It was always obvious that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was an innocent victim, a scapegoat, for the bombing of the Lockerbie Pan-Am flight 103. As Peter Meyer writes in ‘The Lockerbie Bombing, and the U.S.S. Vincennes:
|Dr Jim Swire with the book that proves the cover-up|
‘In July 1988 the US Navy battle cruiser Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner over the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people on board. It was, of course, claimed by the US Navy that this was "an accident". Sure. Just one of those little mistakes that happen from time to time. And pigs can fly.In December 1988 a bomb exploded aboard Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 270 people on board, including 189 Americans. It is widely believed that the attack was carried out in retaliation for the destruction of the Iranian airliner, specifically, that Iran (and possibly other Middle Eastern states) paid a Palestinian group (the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command) to do the deed.’
It should be noted that no-one was ever brought to trial, still less convicted, over the murder of 290 Iranians. Unlike Americans, Iranians are lesser beings, not fully human. That is the explicit racism of those who, for over 20 years, have barely mentioned the original crime that led to the crime of Lockerbie.
It was less than a month ago that I blogged on the framing of Al-Megrahi. This had knawed away at me for years, the blatant fixing of a trial, with the willing complicity of the Scottish judiciary and legal establishment.
|Jim Swire at the funeral of his beloved Flora - Tragedy didn't impede his humanity|
That the US Government and its various intelligence agencies, not least the CIA, have been actively involved in a cover up, to the extent of threatening anyone who threatened to expose it, cannot be doubted. See US Government Still on Ropes Over Lockerbie by John Ashton, a former US Marine and Republican, whose business was destroyed by US government agencies because he went after the truth, which originally appeared on June 9, 1996 in The Mail on Sunday.
Hilary Clinton had, almost up to the time that al-Megrahi died, demanded his deportation to the USA. But then US politicians are used to framing innocent people and executing them.
In a new book by John Ashton new material is revealed which destroyes the shaky conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. ‘Lockerbie relatives urge inquiry into 'suppressed evidence'
Claiming there was an “industrial-level failure to disclose”, Ashton said the new material, which was not given to the defence or at the trial, included:
• documentary evidence that scientists at the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment, now part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, discovered there were key differences in the metal coatings used in a timer fragment allegedly used in Lockerbie and a control sample from the type supplied to the Libyans. One used a coating made wholly of tin; the control sample used a tin/lead alloy.
• evidence that the timer fragment had several differences from the Swiss-built devices sold to Gaddafi's regime, including the type of circuit board it used.
• that Tony Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper who claimed Megrahi had bought clothes allegedly used in the bombing from his shop, was offered a US reward of $2m or more, while Gauci's brother Paul could have received $1m, with the help of Dumfries and Galloway police.
• that Gauci met Scottish detectives as many as 50 times while the prosecution case was being prepared; while making 23 formal statements. Four of the statements were not disclosed.
Gauci repeatedly changed his account, including identifying people who looked like known Middle Eastern terrorists and giving different dates on which the clothes were bought, seriously undermining the prosecution case against Megrahi.
‘If the prosecution was right, he carried out the attack at times using his own passport, stayed in his regular hotel, bought the clothes in a small shop rather than a large one, used normal scheduled flights to and from Malta, planted the bomb on two feeder flights before Pan Am 103, and used a timer the Libyans believed was exclusively made for them.’A Crown Office spokesperson refused to comment on the book's allegations or Swire's remarks to avoid prejudicing its ongoing enquiries. The Crown Office and Dumfries and Galloway is expecting to send investigators to Tripoli in an attempt to uncover any fresh evidence about Libya's involvement in the bombing.
“It is a live investigation,” the Crown Office spokesperson said. “Lockerbie remains an open case concerning the involvement of others with Megrahi in the murder of 270 people.” Precisely. The only investigation is into ‘the involvement of others’ with Megrahi not into whether Megrahi was involved at all.
The death of al-Megrahi may yet bring the truth nearer. It is of course no accident that posh boy Cameron should today, despite the evidence to the contrary, say that the release of Megrahi in 2009 was a ‘mistake’. One wouldn’t expect a Prime Minister of the calibre (not) of Cameron to do anything other than echo the establishment’s determination not to let the truth out.
Tribute should be paid to the British families of the those who died, above all the courageous Dr Jim Swire, whose beloved daughter Flora, was killed on the Pan Am flight. He has fought tenaciously for the truth to come out despite scurrilous villification from the likes of the vindictive and spiteful Susan Cohen, whose only wish was that al-Megrahi’s death should be painful. Such is the nature of the creatures that the US political system throws up.
If you want to have a full taste of the stupidity and viciousness of the American families, whose brains don’t extend to challenging their own government story, then this is a good example from CNN. I have posted a number of comments on the CNN site and I have now been moderated in the land of the free!! They don’t like it up ‘em!
I first saw Baset al-Megrahi on the morning of 1st of May 2000. He was below us in the well of the specially convened trial court at Kamp Zeist, Holland. With me were Reverend John Mosey and other friends. Close to us, to one side of the public gallery, sat his wife Aisha and his family.
Looking through the bullet proof glass towards Baset in the dock he seemed timid, never venturing to speak out for himself. Later we learned that his defence team had told him that he was not to speak in court, but to let them do all the talking on his behalf.
We were totally unprepared for the comment from another observer in the gallery:- "How could you sit so near to the filth?" he said.
This was presumably naked racism, coupled to a profound a priori presumption of guilt unencumbered by the inconvenience of having to prove it. Similar hatred has festered for some, and contributed to the blinding of many ever since.
Separation from his family was the cruellest consequence of Baset’s conviction. He loved them dearly, as they did him. His wife the gentle Aisha was almost always present whenever I met her husband once he was out of prison, and on licence in Tripoli, though unlike her husband, she had no English, any more than I had any Arabic. Her demeanour revealed her love for him and her trust towards me an outsider who had seen through the miscarriage of justice. Only near the very end did she leave us alone together, holding hands, for speech was difficult.
On my first actually meeting Baset in Greenock prison, he was calm but determined to clear his name. He must have known that we had campaigned for years to have him tried under Scots law. Yet there was not a word of complaint, though his cancer, already giving him pain on sitting, was then in evidence.
A devout Muslim, he had a Christmas card from the prison shop ready for me, on it he had written ‘Dr Swire and family, please pray for me and my family’.
I treasure it. It resoundingly trumps the arrogance of the comment from Zeist, quoted above. It drains the poison from it.
Baset’s excellent mastery of English, and his good natured but wholehearted support for certain Scottish football teams, made him popular with the other prisoners almost all who met him, both at Greenock and at Barlinnie, came to believe him innocent. Meeting him, with his calm and intelligent summing up of his predicament spoke of determination to ensure that the world should learn that the verdict was unjust.
At least before he died we learned what he already knew: that the whole story that a Libyan bomb using a long running timer had started its journey from Malta was not a fable, but a myth*. The famed timer fragment ‘PT35b’ could never have been part of one of the Libyan timers allegedly used. There is now no valid evidence left from the court that either Malta, her flag carrier airline, or Baset’s own country were involved. Baset has a valid alibi: he was in Malta that day! He died knowing that in the end the truth will emerge.
On release from prison, his valedictory letter to Scotland made clear that he attached no blame to her people for what had happened to him. This from a man wrongly segregated from his family for years, and in the grip of a terrible disease, tells us much about the nature of Baset al-Megrahi. No one can be sure how much the stress of his terrible predicament affected his immune system and thus contributed to the development of his fatal disease.
Later, when I met him in Tripoli he was concerned that I as a victim’s father should get access, on his death, to all the information that had been amassed to fight his abandoned appeal. He knew that I still grieved for my daughter and sought the truth as to who had really murdered her. On the brink of his own death, he found the spirit to empathise with me. That was a measure of this man.
It is a tragedy that we have failed to overturn the verdict while he was still alive. But we must clear his name posthumously for the sake of truth and justice and for the future peace of Baset’s family. If we do nothing then a great evil will have triumphed. Perhaps those few Westerners who came to know him much better than I did will speak up for him now.
Baset was an intelligent member of an alien culture who I came to respect for his dignity, humanity and frankness. I am proud to have known him.
In our culture there are also those who, blinding themselves to the profound failure of the evidence against Baset, have deliberately tried to suppress the truth, and even to deny that Baset was mortally sick. Some of them have clearly done it knowing what they were doing. Some seem actually to have been paid to do it. One can only pray for them.
Others, understandably consumed by hatred against a man they genuinely believed had murdered their relatives advocated the withholding of treatment, even of painkillers so that he might die as quickly as possible and in the utmost agony.
I believe that such personal reactions are profoundly destructive to those who hold them. Unwittingly they have allowed themselves to become victims of the very terrorism which they rightly loathe; as such they will need help when the truth does come out.
Therein will lie a number of individual further tragedies.
(20th May 2012),