did theyhave to gain or to hide?

Authors John Ashton and Ian Ferguson, who together wrote Cover-up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie, point out that more than just bodies were found in the wreckage of Flight 103.

Along with the 270 dead were approximately $500,000 in American bills and an envelope marked with $547,000, carrying travelers checks. But according to a few key witnesses, something else was found. Drugs. Heroin, to be exact.

Additionally, locals were perturbed by the immediate presence of large numbers of Americans who showed up in Lockerbie within a couple of hours of the downing of the plane.

When the CIA agents arrived on the scene, they were looking for highly confidential papers that should have been found on the body of the pilot, Captain James McQuarrie, No such papers were found. They also sought something of great importance, but would not specify what it was. They told the Scottish officials they’d know it when they found it.

Among the victims was a man alleged to have been planning a rescue operation for the American hostages then being held in Beirut, U.S. Army Major Charles McKee, a Defense Intelligence Agency employee who had been assigned temporarily to the CIA.

McKee had been accompanied by four others that were later identified as CIA men: Matthew Gannon, the CIA’s Beirut Deputy Station Chief; Ronald Larivier, Daniel O’Connor, and Bill Leyrer. Was the presence of these men on the flight significant in any way? Were they targets? One investigator believed that was a possibility.

Pan Am’s attorney James Shaughnessy hired Juval Aviv, president of a private intelligence firm named Interfor and a former Mossad member, to conduct an investigation into the bombing. Pan Am was facing a civil suit from families of victims regarding lax security policies. The more they knew about the bombing, the better Pan Am could determine whether to contest the suit or settle.

Aviv’s report, commonly called the Intefor Report, contains several claims, which, if true, are remarkable. It’s hard to know how much credibility to give the report, although Aviv’s firm had done business with the IRS and other government agencies, and had even been hired by the Secret Service to investigate potential threats against President Reagan.

The Interfor Report claims that one or more baggage handlers at Pan Am’s facilities in Frankfurt serviced the drug trade, swapping out innocent baggage for drug-laden baggage. The Report also claims that a CIA team (referred to as CIA-1 in the Report) had learned about this drug operation and was using their knowledge of it to extract concessions from those holding the hostages in Beirut.

The report claims that the McKee-led team of CIA people – in Beirut to plan a hostage rescue operation – learned of this drug smuggling operation and the role of some CIA people in it. According to the report, “The [McKee] team was outraged, believing that its rescue and their lives would be endangered by the double dealing.”

The report said, “By mid-December the team became frustrated and angry and made plans to return to the U.S. with their photos and evidence to inform the government, and to publicize their findings if the government covered it up. They did not seek permission to return, which is against the rules. The return was unannounced. … Sources report eight CIA team members on that flight, but we only have identified the five names reported herein.”

According to the report, an undercover Mossad agent tipped off the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) 24 hours in advance that a bomb was to be placed on Pan Am Flight 103. BKA, said the report, passed that information to CIA-1, which reported that information to its control, but received no guidance one way or another back.

The Interfor Report alleges that a Turkish baggage handler stashed a suitcase in the employee locker area, as was his usual practice with drug shipments.

During the loading of bags, a BKA agent noticed a bag that looked different than the usual drug bags. Since he was on alert for a potential bomb, he notified CIA-1, which again passed that information to its control.

The report said, “Control replied: don’t worry about it, don’t stop it, let it go.” The report said CIA-1 gave no instructions to BKA, and BKA did nothing to stop the bag.

In one of its most startling allegations, the report said, “The BKA was then covertly videotaping that area on that day. A videotape was made. It shows the perpetrator in the act. It was held by BKA. A copy was made and given to CIA-1. The BKA tape has been ‘lost.’ However, the copy exists at CIA-1 control in the U.S.”

Aviv encouraged Pan Am to obtain a copy of that tape, warning that the CIA would deny its existence, and that Pan Am would need to be persistent.

This story took on new dimensions in 1990, when both ABC and NBC did their own report on a drug ring link to the bombing. Both chose, however, to focus on a DEA operation, and the CIA was never mentioned by either network.

NBC named Khalid Jaafar, the only Arab on Flight 103, as the unwitting courier whose bag got swapped for the bomb. The Interfor Report had named the same person.

According to Cover-up of Convenience authors Ashton and Ferguson, on Oct. 30, 1990, NBC reported:

“NBC news has learned that Pan Am flights from Frankfurt, including [Flight] 103, had been used a number of times by the DEA as part of its undercover operations to fly information and suitcases of heroin into Detroit as part of a sting operation to catch dealers in Detroit. The undercover operation, code-named Operation Courier, was set up three years ago by the DEA in Cyprus to infiltrate Lebanese heroin groups in the Middle East and their connections in Detroit …

nformants would put suitcases on the Pan Am flights, apparently without the usual security checks, according to one airline source, through an arrangement between the DEA and German authorities. Law enforcement officials say the fear now is that the terrorists that blew up Pan Am 103 somehow learned about what the DEA was doing, infiltrated the undercover operation and substituted the bomb for the heroin in one of the DEA shipments” so the bomb would sail through the security loophole, undetected.

ABC produced a similar report the next day, and also claimed that Khalid Jaafar was one of the drug couriers.

The DEA investigated itself in the wake of these stories, and declared itself clean to a House subcommittee. The DEA claimed only three drug operations had been run through Frankfurt, and none in December of 1988 when the bombing took place.

In 1992, long after the DEA’s denials, a new report supporting the Interfor Report surfaced, in Time magazine of all places, supporting some of the reports core allegations.

The article, by Roy Rowan, stated that Ahmed Jibril used a Middle Eastern heroin traffic operation to get the bomb on the plane, and that McKee was heading back to Washington to expose the CIA unit’s operations with the drug dealers.

So is this the true history of what happened at Lockerbie? I don’t know.

The direction of the case shifted dramatically in the fall of 1990 as President George H.W. Bush was scrambling to assemble a coalition to drive Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. The Bush administration was in need of Iranian and Syrian help, too, in freeing U.S. hostages then held by Islamic militant groups in Lebanon.

Also in 1990, spin-off investigations from the Iran-Contra scandal were underway with Iranian officials possessing possible information that could have incriminated President Bush as he was looking toward a tough reelection battle in 1992. In short, the Iranians held a number of cards that would have made them inconvenient targets of the Pan Am investigation.

However, the Libyans were opposing Bush’s Persian Gulf intervention and had long ranked near the top of the list of America’s favorite enemies. Laying the blame on the Libyans let a lot of influential people off the hook.

While I don’t know if the alternative theories of the Pan Am 103 bombing are true, what I do know is that there is a lot more support for some of them than there ever was for the conviction of the unfortunate and now cancer-ridden al-Megrahi, whose release on Thursday was widely condemned by U.S. officials and media figures with almost no reference to the lingering doubts about his conviction beyond brief mentions that he continues to assert his innocence.

How did we get so far off track on this story? In part, by not having a truly independent media to investigate and report on the truth behind this case.

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  • 1 year later...

So under pressure from BP and the British government, the Scottish courts allow, as a humanitarian gesture, the convicted Libyan terrorist to leave prison and return home because he is dying of cancer, yet a full year later he is still living the high life in his harum.

And when questioned by New Jersey Senators Lautenberg and Martinez, neither the British nor the Scotts will cooperate and permit any testimony whatsoever before the proposed Congressional hearings that were called, and then postponed.

What's going on here?

BK

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So under pressure from BP and the British government, the Scottish courts allow, as a humanitarian gesture, the convicted Libyan terrorist to leave prison and return home because he is dying of cancer, yet a full year later he is still living the high life in his harum.

And when questioned by New Jersey Senators Lautenberg and Martinez, neither the British nor the Scotts will cooperate and permit any testimony whatsoever before the proposed Congressional hearings that were called, and then postponed.

What's going on here?

BK

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