10:25 AM ET 08/29/00

Lockerbie Defense Accuses CIA

By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY=
Associated Press Writer=
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) _ Defense lawyers in the Lockerbie
trial alleged Tuesday that the CIA may be concealing evidence in
the 1988 bombing of a New York-bound jumbo jet.
They asked Scottish judges hearing the case to put the matter
before U.S. justice authorities. If the judges agree, it will
further delay the appearance of the prosecution's star witness, a
Libyan former CIA informant.
The Libyan double agent, identified as Abdul Majid Giaka, was
scheduled to appear early last week in the trial of Abdel Basset
Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, who allegedly were Libyan
intelligence agents working in the Mediterranean island of Malta.
They are accused of planting the bomb that exploded on Pan Am
Flight 103, killing 270 people in the air and on the ground over
Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988.
Giaka worked at the Maltese offices of the Libyan Arab Airlines
along with the two defendants. Prosecutors say Malta was the
origination point of the suitcase containing the bomb that blew up
the Boeing 747.
Intelligence that Giaka provided is contained in 25 cables filed
by CIA handlers who started debriefing him in August 1988. Copies
of the cables were presented as evidence, but passages _ some as
long as an entire page _ were blacked out because the CIA
maintained their disclosure would jeopardize U.S. national
security.
On Monday, after protests from the defense, prosecutors said
they persuaded the CIA to uncensor many passages. They said it was
the first time the agency divulged secret documents to a foreign
court.
Nevertheless, the Libyans' Scottish lawyers insisted that
potentially crucial evidence remained blacked out. They said they
don't trust that prosecutors know that everything relevant to the
trial has been disclosed.
``It is plain that what we have is not the full complement of
cables,'' said Al-Megrahi attorney Bill Taylor, adding that the
newly released information did not appear to endanger U.S.
security. ``The defense have no confidence that the process of
evaluating relevance ... is properly based.''
Fhimah counsel Richard Keen said U.S. Attorney General Janet
Reno should be asked to appoint a federal judge to look at the full
texts and rule on the security issue. He cited a 1996 treaty on
mutual legal assistance requiring the United States to produce
documents needed in British criminal proceedings.
To drive home their point, the lawyers read aloud excerpts of
the new material.
The excerpts shed unusual light on the CIA's dealings with a
foreign mole who tried to exploit the agency for his own personal
benefit.
Giaka claimed he was a ``distant relative'' of King Idris I and
privately opposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who deposed the
monarch in a 1969 army coup. He claimed to have senior connections
in a Libyan intelligence organization known as the ESO.
But a Sept. 1, 1989, cable noted the CIA's disillusionment: It
concluded that Giaka ``has never been a true member of the ESO''
and said the agent was being put ``on trial status'' until Jan. 1,
1990.
Giaka did not want to return from Malta to Libya. He got the CIA
to pay for ``sham surgery'' to avoid being called back for military
service.
He also tried to obtain a $30,000 grant in addition to his $100
monthly CIA salary to help him set up a car rental agency on the
Mediterranean island.
Giaka defected to the United States in July 1991, according to
defense lawyers. He is currently in the federal witness protection
program, living under an assumed identity.

09:45 AM ET 08/22/00

Lockerbie Defense Demands CIA Files

By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY=
Associated Press Writer=
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) _ Defense lawyers demanded full
access to a batch of classified CIA cables as the trial of two
Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 resumed Tuesday
following a three-week summer recess.
But Scotland's chief prosecutor insisted that information
censored from the cables was not relevant to the 1988 bombing over
Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people, including 189
Americans.
``The United States considers all of this material highly
confidential,'' said Lord Advocate Colin Boyd. He added that
Scottish prosecutors were shown the full text last June ``in
conditions where copies could not be made and would not be
allowed.''
Boyd said the deleted text referred to CIA agents' real and code
names, as well as locations and methods of intelligence gathering.
The 25 cables, dated Aug. 10, 1988, to Aug. 31, 1989, were sent
to Washington by CIA agents who interviewed a Libyan spy who has
since defected to the United States.
The defector, identified as Abdul Majid Giaka, walked into the
U.S. Embassy in Malta in August 1988 _ four months before the
Lockerbie bombing _ and offered his services to the CIA, Boyd said.
The defector is expected to take the stand this week as a key
witness. He lives in the United States under the federal witness
protection program and has asked to be hidden from the court by
screens and electronic voice distortion.
Bill Taylor, a Scottish attorney for Abdel Basset Ali
al-Megrahi, showed the court copies of the documents as provided to
the defense. Large segments were blacked out.
``It is vital to the securing of a fair trial for these accused
that the defense is not disadvantaged vis-a-vis the crown when
Giaka is cross-examined,'' the attorney said. ``I emphatically do
not accept that what lies behind that blanked out sections is of no
interest to a cross-examiner.''
Giaka reportedly saw one of the defendants place the suitcase
containing the bomb on an airport conveyor belt in Malta, where all
three worked for Libyan Arab Airlines allegedly as cover for their
espionage activities.
According to the indictment, the defendants sent the suitcase
bomb onto a flight from the Mediterranean island to Frankfurt,
Germany, where it was transferred as unaccompanied luggage onto a
feeder flight connecting with Flight 103 in London.
Giaka is considered the closest the prosecutors have to a
witness who can directly link the defendants to the crime.
After the court recessed on July 27, Scottish legal experts said
the case had been meticulously assembled from reams of forensic
evidence compiled during an 11-year international investigation and
did not hinge on one or two eyewitnesses.
Prosecutors expect to wrap up their evidence in September,
handing the floor to the defense lawyers, whose case is expected to
last several months.
The trial began May 3 at a special Scottish courthouse on this
former U.S. air base in the Netherlands.
Al-Megrahi and co-defendant Lamen Khalifa Fhimah face up to life
in a Scottish prison if convicted on charges of murder, conspiracy
to murder and contravention of the British Aviation Security Act in
the downing of Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988.

--------------------------------------------------------------

The BBC's Joshua Rozenberg
"The trial is the result of breathtaking diplomacy"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK Lockerbie plane's final moments

Air traffic controller Richard Dawson - first to give evidence
Air traffic controllers have described the final harrowing moments before Pan Am 103 exploded on the first day of the Lockerbie trial.
They were the first witnesses to give evidence at the special Scottish court hearing where two Libyans have been accused of causing the deaths of all 259 on board and 11 on the ground.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44, have pleaded not guilty to the crime.

I was assuming his radio transmitter was faulty. I hoped he could hear me and hopefully indicate to me that he could hear me

Alan Todd In a special defence, they have alleged that they know those responsible for the atrocity and have named a number of individuals and organisations.
These include the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front.
The Boeing 747's final contact was with air traffic controller Alan Topp, now 64 and retired.
Reading from air traffic control transcripts covering the crucial period between 1855GMT and 1915GMT on 21 December 1988, Mr Topp said he exchanged routine information.
Final movements
He gave the aircraft an identification number and directed it towards the pilot's "entry point" for the journey out across the North Atlantic.
The aircraft was flying at 31,000ft at the time.
Then the court was shown the radar transmission of the flight's progress - on television screens.
Mr Topp talked the court through its final movements, pointing out that at 1901GMT the clipper "Maid of the Seas" was "just at the corner of the Solway Firth".
At 1902GMT it "crossed the northern coast of the Solway Firth".

 

A relative of one of the accused is led to public gallery
At 1903GMT, the plane's height readout disappeared from the display but Mr Topp said that could have been just "a glitch".
However, as the plane's serial number disappeared from the screen too, Mr Topp quietly told the court: "And then we lose everything."
He added: "I was assuming his radio transmitter was faulty. I hoped he could hear me and hopefully indicate to me that he could hear me."
But when there was no response Mr Topp contacted a nearby KLM flight, which also tried without success to reach Pan AM 103.
All the time the radar screen was showing signs of the plane's break-up, a series of bright squares on the screen could be seen moving steadily eastwards with the wind.
Radar image
At the moment the plane's call-sign disappeared from the screen, he had noticed a "very intense primary response" - a brighter-than-usual blip on the screen marking the spot where Pan Am 103 had been.
What it actually was, he explained, was a series of bright squares overlapping.
Gradually, as the seconds passed they spread out across the screen.
By 1915GMT those images represented only the smaller pieces from the explosion and Mr Topp said: "The main pieces had already hit the ground."

 

Debris was scattered for miles
Earlier on Wednesday, the first witness gave evidence - air traffic controller Richard Dawson who was on duty at Heathrow Airport when the New York-bound flight took off at 1818GMT.
He described how he guided the plane to runway 27 and, following routine exchanges with the pilot, the plane was airborne.
Mr Dawson, 52, then read to the specially-built court at Camp Zeist, near Utrecht, a brief transcript of exchanges between Heathrow tower and the plane.
After take-off, the pilot radioed that he was airborne and Mr Dawson replied "Goodnight".
He told the court: "I had no further contact with Pan Am 103."
Scottish law
Mr Dawson was just the first of more than 1,000 prosecution witnesses scheduled to be called in the trial which is expected to last more than a year.
Similar accounts were also given by air traffic controllers Robin Hill, 44, and Steven Smith.
Police officers and Lockerbie residents will also be among the first group of witnesses giving evidence to the trial being heard under Scottish law.
It is alleged that the two accused were Libyan intelligence agents who hid a bomb in a radio-cassette recorder in a suitcase of clothes.
Relatives of those who died have already arrived in the Netherlands for the start of the trial, which is being held amid tight security.
In a unique move, the camp has been designated as Scottish territory for the duration of the trial, which will be presided over by three judges without a jury.
The trial continues.

Lockerbie Suspects Plead InnocentUpdated 11:31 AM ET May 3, 2000

full image A Courtroom Sketch Shows a General View of the Scottish... (AP) more photos By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY, Associated Press Writer
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - Two suspected Libyan intelligence agents pleaded innocent at the opening of their trial today for blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, claiming Palestinian terrorists were responsible.
In a statement read by the clerk of the Scottish court, the defense alleged that other terrorist organizations, including a Syrian-based Palestinian group, set the bomb that killed 270 people.
The plea came minutes after Scottish High Court judge, Lord Ranald Sutherland, opened the proceedings against defendants Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, who surrendered for trial last year following nearly a decade of sanctions against Libya. If convicted of murder or endangering the safety of a commercial aircraft, al-Megrahi and Fhimah face a mandatory life sentence in a Scottish prison.
The defense statement named Mohammed Abu Talb, a Palestinian serving a life sentence in Sweden for earlier bombings in Denmark and the Netherlands, as one of 10 other alleged conspirators. The defense also alleged the Syrian-based group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, led by Ahmed Jibril, and the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front were behind the Lockerbie bombing.
The defense had initially entered an innocent plea at a pretrial hearing Feb. 2, but had not publicly indicated its line of defense. If it successfully implicates other suspects, it could raise enough doubt about the Libyans' involvement to win an acquittal.
Prosecutors allege that the defendants planted a suitcase rigged with a plastic explosive onto a flight from the Mediterranean island of Malta to Frankfurt, where it was transferred as unaccompanied luggage onto a feeder flight connecting with Pan Am 103 at Heathrow airport.
Prosecutor Colin Boyd called five air traffic controllers at Heathrow to reconstruct the flight path of the Pan Am jetliner as it rose to 31,000 feet until it disappeared 38 minutes after takeoff. A pained hush fell among the victims' families in the public gallery when the prosecution displayed a video record of the radar signals from Flight 103 in its last minutes, seen as a blip flashing on the screen.
Some of the family members in the gallery held photographs of their lost loved ones. Relatives of the defendants sat on the other side, dressed in white robes like the accused. The two groups made obvious efforts to avoid each other.
"I feel sick," said Susan Cohen, of Cape May Court House, N.J., whose daughter Theodora died in the crash. "I saw the Libyans come in, and I'm trying not to look at them."
But al-Megrahi's brother, Mohammed Ali Megrahi, said he is convinced his brother is innocent.
"We are looking for the truth and we believe he didn't do it," he said outside the courtroom. "If we believed he did it, we wouldn't be here, and he wouldn't have come voluntarily."
All 259 passengers and crew members - including 189 Americans heading home - were killed along with 11 residents of Lockerbie after the New York-bound jumbo jet took off from London's Heathrow airport at 6:25 p.m. on Dec. 21, 1988.
For more than 11 years, investigators have pursued a trail of evidence to the defendants. The proceedings, expected to last about a year and involve hundreds of witnesses, follow the largest international murder investigation on record, with officials interviewing 15,000 witnesses in more than 20 countries and sifting through 180,000 pieces of evidence.
Camp Zeist, an old U.S. air base 40 miles southeast of Amsterdam, has been declared Scottish sovereign territory for the duration of the trial. It was chosen as a venue in a U.N.-brokered compromise following years of sanctions aimed at forcing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to hand over the suspects, who were indicted in November 1991.
More than 30 American victims' relatives received front-row seats in the public gallery, separated from the court by bulletproof glass. Many other family members could watch via closed-circuit television linkups to sites in Washington, New York, London and Dumfries, Scotland.
For the relatives, the long-awaited trial marks a milestone in their crusade for justice. But it also raised doubts whether those truly responsible for the crime will be punished. Relatives believe the plot involved senior Libyan figures as well as other terrorist organizations.
"I feel a sense of relief and a sense of accomplishment that we pursued it long enough and hard enough," said Maddy Shapiro, of Stamford, Conn., whose daughter Amy was on Flight 103. Nevertheless, she expressed concern that even if the men are found guilty, "whatever higher-ups gave the orders" won't be pursued.
In an interview broadcast today, Gadhafi said he and his government had no role in the attack. "The court is sitting to judge (the defendants), not whether they are belonging to Libyan agents" or a Libyan agency, Gadhafi said in an interview with Sky News, a British satellite broadcaster.
 

Lockerbie Trial Opens in NetherlandsUpdated 5:06 PM ET May 3, 2000

full image Air Traffic Controller Alan John Topp, Right, Who Was on... (AP) more photos By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY, Associated Press Writer
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - Twelve years after a bomb blew Pan Am Flight 103 from the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, two Libyans accused in the attack that killed 270 people finally came to trial Wednesday - and quickly sought to shift blame to Palestinian militants.
After years of diplomatic wrangling and painstaking investigations, the trial of the alleged Libyan intelligence agents began with victims' relatives here and across the Atlantic watching a video showing the final seconds of the flight. A hush broken by anguished sobs fell over the public gallery, filled with victims' relatives, as prosecutors played a video of the flight vanishing from radar screens.
"I can't face this anymore," said a weeping Susan Cohen of Cape May Court House, N.J., whose daughter Theodora was one of the 189 Americans who died in the explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland. "I don't think I'm going back into the court room."
"It was gut-wrenching," added her husband, Dan. "I just sat through a session where they described the murder of my daughter as it was happening."
The high emotion in the court was fueled by the relatives' long search for justice in the deaths of their loved ones.
Libya was under international sanctions for seven years trying to force its leader, Moammar Gadhafi, to surrender the suspects, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah. It finally agreed to hand them over a year ago to a special Scottish court sitting on this former U.S. air base.
Investigators named the two Libyans after years of sifting through evidence and following a trail that began with a tiny chip from the bomb found in the scattered wreckage of the flight.
Al-Magrahi and Fhimah are charged with the murder of the 259 people on the New York-bound jet and 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie. If convicted, the two men could face a life sentence in a Scottish prison. Both pleaded innocent Wednesday, saying two Palestinian groups were responsible.
As a court official read a statement by the defense and prosecutors called their first eight witnesses, relatives of the victims sat uncomfortably in a public gallery next to the Libyans' relatives.
Betty Thomas' daughter Yvonne would have celebrated her 41st birthday Wednesday if she were still alive.
Instead the Welsh grandmother, who walks with a cane, sat with clenched fists as the alleged killers of her daughter and 20-month-old grandchild, Bry, entered the chamber.
"To see them coming into the court without a care in the world was a painful site," she said afterward.
The proceedings were also watched by relatives via closed-circuit television in Washington, New York, London and Dumfries, Scotland.
"We've worked for 11 1/2 years to get another step in the process of finding out what the hell happened to our relatives," said Bob Monetti, of Cherry Hill, N.J., who watched the trial in New York. His 20-year-old son, Richard - a Syracuse University student - was returning from a European study program on Flight 103.
"We've picketed the U.S., we've lobbied the U.N., and we've fought with our European allies just to get to this point. Hopefully we'll get to the truth," Monetti said.
The defendants, who wore traditional white gowns and velvet caps, sat quietly in the dock, listening to testimony with the aid of Arabic translation.
Al-Megrahi's brother, Mohammed Ali Megrahi, said he was convinced his brother is innocent. "We are looking for the truth and we believe he didn't do it. If we believed he did it, we wouldn't be here, and he wouldn't have come voluntarily," he said outside the courtroom.
In their statement, defense lawyers said they will seek to exculpate their clients by presenting evidence suggesting the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 was the work of two militant groups: the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front.
The Damascus-based PFLP-GC, which bombed a Swissair jet in 1970, killing 47 people, and masterminded hijackings in 1968 and 1969, refused to comment Wednesday. Its leader, Ahmed Jabril, denied his group was responsible soon after the Lockerbie bombing.
The Jerusalem faction of the Popular Struggle Front, which has joined peace negotiations with Israel, denied the accusations Wednesday. Its Damascus-based branch, which still opposes the peace process, could not be reached.
Lockerbie investigators looked at the groups in the early stages of the probe and concluded that there was not enough evidence to implicate them.
Andrew Fulton, a Scottish legal expert at Glasgow University School of Law, said the defense gambit aimed to raise enough doubt to win the Libyans' acquittal.
"The don't have to prove the Palestinians did it," he said. "They just have to muddy the waters a bit."
The proceedings are expected to last one year, with prosecutors reserving the right to call more than 1,000 witnesses and defense attorneys submitting a list of 125 witnesses.
Most of the first prosecution witnesses Wednesday were air traffic controllers who tracked the flight of the airliner as it ascended to 31,000 feet. They described how it disappeared off the radar screen at 7:02 p.m., 38 minutes after takeoff from London's Heathrow airport.
The prosecution video showed the radar scan of Scottish airspace with the blip representing Flight 103.
The blip vanished from the screen and left a small illumination that drifted slowly across the monitor: a cloud of debris that was carried by air currents into northern England.

 

Lockerbie Residents Describe BlastUpdated 7:52 AM ET May 4, 2000

full image Two Scottish Police Officers Armed with Hekler & Koch Sub... (AP) more photos By ANTHONY DEUTSCH, Associated Press Writer
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - Residents of the placid Scottish town of Lockerbie today recounted the terror of flaming aircraft debris and bodies raining from the sky after Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in the air.
The trial of two Libyans accused of bombing the plane went into its second day today with prosecutors calling a quick succession of witnesses who saw the crash.
Some 270 people, including 11 Lockerbie residents, were killed when the plane exploded on Dec. 21, 1988 in what prosecutors allege was an act of terrorism by the two alleged Libyan intelligence agents, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.
"There was fire just raining down," said Jasmine Anne Bell, 53, a social worker who was at her brother's house that night and stepped outside to see what happened. She had to duck as gray metallic pieces whizzed over her head.
"I was stepping backwards to avoid the fire, really. I stepped back and back and back until my back was against the wall; I couldn't go any further," she told the Scottish court.
Bell said her brother, who lived in the worst-hit area, pulled her to safety. When the fire subsided, he went out to cover the dead with white sheets.
On the first day of hearings Wednesday, the Libyans repeated their earlier innocent pleas. Defense lawyers said they intended to prove that Palestinian terrorists were responsible for the bombing.
When the trial resumed today, residents of the Lockerbie area recalled the tragic night. Families of the victims held onto each other in the public gallery behind bulletproof glass in the special Scottish court set up at Camp Zeist, a former U.S. air base 40 miles east of Amsterdam.
In the defendant's dock, al-Megrahi leaned toward his video monitor to study a map of Lockerbie as he listened to an Arabic translation of the testimony through his earphones.
The two men face a mandatory life sentence if convicted of murder or endangering the safety of the aircraft.
Among the spectators was New York lawyer James Kreindler, who is preparing a civil suit against Libya on behalf of 105 victims' families.
"We probably have 90 percent of the evidence we need," he told The Associated Press, though aid he lacked testimony that the bomb was planted at the behest of the government.
In calling witnesses who saw the crash, the prosecution sought to establish the Scottish judiciary's jurisdiction by proving the location of the explosion.
Stephen Charles Tegel, the manager of a food processing company, said he was driving near Lockerbie when he saw the explosion overhead.
"There was the flash and then an orange glowing object which continued in a gradually descending trajectory that was getting ever steeper as it went through he sky," he said.
The wreckage hit the ground in "a massive fireball that was V-shaped. Two distinct flames shot into the air, one higher than the other," he said.
Robert Peacock, who lives west of Lockerbie, said he ran out of his house when he heard what sounded like a continuous roll of thunder, and saw the broken plane in the sky.
"I could see the tail part certainly wasn't there," he said. "For quite a long time you could see the flames. The sky was lighted up, five or 10 minutes."
Stewart Kilpatrick, who found the body of a young girl a few feet from his front door, said it took years for the town to return to normal. "I do my best just not think about it. It's the easiest way to get through," he said.
Defense lawyers said they intended to show the bombing was carried out by two militant groups: the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and the Palestine Popular Struggle Front.
The Damascus-based PFLP-GC, which bombed a Swissair jet in 1970, killing 47 people, and masterminded hijackings in 1968 and 1969, refused to comment Wednesday. Its leader, Ahmed Jabril, denied his group was responsible soon after the Lockerbie bombing.
The Jerusalem faction of the Popular Struggle Front, which has joined peace negotiations with Israel, denied any role in the bombing.
"It's a false accusation which we condemn," said Samir Ghosheh, director of the group and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee.
The group's Syrian-based factions, which oppose the peace process, did not comment.
The proceedings are expected to last one year, with prosecutors reserving the right to call more than 1,000 witnesses and defense attorneys submitting a list of 125 witnesses.
---
On the Net:
Scottish Executive: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/
Lockerbie Trial Briefing, Glasgow University Law School: http://www.law.gla.ac.uk/lockerbie/index.cfm
Lockerbie investigation by British Air Accidents Investigation Branch: http://www.open.gov.uk/aaib/n739pa.htm
Map Details Palestinian State (Next story)

Other Group Was Lockerbie SuspectsUpdated 9:06 AM ET May 5, 2000

full image The Van Carrying the Two Libyan Suspects Abdel Basset Ali... (AP) more photos By ANTHONY DEUTSCH, Associated Press Writer
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - A Scottish investigator confirmed today that a Syrian-backed Palestinian terrorist group was initially suspected in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Gordon Ferrie, a detective chief inspector of police, told the Scottish court that the probe of the Palestinians was later dropped for lack of evidence.
Ferrie's testimony on the third day of the trial of two suspected Libyan intelligence agents laid out the battle lines: The defense has stated its intention to implicate two Palestinian groups unrelated to the defendants in the Dec. 21, 1988 bombing that killed 270 people. The argument is designed to create enough doubt in the minds of the three Scottish judges to win a verdict of "not proven," which would be tantamount to an acquittal.
The two Libyans accused of the bombing, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, have pleaded innocent to the mass murder of 259 people on the plane and 11 townspeople on the ground. They could face life imprisonment.
The defendants wore white prayer robes and caps to court today in recognition of the Muslim sabbath. Scottish officials have arranged for them to pray during breaks in the proceedings.
Prosecutor Alan Turnbull showed the court pictures of flattened houses surrounded by debris, a bombed-out crater drenched with jet fuel and the Boeing 747's nose cone in a field - the aircraft name, "Maid of the Seas," still legible on the side.
Ferrie said it took 10 days for detectives, forensic scientists, crime scene analysts, doctors and others to sift through the rubble scattered over the countryside.
Under cross-examination, Ferrie was asked to confirm that suspicion fell initially on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a radical group based in Damascus, Syria, that had been blamed for previous aircraft bombings.
On Wednesday, the defense opened the trial by accusing the PFLP-GC, led by Ahmed Jibril, of being one of the groups responsible. An official of the PFLP-GC in Damascus, speaking Thursday on condition of anonymity, denied that accusation.
Ferrie said he traveled to Rome twice to obtain evidence about the bombing of an El Al passenger plane in 1972. Defense council Bill Taylor noted that one of the men accused of that attack, Marwan Khreesat, also was initially suspected in the Lockerbie case.
Ferrie said Italian authorities had given him fragments of the altimeter used to detonate the explosives in the El Al plane. Investigators have previously said barometric triggers were a trademark of the Palestinians, while the indictment against the Libyans said an electronic timing device was used in the Pan Am bomb.
Responding to the defense questioning, the prosecutor asked Ferrie: "There came a state when the inquiry led the police officers in a direction other than the PFLP-GC, didn't they?"
"Yes, sir," Ferrie replied.
On Thursday, Lockerbie residents told of the hellish scene that still haunts them: gardens littered with corpses, burning houses and cars and the thunderous roar of the jetliner as it plunged from 31,000 feet onto their neighborhoods.
"It looked like an atomic bomb," said 37-year-old Ian Wood, "like mushrooms flaring up, you could feel the heat all around you."
Wood said he still suffers anxiety attacks and other health problems stemming from the disaster which flattened two houses across the street from his own.
About 40 relatives of American victims listened from behind a bulletproof glass partition. Some said it was the first time they had emerged from their own pain to consider the tragedy of others.
About a dozen members of the Libyans' families also watched the hearings at the former U.S. Air Force base 40 miles east of Amsterdam.
"When I saw my father in court for the first time I felt very upset, but I'm certain he'll be acquitted with the will of God," said Ghada al-Megrahi, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi's teen-age daughter.
Libya was under international sanctions for seven years until it surrendered the accused in a compromise that called for the trial to be held without a jury on the neutral territory of the Netherlands.

BBC Scotland's Reevel Alderson
"Police originally thought the bomb may have been planted by Palestinian terrorists"
 real 28k

Friday, 5 May, 2000, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK Aircraft bomb 'links' explored

Police sought parallels with the Lockerbie bombing
Police investigating the Lockerbie disaster began to gather information on similar bomb attacks involving a Palestinian group within days of the tragedy.
Retired detective chief inspector Gordon Ferrie told the trial of two Libyans accused of the bombing that it was treated as a murder inquiry from the day after it happened.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command became an early "focus of attention" because of arrests of some of its members in Germany just two months before Pan Am 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

 

Bomb caused widespread devastation
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44, have pleaded not guilty to murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act.
In a special defence, they have alleged that they know those responsible for the atrocity and have named a number of individuals and organisations.
On the third day of the trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, Mr Ferrie told how he and other officers went to Rome and Germany to gather information on similar bombings.
They learned that a member of the PFLP-GC, known as Marwan Kreeshat, had been jailed for 18 years in his absence for his part in placing a bomb in a record player on an El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv in 1972.
He had been arrested by the Germans in October 1988, but released in December, before the Lockerbie bombing later that month.

 

Gordon Ferrie: Probed Rome incident
Mr Ferrie confirmed that he had been sent to Rome twice to study the El Al incident, in which two British girls had been befriended by three men, including Marwan Kreeshat, and persuaded to take a record player on board the plane, unaware it contained a bomb.
El Al security measures ensured the record player went into the bomb-proof luggage hold, instead of into the passenger cabin.
It exploded at about 13,000ft, but although the device blew a hole in the passenger floor, the plane landed back at Rome safely.
Mr Ferrie brought some of the Italian evidence in the case back to Lockerbie, including part of an altimeter which had been used in the bomb's trigger.
Questioned by Richard Keen QC, representing Mr Fhimah, Mr Ferrie said he had discovered that Kreeshat had been involved in other incidents "using improvised explosive devices", including the bombing of a plane using a Toshiba radio cassette recorder modified to act as a bomb.

 

Bodies and debris were spread over miles
The Lockerbie trial indictment accuses Mr Al Megrahi and Mr Fhimah of placing an "improvised explosive device" concealed inside a Toshiba radio cassette recorder on board an Air Malta flight to Frankfurt, labelled for onward connection to the New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 at Heathrow.
Mr Ferrie said he could not answer whether Kreeshat was a Middle Eastern intelligence agent or not.
Re-examined by Alan Turnbull QC, prosecuting, Mr Ferrie agreed that there were sufficient "pieces of evidence" in the cases to interest the Lockerbie investigators.
But he added that these came a stage when the inquiry led officers in a direction other than the PFLP-GC.
The trial also heard on Friday how officers had been engaged in a hazardous search for bodies after Pan Am 103 fell to earth, with victims and debris spread over a massive area.
Earlier on Thursday, a leading state department official denied that the United States had made a deal with Libyan Leader Col Gaddafi to avoid prosecutors exploring Libyan government involvement.
"I can say with complete confidence that there is no deal," Ronald E. Neumann, an assistant secretary of state, repeatedly told a Senate foreign relations sub-committee.
Colonel Gaddafi said on Wednesday that he had made an "agreement" with the US and Britain.
The trial continues.

Lockerbie Testimony Ends 1st WeekUpdated 5:26 PM ET May 5, 2000

full image Wearing a White Prayer Robe and Cap in Recognition of the... (AP) more photos By ANTHONY DEUTSCH
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - Lawyers for two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland began building a defense Friday by getting a police witness to confirm a Palestinian group was initially suspected.
The first week of testimony at a special court in the Netherlands ended with the names of 270 victims of the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing read aloud into the court record.
Relatives in the public gallery wept or held photographs of the victims during the hourlong recital of names, ages and addresses.
The two defendants, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, who wore white prayer robes and caps to court on Friday for the Muslim Sabbath, have pleaded innocent. If convicted, they will be sent to a Scottish prison for life.
In cross-examining prosecution witnesses, defense lawyers laid the foundation for the main defense line - that a case could be made against others besides the Libyan defendants.
The defense has said it intends to implicate 10 individuals in two radical Palestinian groups, hoping to create enough doubt to win a verdict of "not proven"- tantamount to an acquittal.
Gordon Ferrie, a Scottish detective chief inspector, said a Syrian-backed Palestinian terrorist group was initially suspected in the bombing that killed 259 people in the air and 11 on the ground in the small Scottish town of Lockerbie.
Under questioning from defense council Bill Taylor, Ferrie told the three High Court judges that the line of inquiry against the Palestinians was dropped when evidence began pointing to Libyan involvement.
Prosecutor Alan Turnbull showed the court pictures of flattened houses surrounded by debris, a bombed out crater drenched with jet fuel, and the Boeing 747's nose cone, the aircraft name "Maid of the Seas" legible on the side.
Under cross-examination Ferrie was asked to confirm that suspicion fell initially on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a Damascus-based group.
The PFLP-GC, led by Ahmed Jibril, was responsible for previous air terrorism with similarities to Lockerbie. One of the men held responsible for a bomb on an El Al airliner in 1972 fell under suspicion again early in the Pan Am case, said Taylor, the defense attorney.
Shortly after the Pan Am bombing, Jibril denied involvement by his group. That denial was repeated in Damascus Thursday by a PFLP-GC official on condition of not being named.
Ferrie said the El Al explosive was triggered by a barometric device, an apparent trademark of the Palestinian groups. The prosecution has said that a timing device was used to detonate the Pan Am bomb.
"There came a state when the inquiry led the police officers in a direction other than the PFLP-GC, didn't they?" the prosecutor asked Ferrie.
"Yes sir," he replied.
In separate testimony, police officer Stephen Comerford confirmed that a "Joint Intelligence Group" involving the CIA, the FBI and intelligence agencies of other countries gathered evidence at the disaster site.
During cross-examination, Comerford confirmed that the group was "concerned about sensitive information," notably documents found in the wreckage.
But on re-examination, Comerford denied knowledge of evidence taken from the scene before Scottish police could get their hands on it.
"The trial of Pan Am flight 103 really started this morning," said Bert Ammerman, whose brother Thomas was killed. The defense team "started their tactic of the smoking gun ... to get people to think about the PFLP-GC and CIA," he said.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

12:18 PM ET 05/08/00

Missing Evidence in Lockerbie Case?

Missing Evidence in Lockerbie Case?
By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY=
Associated Press Writer=
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) _ A Scottish police officer
testifying in the trial of two Libyans said today that he raised
concerns about the possibility of missing evidence early on in the
bombing investigation of Pan Am Flight 103.
Douglas Roxburgh testified about evidence-tracking procedures
during the fourth day of the proceedings against alleged Libyan
intelligence agents Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa
Fhimah.
The defendants are charged with the murder of 270 people who
died when the New York-bound Boeing 747 exploded over Lockerbie,
Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988.
If found guilty of murder, the men face life imprisonment in
Scotland. They have pleaded innocent, claiming Syrian-based
Palestinian terrorists carried out the bombing.
Mangled aluminum objects with sharp edges were hauled into the
courtroom and police logbooks were displayed on video monitors as
witnesses told how they labeled, bagged and X-rayed evidence they
found as they scoured the Scottish countryside.
Two police officers were asked to describe the discovery of a
piece of charred circuit board and a mangled remnant of an aluminum
baggage container.
Roxburgh, 63, was the acting deputy chief constable of a police
unit that catalogued debris brought in from around Lockerbie and
identified pieces that might be of interest to investigators.
The policeman described extra tight security measures as his
staff carried out a ``very detailed examination of every piece that
came in, from handkerchiefs to socks.'' Anything with marks of an
explosion was logged as evidence and sent to experts.
Under cross-examination, Fhimah lawyer Richard Keen talked about
worries that agencies other than police were dealing with items and
that some property was removed by those agencies.
Roxburgh admitted he raised such concerns at a meeting with
superiors in the days following the tragedy after ``someone had
taken off property where there had been traces of explosion.''
But he later said he had ascertained that the ``someone'' had
been from a legitimate investigating authority in Britain,
suggesting it did not constitute a security breach.
He also refused to answer Keen's question about whether British
and foreign intelligence agencies were involved in the collection
of evidence.
The Lockerbie proceedings, expected to last a year, are being
held at a former U.S. Air Force base 40 miles east of Amsterdam as
part of a compromise that persuaded Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi
to surrender the suspects for trial.

By Fawn Vrazo

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands - A horrific scene of fire, death and destruction was recounted by witnesses in the second day of the Pan Am 103 bombing trial here.
Townspeople who were living in or near Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, recalled the explosion that sent burning fuel, plane parts and debris raining down on their community of 2,500 as families prepared for Christmas.
Assembled for the first time in a courtroom setting, the witnesses underscored a prosecution point that the bombing, which killed 259 aboard the plane and 11 on the ground, had a devastating human cost.
Two suspected Libyan intelligence agents, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, are accused in the blast and face murder and conspiracy charges in a trial held in the neutral country of the Netherlands but operated under Scottish court rules.
Prosecutors say the two former Libyan Arab Airline workers either placed or "caused to be placed" a suitcase containing a plastic-explosives bomb aboard a Malta plane heading to Germany and connecting with Pan Am Flight 103 traveling from London to New York.
As American families who lost loved ones in the bombing listened in somber silence, 11 Scottish witnesses told how their quiet evening was interrupted shortly after 7 p.m. by a loud roaring sound followed by an impact and explosion that sent a mushroom cloud of flames and debris spiraling into the air.
Hearing a noise sounding to him like thunder, Robert Peacock, 63, looked toward the sky to see part of a plane "on fire and burning; fuel was spewing out . . . I knew it was not complete. You could see the tail part certainly wasn't there. . . . [It was heading] straight for Lockerbie."
In Lockerbie, social worker Jasmine Anne Bell, now 53, was delivering Christmas food parcels to homes when, stopping at her brother's house, she and her brother heard a noise growing "louder and louder."
"I looked up and saw what I imagined was a small plane going over my head. I ducked down. I remembered it was dark gray metal or shiny gray metal," she testified before the court's three-judge panel.
Nearly hit by debris and forced to hop over small fires, Bell nonetheless hurried from house to house to help elderly residents evacuate the area, aided by her 19-year-old son.
"My son and I were walking and one of us stumbled and I looked down," Bell recalled. "My son said, 'What's that, Mom?' My first reaction was, 'It's OK, it's just meat.' Then it registered it wasn't meat."
In a farm field, Kevin Anderson found the cockpit of the Pan Am plane - christened "Maid of the Seas" - and inside found several bodies. Sighing loudly yesterday, Anderson described how he and others tried "to do what we could do to see if anyone was alive," but all were dead.
Under gentle prosecution questioning, Lockerbie resident William Patty recounted how his family was narrowly missed by a chunk of the aircraft landing 20 to 30 feet from their home. But a larger piece of the falling airplane landed on the home of his sister-in-law Dora Henry and her husband, Morris.
Rushing toward their home, Patty saw their house had "vanished in the crater. They were never found."
The Henrys and nine others living on Sherwood Crescent street were killed instantly.
In the only cross-examination, Megrahi's lawyer, Bill Taylor, suggested that evidence linking the two defendants to the scene might have been tampered with.
Witness Geoffrey Carpenter, a Lockerbie police officer at the time of the explosion, agreed with Taylor's contention that the crime scene was so large it would have been "impossible to secure."
Taylor also asked Carpenter about the quick arrival on the scene of FBI agents carrying sophisticated equipment, including then-rare digital cameras.
The defense lawyer may have been alluding to conspiracy accusations by U.S. Rep. James Traficant (D., Ohio). Traficant alleged in 1989 that the Pan Am bombing was connected to a CIA plan allowing airline drug shipments by a Syrian weapons and drug dealer in exchange for his help in winning the release of U.S. hostages held in Beirut. The dealer was allegedly connected to the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
At the trial's opening, defense lawyers said that group and another, rather than Megrahi and Fhimah, were responsible for the bombing.

Scottish police tell of gathering Flight 103 evidence

Tuesday, May 9, 2000
By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY
The Associated Press
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands -- Police officers testifying in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial clutched mangled chunks of the ill-fated aircraft Monday as they described their meticulous search of the boggy woodlands around Lockerbie, Scotland, looking for evidence.
At least two of the pieces belonged to the aluminum luggage compartment that contained the suitcase bomb which blew up the Boeing 747 on Dec. 21, 1988.
Libyan defendants Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah are charged with the murders of the 270 mostly American victims, 38 of whom were from New Jersey. They have pleaded not guilty, blaming Syrian-backed Palestinian terrorists for the attack.
As the trial resumed after a weekend break, both sides sought to lay the groundwork for their cases.
Prosecutors hoped to establish the reliability of their evidence by calling 11 police officers to testify about the procedures they used in retrieving and identifying the wreckage.
Defense lawyers challenged the witnesses' testimony and pressed them on details they apparently plan to cite in the later defense phase.
The police officers said they combed the countryside in line formation looking for evidence that could help determine the cause of the crash. They tagged the pieces, placed them in polyethylene bags, and sent them to collection points to be X-rayed and cataloged.
A court employee warned retired detective Alexander Arnout to be careful of sharp edges as he handed him a piece of twisted metal. Arnout confirmed that he came across the piece at 11:10 a.m. on Dec. 27. It was later identified as part of luggage container AVE-4041, which held the brown Samsonite suitcase with the bomb.
Sgt. Kevin Murray said he identified another piece of AVE-4041 when he came across a piece of wreckage that "appeared to have shrapnel holes.
"It appeared to have been penetrated by some kind of explosion," he said. "It was also blackened by some form of residue."
Scottish police officer Douglas Roxburgh admitted when questioned by Fhimah lawyer Richard Keen that he had raised concerns with superiors about the possibility of missing evidence in the early days of the investigation.
Roxburgh, who supervised a collection point, said he had noticed that "someone had taken off property where there had been traces of explosion."
However, he refused to confirm Keen's suggestion that intelligence agencies had been involved in the disappearance and said he established that no security breach was involved.
As part of a compromise that persuaded Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to hand over the suspects, the Lockerbie proceedings, expected to last a year, are being held at a former U.S. Air Force base 40 miles east of Amsterdam. If found guilty, the defendants face life in prison.
Copyright © 2000 Bergen Record Corp.


Detective Testifies About LockerbieUpdated 8:22 AM ET May 9, 2000

full image Dr. Jim Swire of Britain, Father of Flora McDonald Swire,... (AP) more photos By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY, Associated Press Writer
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - A Scottish detective testified today in the Lockerbie trial about how his search through dense forest turned up fragments of a suitcase that appeared to have been blown to bits by a bomb.
But Duncan McInnes also admitted that evidence tracking systems could not cope with the huge quantity of aircraft wreckage and debris hauled in at a "fast and furious rate" by helicopters and trucks immediately after the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
"Due to the amount of wreckage, it wasn't feasible to log everything as it came in," he said, adding that police labels on many items were rendered illegible by inclement weather.
McInnes testified in the trial of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, alleged Libyan secret agents who are charged with bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. The terrorist attack killed 270 people, mostly Americans.
The defendants have pleaded innocent, blaming Syrian-backed Palestinian terrorists for the bombing. If convicted, the two men face a life sentence in a Scottish prison.
Prosecutor Alastair Campbell asked McInnes to identify a number of exhibits including fragments of a suitcase that had apparently been blown apart in an explosion and carried traces of bomb blast damage.
Holding the fragments in plastic bags in front of him, the detective told the court he found them during eight-man line searches through difficult terrain in Newcastleton Forest in southern Scotland a few miles from Lockerbie between March and May 1989.
One piece was identified on the police label the witness had written as coming from "a brown suitcase, possibly Samsonite" - the type of suitcase prosecutors say concealed the bomb.
The witness was also handed a length of a copper-colored rubber trim with a police label, "on which I have written at the time: possibly from the bomb case."
In cross-examination, Al-Megrahi lawyer Bill Taylor pressed McInnes on the accuracy of the police labels, given that 40,000 pieces of debris were collected.
Taylor asserted that an investigator "could have pointed to a piece of debris and you would have no idea where it was found, when it was found and by whom it was found."
"That's correct, sir," the witness answered.
Defense lawyers are trying to question the reliability of evidence as prosecutors carefully attempt to build their case in the opening phase of the trial by having police describe their investigation of the disaster.
The trial, which began May 3, is expected to last a year. It is being held at a special Scottish court on a former U.S. Air Force base 40 miles east of Amsterdam as a result of a compromise with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi following nearly a decade of economic sanctions.

BBC Scotland's Reeval Alderson reports
"Police carried out a painstaking task"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 9 May, 2000, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK Trial told of case fragments

The main section of the fuselage was reconstructed
Tiny fragments of the suitcase suspected by police to have contained the bomb which destroyed Pan Am 103 were still being found months after the aircraft was blown up.
The fifth day of the Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands has heard that thousands of items were sifted through for signs of blast damage.
In the spring and summer of 1989, officers returned to specific search areas and turned up more evidence.

Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44They deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is expected to last a yearAbout 1,000 witnesses are expected to be calledThe case is being heard by three Scottish judgesGiving evidence, Detective Constable Duncan McInnes described how vast amounts of aircraft parts were taken to an aircraft hanger in Cumbria by lorry and helicopter.
Teams of officers sorted and examined 40,000 pieces for signs of unusual damage. They were labelled and stored according to the search sector in which they were found.
DC McInnes identified items he had discovered from his work inside the hanger in March 1989.
They included blast-damaged fragments of a brown suitcase and burnt pieces of material about an inch square.
He then identified other items he found when further outdoor searches were conducted in Newcastleton forest in the April and May of that year.

 

DC McInnes gives evidence
They included more tiny pieces of a brown suitcase, possibly Samsonite.
He had labelled one find as "rubber trim, copper-coloured, possibly from the bomb case".
DC McInnes was among a number of police officers who took the stand on Tuesday and confirmed the identification of debris they recovered after Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed over Scotland in December 1988, killing 270 people.
Alastair Campbell, for the prosecution, asked each officer to examine a particular item and confirm signatures on the tags attached when the item was found.
The trial continues.
Search BBC News Online

 

Witness Found Crucial Lockerbie Evidence in Field
Singed Papers May be Linked to Bomb
May 10, 2000
AP
Heavily armed Scottish police officers guard entrance to court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) -- An elderly resident of an English farming village told Wednesday how she found among Pan Am Flight 103 debris strewn outside her home a document that became essential to the Lockerbie investigation -- a cassette recorder manual.
Prosecutors called a number of civilians and police constables to testify on the recovery of items from the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing in order to lay the groundwork for the case against the two Libyan defendants.
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah are charged with the murders of 270 people -- including 189 Americans. They were killed when a plastic explosive inside a cassette recorder stowed in a brown Samsonite suitcase detonated in the belly of the airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, according to prosecutors.
Debris in farm fields
Related Stories:
Officer Tells of Finding Lockerbie Bomb Container
Missing Evidence an Issue at Lockerbie Trial
Lockerbie Prosecutors Read Names of 270 Victims
Lockerbie Residents Recount Explosion Horror
Lockerbie Trial Opens With Innocent Pleas
Will Justice Be Served in Lockerbie Trial?
 

Gwendoline Horton, of Morpeth, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Lockerbie, described the scene around town the day after the explosion. Air currents had carried a considerable amount of light debris into northern England and deposited it on the Morpeth area.
"All the local farmers were collecting it in the fields," the witness said. "We went out to collect what we could ... I remember coming upon a document of some sort that made reference to a radio cassette player."
Cassette player handbook
Police constable Brian Walton confirmed that he accepted Horton's find, which he described as an instruction handbook for a cassette player.
"It had tiny bits of cinder on the edges," he told the court. "At that time, ... it didn't have significance that it obviously might have now."
But when Horton was handed a plastic bag with fragments of the manual, she did not recognize it.
"I'm sure when I handed it in it was in one piece," she testified.
Believed linked to bomb
It was impossible to establish with absolute certainty from the testimony whether the manual corresponded to the electronic device that held the bomb. But Scottish law requires the court to establish the origins of all incriminating evidence before it can be linked to the accused.
Early adjournment
The morning session was cut short when the presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, called an adjournment at the request of prosecuting and defense teams.
The attorneys said they wanted to discuss out-of-court agreements that might save the court the drudgery of having to sit through time-consuming testimony on uncontroversial evidence.
"I take it that without agreement we would have days of this sort of evidence?" Sutherland asked dryly.
"More than days," said Prosecutor Alastair Campbell.
The Lockerbie trial, which began May 3, is being conducted before Scottish judges on a former U.S. Air Force base in the Netherlands as part of an agreement that persuaded Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to hand over the suspects last year.
If found guilty of murder, the defendants face life imprisonment in Scotland. They have pleaded innocent, blaming Palestinian terrorist factions based in Syria for the attack.

 

 APBNEWS.COM > NEWSCENTER > BREAKING NEWS > STORY
Both Sides Agree to Speed Lockerbie Trial
Adjournment Gives Prosecutors Time to Prepare
May 11, 2000
AP
Defendants Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, right, and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) -- A Scottish court hearing the trial of two Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 called a 1 1/2-week adjournment today to give prosecutors time to prepare the next phase of their case.
The break until May 22 followed an agreement by prosecution and defense attorneys to speed up the trial by identifying areas of uncontested evidence on the 1988 explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Related Stories:
Witness Found Crucial Lockerbie Evidence in Field
Missing Evidence an Issue at Lockerbie Trial
Lockerbie Trial Opens With Innocent Pleas
Will Justice Be Served in Lockerbie Trial?

The presiding judge, Lord Ranald Sutherland, adjourned the proceedings after Prosecutor Alastair Campbell reassured him that more time would be saved than lost as a result.
"In the circumstances we would be prepared, though with some reluctance, to adjourn," Sutherland said.
Expert witnesses on schedule
Campbell said the next phase of its case would involve testimony from forensics and explosives experts. An adjournment was necessary, he said, because that stage requires summoning witnesses from abroad who cannot appear immediately.
Campbell estimated that the agreement to skip over witness testimony on debris recovered from the blast would save the court nearly seven weeks of tedious hearings.
"There are further areas where agreements could be considered" in later stages of the trial, he said.
Following the agreement, a court clerk read out a list of evidence label numbers, along with discovery dates and locations mostly relating to recovered wreckage and debris from the Boeing 747.
Scottish law requires that the origin of every piece of potentially incriminating evidence be established by at least two sources appearing in court.
Defendants face life in prison
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah are charged with the murders of the 270 victims in the bombing on Dec. 21, 1988. Prosecutors say the blast was caused by a plastic explosive inside a cassette recorder stowed in a brown suitcase that the defendants allegedly sent into the belly of the airliner.
The Lockerbie trial is being conducted before Scottish judges on a former U.S. Air Force base in the Netherlands as part of an agreement that persuaded Libyan leader Moammar Ghadafi to hand over the suspects last year.
If found guilty of murder, the defendants face life imprisonment in Scotland. They have pleaded innocent, blaming Palestinian terrorist factions based in Syria for the attack.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

08:35 AM ET 05/11/00

Lockerbie Trial Adjourned Till May 23

By ANTHONY DEUTSCH=
Associated Press Writer=
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) _ A Scottish court trying two
Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 was adjourned today to
give prosecutors time to prepare. The trial will resume May 23.
The break followed an agreement by prosecution and defense
attorneys to speed up the trial by identifying areas of uncontested
evidence in the 1988 explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland. That is
expected to allow the court to jump ahead to forensic and technical
evidence, which had been expected only at the end of the second
month of hearings.
Relatives of crash victims, who had waited through more than a
decade of delays and diplomatic wrangling for the trial to begin on
May 3, said they understood the reasons for the adjournment.
``After initial disappointment, we realized it makes a whole lot
of sense,'' said Peter Lowenstein of Morristown, New Jersey, whose
21-year-old son Alexander, died in the explosion.
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah are charged
with the murders of the 270 victims in the bombing on Dec. 21,
1988. Prosecutors say the blast was caused by a plastic explosive
inside a cassette recorder stowed in a brown suitcase that the
defendants allegedly sent into the belly of the Boeing 747.
The Lockerbie trial is being conducted before Scottish judges on
a former U.S. Air Force base in the Netherlands as part of an
agreement that persuaded Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to hand over
the suspects last year.
If found guilty of murder, the defendants face life imprisonment
in Scotland. They have pleaded innocent, blaming Palestinian
terrorist factions based in Syria for the attack.


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BULLETIN
Lockerbie report leaves trial in chaos
By Neil Mackay, Home Affairs Editor, and Ian Ferguson in New York
Publication Date: May 14 2000 - SundayHerald - wwwSundayHerald.com
THE two Libyans accused of downing PanAm 103 could not have planted the bomb, according to a devastating scientific report submitted by one of the Crown's star witnesses. The report threw the prosecution case into disarray and forced the adjournment of the Lockerbie trial on Thursday for 12 days.
The report concludes that the Semtex bomb was attached to the inside of the aircraft in the cargo hold and was not concealed, as the prosecution case alleges, within a cassette player packed into a suitcase which was stored within a luggage container in the cargo hold.
A senior legal expert said of the new development last night: "I think this case is ready to collapse. The prosecution are running around like headless chickens. They know its going to go belly up but they don't want the fallout to hit them. At this point, I think the prosecution have no anticipation of a conviction, but they are going to try and drag out the case for as long as possible so they can say that they tried their best."
Senior Crown Office sources have admitted to the Sunday Herald that the report submitted to the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, just days before the trial started provided such startling new evidence that the prosecution had no alternative but to seek an adjournment to consider the future of the trial.
In a stunning own goal for the prosecution, Edwin Bollier, who is listed as prosecution witness number 548, delivered a detailed analysis of the explosion to the Lord Advocate, claiming the Crown's version of the bombing was scientifically impossible. The potentially lethal blow comes from the man that the Crown intended to call to crucially link the Libyans to the bomb's timing device. Bollier's Swiss company, MEBO, is said by the Crown to have made the timer used to detonate the bomb.
The prosecution case stands and falls on proving that the Libyans placed the bomb inside the cassette player. If the bomb was placed on the inner wall of the cargo hold, as the Bollier report claims, the link between the Lockerbie bombing and the Libyans would be broken.
The Crown clearly states that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, placed the cassette player, packed with explosives, into a suitcase containing clothes and an umbrella onto a flight leaving Malta. The bomb later exploded over Lockerbie.
Bollier, who was legally manufacturing timing devices, initially told Scottish police, prosecutors and the FBI that recovered fragments of the timer found in woodland near Lockerbie were fragments of timers he had sold to the Libyan government.
But Bollier later changed his mind. In September last year, when he claims he was finally shown the actual pieces of the timer by police in Dumfries, Bollier was adamant that the fragments were not the same timers he had produced.
Following this, Bollier commissioned scientists, who he refuses to name, to investigate the downing of PanAm 103. Their findings make up the report he has submitted to the Lord Advocate.
In effect, Bollier has become a hostile witness to the prosecution who could now destroy the Crown's case. Crown sources said: "The last thing the prosecution wants to do now is call Bollier, but they know that if they don't call him then the defence will. It's a horrible Catch-22 for the Crown. The prosecution needs to establish a link between the Libyans and the timer, so the prosecution has to call him, but if they call him he will destroy the prosecution case. It's lose-lose, whatever way you look at it."
Bollier's report also says the blast damage to the aircraft shows that the bomb was placed directly on the inside wall of the cargo hold.
The report claims that the shape of the wreckage fragments also proves the bomb was attached to the aircraft's inner wall rather than inside the luggage container. It also says that if the bomb was held in a cassette player, in a suitcase and in a luggage container, the shockwave of the explosion would have been muffled by its surroundings and not being powerful enough to down the plane.
The report pin-points a specific spot on the inner wall of the cargo hold which it says was the position of the bomb. The authors claim this can be worked out by the shape of the wreckage, adding: "Previous forensics examinations should have come to the conclusion that the explosion did not occur inside the luggage container."
The bomb, the report claims, was placed behind a fibre-glass shell inside the cargo hold. Panels of the fibre-glass shell could be unscrewed and lifted off allowing access to the inside wall of the planeís cargo hold.
The report says: "MEBO wants the Lord Advocate to examine these findings as a matter of priority, with the help of first-class neutral, qualified explosives experts. A new investigation into this matter is urgently necessary for all the participants and is of the -highest importance. In the event of our new findings being confirmed by experts, the charges against the two Libyans have to be dropped."
On Thursday, the prosecution successfully asked for the case, being heard at a Scottish court sitting at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, to be adjourned for 12 days. Alistair Campbell QC said the Crown needed more time to interview witnesses over technical and scientific matters relating to the destruction of PanAm 103. Senior Crown Office sources said: "The adjournment was because of Bollierís report. He passed his report to the prosecution and the feeling is that it could absolutely screw the case. If the Bollier report is true, the Libyans quite simply couldnít be guilty of the Lockerbie bombing. There is a feeling that this could destroy the case."
Bollierís company, one of the most successful of its kind in the world prior to the Lockerbie bombing, was effectively ruined when MEBO was connected to the bombing of PanAm 103 as the source for the explosive deviceís timer. Bollier intends to sue the FBI for around £25 million if the Libyans are cleared. Crown Office sources say the prosecution has taken his report "extremely seriously".
Bollier also sold timers to the East German secret -service, the Stasi, which had strong links with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, the -Middle Eastern terror group which the Libyansí -defence team is to incriminate in court as the perpetrators of the bombing.

Trial in progress
Click here for up to the minute news and developments
A Scottish judge rejected a prosecution request to have the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing delayed. The trial of Abdel Basset Ali al- Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah is in progress.
Prosecution lawyers had pleaded their case for a delay at a hearing in the specially-constructed court room in Camp Zeist in the Netherlands indicating they wanted more time to consider new defence evidence. But the presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, cited the defendants' 416 days of pretrial custody, calling it unprecedented in Scottish law, ordered that the trial procede.

Background
"PA FLIGHT 103: HARDIE QUIT OVER LOCKERBIE TRIAL SHAMBLES"
[emphasis added]
Sunday Herald - 21 February 2000
Hardie quit over Lockerbie trial shambles
INVESTIGATION By Neil Mackay, Torcuil Crichton and Ian Ferguson in Minnesota, USA
Publication Date: Feb 20 2000
ANDREW Hardie, the Lord Advocate, resigned from his cabinet post as Scotland's leading law officer because he realised the Lockerbie case was a shambles which would probably end in acquittal for the two Libyan defendants.
According to prosecution team insiders, Hardie - who has dismissed as 'outrageous' claims that he resigned over fears that the Lockerbie prosecution was a mess - quit solely because of Lockerbie. The case against Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, which opens in May, is plagued with problems including witnesses changing statements, allegations that original FBI witness statements no longer tally with witnesses current account of events and new witnesses coming forward who will throw the whole concept of a Libyan plot into disarray.
Hardie realised there were a series of almost fatal blows waiting to strike the prosecution, including three new witnesses - a British customs official and two former Pan-Am employees - who will give evidence pointing towards an Iran-Syria conspiracy behind the bombing.
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, who was Lord Advocate at the time Pan-Am 103 exploded over Lockerbie, said Hardie must have known he would cause uproar over his resignation. He claims the credibility of the Scottish legal system has now been damaged.
Other threats to the prosecution case come from former CIA chief, Vincent Cannistraro, who headed the agency's Lockerbie investigation team. Originally on the prosecution's witness list, he was dropped and is now refusing to be called for the defence. The Camp Zeist court will have no power to subpoena him.
From the beginning of the case, he said Mohammed Abu Talb, a terrorist now in a Swedish jail for bombing offences, was behind Lockerbie. Talb is connected to Iranian-Syrian group thought to have carried out the Pan-Am bombing.
The prosecution also face their own star witness, Abu Maged Jiacha, being destroyed in the dock. His evidence will place one of the accused at the centre of a Libyan conspiracy. It has always been said that Jiacha only contacted the CIA in 1992. In fact a secret cable between the CIA bureau in Malta and the agency's HQ in Langley reveals that he was in fact known to the CIA four months before the December 1988 bombing.
Apart from this revelation allowing the defence to question his credibility, they will also make an issue of the fact that he is set to make millions of dollars in reward money. Defence are also now looking for Abol Hassan Mesbahi, an Iranian secret service defector who also claims the bomb plot was Iranian inspired. Scottish prosecutors preparing the case by interviewing key witnesses have also found that original statements given to the FBI do not tally with the witnesses current version of events.
The defence will also focus on FBI examiner J Thomas Thurman who identified a piece of the alleged bomb's circuit board as being exclusively used by Libyan intelligence. However, he was removed from his job when it came to light that his forensics lab was fabricating evidence to suit FBI inquiries in the World Trades Centre bombing and the Oklahoma bomb. He also does not have formal forensic qualifications.
Edwin Bollier, who manufactured the bomb circuit board, is also expected to claim that he supplied the same instruments to East German intelligence. One of his claims will be that the fragment of the circuit board could not have caused the explosion as it had never been used.
Tony Gauci, who owned the Maltese shop which sold the clothes wrapped around the bomb, will also be attacked by defence over his identification evidence. Questions will also be raised over why military and political figures, including South African foreign minister, Pik Botha, switched planes avoiding flying on the doomed Pan-Am flight.
The defence are further expected to make play of the role of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. It will be alleged that Mossad sent a fake radio communication from Tripoli to Lybian agents in Berlin claiming 'mission accomplished' the day after the explosion.
Hardie has been severely criticised by the families of the Lockerbie victims for his resignation. New Jersey family member Susan Cohen said: "We were told we could rely on him. It is totally unacceptable that he has walked away without an explanation." She says his resignation has re-opened questions of Iranian-Syrian involvement.
Jim Swire, who speaks for the UK families and has always claimed he was never entirely convinced that Libya was behind the plot, added: "I can't see why Lord Hardie should want to evade this trial unless he was seriously worried about this trial."
One source close to the trial added: "If the Libyans are freed there will be outrage in the USA. They will think that a Mickey Mouse court fouled up, and if they'd been in a US court they'd have seen justice done."
Another source said: "One quiet day, after the case has been underway for weeks, the prosecution will admit that none of the evidence can be linked to the two men in the dock."
Hardie had never been in favour of a trial in a neutral country under Scots law without jury - as he wrote in January 1998 in an article for the Scots Law Times.

Swiss Crown witness presents controversal report to Lockerbie Trial prosecution
26/04/00 "While MEBO Ag already has more than sufficient proof that the alleged fragment from the MST 13-timer is from a non-functioning PC-board, it is no surprise at all that MEBO has meticulously researched any and all details....in the alleged explosion that allegedly caused the Pan Am 103 tragedy...."Conclusion: "There was NO EXPLOSION inside container AVE 4041 PA on Pan Am 103!"
Edwin Bollier, VC of the Swiss electronics firm, has done it again. With less than a week before trial of start (and possibly with a legal delay coming up of that trial), Bollier has dropped another of his bombs right in the middle of the legal preparations. Today he and the firm MEBO have presented a 16-page report of forensic findings, based on expert analysis of forensic photographs, to the Crown Office with request to investigate the report¥s findings. If conclusions of that report are true, they may shatter the allegations of Libyan terrorism in connection with the downing of Pan Am 103.
Click here

 

08:38 AM ET 05/23/00

Lockerbie Trial Resumes, Adjourns

By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY=
Associated Press Writer=
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) _ A Scottish judge, Lord Ranald
Sutherland, adjourned the Lockerbie trial moments after it resumed
Tuesday, citing technical problems.
The judge, visibly irritated, said the adjournment until
Wednesday morning was caused by the malfunction of new equipment
installed in the state-of-the-art courtroom for the trial of two
Libyans accused of bombing Pan Am Flight 103.
``Owing to the installation of further equipment last week, this
appears to have disrupted what was a perfectly working system in
the previous weeks,'' said Sutherland, a High Court justice
presiding over the three-judge Lockerbie court.
Officials said the technical problem prevented the delivery of a
real-time transcript of the proceedings on dozens of computer
screens around the courtroom, built over the past year at a cost of
$18 million to British taxpayers.
The trial of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa
Fhimah was set to resume today after a 1{ week adjournment to let
prosecutors prepare for the next phase of their case, on the
investigation into the cause of the disaster.
The two alleged Libyan intelligence agents are charged with
planting a bomb inside the New York-bound airliner, which exploded
on Dec. 21, 1988, over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people in
the air and on the ground _ including 189 Americans.
The resumption of the trial follows the disclosure Monday of
details of a report submitted to prosecutors by the Swiss
manufacturer of the detonation device, a key piece of evidence.
Edwin Bollier of MEBO AG in Zurich said the plastic explosive
that blew a hole in the side of the aircraft must have been
attached to the inner wall and not inside the suitcase that has
been traced to the defendants. Investigators have established that
the suitcase was located 25 inches from the aircraft skin.
``It is absolutely not possible from this distance to make such
a big hole in the aircraft,'' Bollier, who is scheduled to testify
later in the trial, said in an interview Monday.
Prosecutors refused to comment on the report. However, a
Scottish Crown Office statement said claims in Scottish newspapers
that the report was a factor in prosecutors' request for
adjournment were ``inaccurate and misleading.''
Al-Megrahi and Fhimah are charged with murder, conspiracy to
murder and endangering aircraft safety. If found guilty, they face
a maximum life sentence in a Scottish prison.
The defendants have blamed Palestinian factions based in Syria
for the attack.
The trial before Scottish judges, which began May 3 at a former
U.S. air base in the Netherlands, is expected to last up to a year.

 
Tuesday, 23 May, 2000, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK Computer glitch halts Lockerbie trial

The high-tech courtroom at Camp Zeist
The Lockerbie trial has been hit by a technical fault which has prevented it from resuming at a special court in the Netherlands.
Proceedings have been adjourned until Wednesday by the presiding judge, Lord Sutherland.
The trial was due to resume on Tuesday after a 12-day break to allow the prosecution more time to prepare the next phase of its case against two Libyans suspected of planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103.

Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44They deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is expected to last a yearAbout 1,000 witnesses are expected to be calledThe case is being heard by three Scottish judgesThe problem arose with a computerised system which relays notes from the stenographer to screens used by the lawyers.
Lord Sutherland apologised to witnesses and relatives who had turned up for the hearing and described the delay as "regrettable but unavoidable".
The prosecution had asked for more time to question key witnesses, whose evidence is said to be crucial to the allegations linking the two men to the explosion.
Initial proceedings at the specially convened court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands centred on the events of that night, with evidence from people who witnessed the aftermath of the blast above the tiny Scottish town.
Forensic study
However, prosecution and defence lawyers then agreed that a huge amount of evidence and testimony did not need to be presented to the court.
The three trial judges, sitting without a jury granted leave for the next stage of the trial to be prepared.
The Crown is expected to turn to one of the key chapters of evidence - the forensic study of how they allege the bomb was placed on the jumbo jet causing it to explode.

 

The court is ringed by armed police
It is understood the court will be shown video images of the reconstruction of the aircraft from debris recovered over a hundred kilometres from Lockerbie.
Expert witnesses will also explain how the bomb was triggered.
The defence has called a number of other experts who dispute the Crown's version of events and the adjournment was granted so prosecution lawyers could fully question them.
The trial has continued to make the headlines during the adjournment.
Dr Jim Swire, a representative of British families of the victims, issued a warning over "trial by media" and warned that speculation over evidence could compromise the trial.
'MI6' man dropped
He was reacting to newspaper reports that the prosecution had doubts over the evidence of an explosives expert.
It also emerged that some relatives who applied for cash from the Lockerbie Air Disaster Fund had been denied cash to attend the trial.
And, on Monday, a former diplomat was dropped from an expert panel on the bombing following allegations that he was an MI6 intelligence officer.
Professor Andrew Fulton was asked to stand down as deputy director of the Lockerbie trial briefing unit at Glasgow University.
He was included on a list of MI6 officers published on the internet last year by a disaffected agent.
The decision to ask him to resign, regardless of the truth or otherwise of the allegations, was said to be based on the risk of publicity overshadowing the unit's work.
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Lockerbie Investigator Admits Error
Miscalculated Location of Bomb on Flight 103
May 25, 2000
AP
Defendants Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, right, and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) -- A British investigator acknowledged today that he miscalculated the location of the bomb that blew up Pan Am Flight 103, casting doubt on the prosecutors' contention that the explosive was inside a suitcase linked to two Libyan defendants.
Christopher Protheroe, an aerospace engineer with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, said he realized the error Monday when he arrived in the Netherlands to testify in the trial of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.
His testimony comes at a crucial stage in the trial before a Scottish court on this former U.S. air base. Prosecutors are seeking to establish the precise location of the bomb that blew the airliner out of the sky Dec. 21, 1988, killing all 259 people on board and 11 residents of the Scottish town of Lockerbie.
Device was closer to wall
According to the indictment, a plastic explosive was packed inside a Samsonite suitcase containing clothing and an umbrella that al-Megrahi had purchased two weeks before the explosion.
In July 1990, crash investigators reported that the blast originated 25 inches from the fuselage wall in the forward cargo hold.
But Protheroe admitted today under cross-examination that an erroneous angle measurement had yielded that calculation, and the true location was 12 inches from the wall.
He said he informed prosecutors of the error on Monday and refused to speculate what significance it could have for the prosecution's case.
Blew hole in fuselage
The Swiss manufacturer of the bomb detonator said earlier this week that according to his calculations, the explosive charge must have been attached to the fuselage wall and could not have been in the suitcase.
Protheroe was called as a prosecution witness to describe the dynamics of the blast, which he said blew out a 20-by-20-inch hole -- "as if a shotgun had been fired at the fuselage wall" -- and instantly split the fuselage surface in a starburst pattern.
Holding up a color-coded model of the Boeing 747 with plots of the tear lines, Protheroe said investigators reconstructed sections of the aircraft "to understand how ... the aircraft had come apart so comprehensively."
Clothiers from the Mediterranean island of Malta were also called to identify garments and confirm production records. Al-Megrahi allegedly made his purchases at a Maltese boutique and placed the suitcase on an Air Malta flight that connected with the New York-bound airliner.
The defendants face a maximum life sentence in a Scottish prison if found guilty. They have pleaded innocent, blaming two Syrian-based Palestinian factions instead.

 

 
Expert Tells Court of Error
In Lockerbie Report
Thursday, May 25, 2000
By Michael Rose   CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands - A British air accident investigator told the Lockerbie trial on Thursday there was a significant mathematical error in the official report on the 1988 airliner bombing.
In highly technical but potentially crucial evidence, Christopher Protheroe, a senior inspector with the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), said he told prosecution lawyers on Monday a formula used to calculate blast wave effects after an explosion had been incorrectly applied in the 1990 AAIB report.
Under intense cross-examination from defense lawyer Richard Keen, Protheroe said correct calculation of the "mach stem" phenomenon, when initial shock waves from an explosion combine with reflected waves to cause further damage, would indicate the bomb which destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland went off closer to its fuselage skin than originally thought.
The AAIB report stated that blast damage discernible in debris from the forward cargo hold of the plane showed the distance would have been about 25 inches (63 cm).
Protheroe, who worked on the Lockerbie investigation, said in his testimony on Thursday that the distance, if calculated correctly, would be only around 12 inches (30 cm).
The prosecution alleges that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima, working as Libyan intelligence agents, planted a bomb in an unaccompanied suitcase in Malta which was eventually loaded onto the doomed aircraft in London.
If the defense is able to create doubt that the bomb actually exploded inside a luggage container in the plane's cargo bay, it would be a serious blow to the Crown's case.
Source of Error Unclear
The crash killed all 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground when flaming wreckage rained down on Lockerbie, Scotland on the night of December 21, 1988.
Protheroe testified in the specially built Scottish court in the Netherlands that he was not able to remember whether the crucial calculation in the final AAIB report had been carried out by his team or by outside experts in explosive effects commissioned by the board in the course of its investigation.
"At this point I'm not certain what is the reason for that error," Protheroe said.
It appeared an incorrect figure for the angle of certain shock waves in the explosion had been used in the calculation, he said.
Law professor John Grant, observing proceedings for Glasgow University's Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit, said the development "was not helpful to the Crown's case at all."
"The question of the exact location of the bomb inside the cargo hold is crucial," Grant told Reuters.
The defense need not prove anything under Scottish law, but only cast sufficient doubt about the Crown's case in the minds of the three-judge panel for there to be an acquittal or a verdict of "not proven."
Relatives of Dead Watch Re-Enactment
Earlier, Protheroe held up a model of the jumbo jet, with red, green and yellow patches showing how the plane disintegrated in mid-air. Relatives of the dead and of the Libyan defendants watched as he used the model, photos and diagrams to illustrate the effects of the explosion.
Outside the court, Jack Flynn of New Jersey, who lost a 21-year-old son in the disaster, said he found that part of the testimony difficult to watch.
"What I was thinking about, when I saw those pictures of the wreckage reassembled on a hangar floor, was where my son had been sitting when that plane broke up," a tearful Flynn said.
Protheroe described how the blast initially blew a 20 by 20 inch (50 cm) hole in the fuselage and created further "starburst fractures" and "petalling" of the plane's metal skin from the subsequent explosion of hot gases and the mach stem effect.
Presiding judge Lord Sutherland agreed to a request from the defense that a full size reconstruction of a damaged cargo container be moved into the cramped well of the courtroom. Keen had interrupted testimony from Peter Claydon, another AAIB expert, saying he objected to the witness relying on photos.
The work will take about a day and a half, so prosecutors moved in the interim to hear testimony from four clothing manufacturers from Malta, who identified items recovered from the crash site as having come from their factories.
The prosecution has said it will attempt to prove that the defendants bought clothes from a shop in Malta to fill up the suitcase in which they are alleged to have planted the bomb.
Lord Sutherland then adjourned proceedings until Tuesday.
 

 

BBC Scotland's Reevel Alderson reports
"A baggage container has been reconstructed by air accident investigators and brought into court"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 30 May, 2000, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK Container viewed by Lockerbie court

The fuselage was ripped apart by the blast
An aluminium baggage container reconstructed after the Lockerbie bombing has been examined at the trial of two Libyans in the Netherlands.
The six-foot high container and its floor panel was dismantled and then rebuilt at the request of the defence.
It was originally reconstructed by Peter Claydon, from the UK's Air Accident Investigation Branch, who gave evidence at the trial of the two men accused of bombing the New York-bound Boeing 747 in December 1988.
Questioned by prosecuting counsel Alan Turnbull, QC, Mr Claydon said that in his opinion, the damage to luggage container 4041 was caused by a "high energy event" - "possibly an explosion".
There was no doubt in his mind, that the "event" occurred within the baggage container itself.

 

The baggage container was brought to court
Mr Claydon, 53, said he reached the conclusion after studying the differing degrees of damage to different sections of the hold including the floor and outboard panels - one of which clearly displayed the Pan Am logo.
"In a broad sense, it did appear the focus for this damage would have been in the aft outboard quarter of the container," he said.
"In simple and broad terms, we formed the view that surface had been protected by something from the blast.
"The first thing was that the surface had been protected by a piece of baggage - something that did not allow the direct effects of an explosion to impinge upon that surface."

The trial
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44, plead not guilty They are charged with murdering 270 peopleThey face alternative charges of conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThey have lodged special defences of incrimination blaming, among others, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General CommandAbout 1,000 witnesses are expected to give evidenceThe trial could last for a yearThe air accident investigator said he "reasoned" that if a device had exploded within a suitcase it was unlikely to have been placed directly on the floor.
It was more likely to have been on top of and overhanging another suitcase, he explained.
The prosecution says the two accused put the clothes in a suitcase which was loaded onto a feeder flight from Malta to Frankfurt and then onto the fated flight to New York.
If that is the true, the suitcase had to be at the bottom of the baggage container.
The defence wants to prove that the position of the case would have meant it could not have come from Malta - meaning the accused could not have been responsible.
It is believed this complicated matter of physics could prove crucial to the overall case.
The crash killed all 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground on 21 December, 1988.
Search BBC News Online

 

 Container viewed by Lockerbie court

29/5/2000 BBC NEWS/Reuters At An aluminium baggage container reconstructed after the Lockerbie bombing has been examined at the trial of two Libyans in the Netherlands. The six-foot high container and its floor panel was dismantled and then rebuilt at the request of the defence.
Judges viewed blackened and twisted parts of the container when the trial resumed after a two-day adjournment called so it could be reconstructed in the specially built Scottish courtroom on a former U.S. airbase in the Netherlands. Pieces of the container, with blue Pan Am insignia on its mangled side panels, were crowded into the well of the court.
It was originally reconstructed by Peter Claydon, from the UK's Air Accident Investigation Branch, who gave evidence at the trial today. Questioned by prosecuting counsel Alan Turnbull, QC, Mr Claydon said that in his opinion, the damage to luggage container 4041 was caused by a "high energy event" - "possibly an explosion". Prosecutor Alan Turnbull asked Claydon several times to confirm that the blast occurred inside, not outside, the cargo container. There was no doubt in his mind, that the "event" occurred within the baggage container itself.
Mr Claydon, 53, said he reached the conclusion after studying the differing degrees of damage to different sections of the hold including the floor and outboard panels - one of which clearly displayed the Pan Am logo. "In a broad sense, it did appear the focus for this damage would have been in the aft outboard quarter of the container," he said. "In simple and broad terms, we formed the view that surface had been protected by something from the blast.  "The first thing was that the surface had been protected by a piece of baggage - something that did not allow the direct effects of an explosion to impinge upon that surface."
Warped side panels curving outwards like flower petals indicated that the blast pushed upwards from near the bottom of the container, Claydon said.The air accident investigator said he "reasoned" that if a device had exploded within a suitcase it was unlikely to have been placed directly on the floor. It was more likely to have been on top of and overhanging another suitcase, he explained. But under cross examination by defence lawyer Richard Keen acknowledged that it could have been flat on the floor of the container.
Claydon, however, did not agree with Keen's suggestion that damage to an adjacent fibreglass cargo container could suggest that the blast came from outside the container.
The prosecution says the two accused put the clothes in a suitcase which was loaded onto a feeder flight from Malta to Frankfurt and then onto the fated flight to New York. If that is the true, the suitcase had to be at the bottom of the baggage container. The defence wants to prove that the position of the case would have meant it could not have come from Malta - meaning the accused could not have been responsible. It is believed this complicated matter of physics could prove crucial to the overall case.
Presiding Judge Lord Sutherland rejected defense lawyer Richard Keen's objections that Claydon had not been presented as an expert on explosive damage and blast waves and so should not be allowed give his opinion on the cause of the damage to the container.
 
Black circuit board
And a circuit board fragment was discovered wedged into wreckage of a cargo container aboard the Pan Am jumbo jet that exploded over Scotland in 1988, the court also heard today. Air accident investigator Peter Claydon said he was fingering a small piece of twisted metal, puzzling over where it fit into a jigsaw reconstruction of the container, when he spotted a tiny piece of blackened circuit board in a crevice.
Claydon described how the circuit board fragment was wedged into a warped metal tag used to identify the manufacturers of the aluminium container.


TELEFAX
 
29 May, 2000

Scottish Court in NL 
Attn: Lord Advocate, Lord Colin Boyd 
Camp Zeist NL
 

Your Honour

 
It is with much due respect that I wish to comment your reaction to the MEBO-explosion-and sound-analysis that so severely disturbed the Lockerbie-agenda at Camp Zeist. I care to demonstrate that is was never MEBO´s intention to upset the Camp Zeist proceedings in any preconceived manner. My only and steadfast aim was, and will always be, to see the full and only truth behind the Lockerbie-crime surface for all to see!
 

When the US-State Department, the US-Justice Department, the FBI,CIA,DEA,DI and many other agencies, the various victim's survivor's groups and individuals lawyer's for the survivors, the UN and so many other sources stepped forward with alleged proof-/evidence and statements to fully convict Libya and the Libyan suspects, there was very little activity from whichever side (prosecution or defence) to vehemently stop such action. This pre-conviction of the two suspects has gone so far as to present the two suspects in the official FBI-museum in Washington, DC., next to criminals like Al Capone etc. The blown-up photographs of the suspects prominently suggest that US-conviction by the FBI ( and therefore the US-government) has already taken place. This is the same FBI that also plays a much more decisive role at Kamp Zeist then i.e. MEBO´s appearance. Would such a discriminatory activity why the FBI then not also ask for all FBI-testimony at Camp Zeist to be fully disregarded? I do not state this out of fear from any FBI-testimony-, to the contrary: MEBO is quite eager to challenge much of the so-called key-evidence that the FBI is prepared to introduce during this trial.

 
The prosecution, investigators, government officials and other prominent sources as well as i.e. members from the victims' relatives and lawyers, have so far been well permitted to also picture MEBO and the name of Edwin Bollier as the devil's supplier in the field of "terrorist" components. Statements to food the rumor?mills were making the rounds on a daily basis.

 

Then we also well remember the 5-year giant effort by Prof.Dr. Robert Black, to walk a legal tight-rope between All parties involved Until Prof. Black could actually be called: the true and only architect of the Camp-Zeist-agreement. Had it not been for Prof.Dr. Black, then we would quite likely never have seen the two suspects leave Libya for any other trial anywhere else. Yet, instead of greatly honoring Prof. Black for his enormous efforts, it seems to me as if soft hostility was more prevalent from both sides of the Lockerbie legal fence. Could it be that the merited honoring is missing because too many officials had solidly hoped, to see the almost comatose Lockerbie-issue (back in 1997) vanish from the agenda, to allow "punishment' of Libya based on pure speculation and much in very questionable evidence.

 

 
Suffering from the rather strange protective secrecy-barriers that had quickly been raised when MEBO asked for permission to review the official forensic photographs and-/or the MST-13 timer-fragment (as is), in several attempts since 1991, MEBO was simply forced to conduct its own in-depth "forensic" research into any and all angles of the Lockerbie-tragedy.

 
When the Crown and the Swiss Attorney General's offices agreed during a meeting in Zurich in early fall of last year that I was clearly entitled to visit Dumfries for several days of "interviewing" and to then also see the actual MST-13 timer-fragments. An additional agreement (signed) also allowed me to be accompanied by my lawyer or my business associate: Mr. W. Anthony Meli, one of the foremost experts on Lockerbie.

 
The decision to be allowed the company of my lawyer or associate was then vehemently reversed upon our arrival in Dumfries This decision by the Crown may now prove to be the leading reason for the tense situation at Camp Zeist, following the publication of the most recent MEBO-report. Had my business-associate been allowed to attend the Dumfries?meetings and to view said fragments as well then the MEBO-researched explosion-and-sound-analysis would definitely have been one of the topics to discuss on our agenda. While we were not ready yet to release these reports, we would have alerted the Crown of the major problem that this MEBO report was to represent for the prosecution. In turn we had hoped to possibly receive a few more puzzle-pieces to these subjects from the Crown. The rather rude handling of the situation by the Crown during our Dumfries-visit has thus prevented the explosive subject from being treated well in time to not disturb the Camp Zeist-agenda.

 

With MEBO also holding other very crucial pieces and accounts of evidence that presumably will badly dent the official forensic account of events, and presentation of evidence during the continuing Camp Zeist trial, we simply had no other choice than to complete the full "explosion"-and "sound"-analysis. We naturally were driven by an enormous amount of suspicion when remembering that almost all respective photographs and official forensic evidence-fragments were being kept so strictly secret;-just like the MST-13 timer?fragment, the sound-and explosion?analysis, the mystery-visitor-/phantom letter of Dec.30,1988, then MEBO has more than enough reasons for suspicion when embracing the entire Lockerbie-subject !

 

 
This again does not mean that MEBO expresses any distrust towards the crown/court at Camp Zeist. The Court is only able to deal with the evidence presented by the two parties, And just because the Court is totally depending upon such evidence, the Court should in fact be glad to have companies like MEBO coming forward with researched evidence that might be able to much quicker reach some indisputably true key?elements to give the trial the much promised direction !

 
I fully trust the Crown and the prosecution in Camp Zeist to be absolutely fair, independent and impartial. But I also respectfully expect the Court to exercise much fairness when judging such far-reaching research?results, as was submitted by MEBO! Your Honour may well remember the MEBO-appeal to place. all and every single piece of evidence onto crystal-clear glass-tables in order to demonstrate the importance of 'the crime of the century". MEBO also appealed to make any and all court-hearings and other activities accessible to journalists in order to prevent a new wave of suspicion being created. We at MEBO still hope for decisions by the Crown and prosecution to have all gates opened wide, to actually flush the truth into full view of everybody, in order to justify the enormous efforts being undertaken to solve the Lockerbie-mysteries. MEBO had also hoped for the Court to abolish all protection like "National Security', etc. that permits witnesses and parties in this Lockerbie-case to hide behind such shields whenever the going gets rough. In order to outsmart the existence of such protective decisions ("National Security',etc.) we at MEBO feel compelled to continue publishing research-results and other data as we feel necessary, to contribute providing positive tools for the solving of most Lockerbie-mysteries.

 
Again pleading for openness and fairness for all aspects of the Lockerbie-trial, I remain.

 
Yours sincerely 
MEBO INC 
Edwin Bollier (signed)
Chairman
 
Monday, 5 June, 2000, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK Analysis: Lockerbie trial 'unbalanced'

Journalists are finding it difficult to cover the trial
By Legal Affairs correspondent Joshua Rozenberg
The Lockerbie case is probably the most interesting and important criminal trial currently taking place anywhere in the world.
But you are not likely to be reading or hearing very much about it in the weeks and months to come.
Bringing the two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing before a court of law was a major achievement.
But that is about as far as the compliments go.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah have denied murder, conspiracy to murder, and destroying an aircraft. They are being tried under Scots law by three judges.
Big money
The judges sit without a jury in a specially built court near Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Huge sums of money have been spent by the Scottish Court Service on providing facilities for the media, but no attempt has been made to give reporters what they actually need to cover the trial.

 

A baggage container had to be rebuilt in court
A vast structure has been erected so that 16 television reporters can simultaneously broadcast live from sheltered positions overlooking the court.
But television companies are not allowed to bring editing equipment onto the site.
Journalists have been given a huge media centre with places for 240 reporters to watch the trial on a closed circuit television link.
But the Crown Office, which is responsible for Scottish prosecutions, will not provide even the most basic information - such as who the witnesses are and how they spell their names.
Lawyer access
In any other court case, reporters normally find out what is going on by having a quiet word with the lawyers during adjournments.
But that is impossible when the lawyers are only visible through the glass.

 

Security is solid
Both prosecution and defence lawyers have offices in the court building, so you can not even see them at lunchtime. This no doubt suits the prosecution very well.
The Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, seems pleasant enough when you ambush him in the car park but you can tell he would much rather not be answering difficult questions.
Why, for example, does an official from the United States Justice Department sit alongside prosecution lawyers in court?
Why did the Lord Advocate run out of witnesses on several occasions during the early days of the trial, forcing unnecessary adjournments?
Needless evidence
The two accused do not deny that a plane exploded over Lockerbie, killing 270 people.
Even the judges got fed up with hearing an endless succession of police officers explain which piece of wreckage was found in which particular field. Why couldn't the prosecutor have agreed the uncontroversial evidence with defence lawyers in advance?

 

Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah has denied murder
The Crown Office in Edinburgh is about as uncommunicative today as its nearest English equivalent, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, was some 15 years ago.
All this would have mattered less if the media had more to go on than the outline of the prosecution's case contained in the formal indictment.
In English trials the prosecution summarises the case against the defendant in an opening speech, making it easier to understand the significance of the evidence when it comes.
Scottish law
There are no opening speeches in Scottish criminal trials, presumably to avoid the risk that juries will decide cases on the strength of what's alleged rather than what can be proved. But what harm would an opening speech have done in a case where there is no jury?
Attempts to fill the information gap were made by a group of academics from Glasgow University.
Unfortunately one of their number was a retired diplomat, Andrew Fulton, who had spent time in Saigon and East Berlin. He was not to be seen again after an article in the British newspaper The Guardian guessed he must be from MI6, the British intelligence service.
In this climate of conspiracy, it is hardly surprising that the Sunday Herald newspaper ran a story in Scotland last month headlined 'Lockerbie report leaves trial in chaos'.
The story, that the prosecution had been forced to seek an adjournment because one of its star witnesses had cast doubt on where the bomb had been positioned on Pan Am 103, was roundly and convincingly denied by the Lord Advocate.
But two things were true.
A different prosecution witness, from the government's Air Accidents Investigation Branch, admitted that he had wrongly calculated the likely position of the bomb on the plane.
This could be crucial in establishing whether it was in the suitcase allegedly put on the plane in Malta by the two accused.
The prosecution were forced to adjourn while it examined new scientific evidence.
Nearly two weeks were lost.
Wiring
While that was going on, somebody rewired the courtroom; as a result, the sound system no longer worked and another day was wasted while technicians fixed it.
Defence advocates had told the prosecution they wanted a crucial piece of evidence brought into court - a wrecked baggage container in which the bomb was allegedly placed.
Prosecution lawyers pointed out that none of the doors in the specially-built courtroom was wide enough so another day was lost while the baggage container was cut into two pieces.
It would be wrong to blame the Lord Advocate for everything that has gone wrong.
Colin Boyd himself admitted he was not ready for the start of the trial.
The impression is that the defence have all the best tunes.
With a trial as unbalanced as this, the fear is that justice will be the loser.
Search BBC News Online

 

Monday, 5 June, 2000, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK Iran blamed for Lockerbie bomb

The Pan Am bombing killed 270 people
A man claiming to be a senior Iranian intelligence service defector has said that Iran, not Libya, masterminded the Lockerbie bombing.
But legal experts in Scotland have said that the allegations are unlikely to affect the trial currently under way of two Libyans accused of being behind the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
Ahmad Behbahani also said that Iran was responsible for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.
Mr Behbahani - who was interviewed in Turkey - told CBS's 60 Minutes programme that until recently he had been responsible for all "terrorist" operations carried out by the Iranian Government beyond its borders.

 

A baggage container had to be rebuilt in court
CBS quoted him as saying that these operations included the bombing which downed Pan Am Flight 103 above Lockerbie in December 1988, killing all 259 aboard and 11 people on the ground.
Prosecutors in the trial in the Netherlands allege that two Libyans were intelligence agents who planted a bomb in a suitcase on Pan Am Flight 103.
Edinburgh University law professor Robert Black said: "This trial is not a trial of the various competing theories of what happened at Lockerbie.
"It is a trial into one theory - namely the prosecution theory that these two Libyans were responsible."
Palestinian connection
Mr Behbahani did not appear in the programme in person, because the CBS producers were prevented by the Turkish authorities from recording an interview.
However, he told them that he himself had first suggested the plan to bomb the Pan Am flight to Ahmad Jibril, who heads a Syrian-backed armed group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
He also said Iran spent 90 days training a group of Libyans for the operation.

 

The trial in the Netherlands could be radically affected by new evidence
CBS says Iran's motive for the attack was revenge after a US warship shot down a commercial Iranian airliner, killing all 290 passengers aboard.
Iran vowed the skies would "rain blood" after the USS Vincennes shot down an Iran Air flight in July 1988, killing 290.
It was widely assumed at first that Tehran ordered the destruction of the Pan Am airliner with Syrian-sponsored help.
The two Libyans currently on trial have consistently maintained that Syrian-backed Palestinian extremists were responsible for the attack.
CBS said Aboul-Hassan Bani-Sadr, the former Iranian president who has lived for many years in exile in Paris, first alerted the programme makers to what the former intelligence operative had to say.
Mr Bani-Sadr also has a recording of a telephone conversation claiming that the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing was co-ordinated by Ahmad Jibril under direction of Iran.
Debrief
Officers from the US Central Intelligence Agency spent several hours debriefing Mr Behbahani on Friday and Saturday, 60 Minutes said.
A US official in Washington told CBS: "The government wants to get to the truth of all terrorist incidents, and we do not turn a deaf ear when people offer credible information."
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said it was obviously an interesting report, but that she did not want to comment on the specifics because a trial was already in process.
A CBS producer said that Mr Behbahani might be motivated by revenge.
"I traced the tone of someone who was extremely bitter... He had fallen out of favour with the Iranian officials, with the government of Iran, and he just wanted to get back at them, at any cost."
Mr Behbahani said he had lost a power struggle in Tehran before being arrested and escaping.
Search BBC News Online

Decleration from MEBO AG, dated June 5, 2000
NB! The names of the explosive experts, the scientific instiute and the publishing paper (mentioned below in text) will remain censored until Saturday June 10, 2000, where the full information will be made visible to all readers. This action has been decided upon due to copyright agreements with the newspaper who has the publishing rights for this news on Sunday June 11, 2000, and due to the fact that the Lord Advocate will not receive the entire and uncensored report until next week.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.June,2000
MEBO-DECLERATION
While the news-media, the Crown-/prosecution and several other sources have for all these years, since the discovery of the MST-13 timer-fragment apparently assumed, hinted and insinuated that Edwin Bollier had been given the role of one of four Crown-/prosecution-witnesses (a so-called STAR-WITNESS FOR THE CROWN), it has todate seemingly been the assumption of the wide public and many media-representatives, that Edwin Bollier had been selected to assist in a conviction drive in the case of the two Libyan suspects. This it not so! Neither MEBO nor Edwin Bollier have ever offered any party, to become a witness in the Lockerbie-case;- other than to testify about the MEBO-MST-13-timer and related
matters!
This discounts the media-published theory that Edwin Bollier has in fact become a "HOSTILE WITNESS' for the Crown-/prosecution. Neither MEBO nor Edwin Bollier are hostile to any side during this trial. It is the only interest of MEBO-/Edwin Bollier to help fight an honest and clearly visible path into the rather cynical, very incomplete, unprecise and partially "muddy" official forensic efforts and results, that now serves as basis for the so long awaited trial of the "Crime of the century".
The "International Herald Tribune' of Friday, June 2, 2000, reports that TWA-FLIGHT 800 INQUIRY GIVES MISSILE THEORY A LAST SHOT'. This again means that four years after the still very suspicious explosion-/crash of this TWA flight 800 off the coast of New York (by the way strangely not listed under "US-National Security', as is the Lockerbie-crash, that occurred in the UK !!!), top-forensic-and explosives-experts are still not certain if a Stinger-missile might have downed this flight! Very prominent Individuals like former Admiral Thomas Moorer and former press secretary of the White House: Pierre Salinger, have kept the missile-theory well alive! We all know that TWA-800 did not even make it close to being called "the possible crime of the century", but Lockerbie did !!! Should we therefore not invest more honest, more precise and unquestionably top-scientific forensic research into the Lockerbie-tragedy, than what we have heard and seen so far? Is the "crime of the century" actually worth so much in true guess-work am assumptions, only to (unreadable) the easiest route to in many ways simply confirm the years-long pre-conviction of the two Libyan suspects and Libya ??
It still very much looks as if the Crown, prosecution and forensic experts, as well as a large number of international government executives and diplomats, are still in deep shock over the fact that the two suspects have physically been transferred to Holland, to now force about the long-heralded "murder-trial of the century'. Why should the Crown-/prosecution now threaten MEBO-/Edwin Bollier with the possible unkind act of "contempt of court', only because MEBO-/Edwin Bollier are so much better prepared to produce well-researched key-elements and crucial new 'theories", that very unfortunately contradict the very focal Crown-/prosecution research-summary of the location of the explosive-device at the time of explosion. It is by no means MEBO´s fault to seemingly have reached a far more reasonable "explosion-analysis" than the incredibly large team of official forensic experts that were at work for years in the name of the Crown-/prosecution.
Even today, almost twelve years following the Lockerbie-crash, official experts and witnesses debate in court at Camp Zeist, how much of the explosive compound SEMTEX was actually involved (from 250grams to 500 grams), where exactly the alleged suitcase (containing the alleged Toshiba-bomb-radio) was located inside container AVE 4041PA , in what distance the centre of explosion was to the fuselage-skin....... and the witness statement of "religious accounting of all recovered-debris" has also experienced severe damage by other witness-statement that much of the identification-efforts were then being handled very unprofessionally, to then be followed by uncounted acts of exchange corrections and even removal not only from the scene of the crash, but even removal from Scotland.
Following the publication of the first major MEBO-report on the explosion-research-result, the "mathematically-/algebraically" calculated distance from the alleged contra of explosion to the fuselage-skin (straight line) had quickly been adjusted from originally 25" to now 12"! MEBO is deeply disturbed by this rather crucial admittance of a "major calculation error" that has dominated the official research? resu Its for now almost 10 years!
When placing the title "crime of the century" on the Lockerbie-matter; - when official sanctions had so severely been imposed on an entire nation, in the attempt to force Libya to deliver the two suspects for trial to the USA, Scotland or finally Holland (after a very painful giving in to the heavy international pressure !!!), - one could for sure also have expected the absolute, ultimate efforts to have been invested into all official Lockerbie-research, in order to definitely reach only crystal-clear facts and answers to all incriminating issues !
MEBO is at this time not prepared to name all the independent experts that supplied the original key?research?information, allowing MEBO to bluntly claim that there was no explosion from within container AVE 4041 PA. MEBO may continue to require the services of these experts when the equally crucial question of the MST-13 timer-fragment must be addressed in court. The results of the timer-session at Camp Zeist will produce similar; - or even more shattering facts and news than what just happened with the MEBO "explosion-analysis results"!
In order to substantiate the very fair "chance" that the MEBO explosion-analysis-results are correct. MEBO is able to resort to one of the best and world's leading institute, the (censored until 10.6.) to very recently have scrutinized the published MEBO-report. One of the world´s leading explosions-experts from this institute, Prof. Dr .(censored until 10.6.) been commissioned by  (censored until 10.6.) - best known newspaper, to analyse the MEBO-claims "an compare them with the details from the official AAIB-report. The quite conclusive result, reached by Prof. (censored until 10.6.) has now been published by (censored until 10.6.) Sunday June 11, 2000.
The explosion must have been outside container AVE 4041PA, close to the fuselage-skin near stringer 700! MEBO is proud to be able to contribute such fundamental and new evidence;- not as a witness for the prosecution, nor as a witness for the defence,- but simply representing the MEBO-company in the MST-13-timer-matter! We dearly feel that "the crime of the century" deserves to be scrutinized with research-methods and efforts that leave NO question, answers and doubts open for continued speculations and suspicions!
Containers in any aircraft freight-compartement are obviously very solidly fixed to the floor; - so as to not shift position during the flight! When considering the actually measured distance from the skin of the container to the subsequent centre of explosion, we must add the following segments, to reach the total distance of 25" (63,5cm), as listed in the official AAIB-report, figure; F-13:
- distance-fuselage-skin to the outside of the fiberglass-panel (seperator-panel) = 7,87" (20cm)
- distance from the outside of the fibreglass-panel to the outside of the AVE 4041 PA PA-container-wall = 11,81" (30cm)
- distance from the aluminium container inside-wall to the alleged centre of explosion (according to the AAIB-report) -5,01" (13,5 cm)
If we now add up all respective distances from the fuselage-skin to the alleged centre of explosion, we come up with 25' (63.5cm).
On Monday, May 24, 2000, we heard testimony from Christopher Prothoroe during his official appearance as witness in court. It was admitted that a fundamental algebraic-/mathematical error had been made in the calculation of said crucial distance! The correct distance was now being introduced to be only 12" (30cm) !
This would then clearly indicate that the explosion would actually have occurred OUTSIDE said container AVE 4041 PA, directly before the separator-panel on position 700! (max. 3.93" from the MEBO-analysis-claim of virtual direct contact of the explosive?device with the fuselage-skin). Apparently recognizing that the 12" corrected AAIB-version would in fact support the MEBO-claim, further "adjustment' has been made in the witness-testimony before the court, now projecting a distance of about 17"! We always should remember that different forensic individuals, teams and laboratories had almost 10 years to reconstruct, reenact and meticulously calculate all and every angle of this immensely crucial and basic incident. Any and all results coming out of such such 10-year testing should be absolutely air?tight; leaving not even a hair-with of research-results open for further guess?work or speculation!
Another witness: Prof. Christopher Peel then told the Scottish court in the Netherlands that he had calculated the bomb to have been placed 24" (60 cm) distance from the fuselage-skin, inside said baggage-container;- and that the alleged bomb weighed about one pound (500gr.). Prof. Peel, a chief-scientist with the Defence Research and Evaluation Agency (DERA), explained that a reconstruction of the part of the plans, where the bomb exploded, was used to try to locate the source of the blast.
He said only a unique combination of charge-size and distance from the fuselage could have caused the damage he observed. He added his conclusion were confirmed by a computer-simulation. MEBO claims that this computer-simulation was run with the input of erroneous data.
Another witness; Dr. Ian Cullis, also from DERA, told the court, the bomb could not have been in a case on the floor of the cargo container. Dr. Cullis gave evidence on experiments Into the affect of explosives on baggage and baggage-containers within the aircraft. Dr. Cullis' clear statement: " the device was not in a suitcases that was immediately on the floor of this container. How is it then possible to publish AAIB-reports, that clearly demonstrate full authoritative value of such calculations, when forensic experts even today debate different hypothetic variations?
The AAIB-report does not address another significant issue: the existence of a protective fibreglass- panel (separator-panels) that protects the fuselage-skin in a distance of about ( 7.1/7.9", 18-20cm).  It is MEBO's contention that these panels would clearly prevent the discovered fragment's to show the structures as pictured in the official AAIB-report. These fragment-pictures could not have been produced by explosive discharge from within said container AVE 4041 PA!
With MEBO/ Edwin Bollier being scheduled to appear before the court at Camp Zeist to explain every and all details surrounding the alleged MST-13 timer-fragment, as well as the entire set of facts in connection with the MST-13-timer MEBO is extremely eager to see the smallest leave of Lockerbie-details turned over, to reveal the full truth of authorship and execution of this heinous crime! In order to throw the switch to eventually floodlight the full truth behind Lockerbie, MEBO suggests (or humbly requests) a complete re-run of the explosion-test, possibly in a series of three independent tests, with different starting-scenarios!  After already having developed into the costliest crime-investigation that was ever conducted, there should be no hesitation to also add the immense now cost of explosion-test-rerunsl We were promised that the "crime of the century" would be solved;- so let us prove that the promise was a serious commitment!
These now test-series must be completely open to any and all members of the Crown, the prosecution, the defence-teams, the news-media, scientists from around the world, witnesses and their legal representatives-/partners, members of the now existing forensic teams, etc.---  But the tests should be conducted by a new team of absolutely neutral top-renowned scientists-/experts who should not have any affiliation with i.e. the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, the DI, the MI6 any other agency operating with secret agents, etc., nor with any of the prior and presently functioning forensic experts in the Lockerbie-case, etc. etc.
MEBO already stated that absolutely no leaf should be unturned to finally uncover the full and clean-cut truth about the planning and execution of all the intricate steps that finally downed PanAm-103! MEBO believes that the mourning relatives and friends of the Lockerbie-victims, all individuals that have been pointed out to be somewhere involved with this crime, government-officials, judges, lawyers, and so many more have vested interests and rights to know, that no leaf will be left unturned in search of the blunt and clean-cut truth! We so much believe in this statement that we are almost tempted to repeat this "request' thousands of times!
MEBO suggests the following:
a) the authorities issue an appeal for top-scientists in the necessary fields of desired expertise to offer their services for this new and absolutely "conclusive" series of explosion-tests,
b) the authorities clearly state that none of the desired scientists-/experts can be from any secret-service organization, nor connected to any level of government from the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, Libya, etc.
c) the authorities organize from two to six baggage?containers identical to the container AVE 4041 PA and its neighbouring fibreglass-container.
d) the authorities organize from one to three Toshiba-Bombeat radios, identical to the one listed in the AAIB-report and identical to the one alleged to have been in the Samsonite suitcase.
e) the authorities, organize from one to three MEBO-MST-13 timers.
f) the authorities organize from one to three Samsonite suitcases, identical to the one alleged to have been placed onto flight PanAm-103 by one of the suspects.
g) the authorities organize the quantity of SEMTEX that allegedly had been placed inside the TOSHIBA-radio;- possibly also three for new tests.
h) the authorities organize from one (up to three sets) set of Malta-purchased identical clothing, umbrella, etc.
i) the authorities organise from one to three instruction-booklets for said TOSHIBA-Bombeat radios.
j) the authorities organize an equal number of additional suitcases that allegedly had been transported in the container AVE 4041 PA and the neighbouring container.
k) the authorities organize suspected actual "filling- materials" for each of the suitcases, in order to imitate regular air-travellers' luggage.
1) from one up to three cargo-hold area simultation or duplication must be available for such testing, exactly duplicating the PanAm-103 cargohold
m) the now (unreadable) of tests must be filmed with several highest-speed cameras in order to receive answers to many other open questions, such as: where did all the major radio-and timer-fragments disappear to. Only very few micro-fragments have ever been discovered, exactly the ones, necessary to identify the radio and timer in order to indict Libya and the suspected two Libyans.
n) One simulation should be worked out with the alleged bomb-device exploding from the inside of the simulated container AVE 4041 PA, another test would then be run with the explosive device being placed onto or near the fuselage-skin, outside the contained A third test could then answer any remaining question, after the two initial re-tests would have been diligently analysed!
MEBO is absolutely confident that such now, openly-organised, incredibly honest test-series, conducted by independent top-rated scientists of absolute integrety, will clearly show the MEBO-claim to be true: there was no explosion inside container AVE 4041 PA !!!
It is quite obvious that the expected confirmation of the MEBO-explosion-report will automatically raise a now series of questions holding gigantic explosive character. The main-question then will surely be: if the explosion was not from inside container AVE 4041 PA , then where did the alleged Samsonite suitcase with all listed contents come from? Why was a tiny fragment from a MEBO MST-13 timer recovered, when in fact no such timer was even required for the explosion outside the container'? Why were there no larger fragments from the radio and timer recovered from the Lockerbie field of debris?
Another fundamental question will then be necessary to be answered: who had access to the PanAm-103 cargo-hold prior to departure from Heathrow ? Who was able to place an explosive charge onto or near the fuselage-skin? What kind of timer was then used to detonate the explosion charge on or near the fuselage-skin ?
MEBO is by no means attempting to divert from the MST-13 timer-issue. I myself, Edwin Bollier, representing MEBO AG , will be solidly prepared and eager to testify in court on the alleged MST-13 timer-fragment- and all relevant-/significant revelations deriving from the many mysteries, surrounding the alleged timer-fragment. The alleged discovery of this fragment actually triggered the US-Justice department to issue the indictment against the two Libyan suspects and subsequently also opened the way for the harsh sanctions against Libya! MEBO-/Edwin Bollier have already duly completed, signed and forwarded the required forms to confirm the undivided agreement for an indepth appearance in the court at Camp Zeist.
MEBO fully realizes that the Crown-/prosecution can only operate with and decide upon forensic results, that are submitted to the court. The court must therefore be able to absolutely trust the evidence placed onto the tables. If not all scientific avenues have been exhausted, then the court will not be able to pass balanced judgement. This situation should not be allowed to exist when sitting as judges over the "crime of the century"! Therefore the court should be rather thankful for MEBO research- results-details, that seem to be more correct than what official forensic research-teams have produced in this matter.
MEBO AG
Edwin Bollier VR
 
 Iranian Defector Called an ImpostorUpdated 3:45 AM ET June 12, 2000WASHINGTON (AP) - The CIA and FBI reportedly have concluded that an Iranian defector who claims to be a former intelligence official and terrorist mastermind is an impostor.
The defector claimed to have masterminded the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, and the 1996 attack against a U.S. military installation in Saudi Arabia. Two Libyans are now on trial for the Pan Am bombing.
A U.S. intelligence official quoted anonymously in The Washington Post on Sunday said the CIA and FBI concluded the defector lied during interviews with intelligence officials and lacked basic knowledge of Iran's intelligence apparatus.
"When it comes to serious stuff that he should know, he comes up empty," the Post quoted the official as saying. "He still has not provided anything that has led CIA and FBI folks to believe his story."
U.S. officials have doubted the defector's credibility since he first told his story on CBS's "60 Minutes" June 4. Iran vehemently denied the defector's claims, saying they had no record of him and that his own statements were contradictory.
Al Tellez, an editor for CBS News, said the network "expected the CIA to say" the defector was lying, but would not elaborate how CBS verified the story.
If verified, the defector's claims could damage the case against the Libyans accused in the Pan Am bombing as well as State Department efforts to warm relations with Iran.
The FBI referred calls regarding the defector to the CIA. A CIA spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.

 

01:19 PM ET 07/11/00

Lockerbie Witness Isn't Consistent

By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY=
Associated press Writer=
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) _ A Maltese shopkeeper testified in
the Lockerbie trial Tuesday that he sold a Libyan defendant the
clothes found in the suitcase bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103 and
killed 270 people.
Toni Gauci, proprietor of Mary's House shop in the Mediterranean
resort of Sliema, testified in the trial of two alleged Libyan
intelligence officer accused of blowing up the plane over
Lockerbie, Scotland, Dec. 21, 1988.
Prosecutors say the bomb that detonated 38 minutes after the
plane's takeoff from London's Heathrow airport. The plane started
its journey in Malta, where the defendants worked in the Libyan
Arab Airlines offices.
According to the indictment, defendant Abdel Basset Ali
al-Megrahi entered Gauci's family-run business on Dec. 7, 1988, and
purchased items that were packed around the bomb inside a Samsonite
suitcase.
Addressing the court in Maltese, Gauci said he remembered a
Libyan man entering the boutique and concluded ``it must have been
about a fortnight before Christmas'' because he remembered other
shops were being adorned with Christmas lights.
Gauci, 56, was asked if he recognized the man who bought the
clothing:
``That gentleman over there,'' said Gauci. He pointed to
al-Megrahi after going over likenesses he helped police artists
compose about a year after the bombing.
In cross examination, though, Gauci admitted that in November
1991 he picked out a photo of a different suspect and told police
at the time: ``Of all the photos I have been shown, this photo ...
is the only one that is really similar to the man who bought the
clothing.''
Defense attorney Richard Keen noted that that photograph showed
Mohammed Abu Talb, an Egyptian-born Palestinian jailed in Sweden
for terrorist bombings in Europe. An early suspect in the Lockerbie
investigations, Abu Talb was also sighted in Malta in the fall of
1988.
The client bought a jacket, two pajamas, a baby suit, two
shirts, two pullovers, two trousers and an umbrella, Gauci said.
``It wasn't important for him what he was buying,'' Gauci said.
``When I asked him whether he wanted to try on the trousers, he
said it wasn't for him.''
Gauci is one of the strongest links in the prosecution case
against al-Megrahi and co-defendant Lamen Khalifa Fhimah. They
surrendered last year for trial before a Scottish court in the
Netherlands, following nearly a decade of international sanctions
against Libya.
The two men have pleaded innocent to charges of murder and
conspiracy to murder. When the trial opened on May 3, defense
lawyers said they would seek to incriminate Palestinian groups in
the terrorist attack.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum life sentence in a
Scottish prison.
Gauci testified as the trial resumed following a one-week break
to give prosecutors a chance to examine recently submitted defense
witness statements.

 

Lockerbie Witnesses Refuse TestimonyUpdated 9:19 AM ET July 12, 2000By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY, Associated Press Writer
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - The Lockerbie trial was forced to adjourn Wednesday after a group of witnesses refused to testify against the two Libyans accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103.
Court spokesman Richard Bailey said the witnesses from the Mediterranean island of Malta had "refused to come after quite lengthy negotiations." The special Scottish court adjourned until Friday, he said.
Bailey said the witnesses had been summoned to discuss events at Luqa airport on Malta, but declined to give their names or elaborate.
Prosecutors allege that Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah planted the Lockerbie bomb in a suitcase on an Air Malta jet departing from Luqa on the morning of Dec. 21, 1988.
One of the principle prosecution witnesses is a Libyan defector, now living in the United States under the federal witness protection program, who allegedly saw one of the defendants introduce the bag onto the Air Malta flight. The bag was placed on the Pan Am flight in Frankfurt as unaccompanied baggage.
All 259 people on board Flight 103 and 11 residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, were killed when the bomb exploded inside the hold of the airliner.
Al-Megrahi and Fhimah went on trial May 3 before the court in Camp Zeist, a former U.S. air base 25 miles from Amsterdam, on charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and endangering aircraft safety.
They have pleaded innocent to the charges, which carry a maximum life sentence in a Scottish prison.
On Tuesday, a Maltese shopkeeper said he recognized Al-Megrahi as the man to whom he sold clothing found in the suitcase that held the bomb.

 

Defense says Palestinians could have planted Pan Am Flight 103 bomb

 
By staff and wire reports
July 19, 2000
Web posted at: 5:41 PM EDT (2141 GMT)

CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands -- An attorney for two Libyan men on trial for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 criticized security at the airport in Frankfort, Germany, Wednesday in hopes of shifting the blame from his clients to two Palestinians.
Defense counsel Jack Davidson questioned former Pan Am security director Martin Huebner about a U.S. Federal Aviation Authority report that said security at the airport was lax in the months after the bombing.
He suggested members of a Palestinian group could have put the bomb on the plane in Frankfurt.

Law Dictionary
  Davidson said the report found undercover FAA officers in January 1989 were able to rummage unchallenged through Pan Am luggage containers at Frankfurt airport and wander among parked aircraft and unguarded baggage with no visible identity cards.
Huebner downplayed the report under cross-examination.
"The FAA made several criticisms which in my view were somewhat exaggerated," he told the court. "Efforts were made...to react correspondingly."
He also testified that baggage could be transferred between flights even if its owner did not show up for the connection, as long as it had been x-rayed.
Scottish prosecutors say Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah and Abdel Basset al-Megrahi disguised the bomb in a radio that was packed in a suitcase and placed on an Air Malta flight to Frankfurt with tags routing it through London onto the Pan Am plane.
Air Malta official Martin Baron testified Tuesday that the defendants flew to Malta on December 20, 1988, and returned to Libya on December 21, the same day the Boeing 747 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 people aboard and 11 people on the ground died.
He confirmed the authenticity of immigration cards registering the arrival and departure of Fhimah and a man by the name of Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad, which allegedly was an alias used by al-Megrahi.
Prosecutors say the men worked for the Libyan state airline in Malta and were agents of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
On Monday, travel agent Dennis Burke testified that Fhimah often checked in luggage for Libyan Arab Airline passengers because the airline's flights were frequently overbooked.
"There were times when it was quite chaotic," Burke told the four presiding judges. "It was very busy with a lot of luggage around. Sometimes it was literally a fight to get a boarding pass."
The four-judge Scottish jury also heard Tuesday from two Toshiba employees who testified that in October 1988 their firm delivered to Libya 20,000 "Boombeat RT-SF 16" radio cassette recorders similar to the one forensic experts say housed the bomb.
They testified that almost 80 percent of that model was sold to Libya.
Last week, Luqa Ground Operations General Manager Wilfred Borg testified that security was tight at the airport. He said the chances of smuggling a bomb onto a plane at the Malta airport were "extremely remote."
The defense also introduced a record showing that Mohammed Abu Talb, a Palestinian serving a life sentence for terrorist bombing, had a reservation on a return flight to Malta from Stockholm that was valid until November 1988.
The prosecution said there was no proof Abu Talb had actually traveled to Malta.
Both Fhimah and Al-Megrahi have pleaded innocent to charges of murder, conspiracy and endangering aircraft safety, which carry a maximum life sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK Lockerbie accused 'given false passport'

The accused is said to have travelled to Malta
The Lockerbie trial has heard that one of the accused was issued with a false passport after security service chiefs sent an urgent request to the relevant authorities.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, was given a "coded" passport in the name of Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamed, the Scottish Court in the Netherlands was told.
Maloud Mohamed Omar El Gharour, of the general passport and nationality department in Libya, said that in June 1987 his department received a letter from the external security services asking for a new "coded" passport for Al Megrahi.
Prosecuting counsel Alan Turnbull QC asked the witness: "What would you understand by a coded passport?"
Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the groundThe two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the NetherlandsThe case is being heard by three Scottish judgesMr El Gharour said: "It means simply that the passport does not carry the original name of its holder."
He told the court that the letter requesting the passport asked for the matter to be dealt with "very urgently".
It said the name of the holder of the coded passport was Al Megrahi who was described as having the job of "collaborator civil".
However the profession listed for his false passport was to be "employee".
The false passport was issued on the same day as the urgent letter was received, Mr El Gharour said.
The Lockerbie indictment accuses Al Megrahi of travelling to Malta, where the bomb which blew up Pan Am Flight 103 is alleged to have originated, on various occasions in 1987 and 1988 using the false identity of Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamed.
Trial delay
Carol Butler, of the British Immigration Services, told the court that stamps in the Abdusamad passport showed the user arriving in Malta on 20 December 1988 and flying back to Libya the following day.
The passport was not used again after 20 December.
The trial is to be delayed again after "sensitive" information was given to the prosecution by a government.
In an unexpected development, Scotland's Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC told the judges on Monday it was impossible to proceed without further enquiries.
Proceedings will be adjourned on Tuesday for week.
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Lockerbie Trial Put Off to Hear New Evidence
------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARIS, Oct. 9 ó An unexpected delay was granted in the Lockerbie bombing trial today when prosecutors surprised the court by announcing that they had new evidence "of some complexity and considerable sensitivity" that they needed time to consider.
The chief prosecutor, Colin Boyd, would not describe the evidence, but said it came from a foreign country, not the United States, that it bore on the defense's likely cross-examination of his witnesses and that it would probably have to be disclosed to the defense.
Scottish law requires that prosecutors tell defense lawyers about any evidence exculpatory of their client, and the Lockerbie prosecutors have already been sharply criticized on that score.
His request for a delay until Oct. 17 was granted.
The only prominent witness the prosecution is still expected to call is a Palestinian terrorist named Muhammad Abu Talb, who is now imprisoned in Sweden for bombing American and Jewish targets in Europe. Defense lawyers are trying to blame him and other Palestinians, not the two Libyans on trial, for the destruction of Pan Am flight 103, which crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 270 people.
Whatever the new evidence is, said Robert Black, a University of Edinburgh law professor who closely follows the trial, the way Mr. Boyd phrased his request implies that it will tend to exonerate the Libyans and support the defense's theory that Mr. Talb and other Palestinians based in Germany and Sweden bombed the plane. Mr. Talb was an early suspect before the investigation shifted to the Libyans.
Mr. Boyd said he received the mysterious new evidence on Oct. 4.
Professor Black noted how speedily Mr. Boyd had disclosed its existence.
The prosecutors took weeks to disclose to the defense that prosecutors had seen Central Intelligence Agency cables depicting the most important defense witness as a chronic liar who was desperate for money and American citizenship at the time he became a federal witness in 1991. He did so by telling agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he had evidence against the two Libyans.

 

Lockerbie Judges Ask Syrian FavorUpdated 9:51 AM ET November 8, 2000By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY, Associated Press Writer
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - Scottish judges on Wednesday asked Syria to hand over a mysterious document that might help them figure out who blew up Pan Am Flight 103.
The decision to approach the Syrian government via diplomatic channels followed nearly a month of delays over new evidence relating to Palestinian terrorists initially suspected in the Dec. 21, 1988 tragedy.
Libyan defendants Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah have pleaded innocent to the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people.
Prosecutors contend the defendants were Libyan intelligence agents. They allegedly hid the bomb in a clothing-filled suitcase sent from the Mediterranean island of Malta with fake tags routing it via Frankfurt, Germany, to the doomed airliner in London.
Lord Ranald Sutherland, the court president, did not disclose the nature or presumed contents of the missing document, except that it "is believed to be in Syria."
Nevertheless, Sutherland delayed the appearance of Mohammed Abu Talb, a convicted Palestinian terrorist jailed in Sweden who has been blamed by the defendants.
Defense lawyer Bill Taylor suggested the Syrian document contains information on German police raids of alleged Palestinian terrorist safehouses several months before the bombing.
In the "Autumn Leaves" operation, police entered a hide-out in Neuss, Germany, of a Damascus-based group known as the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. They found an explosive device similar to one that triggered the Pan Am explosion.
"It's plain that there are material matters in the document itself which affect the Autumn Leaves and this witness," Taylor said.
The defense is also demanding that the court obtain further information from Swedish authorities on Abu Talb, the prosecution's last major witness.
"It does seem to us there might be some force that Abu Talb's evidence should not be heard on this stage," Sutherland said, without giving any indication when the witness might appear.
Meanwhile Wednesday, prosecutors presented the sworn statement of an Air Malta employee regarding an extra suitcase he took aboard a flight from Malta to Frankfurt on the morning of the disaster.
Saviour Mallia, the airline's cargo manager, said at a special hearing recently in Malta that he and his girlfriend were leaving on vacation and took two suitcases.
But he admitted that he neglected to tell Scottish police who questioned him in September 1989 that he had agreed to a Frankfurt-based colleague's request to take along a third bag for him.
Mallia said he mentioned it at a follow-up interview 10 days later, after his girlfriend reminded him of the extra piece of luggage - which was locked and, he was told, packed with clothing.
"It was only then that I remembered the third suitcase," Mallia told the Maltese court, according to prosecutors.
Wednesday was the 65th day of hearings since the trial began May 3 at a special Scottish courthouse in the Netherlands.
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Lockerbie Trial Again Mulls New Data (Nov 7 7:05 pm ET)

 

The BBC's Bill Hayton
"Things might be about to become murkier still"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 8 November, 2000, 13:23 GMT Lockerbie request goes to Syria

The request will be dealt with in Damascus
A formal request has been sent to Syria for a document which could affect the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing.
The Scottish Court in the Netherlands has made the request after a series of delays caused by the release of new evidence.
The information is understood to refer to the manufacture of the bomb which brought down Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 with the loss of 270 lives.
It is also believed to be linked to how the device got on board the aircraft.
The court also heard inquiries were continuing in Sweden into the new evidence, which was given to the prosecution last month.
The inquries mean there will be a further delay in calling a witness, Palestinian Mohammed Abu Talb, who is serving a jail sentence for terrorism offences.
Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the groundThe two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the NetherlandsThe case is being heard by a panel of Scottish judgesEarlier this week Talb was brought to the court from his jail cell in Stockholm, where he is serving life for the 1989 bombing of an airline office in Copenhagen.
He was once a prime suspect in the Lockerbie case, but is now due to give evidence for the prosecution.
The presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, said: "As a result of discussions in chambers, it has been decided that a letter of request would be issued for recovery of a document believed to be in Syria."
This could take several days, and meanwhile, remaining prosecution witnesses, apart from Talb, were due to be heard on Wednesday afternoon.
Three suitcases
The court was told that an Air Malta employee carried three suitcases on board a flight to Frankfurt on the day of the bombing.
One was for him, the second for his girlfriend, and the third was being carried as a favour to a friend who worked for Air Malta in Frankfurt.

The cases were flown from Malta
In a statement read out to the court, cargo manager Saviour Mallia: "I had collected the suitcase from my colleague's father's house.
"It contained clothes. I did not verify this fact. It was handed to me locked, with the keys, but I did not open it."
Mr Mallia said that at Frankfurt he delivered the suitcase to his colleague, or to another Air Malta colleague, also based in Frankfurt. He and his girlfriend continued on their journey to Portugal.
He admitted in the statement, taken in Malta this year after he refused to attend the trial, that he had omitted to mention the third suitcase when originally interviewed in 1989.
The trial has already heard that the Lockerbie bomb, a radio cassette player packed with Semtex explosive, was packed in a suitcase padded with clothing bought in a shop in Malta.
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Tuesday, 14 November, 2000, 13:10 GMT Lockerbie lawyers quiz Palestinian

Talb has denied involvement in the bombing
Defence lawyers have started questioning a Palestinian man who they accuse of the Lockerbie bombing.
Mohammed Abu Talb - who is serving a life sentence in a Swedish jail for bombing offences - has already denied he was involved in the attack on Pan Am Flight 103.
Two Libyans are on trial for the atrocity - but they have blamed Talb and nine other people.
He is a former member of a Palestinian terror group, the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF).
Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the groundThe two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the NetherlandsThe case is being heard by a panel of Scottish judgesOn the first day of his evidence last Friday, Talb told the court that he was not involved in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 people died.
On Tuesday, under questioning from defence QC Bill Taylor, Talb said he was in jail for bombing offences - but denied he was guilty.
Talb was jailed for life in 1989 after being convicted of the bombing of a Danish synagogue in 1985.
But he told Mr Taylor: "I was convicted although I was not there and did not admit the crime. I ended my work and all activities relating to Palestine at end of '82."
Mr Taylor also questioned him on his family's links with terrorism.
Talb said his sister-in-law had been killed while she carried out an assassination attempt in Israel.
Describing her as a martyr, he said she may have been killed by the current Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak - then a senior army officer.
Asked if she was killed by Israeli soldiers, Talb replied: "Yes - Ehud Barak, the current prime minister, himself shot at her."
Mr Taylor suggested that Talb's brother-in-law had returned to Sweden from Syria with detonators hidden in a suitcase handle.
Bomb attack
But he replied: "I know nothing about that."
In a special defence, counsel for the two accused - Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah - allege that the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and the lesser-known PPSF were responsible for the bomb attack.
Talb is mentioned in this special defence as having links with both groups.
Prosecutors allege the two Libyans planted a bomb in a suitcase at Malta's Luqa airport and routed it onto a plane bound for Frankfurt which was eventually transferred to the ill-fated flight to New York.
---------------------------------------------------------------

Lockerbie Prosecution Concludes CaseUpdated 4:10 PM ET November 20, 2000By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY, Associated Press Writer
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - Scottish prosecutors concluded their case Monday in the trial of two Libyans accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 twelve years ago over Lockerbie, Scotland.
After calling 230 witnesses in 72 days of hearings at a special court in the Netherlands, the Scottish Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, told the judges: "That concludes the case for the crown (prosecution)."
Defense attorneys are expected to outline their plans Tuesday. Defense attorney Richard Keen said he intends to ask the judges to dismiss the case against his client, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.
Following the defense case, prosecutors will take the floor again to give closing arguments and tie together a case based on circumstantial scientific evidence and witness accounts - but no direct proof.
Fhimah and co-defendant Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi pleaded innocent in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing, which killed 270 people, mostly Americans. They have blamed Palestinian terrorist groups.
During hearings Monday, prosecutors called as a witness former ABC News correspondent Pierre Salinger, who interviewed the defendants and claimed they didn't carry out the attack.
Calling Salinger fit in with the prosecution's strategy of pre-empting witnesses who might favor the defense.
"I know that these two Libyans had nothing to do with it. I know who did it and I know exactly why it was done," said Salinger, who was based at ABC's London bureau when the two accused were indicted in 1991.
The journalist was asked about the circumstances of the interviews he was granted by the Libyan government but grew angry when the court refused to let him name who he believed were the culprits.
"That's all? You're not letting me tell the truth," he said after the questioning was finished and judges told him to leave the courtroom.
"Wait a minute, I know exactly who did it. I know how it was done," he protested.
"If you wish to make a point you may do so elsewhere but I'm afraid you may not do so in this court," the court president, Lord Ranald Sutherland, responded.
The court was shown videotapes of interviews Salinger conducted in Tripoli, Libya, in 1991, in which the defendants denied responsibility for the bombing.
The final prosecution witness was an Arabic translator recalled to the stand to clarify details of some transcripts made for the trial.
The trial is being conducted at a former U.S. NATO air base 50 miles east of The Hague.
The $18 million courthouse was built after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi agreed to hand the men over for trial in the Netherlands following nearly a decade of sanctions.

 

Tuesday, 21 November, 2000, 11:59 GMT Lockerbie trial adjourns

The plane came down in Lockerbie
The Lockerbie trial has been adjourned for a week to allow the defence teams to prepare their cases.
On Monday the prosecution case ended after more than six months of evidence.
When the trial resumes, one of the two accused, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, is expected to ask the judges to throw out the case against him.
It is expected that the legal argument concerning that matter could take up to three days.
The lawyer for Mr Fhimah will argue at the Scottish court in the Netherlands that insufficient evidence has been presented against his client.
The hearing, which was opened 71 days ago by Scotland's most senior law officer, Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, has featured 250 witnesses and several lengthy adjournments.
The Crown is seeking to show that a huge amount of circumstantial evidence, when taken together, proves Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah carried out the bombing, in which 270 people died.
Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the groundThe two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the NetherlandsThe case is being heard by a panel of Scottish judgesNext week the court will hear a motion that there is no case to answer against Mr Fhimah.
The judges will be asked to decide on the weight of evidence against him, rather than the quality of the Crown case.
There has been no similar move from Megrahi, and there is now speculation he will be the first witness when the defence case begins next week.
Earlier, a senior American journalist told the trial that he knows who carried out the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
But Pierre Salinger, former chief foreign correspondent for the ABC network, was infuriated when the court would not allow him to name who he believed was to blame.
Mr Salinger said: "I know that these two Libyans had nothing to do with it. I know who did it and I know exactly why it was done."
He was based at ABC's London office when the two accused were indicted in 1991.
The court heard that Mr Salinger, who appeared as a prosecution witness, had interviewed the two standing trial.
Bomb journey
Judges were shown extracts from the interview in which Mr Megrahi strongly denied being involved.
He added he had never been a member of the Libyan intelligence agency, and his family and countrymen would be "ashamed" to do such a job.
Mr Megrahi said he had not been in Malta on the day the bomb began its journey to Heathrow via Frankfurt.
Mr Salinger was then asked about how he had obtained the meeting, but he was stopped from giving his views on the case.
After Alan Turnbull QC, prosecuting, and defence counsel William Taylor QC and Richard Keen QC finished their questioning, the trial judge, Lord Sutherland, asked Mr Salinger to leave the witness box.
The broadcaster said: "That's all? You're not letting me tell the truth.
Charges denied
"Wait a minute, I know exactly who did it. I know how it was done."
Lord Sutherland interrupted and told the witness: "If you wish to make a point you may do so elsewhere, but I'm afraid you may not do so in this court."
The two men deny three charges, of conspiracy, murder and Contravening the Aviation Security Act 1982.
The defence says that Palestinian terror groups, not the Libyans, were responsible for the attack.
Mr Salinger was one of the last witnesses for the prosecution, which has previously called a Libyan spy and secret agents from the CIA and Stasi.
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Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 11:29 GMT Lockerbie judges hear 'no case' plea

More than 200 people died in the tragedy
The judges in the Lockerbie trial have been told there is insufficient evidence to sustain the case against one of the accused.
The Scottish Court in the Netherlands is hearing a "no case to answer" submission on behalf of Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44.
He and Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, are accused of murdering 270 people by blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988.
Richard Keen QC, for Fhimah, said: "The crucial fact for consideration is was (Fhimah) aware that there was an intention to use an explosive device for the destruction of a passenger aircraft and murder its occupants?

I don't think it's any criticism of the Crown that only a small section of the indictment will survive and go to the judges sitting as the jury

Alistair Bonnington, Glasgow University school of law "If he was not aware of that objective, then he cannot be guilty of conspiracy, he cannot be guilty of murder, and he cannot be guilty of the alleged breach of the Aviation Security Act.
"It is not sufficient for guilt to be a rational inference (from the circumstances) if there are other rational hypotheses as well.
"If you left a jury to choose between two inferences, they would have to speculate, and that they cannot do," said Mr Keen.
The plea could take up to three days to complete and whatever the outcome, the case is expected to continue.
Charge amendments
Legal experts say the tactic is unlikely to succeed.
However, it is highly likely many parts of the indictment against Fhimah - a four-page document outlying the full charges against him - will be dropped.
This would concentrate the judges' minds on a reduced number of allegations.
Alistair Bonnington, a BBC Scotland lawyer and lecturer at Glasgow University school of law, said: "The whole indictment won't survive, there's no question of that.
Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the groundThe two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the NetherlandsThe case is being heard by a panel of Scottish judges"The Crown never thought it would, from day one.
"I don't think it's any criticism of the Crown that only a small section of the indictment will survive and go to the judges sitting as the jury."
Professor Robert Black, from Edinburgh University school of law, said some people had been "disappointed" with the case so far.
"There had been rumours that there might be an eye-witness, someone who actually saw 'dirty deeds' being done," he said.
"A number of us Lockerbie buffs have been a wee bit disappointed that that hasn't come to pass."
Megrahi is expected to give evidence when the defence case opens in about a week's time.
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Lockerbie Defendant Seeks DismissalUpdated 2:36 PM ET November 28, 2000

full image A Scottish Policeman Waves Outside the Lockerbie Courthouse in Soesterberg (Reuters) more photos By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - A Libyan on trial for conspiracy and murder asked judges to dismiss the case against him Tuesday, arguing that no evidence ties him to the bombing 12 years ago of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
The defense attorney for Lamen Khalifa Fhimah said the prosecution had failed to present evidence linking his client to any of the events leading to the explosion, which killed 270 people.
A court spokesman said a decision on the motion for dismissal was likely on Wednesday.
The motion was not a surprise, since the prosecution admitted it had no direct evidence of Fhimah's involvement.
But the prosecution, which concluded its case last week after five months of hearings, argues that it has a convincing body of circumstantial evidence against Fhimah and co-defendant Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi.
Defense lawyer Richard Keen said Fhimah had not known of any plot to blow up the airliner. If the court believed he played a part in putting the bomb on board the plane, he did so unwittingly, Keen said.
"If he did not know of such an intention he could not be guilty of the conspiracy and murder which are libeled against him," Keen told the special court at Camp Zeist, a former NATO base in the Netherlands.
"He is not guilty simply because he was the tool of those who hatched and carried out this alleged conspiracy, even if his actions were such that they achieved their objective," Keen said, in a three-hour point-by-point argument against the prosecution's case.
The prosecution says the two defendants, who it alleges were Libyan intelligence agents, placed a bomb-laden suitcase on board a flight departing from Malta, tagged for transfer at Frankfurt airport for the Pan American flight.
Keen said the prosecution had not even proven that Fhimah was at Luqa airport when the suitcase was dispatched.
Responding to the motion, prosecutor Alastair Campbell said Fhimah worked as station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines at Luqa, and kept his security pass even though he stopped working there shortly before the bombing on Dec. 21, 1988. It said the airline job was a cover for his intelligence activities.
Campbell said Fhimah was the "perfect accomplice" for al-Megrahi, with the access and familiarity to be able to tag the suitcase and send it without arousing suspicion.
He reminded the judges of evidence that Fhimah had stored explosives in his desk at the airport for al-Megrahi.
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Lockerbie Defendant Seeks Dismissal (Nov 28 2:36 pm ET)

Full coverage of week 31 of the Lockerbie bombing trial

 

28/11/00 Judges in the Lockerbie trial have rejected an appeal by one of the accused to throw out the case against him. They ruled that the prosecution had led sufficient evidence for Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah to remain on trial at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands. A British relative said he was pleased with the ruling as it meant both defence counsels would now present their cases and question the witnesses brought by the other. A Scottish law expert said the submission is be seen as a testing ground for the defence in attacking the Crown. Members of Fhima¥s family declined to comment todays¥s verdict.
"I¥ll Reval Who Really Blew Up Lockerbie Jet"

November 28 (November 26), 2000 NEWS OF THE WORLD (UK) Exclusive - by Graham McKendry (subslug: Expert Set to Aide Defence) - A prosecution witness who tried to tell the Lockerbie trial he knows who planted the bomb may return to the court - as a witness for the defence. Former US Presidential aide Pierre Salinger insists that the two Libyans accused of blowing up doomed Pan Am flight 103 are INNOCENT. But, astonishingly, when he tried to tell the Scottish Court at Camp Zeist in Holland who was really responsible for the atrocity, he was told to shut up and leave the stand.
Now Salinger ..(-) .. is willing to appear as a defence witness for the accused Libyans (names and ages). In an exclusive interview Salinger, 74, told the News of the World: "Those who stand accused in Zeist are innocent...and I know who carried out the attack. The defence team have now asked me to take the stand on behalf of their clients. I believe what I have to say will have a significant impact on the case." Salinger blames Palestinian terrorists for the attack and says it was carried out in revenge for the downing of an Iran Air flight by the US ship Vincennes in July 1988. He said Iran was outraged by the killing of 290 people, most of whom were pilgrims on their way to Mekka.
"After the incident, Iranian officials approached the Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine and asked them to carry out the attack. The Bush and Thatcher administrations originally pointed their finger at the Syrian-based terrorists. They only turned their attention to Libya when they needed Syria¥s help in securing peace in the Middle East." Salinger, who conducted a five-year investigation into the Lockerbie-incident, added: " I am the only person to have asked the two Libyans about their role in what happened. They both vigorously deny any involvment." He added: "I feel very badly that I was not allowed to explain what I know. But I am hopeful that I can be of use to the defence team. I have no idea if those who killed 270 people in the Lockerbie tragedy will ever face justice. But I will do all I can to make sure people know who was responsible."

Wednesday, December 06, 2000

 

By ANTHONY DEUTSCH
Associated Press Writer

CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - Lawyers in the Lockerbie trial
called an FBI agent and a Maltese meteorologist Tuesday to testify
as they opened their defense of two Libyans accused of downing an
American jetliner 12 years ago, killing 270 people.
In what is expected to be several months of hearings, defense
attorneys Richard Keen and Bill Taylor have said they will bring
evidence indicating Palestinian terrorist groups were responsible
for the Dec. 21, 1988, attack over Lockerbie, Scotland.
After hearing several witnesses, the court adjourned until Jan.
8 to await the arrival of new evidence from Syria sought by the
defense that it believes will implicate the Palestinians further.
But after granting repeated postponements in the trial that
began last May, the judges warned they would grant no further
delays, barring ``the most exceptional circumstances.''
Prosecutors rested their case Nov. 20 against Abdel Basset Ali
al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, offering a thick file of
circumstantial evidence that the two dispatched the bomb onto Pan
Am flight 103 via a feeder flight while operating as Libyan
intelligence agents in Malta. The Libyans have pleaded innocent to
murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Meteorologist Joseph Mifsud, was called to counter earlier
witness testimony that al-Megrahi purchased clothes and an umbrella
in Malta. Prosecutors claim the charred clothing found in the
wreckage of the Lockerbie crash was purchased in Malta by
al-Megrahi.
Reviewing airport weather charts, Mifsud testified it was
unlikely that it rained the morning of Dec. 7 when al-Megrahi was
said to have purchased the umbrella and clothes at a shop in the
Maltese resort of Sliema. It did rain the following day, he said. A
shopkeeper earlier testified that al-Megrahi resembled the man who
had purchased the items.
FBI agent Edward Marshman read transcripts of interviews in
November 1989 with Jordanian double agent and bomb maker, Marwan
Khreesat.
According to Marshman, Khreesat worked with the Palestinian
Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, one of two
groups the defense has implicated in the bombing.
Although the defendants were accused of the crime in 1991, new
evidence surfaced during the trial pointing at Palestinian
extremists who were early suspects in the investigation.
The trial was postponed several times while the court sought a
document from the Syrian government that allegedly implicates a
Palestinian group based in its capital, Damascus. The court is
still awaiting that document.
Under Scottish law, the defendants only have to create
sufficient doubt about the accusations to result in a ``not
proven'' ruling, which would be tantamount to an acquittal.
The trial is being held at a special Scottish court designed to
house the proceedings at a former U.S. air base in the Netherlands.
Prosecutors called 230 witnesses, including the maker of
detonating devices who testified to having contact with the
Libyans, and a Libyan CIA double agent who claimed to have seen the
men handling a suitcase similar to the one identified by forensic
scientists as the bag that held the bomb.
Last week, the court dismissed a request that Fhimah be
acquitted immediately for lack of evidence.
The indictment says the defendants loaded a suitcase carrying
plastic explosives onto a feeder flight to the Pan Am Boeing 747,
routing it to London via Frankfurt with fake or stolen tags. The
plane exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 259 people on
board and 11 people on the ground.

Resolution May Lift Libyan SanctionsUpdated 6:10 PM ET December 28, 2000By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Developing countries on the Security Council proposed lifting sanctions against Libya on Thursday on the grounds that the Tripoli government had fully cooperated with the trial of two Libyan suspects in the 1988 Pan Am bombing.
The United States and Britain opposed the proposal, saying the trial at a special Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands wasn't over yet.
It wasn't immediately clear if the Non-Aligned Movement of mostly developing countries would push for a vote on a resolution Friday. The council president, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov, said he would schedule more consultations for Friday morning.
"We have made it very clear that we would not be able to support such a resolution," said British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock, issuing a veiled threat to veto the resolution.
The Security Council suspended the sanctions on April 5, 1999, after Libya handed over two suspects wanted in the bombing of the Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 270 people were killed.
Libya has pressed ever since for the formal elimination of the measures, which include an air and arms embargo and a ban on the sale of some oil-related equipment.
The sanctions were imposed in 1992 to press Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to deliver Lamen Khalifa Fhimah and Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi for trial in the bombing. The two men have pleaded innocent and have blamed Palestinian terrorist groups for the attack.
The prosecution rested its case on Nov. 20 after calling 230 witnesses in 72 days of hearings. The defense is to resume its case Jan. 8. Libyan officials say the defense proceedings could take at least another two months.
The United States has said it won't allow the measures to be fully lifted until Tripoli complies with other outstanding U.N. demands, including compensating the families of the victims if the two defendants are convicted and renouncing terrorism.
But Washington may find itself under pressure from other council members who support erasing the sanctions altogether to allow them to be lifted even before any civil penalties are assessed.


Friday, 29 December, 2000, 13:38 GMT Push to lift Libya sanctions

The Security Council suspended the sanctions in 1999
Developing nations on the UN Security Council are pressing to lift the sanctions imposed on Libya over the Lockerbie affair.
The move has been led by Namibia, which is currently representing the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members on the council, and is supported by Jamaica, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Mali and Tunisia.
They say that the sanctions should be removed since Tripoli has co-operated fully with the trial of the two men accused of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
However, both Britain and the United States have made it clear that they would oppose the resolution until the trial of the Libyan suspects has ended.
UK and US oppose lifting sanctions
"The requirement to co-operate with the trial lasts all the way through the trial because there may be other witnesses and other actions to be taken that need Libyan co-operation," British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock said.

Sanctions were imposed following the Lockerbie bombing
An air and arms embargo and a ban on some oil equipment, were imposed in 1992 and 1993 to force Libya to hand over for trial Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima.
They stand accused of killing all 259 people aboard the Boeing 747, as well as 11 people on the ground.
The sanctions were suspended in April 1999 after the two accused were extradited to face a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands.
Sanctions carry no weight
In practice, the sanctions have no validity as they cannot be reimposed without another vote by the Security Council.
The Namibian ambassador, Martin Andjaba, had originally intended to put the measure to the vote on Friday, but he said that this is now unlikely.
The council president, Russian Ambassador Sergey Lavrov, said he would schedule more consultations for Friday morning.
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Lockerbie trial resumes

The two accused are on trial at Camp Zeist
The Lockerbie bombing trial will resume in the Netherlands on Monday after a month-long break to give defence lawyers more time to gather information to continue their case.
The two Libyan men accused of the bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, have denied blowing up a Pan Am passenger jet in 1988 with the loss of 270 lives.
The prosecution case ended in November after more than six months of evidence, and the trial at Camp Zeist has already heard witnesses in the defence of Mr Al Megrahi.
But the hearing was adjourned a month ago because his lawyer was reluctant to continue while the court was still waiting for the Syrian Government to hand over a document relating to new evidence, which he believes to be of crucial importance to the defence case.
Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the groundThe two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the NetherlandsThe case is being heard by a panel of Scottish judgesThis is said to contain new information supporting defence claims that the bombing was the result of a conspiracy by militant Palestinians, not the two men on trial.
The defence has described the evidence as establishing new links between Lockerbie inquiries conducted by the German intelligence services (BKA) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC).
The Syrian-based organisation was originally high on the list of suspects for the bombing and is one of two Palestinian groups defence counsel have indicated they will blame for causing the tragedy.
But if the documents have not arrived by Monday, it is likely the defence will have to continue without them.
When he adjourned the case before Christmas, presiding judge Lord Sutherland indicated his extreme reluctance to grant further delays for the information to arrive.
At some stage this week, Mr Al Megrahi is expected to move from the dock to the witness box to give evidence on his own behalf.
Mr Al Megrahi and Mr Fhimah plead not guilty to conspiracy to murder, murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act.
Monday, January 08, 2001

 

By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY
Associated Press Writer

CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - After a monthlong delay,
testimony resumed Monday in the Lockerbie trial and then quickly
concluded with a Libyan defendant scrapping plans to testify in his
own defense.
Closing arguments were scheduled to begin Tuesday. No date was
given for a ruling in the trial over the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing
that killed 270 people.
Scottish attorney Bill Taylor said his client, Abdel Basset Ali
al-Megrahi, would not appear after prosecutors said Syria refused
to hand over a document requested by the defense.
The Dec. 5 request forced a delay in the trial, which began May
3 at a special Scottish court in the Netherlands.
``I propose to call no further evidence,'' Taylor told the court
on the 77th day of hearings. Lawyers for the second Libyan on
trial, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, had already concluded submissions.
Al-Megrahi and Fhimah are accused of planting the suitcase bomb
that blew up the London-to-New York airliner over Lockerbie,
Scotland.
They have denied charges of murder, conspiracy and endangering
aircraft safety, and are seeking to shift the blame to two radical
Palestinian groups based in Syria.
Prosecutors maintain the bomb was sent via Frankfurt airport
from the Mediterranean island of Malta, where the defendants were
seen around the time of the bombing.
But FBI Special Agent Lawrence Whitaker, the last witness to
take the stand, said that on a tour of Frankfurt airport in October
1989 he observed an employee tag a piece of baggage without
following security procedures.
Whitaker said the employee entered a destination code on a
keypad and then left ``without making any notation on a duty
sheet.''
Whitaker, summoned as a defense witness, said he reported the
incident to German police authorities and FBI headquarters because
of theories about the bombing at the time, ``one of them being that
a rogue bag had been entered into the system'' at Frankfurt.
However, in cross-examination, Whitaker admitted he had been
standing too far from the loading station to be certain that no
written entry was made.
Earlier, as the trial resumed, chief Scottish prosecutor Colin
Boyd told the court that the British government had been unable
over the past month to secure the Syrian document requested by the
defense.
He said Syrian officials told British representatives in a
meeting Sunday in Damascus that Syria did not want to be involved
in the matter, denying any connection to a Palestinian group the
defense is trying to blame for the bombing.
``Nothing that the crown has heard gives rise to any expectation
that this court will ever see the sight of this document, if it
still exists,'' Boyd said.
The document sought by the defense is believed to contain
information on German police raids on an alleged secret base of the
PFLP-GC group in Neuss, Germany, where officers found an explosive
device similar to that which triggered the Pan Am explosion.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General
Command and a Damascus-based faction of the Popular Palestinian
Struggle Front were suspected by British and American investigators
in the early years of the Lockerbie probe. Investigators later said
the evidence pointed to Libya.
Spokesmen for the PLFP-GC and PPSF have denied responsibility.

Lockerbie Trial Drawing to a CloseUpdated 2:39 PM ET January 8, 2001By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY, Associated Press Writer
CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - A Libyan defendant dropped plans to testify in his own defense in the Lockerbie trial Monday, bringing the eight-month proceeding closer to a verdict.
Closing arguments were scheduled to begin Tuesday in the trial of two Libyans charged in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.
A verdict could be rendered as early as next week, court officials said.
Testimony ended abruptly when the lawyer for Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi said the Libyan would not appear after Syria refused to hand over a document requested by the defense.
Al-Megrahi and fellow Libyan Lamen Khalifa Fhimah have pleaded innocent to charges of murder, conspiracy and endangering air safety, which carry a maximum life sentence.
The trial began May 3. The end of testimony came as hearings had just resumed following a one-month adjournment to await the Syrian reply.
The defense asserted the existence of a document in Damascus containing evidence about a 1988 German police raid on a Palestinian terrorist hide-out - evidence the defense said that could deflect blame from the Libyans.
Under Scottish law, defendants can win an acquittal by hinting the mere possibility that others may have been to blame.
The defendants' lawyers have introduced evidence indicating the bombing may have been mounted by the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
Glasgow University legal expert Clare Connelly said Al-Megrahi may have been planning all along not to testify, noting that lawyers in Scotland rarely advise clients to speak in their own defense.
"It could be what we're seeing is a bit of defense bravado," she said, noting the defense case lasted a total of two days. "Either the defense feel the crown's case won't stand up or they (the defendants) don't have a case."
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was on Flight 103, welcomed a swift conclusion, even if it fails to clear up the mystery of who blew up the plane.
"The court's purpose is to convict or acquit these two individuals," said Swire, a spokesman for British families of victims. "Our search is for the truth as to who murdered our loved ones."
Prosecutors maintain the bomb was sent via Frankfurt airport from the Mediterranean island of Malta, where the defendants were seen around the time of the bombing.
The court adjourned after a clerk read defense evidence agreed on by both sides.
That evidence included details of the German raid on a suspected Palestinian hide-out near Frankfurt a few months before the Lockerbie bombing, which turned up bomb assemblies similar to the one that blew up Flight 103.
It also linked the individuals arrested in the raid to deadly attacks in the late 1980s on American and Israeli airline offices and on a synagogue in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.
The Lockerbie trial could be over within weeks after defence teams for the two accused Libyans said they would offer no further evidence.
The decision by advocates for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah came after the Syrian Government refused to hand over evidence which was considered vital to the defence case.
Mr Al Megrahi had been expected to give evidence as part of the defence's attempt to establish that Palestinian terror groups, and not Libyans, were responsible for the atrocity.
Presiding judge Lord Sutherland has now adjourned proceedings until Tuesday, when final submissions from prosecution and defence lawyers will begin.
Verdict 'within weeks'
Those submissions were expected to last two or three days and the three judges could deliver their verdict by the end of January.
The defence teams' decision came after the court heard that the Syrian Government had knocked back what was reported to have been a request for key evidence.
Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, killing all 259 people on board and another 11 on the groundThe two men deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security ActThe trial is taking place in a Scottish courtroom at Camp Zeist, in the NetherlandsThe case is being heard by a panel of Scottish judgesWhen proceedings resumed after a month's adjournment, Scotland's senior law officer, the lord advocate, said the Syrians had not passed on the requested information despite repeated requests.
The evidence was understood to have detailed new links between Lockerbie enquiries conducted by the German intelligence services (BKA) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC).
The Syrian-based organisation was originally high on the list of suspects for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and was one of two Palestinian groups defence counsel had indicated they would blame for causing the tragedy.
The Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, who has been heading the prosecution, told the judges that the response from Syria to the request for information made it clear that no document would be handed over - assuming that it still existed.
Mr Boyd said "I understand that the message that the Syrian authorities wish to convey to the court is that Syrian authorities consider they should not have been asked the question in the first place and would prefer not to have to send a formal response.

Colin Boyd: Series of meetings took place
"It seems unlikely that this court will get a formal response. Any response now would undoubtedly be negative.
"The Syrians are keen to emphasise that the Syrian government is not the PFLP-GC."
The lord advocate described the outcome as "disappointing" and said: "We conveyed information to the Syrian authorities about the possible location of the document, including that it might be in Syrian Government hands. That has not helped produce a response."
The QC for Mr Al Megrahi told the court he would be leading no further evidence.
The advocate for Mr Fhimah also said he would bring no witnesses forward.
Dr Jim Swire, who has monitored the trial for victims' families after his daughter Flora died aboard the bombed flight, said: "I'm totally amazed, this has come completely out of the blue."
He said he was disappointed key facts that could aid the bereaved relatives' quest for truth might now not come out.
"In the event that the verdict is not guilty, it will leave a serious tranche of questions unanswered," said Dr Swire.
The trial had been expected to last at least a year.

Tuesday, January 09, 2001

 

By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY
Associated Press Writer

CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - A Scottish prosecutor asked
judges to overlook gaps in the evidence and convict two Libyans of
murder for the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, saying ``mathematical
certainty is neither necessary nor achievable'' in the trial.
``This is a circumstantial case,'' prosecutor Alastair Campbell
told a four-judge panel as closing arguments began Tuesday. ``The
evidence comes from a number of sources which, when taken together,
provide a corroborative case.''
The Libyans' trial, which began May 3, has been marked by delays
and foul-ups by prosecution witnesses. But Campbell said testimony
by more than 200 witnesses should overcome any ``fanciful or
speculative doubt'' in the case of the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing that
killed 270 people.
Campbell asked judges to convict Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and
Lamen Khalifa Fhimah of murder, a very difficult charge to prove
under Scottish law. The other two charges - conspiracy and
endangering aircraft safety - should be dropped according to
Scottish court procedure, he said.
Campbell also changed the indictment to reflect that prosecutors
had not proved that Fhimah was a Libyan intelligence operative, as
originally alleged.
In wrapping up his case, Campbell presented the most complete
reconstruction of the crime given since investigators began what
became the biggest murder inquiry in British history.
He worked backward from the explosion at 31,000 feet, which
rained flaming aircraft wreckage onto homes in Lockerbie as the
plane headed from London to New York. He traced the bomb's journey
to an unaccompanied suitcase loaded onto a flight leaving Malta at
9:50 a.m. that morning.
Flawed security measures at Germany's Frankfurt airport had
enabled the suitcase to slip through onto Pan Am Flight 103A, a
feeder flight that connected with the doomed New York-bound
airliner in London, Campbell said. The bomb, he said, was embedded
in a Toshiba RTSF-16 radio cassette player wrapped in clothing
purchased earlier that month in a Maltese boutique by one of the
defendants.
The prosecutor spoke for about 6{ hours until the end of
Tuesday's session and will continue his closing statement
Wednesday.
Campbell's speech came a day after the defense abruptly wrapped
up its case, ending 77 days of hearings. A verdict in the trial,
which is being held at a former U.S. air base in the Netherlands,
could be handed down as early as next week, court officials said.
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was on Pan Am Flight 103,
welcomed a swift conclusion even if it the two Libyans are not the
culprits.
``Our search is for the truth as to who murdered our loved
ones,'' he said.
The trial has been fraught with problems.
One prosecution witness failed to show up in court and was found
lying unconscious in his apartment, surrounded by bottles of booze.
Another mistook a Palestinian terrorist for one of the defendants
in a photo lineup, while another changed his story so many times
that both sides challenged his credibility.
The Libyans say they are innocent and are seeking to incriminate
Palestinian terrorist groups instead. If convicted of murder, they
face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment in Scotland.
The defense claims the terrorist attack was mounted from Germany
by the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine-General Command.
On Monday, a court clerk read defense evidence agreed on by both
sides, including details of a German raid on a suspected
Palestinian hide-out near Frankfurt a few months before the
Lockerbie bombing. That raid turned up bomb assemblies similar to
the one that blew up Flight 103.

 

By JEROME SOCOLOVSKY
Associated Press Writer

CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands (AP) - After months of testimony and
hundreds of witnesses, a prosecutor Wednesday called on Scottish
judges to pronounce two Libyans guilty of the murders of 270 people
in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
``My final submission is that when your lordships carefully and
critically examine the evidence they will be driven to conclude
that each accused is guilty of murder,'' Alastair Campbell, the
Scottish Advocate Depute, told the panel of four Scottish High
Court justices.
Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah deny
prosecutors' claims that they planted a plastic explosive on board
the airliner, which blew up Dec. 21, 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Eleven people died on the ground and 259 in the air.
Defense attorneys have been ordered to wrap up their case on
Thursday and a verdict could come in a week or two, officials said.
Scottish law has three possible verdicts: innocent, guilty and
not proven. A conviction would mean a maximum life sentence in a
Scottish prison for Al-Megrahi, 48, and Fhimah, 44. Either of the
other rulings would set them free.
Campbell summed up the prosecution case in 1{ days, alleging
that the defendants hid the bomb in an unaccompanied suitcase
checked in with stolen tags at Luqa airport on the Mediterranean
island of Malta. The two allegedly worked in the office of the
Libyan national airline.
While conceding that no eyewitnesses saw the Libyans plant the
bomb, the prosecutor said there was a surfeit of forensic and
circumstantial evidence which made their guilt irrefutable.
He said a circuit board fragment found in the aircraft wreckage
had been traced to deliveries of Swiss-made bomb detonators
arranged by Al-Megrahi for Libyan intelligence.
Al-Megrahi, a senior figure in the intelligence hierarchy, was
also identified as the man who purchased the clothing wrapped
around the bomb, the prosecutor said.
Fhimah, using his Luqa airport security pass, helped Al-Megrahi
smuggle explosives and obtain the baggage tags that routed the
suitcase through Frankfurt, Germany, to Flight 103 in London,
Campbell said.
According to the prosecutor, an entry in Fhimah's diary several
days before the bombing said: ``Take tags from Air Malta.'' Beside
it was the annotation: ``OK.''
The defendants' lawyers claim to have indications the bombing
was carried out by Palestinian terrorists believed responsible for
a series of attacks across northern Europe in the late 1980s.
Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine-General Command were among the first suspects in the
bombing after German police raided a hide-out several months before
the bombing.
The raid turned up several bombs that at first seemed to match
description of the Pan Am explosive. But Campbell said the
triggering mechanism was different and not as sophisticated.
``The components available to the PFLP-GC were of a quite
different variety,'' the prosecutor said. ``There's no evidence
that would raise a reasonable doubt'' about the Libyans' guilt.
Testimony wrapped up earlier than expected this week when
Al-Megrahi scrapped plans to testify in his own defense at the
specially-built courthouse at Camp Zeist, a former U.S. air base.
Since the trial began on May 3, prosecutors have called 232
witnesses, including investigators who presented evidence from a
massive trans-Atlantic murder probe which was aided by the opening
of former Eastern European secret police files.
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was on Flight 103, said families
of the victims had been counting on another two months of testimony
and were pleased that it would be over quickly.
``In our search for the truth, the question of the guilt or
innocence of these two accused men is a very significant
milestone,'' he said. ``We shall reach that milestone sooner than
we thought, so that's good news.''

 

Boeing 747 Electrically Caused Inadvertent Cargo Door Openings

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