“This was not a prank. It was a serious experiment, and unfortunately it succeeded. Here, 18 months after Lockerbie, one can take an identical device through security. I find that very depressing.”
Dr Jim Swire
On May 18 1990, Dr Jim Swire boarded British Airways Flight 177. [London’s Heathrow airport to New York’s JFK]. Inside his luggage, Dr Swire had hidden a suspicious device. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
The device was nearly identical to the IEDs manufactured by the senior bombmaker of a well-known terrorist organization: the PFLP-GC of Ahmed Jibril.
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Inside a Toshiba radio cassette-recorder, the device was complete with a pressure-gauge timer, extra batteries and a dummy detonator. But, unlike the PFLP-GC devices which were packed with SEMTEX, Dr Swire’s radio was fitted with… marzipan.
Before boarding his flight, the suitcase was actually examined. A security guard looked carefully at the cassette-recorder and asked if the batteries had been removed. After assuring the guard that they had, Dr Swire was waved through.
On December 21 1988, Pan American Flight 103 was blown up by a terrorist bomb over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. 270 people were killed. Flora Swire (23) was one of the victims.
Later, Swire met with Cecil Parkinson — the then secretary of state for transport — who assured him that a new investigation into airport security lapses would be undertaken.
“Everybody is different in how they cope with their grief. Keeping a high profile, as I have, is my way of coping with my grief. And that will not go away,” said Swire.
Almost three decades after the Lockerbie tragedy, the truth is still waiting to be told.
About Dr Jim Swire
Jim Swire, is [a former RAF engineer and] an English doctor best known for his involvement in the aftermath of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, in which his daughter Flora was killed. Swire lobbied toward a solution for the difficulties in bringing suspects in the original bombing to trial, and later advocated for the retrial and release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Swire also carried a fake bomb onto an aircraft as a demonstration of lax security. [Wikipedia]
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Lockerbie — Case Close
The Lockerbie disaster was Europe’s worst terrorist outrage, but was it also Britain’s biggest miscarriage of justice? This film investigates the case against Abdel Baset al-Megrahi and finds evidence to suggest he may have been wrongly accused.
The day my friend boarded Flight BA 177 with a bomb — May 18 1990