February 26 2011
In the last week or so, as everyone now knows, the Gaddafi regime in Libya has started falling apart. The Facebook Arab revolutions of 2011 have spread to Tripoli, and the colonel for one is not stepping aside demurely. Many hundreds or even a few thousand are now dead in by far the harshest response yet, with fighter jets strafing peaceful protestors, we hear reported (or at least suggested).
And then, somehow, the peaceful protestors have also come into control of half the country. Gaddafi and his sons have sworn to fight to the bitter end, “martyred” in a possible “civil war” Washington is still calling “protest.” Anyone else feel like we’re missing something here?
As it so happens, all this has coincided on my end with being swamped with urgent things that haven’t given me the time to catch up or comment. But I don’t have much of value to say on the situation in Libya anyway, now or in the past. I’m not deeply informed on the facts of the regime itself, and not sure how much of the track record of murder, repression, and terrorism leveled is actually true.
It’s standard form for revisionists to clarify how wicked and brutal Gaddafi is, but I only know what I’ve looked into so far, and the evidence suggests Libya was framed for perhaps the largest act among them, the bombing of Pan Am 103. So I’m confident the evil of the regime is exaggerated by at least that hefty margin. Otherwise, I’ll defer to the consensus that what’s happening there is a taking out of the trash, framed for Lockerbie or not.
But for the record numbers of new viewers visiting the Divide in recent days, I should finally comment on one bit of this that’s germane to my areas of study. It was prophesized by an anonymous commentator at professor Black’s Lockerbie Case blog on the 22nd:
What’s the betting that, sometime in the next few weeks, the following happens:Two days later we learned that it was already coming true. Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, Libya’s Justice Minister, had resigned over the regime’s response to the protest/war, and suddenly revealed a dark secret he implicitly had held for years. He told this to a reporter from a Swedish newspaper, Expressen, in an unnamed Libyan city as the regime started crumbling around him. As translated for the UK Daily Fail:
1. In the burned out ruins of a Libyan government building, someone finds definitive documentary ‘proof’ that Libya and Megrahi were responsible for Lockerbie, and/or
2. A Libyan official reveals, ‘we did it’.
The official case is now so thin that only such concoctions can save it (although it’s also crossed my mind that a prisoner will come forward who says ‘Megrahi confessed to me' – another hallmark of paper-thin cases). [source]
“I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order about Lockerbie.” [source]This is nothing new to most people. The whole motive was supposed to be revenge for the death of Gaddafi’s adopted baby daughter in the U.S. air raids of 1986 that were meant to kill him. And being autocratic Libya, if any Libyan agent did anything in response, it was obviously complied with orders from on high.
The “if” part is key. The obvious and glaring problem with his “revelation” is that is claims proof of a plot that there otherwise isn’t even any credible evidence for. Further, as even the Fail noted, “He did not give details of this evidence.” I’d add that he probably never will. Mr. Abdel-Jalil’s supporting reasoning is not promising either. As the Fail reported, he said the following:
“To hide it, he [Gaddafi] did everything in his power to get al-Megrahi back from Scotland.”Hide it? Like the world would forget about their accepted guilt for such a heinous act if the man convicted was simply moved? Most people had already presumed that it ran to the top, and just the suspicion of it had Libya sanctioned heavily for eight years.
The only thing really changed with Megrahi’s move, aside from the relative lack of punishment, was the abandonment of his second appeal of conviction. There was nothing in the appeal papers about proving Gaddafi ordered the bombing. It was in fact all about how his supposed agent for that attack clearly didn’t do it – nearly the opposite.
And as far as “everything in his power,” the Fail’s story has an interesting take. They note that the eventual avenue home was compassionate release “on the grounds that he was suffering from prostate cancer and would die soon.” Did Gaddafi engineer the cancer? Of course not. “He is still alive,” they note, suggesting the grounds are faulty and the cancer perhaps fake. In context, the inference is that Gaddafi managed the early prognosis with bribes, to get his man home in order to somehow “hide” that he had ordered the Lockerbie bombing.
And why weren’t the Libyans concerned with hiding their role in the bombing at the time of the bombing itself? According to the official story this clown supports, Megrahi chose to fill his bomb luggage with Maltese clothes he bought himself, brand-new, at a small shop that serves few Arabs. He was the only customer at the time, and quite conspicuous, coming in right at closing and forcing the shopkeeper to stay open late for his notably random and suspicious shopping spree. Naturally, he was remembered when a tag on some pants was followed from the factory right to the shop where the alleged brainfart occurred.
For the IED, Megrahi or whoever chose to use the only radio in the world just made “theirs” when a company linked to the JSO (Libyan intel agency) largely cornered the market for it. They filled this JSO radio with a Semtex bomb running on a MST-13 timer, only 20 of which ever existed, all held by the JSO, we hear. The one advantage to offset the MST-13's traceability is that it could easily be set, like any number of other timers, to hit the giant target of the Atlantic ocean and bury the clues. But they chose to set it for 7:03 pm, when Flight 103 was, and was scheduled to be, twenty minutes from even the edge of open sea.
As set up before delivery on December 21, the fabled Libyan bomb bag was set to explode over land and lead investigators right to the perps in at least three amazingly precise ways. And there was no shortage of planning time - Megrahi waited for nearly three years to get this comeuppance, until just after the Iranians had sworn in-kind revenge for an airliner of theirs we shot down. (It also just so happens one of the bomb the Iranians had commissioned for this went missing weeks before the bombing, and had a style that would detonate exactly when the Libyan bomb on Flight 103 did, if it had been used. Small world!)
In addition to perfectly mimicking the revenge Iran never got, that bastard al-Megrahi might well have consciously framed himself and thus his country with his sloppy plot. If Jalil’s account and that ridiculous case argued at Camp Zeist is true, Gaddafi could only want the bomber back to strangle him. But he had the whole 1990s to do that, and as noted with outcries everywhere, the idiot who mucked up the mission was enshrined in a crystal palace for his final (years?). Something doesn't add up here.
The Daily Fail again:
If what Mr Abdel-Jalil is true, it would undermine the long-held scepticism by some in the UK that Libya and al-Megrahi were responsible for the outrage.That’s a big if, and no. His story sews up nicely only with the paper version, where a word – guilty – defines things. The skeptics are focused on the 3-D version of the attack that actually killed people. That leaves signs that have always pointed away from Libya, and still do (Of course as we've seeen, some clues do point to Libya, but with far too many exclamation and question marks). Just because some guy in a desperate situation says something contrary does not change the evidence behind this case one bit.
If what Mr. Abdel-Jalil says were somehow true, it would suggest this:
1) Gaddafi, personally, ordered Megrahi, personally, to bomb Flight 103, or some American plane.
2) Megrahi was on Malta the day of the bombing, which is a stupid place to bomb a plane from, and has no credible evidentiary link to the bombing. He failed to follow through, after all the orders and investments, just as someone else was planting a brown hard-shell suitcase in AVE4041 up in London at about 4:30.
4) Megrahi was framed anyway, with obviously planted evidence and bribed witnesses.
That is clearly absurd, but he says he has proof of the first part. Clearly he's distancing himself from what he sees as a sinking ship, and he’s not swimming. He’s got this floatation device to reach a Western shore and bargain for asylum. As usual, such a device is filled with hot air, and floating on this one we see only a frightened and damp rat, stuttering out just what the West wants to hear.
This inflammatory and well-timed “revelation” has been widely re-broadcast, and so will make a deep impression and strengthening the fuzzy certainty over this case that grips the public mind still. I predict we’ll never see this “proof,” and perhaps 1% of the outlets running these stories now will ever run the proper follow-up article, “ex-Libyan justice minister shown to be a suck-up and a fraud.”
Update: Please see Ian Bell's excellent analysis of this situation. He's done it like I would have if I'd known of the second damp rat with the same allegation, and other disturbing similarities between them suggesting they're less frightened than tapped into something big behind the scenes (the something we're missing).
Update March 1: Nor seeking asylum geographically - the distancing is from the old order only, and towards the new. Mustapha Abdel-Jalil has been made the head of the new alternate government of "free Libya," laying out an ambitious national program and vision (drafted with amazing speed unless it was started before the revolt). He's rejected (overt) foreign help, and predicted with Libyan hands alone Gaddafi would "go like Hitler." And in another interview, he clarified the "to hide it" part of his Lockerbie claim, clarifying that Megrahi blackmailed Gaddafi, threatening to reveal the very role that, again, was presumed all along. This proves to many that Megrahi blackmailed Gaddafi to bribe the prison doctors to trick Kenny MacAskill into releasing him. Rube Goldberg would be just as proud of that as he would be Megrahi's bombing plot from Malta.
And further, contrary to the gist of what was found at Camp Zeist, Megrahi didn't actually do the bombing, we learn from Jalil. The convicted "Lockerbie bomber" was only "involved in facilitating things for those who did." Despite being nonsense, this too is being taken as literal truth by many, supported by a renewed "revelation" from Abu Nidal Org. terrorist Abu Bakr that Gaddafi ordered it all, the ANO was involved, and Megrahi oly peripheral. What the hell is going on here?