Al-Megrahi Was not the Lockerbie Bomber 37

As I have previously stated, I can affirm that the FCO and MI6 knew that al-Megrahi was not the Lockerbie bomber.

I strongly recommend that you read this devastating article by the great lawyer Gareth Peirce, in the London Review of Books. Virtually every paragraph provides information which in itself demolishes the conviction. The totality of the information Peirce gives is a quite stunning picture of not accidental but deliberate miscarriage of justice.

Here is an excerpt:

Thurman had made the Libyan connection, and its plausibility relied on the accuracy of his statement that the fragment of circuit board proved that it would have been possible for the unaccompanied bag to fly from Malta without the seemingly inevitable mid-air explosion. And thus it was that a witness from Switzerland, Edwin Bollier, the manufacturer of the MEBO circuit board, was called on to provide evidence that such boards had been sold exclusively to Libya. Bollier was described by al-Megrahi’s barrister in his closing speech as an ‘illegitimate arms dealer with morals to match’. The evidence he was clearly intended to provide had begun to unravel even before the trial began. Sales elsewhere in the world were discovered, Thurman did not appear at the trial, and the judges commented that Bollier’s evidence was ‘inconsistent’ and ‘self-contradictory’. Other witnesses, they found, had ‘openly lied to the court’. Despite all this al-Megrahi was convicted.

Bollier had been one of the most potentially dubious of many dubious witnesses for the prosecution. But Dr Kochler, the UN’s observer throughout the trial, recorded that Bollier had been ‘brusquely interrupted’ by the presiding judge when he attempted to raise the issue of the possible manipulation of the timer fragments. Could the MEBO board, or a part of one, have been planted in such a way that it could be conveniently ‘discovered’? After the trial, new evidence that would have been at the centre of al-Megrahi’s now abandoned appeal made this suggestion more credible: a Swiss electronics engineer called Ulrich Lumpert, formerly employed by Bollier’s firm, stated in an affidavit to Kochler that in 1989 he stole a ‘non-operational’ timing board from MEBO and handed it to ‘a person officially investigating in the Lockerbie case’. Bollier himself told Kochler that he was offered $4 million if he would connect the timer to Libya.

There were throughout two aspects of the investigation over which the Scottish authorities exerted little authority: in the US, the activities of the CIA and in particular of Thomas Thurman and the forensic branch of the FBI; in England, the forensic investigations of RARDE, carried out by Hayes and Feraday. Without Hayes’s findings, the Lockerbie prosecution would have been impossible. His evidence was that on 12 May 1989 he discovered and tweezed out from a remnant of cloth an electronic fragment, part of a circuit board. The remnant of cloth, part of a shirt collar, was then traced to a Maltese shop. A number of aspects of the original circuit board find were puzzling. The remnant was originally found in January 1989 by a DC Gilchrist and a DC McColm in the outer reaches of the area over which the bomb-blast debris was spread. It was labelled ‘cloth (charred)’ by him, but then overwritten as ‘debris’ even though the fragment of circuit board had not yet been ‘found’ by Hayes. The fragment found by Hayes, and identified as a MEBO circuit board by Thurman, meant that the thesis of an Air Malta involvement could survive.

Even if one knew nothing of the devastating findings of the public inquiry in the early 1990s into the false science that convicted the Maguire Seven or of the succession of thunderous judgments in the Court of Appeal in case after case in which RARDE scientists had provided the basis for wrongful convictions, Hayes’s key evidence in this case on the key fragment should be viewed as disgraceful. There is a basic necessity for evidential preservation in any criminal case: every inspection must be logged, chronology recorded, detail noted. But at every point in relation to this vital fragment that information was either missing or had been altered, although Hayes had made meticulous notes in respect of every single one of the hundreds of other exhibits he inspected in the Lockerbie investigation.

The entire article really should be read by anybody with any interest in British or US politics.

Thanks to David Rose.

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37 thoughts on “Al-Megrahi Was not the Lockerbie Bomber

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  • Strategist

    I suddenly feel like a plonker for posting about Thursday’s BBC Question Time here when there is a full Craig post and discussion thread on that exact issue directly preceding!

    I’d completely missed it. But I suppose it does show that independently I had been very struck by how disgraceful & bogus the QT panel consensus on “the Megrahi narrative” was.

  • faceit

    I strongly recommend you don’t wait another 20 years for the bandwagon to be in full swing before you express the same sentiments about those accused of the 7/7 bombings in London being Framed.

  • Charles Crawford


    On what basis do you ‘affirm’ (presuably on the basis of your former professional FCO experience) that “the FCO and MI6 knew that al-Megrahi was not the Lockerbie bomber”?

    Your posting of 8 September referred to possible intelligence reports to this effect, which you say you did not read. Anything else?

    Basically, this is a very serious claim for a former UK diplomat to make, and I wonder what hard evidence you have to back it up.

    Disclaimer: I never had access to any secret or other FCO/MI6 papers on all this story, so I have nothing to offer myself on the substance as seen from the ‘inside’.


  • Charles Crawford


    Haha, droll indeed.

    One of the merits of Craig’s site is that it is based on the long experience of someone who worked at the sharp end of many tough foreign policy issues, and so might be thought to have some extra authority in pronouncing on them. That seems to be one reason why Craig’s readers (such as you?) appreciate his writings – they trust his judgement.

    The fact nonetheless remains that some of the points Craig makes are ridiculous. As a former diplomatic colleague I am unimpressed when he uses his authority to make claims which (in my view) are bogus or hypocritical.

    My comment above was written in the hope of getting a clear answer on a huge policy issue. Craig ‘affirms’ that FCO/MI6 were not telling the truth. Has he seen any evidence for that? Or is it just a silly noise to play to the gallery? No answer as yet.

    I am surprised by your response. Is not attention to detail and accuracy just what Barnett and Associates offer their sensitive capitalist clients wanting to set up offshore tax arrangements as part of wider Global Justice?

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Nice reply Charles.

    Very diplomatic, if I may say so. Actually in my law practice I really do my best, and thanks for noticing.

    When you say,” … he uses his authority to make claims which (in my view) are bogus or hypocritical.

    My comment above was written in the hope of getting a clear answer on a huge policy issue. Craig ‘affirms’ that FCO/MI6 were not telling the truth. Has he seen any evidence for that?” there are two limbs we might consider.”

    I fail to see in light of the reasoned argument, facts as outlined, and all this in the face of the abandoned appeal ( which grounds can be read and carefully considered) that the claims made by Murray could be categorised as either bogus or hypocritical.

    On the second limb, it is for Murray to respond to the “huge policy issues”, while it can’t be in any serious doubt that FCO/MI6 have been known to lie. Recall the “Matrix Churchill case” Charles.

    Now, in all fairness, I did call you a wanker and got a rise out of you, but I never said that you were totally devoid of thought processes, just wrong on this one.

    Cheers mate!

  • porkylinda

    Carlyle Moulton asks “what of the bags of white powder scattered over a farmer’s field.” The answer is that this was a hoax created for “The Maltese Double Cross”. The farmer made no such claim. For Francovich and his acolytes evidence is sometimes the opposite of what people say.

    And of the two CIA operatives returning to “blow the whistle” on some drug scam. Who says they were? Some fabricator?

    I wsn’t aware of two CIA operatives on the flight. In view of the experience of Dr Fieldhouse and the fact Americans were seen flying what appeared to be a coffin into Longtown I doubt there were any! A CIA officer made $10US million from the “Libyan solution”. The “Drug Conspiracy” theory is, was and always has been a hoax.

    For the true story read “Lockerbie – Criminal Justice or War by Other Means” at

    p.s.Craig – I suggest you look more closely at five than six!

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