Megrahi is Dead

There was only one person convicted of the terrorist outrage that killed 270 people in December 1988. A Libyan, Megrahi, was convicted of the crime.

Pan-Am flight 103 exploded over the dark winter sky over Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire in Scotland. Everybody on the plane was killed. Many people on the ground also died.  

Is it possible that the carnage that day resulted from the actions of only one man? Two individuals were tried but only Megrahi was convicted. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in a Scottish jail where they built a mosque to allow him to worship while he served his sentence. No other prisoners in Scotland have had the benefit of specifically designed places of worship, although freedom of worship is a human right permitted to all prisoners in Scotland.

Megrahi’s life sentence was the punishment that many relatives, particularly of his American victims, believed should mean that the prisoner lived the rest of his life behind bars. It would have meant at least that had he been tried in the USA.

However, Scotland has always prided itself on having a compassionate legal system. As a result of this, when Megrahi was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer he was released from jail in Scotland and allowed to return home to Libya. This, the Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill said, was a decision taken on compassionate grounds as Megrahi would be dead in 3 months.

Mr McAskill’s judgement has been called into question many times. What compassion Megrahi showed to his victims was not clarified by the Justice Secretary or his cabinet colleagues.

However, Megrahi died on 20 May, 2012, almost 3 years after his release from a Scottish jail. Gone, but not forgotten, by the relatives of his 270 victims, nor by Kenny McAskill.

SA

 

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One comment on “Megrahi is Dead

  1. From: A Tale of Three Atrocities – sometimes called the Green ATOTA from the colour of its cover. Abstract ABSTRACT This report, released on the anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster, offers a new perspective on what happened on Pan Am Flight 103 when it exploded over the small Scottish town of Lockerbie 21 years ago. The work of Lockerbie researcher Charles Norrie, it jointly accuses Iran and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the 1988 bombing, which killed 270 people, including passengers, crew and those on the ground. The report accuses Iran of planting a bomb onto Flight 103, and accuses the CIA of authorising, facilitating, and assisting with the plot, including the planting of a second ‘insurance’ bomb. The author has been researching the Lockerbie disaster since his brother was killed in a similar attack over Africa, the bombing of UTA Flight 772 in 1989, which has also been attributed to Libya. This report is a result of almost twenty years of research, during which time Norrie has painstakingly analysed official reports into the bombing and has also had personal contact with some of those involved with both tragedies. Key arguments of the report: Lockerbie was carried out jointly by Iran and the CIA, as agreed revenge for the downing of an Iranian plane by the US Navy All evidence against Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi can be disproved and discounted There was not one but two explosions on the plane, one carried out by Iran and one by the CIA The CIA interfered with the scene of the crime directly after the attack, to the horror of Scottish investigators The CIA were allowed to doctor and manipulate forensic evidence and interfere with the evidence stream in order to obtain their politically-desired outcome: a Libyan attribution. The report will have legal ramifications for those that the author accuses of being involved. It also calls for Mr Megrahi’s attempts to prove his innocence to be allowed to continue. Mr Norrie comments: “Unlike the atrocity which killed my brother, Lockerbie has been wrongly attributed to Libya. Libya killed my brother – but they absolutely did not do Lockerbie. The extent to which the CIA have covered up their involvement in Lockerbie is extraordinary and complex, and I am excited, and indeed relieved, to be able to release my findings, now.” A personal message On 19th September 1989, my brother was murdered in a Libyan terrorist attack. He was travelling on UTA Flight 772 between N’Djamena in Chad, where he worked in oil field development, and Paris. When he died, he was returning to the UK via Paris to participate in a gliding competition in Scotland. He lived for gliding and loved the air. He had even represented Guernsey at the 1982 World Gliding Championships. The latter seems an odd achievement because I didn’t know he had a connection to the place. So it was a tragic irony that he should meet his death in the beastly destruction of an aircraft. I like to think he was sitting back with a gin and tonic in his hand just before he died. Perhaps he was thinking of pleasant air adventures ahead. My brother was a long-standing member of Lasham Gliding Club, near Alton in Hampshire. His life was centred on the airfield and close friends living in and near the town who were devoted to the sport. He repaid that friendship in his will, leaving them sufficient money to build a workshop at the airfield. The Club has named the workshop in his memory. They also established a “Tony Norrie” award for the best two-seater flight of the year. These people, to my mind, constituted his “gliding family”. To them, I had to bring the sad news of his tragic death. My brother and I were never close. However, when he died, I found he had made me his executor. I asked my mother “Why?”. “Because you always have the last word in any argument”, she said, enigmatically. I metaphorically extended the remit of executor to inquire about the circumstances of any tragedy that could have a bearing on his death. So, I settled down to read myself into Lockerbie. Like UTA, Lockerbie was to be attributed to Libya. With that thought in mind, I offer these thoughts on Lockerbie twenty years later. The conclusions of my research are shocking. They are also wildly different from anything previously published. Given what Libya did to my brother, my stance may surprise you. Charles Norrie norriecb@gmail.com What’s in this report? Abstract 1 A personal message 3 Megrahi: An innocent incarcerated 5 Introduction 5 Limited evidence 7 The timer chip 7 The Giaka story 8 Loading the plane 8 Who did Lockerbie? 9 Introduction 9 Why Iran wanted to down a plane 9 Why the US had to help 10 How the plot was formed 10 The Swiss agreement 11 Where and when 11 How Iran and the CIA caused Lockerbie 12 The Helsinki Warning 12 The blame 13 Deadly cargo to London 13 The Heathrow break-in 13 The first explosion 17 The second explosion 18 The investigation and framing Megrahi 21 The Toshiba manual 21 Suitcase? -suitcases! 21 Planting the circuit board 23 Media manipulation 23 Arranging some trial witnesses 24 What next? 25 Cast of characters 26 Megrahi: An innocent incarcerated Introduction On Wednesday 21st December 1988, nine months before my brother’s death, Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed in a bomb attack and the downed plane fell on Lockerbie, a town of around 4,000 people in the Dumfries and Galloway Region, south-west Scotland. The plane’s 243 passengers and 16 members of the crew died in the explosion, along with 11 people from Lockerbie who perished when large sections of the plane fell on the town. It was some time after my brother’s death that I started thinking about Lockerbie. I had been absorbed in putting his affairs in order following his spectacularly horrible death. There were so many small things to do. When someone dies suddenly – it’s like shutting many drawers left open. I joined the Lockerbie families group within 24 hours of UTA because Jim Swire – a leading light in the group whose daughter had died at Lockerbie – had come on television to invite UTA relatives to contact him. At that time, the Lockerbie families were trying to understand what had happened to their loved ones, from a position of little knowledge. But they had started thinking about culpability. We UTA families were able to stop looking for explanations much quicker than the Lockerbie families. Within two years, we had a positive outcome that has stood the test of time. They have had no such satisfaction. Two years after the downing of UTA Flight 772, I remember calling Jim Swire from a public phone box outside the Palais de Justice, Paris, after the UTA examining magistrate, Juge Jean-Louis Bruguière, named four Libyans as the culprits (two more were accused in 1996). Jim said the UTA suspects, or indeed any other Libyan suspects, were “not on my radar” – not considered as the culprits for Lockerbie. So I was astonished when, on 13th November 1991, the US Department of Justice and Scottish prosecuting authorities issued murder charges for Lockerbie against two Libyans – Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah. Even then, I wasn’t in a mind to accept something simply because I was told it by someone in authority. I questioned the Libyan connection to Lockerbie. And I was right. As we know, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has always claimed he did not carry out the Lockerbie bombing. He has appealed twice against his conviction. On 28th June 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission announced it would refer the second appeal to Edinburgh’s Court of Criminal Appeal because Megrahi “may have suffered a miscarriage of justice”. On 20th August 2009, Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds following reports that he had terminal prostate cancer and less than three months to live. But, to be released, he had to drop his appeal and thereby implicitly accept his conviction. There was a period, which lasted from 1991 to 1999, where I couldn’t make sense of Lockerbie. But slowly it occurred to me. After twenty years of investigation, I am confident I have now found some of the truth about Lockerbie. Why Megrahi didn’t do it It is the strangest thing. If four Libyans carried out UTA and two carried out Lockerbie, then surely they must have been working for the same organisation. But only tentative links were ever drawn between the Libyan personnel involved in UTA and those allegedly involved in Lockerbie. Abdullah Senussi, Gaddafi’s brother-in-law, was the only Libyan referred to during the Lockerbie trial who was convicted of the UTA bombing. He was repeatedly mentioned by a witness in Megrahi’s trial, Abdul Giaka, but Giaka’s evidence was rejected by the court. Indeed, the only official connection between the two tragedies was the imposition of sanctions against Libya in 1992 by the UN, a situation which was explained in a private letter to me from the FCO. Furthermore, it is quite clear that the modi operandi of the two bombings is entirely different. In particular, the bombs are quite different. The Libyans didn’t lack the ability to create two identical bombs. They had materials for a UTA-style bomb in 1988, according to case notes submitted in Pugh vs Libya – the US UTA victims’ claim for compensation1. These say that Juge Bruguière, the examining magistrate in the UTA case, received a replica of the suitcase used in the UTA bombing from Libyan officials on a visit in July 1996: “The Libyans told Juge Bruguière that the suitcase had been recovered from a thwarted attack by Libyan oppositionists. For the French, it was proof that the Libyan security services had suitcase bombs exactly like the one that exploded on UTA Flight 772.” If they had the materials available, why didn’t they use the same technique for Lockerbie as for UTA? Spot the difference – the UTA and alleged Lockerbie bombs Bomb size: The alleged Lockerbie bomb was small (around 0.3 – 0.4kg), but the UTA bomb was large (1.0kg) Explosive and casing: The alleged Lockerbie bomb used Semtex explosive, allegedly hidden in a Toshiba cassette recorder, but the UTA bomb used a suitcase lined with Pentrite explosive Timer: The official Lockerbie investigation claimed the Lockerbie bomb used a Swiss-made timer and a circuit board made in Holland, whereas the UTA bomb’s timer was made in Taiwan and sourced via a West German company Carry-on vs unaccompanied: The Lockerbie bomb was allegedly loaded onto a plane at Malta without an accompanying passenger, whereas a Congolese national inadvertently carried the UTA bomb as his luggage Detonator: An ordinary commercial detonator was found after the UTA bombing. A detonator for Lockerbie has not come to light Limited evidence There are other reasons why Megrahi didn’t carry out the Lockerbie bombing. Only three pieces of evidence link Megrahi to Lockerbie, and all are contested. This compares with at least 23 pieces of uncontroversial evidence linking the Libyans convicted of the UTA bombing with their crime. The three pieces of evidence in Lockerbie are: The timer chip; The Giaka story; The purchase of clothes from Gauci’s shop. The timer chip According to the evidence given at Megrahi’s trial, fragments of a circuit board were found by police near Newcastleton, a Scottish village on the border with England. It was identified with difficulty as a fragment coming from a bomb timer circuit board similar to that carried by a Libyan intelligence agent arrested in Senegal ten months before Flight 103 was destroyed. This electronic timer – a so-called MST-13 timer – had MEBO printed on it, which stands for Meister & Bollier, a Swiss electronics firm. Edwin Bollier, one of the firm’s owners, testified at Megrahi’s trial that he had sold 20 MST-13 timers to Libya in 1985. He claimed he met Megrahi when he travelled to Libya at that time. There are several problems with this evidence. First, Bollier testified at the trial that the Scottish police had shown him a fragment of a brown circuit board from a prototype timer never supplied to Libya. However, at the trial, he was asked to identify a sample of a green circuit board that MEBO had supplied to Libya. Second, on 18th July, 20072, MEBO’s electronics expert, Ulrich Lumpert, swore an affidavit that he had given false evidence about the timer at Megrahi’s trial. He claims he stole a prototype MST-13 timer circuit board from MEBO and gave it, without permission, to “an official person investigating the ‘Lockerbie case’”34. Third, the testimonies of the forensic experts who identified the circuit board have been questioned. A 1997 report on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s laboratory, unrelated to Lockerbie, accused FBI explosives expert Thomas Thurman of altering laboratory reports to make them favourable to the prosecution. Thurman’s UK counterpart, Alan Feraday from the former UK Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment (RARDE), was an expert witness on three separate cases where the verdict was subsequently overturned on appeal. The Giaka story A former colleague of Fhimah, Abdul Majid Giaka, testified that he had seen Megrahi construct the bomb. He claimed he saw Megrahi load it in a Samsonite suitcase onto Air Malta Flight 180 from Malta to Frankfurt. Giaka’s evidence was rejected by Lord Sutherland at the Zeist court who described him as a fantasist, saying: “We are unable to accept Abdul Majid as a credible and reliable witness on any matter except his description of the organisation of the JSO [Libyan intelligence agency] and the personnel involved there.” The purchase of clothes from Gauci’s shop According to evidence given at Megrahi’s trial, fragments of a maroon Samsonite suitcase with extensive, close-range blast damage were found among the debris of the plane. Items of clothing were also discovered that forensics claimed to have been close to or inside the suitcase when it exploded. The clothing included a blue Babygro, a black nylon umbrella, and a pair of Yorkie brand tartan trousers. Trapped within the Babygro material was a label reading “Made in Malta”. Yorkie trousers were manufactured in Malta with most sold at a shop called “Mary’s House” in Sliema run by Tony Gauci. Gauci testified that, about two weeks before the bombing, he had sold some Yorkie trousers to a man with a Libyan accent. He said that the man also bought a blue Babygro and, because it was raining, a black umbrella. Doubts have been cast on Gauci’s reliability as a witness. He failed positively to identify Megrahi in almost 20 separate pre-trial police reports, according to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. In police statements, he identified the customer as more than 6’ tall and more than 50 years old. Megrahi was 5’8″ and 36 years old in 1988. In BBC Two’s “The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie”, it was claimed that Megrahi was appealing his conviction on the grounds that Gauci had seen a magazine photograph of him four days before picking Megrahi out of a line-up. Furthermore, former Lord Advocate Lord Fraser described Gauci publicly as “an apple short of a picnic”.5 The defence argued during his trial that Megrahi was only in Malta on 7th December 1988 and it was not raining on that day according to meteorological records. Therefore, Megrahi would not have needed to buy an umbrella. Loading the plane When the Samsonite suitcase Megrahi supposedly loaded at Malta reached Frankfurt, it would have been automatically loaded onto a feeder flight – Pan Am Flight 103A. When this flight reached London, the suitcase would have been put onto Pan Am Flight 103. The prosecution at Megrahi’s trial claimed Fhimah, as Megrahi’s accomplice, arranged for the suitcase to get onto the Air Malta flight. However, Fhimah was acquitted because there was no firm evidence that he was at the airport. Subsequently, the charge of conspiracy to murder levelled against Megrahi was dropped. According to the verdict from Megrahi’s original trial: “The Crown suggestion that the brief telephone call to the second accused’s [Megrahi’s] flat on the morning of 21 December can, by a series of inferences, lead to the conclusion that he was at the airport is, in our opinion, wholly speculative… In these circumstances, the second accused falls to be acquitted.”6 Without Fhimah’s help, how would Megrahi have got the suitcase onto the Air Malta Flight 180? It’s not clear an unaccompanied Samsonite suitcase ever travelled on the Air Malta flight. In 1989, Air Malta released a statement claiming all luggage on the flight was accounted for. Air Malta also won a libel action against Granada TV, when the television company repeated the allegations of a Pan Am loader that a bag had come from an Air Malta flight. For a time, all these inconsistencies perplexed me. But then it occurred to me. It was odd that two completely different disasters were being blamed on Libya. Why shouldn’t one of these disasters be Libya’s fault while the other was not? It seemed UTA was credibly the fault of Libya without any doubt whatsoever. Yet I was seeing all the evidence for Megrahi carrying out the Lockerbie bombing slowly slipping and draining away. I became afraid that a conviction could not be upheld in the long term and the courts would have to retreat from blaming Libya. When that happened, I didn’t want Gaddafi denying blame for UTA too. I contacted Labour MP Tam Dalyell, who was making a fuss about Lockerbie, with my concerns about Megrahi’s guilt. I received a strange phone call where he said “Charles, you are opening Pandora’s Box”. During the next eight years, I would learn what he meant as I discovered who was to blame for the bombing. Who did Lockerbie? Introduction I now know that Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by an Iranian using a plot conceived, designed and implemented by senior staff at the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The decision to destroy the plane was made by the White House, following a secret agreement between senior US government officials and five Iranian emissaries. How do I know this? For an investigator, I’ve been very passive – I haven’t woken up ancient investigators in their dotage to ask what they really got up to. It’s been a paper exercise. All the information with the exception of odd questions to Mr Bollier and Mr Marquise, the FBI lead investigator, is in the public domain. In the early days, it was painful work, often using French dictionaries. I used newspapers and got official paperwork translated. I began my investigations almost immediately after my brother’s death, initially as a conduit for the other families, sourcing information on UTA with the aid of my brother’s unusual friends. One was a lovely man who turned up unexpectedly on my doorstep the morning after his death and asked if I wanted some ‘real news’. He pulled out a suitcase, unplugged the telephone, attached an audio coupler and hacked into the news feed of one of the BBC’s foreign correspondents to find news about UTA. Then he tracked down all the other UTA families from the UK and, that evening, I called them all and offered them a news service. It was leading edge stuff for 1989, but obtaining information was slow. Over time, I’ve uncovered more and more using the power of the web. Why Iran wanted to down a plane When you blame someone for a bombing – you need a proper hypothesis to explain why they did it. And one theory just stared and stared at me. The Iranians were very angry at the time of Lockerbie. On 3rd July 1988, the United States’ Navy shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Strait of Hormuz in Iranian airspace. All 290 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A300B2, a civilian airliner, included 66 children, were killed in the attack. This death toll places it among one of the world’s most deadly airline disasters. According to the US government, it was an accident. US Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, which was in Iranian territorial waters when the atrocity occurred, had mistaken Flight 655 for an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter. The Iranian government didn’t think it was an accident. It claimed the Vincennes deliberately shot down Flight 655. In mid-July, the Iranian Foreign Minister asked the United Nations Security Council to condemn the United States, saying the attack “could not have been a mistake” and was a “criminal act”, “an atrocity” and a “massacre”.7 Why the US had to help My thoughts then turned to how the Iranians would take the downing of their plane. I realised they would have been incensed by the attack and baying for revenge. The Guardian reported on 9th July 1988: “In Abu Dhabi, hundreds of angry Iranians held a memorial service for the dead on Thursday night. The Iranian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Mr Mustafa Foumeni Haeri, told angry and weeping mourners: ‘We will take our revenge in the proper time.\'” I spent a lot of time in Islington public library studying the culture and customs of Middle Eastern countries while researching UTA. I realised the family of the Flight 655 victims and the Iranian government had a right to seek equal retaliation – better known as “an eye for an eye” – for the plane under a traditional law called Qesas8, a part of Iranian law which pre-dates the Islamification of the country by nearly 1200 years. One man, I realised, was particularly keen to avoid an Iranian terrorist attack. In July 1988, US vice-president George H.W. Bush was seeking to become the Republican’s candidate in the US presidential election. He annoyed Iran by refusing to apologise for Flight 655, saying “I will never apologize for the United States of America, I don’t care what the facts are.”9 Bush doubtless feared an Iranian terror campaign would halt his accession to the presidency in the same way that President Carter’s 1980 re-election was doomed by the Iranian Hostage Crisis10. He probably feared UN Security Council resolution UN616 of 21st July 1988, which condemned the downing of Flight 655, was not enough to prevent Iranian revenge attacks. I believe that George H.W. Bush secured his election as the 41st president of the United States by giving the Iranians their measured revenge in blood for the Vincennes attack. How the plot was formed George H.W. Bush had been the de facto Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCI of the CIA) under President Gerald Ford in 1976. So it would have been easy for George Bush to secure assistance from senior CIA officials by secretly cutting a deal with the Iranians. Furthermore, helping Bush secure the Republican nomination and presidency arguably benefited these officials. Reagan had served his maximum number of terms in office by 1988 and could not be re-elected. As US VP, Bush was the CIA’s obvious preferred successor. Senior US officials led a secret delegation to meet five Iranian government officials. The venue for their rendezvous was Glion – a small village outside Montreux, Switzerland.11 There, they agreed a plan to satiate the Iranians’ burning desire for revenge on terms acceptable to the US. The Swiss agreement This plan was to blow up a full commercial plane from a leading US carrier to avenge the loss of Flight 655. This satisfied the Hammurabi code where it says “If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [An eye for an eye ]”12 A Pan American World Airways passenger flight was, therefore, targeted because Pan Am was the US’ “flagship” international carrier. Only an Iranian government representative or family member of a Flight 655 victim was eligible to avenge a Qesas crime. Therefore, an Iranian had to plant the bomb. However, the CIA could develop and execute the plan, and manage the aftermath of the bombing. The Iranians couldn’t take credit for the bombing because, if their involvement became public knowledge, Bush would be pressured to retaliate by his fellow Americans, especially those on the nationalist and Republican right. So a scapegoat had to take the blame. Perhaps the Iranians agreed to negotiate the release of hostages held in Lebanon, most famously Terry Waite13, when they were satisfied the CIA had lined up a fall guy. Most of the hostages were released in November 199114, the same month that charges were made against Megrahi15. When the US blamed the Libyans, the Iranians were off the hook. It’s likely the Iranians agreed to accept a reduced payout to the Flight 655 victims’ families in exchange for downing a US plane. Compared to payouts to relatives following Lockerbie and UTA, the Flight 655 payout was low. The average sum paid out per person on Flight 655 was just $160,000 – $300,000. In contrast, the amount paid per life lost was $1 million for UTA and $10 million for Lockerbie. The US may have also agreed to free Iranian assets that they had frozen in 1979. Some assets were released in 1990, according to a press conference with the US Regional Reporters’ Association16. Where and when Before leaving Switzerland, it’s possible the delegations set up a time and place for the Iranians’ revenge attack. The Lockerbie bombing happened during a dead period in US politics – timed perfectly to do the least damage to Bush’s presidency. The Lockerbie tragedy on 21st December fell almost halfway between the presidential election (8th November 1988) and George H.W. Bush’s inauguration (20th January 1989). Choosing a location was the next step. The CIA’s Iran office was in Frankfurt17, but mounting the operation there would have meant the aircraft crashed near Heerenveen in the Netherlands. The special relationship between the UK and the US meant London was a better place for the CIA and Iranians to mount an operation. By exploding the bomb over Scotland, the CIA could be confident of concealing their crime. The Scottish police would be responsible for investigating the case with the assistance of an anti-terrorist team provided by the Metropolitan police. They had the fractious relationship with the Met typical of a provincial police force, which gave the CIA free rein to concoct evidence or interfere undetected with the case. According to a Scottish police investigator: “…ask a cop in any force up and down the country who they consider the most arrogant, the most useless and least likely to do anything for anyone beyond their ‘patch’ and they will undoubtedly tell you – the Met…But the reputation of the Met precedes it and it does not enjoy the high standing it thinks it does in what it disparagingly calls the ‘provincial’ forces.” 18 The Lockerbie disaster was a radically different type of terrorism than 9/11 and other, similar modern attacks. It was cold and sophisticated, organised by experienced terrorists to make a point. In contrast, the 9/11 and 7/7 bombings were designed to cause chaos and mayhem, and involved terrorists prepared to lose their lives. Since the Lockerbie bombing was so carefully planned, I believe Flight 103 was deliberately destroyed over land to create an evidence trail that left no doubt the disaster was a terrorist attack. The CIA had to be sure the Iranians felt they had revenge, even though neither group could admit to the bombing. How Iran and the CIA caused Lockerbie The Helsinki Warning Having agreed the Iranians could blow up a US plane, CIA officials faced a conundrum. How could they get US government personnel off a doomed flight without alarming the wider public? Once I thought about the outcome of the Helsinki warning, it was obvious that this was their solution. On 5th December 1988, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a security bulletin. It said a man with an Arabic accent had telephoned the US Embassy in Helsinki, Finland, to threaten that a Pan Am flight from Frankfurt, West Germany, to the US would be blown up within the next fortnight by someone associated with Abu Nidal, a militant Palestinian group. He said a Finnish woman would unknowingly carry the bomb on board. On 13th December, this ‘Helsinki Warning’ was distributed among US State Department staff. Some people are thought to have booked onto other airlines, leaving empty seats on the Pan Am flight that were sold cheaply to students and others. They became cheap and disposable bodies – I find it utterly disgraceful that the CIA treated these people this way. The CIA chose Helsinki to minimise the public visibility of the warning, because Finland is neutral territory and not usually the target of terrorist attacks. The Helsinki warning was never properly publicised beyond US government personnel, as demonstrated by the 48 students who obliviously bought cheap tickets on Pan Am flights. The blame If the Iranians were to be blameless of the attack, the CIA had to put another organisation in the frame. At the time, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP GC) were an obvious scapegoat. On 26th October 1988, the German police had arrested 16 PFLP GC members on suspicion of terrorist activities. They found a bomb concealed in a Toshiba cassette recorder in the car of Hafiz Dalkamoni, one of the leader of PFLP GC’s cells. The story of the PFLP GC arrests is too complicated to discuss here. But the important point is that PFLP GC members were found in possession of bombs near Frankfurt. Between 2nd November and 19th December, three official warnings were issued about bombs hidden in Toshiba cassette recorders. I believe the Toshiba warnings were, like the Helsinki warning, a CIA plant. They were designed to associate the forthcoming terrorist attack with a PFLP GC style of operation, because the PFLP GC members arrested in Germany had converted a Toshiba Bombeat cassette recorder to hold a bomb. Deadly cargo to London The bomb had to travel to London without being detected. It struck me that the two easiest ways were carrying the bomb in an official diplomatic bag, which would not be searched upon entering another country, or transporting it in parts, which could be assembled in the Iranian Embassy or elsewhere. In 1988, the technology for scanning baggage was not as advanced as today. Bomb components could be brought in on separate flights or concealed in electronic equipment. The bomb may have been built in Iran and shipped to Britain. But given the CIA’s Iranian office was located in Frankfurt, it is possible that the bomb began its short life there. Qesas makes no demand that a revenging party should use their own weapon. The Heathrow break-in During Megrahi’s first appeal in 2001, a new fact emerged. There had been a break-in at Heathrow on 20th December 1988, which was discovered by a BAA security guard, Mr Manly. He recorded it in an incident book, which was produced at the appeal. He said it was the worst security breach he had encountered in his 17-year career with BAA19. A padlock had been broken on a door in the security barrier between the airside and landside areas in terminal 3, Heathrow. This door was 20 minutes walk from the Interline shed containing the baggage containers that would be loaded onto Pan Am Flight 103 later that day. Although the appeal found that Heathrow staff often took short cuts by breaking out through the security door, this time the lock had been cut “like butter” by someone breaking in.20 Shortly after 23:05 on 20th December 1988, I believe an Iranian broke through a door in Heathrow Terminal 3 that separated the landside and airside parts of the terminal. Thinking logically about it, he must have been disguised as a minor airport functionary, maintenance man or airline worker so he would not be stopped as he walked through the airport complex to the Interline building. Once there, he would have to identify the baggage containers due to be loaded onto Flight 103. This would be relatively easy because, according to a former baggage handler, baggage containers are arranged in the order they will be loaded onto outgoing flights. The baggage container the CIA must have told the Iranian to look for was AVE4041 PA, which would be loaded at position 14L21 and contained first class and Frankfurt transfer luggage. Once he reached the baggage container, he might have needed to fine tune the bomb timer. Pan Am flights to New York had several possible flight paths, depending on weather conditions, so the Iranian would have checked the weather forecast and adjusted the time of the explosion accordingly. The bomb must have been disguised as though it was a repair patch for a baggage container (see figure of Air France patches). The bomb was stuck to the wall near the bottom of AVE4041 PA at around 11:30pm on 20th December 1988. Let us imagine that Mr Manly the security guard patrolled the security barrier every hour and took an hour to finish his patrol. He discovered the break-in at approximately 00:05 on 21st December 1988, meaning there was more than enough time for someone to break-in, place a device in the Interline shed, and leave again, between 23:05 and the break-in being discovered. It seems an amazing coincidence that such a serious break-in would occur at Heathrow the day before a terrorist bomb destroyed a plane flying from the airport. After two or three years of thinking it through, I believe this is how the Lockerbie bomb was loaded onto Flight 103. The Zeist appeal decided the break-in and the destruction of the aircraft were too remote (I think they meant in time). But the first trial accepted the timer had run for at least 12 hours, so why the 18 hours implied by the Heathrow break-in was impossible, I can’t understand. The official Lockerbie investigation claimed the bomb was concealed in a suitcase. Our Iranian, however, couldn’t have brought a suitcase into Heathrow. It would have been too conspicuous. So the bomb must have been around 20 x 20 cm in size and concealed under a heavy, winter coat. Furthermore, according to a former baggage handler I spoke to, if the bomb was in a suitcase it would have been spotted on the morning of 21st December by Heathrow baggage handlers. If it wasn’t revealed to be a bomb and was correctly labelled, it would have been put onto the first flight leaving Heathrow. But Flight 103 was the third Pan Am scheduled flight from Heathrow to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on 21st December. Once I saw the link between the break-in and the Lockerbie bomb, I was suddenly able to place a speech by Transport Minister Paul Channon in context. He told Lockerbie families the device “may have been among the baggage from the Frankfurt flight”. This gives the impression that the bomb was concealed in a bag but, oddly, he didn’t make this explicit.22 To me, this was a very carefully drafted statement by someone who knows how to use words because there are ways of hiding a device “among baggage” that don’t require a suitcase. A bomb attached to a baggage container is one of these. **** Box out: The Iranian – a hypothesis I have speculated a great deal about the identity of the Iranian who broke into Heathrow and planted the Lockerbie bomb. At the time of writing, I have no firm answers, but would like to share an interesting hypothesis. I think the Iranian who planted the bomb may have been a Ahmad Beladi Behbehani, a relative of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s president at the time of the Lockerbie disaster. On 24th May 2000, when the Lockerbie trial was in its early stages, I found a strange little story about a man called *Sattar who went into exile and ended up in a Turkish internment camp23. His case was taken up by a CBS reporter called Leslie Stahl and a Jewish-Iranian-American journalist called Roya Hakakian. They visited him accompanied by a former CIA officer, Robert Baer. Hakakian managed to surreptitiously interview Ahmad Beladi Behbehani after the Turks refused to let the party speak to him. When I came upon this CBS story, I realised Ahmad Beladi Behbehani was one of the first people to link Lockerbie to Iran with any certainty. According to Robert Baer – “He’s the only person that has tied Libya and Iran into Pan Am 103, into the Lockerbie bombing. This is the first authoritative source that I’ve ever heard that connected the two countries together.24 So serious was the CBS’ report that the Iranian Government denied ever employing Behbehani. Later, Iran suggested he had fabricated his allegations to gain asylum.25 “Those Iranians, who wish to be granted asylum in Western countries, are usually trying to achieve their aims through libellous statements against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said.26 The next reference I found to a man called Behbehani was in a book by leading FBI agent Richard Marquise27. In it, he says on the day the CBS report was aired in June 2000, he was dispatched to interview a man called Behbehani in a prison in Turkey. He was briefed by Richard Clarke at the National Security Council – the US president’s foreign security agency. According to Marquise: “This was the only time I knew of anyone from the NSC or the White House taking an active interest and an operational role in the case.” The US Government must have been very alarmed by the CBS story and the effect it could have on the Lockerbie trial for the President to take a personal interest. After interviewing a man who called himself Behbehani, Marquise concluded that the man was “a fabricator” who claimed he was born in 1968 and was therefore “far too young to have been the person responsible for ordering the Pan Am bombing. If he had any information, he was unable to provide it. He said there was a CD which documented his claims, but said he had no way of getting it, further hurting his credibility.” Yet I found something very odd about Marquise’s interview. He was thwarted at every turn by the Turkish authorities, which made it hard to fulfil his brief to “not leave out any detail.” He was allowed just one interview with Behbehani. The morning after the CBS report was aired, he learned that the “Turkish authorities would allow the FBI access… but no later than Thursday of that week”. Unfortunately for Marquise, he had “taken the day off but was thousands of miles away, with only a couple of days to get there and no visa.” Upon arriving in Turkey, he was told by the Legat28 (the FBI legal official) there that “the Turks had told him that, if this story appeared in the news media once more, the interview would never take place.” The Turkish authorities also denied the Scots permission to participate in the interview. Marquise and the CIA didn’t have the best relationship. According to Marquise, during the Lockerbie investigation, they were concerned about “CIA attempts to slow down the investigation” and “the CIA’s incursion into avenues better explored by law enforcement”. So it’s my view that Marquise and Hakakian didn’t see the same Behbehani – Marquise was set up by the CIA and swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker. I have managed to find a picture of the Behbehani that Hakakian interviewed, and he was a fairly well-built man who looked almost a decade older than Marquise’s man claimed to be. So the younger man seems like a put up job by the CIA, possibly with the assistance of the Iranians. As I looked into it further, I found there was a Behbehani with family connections to Rafsanjani who seemed the right age to be the man in Hakakian’s pictures. So it’s unsurprising that the Turks29 were so reticent about letting the FBI see their man more than once. The real Behbehani’s links to Lockerbie are perhaps greater than the claims he made while in Turkey. Shortly after Lockerbie, he was promoted to Head of the Intelligence Section of the Revolutionary Guard in the President’s Office. This timing seems more than a coincidence – perhaps it was a reward for “services rendered”. Certainly, the man was a favourite of the Rafsanjani regime – he rose to the senior rank of brigadier-general before he fled into exile. Marquise said a man called Behbehani could have been involved in Iranian terror. In his book, he says that, although he believed the man he met was a fake: “It was possible a man by the same name was formerly in charge of terrorist operations.” I therefore think, although this is no more than a hypothesis at the moment, that Behbehani was the Iranian at Heathrow. As a man with family links to the Iranian regime, he was perfectly placed to avenge a Qesas crime. No one knows what happened to Hakakian’s Behbehani after those fateful interviews. *** The Lockerbie bomb Once I realised the Lockerbie bomb couldn’t have been in a suitcase, I started wondering what shape it could be. I was also struck by something Jim Swire noticed quite early on – the precise time between Flight 103 taking off and the Lockerbie device exploding, which matched that of a known PFLP GC device. I soon realised it was a very different device indeed to the one described at Megrahi’s trial. The bomb that the Iranian planted in AVE4041 PA was in fact an imitation of a PFLP GC device, which used a so-called ice-cube timer. PFLP GC bombs using ice-cube timers are triggered by changes in air pressure, as the aircraft climbs from the ground. Once the trigger is set, a charging circuit completes and detonates the bomb around 30 minutes later. In mid-1988, the obvious scapegoat for the Iranian and CIA plot was the PFLP GC so it made sense to mimic one of their bombs. *** Box out: The bomb in luggage container AVE4041 As the plane gained height, the drop in air pressure would cause the pressure transducer to complete an electronic timer circuit within the bomb. This caused a battery to begin to slowly leak charge into a capacitor. After around 30 minutes, the power stored in the capacitor reached a threshold and flash discharged into the bomb detonator, which then went off went off. This triggered the bomb. Notice that important aspect of this device is not when the ‘timer’ is set, but the fact that the timer is activated when the pressure is reduced during the aircraft’s climb to cruising level, and aircraft on normal flights, which that of Pan Am 103 was until the fatal explosion, have predictable climb rates. So the bomb can stand inactive on the ground for as long as the bomber wants – the set timer starts from the moment when the plane reaches a certain height. [SEE APPENDIX] On the fateful day of the bombing, Flight 103 finally lifted off the runway at 18:25 GMT after being delayed from its scheduled departure time of 18:00 GMT. Once it was clear of Heathrow, the plane turned towards Scotland and began to rise through the cold winter air. Two minutes after take-off, when the plane rose to 6,000ft, the ice-cube timer trigger set. Flight 103’s life expectancy was now measured in minutes. At 18:56 GMT, the aircraft reached its cruising altitude of 31,000 feet (9,450 m) as it approached the Scottish border. Two minutes later, at 18:58 GMT, Flight 103 contacted Shanwick Oceanic Control, the air traffic control responsible for international airspace over the north-east Atlantic. “Good Evening Scottish,” said Ray Wagner, Flight 103’s co-pilot. Alan Topp, an officer at Oceanic Control, saw the flight approach and cross the corner of the Solway Firth on his secondary radar. Two minutes later he replied “Uh, this is Scottish. Ident, please”. Flight 103’s Captain replied: “This is Clipper 103, requesting oceanic clearance.” Topp asked the pilot to send an identifying radio transmission.“Clipper 103, good evening. Uh, for identification, squawk 0357 with ident please.” Topp received the squawk and the Flight 103 changed its course, ready for its flight over the Atlantic. “Clipper 103, route direct, 59 North 10 West to Kennedy. Maintain flight level 310,” he said. Suddenly, the first radar return after 19:02:50 showed no return from the aircraft. Precisely like all successful PFLP GC style aircraft bombs, such as the bombing of the TW841 flight between Italy and Greece, the ice-cube bomb’s detonator caused it to explode in the baggage container 32 minutes after it had been set30. It may just as well have been a real PFLP GC device in a cassette radio in a suitcase transferred to Pan Am 103 at Heathrow! But it wasn’t. For the next few seconds, Topp remained unaware of the disaster that had befallen the doomed flight. Then he tried desperately to contact Flight 103’s pilot, and asked a nearby KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight to do the same, but there was no reply. Then he called up his primary radar and saw the single radar return he expected replaced by four, which began to fan out. Topp became frantic: “I’ve got multiple returns. It’s showing five returns! They’re fanning out downwind. Clipper 103, this is Scottish? Come in! Clipper 103! I’ve lost the Clipper!” Around 30 seconds later, Topp would receive the first reports of an explosion on the ground. He now knew the flight’s life had ended. The first explosion After the disaster, more than 1,000 police officers and soldiers spent months carrying out fingertip searches of the ground around Lockerbie – the crash site and trails of debris from the explosion – collecting more than 10,000 items. The UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) analysed the debris and compiled a report about the disaster. In my opinion, the pattern of explosion outlined in the AAIB report and described by air accident experts at Megrahi’s trial provides compelling evidence for my theory. During the trial, AAIB investigator Peter Claydon reported that an improvised explosive device (IED) – a bomb not designed for conventional military use – ‘punched’ through the baggage container and side of the plane leaving a square hole 31. The official explanation for Lockerbie is that a bomb was concealed in a suitcase. Yet a bomb in a suitcase would explode in all directions. In contrast, the hole in the side of the plane seemed to indicate a unidirectional explosion. This makes sense if a bomb was attached to the side of a luggage container, slightly above the bottom (see figure). Peter Claydon told the court the bomb created an 8-inch square hole in AVE4041 PA and a 20-inch square hole in the skin of the aircraft. This was, however, small compared to the size of the plane and experts were puzzled about how such a small explosion could have caused so much damage.32 The ice-cube bomb, however, wasn’t expected to cause much damage because it had to be reasonably small for the Iranian to sneak it into Heathrow under an overcoat and conceal it in a baggage container. Subsequently, it had to be small enough to be ignored during baggage loading. The official Lockerbie investigation claimed the IED weighed less than 0.5kg 33, which led Peter Claydon to say during Megrahi’s trial that it produced a ‘relatively mild’ explosion3435. This befuddled me for years – how could such a small device completely obliterate Flight 103? The plane’s fuel tanks couldn’t have contributed to the blast because they exploded on the ground at Lockerbie. I was not alone in my confusion. A team of academics from the Centre of Explosives Technology Research in Socorro, New Mexico calculated that thirty pounds of explosives was needed to destroy a plane the size of a Boeing 747 if the bomb was in the hold36 The second explosion Many years after Lockerbie, I decided to settle down and read the AAIB’s report of the Lockerbie bombing again. Within it, I found some extraordinary claims. For example, it goes out of its way to deny the possibility of a second explosion. According to the last line of Appendix F-4, “No evidence was seen to suggest that more than one IED had detonated on Flight PA103”. Why deny the possibility of a second IED? It also, tellingly, never mentions the words ‘suitcase’ nor ‘radio-cassette’! After all, the AAIB didn’t bother to discount alien involvement! There’s a little anecdote here. A stranger once invited himself – we had no security – to a joint UTA and Lockerbie families meeting at the Russell Hotel, London and followed me when I popped out to the toilet. He said: “But what about the UFOs?” I said: “If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.” Unfortunately, he ran out into the night before I could ask whether the UFO incident was a presage to the invasion of Earth – starting in Lockerbie – or was simply an unfortunate traffic accident between a UFO and a Boeing 747. Only one person to date has challenged the AAIB about why they actively denied the existence of a second IED. Mr John Parks, an explosives expert, who volunteered to help after the Lockerbie bombing, is sceptical about the official account of the blast. In correspondence I have seen, he says “There is overwhelming evidence to indicate that a minimum of two high explosive events took place inboard Pan Am 103.” Such a conclusion, if it can be maintained, would destroy any case against Mr Megrahi. The AAIB report is a wonderful confection – it disguises more than it discusses. So it never says there wasn’t a second bomb on the plane. Instead, it merely states that, if there was more than one bomb, this bomb was not an IED. So I realised I agreed with Parks in part – there must be a second, different type of explosion from another source. This is an entirely original reinterpretation of the official reports – my style of working means I often snap up unconsidered trifles – but initially the idea seemed quite improbable. So I began to look for the damage the second bomb must have caused. When the Lockerbie debris was gathered up after the disaster, parts of the recovered aircraft were taken to the AAIB headquarters at Farnborough Airfield in Hampshire. There a carefully selected section of the fuselage from the Boeing 747 was pieced back together. Also, within the AAIB’s report of the Lockerbie disaster, there is a diagram illustrating how the whole of the fuselage of Flight 103 was painstakingly reconstructed. This diagram shows huge pieces of the Boeing 747’s body missing from two locations (see figure showing white hole in rear and front of plane). The first is above the location of the IED next to baggage container AVE4041 PA near the front of the plane. This fuselage skin isn’t missing because the search team failed to recover the wreckage from the ground. Rather, it is characteristic of a brisant explosion where the skin was melted. Parks goes into this at length. Brisant explosions are created by some modern high explosives which, when they explode, quickly create a hot fireball, at a temperature of 2000oC. This consumes everything in the immediate vicinity, including detonator circuits, detonators, and anything as flimsy as fuselage skin.37. If the fuselage skin was melted by a fireball, of course, neither the alleged fragment of recovered Toshiba circuit board, nor the clothing or Toshiba manual presented in evidence at Megrahi’s trial could have survived the explosion. This explains why the Lockerbie detonator was never found and means all this evidence must have been planted. There is a second area where fuselage skin is missing too. This is near the rear of the plane next to a luggage storage area under the passenger compartment. This luggage compartment was accessed through a special hatch created as part of the US Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) programme. Under CRAF, older Boeing 747 planes were modified to carry military freight containers in case of national emergency. When I saw this second missing section of fuselage skin, I could draw no conclusion other than that there was a second explosion at this location. One possible logical cause would be military material, but I believe the device was actually a ‘insurance’ bomb, designed to ensure the aircraft was destroyed, being carried in the CRAF compartment at the time of the bombing. And, if there was a second independent explosion, Megrahi cannot be guilty. There is even more good evidence of two separate explosions in the AAIB report. According to that document, Flight 103 disintegrated into two debris trails. The southern debris trail was produced when the IED went off and the plane began to disintegrate. The northern trail over Lockerbie was produced 19.5 seconds later when the aircraft suddenly plunged from 19,000 to 9,000 ft. The AAIB report does not explain why the plane stopped gliding several seconds after the initial explosion and began to rapidly lose height. Nor was this dive mentioned in the official Lockerbie report. This plunge must have occurred when the second blast went off. That 19.5 seconds was immensely suspicious, because if munitions had accidentally been exploded by the force of the IED blast, the second explosion would have occurred almost immediately after the first. So it was no accident – the second blast was deliberately triggered. I now believe the cause of the additional blast was a CIA ‘insurance bomb’. Its purpose was to guarantee no one survived the bombing, ensuring the Iranians would be completely satisfied with the operation, and the Qesas condition fulfilled. It would be easy for CIA operatives to attach a detonator to explosive material on the flight, or introduced a package bomb. In fact the insurance bomb was not necessary. The effect of the IED alone would have been enough to destroy the aircraft, as the whole of the forward nose cone was torn off and landed at Tundergarth. But I think the damage model the CIA used was that of TWA840 of 2nd April 1986, where a device had punctured a hole in the side of that aircraft, but it remained flyable. Only five lives were lost. The CIA did not want a miraculous survival of most of the passengers, as the agreement with the Iranians called for deaths, so they had to introduce a second package bomb. 168 people died in the front – they were killed by the Iranian’s IED. 91 died in the rear of the plane. They were jointly killed by the CIA package bomb and the Iranian IED. 11 died on the ground. They were killed by the CIA’s package bomb, because if that had not gone off the aircraft would have continued its steep glide into the hills north of Lockerbie, rural countryside. To conceal the existence of the CIA device, the bombs needed to trigger around the same time. However, they were in different locations on the plane. So the insurance bomb had to be triggered manually. There would have been a CIA agent on the ground where he could receive a clear radar signal from Flight 103 – probably halfway between Lockerbie and Shanwick. The insurance bomb was probably triggered using a pager, which is an effective and simple way to set off an explosion at a distance38. In 1988, there were probably more than 100,000 pagers in use in Britain39 , and a national pager network had been in place for 10 years by 19894041. Although remote from centres of population, Lockerbie is situated along the A74 – a main transport artery between London and Scotland. There is a long history of remotely triggered bombings, recently using mobile phones rather than increasingly outdated pagers. Among these were the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the 2002 Bali bombings, and the July 2002 bombing at a cafeteria at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. There is also no doubt that the CIA would have been capable of providing such a device. One senior CIA operative at the time, Robert Baer, when interviewed recently for a documentary on Lockerbie on Dutch TV, even volunteered the information that he had “spent years making bombs for the CIA.”42 I also know that he repeated this claim to an investigative journalist making a documentary for an international satellite TV channel, but it was strangely cut from the final transmission. **** Box out: Countdown to disaster [NOTE: second gap diagram. Accompanied by debris diagram] *** The investigation and framing Megrahi Within hours of the Lockerbie bombing, many CIA agents were spotted in the area43. Their job was to detract attention from the real culprits – Iran and themselves – by concocting and concealing evidence. The CIA intended to blame the PFLP GC for the Lockerbie bombing when the investigation began in December 1988. Their preferred culprit could have been Mohammed Abu Talb, an Egyptian-born Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) member who visited Malta in October 1988 or Abu Nidal. Indeed, Tony Gauci’s description of the person who visited his shop in Malta and bought the clothes allegedly found in the suitcase didn’t remotely resemble Megrahi, so it was likely that initially the CIA planned to blame someone else, or, at least, sent a very bad look-a-like to the shop to impersonate him. In the run-up to the Gulf War, however, it became clear to Bush and the CIA that it was no longer politically expedient to blame the Palestinians. Syria and Iran were US silent allies against Iraq, and the PFLP GC were under Syrian protection 44. The CIA had to find another culprit – they switched their attention to Libya and manufactured evidence against Megrahi. Libya was the favourite target of one CIA operative, I call *Tomas Cattermole, who had been involved in many operations against the country, including the 1986 bombing raid. The Toshiba manual The morning after the Lockerbie atrocity, a Northumbrian housewife discovered an instruction manual for a piece of electronic equipment in her garden. Decky Horton tried twice to hand the manual into the her local police, but they had little time to register her find. She lived in Longhorsely, Northumberland 89km east of Lockerbie, but, even there, the police were doubtless struggling to deal with the horrendous scenes at the site of the disaster. By Megrahi’s trial in 2001, Mrs Horton’s manual had conveniently metamorphosed into Arabic instructions for a Toshiba cassette recorder. Unfortunately, years after the event, it was unlikely she could be certain the Toshiba instructions she was shown in court were the same item she found in her garden. Furthermore, there are some suggestions the manual had been tampered with between her discovery and Megrahi’s trial, for she could not recall that the manual had been so damaged45. I challenge anyone not to suspect CIA interference. According to a policeman PC Walton, who handled Mrs Horton’s find, the manual was singed at the sides. How could a manual be in recognisable condition when it was allegedly in the same suitcase as a brisant explosion? It should have been totally destroyed. Furthermore, why did it travel so far? On the AAIB’s debris map, Newcastleton is a long way from Lockerbie, and Longhorsely much further, nearly 90km in all. I have no doubt that Mrs Horton was genuine, but her innocent find was a gift to CIA agents seeking evidence to ‘reinterpret’. Suitcase? -suitcases! Five US intelligence officers died on board Flight 103, despite the CIA releasing the Helsinki warning to get US personnel off Pan Am flights. One of the CIA agents killed was Major Chuck McKee, a US army major working in Beirut, Lebanon; and another was Matthew Gannon, the CIA’s deputy station chief in Beirut 46 47 48 49. After the bombing, according to Marquise’s book, CIA agents allegedly “acted strangely while securing the baggage of CIA employees.”50. According to one Lockerbie story, the CIA removed McKee’s suitcase from the area of the crash and returned it to the Lockerbie investigation damaged – it had a hole cut in the side. The Scottish police, as you might imagine, were not happy to find the CIA tampering with Lockerbie evidence.51 About four or five years ago, I started wondering how the CIA managed to find that suitcase on the hillside, why they cut a hole into the side and why the CIA personnel died. Around the same time, I became sceptical about the existence of the Samsonite suitcase Megrahi supposedly put onto Flight 103. The explanation came to me very quickly indeed. Poor McKee was killed by his colleagues52. Unknown to him, his last duty was to help them locate baggage container AVE4041 PA among the debris, by using the transpondered suitcase he was carrying. He must have suspected his life was in danger because he called his mother before joining the flight, and asked her to meet him at Pittsburgh airport. “This was the first time Chuck ever telephoned me from Beirut,” she said. “I was flabbergasted. It’s a surprise. Always before he would wait until he was back in Virginia to call and say he was coming home.”53 McKee was travelling in first class and, before joining the flight, I believe he must have checked a suitcase containing a radio transponder onto Flight 103. Transpondered suitcases must have a basis in fact since they appear frequently in fiction, for example in recent film No Country for Old Men54. The transpondered suitcase must have ended up in baggage container AVE4041 PA, which contained all the Interline baggage from feeder flight 103A. AVE4041 PA also contained all the first-class baggage and, therefore, was arranged in the aircraft hold so it was first off the flight in New York. It was also, of course, the location of the bomb planted by the Iranian with the CIA’s blessing. Once the CIA had used McKee’s suitcase transponder to locate it, it must have been easy to determine which baggage container was AVE4041 PA. They must have stolen McKee’s suitcase, cut a hole in it and removed the transponder so it didn’t attract undesirable attention from the Scottish investigation team. After a strange journey, which Mr Johnston recounts, the item of baggage was taken to the temporary headquarters of the Lockerbie inquiry, and then back to Carruthers Farm, where it had been found. As it had been interfered with, the local police refused to have anything to do with it, so it was “discovered” by a team of British Transport Police. The extraordinary story is told in Johnston’s book on pages 72-7355. An independently minded Independent Radio News journalist, he was called on by the police to reveal his sources and when he refused to do so, he was made a strange offer. He would be allowed to meet anyone he wished, including Mrs Thatcher. He agreed to check back with his sources and when he did and refused further co-operation, he was threatened with being judicially ‘precognosed’, or preliminarily examined as a witness. Even after this, Johnston reported that at a briefing of officers by two of the Lockerbie Investigation team and two from the CIA, one of the CIA officers had interrupted the briefing to say the plan for the day’s work included “replacing Mr McKee’s suitcase where it had been found”56. In the remains of AVE4041 PA, the CIA placed a pre-blown suitcase, the remains of a Toshiba cassette recorder and various miscellaneous items. They hoped that, when the Lockerbie investigation team found the suitcase, they would follow the concocted evidence to a suitable CIA selected target, which would become Libya. Planting the circuit board A fragment of MST-13 timer chip, similar to that carried by a Libyan intelligence officer, was vital evidence in Megrahi’s trial. The police supposedly found it embedded in a piece of cloth in Newcastleton forest on 13th January 1989. I believe that the chip fragment was planted in the cloth by the CIA to frame Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing. Once the CIA realised they could no longer frame the PFLP GC, they needed to find another culprit. Edwin Bollier provided them with the perfect alternative. He had visited the US embassy in Vienna, perhaps to accuse Megrahi of the Lockerbie bombing, in 1989. (There’s even a little story in the exact date of the visit).57 When I emailed him, he confirmed this visit was in mid-January 1989 – on 19th. So it’s interesting that the CIA – who are so usually so precise – claim Bollier’s visit was in ‘early January 1989’. This made me think they were covering something up. Once the CIA had decided that Megrahi would be the perfect person to fit up for the bombing, I think they visited Ulrich Lumpert of MEBO, Bollier’s company, and obtained a circuit board from him, on 22nd June 1989. The visitor said he was from the “Lockerbie investigation.” This must have been a CIA operative, for the event is not mentioned in the FBI’s evidence. None of this is very original – the limitations of the chip as evidence are now well known. However, I may have determined when the evidence was tampered with. Sometime between June and September 1989, the CIA met employees at Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment (RARDE) at Fort Halstead in Kent. RARDE did the forensic work for the Lockerbie investigation. RARDE employees and the CIA went through the Lockerbie debris to find somewhere to plant the chip. They picked a bag Label 168, marked cloth, collected 13th January, accessed to RARDE on 17th January, and examined by them on 12th May, who marked it cloth. They replaced that cloth with a shirt collar they had bought. A small piece of MEBO micro-chip was inserted into the remains. The confe

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