rn: PanAm 103 verdict in question


Jan Slakov

Dear Renaissance Network,

If you,re like me, you've been too "busy" to pay much attention to the
Lockerbie trial.

So I am very grateful to two people whose opinions I respect very much, for
sharing their analysis with me (and others). 

all the best, Jan
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 17:40:27 -0800
From: Roger =?iso-8859-1?Q?Lagass=E9?= <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Lockerbie Trial 

Dear Washington Post Editor,

I downloaded the voluminous verdict from the court website and did a
search for the word "motive".  No hits.   Your article: "Libyan
Convicted in Lockerbie Trial"  By Anthony Deutsch, also is void of any
mention of motive.  Why would the Lybians want to blow up a passenger

It is immediately apparent to me why the US/Pentagon would want to
demonize one of the only countries daring to take an independent
approach to managing it's oil-rich resources.  The same holds for Iraq.
It is becoming a tedious story.

Sooner or later the people are going to get wise to all the anti-arab
propaganda against progressive Arab régimes.  By progressive, I mean,
régimes that spend their oil revenues paying for decent housing,
education and medical care for all citizens.  A January 1985 article in
the National Geographic about Iraq is telling in this regard.   Of
course, the glowing account was published at a time when Iraq was
fighting a proxy war for the US against Iran.  What a difference 5 years
can make!

Roger Lagassé
CP 39 Southwood Site
RR 1 Halfmoon Bay, B.C.
V0N 3A0
Rés:  604-885-4353
From: •••@••.•••
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 01:06:35 EST
Subject: The PanAm 103 Verdict

The PanAm 103 Verdict
by William Blum

    The papers are filled with pictures of happy relatives of the victims of 
the 1988 bombing of PanAm 103.  A Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, 
was just found guilty of the bombing by a Scottish court in the Hague, his 
co-defendant, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, being acquitted.  At long last there's 
going to be some kind of closure for the families. 
    What's wrong with this picture?
    What's wrong is that the evidence against Megrahi is thin to the point of 
transparency.  The court verdict might be dubbed Supreme Court II, another 
instance of non-judicial factors clouding judicial reasoning.  The three 
Scottish judges can not have relished returning to the UK after finding both 
defendants innocent of the murder of 270 people, largely from the UK and the 
US.  Not to mention having to directly face dozens of hysterical victims' 
family members in the courtroom.  And with the full knowledge of the desires 
of Washington and Downing Street as to the outcome.
    I have now read the entire 26,000-word Opinion of the Court which 
accompanied the verdict.  One has to do that, as well as being very familiar 
with the history of the case, as I am, to appreciate what the judges did.  I 
can only offer here a few examples of the many questionable aspects of the 
    The key charge against Megrahi -- the sine qua non -- is that he caused a 
suitcase with explosives to be loaded at Malta airport and tagged it so it 
would pass through Malta, Frankfurt and London airports without an 
accompanying passenger and without being inspected.  That by itself would 
have been a major feat and so unlikely to happen that any terrorist with any 
common sense would have found a better way.  But aside from anything else, we 
have this -- as to the first step, loading the suitcase at Malta: there is no 
witness, no video, no document, no fingerprints, no nothing, no evidence of 
any kind.  And the court admits it: "The absence of any explanation of the 
method by which the primary suitcase might have been placed on board KM180 
[Air Malta] is a major difficulty for the Crown case."
    The court places great -- nay, paramount -- weight upon the supposed 
identification of Megrahi by a storekeeper in Malta as the purchaser of the 
clothing found in the bomb suitcase.  But this storekeeper had earlier 
identified several other people as the culprit, including one who was a CIA 
agent.  When he finally identified Megrahi from a photo, it was after 
Megrahi's photo had been in the world news for years.  Again, the court 
acknowledges the possible danger inherent in such a decision:

     These identifications were criticised inter alia on the ground that 
photographs of the accused have featured many times over the years in the 
media and accordingly purported identifications more than ten years after the 
event are of little if any value. 

    The Opinion of the Court places considerable weight as well on the 
suspicious behavior of Megrahi prior to the fatal day, making much of his 
comings and goings abroad, phone calls to unknown parties for unknown 
reasons, the use of a pseudonym, etc.  The three judges try to squeeze as 
much mileage out of these events as they can, as if they had no better case 
to make.  But Megrahi was seemingly a member of Libyan intelligence, and last 
we all knew, Libya is entitled to have an intelligence service, and 
intelligence agents have been known to act ... well, in mysterious ways, for 
whatever assignment they're on.  The court had no idea what assignment, if 
any, Megrahi was working on.
    There is much more that is known about the case that makes the court 
verdict and written opinion questionable, although credit must be given the 
court for its frankness about what it was doing, even while it was doing it.  
"We are aware that in relation to certain aspects of the case there are a 
number of uncertainties and qualifications.  We are also aware that there is 
a danger that by selecting parts of the evidence which seem to fit together 
and ignoring parts which might not fit, it is possible to read into a mass of 
conflicting evidence a pattern or conclusion which is not really justified."
    Let's hope that Megrahi is really guilty.  It would be a terrible shame 
if he spends the rest of his life in prison because back in 1990, as the 
United States was preparing for war against Iraq and needed Syria and Iran as 
allies, Washington suddenly dropped those two countries as the prime suspects 
in the plane bombing and -- seemingly from nowhere -- discovered Libya, the 
Arab state least supportive of the US buildup to the Gulf War.
    Judges should always be judged guilty until they are proven innocent.

William Blum is the author of "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only 
Superpower" and "Killing Hope:US Military and CIA Interventions Since World 
War 2" 
Portions of the books can be read at: 
http://members.aol.com/superogue/homepage.htm (with a link to Killing Hope)

A detailed article on the PanAm 103 case by William Blum can be found at 

The full text of the Opinion of the Court can be found at