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Lon More
28th Aug 2005, 12:28
The Scotsman on Sunday


by MARCELLO MEGA


A FORMER Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated.

The retired officer - of assistant chief constable rank or higher - has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people.


The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison.

The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system.

The officer, who was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland, is supporting earlier claims by a former CIA agent that his bosses "wrote the script" to incriminate Libya.

Last night, George Esson, who was Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway when Megrahi was indicted for mass murder, confirmed he was aware of the development.

But Esson, who retired in 1994, questioned the officer's motives. He said: "Any police officer who believed they had knowledge of any element of fabrication in any criminal case would have a duty to act on that. Failure to do so would call into question their integrity, and I can't help but question their motive for raising the matter now."

Other important questions remain unanswered, such as how the officer learned of the alleged conspiracy and whether he was directly involved in the inquiry. But sources close to Megrahi's legal team believe they may have finally discovered the evidence that could demolish the case against him.

An insider told Scotland on Sunday that the retired officer approached them after Megrahi's appeal - before a bench of five Scottish judges - was dismissed in 2002.

The insider said: "He said he believed he had crucial information. A meeting was set up and he gave a statement that supported the long-standing rumours that the key piece of evidence, a fragment of circuit board from a timing device that implicated Libya, had been planted by US agents.

"Asked why he had not come forward before, he admitted he'd been wary of breaking ranks, afraid of being vilified.

"He also said that at the time he became aware of the matter, no one really believed there would ever be a trial. When it did come about, he believed both accused would be acquitted. When Megrahi was convicted, he told himself he'd be cleared at appeal."

The source added: "When that also failed, he explained he felt he had to come forward.

"He has confirmed that parts of the case were fabricated and that evidence was planted. At first he requested anonymity, but has backed down and will be identified if and when the case returns to the appeal court."

The vital evidence that linked the bombing of Pan Am 103 to Megrahi was a tiny fragment of circuit board which investigators found in a wooded area many miles from Lockerbie months after the atrocity.

The fragment was later identified by the FBI's Thomas Thurman as being part of a sophisticated timer device used to detonate explosives, and manufactured by the Swiss firm Mebo, which supplied it only to Libya and the East German Stasi.

At one time, Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was such a regular visitor to Mebo that he had his own office in the firm's headquarters.

The fragment of circuit board therefore enabled Libya - and Megrahi - to be placed at the heart of the investigation. However, Thurman was later unmasked as a fraud who had given false evidence in American murder trials, and it emerged that he had little in the way of scientific qualifications.

Then, in 2003, a retired CIA officer gave a statement to Megrahi's lawyers in which he alleged evidence had been planted.

The decision of a former Scottish police chief to back this claim could add enormous weight to what has previously been dismissed as a wild conspiracy theory. It has long been rumoured the fragment was planted to implicate Libya for political reasons.

The first suspects in the case were the Syrian-led Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), a terror group backed by Iranian cash. But the first Gulf War altered diplomatic relations with Middle East nations, and Libya became the pariah state.

Following the trial, legal observers from around the world, including senior United Nations officials, expressed disquiet about the verdict and the conduct of the proceedings at Camp Zeist, Holland. Those doubts were first fuelled when internal documents emerged from the offices of the US Defence Intelligence Agency. Dated 1994, more than two years after the Libyans were identified to the world as the bombers, they still described the PFLP-GC as the Lockerbie bombers.

A source close to Megrahi's defence said: "Britain and the US were telling the world it was Libya, but in their private communications they acknowledged that they knew it was the PFLP-GC.

"The case is starting to unravel largely because when they wrote the script, they never expected to have to act it out. Nobody expected agreement for a trial to be reached, but it was, and in preparing a manufactured case, mistakes were made."

Dr Jim Swire, who has publicly expressed his belief in Megrahi's innocence, said it was quite right that all relevant information now be put to the SCCRC.

Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the atrocity, said last night: "I am aware that there have been doubts about how some of the evidence in the case came to be presented in court.

"It is in all our interests that areas of doubt are thoroughly examined."

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: "As this case is currently being examined by the SCCRC, it would be inappropriate to comment."

No one from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland was available to comment.

niknak
28th Aug 2005, 18:47
Oh good, this will make the families feel a lot better.:rolleyes:

I wouldn't begin to suggest that if there was any evidence to aquit the accused, they shouldn't be given a fair trial.

But the Libyian authorities were only to keen to cooperate with the original trial, so, given the pressure they're now under from the West, and their willingness to go along with admissions of previous crimes, who will get a fair trial?

airship
28th Aug 2005, 19:15
It's a $2.7 billion question. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3167907.stm) IMHO, the political aspects have always taken precedence over the criminal side of the investigations and results concerning Panam 103. Whether or not Gaddafi was behind it all, all one can really confirm is that the oil companies are finally back in Libya after a long absence... :rolleyes:

Hilico
28th Aug 2005, 19:31
Am I the only one on here who ever reads Private Eye?

ORAC
28th Aug 2005, 20:36
Hilico,

No. you are not the only one. I have their report in my cabinet and regard his conviction as a travesty of justice.

tall and tasty
28th Aug 2005, 21:40
As someone who lost a very dear friend and his beautiful girlfriend in this tragedy, I wish the the realy perpretrators are caught and bought to justice. The longer this is drawn out the more the terrible the horrific memories of that night are never allowed to become distant and one is just allowed to remember the memories of the person/persons whom one lost.

I hope that an innocent man, if he is, is cleared of the blame and the system punishes those who deserve it. Otherwise all the people on that a/c and those on the ground lost their lives in vain.

TnT :(

Dave Martin
28th Aug 2005, 21:55
This definately caught me eye - I remember seeing a documentary on how the evidence had been assembled following the bombing.

It always seemed so utterly implausable that in amongst the miles of wreckage, searchers managed to find a tiny flake of circuit-board, smaller than a fingernail, match up a few letters off the plastic and trace it to a timing manufacturer in Switzerland. This fragment then went on to be shown to be part of the timing device on the actual explosive.

Pretty good work if true, but sounds like a real needle in a haystack to me.

con-pilot
29th Aug 2005, 00:13
Dave, as someone who has attended NTSB accident investigation schools and has had the misfortune to be involved with two aircraft accidents I can tell you that one would be shocked on the small details and/or pieces of stuff one finds.

What I find even more amazing is that suddenly after 16 years a proven terrorist attack, admitted to by Libya, now is a CIA conspiracy. Just like no American Airline aircraft hit the pentagon on 911.

T-N-T, sorry to hear about your friends, this is why I hate these conspiracy theories when they come up just because somebody wants their 15 minutes of fame. It brings back the memory of the pain suffering of the loss of loved ones. This is something I can attest to personally from the Oklahoma City bombing.

stagger
29th Aug 2005, 00:50
con-pilot,

The idea that there may be something wrong with the Lockerbie trial conviction is not some crazy conspiracy theory that has recently been invented. Anyone who followed the trial would be aware that there were serious questions about much of the evidence.

Professor Robert Black, one of the legal experts who actually helped plan the rather unusual trial process, has described the verdict as...

"a grave miscarriage of justice"

And this was long before the latest revelations about the possibility that some evidence was planted. Putting aside these new revelations there was a fundamental problem with the prosecution case.

The prosecution case depended on the theory that the unaccompanied case (carrying the bomb), containing clothes bought by Megrahi from a Maltese shopkeeper (Mr Gauci), was introduced into the baggage system in Malta. Gauci's identification of Megrahi is questionable but more importantly in their ruling the judges acknowledged that if "the unaccompanied bag was launched from Luqa, the method by which that was done is not established, and the Crown accepted that they could not point to any specific route by which the primary suitcase could have been loaded." But they still convicted Megrahi.

So not only was there was no proof that the suitcase carrying the bomb was introduced into the baggage system in Malta - there wasn't even a plausible theory explaining how it could have been! In fact, to accept the prosecution's explanation of events it is necessary to disregard all the other potential points where unaccompanied baggage could have entered the system (e.g. Frankfurt, Heathrow).

con-pilot
29th Aug 2005, 01:00
Okay, if that's the line you want to take, why did it blow up?

Simple question.

Where did the explosive traces come from.

Another simple question.

stagger
29th Aug 2005, 01:31
con-pilot,

Why did it blow up? Because there was a bomb on the aircraft.

Where did the explosive traces come from? From the bomb.

Simple answers!

The simple point I was trying to make is that there was no evidence presented during the trial to support the prosecution claim that the bomb was introduced into the baggage system in Malta. This is acknowledged in the judges ruling.

iakobos
29th Aug 2005, 01:39
what I find even more amazing is that suddenly after 16 years a proven terrorist attack, admitted to by Libya, now is a CIA conspiracy.

It might indeed be amazing for people who were satisfied to read the case was closed, end of story.

Those who had an interest and/or took the time to actually follow the case in 1998-2002 are forced to come to the same conclusion as almost all observers in Zeist, that is, a couple of big question marks and no answer. (this includes the representative of the victims, father of one himself)

HotDog
29th Aug 2005, 01:49
Won't John Barry Smith love this!? Standby for his cargo door midspan latch failure theories as the cause of the Lockerbie crash.:rolleyes:

stagger
29th Aug 2005, 01:54
I don't think there's any doubt it was a bomb - this was never an issue during the trial. The only issue was, and still is, who planted the bomb (and where).

vapilot2004
29th Aug 2005, 03:47
nothing -

Blacksheep
29th Aug 2005, 05:35
Personally, at the time I thought that the Lockerbie bombing was in revenge for the Iranian Airbus. Nothing I've seen or heard since has changed my opinion on the most likely suspect.

Wiley
29th Aug 2005, 05:41
I think you'll find that there have always been allegations from relatively reliable sources that a Syrian based (and therefore backed) group was responsible for Lockerbie, but at the time the investigation was in full swing, Gulf War One was looming, and the US needed the Syrians on side, so those allegations were downplayed, discounted or refuted, pick your word depending upon your level of cynicism.

Anyone else remember Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' and the scene early in the story where the Thought Police are chasing Winston, with the whole drama being broadcast live on the giant TV screens? When the chase went on too long without a result, what did they do? - they found some unfortunate individual on the street who to the audience, became Winston, and gave the poor devil the giant needle - and the public the result they craved.

Watching the way CNN and the other news networks handle any 'breaking news' crisis today, I begin to appreciate just how inspired - and prescient - Geoge Orwell really was.

Semaphore Sam
29th Aug 2005, 05:58
But...how can this be so? That would mean that my government...was guilty of a set-up...a lie. As we know, my government, and other poodle governments, NEVER lie. So, let us, as we always do, reject such speculative nonsense...and BELIEVE...Santa and the Tooth Fairy LIVE!

Konkordski
29th Aug 2005, 19:47
Certainly not the first time the circuit-board fragment has been called into question.

This from Jim Swire, who lost his daughter on PA103, and pushed for a thorough investigation of the attack on the aircraft:


This damage to the credibility of the evidence chain might also have reached critical importance in the case of a small fragment of circuit board alleged to be from a digital timer used by Megrahi in Malta.

The label on its evidence-bag had been altered, by persons unknown, in a way unreported on any other label, and its description appeared to have been added to the forensic officer's report after the report had been annotated and completed. This uniquely compromised item was the sole evidential support for the use of a digital timer capable of starting from Malta.

This evidence of possible deliberate falsification within the evidence chain, coupled with the improper access to it by those who had a huge stake in their murdered intelligence team, strikes a grievous blow to the already circumstantial prosecution case, yet it was not heard by the appeal court, and much of it not by the main trial court.


Read the rest of his statement. It's sobering stuff. If even he isn't satisfied about the 'guilty' verdict, how can anyone else be?

LowNSlow
30th Aug 2005, 09:53
I remember the former head of Mossad stating at the time of the disaster that he felt certain that Libya had nothing to do with it and it was far more likely to be a Syrian or Iranian backed group.

I feel that the Mossad has a far greater credibility than any other intelligence team in matters concerning the Middle East.

Bunker Buster
30th Aug 2005, 10:35
Let's face it, good friends.:(
There's a "silent majority" among us who hate the Truth more than they despise conspirators, con-artists, coverup experts, black-ops or false-flag mass murderers. :mad:
The path of Truthseekers is therefore a very solitary, unrewarding and often dangerous existential outlook to adopt in one's life. :ugh:
As somebody who's been silently watching the Lockerby Tragedy unfold since DAY TWO (December 22, 1988) I can only express my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the 271 victims of this horrendous atrocity.
May the Truth, that is finally emerging after 17 years, set you free and give you some solace until you meet with your loved ones again.
Unfortunately, this will never be the case for the millions of innocent "survivors" of the catastrophe in Iraq - fathers, mothers and children of 200,000 dead and thousands of children still dying every day from malnutrition, poverty and contamination from the arsenal used against them. They were also the victims of a vicious Lie (Weapons of Mass Destruction) which the perpetrators didn't even bother to "plant" at the scene of their crime.
And alas, the Truth, openly admitted by the same world-class criminals, hasn't made much difference to their "voters".

Bunker Buster - I agree with stagger's sentiments below. Do NOT try to introduce thread creep on to Iraq again please! There have been - and indeed are - sufficient threads on that topic running already.

stagger
30th Aug 2005, 11:19
Regarding the circuit board fragment.

It was claimed during the trial that the fragment in question was from a timer manufactured by a Swiss company called MEBO.

Originally, the boss of MEBO Edwin Bollier agreed that it came from a batch supplied by MEBO to the Lybian military, but he was never allowed to examine the fragment, supposedly manufactured by his company, up close. He was only shown photographs.

He later changed his story and claimed it in fact came from a batch supplied to an organistation connected with the secret police in East Germany.

He has even questioned whether it was part of a functional timer at all, suggesting that it might in fact be a "fabricated fragment". However, I don't think he was ever given the opportunity to suggest this during the trial.

(Bunker Buster - please can we try to keep this thread on topic and not have another discussion about Iraq.)

airship
30th Aug 2005, 16:25
I suppose there's a silver lining to every cloud: at least the evidence wasn't pre-fabricated... :}

Nineiron
31st Aug 2005, 21:36
A former Scottish police chief has given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated.
Full article http://www.scotsman.com/?id=1855852005