Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter I : A week in December]

“The truth must be known.”

Motto of the Pan Am 103 passengers’ families

     “Your government and ours know exactly what happened but they are never going to tell.”

US President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (London, February 12 1990) [1]

May 18 2020 —  On this day 30 years ago, 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.

This good friend of mine had carried a fake bomb onto the aircraft as a demonstration of lax security. Today, I post the first chapter of my book “Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!” free for all of you to read, learn and enjoy. Following chapters will be posted every Monday for the next 10 weeks.  Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: On This Day — Zola : “J’accuse…!” (January 13 1898) [2020]

RELATED POST: Wikipedia : A Disinformation Operation? [Swiss Propaganda Research]

RELATED POST: Lockerbie & Pan Am 103 Quotes

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Overview & Timeline

RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

[Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! — Chapter I : A week in December]

QUICK NOTE — To make it easier for the readers to retrieve various chapters of this book, I have created a special page “Lockerbie” where all the links to the chapters will be listed with a brief description. You can access that page directly as it appears at the far right of the top bar of this blog. END of NOTE

[Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! — Chapter I : A week in December]

Chapter I : A week in December

On December 21 1988, N739PA, the aircraft operating the transatlantic leg of Pan Am Flight 103 broke up in flight over the Scotland. All 243 passengers and 16 crew died as well as 11 residents of Lockerbie. This horrific crime has been called the world’s biggest unsolved murder. [2]

Within an hour and 25 minutes, American helicopters were on site. A senior Scottish politician once famously remarked: “Americans had guessed, at a very high level, what had gone wrong.” [3]

The presence of US Major Charles McKee (Defense Intelligence Agency) on Pan Am 103, along with certain others including CIA officer Mathew Gannon, was the immediate focus of high level discussions between Senior Police, Security Service and American officials. [4]

According to an official letter from the Lockerbie (Dumfries and Galloway) Police,

“American authorities were keen to recover any items that may have belonged to McKee in particular, which could be linked to their duties. It may well have been the case that certain items were not recorded in the normal manner to protect American interests.”

All information related to McKee has been concealed in the Lockerbie X File, a dossier so secret that even the Scotland Minister of Justice is not allowed to consult its content to this day. [5]

The CIA denied that they had any officers on board Pan Am 103 until May 2012 when they admitted that Gannon was one of them. [6]

On December 22 1988, two coach-loads of plain-clothed American officials with no obvious affiliation arrived at the disaster scene, bringing among their baggage a single coffin. Years later, evidence emerged that the Americans had stolen a body from the wreckage. [7]

On December 23 1988, the New York Times reported that Frank Taylor, a former investigator for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, believed an explosion knocked out communications, electricity and severed the cockpit from the aircraft. [8]

On December 25 1988, FBI agent Thomas Thurman found a couple of pieces from a baggage container skid rail. These items appeared to show sign of an explosion. In the evening, Thurman reported to FBI Headquarters that PA 103 had been destroyed by a bomb. [9]

On December 28 1988, Michael Charles, Inspector of Accidents for the  Air Accidents Investigation Branch [AAIB] announced that the two pieces of metal discovered by FBI agent Thomas Thurman show convincing evidence of a high performance plastic explosive.

The investigators determined that the IED had been located in container AVE 4041 situated in the forward cargo hold, at position 14-L. This is the so-called section 41 of the aircraft where the characteristic ‘pear-shaped’ nose of the 747 joins the body of the airliner. [10]

On the same day, Reagan’s Deputy Press Secretary announced that the US had closely cooperated with the British investigation. [11]

“We agree with the results of their investigation.”

On December 29 1988, US President Ronald Reagan announced that the US would make every effort to find out who is guilty of this “savage and tragic thing” and bring them to justice. [12]

“What we want to do is find out who did it and bring them to justice,” Reagan said.

This extraordinary statement from the US president should have been a clear warning that the Lockerbie investigation was not to be about Truth and Justice.

Just a few months before (April 14 1986), Reagan had ordered an important US Air Force raid on Tripoli in retaliation for the bombing of a discotheque in West Berlin (April 5 1986) that killed two American soldiers. [13]

Before the operation had ended, President Reagan went on national television to discuss the air strikes. [14]

“When our citizens are abused or attacked anywhere in the world, we will respond in self-defense. Today we have done what we had to do. If necessary, we shall do it again.”

The week after the raid, Reagan said:

“If their government [Libya] continues its campaign of terror against Americans, we will act again.”

In the case of Lockerbie, 270 people lost their life, most of them (190) Americans. And yet, Reagan had suddenly renounced, from the very start, to the use of force.

The United States would merely investigate, identify the culprits, and require their extradition and a trial. And that is exactly what happened!

What could possibly explain the extraordinary metamorphosis of the Reagan-Bush American Geopolitics?

Just when the United States had become the only superpower of this planet, they decided to respect the rule of International Law. Seriously?

As International Law professor Francis A. Boyle demonstrates in his book — Destroying Libya and the World Order — the very idea that the United States of America would choose to fight international terrorism in a court of law is simply laughable. [15]

But, as Pr. Michael P. Scharf wrote long ago, achieving justice was never the main objective. [16]

“The fact that the United States issued a public, rather than a sealed, indictment indicates that U.S. authorities had low expectations that the accused would ever actually be brought to trial.

Instead, U.S. officials saw the indictment itself as a diplomatic tool that would help them persuade members of the Security Council to impose sanctions on Libya, thereby furthering their goal of isolating a rogue regime.

The so-called money bomb ended up costing Libya more than $18 billion in lost revenue during the 1990s.”

Indeed, deflecting attention from the truth and obtaining a UN Resolution were the real goals of the ‘Lockerbie Solution’ from the very beginning. But it will be a long and tortuous road.

PS – Vetting the sources of a story should be an important part of a journalist job. Had the reporters done a serious check on Frank Taylor, Thomas Thurman, Rick Hahn and Michael Charles, it is very likely that the Lockerbie Affair would have been perceived as transparent nonsense since the very beginning.

Frank Taylor – Ustica — On June 27 1980, Itavia Flight 870 crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea near Ustica, killing all on board. Frank Taylor (one of the British investigator participants of the third technical investigation) concluded that a bomb had been planted in the rear toilet. On January 23 2013, Italy’s top criminal court ruled out the bomb theory and concluded that: “There is abundantly clear evidence that the flight was brought down by a missile.”

RELATED POST: Remembering Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 (USTICA – June 27 1980) [2019]

Thomas Thurman – UTA 772 — Pierre Péan was one of the great French investigative journalists. In Manipulations Africaines (African Manipulations), published in February 2001, he investigated the sabotage of UTA Flight 772. Péan accused Thomas Thurman, a Federal Bureau of Investigation explosives expert, of fabricating false evidence.

The US Attorney General 1997 Report on the FBI Forensic Lab concluded: “Williams and [Thomas] Thurman merit special censure for their work. It recommends that [Thomas] Thurman, who has a degree in political science, be reassigned outside the lab and that only scientists work in its explosives section.”

RELATED POST: On This Day — Remembering UTA Flight 772 (September 19 1989) [2019]

Rick Hahn – Avianca 203 — Former FBI Rick Hahn was a protegee of Thomas Thurman. Hahn was the lead investigator in the Avianca 203 case. During the FBI “Labgate” investigation, Hahn admitted that he was not able to back up any of his “conclusions” about the bombing of Avianca 203; not even the alleged position of the bomb.

According to an expert I interviewed, the so-called ‘bomb evidence’ reported by Hahn was probably more properly characterized as cratering, not pitting, which is typically a corrosion phenomenon.

When asked if he had any knowledge whatsoever about corrosion mechanisms of aluminum alloys, or had ever seen  aluminum oxide (Al2O3), Hahn admitted that he didn’t have a clue!

Today we know that Avianca 203 was not destroyed by a bomb – blamed on Pablo Escobar! — but rather by a fuel system explosion of the type that destroyed at least five other Boeing airliners.

RELATED POST: 30 Years Ago — Remembering Avianca Flight 203 (November 27 1989) [2019]

Michael Charles – Contrary to what Charles stated, there is actually ZERO evidence of SEMTEX! Out of 4 million pieces collected at Lockerbie — only the two pieces discovered by Thomas Thurman were ever reported to indicate the presence of explosive residues: SEMTEX.

When I first saw these data, I immediately understood that something was badly wrong. The spectrum indicated that all kinds of explosive residues were present in the swabs. This is clearly nonsense as some of these explosives, such as TNT and SEMTEX components, do not mix. Obviously, this was a case of contamination.

RELATED POST: TOP INTEL TODAY 2018 STORIES — #10 : “Salisbury Incident — Skripal Case Investigators Could Learn From The Lockerbie Affair”

Years later, we learned that the laboratory that had conducted these measurements was indeed totally contaminated, due to the faulty O-ring of a centrifuge. One could find explosive residues in the offices, in the library, in the restaurant, just anywhere. [17]

The End of Chapter I

[Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! — Chapter I : A week in December]

I wish to dedicate this story to Dr. Frederic “Fred” Whitehurst, an American chemist and attorney who served as a Supervisory Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory from 1986 to 1998.

Dr. Whitehurst uncovered and reported scientific misconduct which forced the FBI crime lab to agree to forty major reforms, including undergoing an accreditation process. As a result, Thomas Thurman was reassigned outside the FBI crime laboratory. [18]

Dr. Whitehurst has never accepted the evidence discovered by Thomas Thurman linking Lockerbie to Libya.

[Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! — Chapter I : A week in December]

REFERENCES

1) On 29 September 1989, President Bush appointed Ann McLaughlin Korologos, former Secretary of Labor, to chair the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) to review and report on aviation security policy in the light of the sabotage of flight PA 103. Oliver “Buck” Revell, the FBI’s Executive Assistant Director, was assigned to advise and assist PCAST in their task.

Before submitting their report, the PCAST members met a group of British PA 103 relatives at the US embassy in London on 12 February 1990. One of the British relatives, Martin Cadman, alleges that a member of President Bush’s staff told him: “Your government and ours know exactly what happened but they are never going to tell.”

The statement first came to public attention in the 1994 documentary film The Maltese Double Cross – Lockerbie and was published in both The Guardian of 12 November 1994, and a special report from Private Eye magazine entitled Lockerbie, the flight from justice May/June 2001. [Wikipedia]

2) Mass Murder Over Scotland — Ian Ferguson and John Biewen (March 2000)

“270 people died when Pan Am 103 was blown out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. It was the worst-ever act of airline terrorism against the United States. It’s also been called the world’s biggest unsolved murder.”

3) Tam Dalyell, 1997: ‘Nothing has been done.’ Tam Dalyell – The Guardian (July 23 1997)

“We believe that, at a very early stage, the American Government asked the then British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to play Lockerbie low key. It is an incredible fact which I draw to the attention of my hon. Friend the Minister of State that, in the 800 self-serving pages that Margaret Thatcher wrote, she never mentioned Lockerbie once.

What she did say was that the ‘much-vaunted’ Libyan retaliation for her unwarranted attack on Ben Gazi and Tripoli in 1986 never came about. If the British Prime Minister, with her access to intelligence, really believed that, how on earth could she suppose that the Libyans were responsible for the Lockerbie crime?”

4) Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission 12.45

5) Lockerbie File X — Speaking about this file and other ‘protected documents’, Kenny MacAskill writes in his book [The Lockerbie Bombing (The search for justice)] :

“That was frankly a ludicrous situation to face; being Justice Secretary for Scotland, having to deal with the Lockerbie situation and yet being denied information that could be potentially relevant.”

6) Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission

12.27 At interview Ms Boylan maintained that during searches conducted by her on 28 December 1988 she had found a CIA badge and that she had been advised by both Mr Forrest and a police inspector not to record its discovery. She did not know the identity of the inspector.

12.28 According to Ms Boylan after being precognosced by the Crown in Dumfries (on 2 March 1999) she was being driven home by a friend when she remembered finding the CIA badge. She had said to her friend “My God, I found a CIA badge and I didn’t put it through my notebook.” She later telephoned the fiscal depute who had precognosced her (who she recalled was Mr Logue) to inform him of this. According to Ms Boylan, Mr Logue said not to worry about this and told her that all the CIA badges had been returned to the US Government.

7) Lockerbie conspiracies: from A to Z — Based on a 1995 Guardian investigation by Paul Foot and John Ashton — by Patrick Barkham — The Guardian (April 7 1998) [C is for coffin.]

8) Last Moments in Cockpit: A Faint Noise, Then Silence: Talk Gave No Hint of Problem — New York Times (December 23 1988)

“Frank Taylor, an aviation safety consultant and former investigator for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said a cockpit recording that appears normal until the end could indicate that an explosion knocked out communications, electricity and perhaps even severed the cockpit from the aircraft. Taylor made his comments in Washington before cockpit data from the Pan Am flight was released.”

9) Thomas Thurman – Precognition

“On 25 December 1988, we established where the piece of metal had been located. It was apparently at a farm. I went with some Scots to the farm. There was a gaggle of us. I remember it was raining and it was foggy. We saw a piece of metal sticking in the ground. It seemed to be a skid rail for a baggage container.

The Scottish Police took custody of it. They seemed to be flabbergasted that we found it. I heard a yell. I was over a ridge at the time. I saw it simply sticking into the ground. I cannot actually recall if it did have pitting, but it was very close to the heart of the explosion and was blackened. The rest of the day was spent searching the field nearby and on the evening of the 25th December 1988 there was a de-briefing.

I reported to FBI Headquarters that it looked like we were dealing with a bomb. It would take time, I explained, to collect the pieces. At that stage, everyone was quite understandably concentrating on the location of bodies. I went back to the US on the basis that I could return once all the debris had been pulled out. I went back to Lockerbie in January 1989 but I cannot remember the precise date.

I brought a number of FBI colleagues with me, all from the Explosives Unit. I was in charge. There was Rick Hahn, Paul Schrecker, David Williams and Greg Carl. We were not in the evidence chain of custody. We were more advisors.”

10) SCOTBOM: Evidence and the Lockerbie Investigation by Richard A. Marquise (page 20)

11) Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Arsht on the Crash of an American Jetliner in Lockerbie, Scotland (December 28 1988)

12) Remarks and an Informal Exchange With Reporters on the Crash of an American Jetliner in Lockerbie, Scotland (December 29, 1988)

“I think you all know that I have been following quite closely the details of the Pan Am 103 tragedy. And now that we know definitely that it was a bomb, we’re going to make every effort we can to find out who is guilty of this savage and tragic thing and bring them to justice.” [Ronald Reagan]

13) Recent revelations about CRYPTO AG may well force historians to rethink the events that led to this US military operation in Libya. See:

On This Day — The West Berlin La Belle Discotheque Bombing (April 5 1986) [False Flag — CRYPTO AG]

14) This Day in History — U.S. bombs terrorist and military targets in Libya

15) Francis A. Boyle — Destroying Libya and the World Order

16) Michael P. Scharf — The Lockerbie Model — INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW (M. Cherif Bassiouni ed., 3rd ed, Transnational Publishers/Brill, 2007)

17) Forensic Science Agency of Northern Ireland — Gordon McMillen (Page 20)

“These results, together with observations on the sequence of examinations relating to PSI/1, the fact that the swabs taken from CAD at Longtown were negative, the absence of examination of any other items from the incident and as a result of our own experiences of contamination, leave in my view a considerable doubt that the explosives detected, originated from the explosive charge used in this case.”

18) Dr. Whitehurst and the FBI Lab Scandal — Front Line Whistleblower News

An Assessment of the 1996 Department of Justice Task Force Review of the FBI Laboratory — U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (July 2014)

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Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter I : A week in December]

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3 Responses to Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter I : A week in December]

  1. PaulF says:

    Re The Lockerbie File X (note 5 above). This presumably contains, as well as details about McKee, the reasons and facts around the UK government’s Foreign Minister David Miliband signing a Public Interest Immunity certificate which guaranteed an unfair trial, plus a huge store of other information, protected documents, redactions etc which ensured that justice was not done in the Lockerbie trial. Who owns the File(s) X and what is the legal basis for this apparent perversion of justice and truth?

    Like

  2. L says:

    Dear Paul F,

    This is a very complex legal issue. Fortunately, Pr. Black has kindly accepted to write a simple answer. Regards, L

    “The UK system for the protection of information in the hands of the government and the circumstances in which it can be released (and to whom it can be released) is controlled by the Cabinet Office, a UK government department headed by the Prime Minister.

    I imagine that File X is technically “owned” by them, or at least that its release or dissemination is controlled by them.

    Members of the public can seek disclosure through our freedom of information legislation, but the rights under it are qualified and there are many important exceptions.

    Courts can, of course, order that such material be disclosed for the purposes of litigation, criminal and civil.

    The government can oppose such disclosure by issuing a public interest immunity certificate, as the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband did in relation to what we now believe to have been a letter from the King of Jordan. [Intel Today — My research has led me to believe that this letter is about the infamous Swiss MST-13 timers.]

    The court then has to decide whether to uphold or to override the PII certificate and, if it decides that the document should be disclosed, to determine the conditions and safeguards (if any) to which the disclosure will be subject.” [Pr. Robert Black — aka the architect of the Lockerbie Trial]

    Like

  3. Sisyphus47 says:

    Reblogged this on Where do We go from Here? and commented:
    Destroying Libya…

    Like

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