Lockerbie, Libya and Lies

Even a quick review of the "evidence" that Scottish and U.S. prosecutors are said to have against the two Libyan nationals accused of bombing Pan Am flight 103 will reveal that something doesn't add up. The very fact that for almost two years after the plane exploded, Iran was considered the top suspect in the bombing should raise eyebrows. To this day, the U.S. is unable to give a cogent explanation as to how their investigation dramatically switched focus from Iran to Libya. But the loose ends don't end there.

The weakness in the case against the Libyan nationals is also obvious when one looks at the supposed outline of when and how the bomb- packed in an unidentified suitcase- got on the airplane in the first place. Prosecutors claim that the two Libyan nationals, by themselves, got the bomb on an Air Malta Flight (KM180) and placed tags on it that cleared it all the way through the United States via London and Frankfurt. But there is a problem with this scenario- there is no record of the suitcase at all and Air Malta keeps meticulously detailed records. Furthermore, how did the suitcase bomb pass unaccompanied through two aircraft changes- in Frankfurt, Germany, and London - without raising suspicions?

In regards to the planting of the bomb there is another peculiar detail to consider: the section of the plane where the bomb was said to have blown up was loaded in Frankfurt, Germany - who loaded the suitcase in question? This is significant because the group that was suspected initially as being responsible for the bombing is based in Frankfurt and has connections with Iran and Syria but no direct connections with Libya. To make matters even stranger, U.S. embassies had received warnings about terrorist attacks, including one that specifically mentioned a U.S. bound flight from Frankfurt, that was ignored.

Another major problem with the "case" against the Libyans is that the key piece of evidence against the Libyans - the alleged bomb timer- wasn't found until 18 months after the plane was down. The bomb timer fragments were found in the remains of a T-shirt some 80 miles from Lockerbie, Scotland. A man found the T-shirt in the woods and the T-shirt, upon examination, was said to have had a label from a shop in Sliema, a port town on the Mediterranean island of Malta.

The slivers of the timer, found in the T-shirt, were said to have led investigators to a Swiss man named Edwin Bollier whose company, Mebo Telecommunications, made electronic timers. Bollier told Scottish investigators and the FBI that the two fragments of electronic circuit board found in the T-shirt came from a timer he sold the Libyan government. But just last week, Bollier said he had made the identification strictly from photographs. When he did see the actual piece of evidence in September, nine years after his first identification, he said " these fragments were never part of our electronic equipment." He reportedly will say the same in the trial.

Another problem with the angle that the Libyans bought the timer in Switzerland is that the FBI agent who was most vocal about the Swiss-Libya timer connection was later charged with tampering with evidence in other cases. It is possible that the Libyans will make the case that the bomb timer evidence was planted.

As for the infamous T-shirt, the storeowner "believes" he sold it to some men that looked like they were from Libya. Remember, this is two years after the fact. How many storeowners remember whom they sold a T-shirt to two years ago? Difficult to believe, to say the least.

In any event, the case against the Libyans stands on very shaky ground and ultimately has to do more with international politics than with real evidence. The real aim of the entire Pan Am 103 case has been to isolate Muammar Gadhafi from the rest of the world. Simply based on evidence in an airplane explosion that is now being revealed as questionable at best. For over 11 years the case has hung over Libya and the families of the victims like a storm cloud but now with a day in court, some light can be shed on who really was responsible for what took place in Dec. of 1988. It may not be whom the world has thought for over a decade.

Cedric Muhammad

Wednesday, May 3, 2000