Former Libyan political prisoner Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Seif al-Islam speaking on national television after Abdel's release from a Scottish prison. The US administration has made political attacks on Libya in the aftermath of his return., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Don’t blame Libya for the Lockerbie bombing
By Stephen Millies
Published Oct 26, 2011 4:14 PM
Two hundred seventy people were killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988. For 20 years Libya and its lynched leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, have been blamed for this great crime.
Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chair of the “National Transitional Council” of Libya, told the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Feb. 22 that he could prove Col. Gadhafi personally ordered the bombing.
That was eight months ago. Where’s the proof?
Were Libya and Gadhafi guilty? Jim Swire, an English doctor whose 24-year-old daughter died in the bombing, doesn’t think so.
He visited Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in a Scottish jail. The former head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines was convicted in 2001 of 270 counts of murder.
His co-defendant, Lamin Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted, despite prosecutors claiming that Megrahi couldn’t have planted the bomb without Fhimah’s assistance.
They were tried in a special court convened in the Netherlands, but with three Scottish judges.
The trial was a frame-up. One of the prosecution’s star witnesses, Ulrich Lumpert — who testified about the timer used in the bomb — admitted he lied. (The Herald, Scotland, Sept. 5, 2007)
Even the official who drew up the indictments against the two Libyans, Lord Peter Fraser, doubted the testimony of Tony Gauci, a crucial prosecution witness. (London Sunday Times, Oct. 23, 2005) Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper who allegedly sold clothes that were in a suitcase with the bomb, was offered a 2-million-pound “award” for his testimony. (The Guardian, Oct. 2, 2007)
After Megrahi’ s conviction was upheld on appeal, Austrian philosophy professor Dr. Hans Koechler called this ruling a “spectacular miscarriage of justice.” (BBC News, March 14, 2002) Koechler was one of five official observers appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Where’s the motive?
There was no motive for Libya to blow up the Pan Am plane. But there was certainly a motive for the apartheid regime that was then ruling South Africa.
At the end of 1988, the apartheid system was in a crisis. One general strike after another was shaking the fascist state. The African National Congress, the Communist Party and the unions were making the country ungovernable.
The South African army was crumbling. Earlier that year it had been decisively defeated by Angolan and Cuban forces at Cuito Cuanavale in southern Angola. White, draft-age men were fleeing South Africa.
The most unyielding elements in South Africa’s military and police didn’t want to concede power to the country’s Black majority.
In a similar situation, when the French colonialists were being kicked out of Algeria, a section of the French military rebelled. They formed the terrorist Secret Army Organization (OAS), which attempted to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle for recognizing Algerian independence.
Any genuine investigation of an aircraft bombing should start with who was killed. Among the 270 victims on the Pan Am flight was Bernt Carlsson, the U.N. commissioner for Namibia.
After a long, armed struggle waged by SWAPO, led by Sam Njomo, Namibia was on the verge of winning independence from South Africa. Carlsson was flying to New York to sign the independence accords. Namibia’s freedom would mean that the apartheid regime in South Africa would have to go, too.
Interestingly, South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha and other apartheid officials who were supposed to fly with Carlsson on Flight 103 either changed their flights or stayed in London.
Don’t blame Iran, either
If apartheid diehards were responsible for blowing up the Pan Am plane, the conspirators probably figured that Iran would be blamed for it.
A civilian plane, Iran Air Flight 655, had been blown out of the skies on July 3, 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, by a missile launched by the U.S. Navy ship Vincennes. Among the 290 passengers who died were 66 children.
This terrorist act effectively ended the Iran-Iraq war. Although it paid $61.8 million in compensation, the U.S. government still refuses to apologize for this crime.
If the U.S claimed that Iran took revenge by bombing Pan Am Flight 103, South Africa would be needed in a new war. Apartheid might be given a new lease on life.
But the first Bush administration that was coming into office already had made its plans to invade Iraq. Libya served as an alternative scapegoat.
One of the biggest blows to apartheid was when Iranian workers stopped oil shipments to South Africa, which had previously gotten 60 percent of its petroleum from Iran.
We need to know the truth about who bombed Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist crimes. But don’t expect any help from the terrorists in the CIA and Pentagon.
Seventy-eight people died when Cubana Flight 455 was blown up on Oct. 6, 1976, by CIA assets Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada. This was retaliation for Cuba coming to Angola’s aid after the newly independent country had been invaded by South Africa.
Bosch, who died this April 27, was pardoned by the senior President George Bush in 1990. Posada still lives in Miami.
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