Terrorists 1 and 2! Ah, I see you’ve met!

Reflections on the Libya conflict, Gaddafi, bin Laden, and their shared history
March 21
edits March 22

Note: I only come across as so totaly pro-Gaddafi in the sense of shouting what others won't even whisper. I mean to excuse no atrocity or abuse by Gaddafi's regime that is real and unwarranted in the circumstances. I only seek to add just this, below, to the global discussion on the Libya conflict.
Paul Hudson, father of a Lockerbie victim and co-president of the Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie – a separate group from Victims of Pan Am 103 Inc. - posted a press release about a week ago, on the eve of the UN vote about a no-fly zone over Libya. It’s a pretty militant dispatch filled with minor inaccuracies (Libya was not on Bush's “axis of evil,” for one) and the usual annoying spin the U.S. family members of 103 victims are so well-known for. Something about believing that their children were killed by Gaddafi’s regime might have something to do with that.

As others have been doing, he seems to believe every report from the rebel side and hears none from the other, and falls back on alarmist tactics to urge sterner measures against the Gaddafi regime. He called for immediate military strikes and recognition of the new government in Benghazi, to prevent a “genocide” against the “peaceful protesters.” Out inaction in this war has the danger of "starting a war," he cautioned.

Hudson’s advice and the thousands who share the same view has apparently made it happen. The United States, UK, and France pushed through a 10-0 vote at the United Nations security council on the imposition of an enforced no-fly zone. And it has just-now-noticed additions specifying Gaddafi’s forces can also not drive tanks, or do anything ground based that threatens “civilian targets.” The meaning of civilian is unclear; it seems by the news reports of actions taken so far to include protesters, and also the half of Libya now under rebel control, and also their advancing forces. Witness the famously photographed rebel fighter jet shot down over Benghazi. Officially (by rebel accounts) this was shot down by Gaddafi's forces, who were close enough to both shoot it and to be threatened by it. They were guilty of breaking the cease-fire, an unprecedented one-sided one, with an open-ended military license to back it up, in the middle of a rather sudden mass defection and war that is not clearly understood by most people (myself included).

Clearly what’s needed is to rush into this fray before we can figure out what the hell’s going on there. Make no mistake, supporting the protesters is an urgent and a humanitarian impulse, we’re told by the US ambassador to the UN: "the violence must stop, the killing must stop, and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely." And as a French government spokesman clarified, the “free expression” referred to is "go(ing) all the way in their drive for freedom, which means bringing down the Kadhafi regime." [source]

What a novel concept, sure to be introduced here or there, in the heartlands of revolutionary enlightenment freedom themselves. Following this overseas trial run, of course. Or perhaps not.

It's not an entirely savory bunch we are going in to protect, either. There are the deep-east-Libyan Arab racists among them, identifying African “mercenaries” often just by skin color, venting their dislike of Gaddafi’s pan-African ideas by cutting down immigrant workers and lifetime citizens alike in the dozens, according to a number of reports. [see here and here] Many others escaped such harm only by fleeing quickly enough.

But then there’s Daffy Qadhafi’s loony charge that al Qaeda, its north African branch at least, is behind the revolt. He said this from the beginning, to a general response in the west of hysterical laughter. As impassioned commentator David Rothscum aptly put it “ we consider him to be a schizophrenic autistic nutcase of course.” It doesn't help that he added that they were tripping on hallucinogens, of course, in a surreal and contradictory twist.

Again on the eve of serious bombardment, Gaddafi tried to explain to the world: "If you come here to carry out air strikes, you are not coming to protect the human rights of civilians, you are... going to be opening the door to al Qaeda." Strangely, as President Obama orders missiles, his anti-terrorism Czar John Brennan, for one, concedes there is cause for just that concern, as with any Muslim nation being destabilized. Or perhaps more so. Early on in the Libyan uprising, it was reported on CNN and elsewhere that Al Qaeda's North African wing offered through a website to "do whatever we can to help" the rebels. This tends to go against Gaddafi's idea they had initiated the revolt. But just now, they've issued a "warning against America" to the rebels of their stripe.

Brennan was however all but sure of renewed terrorism if Gaddafi remains. Indeed, he might be more angry, for some reason, and so must go, opening the door for someone. And clearly Gaddafi’s death machine and bin Laden’s are in the same group to Americans and the French – Arabic speaking airliner-scale terrorist bad guys, and the worst two among them. As Mr. Hudson noted
"[Gaddafi is] the admitted No. 2 international terrorist, second only to Osama Bin Laden, having caused the murder of hundreds of Americans, French, UK and other innocent citizens in the bombings of U.S. bound Pan Am 103 killing 270, UTA flight 772 killing 170, the La Belle Disco bombing in Berlin, dozens of other terrorist attacks, and delivering large shipments of plastic explosives for IRA terrorist bombings, plus killing thousands of his own people who regularly disappear into his torture chambers or are assassinated abroad. (...)
I’m confident some portion of that list is true, but at the very least the deadliest among them and the one that brought Mr. Hudson into such impartial and scholarly contact with this ring of terror, has been sadly misattributed. (see: the rest of this site).

The two Libyan agents accused of bombing Flight 103, Abdelbaset al Megrahi and Lamin Fhimah, were indicted in 1991 on flimsy and dubious evidence. Of three witnesses against the accused, at least two were paid $2 million each, and still managed to provide almost zero credible evidence between them.   The trial judges themselves in 2000 dismissed one of them, the star witness Giaka, for likely mass-fabrication, and acquitted the accomplice, convicting Megrahi alone for a crime he couldn't do alone. This itself was decided on reasoning seriously questioned on official review in 2007. Gaddafi and Libya never did "admit" to this crime, this alleged Libyan plot on Malta. There’s also much better circumstantial evidence and a truckload of cover-up indicators pointing elsewhere.

Nonetheless, back in the early 1990s, the politically leveraged indictments led into demands for a trial Libya couldn’t agree to, leading to a UN air embargo and steep sanctions. These caused an unknown number – reportedly thousands - of preventable Libyan deaths, possibly included in Mr. Hudson’s numbers as Gaddafi’s fault. This only ended after the two accused surrendered for a compromise trial in 1999. Mr. Hudson noted an agreement to limit the trial’s fallout, unjustly he thinks.
Prior to turnover of the Pan Am 103 indicted terrorists for trial, a letter by former UN Secretary Kofi Annan stated that the U.S. and UK had agreed not to pursue the case so as to destabilize the Gaddafi regime.
Yes, political assassination was a genuine concern, as that was likely the US and UK goal in framing and pursuing the two Libyan agents. And this wasn’t the only thing the Anglo-American alliance has used to destabilize or kill the colonel. Cruise missile accidentally hit his house in 1986, killing a a bay daughter of his. Another thisng once used, a decade later, was the no. 1 terrorist on Hudson’s list – Osama bin Laden and his once obscure al Qaeda network.

David Shayler is our troublesome source for this, a former MI5 officer, who is now certifiably nuts. But this 2002 article by Martin Bright in the UK Guardian makes quite clear that he had at least one dynamite conspiracy find earlier on: the UK MI6 (foreign intelligence) worked in the mid-1990s with al Qaeda's north African network, in Libya, on a plot to assassinate Gaddafi. The cell there, called the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), included one Anas al-Liby ("the Libyan"), a fairly senior member close to bin Laden in his days in Sudan. As Bright explained the LIFG's bold and British-sponsored move:
The assassination attempt on Gadaffi was planned for early 1996 in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte. It is thought that an operation by the Islamic Fighting Group in the city was foiled in March 1996 and in the gun battle that followed several militants were killed. In 1998, the Libyans released TV footage of a 1996 grenade attack on Gadaffi that they claimed had been carried out by a British agent.
The west played that down, and the escaped British agent al-Liby took part in the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998. For this he was indicted in 2000 and fled, from asylum in the UK (Manchester). With a $25 million bounty on his head, he wound up in the Afghanistan area, joining the post-9/11 Jihad.

Shayler was on trial for revealing some genuine secret or other (I'm unclear what), and his explanation of why, this Libya plot he had to expose, was called “pure fantasy” by the government. But during the trial amazing lengths were gone to to keep it all quiet. Public Interest Immunity certificates were issued, Mr. Shayler was barred from saying or entering anything about it, the media was gagged from reporting on it, and so on. The article explained:
Astonishingly, despite suspicions that he was a high-level al-Qaeda operative, al-Liby was given political asylum in Britain and lived in Manchester until May of 2000 when he eluded a police raid on his house and fled abroad. The raid discovered a 180-page al-Qaeda 'manual for jihad' containing instructions for terrorist attacks.
The MI6 officer who ran this fiasco were named, but thought to be relocated and re-named by then. The operation is said to have hampered Libya's efforts to arrest Osama himself, or take a hard-line against his nascent network. Indeed, Muammar Gaddafi's terrorist regime was the first in the world, in May 1998, to declare bin Laden a wanted criminal. Shayler had insisted it, and supporting evidence came out in the 2002 book Forbidden Truth by Dasquie and Brisard. Thus, the West's obsession with Gaddafi could have had some role in allowing the attacks of September 11, 2001 and others, before and since.

Al-Liby remained in the fight until he was killed in Pakistan, in 2008. But some of his affiliates remained in Libya, mostly the heavily Islamist western half that now, it's proudly boasted, "has never accepted Gaddafi's rule." In fact, he's sometimes referred to there, perhaps literally, as the "anti-Christ." Many eastern citizens were crushed following the 1996 plot, in a harsh crackdown that saw record executions in excess of 1,000.

The government has taken a different tone on the LIFG today, a softer one, to respect international criticism of human rights abuses. Now they are "rehabilitating" the terrorists rather than executing as before. Nonetheless, as reported, "the LIFG in 2007 reaffirmed its determination to topple Kadhafi's regime and to replace it with an Islamic state, and also stated its affiliation to Al-Qaeda."

Under these peoples' influence, parts of neglected western Libya have spawned at least two things of note in the last decade. One is the highest rate of al Qaeda volunteers, per capita, in the Arab world, and now the mutiny against Gaddafi.  A further 110 rehabilitated LIFG members were released, as scheduled, a day before the planned "day of rage" that started the revolt in February. And now, some of al-Liby's offspring are, or had better be, planning a coalition government over Africa’s largest oil deposits, if they are to replace a long-despised “terrorist” regime. Or just hold onto what the allies up north seem to think they have a right to.

Now of course, all the rebels are not al Qaeda fanatics, but just how many are is unclear. As David Wood reported for the Huffington Post:
U.S. officials declined to discuss the make-up of the anti-Gaddafi forces in eastern Libya, and U.S. intelligence agencies declined to comment publicly.
It’s presumably hoped that the "undesirable elements" will be co-opted or weeded out one way or another after things have settled and freedom is realized.

And similarly, not all of the protesters we're protecting are war criminals. But some apparently are. An amateur video (view with discretion) shows rows of dead Libyan soldiers "who refused to obey orders to shoot their fellow Libyans and they were executed by the regime and its mercenaries.” it was the major incident you heard about, the one near al-Baida, where 130 of Gaddafi's soldiers were killed somehow, surely added to the figures against him, and claimed by the rebels as a platoon of martyrs for their freedom fight. Refusing orders to kill innocents, faces blown off. The world was moved.

But another video, shown on Libyan state TV from footage intercepted somehow, shows a number of the same soldiers (apparently, by clothing, build, etc.) and their captors before the killing. From that it seems the rebels themselves themselves blew the heads off of these helpless prisoners, and passed off the edited cut to an accepting world * as another predictable Gaddafi slaughter. Or we have to give the regime very high marks for rapid and convincing video fakery. (Please see the explanation of this at my favorite skeptics forum).

Well, now with some help from northerners, seizing the sky again from a murderous tyrant, the rebels might have the whole regime on its way to being just as bound and helpless as those claimed “martyrs”  near al-Baida. Amid the pools of blood at slaughter's end, we’ll hear the explanation – as usual, it was all Gaddafi’s fault. The world will cheer for the freedom fighters. And then some other things will happen, who knows what.

* (Previously I’d noted here the alleged work of the extra-brutal Palestinian terror group PFLP-GC in Bosnia, fighting alongside proto-al Qaeda elements for Bosnian freedom from Serbian rule. Starting in May 1992, some of these terrorist elements reportedly killed civilians and conducted other false flag atrocities blamed on Serb forces and used to help win NATO air support to protect human rights. [source] It is my belief that the PFLP-GC also organized or at least equipped the murder of Mr. Hudson’s daughter in 1988, despite Libya taking the blame.) 

Libya's "Admissions of Guilt"

By Caustic Logic
completed February 15 2010
last update March 23 2011

But They Admitted It!"
For those who believe in Libya's guilt for the Flight 103 bombing, among the hardest points to get around is how Libya is perceived to have admitted their guilt. When whole governments act on it as fact, and the villain government finally confesses, well that would seem to confirm one's beliefs and show they had been on the right track all along.

It's a reasonably reasonable conclusion to arrive at, but a lazy one based on reading the headlines and not the main text or the footnotes and sources. Those who would like to maintain such assurances should read and be sure they can account for the following points, referring to the 2003 official admission of "responsibility" to the United Nations, an alleged 1993 confession from Colonel Gaddafi himself, and two other lesser examples sometimes cited.

Under Prolonged Duress
Following he indictment of Libyan agents al Megrahi and Fhimah in late 1991, the UN Security Council under Anglo-American leadership moved to enforce the official truth with sanctions. Resolution 748 of 31 March 1992 imposed an arms and air embargo on Libya, supported with diplomatic restrictions, and establishment of a sanctions committee. The committee’s work then led to Resolution 883 of 11 November 1993, toughening sanctions. This measure “approved the freezing of Libyan funds and financial resources in other countries,” reports globalpolicy.org, “and banned the provision to Libya of equipment for oil refining and transportation.” [1] Eventually all air traffic to and from the nation was barred, all U.S. and French trade with Libya was forbidden, and although a total oil exports embargo was considered too hard on others, their sales shrank as the industry suffered a lack of supplies.

An award of up to $4 million was offered by the US Justice Department in 1993 for help in bringing the suspects to justice (poster at left). It seems this reward stemmed from Bruce Smith, a Pan Am pilot and husband of a 103 victim, who first assembled a prize from airline pilot groups and other sources, including his own retirement account, eventually totaling $4 million. [2] The reward was renewed in 1995, and according to the Washington Post:
"[The FBI] also placed the pair, believed to be in Libya, on its 10 Most Wanted List. Seeking to rekindle international interest in the bombing, the FBI and State Department said they will work with the U.S. Information Agency to communicate with persons in Libya who might assist in bringing the suspects to court." [3]
Col. Gaddafi in fact showed great eagerness to help in that process, seeing a trial as their way out of sanctions, just as the (publicly announced) goal was suppossed to be. But as a 2001 book by Allan Gerson and Jerry Adler summed up the real thinking in Washington, "it was desirable to leave things just as they were," with Libya seeming intransigent and thus deserving of more squueezing. Rather than try thhe perpetrators with their amazing evidence, many felt "Libya would be their prison, and the United States would do its best to keep Kaddafi in there with them." Not to mention the Libyan people who also lived under these long-running punishments. And never mind the families of Flight 103's victims, who wanted to get what they percieved as justice. But this was never an open policy - the sanctions were an unfortunate effect of Tripoli's refusal to comply with terms the book says "appear to have been chosen to make it as difficult as possible for Kaddafi to comply." [4]

In October 1995, Libyan officials cited a "tragic toll" from sanctions, a $19 billion dollar wound damaging their agricultural sector significantly, and causing as many as 21,000 preventable deaths since their inception. [4.5] Such reports might be prone to exaggeration, but others started wondering if there were any deaths what the sanctions were about when the Libyans were ready to deal. Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, even Tony Blair started suggesting a little flexibility. Perhaps a trial of the suspects really would be doable outside the United States.

By late August 1998 the framework of a trial was established, and used as the measure of Resolution 1192, agreeing to suspend sanctions once the suspects were handed over to the special Scottish court in the Nehterlands at Camp Zeist. Tripoli made it happen, with help from luminaries like Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia and Nelson Mandela of Africa and the venue ideas of Robert Black QC, of Lockerbie. Megrahi and Fhimah were finally flown on a special flight to the Netherlands in early April, and on the 6th were official arrested at Camp Zeist and set to await their trial. Sanctions on Libya were immediately suspended, under threat of re-enforcement (that never did materialize). [5]

1993: Involved and Framed?
During this time of intense pressure to get the Libyans to publicly admit their guilt or at least help a court to “prove” it, a remarkable admission was reportedly taken in 1993, taken down by a prominent American journalist with suspected CIA links, Arnaud de Borchgrave. But it was not mentioned in public for over a decade, it would seem. In an article for NewsMax, from January 2004, de Borchgrave first revealed “Gadhafi’s Secret Message”:
"On July 6, after a lengthy interview, he went off the record and asked me to deliver a message to the director of Central Intelligence in Washington. He admitted Libya's guilt for the downing of Pan Am 103, but made clear that it was originally an Iranian retaliatory terrorist attack for the downing by the U.S. Navy of a peaceful Iran Air Airbus
“So the Iranians subcontracted part of the job to a Syrian intelligence service, which, in turn, asked the Libyan Mukhabarat to handle part of the assignment," Col. Gadhafi explained.“
Mr. De Borchgrave says he did report this behind the scenes to the CIA immediately on returning home from the interview. Vincent Cannistraro, who had headed the CIA's Lockerbie probe in its earliest (shiftiest) phase, continued throughout the 1990s as a voice for Libyan guilt. He has alluded to Libya taking the Iran contract from the Syrians, following the Autumn Leaves operation, but did not give de Borchgrave as a source nor give col. Gaddafi any credit. [7]

Again on Megrahi’s release, in late August 2009, de Borchgrave wrote about the interview, explaining how he asked Gaddafi “to explain, off the record, his precise involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.” The Colonel “dismissed all the aides in his tent” and went candid, “in halting English without benefit of an interpreter.” Mostly he decried terrorism and offered to assist the West fight bin Laden-type terror networks. Again, he explained the bombing as payback for the shoot-down of Iran Air 655, an act the Arab world could not accept as an accident:
"[R]etaliation, he said, was clearly called for. Iranian intelligence subcontracted retaliation to one of the Syrian intelligence services (there are 14 of them), which, in turn, subcontracted part of the retaliatory action to Libyan intelligence (at that time run by Abdullah Senoussi, Gaddafi's brother-in-law). "Did we know specifically what we were asked to do?" said Gaddafi. "We knew it would be comparable retaliation for the Iranian Airbus, but we were not told what the specific objective was," Gaddafi added." [8]
So why, when Libya is usually reported as "always insisting on their innocence," did de Borchgrave’s story and its propaganda power sit in the dark for the crucial years of pressure? Is it the prominent Iranian and Syrian elements? Were the Americans holding out for a Libya-only storyline? That is roughly how it turned out. Interestingly, the colonel reportedly used this “admission” to reiterate Libya did not lead the operation.
“If we had initiated the plot, we would have made sure the accusing finger was pointed in the other direction and we would have picked Cyprus, not Malta, where some of the organization was done. The others picked Malta presumably to frame us.""
This isn't really a big help when your official storyline is that two Libyan JSO operatives, commanded by their JSO higher-ups, had specifically targetted PA103 via Malta airport, picked because Malta was their own "back door to the West." The JSO got the timers and the radio and the semtex, made the bomb, did up their own feasibility studies we were told, and had their two real movers buy the clothes, secure the suitcase, steal the luggage "taggs" to write that death sentence on, and personally shove it off from Malta on D-day. There is no "framed by the Syrians" in that scenario.

And all this when the real evidence Gaddafi may or may not have known about highly suggests the bomb went on PA103 way up in London, with nothing physically to do with Malta at all. Is this just another Libyan non-admission admission? Or worse - an attempt to hijack the West's fantasy narrative and steer it back away from himself?

99/01: Two Other Admission-ish things
Allan Gerson and Jerry Adler’s 2001 book The Price of Terror failed to mention this account of de Borchgrave while citing the available hints that Gaddafi “might have been suffering from a guilty conscience.” In a private 1999 interview with another journalist, Milton Viorst, Gaddafi “edged towards a kind of confession,” the book notes. As Viorst reported it, the leader said"
“Whether we were responsible for bringing down the French plane [UTA 772] will be decided by a French court. We don’t say anything about it. The same is true of Lockerbie. I can’t answer as to wether Libya was responsible. Let’s let the court decide.” 
That's not a full denial, but nowhere near an admission. But it was ambiguous enough that an aide later told Viorst Gaddafi “was not talking officially” and referred him to the Foreign Minister for the government's official story (few realize that Gaddafi is not really the government of Libya). Not being published in the book, we can presume this was the same claim of innocence Libya has always maintained.

In spring 2001, the book continues, Gaddafi reportedly slipped again, and confessed to diplomat Michael Steiner that Libya had been behind the Lockerbie bombing as well as the LaBelle disco bombing in Germany, but had since stopped terrorism and wanted to make up. The source for this was a cable of a top-level meeting with German and American leaders, including President Bush and Chancellor Schroder. A New York Times article from May 23 cites the leaked cable thus:
"Steiner reported on his talks with Qaddafi in Libya. Qaddafi admitted that Libya took part in terrorist actions (La Belle, Lockerbie). He clarified that he had abandoned terrorism and seeks the opportunity to make Libya's new position known. Qaddafi, too, is worried about fundamentalist trends."
Americans were upset this was leaked to the public, and it caused quite a row between Steiner, a flamboyant attention-seeker, and others in the German government, but they confirmed “that "La Belle" and "Lockerbie" were specifically mentioned by Mr. Steiner in this context.” Whatever exactly that proves. [10]

Owning Up in '03?
Many suspect the Zeist trial was never supposed to happen, as the evidence behind the indictment was too weak to stand up at Trial. The Crown's prosecutors managed to swing it somehow, but it took nearly two years from the handover, and a display of mental gymnastics worthy of the Realpolitik Olympics in the scale and skill of it. On January 31 2001, the three-judge panel made it official – Megrahi was legally guilty for the plot, and Fhimah was not guilty.

From there, many insisted sanctions should be lifted to reflect Libya’s good faith through this process. But Bush and Blair balked, demanding an admission of guilt and contrition, plus compensation to victims’ families, before they went past suspension. It was a letter, dated 15 August 2003, from Libya’s Permanent Representative to the President of the Council Ahmed A. Own, that paved the way. Own's letter explains “the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” as Libya calls itself, “has sought to cooperate in good faith throughout the past years” on solving the problems made theirs “resulting from the Lockerbie incident.” It was in this spirit that they “facilitated the bringing to justice of the two suspects charged with the bombing of Pan Am 103 and accepts responsibility for the actions of its officials.” [11] Presumably they mean real actions, making this another dodge in some minds.

But the letter also pledged Libya to cooperate with any further investigations, and to settle all compensation claims with haste, and to join the international “War on Terrorism.” It was widely (and reservedly) hailed as a bold… statement. But still evasive. It doesn’t clearly state anywhere the suspects or any Libyans were in any way actually guilty of the “incident.” Nonetheless, after a month of discussion in the Security Council, sanctions were lifted on Sept. 12 2003. France and the US insisted on abstaining, but it was otherwise a unanimous vote of 13. The United States’ own sanctions would remain in full force due to the general evilness of col. Gaddafy, US officials made clear. (Additional normalizations did happen in 2007).

There’s been much oxymoronic harping on this 2003 letter in the West as both an admission of guilt and an arrogant refusal to admit their guilt. The BBC’s 2008 Conspiracy Files episode on Lockerbie is a brilliant example. “For those that believe al Megrahi was framed,” snarls the narrator, Carolyn Katz, “one fact remains hard to explain away. Libya agreed to award substantial compensation for Lockerbie. Sanctions were then lifted.” [12] Well, ignoring that they just answered their own stumper of a question, it’s a good question. Why would they agree on their responsibility and get sanctions lifted unless they knew they were guilty? Just to get sanctions lifted? The movie continues: “Tripoli accepted responsibility for what it called “the Lockerbie incident.” But does it admit guilt?” Of course not, and by pretending there’s some disconnect, they’ve primed the audience to see the darkest of cynicism at work.

No Other Solution
Despite his portrayals as a crazed prophet of death, Moammar Gadaffi proved a shrewd and patient pragmatist in all this. He can't have ever believed his nation actually did the crime, but against "guilty" as a legal truth, he accepted they had no choice but to do “the time.” It’s a type of bind known to breed passive-aggressive tendencies. The Colonel’s son and likely successor Saif al Islam al Gaddafi (left) seems to understand the dilemma. When he was interviewed at home for the same Conspiracy Files program (latter minutes), he was respectably candid, but came across strangely anyway.
Q - Does Libya accept responsibility for the attack on Lockerbie?
A - Yes. We wrote a letter to the Security Council, saying that we are responsible for the acts of our employees, or people. But it doesn’t mean that we did it, in fact.
Q - So to be very clear on this, what you’re saying is that you accept responsibility, but you’re not admitting that you did it.
A - Of course.
Q - That’s… to many people will sound like a very cynical way to conduct your relationship with the outside world.
A - What can you do? Without writing that letter, you will not be able to get out of the sanction.
Q - So this statement was just word play. It wasn’t an admission of guilt.
A - No. I admit that we play with the words. And we had to. We had to. There was no other… solution.
The BBC are masters, among others, of careful editing, and it helped bolster their whole “you don’t admit you’re guilty” thing where people have to explain there’s nothing to “admit” (or fail to explain that, as happened here). Thus he could, with a little imagination, appear to be saying “we don’t admit it, buuuuut of course we did it, you already know that.” Note the cut that removed some of his words from the middle of the exchange, unlikely to have been irrelevant. Thus is clearly established a cynical payout ($2.7 billion) and bit of semantics to buy up and slough off their non-admitted guilt so they could resume trade. They got away with Lockerbie using money and words and are laughing at us and making more money!

Immediately after “there was no other solution,” the video cuts right to the interviewer asking “so it was like blood money if you like,” which seems to be referring to what was just shown. But really it refers to the American victims' families, whose “money, money, money, money” attitude (well-known and spearheaded by Victims of PA103 Inc.) was “materialistic,” “greedy,” and amounted to “trading with the blood of their sons and daughters.” It's tactless statement, but with the magic of editing, it can seem to mean so much more!
[1] History of UN Sanctions on Libya. href="http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/195-libya/42383.html
[2] Gerson, Allan and Jerry Adler. "The Price of Terror: Lessons of Lockerbie for a World on the Brink. Harper Collins, 2001.
[3] Thomas, Pierre and Thomas W. Lippman. $4 Million Reward Offered in Pan Am Case. Washington Post. March 24 1995. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/panam103/stories/reward032495.htm
[4] Gerson and Adler pp 101-102
[4.5] "Case Studies in Sanctions and Terrorism: Libya" The Peterson Institute. Date given as October 14 1996, Source given as International Herald Tribune, 14 October 1995, 13. http://www.petersoninstitute.org/research/topics/sanctions/libya.cfm
[5] http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/1/8/23958.shtml
[6] http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/1/8/23958.shtml
[7] Biewen, John and Ian Ferguson. "Mass Murder Over Scotland." Shadow over Lockerie series. American Radio Works, 2000. http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/lockerbie/story/printable_story.html
[8] http://www.acus.org/new_atlanticist/honor-among-terrorists
[9] Gerson and Adler, pp 290-291
[10] Cohen, Roger. "German cable on Qaddafi sets off dispute." The New York Times. May 23 2001. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/23/world/german-cable-on-qaddafi-sets-off-dispute.html?pagewanted=all
[11] UN Security Council. Letter dated 15 August 2003... http://www.undemocracy.com/S-2003-818.pdf
[12] UN Security Council. 12 September 2003/ Press Release SC/7868: Security Council Lifts Sanctions Imposed on Libya. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sc7868.doc.htm
[13] The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie." Prod/Dir Guy Smith, Ex Prod Sam Anstiss, Narr Caroline Catz. BBC Two. First Aired 31 August 2008. 52:49 mark. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-327765978162851498&hl=en#
[14] see 13, 53:40 mark

Discussion of the Yvonne Fletcher shooting

March 17
last edits March 26

It's a bit of a side note for this forum, but relevant enough to at least note a fast-moving discussion at the JREF forum on the April 1984 shooting of police constable Yvonne Fletcher (Wikipedia page, news clip with video of the shooting). This was of course blamed on the Libyans, who were trying to shoot protesters outside their embassy in London, in broad daylight, with police present and cameras rolling. The firing injured I believe 11 protesters, and apparently on accident completely skewered Yvonne Fletcher, the only female constable present, killing her. Bad mistake.

It was a major crisis, souring UK-Libya relations in public opinion and on the politcal/military level. The post-Fletcher hardened stance allowed, for example, the US bombing of Libya two years later to be carried out from UK territory. Bad mistake.

We know they did it because they transmitted the order from Tripoli to do it, they left all their ammo behind, and residue of firing by the second floor window. Bad mistake.

And we were told this line of fire was compatible with the injuries sustained by WPC Fletcher. But that's less than clear, to say the least. Some existing conspiracy theories (by Joe Vialls and others) are being hashed over, with plenty of error and inconsistency coming up. But there may well be something interesting to come of out original analysis anyways. This post will be updated to distill the findings, when there are some real findings. In the meantime, it's worth a read or at least a skim. The link again.

Update March 26, major development: one of the embassy staff suspected in this killing, but never caught because no one would break a law about searching bags, has been captured in the bloodbath of Benghazi just now! (more forthcoming)
Finding one: A cornerstone of the prevailing conspiracy theory, promoted by Joe Vialls and a 1996 documentary for BBC Dispatches, is the angle of fire evident in ms. Fletcher's post-mortem report. This was steep, running from right shoulder to left abdomen, taken down as 60 degrees from horizontal. The Libyan People's Bureau (LPB) second-floor window (first floor in UK speak) is only about 18' off the ground, giving a line of fire to Ms. Fletcher of about 15 degrees. Revisionists so far have asserted the 60-degree-line points right up to another, taller building (Enserch House, EH), that housed a secret CIA station.

I don't believe the shot that killed her did come from the LPB, but contrary to what everyone else has said so far, the implied line of fire doesn't support it. I used video and Google maps to set her location and measure the distances involved - she was at the northeast corner - about 60 feet to the nearest window of the LPB and about 90 from the same at EH.

the height of the buildings is roughly the same - about 50 feet for the LPB and 60 for Enserch. Being further away however makes it actuall a worse fit for vertical angle, IF we were talking top floors or rooftops. But taking the official shooting level, upper Enserch House remains a better fit, at about 30 degrees. Either way, we must be seeing the effect of bullet deflection off bone, and/or an unusual posture at moment of impact.

Finding 2: forthcoming.

Finding 3: Following the shooting on April 17, the embassy staff at the LPB was besieged inside and only allowed to leave nine days later on the 26th. It was only four days after that, following a SAS sweep of the place for booby-traps, nearly two weeks after that guess-based siege, that police found any direct evidence the shooting came from inside.
On 30 April, the police entered the former bureau building. In the course of searching it, they discovered several handguns and a quantity of ammunition. Firearms residue was found on the carpet below the window from which the weapon was believed to have been fired on 17 April and a spent cartridge case of the same calibre as that weapon was found in the same room. Elsewhere in the building, the police found accessories for sub-machine guns of the same calibre. 
But the murder weapon itself was allowed to leave the country in a diplomatic pouch. Because to search it would violate a law. (???) But they had nine days to clean the carpet and walls for any clues their stupid, stupid, stupid alleged crime left. Nine days and no one thought about it.

This just doesn't add up. Angles aside, this looks a wee bit like a frame-up.

After the Break-In

Connecting Manly's and Bedford's evidence with a two-phase operation
January 17 2011
last update Feb. 10

Note 2/6: See the comments below, which address half of "the middle part" below. Rolfe has soundly debunked the build-up introduction theory and its implied conspiracy. There is, however, the option of re-positioning of the cases at that location, by the same intruder, after their introduction at Interline. I've left the text alone however, so the article and comments become a continuous learning experience.

The Defense's "Missing" Link
I’ve previously explained the security breach at Heathrow airport’s terminal three, found and reported by guard Ray Manly in the first minutes of December 21. A lock to the secured airside area was broken, leaving the way open, perhaps, for a terrorist to place an explosive device amongst the luggage out there. There was no police intervention before the bombing of Flight 103 several hours later, and Manly’s police statement about it “disappeared” afterwards.

As noted in that article, the break-in is not some lone clue floating without any context. It is in fact central to the increasingly clear London origin theory. The explosion time – 38 minutes after leaving the airport – matches with the known altimeter-based weaponry of the most logical villains aside from Libya, if it were loaded at Heathrow. Before that, but following the break-in, a pair of suitcases eerily like the one that blew up were seen around 4:40 PM. Well before the investigation’s bomb in the same case could have arrived from Malta, these appeared mysteriously within the doomed luggage container AVE 4041.

And of special interest here is the fact that Heathrow is the most logical place to load a bomb onto a London-to-NY flight. A remote loading gives numerous chances for interception, and no control over final bomb placement within the container. The bomb did wind up in the only spot of AVE 4041 from which it could do its job (lower outboard corner – see graphics below), by sheer bad luck we’re told. But in fact we have good reason to suspect intelligent terrorist hands undercover at Heathrow airside, perhaps contravening normal rules of loading.

But these are more circumstantial points. It’s in connecting Ray Manly’s report of a break-in at terminal 3 and John Bedford’s report of what could well be the primary suitcase, that the defense case, and the London theory as argued on appeal in 2002, was based. As the appeal court judges considering this at one point put it, “the appellant [Megrahi] sought to link the damage to the padlock with the Bedford suitcases” [242]

[To clarify a side-point, I proceed here on a different assumption from most. A careful reading of Bedford suggests both mystery cases he saw were the same color and style. As he said: “They were hard cases, the type Samsonite make. One was brown in color and the other one, if it wasn’t the same color, it was similar.” This plus their appearance at the same time suggests – though it doesn’t prove - a matching set from one owner, and thus both suspicious. Somehow no one else seems to read him the same way, and focuses on one of the two (which one?) that matches the official style. But I go with what I see, causing the occasional disconnect between singular and plural forms below. [also: If the case(s) were bombing-related as many suspect, it’s possible that both contained bombs (one of which didn’t fully detonate?), or more likely one was a filler, added for realism, etc. I have good reason to suspect the “one case recovered” (actually less than half a case worth of fragments) was not the bomb bag, but on the floor, beneath it - Dr. Hayes once said so.]

In connecting the ‘round midnight report of the broken lock and the late afternoon suitcase sighting by Bedford, There is the problem of elapsed hours, as brought up by the prosecution and favored by the appeal judges. Why break in, plant a bomb bag among the luggage, and then leave, only to have it loaded to the last flight of the day about 17 hours later?

It’s a fair question but not a slam-dunk. If some would-be Lockerbie bomber were on the ground cutting locks at midnight, might he not be willing to come back for a second penetration? Below is a two-phase operation scenario that I think accounts for everything as well as everything can be accounted for. It’s about what I might try for if I knew as much as I imagine this guy knew, and was evil enough to carry out such a thing. I feel that it answers all the major problems pointed out during the appeal, which I will go over for comparison following the plot outline.

Phase one: Getting the bomb to the luggage place
We start around 11:45 PM on December 20, with the terrorist mastermind - Arabic in appearance, or Persian, or blond-haired and blue-eyed, depending. He's at terminal three, standing in front of door T32a, with no one else nearby. To force open a padlock, in general your options would be:
- Sledhehammer (Loud, ineffective against rubber doors like these.)
- Hacksaw (loud and slow)
- Crowbar (loud, crude, unsure)
- Powerful (long-handled) bolt cutters.
- Other (I’m not a tool guy really)

Bolt cutters seem the quickest and quietest – a polite cough might conceal the snip from anyone down the way. Heathrow was under serious maintenance in those days, with workers coming and going all over, according to airport employees speaking at trial. So a maintenance worker could be a good costume to explain the bulky tool, the work gloves (leaves no fingerprints), and the oversize toolbox that he wouldn’t want searched. So long as he isn’t caught in mid-snip, he’d be airside in the December dark within seconds.

He could then empty his toolbox at any number of spots – one he either planned out or picks at the time. Maybe some out-of-the-way spot around a corner from a corner, the kind of place you could sneak a pee with little chance of being seen, even in the day. And behind something else within that spot - an air vent cover, or a large machine with an accessible cavity. Or anywhere that two good-sized suitcases could hide unseen for half a day in a place only he knows.

They would be fully loaded, tagged for PA103, and ready to be smuggled among the outgoing luggage. But they weren’t to be placed yet. That’s too important to be left to chance.

In court, Ray Manly said of the break-in "if somebody had done their job then maybe, maybe [the bombing] may not have happened." But in this scenario, the police would not likely find anything even if they did show up and search the airside area. The whole place would have to be almost disassembled, and all the luggage out there double-checked for purity to be sure nothing untoward was there. At the point these activities were undertaken, the bombing may, sadly, have been unstoppable under normal circumstances.

At  least, until the cases re-surfaced and ran a chance of looking odd to eyes put on the alert....  

Phase Two: Turning the bomb into luggage
Phase one accomplished and no tracks left, the bomber would calmly depart the scene, ditching the empty toolbox and bolt-cutters, but not the gloves. In case this lock-cutting was reported and then caused an alarm (it didn’t), he might give them all day to relax again when nothing happens. He’d get some sleep and allow for at least one shift change at terminal three. He’d even have time to sleep in and have a nourishing brunch of brain food in the hotel lobby, with only one other thing planned for the day.

And that would be at the airport again, coming back in the early afternoon. He’d dress in a black-market Pan Am jumpsuit for a luggage-handling disguise. And he’s carrying nothing but his black-market airside pass (hundreds were missing), appropriate fake ID in a wallet with some cash, and perhaps a pocket-knife if that’s allowed and recovery will require un-screwing. He’s carrying no bags to search. No bombs. He's waved into the secured area where he's got his bomb hidden and ready to make-believe it's someone's matching suitcases.

Upon re-entry, he’d slide over to his hiding nook to retrieve them, maintaining supreme alertness to manage it unseen. Now in a new costume, Pan Am worker bee carrying two (misrouted, if anyone asks) copper Samsonites, he’d emerge on the tarmac and just blend in.

If possible, and in general, the next thing he’d do is manually place them in the lower outboard corner (see below) of a Pan Am container, hoping for the best from there (he may have gotten it).

The middle part: Interline or Build-Up?
The middle part, just where the container would ideally be when he made his move, is more “choose-your-own-adventure,” based on some uncertainty on my on part. It’s a little complicated, and most readers can just be skip to the last paragraph here.

My previous, almost gospel, interpretation, takes John Bedford’s amazing account as literally true. This has the suitcases introduced at the interline shed, the place for processing luggage from non-Pan Am connecting flights. He says his co-worker with Alert security, the ones who x-ray the bags, had placed the matching brown Samsonites in his brief absence, although the co-worker, Sulkash Kamboj, denies this.

In this version, the Lockerbie bomber at Heathrow would have Mr. Kamboj and his x-ray to deal with, which could be dealt with in at least two ways. He could just stand outside, put the Samsonites on the belt running into the shed like any luggage, let Kamboj scan them unseen by him, and just hope they pass and are placed by luck in the right corner. He could also Step into the shed, pay the x-ray man a wad of cash to ignore his job, suggest it’s drugs in there, not bombs, and try to place them himself in the right corner. The latter would offer a better chance of success, but still has its obvious dangers – like the guy taking the cash and then removing the bags for scrutiny anyway once the intruder was gone.

Another problem is the suitcase positions Bedford reported – position “A” in the image below, flat across the floor. The bomb was in a case of just this type, but by the evidence (and officially) in the upper of the two as shown in “B.” Both cases in B are ideally placed, against the sloped floor panel, which winds up nearest the curve of the airliner’s hull. This would only require a stacking of the two cases in “A”, nothing too extreme, really. However, that would make the one on the right in “A” the most likely to be holding the bomb (if there was only one). This is clearly not an ideal placement, suggesting the terrorist was unable to arrange them himself at interline.
An alternate narrative involves the same two cases actually being inserted at the baggage build-up area. Here baggage from Heathrow-originating passengers was consolidated into containers, and occasionally a container started at interline would be topped off or await an incoming flight here. AVE4041 was one of those. If the cases were first spotted here, that might leave Bedford’s story both literally untrue and still relevant, in a cynical but plausible situation like this:

Peter Walker, who was in charge of the build-up area, goes to take AVE 4041 out to meet the German feeder flight to be filled. But as he steps to it, he sees and makes note of the two “Bedford suitcases,” which weren’t there when Bedford dropped it off. And they’re stacked against the outboard panel as shown in “B” above.

He sees this after sitting inside for around 40 minutes, never watching the container for a moment. No one else was guarding it, and it sat unattended and wide open for most of an hour. Perhaps for fear of causing trouble he ignores the anomaly and lets it slide. (There’s probably a good reason. It’s not like we’re on high alert following a break-in or anything.) It’s taken out to K16, and filled up with items from Frankfurt, none of them holding any explosives, and then is loaded onto 103.

But after the news of what happened less than an hour later, he’d put it together. Even the placement was a clue - the bomb was in one of those cases, ideally placed nearest the hull. So he compels someone else (Bedford) to say he saw them, way over there at interline, and that Indian guy “Camjob” (as Bedford calls him) is the one who placed them. They’d be x-rayed, one would presume. (But if not, hey… it was him, not either of us.) And further, they were reported by Bedford as flat on the floor, not stacked in that optimal way.

This is a rather convoluted thing to suspect, and requires some conspiracy, but it does explain a number of things. It should be noted that Walker provided Bedford’s alibi (a tea break together) for being absent when Kamboj placed the bags. And besides the Bedford/Kamboj disagreements, there are serious inconsistencies in Walker’s statements. To police in 1989 he swore he never saw or was aware of the container at all, contradicting Bedford. In 1990, he fixed this and confirmed that Bedford had brought it over, as they had agreed to over tea. At trial in 2000 he admitted the change in stories is strange, but he said for whatever reason, "I can’t explain it."

In this scenario, the suitcases memory in Bedford’s story is accurate enough to be a clue, even if it’s not his own memory, but transferred from one mind to another. It also allows for the flat position to be an additional fudging, so that not even Kamboj facilitated their potent stacking. (That was apparently someone later down the line, if it's decided that happened at all.)

Both options involve the danger of Kamboj, Walker, Bedford, or someone else reporting or removing the bags. Every London option has that danger, and that risk is tripled in the official story through three airports, making this still preferable. Logic says they’d choose Heathrow, and less clearly it suggests the bomber would choose build-up. But Bedford suggests he chose interline. Either way, the reference to brown, hard-shell Samsonites in the deadly corner of AVE4041 shouldn’t just be presumed to be a coincidence.

Appeal judgment addressed:
Following are some excerpts from the second “Opinion of the Court” from Camp Zeist, following the appeal of Feb. 2002.

"[244] ...Moreover, although readily discoverable evidence of the break-in had been left behind in the form of the damaged padlock, the hypothesis involved that the case was not introduced into the interline shed until some fifteen hours later..."
True, but it’s no problem for the two-phase explanation - it’s the basis of it. In fact, the build-up version involves an even longer span, by as much as an hour, than the one the judges half-considered.

"...Unless the risk of opening the case airside to set the timer was to be undertaken, the timer would have had to be set before the break-in..."
Ice-cube timers that blow around 38 minutes after takeoff don’t need to be set, of course. So this point doesn’t apply to my version, nor, I think, to the case made by the defense.

"... No method of arranging for the bag to pass through the system to the interline shed had been identified..."
Perhaps not by the defense, but I propose the method was manual placement supported by psychological deception.

"... The intruder would have required either to wait for fifteen hours himself, or to have the assistance of an accomplice..."
Either works. I’m betting on one well-trained operative with the requisite patience.

"... No place of concealment for the intruder or the suitcase had been identified..."
No place identified? I suspect the intruder was an out-of-towner, and concealed himself at a hotel for that time. As for the bomb suitcases, no one has shown any reason to rule out all potential hiding spots, like those mentioned above or a dozen others. Do they imagine there would be no suitable spots? Aren't they presuming they were "hidden" right inside the interline shed?

"... There was nothing in the evidence to explain why a suitcase, brought through T3-2A between 2205 and 0030 hours, would not be placed in the interline shed in time for either of the two earlier PanAm flights. On the hypothesis under examination, the suitcase had been tagged for flight PA103, although there were two earlier flights that would have involved a shorter period of concealment of a suitcase containing an armed explosive device... "
Again with "armed" and time spans. Unless the airport suddenly levitates a few thousand feet, the bomb is stable. Remember, it's altimeter-triggered, in this non-Libyan plot. If the bomb is concealed and ready for a phase two, no one but him will put it in the shed, on no timeline other than his own. There’s no need to rush things; even doing it the same day is unnecessary. And besides, they may have been targetting Flight 103 itself for some specific reason.

"... Yet there was no evidence that there was anything about flight PA103 or its passengers that singled it out as the target."
This is widely disputed, but for my part I take no stock in certain individuals (Charles McKee, etc.) being targeted. But here are other reasons I could see why they might choose to wait for this one, depending what they knew from advanced research:
- the plane’s age (it was one of the oldest around) and its brittle skin. (see this frightening video)
- its inhabitant’s average youth, to maximize the sense of loss.
- its lateness, last flight of the day. As explained above, giving time for security to relax, for sleep, and for a costume change.

"...Moreover, if an accomplice with airport identification, genuine or false, was involved, there was no need to break in to airside..."
Except to have no friggin' bomb on him when he showed his pass and perhaps was subjected to search prior to entering a secured area… which of course was not secure at this point, and he may have had a bomb waiting for him inside.

"...All that was required was to smuggle the components of the explosive device through an access point, such as T3-2A, where persons with appropriate identification were not searched..."
Even the  stray suitcases they're bringing in aren't searched? I don't know - I imagine a ready-made bombs aren't smart to bring through, and the judges agree, speculating "component parts" being smuggled and then assembled out on the tarmac somewhere. (???) For the bomb’s entry behind the perimeter, where worker-looking people are generally trusted, I think an unacknowledged sneak-job of the ready package would be wisest. A break-in at midnight would be genius.

"... The effect of all these points, the Advocate depute submitted, was to show that the hypothesis that the break-in at T3-2A was the means of infiltrating one of the Bedford suitcases was so weak and flawed that the additional evidence could not pass the Cameron test..."
My theory has it introducing both of them. I didn't read just what "the Cameron test is," but it's from a case involving someone named Cameron, and probably means a point doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, compared to something else already "established." At least, not when the scrutiny is as skewed as their Lordships' is. When they say “the Advocate depute submitted” they also seem to be saying “we think.” But the A.D.’s job is to argue his case, however unsupported, and their job is to judge fairly, not just agree with the one line of argument as if it were a self-evident truth.

"[251] In our view the Advocate depute was right in submitting that the additional evidence did not demonstrate any link between the break-in at T3-2A and the Bedford suitcases..."
Perhaps not, but now I have. A potential one at least.

"... It might be said that there was a temporal link, in the sense that the break-in occurred some fifteen hours before the Bedford suitcases appeared in the interline shed..."
Yes. In a 17-year career, the worst security breach Manly ever saw, and the worst terrorist bombing in UK history, happening within the same 17-hour span, is definitely a temporal connection.

"... It seems to us, however, that that interval of time, so far from pointing to a connection between the two events, casts considerable doubt on whether they can have been connected..."
"Can have been connected?" Wow. No imagination at all.

"...The lapse of time after a readily detectable break-in, creating a period during which the infiltrator and the case (or, if there was an accomplice, the unaccompanied case) would require to be concealed in the airside area, points away from a connection..."
Again, the lapse of time after the detectable event is explained by me as a cool down period in case the detection raised an alarm. Sixteen or so hours is, if anything, a bit short for this purpose, but it apparently worked.

"...Moreover, any attempt to link the Bedford suitcases with the break-in raises unanswered questions as to why the infiltrator ignored the baggage build-up area, and introduced the cases into the considerably more remote interline shed..."
Any attempt? Not my variation where the bomb is introduced at build-up. They're the same suitcases then, just the "Walker suitcases" instead of the Bedford ones.

In addition, given the evidence as to the ability of a person with airport identification to pass through T3-2A during the day without being subjected to search, and given the evidence led at the trial and mentioned by the trial court in para [24] about the substantial number of such passes unaccounted for, it is not clear why a break-in would have been seen as necessary, since the components of the explosive device could have been smuggled through an access point.
Repeated just to emphasize the bolded, to remind the reader how easy it would be for a terrorist to sneak back into the airside area where he'd earlier hidden the bomb he meant to get onto Flight 103.

Addendum: Completely unaware of the break-in that changes the whole scene for the imagine Heathrow intruder, the Zeist judges put the situtation pretty well in their paragraph 24 (in its entirety)
[24] It emerges from the evidence therefore that a suitcase which could fit the
forensic description of the primary suitcase was in the container when it left the interline shed. There is also a possibility that an extraneous suitcase could have been introduced by being put onto the conveyor belt outside the interline shed, or introduced into the shed itself or into the container when it was at the build-up area. To achieve that, the person placing the suitcase would have had to avoid being detected, but the evidence indicates that a person in possession of a pass for the airside area would not be likely to be challenged, and there were a very large number of passes issued for Heathrow, a substantial number of which were not accounted for. The person placing the suitcase would also have required to know where to put it to achieve the objective.

Michael Isikoff's Foray(s) into a Culture of Counterfeiting

March 10 2011
last edits March 11

The article's context
Michael Isikoff is Newsweek’s renowned U.S. national security journalist, and the NBC and MSNBC networks’ “national investigative correspondent.” From this lofty perch, he recently decided to write up a new article about the Lockerbie bombing, which wound up being titled 'No question' Gadhafi ordered Pan Am bombing, ex-CIA official says. The current protest-turned civil war in Libya has hopes rising that colonel Muammar Gaddafi will soon be overthrown after more than four decades in power. Riding this giddy onrush of opening possibilities, it's clearly time to revisit the issue from a different angle.

Mr. Isikoff drew on two recent statements from foreigners – a Gaddafi regime defector and an Abu Nidal terrorist - that the bombing of Flight 103 was a Libyan plot, that the convicted “Lockerbie bomber” Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was involved but only in a small way (not the central one he was convicted for), and that the reviled and (perhaps) tottering Gaddafi ordered the whole thing.

The terrorist, named Abu Bakr, has told this same convoluted story years ago, and it’s been widely panned and dismissed already. The defector, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, was until a month ago Gaddafi’s justice minister. He seems to be both distancing himself from the regime and appointing himself head of the new order, and his un-explained “revelation” plays to both ambitions. But it’s being taken as both self-serving and likely true in Washington; as Mr. Isikoff noted, “in light of” this bargaining chip, Secretary of State Clinton has said she would push for the bombing case to be re-opened after nearly 20 years.

The US Justice Department seems favorable, given recent statements, to building a renewed and widened investigation. It should here be noted that the Scottish police also threatened the same thing  following Megrahi’s release from Scotland in 2009, also with the idea of pushing the scope further upwards towards Col. Gaddafi. This hasn’t yet materialized, but their case, like the FBI's remains open – with exactly one officer staffing it, last anyone checked.

What some investigation would reveal
If NBC’s “national investigative correspondent” had done his job, and looked into the Lockerbie case prior to these developments, he’d have noticed where the last investigation has gone. Megrahi and a co-conspirator, Lamin Fhimah, were indicted in 1991, with the former convicted in 2001, as the article notes. Unnoted however is the serious challenge to that conviction from an official legal review board. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), established to root out bad cases that judges didn’t catch the first two times around, announced in 2007 that in at least six ways the conviction of al-Megrahi might have been a miscarriage of justice. They approved another appeal to be heard in court again, but it never was.

If Mr. Isikoff combed a bit wider, he’d see that a small handful of UK family of the victims, a large number of legal experts in Scotland and beyond, intelligence and airline security professionals, political and religious leaders, investigative journalists (the kind that investigate), and many others of general credibility agree with the SCCRC that the trial might’ve been – or was - grossly wrong in its conclusions. (a decent listing of about 100 can be seen here.) For example, one of Scotland’s most respected lawyers, Ian Hamilton QC, who has now joined the swelling Justice for Megrahi (JFM) campaign has said "I don't think there's a lawyer in Scotland who now believes Mr Megrahi was justly convicted.” What happened instead, he and others feel, was that the Americans “hoodwinked our courts."

Anyone who investigates a bit will find that these people cite serious questions looming precariously over the whole situation. For example, a key witness, Abdul Majid Giaka, whose tales brought together the 1991 indictments, was utterly dismissed at trial. He’d find that following from that, Megrahi’s “alleged co-conspirator” Fhimah was found specifically not guilty and sent home. An accomplice was necessary for the plot alleged, placing the bomb case onto Air Malta flight 180, and none is accepted.

He might even learn that there is no direct evidence of that unaccompanied suitcase from Malta transferring onto Flight 103. There is only an inference drawn from an unverifiable computer printout that’s flatly contradicted by other, and much better, evidence.

And the centerpiece of Megrahi’s own proven connection to the bombing, purchasing the clothes inside the bomb suitcase, cannot be factually supported. The Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci supposedly identified Megrahi (among others), but his own evidence, investigated fairly, rules out the Libyan in several specific and incontrovertible ways.

One way or another, investigators seem to have gotten it entirely wrong.

Or, you could ...
Stepping into this complex milieu, Mr. Isikoff chose the investigative tack of citing the new Libyan defector and the talkative terrorist, and by talking to the men who may well have gotten it wrong in the first place. Not surprisingly, along this guided tour, not a single question over Megrahi’s conviction or the case it affirmed is to be seen.

One of the two men he spoke with was Frank Anderson, CIA Near East affairs chief between 1991-1995, and now president of the Middle East Policy Council think tank, "your source for unbiased assessments of who’s too evil to be left in charge of Libya." The other interviewee is Richard Marquise, the man who headed up the FBI’s investigation in its crucial second half, and who still disputes the findings of the last court, at the very least over their dismissal of Giaka. The entirety of the SCOTBOM probe Marquise oversaw, in conjunction with the Scottish police, is summed up thusly by Isikoff:
… U.S. and British officials were able to wrap up an investigation that uncovered forensic and other evidence linking the planting of the bomb to Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer.
“Uncovered” might not be the right word there, but such clues did come to be in the evidence chain and some did point right to Libya and/or Megrahi.

For example, there were three whole important witnesses against Megrahi. One, Giaka, was dismissed at trial, and another, Edwin Bollier, is a known fabricator and spinner of bizarre tales mostly dismissed at trial. The third, Tony Gauci, was an idiot coached by his brother, who never really identified Megrahi but did rule him out, and who changed his story to fit Megrahi a little better, which version was somehow accepted at trial. At least two of these three seem to have been paid in excess of $2 million for their bogus testimony, according to Scotish police and other documents uncovered by the SCCRC. That’s not how one “uncovers” any kind of valid “evidence,” and as we can see, none was so obtained.

There also exist serious anomalies around every crucial piece of physical evidence, leading tactics, circular and suspect reasoning, and really just a shocking string of egregious malpractice down the line. (Consider the supposed reasoning that brought Scots detective Harry Bell to first decide on Megrahi, for another telling example).

If anyone had direct access to the full scope of this systematic abuse of truth, it would be Isikoff's other source, Richard Marquise, who just firmly loads the weight of world affairs on his sure and square shoulders. "We always hoped that had we gotten (access to Megrahi and Fhimah) they would start to roll,” he told Isikoff. That is, they might reveal who told them to carry out this bizarre and evidence-free plot. "There was always an expectation that we would get further up the chain."

Don't bounce this check, folks
Unlike Mr. Marquise, the other official interviewed, Frank Anderson, likely had no role in or direct knowledge of the investigation. For whatever reason, however, his statement was the headline, distilled from his summation:
"There are two things that you can take to the bank. The first one is, Pan Am 103 was perpetrated by agents of the Libyan government. And the second thing is, that could not have happened without Moammar Gadhafi's knowledge and consent. There is no question in my mind that Moammar Gadhafi authorized the bombing of Pan Am 103."
Telling people they can take those to the bank is counterfeiting. But it’s the same culture – secrecy and appeal to authority slathered on to lubricate the insertion of politically useful fiction into the real-world evidence slot - that has underpinned this whole case so far.

Mr. Anderson has perhaps just been duped, and isn’t aware how deceptive his affirmation is. His relevant expertise is on Libya and its troublesome regime, not the investigation and trial. And his conclusion that Gaddafi had to have ordered the attack is not even rocket surgery to guess in the affirmative. The whole motive is supposed to have been the early 1986 U.S. air raids on both Tripoli and Benghazi (ah, how times are changing), which killed the colonel’s baby daughter. It took almost three years to exact the overblown revenge so eerily similar to what the Iranians were suspected of plotting just then. But clearly, if it happened as Marquise et al. found (it didn't, not that it matters), it would probably run up to Gaddafi himself.

But people are playing dumb all of a sudden and pretending to need proof of an order from on high, when Libya was sanctioned to the tune of tens of billions lost and thousands dead, in order to punish or destabilize the whole regime, just on the presumption. This punishment only ended with Gaddafi surrendering his indicted agents for trial, losing one to prison, paying a hefty $2.7 billion settlement, foreswearing all terrorist (“revolutionary”) activities, foregoing a nuclear deterrent, sealing trade deals too sweet to refuse, and so on.

And again, by the best evidence read fairly, he may well have done this all without once ordering the bombing of Pan Am 103.

This patient re-building from the epic abuses of the past was tolerated until about now, and it’s to be all yanked away by this bizarre US-supported protest/war. Ideally for some, the proceeds of Gaddafi's work will be handed to Mr. Abdel-Jalil, who will in trade find some “proof” to hang his old boss with and close the old chapter for good. Gaddafi delenda est. He must be dust. It has been demanded.

Along the way we’ll accept in stasis the original case with Megrahi, until the guilty verdict for his boss re-convinces us that was correct all along, as if there were some reason to doubt it.

How in a supposedly free media articles like this happen, over and over, with no widely-seen counter-balance,  I cannot say. Noam Chomsky (another Justice for Megrahi signatory) has some theories, but all I know is however it’s happening, our investigative correspondents like Isikoff aren’t investigating, just corresponding with the approved investigators to write the news for them. Please turn sideways and watch your head squeezing into this ever-smaller echo chamber, folks.

And hopefully, this model of news-writing will be exported to Libya soon, along with a hell of a lot of other things.

Suliman on Swissy and the Student Union

March 6, 2011
edits March 24

It’s been suggested to me that this is unwise, but I am offering another platform to Suliman, the persistent and inflammatory critic of the Justice for Megrahi campaign (JFM) and its members. He has quite a roster of rotating smears. Previously he's suggested Dr. Jim Swire was a racist, Robert Forrester an alcoholic, Professor Black a paid shill for Libya, and others. He also challenged me personally that I “will not touch” the important issue of Dr. Swire’s “dignity” in accepting Libya’s compensation money for his daughter’s death, despite believing them not guilty. I touched it, and smacked it down as irrelevant and mean-spirited name-blackening, and strangely, Suliman is the one no longer bringing up that accusation of … whatever exactly he was driving at.

And in trade, he of course did not and never will touch my challenge [same link above] to support with evidence just one central clue of Megrahi's (and thus Gaddafi's) guilt for the Lockerbie bombing.

Now that same "stolen money" is not a matter of dignity, but of employment, as a “whore” of Libya, of the kind to be “dealt with” after, and as, Gaddafi’s regime is being dealt with now! In a more recent missive, Suliman claims three JFM founding members have a “known financial connection with the Gaddafi regime.” Jim Swire and, he thinks, Father Pat Keegans are connected via “the Lockerbie compensations -- at least,” acceptance of which makes one “effectively a prepaid lobbyist.”


Unless you toe the government line and accept the verdict, as most do. Or just keep quiet and let that prevailing version unfold without protest. Taking the money then is fine with propagandist Suliman, as it keeps the Libyan regime as hated as possible. But if you look at the evidence for yourself, and find something different from what he imagines one should find (he can only imagine of course, refusing to look for himself), and dare to speak up about it, you obviously fit this bill:
Swire, Forrester and Co. [JFM] should be treated as undeclared agents of a foreign terrorist syndicate, until proven otherwise. … suspicious affiliations … serving the agenda of an international mass murderer …
The notion is obviously absurd. But the third cited example, and perhaps the entirety of the "suspicious affiliations," might have more to it, and it's to that I turn:
(3) Abdullah Swissy, JFM's Libyan co-founder, was a government sponsored student. How in the hell could he be financially independent of his financial sponsors?
Wow - nothing like student financial aid to secure one's services in furtherance of terrorism.

But he's more than just a Libyan student, of course. Abdullah Swissy has been described in his earlier JFM activities as “Former President of the Libyan Students' Union in Scotland and Libyan Student Affairs of the Libyan Students' Union, UK Branch.” (example) And of course, being Libyan, one must expect "student union" is but a euphemism for a terrorist front group. I guess (??).

Mr. Swissy was one of seven founding signatories of the Justice for Megrahi campaign in 2008, at the time seeking only the prisoner's return home on compassionate grounds. He has since un-signed for unspecified reasons, as the campaign shifted to re-examination of the case (something Suliman claims Gaddafi was not allowed to pursue). And apparently he is not always mentioned as a founding member in JFM literature, something Suliman takes as suspect.

It seems the alleged plot is this: Gaddafi decided to overturn the Megrahi verdict, and ordered a murderous minion to form a pressure group with some British dupes. He had the minion join the group, only to withdraw to not give the game away. But the brief lapse gave Suliman the sleuth his crucial clue - a freely-offered signature is his evidence for this secret plot.

Okay, that's not an amazing narrative, but I'll let it slide and humor the guy. Suliman's central problem seems to be less with Swissy himself as the group he's held an office within, also called the Jamahirya Student Union. Here are some of the clues Suliman has offered about this group, so far short on specifics:
...the same organization that produced the goons who were expelled from the UK for their role in the murder of a British policewoman on duty, protecting Libyan students in a demonstration against the extrajudicial killings by Swire and Black's partner organization in the pursuit of justice...

Would Black also join hands with the KKK in a campaign for racial equality? How about the American Nazi Party? Don't be offended, how could you? Before you do that, go contrast the public positions of the KKK and ANP vs. the unrepented JSU on the use of lynch mobs, violence and terrorism as means of doing justice.
And if Swire knew sh*t about human rights in Libya, he would not join hands with the Jamahiriya Student Union in the pursuit of what he calls "justice."
Do you need any clues about the "judicial" principles and record of your JFM partners, the Jamahiriya Student Union? Are those agents of Gaddafi exempt from the logic that Gaddafi's agents cannot operate independently?

So I gather from this that - allegedly - the JSU was killing someone around 1984, producing a protest at the Libyan embassy. The same group somehow "produced the goons" who shot policewoman Yvonne Fletcher at that protest. And the JSU promotes deadly violence as a replacement for justice, as well as violating human rights in general.

These are the serious allegations I'd need some evidence for. Seriously - that's heavy stuff to just state as fact without any support. So in answer to the question to Rolfe, yes, we could use some clues.

Now IF the Student Union has been involved in any such thing, at any time in any branch, the question still exists of Mr. Swissy's personal involvement or complicity in any of it up there in Scotland. And even if that can be shown (which I doubt), villain Swissy's ability to control and steer JFM after his departure from it hasn't been explained.

Nor has Suilman or anyone ruled out a non-Gaddafi origin for any of the well-founded questions aired about the verdict. Yet even without taking this basic step, in his fevered imagination, everyone who sees things differently is part of a vast conspiracy emanating right from Tripoli by unseen, perhaps magical avenues.

But there's more suspicious activity to prove it! Signs of a cover-up on our end!

(1) The Justice for Megrahi Campaign was co-founded by an officer of the Jamahiriya Student Union, who was also actively recruiting support in Gaddafi's media, on behalf of his Scottish comrades.
(2) JFM Co-Founder Abdullah Swissy, can also be found in Gaddafi's media calling upon "The Sons of the Great Revolution," to join his work for Megarhi.
(3) The JFM co-founder had disclosed on Gaddafi's media that he works in coordination with another Swissy, who is possibly a relative but definitely identified as the Consul General in Scotland.
(4) The JFM, through its co-founder Mr. Abdullah Swissy, was presenting itself in Gaddafi's media in a manner that is inconsistent with what they feed to the Western media as "basic tenets" of their campaign. Evidently, the JFM customizes both its message and its tenets to suit the local audience.
This part sounds detailed enough I'd credit it, but a link or something would still be handy to see the context. Points one and two seem to be the same thing - Swissy used unspecified Libyan media to promote the JFM cause. Wow. Point three is mildly interesting, not that his dad or uncle working in the diplomatic service there goes far towards making him a terrorist or pawn of anyone. But it could raise eyebrows. Point 4, and maybe 3, are perhaps clues why he left the group, but otherwise pretty irrelevant.

And then some other points:
(5) What is left of the JFM Committee and Mr. Larson are trying to sweep their association with the Jamahiriya Student Union under the rug, leaving it unmentioned even in the pretense of documenting their history.

http://www.justiceformegrahi.com/ Current page, not cached. Oh my, this isn’t being kept very secret at all. In fact, Suliman might benefit from asking himself if he's exposing anything at all?
(6) And in his own contrivances to misinform the public, Mr. Larson doctored up his blog so as to erase his prior highlighting of Mr. Swissy's co-affiliation with JFM and the Jamahiriya Student Union, and he replaced it with an emphatically childish statement to the effect, "Look, Ma, no Libyans!"  
(7) Mr. Larson deliberately puckered his lips, went out of the way, to credit Mr. Swissy solely with a statement issued by the JFM campaign as a whole.  
(8) Mr. Larson also created a Category for Swissy in his blog, and it remains there now--but not for long--even though it points to no mention whatsoever of Swissy. All mentions of the JFM co-founder have been sanitized, but Mr. Larson forgot to burn all the evidence of his suck-up theater. How pathetic can a brown-nosed prospector be!
Clearly I contend "misinform the public," childish, and just about every other word of that. I do recall taking Swissy, Megrahi, all Libyans and those hired by them from the big quotes list to purify it to "people who at least presumably should have no ulterior motive to express such doubts" about the highly questionable verdict. The "quote" I had for Swissy prior to that was in fact a statment he only signed in agreement with rather than something he said personally. I'm sorry to have been so amazingly deceptive with that. Or that Suliman is so easily confused/deceived, or has such a need to keep acting like it. Terribly sorry for whichever of those it is.

The one post that had a stray "Swissy A" tag, honestly, I don't remember mentioning him in it. But he might have come up in that originally, before I removed him, for some stupid reason related to his un-signing. Can't put it back if I don't remember what it was. Tag removed, as Suliman predicted, but another post - this one - takes it over. Anyone who clicks it will be assailed with Suliman's accusations, introduced above and fleshed out below by he and I. We'll discuss:

a) the supposed track record of brutality of this group "partnered" with the Justice for Megrahi campaign,
b) in addition to but not in place of a), any evidence of a functional JSU/JFM partnership as opposed to a brief one-person membership cross-over.

How's that for burnt evidence swept under the rug?

Abu Elias: Guarded by Power?

6 October 2010
last update 10 October

Abu Elias was a potentially central figure in the actual bombing of Pan Am 103, a supposed nephew of PFLP-GC founder Ahmed Jibril. Some evidence says he may well have slipped through the police dragnet called Autumn Leaves, ferrying the "fifth device" that may ultimately have gotten onto Pan Am 103. This is largely based on the second-hand account of Marwan Khreesat via an FBI agent (best explanation here), and is open to question. For the sake of exploration, however, I've chosen to proceed as if Khreesat's tale of Abu Elias is true.

In my first post on his post-Lockerbie history ended with the credible allegation that Abu Elias was now living in the United States. Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the South of Scotland, Christine Grahame, revealed this in parliamentary session, citing legal documents secured by Megrahi's defense team. She said he was living under the name Basel Bushnaq, who's listed as residing in Reston Virginia, near the nation's capitol and the monument to the victims of flight 103 at Arlington cemetery.

I still don't know what to do with that allegation, but toss it aside reflexively I cannot. A second post on name analysis suggests nothing concrete, but offers some reason to wonder. Basel, meaning "kingly," is evocative of Abu Elias' original true name, Kaisar (meaning, of course, Caesar). Bushnaq is a legitimate Arabic family name, meaning Bosnian/Bosniac, but coincidentally it's also the only Arabic name with "Bush" in it. The data I've collected on Bushnaq starts suddenly in mid-2001, with nothing before.

I've gathered additional information on Mr. Bushnaq, none of which has forced me to rule out what Ms. Grahame said over there in Scotland. Some of it is personal enough I should continue sitting on it, but some is publicly available and widely seen already. In general, online commentery under his name (or variant BaBushnaq) suggest a background in Syria, a nuanced view of the Baath party, animosities with the Muslim Brotherhood, and no particular religious fervor. This could well be consistent with Abu Elias - a conservative Lebanese Christian working in a mainly Muslim milieu.

In 2008, the Investigative Project on Terrorism captured on audio “jailed former leader of the American Muslim Council (AMC), Abdurahman Alamoudi, expressing his support for Hamas and Hizballah.” Mr. Bushnaq commented, on October 15 2008:
“American system was too good for him. He lived in fancy house in Virginia paid for from contribution money he used to collect from Saudi Arabia and Golf countries. He used all privileges of freedom of speech and movement.
[...] Eventually he could not hide his real mission; influenced by emotional moment, he disclosed his reality in public. [...] I am happy that this episode of crime and terror is over, hope he will learn in jail the minimum amount of decency.”
Just after Megrahi's release from prison on 20 August, 2009, the "Lockerbie bomber" publicly threatened to name the real bomber. On the 23rd, the Sunday Express (Scotland) published an e-mail from an unnamed suspect “X” who had reportedly been Abu Elias. They had asked him if they could publish his name, and Bushnaq responded:
“Sorry, I don’t think that I can help in this case. It is a clear case of either mistaken identity and/or fabrication. I don’t wish my name to be mentioned in any capacity in the press. I am sure you understand the sensitivity of this matter since I have a family and children.”[source]
On September 2 Christine Grahame named this mysterious suspect anyway, in open session. Bushnaq was immediately contacted by Channel 4 News, via his Facebook page, and made a comment that was seen across much of the UK and parts of the world:
"It has been brought to my attention that she has been repeating allegations against my name. I suggest that she stops this unless she has solid legal ground. It is not advisable to (go) recklessly slandering others, especially when this comes from MSP."[source]
One might expect a sudden change of tone from Mr. Bushnaq following this unsettling and unexpected episode. And in fact, the next “comment” I’ve found, from ten days later, is rather peculiar. On September 12, Bushnaq joined a site called “Mepeace,” apparently a Middle East peace-oriented Myspace knock-off, with Arabic and Hebrew lettering. Immediately after joining and thus declaring he was peace, Bushnaq posted the following photo and caption:

Peace must be guarded by power.

As far as I can tell that was his purpose for joining; his meager activity at Mepeace lasted but two days after that. It does have a slightly chilling effect. The same photo has been used since for his Facebook and Twitter avatars at least, where additional clues might reside. (indeed - the post "Bosnian in What Way?" starts there)