“I regard the Lockerbie verdict against Megrahi as a ‘Grand Monument to Human Stupidity’. Indeed, the written opinion of the Lockerbie judges is a remarkable document that claims an ‘honoured place in the history of British miscarriages of justice.’ If the [SCCRC] Commission accepts the application for a full review, the infamous Zeist verdict doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving.”
INTEL TODAY — July 5 2017
Ten years ago, a few brave men began to blog about one of the most disgraceful miscarriages of justice: The Lockerbie Case. Here are some of the quotes I have collected over the years. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
On 28 June 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi’s conviction of the Lockerbie bombing back to the High Court of Justiciary for a further appeal. The case had been under consideration by the SCCRC since September 2003 and its statement of reasons (available only to Megrahi, to the Crown and to the High Court) extends to over 800 pages, accompanied by thirteen volumes of appendices.
The Commission announced that there were six grounds upon which it had concluded that a miscarriage of justice might have occurred.
On Tuesday July 4 2017, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission confirmed that it has received a new application to review the conviction in the case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi.
RELATED POST: LOCKERBIE — SCCRC press release on Megrahi application
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi — the only person ever convicted for the Lockerbie bombing — died on May 20 2012. His New York Times’ obituary was a bit of a surprise as the US Newspaper admitted — for the first time ever — that the case against him was riddled with errors and false testimony.
RELATED POST: When the Washington Post rewrites History
As I learned from Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, History is best told by the people who lived it. Thus, here are a few quotes about the Lockerbie case. Please, send me your favorite ones and I will update this post regularly! Regards, Intel Today
Pan Am 103 Quotes
OPINION OF THE COURT — delivered by LORD SUTHERLAND
“ At 1903 hours on 22 December 1988 Pan Am flight 103 fell out of the sky. The 259 passengers and crew members who were on board and 11 residents of Lockerbie where the debris fell were killed.”
INTEL TODAY — In the first paragraph of the verdict, the Lockerbie judges could not even date the tragedy correctly. The airline disaster actually occurred on December 21st 1988. Nevertheless, one could argue that this statement is one of the less idiotic of the entire verdict!
“The same country should not be complainer, prosecutor and judge in this particular matter.”
White House statement
“The [Lockerbie] verdict is a victory for an international effort and has resulted in an indictment of a member of the Libyan intelligence services. The government of Libya must take responsibility.”
Tony Blair’s spokesman
“The prime minister is glad that justice has been done. The Lockerbie bombing was the most heinous terrorist act of recent years.”
Bob Mueller — Acting US deputy attorney general
“The case is not closed. The investigation will continue until any individual who played a role in this tragedy is brought to justice.”
Presiding judge Ranald Sutherland to acquitted Khalifa Fhimah
“You are now discharged and free to go.”
In closing arguments, the prosecution stressed the point that Megrahi could not have planted the bomb without the assistance of Fhimah – that both defendants were equally guilty, and should stand or fall together. Nevertheless, the judges elected to find one of the two conspirators guilty and the other one innocent, a split verdict that Koechler finds “incomprehensible.”
It is however entirely comprehensible if we accept that the judges knew there was no evidence to convict either man but that it was politically imperative for them to send one of them down…
Hugh Miles — London review of Books
From the outset the Lockerbie disaster has been marked by superlatives. The bombing was the deadliest terror attack on American civilians until 11 September 2001. It sparked Britain’s biggest ever criminal inquiry, led by its smallest police force, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary. It spelled the end of Pan Am, which never recovered from the damage to its reputation. The trial at Camp Zeist was the longest and – at a cost of £75 million – the most expensive in Scottish legal history. The appeal hearing was the first Scottish trial to be broadcast live on both television and the internet.
Lawyers, politicians, diplomats and relatives of Lockerbie victims now believe that the former Libyan intelligence officer is innocent.
Pr Hans Kochler — UN Observer at the Lockerbie Trial
“In spite of the reservations explaining the verdict itself, the guilty verdict in the case of Megrahi is particularly incomprehensible in view of the admission by the judges themselves that identification was ‘not absolute’ and that there was a mass of conflicting evidence.”
“Discrepancies at the trial led many to believe in Megrahi’s innocence. (…) We may never know who placed the bomb that brought down terror and death to a planeload of passengers, to the crew that served them, and civilians in a sleepy Scottish town [Lockerbie] below.”
“The clothes were bought either on November 23 or December 7, 1988. Megrahi was in Malta on December 7 but not on the November date. The shopkeeper recalled that the man who bought the clothes also bought an umbrella because it was raining heavily outside. Maltese meteorological records introduced by the defense showed clearly that while it did rain all day on November 23, there was almost certainly no rain on December 7. If it did rain on that date, the shower would have been barely enough to wet the pavement. Nevertheless, the judges held it proven that Megrahi had bought the clothes on December 7.”
David Ben-Ayreah — a spokesperson for the victims of Lockerbie families
“As someone who attended the trial, I have never taken the view that Megrahi was guilty. Megrahi is the 271st victim of Lockerbie.”
Dr Emmanuel Mallia — Lawyer
“I personally know the accused and have always firmly believed in his innocence.”
“Having examined the judgment of the court at Camp Zeist and being aware of the salient evidence produced in the case by the prosecution, I feel that the evidence could never have amounted to guilt of the accusation according to law.”
“Your revelations regarding the failure of the Crown Office to provide the defence with the material pertaining to the Heathrow break-in just hours before the Lockerbie bombing seriously undermines the integrity of the prosecution’s case and, therefore, the integrity of the Scottish legal system.”
“New evidence not heard at the trial concerned the date on which the Christmas lights were illuminated in the area of Sliema in which Mary’s House is situated. In the Commission’s view,taken together with Mr Gauci’s evidence at trial and the contents of his police statements, this additional evidence indicates that the purchase of the items took place prior to 6 December 1988. In other words, it indicates that the purchase took place at a time when there was no evidence at trial that the applicant [Megrahi] was in Malta.”
A German expert has raised fresh controversy on a crucial piece of evidence in the conviction of Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi as the Lockerbie bomber.
The verdict relied heavily on the judges’ acceptance of a brief computer printout of the baggage movements at Frankfurt airport. The prosecution had argued it proved an unaccompanied bag containing the bomb was transferred from Air Malta flight KM180 to the Pan Am flight 103 to London on December 21, 1988.
The expert who helped design the baggage system in place at Frankfurt airport in 1988 and familiar with the operating software has now said: “The Lockerbie judges got it wrong, they simply got it wrong.”
In the original trial, the Crown could offer no evidence of how the bag got aboard the Air Malta flight in the first place. Malta had presented records showing that no unaccompanied baggage was on the Air Malta flight in question.
Dr Jim Swire — Father of Flora
“When I went to that trial I thought I was going to watch the trial and conviction of the two guys who had murdered my daughter. But what I heard there led me to peel away from the belief that this was going to reveal the truth.”
“The fact that I believed they had strength and integrity only made it worse when they pronounced him guilty. Because the evidence I had been listening to surely couldn’t lead to that verdict.”
Ian Bell — Journalist
“The case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi is an example of a system corrupted, for base political ends, by people who do not take your democracy seriously. He didn’t do it. No-one with a straight face thinks otherwise.”
“I don’t think I’ve used the word too often before, but the al-Megrahi case is a disgrace.”
NYT — Megrahi Obituary
“Much of the evidence was later challenged. It emerged that Mr Gauci had repeatedly failed to identify Mr Megrahi before the trial and had selected him only after seeing his photograph in a magazine and being shown the same photo in court. The date of the clothing sale was also in doubt.”
William C Chasey — “Truth Never Dies”
“He [CIA officer] wasn’t explicit but my belief is that the CIA wanted the suspects eliminated to stop any trial taking place and bury the alternative view that Iran and Syria were behind Lockerbie.”
Kenny MacAskill — Cabinet Secretary for Justice
“The evidence was weak, understandably given the circumstances. That has been compounded by doubts over Tony Gauci’s evidence. He was a crucial witness who identified Megrahi as the man who bought clothes placed in the suitcase containing the bomb. His already debatable evidence has been damaged by information that the Americans paid him for it.”
RELATED POST: Lockerbie: Key Witness Is Dead
“Additional evidence, not made available to the defence, which indicates that four days prior to the identification parade at which Mr Gauci picked out the applicant, he saw a photograph of the applicant in a magazine article linking him to the bombing. In the Commission’s view evidence of Mr Gauci’s exposure to this photograph in such close proximity to the parade undermines the reliability of his identification of the applicant at that time and at the trial itself.”
“Megrahi’s identification by Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper, would remain spectacular in its noncompliance with any safeguard. He described al-Megrahi as ‘6’0’’’ (he was 5’8’’), ‘50 years old’ (he was 37), and ‘hefty’; said that he ‘had been to the shop before and after’, ‘had been there only once’; that he ‘saw him in a bar months later’; that he ‘will sign statement even though I don’t speak English’; that al-Megrahi ‘was similar but not identical’, ‘perhaps like him but not fully like him’, and, fatally for any identification of al-Megrahi in the first place, that he was ‘like the man in the Sunday Times’ (in other words, like Abu Talb, whose picture Gauci had initially identified). But Gauci’s evidence was needed and, reports suggest, handsomely rewarded.”
Mrs Irvine Cadman
“We have felt, since the first days in December 1988, that something was being hidden from us … the discrediting of the Helsinki (US embassy) warning, the presence of the CIA on Scottish soil before the work of identifying bodies was properly undertaken, the Teflon behaviour of ministers and government all contributed to a deep feeling of unease.
This reached a peak when my father was told by a member of the American Presidential Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism that our government knew what had happened but that the truth would not come out. In the truth vacuum, the worst-case scenario – that lives were sacrificed in expiation for the Iranian lives lost in June 1988 – takes on a certain degree of credibility. The plane was brought down in the last dangerous moments of the Reagan presidency.”
Reverend John Mosey — Father of victim
“What this trial has not done is answer the huge questions that we were asking 12 years ago. Who knew what, what was going on, why were the public not protected or warned by the Western governments? We intend to continue and seek answers to those very important questions.”
Labour MP Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
“It stretches the imagination that Megrahi alone devised a scheme which led to the biggest murder of Western civilians since 1945.”
“After writing about the ‘ravers’ who regularly turn up at lectures to claim that President Bush/the CIA/the Pentagon/Mossad etc perpetrated the crimes against humanity of 11 September, I received a letter this week from Marion Irvine, who feared that members of her family run the risk of being just such ‘ravers’ and ‘voices heard in the wilderness’.
Far from it. For Mrs Irvine was writing about Lockerbie, and, like her, I believe there are many dark and sinister corners to this atrocity. I urge anyone who is aware of government lies over Flight 103 to come forward.”
Christine Grahame MSP
“I am pleased that Mr Megrahi’s family has decided pursue an appeal against his conviction. I believe Mr Megrahi was wrongly convicted.”
Arthur MacDonald — Journalist
“Exactly when everyone decided Libya was responsible for this outrage I can’t actually remember. Mr Gaddafi seemed to be everybody’s whipping boy at the time, so that could explain it. What I do know is that none of the journalists I worked with on the story ever believed that Libya was guilty.”
“There is no reasonable basis in the trial court’s judgment for its conclusion that the purchase of the items [clothes that were found in the wreckage of the plane] from Mary’s House [in Malta] took place on 7 December 1988.” [WIKIPEDIA]
Robert Black QC FRSE – Professor Emeritus of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh and best known as the “Architect of the Lockerbie Trial”
“The Lockerbie trial is the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years. Every lawyer who has read the judgment says ‘this is nonsense’. It is nonsense.”
Janet McMahon — Managing editor of WRMEA
“As you know, he [US Ambassador Andrew Ivy Killgore] was very passionate about Lockerbie. I printed out all your communications to him and he read them avidly. He had his own idea about who was responsible, of course, but certainly agreed that there has been a most grievous cover-up.”
Yves Bonnet — Former French DST Director
“Let me take, for example, the Lockerbie case and also the case of the Ténéré [UTA] that were blamed on Libya when all intelligence services know that these attacks were committed by Ahmed Jibril under the inspiration and funding from Iran.”
Pr Robert Black
“I am optimistic about the outcome of the Megrahi family’s forthcoming application to the SCCRC. In June 2007 the SCCRC decided, on six grounds, that there might have been a miscarriage of justice.
Since then even more evidence has come to light casting doubt on the verdict (not least Dr Morag Kerr’s masterly analysis of the bomb-damaged luggage, which demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that the bomb suitcase was ingested at Heathrow, not Luqa in Malta).”
Dr Richard Fuisz
“If the United States government would let me, I could identify the men behind this attack [Pan Am 1003] today. I could do it right now. You want a police line up? I could go into any crowded restaurant of 200 people, and pick out these men. […] And you know what, Susan? You won’t find this restaurant anywhere in Libya. No, you will only find this restaurant in Damascus.”
RELATED POST: CIA Asset Dr Richard Fuisz : TEREX & Lockerbie
Lockerbie Investigator George Thomson
“If (…) the type of copper used in PT35b can be dated 1989 -early 90s then it adds enormously to the evidence that the fragment was not found by Hayes in May 1989 as claimed. I have consistently claimed this since 2002 but following on from John Ashton’s achievements re the tinning this could be the biggest breakthrough to date.”
Robert Parry — Consortiumnews
“In 2007, Mr Lumpert admitted that he had lied at the trial, stolen a timer and given it to a Lockerbie investigator. Moreover, the fragment he identified was never tested for residue of explosives, although it was the only evidence of possible Libyan involvement.”
Thomas Gilchrist, admitted under cross-examination by defence advocate Richard Keen, that a description on one label which was shown magnified on a courtroom imager might possibly have been changed from “clothes” to “debris”.
Michael Scharf — Co-Dean, Joseph C. Hostetler — BakerHostetler professor of law, and the director of the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law
“The case was largely based on this inside guy [Libyan defector Abdul Majid Giaka]. It wasn’t until the trial that I learned this guy was a nut-job and that the CIA had absolutely no confidence in him and that they knew he was a liar. The CIA and the FBI kept the State Department in the dark. It worked for them for us to be fully committed to the theory that Libya was responsible.”
Colonel Patrick Lang — chief of the DIA’s Middle East
“The bombing of the Pan Am flight was conceived, authorized and financed by Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur, the former Iranian minister of Interior. The operation was contracted to Ahmad Jibril for $1 million. The remainder was to be paid after successful completion of the mission.”
Noel Koch — who headed anti-terrorism efforts for the US Defense Department from 1981 to 1986 — never accepted the “Lybian Theory”.
“It was decided by the two governments, by the United States and the United Kingdom, that Libya had been responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103. I have never believed that. My own conviction from the outset was that the Syrians and Iranians were pre-eminently responsible for this.”
Former CIA Robert Baer
“Look — in the intelligence community — I’m not giving you a controversial opinion here. I kept up with all of the CIA, National Security Agency analysts, everybody involved in the intelligence side, and to a man nobody has ever said to me that it was Libya”.
“The National Security Agency reporting on Lockerbie is absolutely damming that it was Iran and Syria behind it, rather than Libya. It’s damning, damning, damning, it’s rock solid intelligence”.
“Regarding the CIA people in Malta that knew about Giaka… I asked them what the fuck was going on. And they said: “We took one for the team, by making up this stuff about Libya.”
“That was their exact words, ‘we took one for the team’. Meaning they knew Giaka [The Lockerbie Trial ‘Star’ witness] was a fraud, a swindler”.
Dr Jim Swire
“There has been profoundly coherent evidence readily and even publicly available for at least the last 18 years which seems to show not only that the late Mr Megrahi was not guilty, but that the whole prosecution case alleging that the bomb was planted in Malta by Libyans is not correct.”
Lockerbie trial, page 9624.
“Dr. Hayes seemed to have no real recollection independently of his notes of having found PT 35B. The sequence of the PT numbering and the absence from the notes of a drawing of the circuit board are unusual features.
The pagination of the notes was described by Hayes as “an unfathomable mystery”, for which he did propose an explanation, but unfortunately one that does not work. The memorandum of the 15th of September 1989 is difficult to understand if the fragment was indeed found on the 12th of May 1989. PT/35B is an important piece of evidence on which the Crown rely and in respect of which it is for the Crown to satisfy the court as to its provenance.
I submit that the irregularities and peculiarities which attend this item are some which the court ought to have some hesitation in being satisfied as to the item’s provenance.”
FBI Richard Marquise
“Without PT/35(b), there would have been no indictment.”
Rev. John Mosey
“PT/35(b) was extremely, extremely dodgy. It was very, very suspicious. The way it suddenly appeared, embedded in a shirt collar, with the information on the page overwritten and changed, all police procedures were thrown out of the window.”
Retired Strathclyde Police superintendent Iain McKie
“The whole chain of evidence has been totally and utterly shattered. It is looking more and more like the police came to a conclusion and then looked for evidence.”
John Ashton — Lockerbie Researcher
“Mr Marquise does not mention the fact that the Scottish police knew from as early as March 1990, well before the fragment was linked to Mebo, that its pure tin coating was very unusual. In 1992 they commissioned tests that proved that the control sample Thuring board had a tin-lead coating, which begs the question: why did the Crown persist in running a case that was predicated on the claim that PT/35b originated from one of the 20 Libyan timers?”
Paul Harris — Journalist
“There is little doubt in my mind that the Libyans did NOT carry out the Lockerbie bombing, but rather that it was carried out by the Palestinian terror group PFLP-GC, based in Damascus, acting upon Iranian instructions in response to the 1988 downing of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes.”
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie
“No one came to me and said ‘Now we can go for the Libyans’, it was never as straightforward as that. The CIA was extremely subtle.”
Dr Jim Swire
“As you know, I have always believed that it was Iranian revenge, whether or not the Libyans helped, and that the Syrians through Jibril supplied the technology.”
“The document itself is historical and regimes have changed so it is hard to believe it presents any risk at all to national security. It originates from Jordan and incriminates the Palestinian terror group the PFLP-GC. The contents are very important but what makes them so much more significant is the lengths the UK Government and others have gone to in order to prevent anyone from seeing the document.”
“This is the most remarkable piece of evidence. It does not rule out the Libyans but it does indicate that others were involved.”
“It also shows the lengths the UK Government was prepared to go to in order to ensure that any evidence undermining their case against Libya would never see the light of day.”
“There is some reason to believe that the copper used to manufacture PT/35(b) — the central piece of evidence in this case — was not produced — at the earliest — before the end of 1989. If true, it would be proof that this key evidence — PT/35(b) — was fabricated AFTER the Lockerbie tragedy.”
Aamer Anwar — Lawyer
“The reputation of Scottish law has suffered both at home and internationally because of widespread doubts about the conviction of Mr al-Megrahi. It is in the interests of justice and restoring confidence in our criminal justice system that these doubts can be addressed. However the only place to determine whether a miscarriage of justice did occur is in the appeal court, where the evidence can be subjected to rigorous scrutiny.”
Pr R Black
Beyond the Lockerbie trial, the failure of the Crown to place the public interest in a fair trial above the interest of the prosecution in obtaining convictions is illustrated by the extent to which the Lord Advocate has recently had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, through the Privy Council in London before making available to the defence material in the prosecution’s possession that no-one could conceivably deny was of relevance and assistance in the accused person’s defence: see Holland v HMA 2005 SCCR 417; Sinclair v HMA 2005 SCCR 446. So much for the fairness of the trial being the Crown’s primary and predominant motivation!
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (I Corinthians xiii. 11) It is high time for all involved in the Scottish criminal justice system to put away childish things. All of us, judges included, are surely too old to believe any longer in fairy tales. Fairy tales can be convenient and comforting and can bolster our self esteem. But, as in the case of the belief that the Crown can uniformly be relied upon always to act selflessly in the public interest, they can be dangerous and, if acted upon, work terrible injustice.
Gareth Peirce — The Framing of al-Megrahi
“Al-Megrahi’s trial constituted a unique legal construct, engineered to achieve a political rapprochement, but its content was so manipulated that in reality there was only ever an illusion of a trial.”
“The term miscarriage of justice carries with it the inference of accident, but also of death. There is a pressing need to investigate in detail how it has come about that there has been a form of death in this case – the death of justice – and who should be found responsible.”
“If I thought for one moment that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was guilty as charged in the mass murder of 270 innocent people in the crash of the Pan Am airliner “Maid of the Seas” at Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, I would not have agreed to pen an obituary – let alone an affectionate one.
My settled conviction, as a “Professor of Lockerbie Studies” over a 22-year period, is that neither Megrahi nor Libya had any role in the destruction of Pan Am 103. The Libyans were cynically scapegoated… “
Dr Jim Swire on the death of Megrahi
Jim Swire, is 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]
THE LOCKERBIE TRIAL by RT. HON COLIN BOYD QC, LORD ADVOCATE, SCOTLAND
SCOTBOM: Evidence and the Lockerbie Investigation by Richard A. Marquise
Megrahi: You Are My Jury: The Lockerbie Evidence by John Ashton
For those interested in the Lockerbie Trial tragedy, I recommend the excellent blog of Professor Black: TheLockerbieCase. Those who want to study the forensic history of PT/35(b) will find many resources and original documents on the PT35B blog. Also, you may want to check the blog of Dr Jim Swire and Peter Biddulph: The LockerbieTruth.
Maltese man who determined Lockerbie bombing trial dies— Times of Malta
CIA Role in the Pan Am 103 Investigation and Trial — CIA Website
CIA employee’s quest to release information ‘destroyed my entire career’ — WP July 2014
Robert Fisk: Do you know the truth about Lockerbie? — Independent
Lockerbie — Pan Am 103 Quotes