Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Jim Swire special guest at Dublin Arabic International Film Festival

We are pleased to announce that Dr Jim Swire has been invited as special guest to the 2014 Arabic Film Festival, to be held in Dublin May 8th to 11th.

Omar Sharif
DAFF is Ireland's first Arabic Film Festival, bringing screenings, special guests and Q&As from the best of independent Arabic Filmmaking.

A host of leading directors and stars includes Guest of Honour Omar Sharif (Dr Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia), Hany Abu-Hassad (Director, Oscar nominated best foreign language film 'Omar' and 'Paradise Now'), Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong'o (Twelve Years a Slave), leading Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch, and leading actress Nadine Labaki. 


President of the festival is renowned producer, writer and director Jim Sheridan ('In the Name of the Father', 'My Left Foot', 'The Boxer', 'In America', 'The Field').

Screenings, presentations and discussions are at The Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin. Click here for information about the Lighthouse.

More background information can be found at:
https://twitter.com/DAFF2014  and   https://www.facebook.com/DUblinArabicFilmFestival

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Final Appeal will reveal the truth

[With grateful thanks to Professor Robert Black, here is a comment sent by Dr Jim Swire to the Bangor Daily News in response to yesterday's article by Gwynne Dyer:]


Congratulations on a realistic article straddling the truth. My daughter Flora was murdered at Lockerbie, and since the Megrahi trial I have known that justice had been perverted by politics.


It is not however true that the case is closed. Within weeks I and certain other relatives will be requesting the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission for a further appeal against the verdict. 

Why? Partly because knowing him innocent, Megrahi became my friend, so I owe him that. 

And partly because routine Western subversion of justice by politics must be stopped. The Lockerbie trial verdict, peverse though it is, is being used as a weapon of choice by those who continue to obstruct our access to the truth. My daughter Flora would have wanted the truth known.

Any US relatives interested in joining in are welcome to get in touch.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Lost in Translation

The recent spate of articles by The Daily Telegraph, the Al-Jazeera documentary featured tonight (11th March 2014), and the world-wide ripple of internet journalists who repeat the story are timely and to be welcomed.

Unfortunately the two key prosecution claims on which the Lockerbie trial judges based their conviction of Baset al-Megrahi have become lost in translation. 

They are indeed mentioned by Al-Jazeera, but among the wide-ranging welter of allegations and evidence the public mind has inevitably become confused.

The two central prosecution claims were:

1. A fragment of timer board found in the depths of a Scottish forest proved that the bomb timer was purchased and used by Libya and Al-Megrahi. 

This was said to be part of an MST-13 timer sold in 1985 to Libya by Swiss supplier MEBO, and manufactured by Swiss production company Thuring.

2. The Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci spoke the truth when he identified Al-Megrahi as the purchaser of a set of clothes, some of which were found at the Lockerbie crash site.

With regard to ITEM 1, THE FRAGMENT:

Here are three photographs.

The first is of the fragment of timer circuit board said by the prosecution to have been found at Lockerbie, and which they claimed proved that Libya and al-Megrahi were guilty.



Photographs two and three are of annotations written by Allen Feraday, the forensic officer on whose forensic report that verdict of Guilty was founded.

Photograph two is of his note dated 1st August 1991 concerning the above fragment. The words are "Plating on the two thin lines is of pure tin (Cu [copper] breaking through from underneath) Alan F.)"



The third photograph is his note on the same day concerning a set of circuit boards sent to him for comparison by the Swiss company Thuring. He writes: "Tinning on the thin tracks is of 70/30 sn/pb [tin/lead]. However this may be dipped or roller tinned on top of either the Cu tracks? or the Cu tracks with a layer of pure tin? Alan F." [Thuring made all their boards using a protective coating of 70/30 percent alloy of tin/lead].



There is a clear metallurgical difference between the two items. The first note recorded a coating of pure tin. The second note records an alloy of 70/30 percent tin/lead. Feraday is puzzled as to why, hence his two questions.

But did he mention this difference and his questions and doubts to the judges?

No. He stated with absolute certainty: 

“The particular tracking pattern of the fragment has been extensively compared with the control samples of the [Thuring] MST-13 timers and circuit boards and it has been conclusively established that the fragment materials and tracking pattern are similar in all respects to the area around the connection pad for the output relay of the `MST-13' timer.” 

"Conclusively established ... materials and tracking pattern similar in all respects ..." Ten simple words. Yet on this false statement a man was condemned to a lifetime of imprisonment.  

What was the origin of the Lockerbie fragment? Who made it, where and when? It clearly did not come from Thuring and was not from the batch sold to Libya in 1985. Whatever its origin, it contradicts a central feature of the prosecution case.  

ITEM 2, THE MALTESE SHOPKEEPER:

During the trial the chief police investigator Harry Bell was briefly asked about his police notebook. Unfortunately he had not brought it with him, it was in his office somewhere in Glasgow.

But no-one, neither the judges nor the defence team, thought to ask him to go and get it.

What they did not know was that among all the hand-written entries which Bell made in that notebook was proof that the Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci had been, throughout the two-year police investigation, secretly pressing for a multi-million dollar deal with the US Department of Justice. 

Within a month of the commencement of the investigation the US wrote to Bell, describing it as "unlimited monies, with $10,000 available immediately"

And what must Gauci do to receive these unlimited monies? In the words of the US Department of Justice, "only if he gives evidence". 

What was not said, but was clear from the DoJ letter and context of Gauci's demands, was that the "evidence" had to result in the conviction of al-Megrahi, or there would be no reward.

And so the judges, totally unaware of this massive financial incentive, believed the shopkeeper. He was, in their eyes, confused but trustworthy without any ulterior motive. So trustworthy that on his word and his alone, an accused man could be sent to prison for life.

THE STONEWALL CONTINUES

The Scottish Police continue to ignore the above information and the scientific experiments and protocols which led to the revelations. 

They refuse to interview reputable and highly qualified scientists who carried out those experiments. They refuse even to look at the data and results. 

Even more troubling for the bereaved relatives is that they refuse to talk to Thuring about the production processes  used to create the MST-13 timers. This is in spite of their continuing contacts with the company during the original investigation spanning the years 1989-1991.

They claim that to talk to such witnesses or examine the scientific data or manufacturing processes would "interfere" with their ongoing investigations in Libya. 

They have repeated this claim for more than two years since the information was first made public in February 2012. They have repeatedly refused to explain the nature of such "interference".

Meanwhile the Scottish Crown Office repeatedly supports the police obfuscation by pronouncing that the above can only be considered in a court of law.  

Here are the pictures and facts. Please judge for yourself.   

Monday, 10 February 2014

Searching, searching, searching...

The long promised newly appointed prosecutors of the Libyan regime should beware any further "evidence" that might be discovered, and be well advised to consider the US track record in such matters. 

Here is an extract from the history forming the background to the still on-going manipulation of Middle Eastern nations by Western powers. The name of the person central to the Lockerbie investigation is redacted.


"The date of the finding of the Hayes green fragment lay well within the time frame of *******'s career with the CIA. And in the eventual trial of the two Libyan suspects, evidence given by DEA agent Louis Sherrow would prove that at the time of the Lockerbie bombing, the CIA had in their possession at least one identical MST-13 timer brought from Africa. 

Furthermore, the publication of a set of declassified White House Emails would reveal *****’s long list of covert activities in the case of the Iran-Contra campaign. He would also be proved to have worked alongside colleagues for whom the creation of false trails and even the manufacture of evidence was an understood tactic.

An example of this is contained in a secret email written on 30th January 1986 by career navy officer James Stark, at that time attached to the National Security Council, and a working colleague of *******. The email was addressed to Admiral John Poindexter and to Howard Teicher, also working colleagues of *******. Stark looked at opportunities that had popped up in connection with destabilising the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY).  The subject of the memo was "PDRY Opportunities".

First, the objective should be to deter those Middle Eastern states who might be willing to run with the Soviet Union and give them cause to think again.  "The Soviet role in the PDRY coup attempt and subsequent fighting has given us an excellent opportunity to play up and exploit heightened awareness of the dangers of involvement with the Soviet Union among a number of Middle Eastern States."  This might be done, explained Stark, by "A straight propaganda effort to trumpet Soviet duplicity and its attempts to undermine efforts of states friendly to Hassani trying to provide him assistance."

If this was not appropriate, then, "a carefully managed disinformation campaign to convince PDRY's neighbours that the Soviets knew of and promoted the rebels from the beginning.  This could be combined with indications of similar ominous Soviet activities in each of the target states. 

Given the nature of the Soviets, we ought to be able to find a great deal of actual evidence, which can simply be artfully exploited, and may thus completely avoid the more dangerous course of altering or manufacturing evidence." [1] 

Thus the truth.  We don't need altered or manufactured evidence on this occasion. But if we have to, we will. 

And then the final touch, a question to Howard Teicher: "Howard, are you aware of any effort by State [the State Department], USIA [US Intelligence Agency] or CIA to focus on this? If not, I think JMP [John Poindexter] ought to raise it at a family group luncheon." (Our brackets).



[1] White House Email. 1995. Published by National Security Archive of America, Ed. Tom Blanton."

ENDS




Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Green Green Grass of Libya

It is now two years and two months since Gaddafi was slaughtered by Libyan rebel forces. 

Since that day, formerly secret files held in Gaddafi's compound and state security offices have been pored over by the CIA, FBI and British MI6. 

All were, and still are, studying the actions of Gaddafi's regime and his state security services headed by Moussa Koussa.

Focusing on Lockerbie, retiring FBI Chief Robert Mueller confirmed yesterday: "We have FBI agents working full-time to track down every lead, as we have since it occurred 25 years ago." 

Gaddafi's files were readily available at the end of the Libyan conflict. For example, Human Rights Watch trawled through them more than a year ago to reveal Gaddafi's brutal regime of imprisonment and torture. 

(We invite you to study the HRW report and its link to documents sent to Libya by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. In particular one listing the redacted names of seven CIA agents based in a CIA station set up in Libya in 2004. The documents include a shocking record of renditions, international agreements and flights, and the use of Guantanamo facilities to "interview" Libyan nationals regarded as enemies of the Gaddafi regime. One document describes arrangements for the rendition of Sami Al-Sadi, his heavily pregnant wife, and their four children. They were kidnapped in Thailand and flown to Libya via Hong Kong in a CIA-commissioned jet. The CIA carried out the operation with the assistance of Britain's MI6, and the operation was signed off by the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The husband was imprisoned and tortured by Gaddafi's agents. An out-of-court settlement of £2.2m paid by the British government has been secretly agreed. In another case, that of Abdel Belhaj, an attempt to sue MI6 and Jack Straw has been thrown out by a British Secret Court on the grounds that to pursue the action would (in the words of the judge) "damage the security relationship between Britain and the United States".)

As for Lockerbie, we might also ask what, throughout these two years, has emerged by way of evidence regarding the Lockerbie bombing of December 21st 1988?

If evidence had been found to add to the prosecution case surely the intelligence services would have made it public by one means or another?

And yet they have remained silent. It is therefore a fair conclusion that they have so far found nothing.

For the Scottish Crown Office, however, this is not enough. They persist in pure hope, hope that something, just something, might possibly, hopefully emerge to justify their denial of the truth:-

Namely:

1. The key forensic witness in the Lockerbie trial, Allen Feraday, gave false evidence about the fragment of bomb timer said to have been found at Lockerbie, and 

2. The only identification witness, Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, had secretly badgered the US and Scottish police throughout a two year investigation, for the US offer of "unlimited monies" in exchange for his evidence.

Whatever might be discovered by further searches in Libya, one thing is clear: it is not enough to record "witness statements". The Lockerbie trial record is littered with dozens of such, all regarded by the judges as mere hearsay.

What justice requires is hard facts.  And these, in the conviction of Al-Megrahi, have proved to be non-existent. 

The Scottish Crown tactics are now clear. They possess a cruel and cynical strategy of delay. And by such delay a belief that campaigners who wish to find the truth of Lockerbie will soon be dead or infirm.

They have pursued this strategy over the thirteen years that have elapsed since the trial. A further five or ten years would be an easy achievement. 

Their latest move is to negotiate with Libya for the appointment of "two Lockerbie investigators", in the hope that something might turn up. 

We quote: "Scottish investigators have said they hoped the Libyan revolution, which deposed Col Muammar Gaddafi in August 2011, would open up new lines of inquiry."

So, for the Americans and the Scottish Crown Office it's all a matter of hope. Or is it, as many are now beginning to believe, a cynical attempt to kick the ball once again into the green green grass of Libya?

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Nelson Mandela and Baset Al-Megrahi

At long last the mainstream media are discovering the significance of the visit by Mandela in June 2002 to comfort Al-Megrahi in his Glasgow prison cell.

Mandela was a major influence in the setting up of the Lockerbie trial, the agreement by Libya to transfer the two suspects to the Lockerbie trial court in Kamp Zeist, and - unknown to many at the time - in pressing for a second appeal so that Al-Megrahi's innocence could be demonstrated in a court of law.  

As an expert lawyer Mandela was aware of the prosecution case and the evidence submitted, and believed that Al-Megrahi had suffered a deep wrong at the hands of the intelligence services of several governments.

A full account of Mandela's visit to see Al-Megrahi, including a privately taken family photo of the two together and a photo of the hand-written inscription by Mandela, is contained in John Ashton's book MEGRAHI, YOU ARE MY JURY: THE LOCKERBIE EVIDENCE (2012 - Birlinn).

The details of the visit, together with the two photos, can be read here. (Please scroll down one or two blogs that have been recorded since they were published on the blogsite).

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

If a Picture Paints a Thousand Words...

The opening line of the famous song by David Gates holds a lesson for us all. 

Here are three photographs.

The first is of the fragment of timer circuit board said by the prosecution to have been found at Lockerbie. 


Photographs two and three are of annotations written by Allen Feraday, the forensic officer on whose forensic report the Lockerbie verdict of Guilty was founded.

Photograph two is of his note dated 1st August 1991 concerning the above fragment. The words are "Plating on the two thin lines is of pure tin (Cu [copper] breaking through from underneath. Alan F.)"


The third is of his note on the same day concerning a set of circuit boards sent to him for comparison by the Swiss company Thuring. The words are "Tinning on the thin tracks is of 70/30 sn/pb [tin/lead]. However this may be dipped or roller tinned on top of either the Cu tracks? or the Cu tracks with a layer of pure tin? Alan F."


There is a clear metallurgical difference between the two items. Feraday indicates some puzzlement as to why this may be the case, hence his two question marks.

But did he draw this difference and his two questions to the attention of the judges in the Lockerbie trial?

No. He stated with absolute certainty: 

“The particular tracking pattern of the fragment has been extensively compared with the control samples of the [Thuring] MST-13 timers and circuit boards and it has been conclusively established that the fragment materials and tracking pattern are similar in all respects to the area around the connection pad for the output relay of the `MST-13' timer.” 

"Conclusively established ... materials and tracking pattern similar in all respects ..." Ten simple words. Yet on this false statement a man was condemned to a lifetime of imprisonment.  

What was the origin of the Lockerbie fragment? Who made it, where and when? It clearly did not come from Thuring and was not from the batch sold to Libya in 1985. Whatever its origin, it contradicts the unique central feature of the prosecution case. 

The Scottish Crown Office continues to stonewall the nation and Scottish Government by pronouncing that this evidence can only be considered in a court of law.  Well, here are the pictures. Please judge for yourself.