America's Unfree Press and Lockerbie
by DCDave

Americans were the primary victims of the bombing of Pan Am 103, and it is clear that Americans were the main intended target. Yet reporting of news such as the following in the United States has been virtually non-existent. One can hardly find a better example of the Pravda-like nature of the American news media than one will find in the Lockerbie case. And we are not just talking about newspapers, radio, and TV, either. From the moment of the disaster, our magazines, from the Nation to the American Spectator and everything in between have either taken a vow of silence on Lockerbie or they have merely parroted the government line of the moment.

These reports from The Telegraph of London are presented not because they represent the last word on the December, 1988, bombing of Pan Am 103. After all, except for the last one, they themselves are several years old. Rather, they are provided to readers as examples of the sort of information that the public would need for them to begin to formulate a reasonably informed opinion about the Lockerbie tragedy. It is valuable information that has been systematically kept away from the American public. The American public has been presented, instead, with the government's conclusions that the two Libyans charged with the crime are guilty, and the only misgivings the press has shown is either that Mohamar Gaddafi himself has not been captured and in the dock like Manuel Noriega or that we did not launch a military assault against Libya.

If all the newspapers and other media were really just paid propaganda organs of the government, one must ask himself how they would have behaved any differently than they have in this case.

Con Coughlin
The Sunday Telegraph (London)
January 22, 1995, p. A1

Germany frees key Lockerbie suspect

A political storm is set to break this week with the revelation that Germany has freed a key suspect in the Lockerbie bombing as part of a secret deal negotiated with Iran.

The release of Abdel Ghadanfar, 53, a Syrian-born Palestinian, jailed in Frankfurt for 12 years in 1991 on terrorism charges has also provoked fierce protests from relatives of 270 passengers who died in the attack.

Scottish detectives investigating the bombing of Pan Am 103 regard Ghadanfar as a prime suspect. His release on November 9 last year was conducted in total secrecy.

Ghadanfar was one of two Palestinian terrorists jailed in Germany for terrorism offences after they were arrested in Frankfurt in October 1988, two months before the Lockerbie bombing.

At the time of their arrest, together with 12 other Palestinians, the German authorities recovered bomb-making equipment similar to that used to blow up the Pan-Am jumbo.

Scottish detectives investigating the disaster were convinced Ghadanfar and Hafez Dalkamoni, his accomplice who was jailed for 15 years, knew vital information about the bombing.

Attempts by Scottish detectives to interview them were frustrated by the Germans who were afraid they might provide details about German security lapses which allowed the suitcase bomb to be placed on the jumbo jet at Frankfurt airport.

By deporting Ghadanfar to Syria, the Germans have effectively blocked an important line of inquiry for the Lockerbie investigators.

Officials close to the Lockerbie inquiry also fear the Germans are paving the way for the release of Dalkamoni later this year.

Dr. Jim Swire, spokesman for the relatives of the Lockerbie victims, whose 23-year-old daughter, Flora, was killed in the disaster, said: "We are horrified that the German authorities have released this man before the investigating authorities have had a proper opportunity to interview him."

Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow, said he would raise the issue of Ghadanfar's release with Mr. Major later this week.

"This makes a complete mockery of the Scottish inquiry," he said.

Con Coughlin
The Sunday Telegraph (London)
January 22, 1995, p. 20

Fury in Britain as Bonn bows to Iran

Freedom for Lockerbie bombing suspect will fan diplomatic row

The decision by the German authorities to release Abdel Ghadanfar, a prime suspect in the Lockerbie bombing, is likely to provoke a fresh diplomatic row over Bonn's controversial relationship with Iran.

While London and Washington have been in the vanguard of international efforts to maintain Iran's isolation as a pariah state, Bonn has pursued a more duplicitous policy.

Tempted by the prospect of securing lucrative contracts to rebuild Iran's economic infrastructure, the Germans have ignored the wilder excesses of the Iranian regime while nurturing cordial diplomatic relations.

Both Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, and Warren Christopher, his American counterpart, have openly denounced Germany's courtship of Iran. Mr. Hurd was particularly incensed when the Germans invited Ali Fallahian, the head of Iran's intelligence services, to meet Bernd Schmidbauer, his German opposite number, in late 1993. Mr. Fallahian was given a guided tour of the German intelligence headquarters at Wiesbaden.

After the visit is was revealed that Germany had signed a deal to supply Iran with sophisticated spying equipment, including computers and software designed to keep track of dissidents both at home and abroad. Iran was also allowed to set up an intelligence centre in Bonn with the connivance of the German government to monitor Iranian dissidents.

German enthusiasm for co-operating with Iran almost culminated, towards the end of last year, with Bonn agreeing to construct two nuclear reactors at the Gulf port of Bushire. It was only after intense pressure was brought to bear by Washington that the Germans relented and cancelled the contract.

But the Germans have not escaped the wrath of the more extreme elements within the Iranian regime. German businessmen were among the scores of Westerners held hostage in Lebanon during the 1980s by Iranian-backed Islamic terrorists.

Towards the end of the hostage crisis in 1991, the German authorities explored with Iran the possibility of secretly releasing Ghadanfar and Hafez Dalkamoni, his accomplice, in return for the release of two German businessmen held in Lebanon.

Another mystery which remains unresolved concerns the murders last summer of a German intelligence officer and his wife. Silvian Becker, the head of Germany's international terrorism branch who was involved in the Lockerbie investigation, and his wife were attacked in the coastal city of Sirte two days after entering Libya in a Land Rover from Tunisia.

They were taken to a Tripoli hospital where Mr. Becker died, several days after his wife. German intelligence officers are forbidden to visit Libya and their presence in the country, and their subsequent murders has never been satisfactorily explained.

When Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran's foreign minister, paid a visit to Bonn last summer the Germans asked for his assistance in securing the release of a German engineer who had been sentenced to death for spying in 1989. Mr. Velayati agreed to help so long as the Germans were prepared to be sympathetic to the cases of both Ghadanfar and Dalkamoni.

Within months of Mr. Velayati's return to Tehran the German engineer, Helmut Szimkus, 58, was freed.

A further two months passed before Ghadanfar was released from jail in Frankfurt, where he had served just three years of a 12-year sentence, and deported to Syria.

By secretly shipping Ghadanfar back to Syria, the Germans also hope that they will be able to protect themselves from any further embarrassing questions about lapses in German security prior to the Lockerbie bombing.

Ghadanfar, together with Dalkamoni, was one of 14 Palestinian terrorist suspects who were rounded up by the German security services two months before Lockerbie.

During the arrests the Germans found bomb-making equipment almost identical to that used to bomb Pan-Am 103.

But despite displaying the bomb equipment before an international conference of detectives, the Germans freed all the suspects except Ghadanfar and Dalkamoni, who were charged with attempting to blow up an American military train.

Scottish detectives who have spent the past six years investigating Lockerbie are convinced that one of the 12 Palestinians freed by the Germans helped to construct the bomb that killed 270 people in December 1988. But the Germans have never allowed the Scottish detectives to question either Ghadanfar or Dalkamoni about the Lockerbie bombing.

Con Coughlin
The Sunday Telegraph (London)
January 29, 1995

Lockerbie: the key confession I set up terror ring, Iran's agent admitted

A Palestinian terrorist arrested by German police weeks before the Lockerbie disaster confessed that he had set up a terrorist ring plotting to bomb key targets in Europe.

In his confession, obtained exclusively by The Sunday Telegraph, Abdel Ghadanfar named Marwan Khreesat, a Jordanian arrested with him, as the group's specialist bomb maker.

When Khreesat was arrested, police found on him two barometric detonators of the type that set off the bomb which destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988, claiming 270 lives.

But despite the confession and the find, German police released Khreesat, a key figure in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Two months later the Lockerbie bomb went off. Khreesat is now widely regarded as the prime suspect.

Ghadanfar's confession, made in October 1988, proves conclusively that an Iranian-funded Palestinian group was planning a terrorist attack in Frankfurt in the weeks before Lockerbie. It also undermines the British Government's contention that the bomb was planted by two Libyan intelligence officers in Malta.

Ghadanfar was one of 14 Palestinians arrested in Germany. He was jailed for 12 years in 1991 for terrorist offences but released last November as part of a secret deal negotiated between Bonn and Teheran.

Scottish detectives investigating Lockerbie were keen to interview Syrian-born Ghadanfar, 53, a key figure in the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). But he was released before detectives could question him about his activities in Frankfurt before the bombing.

Publication of his confession will add to the mounting controversy over the Government's handling of the Lockerbie disaster. Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, responding to parliamentary pressure, will take the unprecedented step of replying to an adjournment debate on Wednesday which was arranged in response to last week's revelation in The Sunday Telegraph that Ghadanfar had been released. Normally adjournment debates are attended by junior ministers. During the debate, which will be attended by relatives of the Lockerbie victims, Mr. Hurd will be pressed to set up a commission of in inquiry with powers to investigate all aspects of the disaster.

According to the confession made by Ghadanfar to German officials, he was sent to Frankfurt to set up a safe house to be used by PFLP members to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe.

Ghadanfar took his orders from Hafez Dalkamoni, a convicted Palestinian terrorist who was jailed for 15 years at the same time as Ghadanfar for bombing an American military train.

Ghadanfar and Dalkamoni were the only two of the 14 Palestinians arrested by the German authorities to be tried. The other 12 were released, together with the bomb-making equipment, because a federal judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to press charges.

Among those released was Khreesat, a Jordanian intelligence official and a known bomb-maker. He was staying with Dalkamoni at Ghadanfar's flat at the time of the arrest.

Dalkamoni and Khreesat were arrested after German police conducted an undercover surveillance operation, in which they filmed the two men buying electronic devices. They were arrested while riving a car. In the back the Germans found a primed bomb similar to the one used to blow up Pan An 103.

In his confession Ghadanfar, who was travelling on a false British passport under the name Ronald Bartle, from Bedruth, says all the weapons in the flat were kept in a suitcase under the bed, another suitcase in the cupboard and a side-compartment of the living-room cupboard. He says that Dalkamoni was in Germany in October 1988 to prepare a new attack there, although he does not specify the nature of the attack. Dalkamoni was soon joined by Khreesat.

"There he [Dalkamoni] also looked after the accused Khreesat. The latter had the job of constructing explosive devices."

When police raided Ghadanfar's flat they found an array of bomb-making equipment, including several alarm clocks, timing devices and 5.1 kilos of Semtex. They also found hand grenades and machine-guns.

This was on top of the one kilo of explosives they found in Dalkamoni's car, as well as a radio-recorder modified to house a 300 gram bomb.

"The radios were brought from the [PFLP] military department," Ghadanfar says in his confession. "They were already prepared. It only remained for the explosives to be put in. That was the job of Mr. Khreesat...who brought these devices [into the country].

"The radios were prepared for two explosions. In each device there were two air pressure measurers [barometric detonators] and four small batteries. I am no specialist in explosives. The specialist was Mr. Khreesat."

Following Ghadanfar's repatriation to Syria, and with the Germans planning to release Dalkamoni this summer, vital questions about the role Frankfurt played in the bombing may now never be answered.

Dr. Jim Swire, spokesman for relatives of the Lockerbie victims, said Ghadanfar's confession demonstrated there was a pressing need for the Government to establish a commission of inquiry.

Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP for Linlithgow, who has arranged Wednesday's parliamentary debate, said he was now convinced there been a Government cover-up over Lockerbie.

The Sunday Telegraph (London)
January 29, 1995
Con Coughlin, author

Lockerbie: Cracks in the Cover-up

Within hours of Pan Am flight 103 devastating the Scottish border village of Lockerbie in December 1988, a team of American secret agents was methodically working its way through the crash site.

By the following morning a small area on the outskirts of the town had been sealed off. The Americans removed a suitcase full of heroin and some incriminating documents from a US undercover agent, who died in the crash and was taking part in a "sting" drug smuggling operation in Lebanon.

Two months prior to Lockerbie, the worst civilian atrocity committed on British soil since the last war, the German security services had rounded up a Palestinian terrorist cell in Frankfurt.

The ringleaders of the cell, sent to Germany to conduct terrorist operations, were caught red-handed. A primed bomb, almost identical to the one which destroyed the Pan Am flight, was found in the back of their car.

After five days of questioning, and following a bitter dispute between rival German security agencies, 12 of the 14 Palestinians arrested were released in October 1988, together with their bomb-making equipment.

One of those released, Marwan Khreesat, a known Jordanian bomb-maker, is believed by many experts on the case, with the key exceptions of American and British officialdom, to be the man who masterminded the placing of the bomb on the Pan Am flight at Frankfurt airport, which resulted in the murder of 270 people.

This is not idle supposition. These are the conclusions that have been reached following numerous, exhaustive inquiries which have sought to establish the truth about the disaster.

But tell any of the above to the governments responsible for bringing the culprits to justice and they will respond either with an outright denial or sullen silence.

Far from actively seeking the truth about Lockerbie, the British, German and American governments appear to engage in a contest to deny any new evidence about the disaster.

Take last week. A top secret report, compiled by the intelligence wing of the American Air Force, was finally made public.

The report, written TWO YEARS after the Lockerbie bombing, stated that a prominent Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Mohatshemi, paid 6.5 million pounds for the Palestinian group arrested in Frankfurt to carry out the bombing.

No sooner had the report been made public than the respective spokesmen for the British and American governments denied its authenticity.

In Washington, it was dismissed as a "dud," the result of third-hand information which had been "mistakenly" channelled into the system. In Whitehall it was discounted as "old hat," nothing to get excited about.

At no point did any of the various agencies involved in the Lockerbie investigation suggest the American report might be worthy of further attention.

The primary objective of any murder inquiry is to establish a motive. The Iranians had more than enough reason to bomb an American passenger jet after an Iranian Airbus, with 290 people on board, was shot down by an American warship in the Gulf in the summer of 1988.

The Americans never apologised, and Mrs. Thatcher inflamed Iranian ire by appearing to justify the American action. Mohtashemi, who founded the Islamic fundamentalist Hizbollah militia in Lebanon in the 1980s and masterminded the Lebanon hostage crisis, openly vowed to seek revenge.

That Mohtashemi has a record of sponsoring state terrorism should in itself be reason enough to investigate him. To claim that allegations of the nature contained in the US report were published by mistake is also stretching the bounds of credibility. Intelligence services, more than any other government department, are required to sift, assess and analyse information before it is committed to print. Whenever it relates to Lockerbie, however, this process, if the spokesmen are to be believed, is unaccountably overlooked. A more rigorous intelligence assessment is applied only when the information, belatedly and often with embarrassing consequences, becomes public.

The German government responded in a similar vein last week when The Sunday Telegraph revealed that a key figure in the Lockerbie investigation had been freed from jail in Frankfurt and repatriated to Syria as part of a secret deal with Iran.

Scottish detectives were keen to interview Abdel Ghadanfar, 53, one of the Palestinians rounded up in Frankfurt before the Lockerbie bombing and jailed for 12 years for terrorist offences. But Ghadanfar was spirited out of Germany last November before the Scottish inquiry team received satisfactory answers to the questions they wanted to put to him.

The first the Scottish inquiry team, not to mention the Foreign Office and the British Government, knew about Ghadanfar's release was when they read about it in The Sunday Telegraph last week. So much for the vaunted international cooperation on Lockerbie.

And as Ghadanfar's confession to the German authorities, published for the first time today, has revealed, Ghadanfar and his accomplice, Hafez Dalkamoni, were deeply involved with Khreesat in setting up a bomb-making ring in Frankfurt in the months immediately preceding the Lockerbie disaster.

Despite the protestations of the German Embassy in London (Letters, Page 24) that its government has done nothing wrong, these revelations show that the Germans, for reasons that remain totally inexplicable to the victims' relatives, set free an active, bomb-making terrorist cell.

It is not difficult to understand why the Germans would prefer to keep their security limitations to themselves. Their discomfort will be alleviated if they are successful in repatriating Dalkamoni, Ghadanfar's sole remaining accomplice, in the summer. Then no one will ever know the real truth about what happened in Frankfurt.

What is more difficult to explain is why both the British and American governments continue, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, to persist with their line that culpability for the disaster should rest entirely with two Libyans.

Warrants were served for the arrest of the Libyans, both members of Col Gaddafi's intelligence service, in 1991 after Scottish and American investigators jointly concluded that they were involved in placing a suitcase bomb on a flight from Malta, which was subsequently transferred to Pan Am 103 at Frankfurt.

Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, said shortly after the charges were initially made: "The investigation has revealed no evidence to support suggestions of involvement by other countries. This matter does not, therefore, affect our relations with other countries in the region.

This is a highly convenient excuse for the Government. The fact that the Libyan charges are still pending means that all those involved in Scotland in the inquiry are unable to make any comment about new developments.

So when Sir Teddy Taylor, the Conservative MP for Southend, says he has "new and disturbing" information that the bombing was carried out by Syrian, not Libyan, terrorists, there is no official response.

And when Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP from Linlithgow, produces evidence that the Americans actually "stole" a body from the Lockerbie wreckage, all he receives are gratuitous insults from Douglas Hogg, Mr. Hurd's lieutenant at the Foreign Office, when he raises the matter in the Commons.

There are many reason why the British and Americans have sought to protect both Syria and Iran from being implicated in Lockerbie. First there was the fate of the Western hostages held in Lebanon; then there was the need to keep Damascus and Teheran sweet during the Gulf war.

The warrants against the two Libyans were served after Iran and Syria had cooperated with the successful liberation of Kuwait. But as new evidence, which seriously undermines both the Libyan and Maltese connections, continues to mount, the Government is under pressure to set up a commission of inquiry, with the same wide-ranging scope as the Scott Inquiry, to investigate Lockerbie. This, the relatives of the victims argue, is the very least they deserve.

They want to know, for example, precisely what the American secret agents did at Lockerbie the day after the crash and to have explained the true extent of the communication between the German and Scottish authorities.

Dr. Jim Swire, the official spokesman for the relatives of the Lockerbie victims, said: "It is more than six years since Lockerbie, and we still have not received a proper explanation about what happened.

"Our lives were ruined by what happened that night, and our government has the duty to tell us why these innocent people died."

The Telegraph
February 17, 1997
US 'maltreating' spy who blew whistle on Lockerbie bomb
By Con Coughlin, Chief Foreign Correspondent

LOCKERBIE campaigners in Britain and America are voicing concern over the US authorities' treatment of a renegade American spy who claims there has been a massive international cover-up over the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103.

Lester Coleman, a former agent with the US Defence Intelligence Agency, provoked controversy on both sides of the Atlantic by claiming that the tragedy in which 270 people died was caused by an American drug "sting" operation in Lebanon that went badly wrong. He was serving in the Middle East at the time.

Mr Coleman and his family were forced to go into hiding in Europe after US intelligence chiefs ordered his arrest on charges of perjury. His supporters claim that the charges were brought because he had contradicted the official American view that Libya was responsible for the bombing.

But, after living in exile for six years and in failing health, Mr Coleman returned to the US at the end of last year intending to clear his name. He was arrested at Atlanta airport and has been held since at New York's Manhattan Detention Centre, which houses murderers, rapists and drug-dealers. Numerous bail applications have been rejected, even though he has been diagnosed as suffering from cancer and the charges he faces are relatively petty ones.

Vivian Shevitz, his defence lawyer, last week wrote to the judge responsible for the case, condemning as "an outrage" the medical treatment Mr Coleman has received since being remanded in custody. Miss Shevitz claims that Mr Coleman, now in his sixties, has been denied proper medical care since being returned to jail a few days after undergoing surgery.

"The way the authorities are treating Coleman is a total overreaction," she said. "There is no justification for treating him like this. It suggests the authorities are afraid of something, and want to keep him quiet."

Dr Jim Swire, the spokesman for British relatives of the Lockerbie victims, said he was disturbed at how the US authorities were handling the case. "The gross maltreatment of Coleman by the American authorities appears to fit a pattern of the victimisation of people who challenge the official version that Libya was solely to blame for Lockerbie," he said.

Certainly, the manner in which various American intelligence agencies have reacted to Mr Coleman's claims over Lockerbie suggest they deserve a more thorough investigation than they have so far received.

When I interviewed Mr Coleman for The Sunday Telegraph in 1993 at a secret location in Portugal, he was escorted by an armed Scandinavian bodyguard who had been lent by a friendly European government that supported his claims.

In essence, Mr Coleman's story, as related in his book, Trail of the Octopus, is relatively straightforward. During the late 1980s, Mr Coleman was working for the Defence Intelligence Agency, based in Cyprus, then a major intelligence-gathering post for the Middle East. Part of his task was to spy on the activities of a second American organisation, the Drug Enforcement Agency. Mr Coleman claims that the DEA was operating a number of Beirut-based "sting" operations, by which agents allowed "controlled" deliveries of drugs from Lebanon to America through Frankfurt airport, in the hope of arresting US-based drug gangs. But Mr Coleman says the operation was infiltrated by Iranian-financed terrorists, who had been ordered to avenge the shooting down of an Iranian airbus in July 1988: instead of placing a suitcase of heroin on the flight, they checked in a suitcase full of explosives.

Mr Coleman initially made these allegations in an affidavit to Pan Am during the airline's own investigation into the tragedy.

But it was only after he reiterated them in his book, which was published three years later, that the US intelligence establishment responded by accusing him of perjury.

Additional reporting by John Ashton.

Electronic Telegraph Sunday 13 April 1997

Issue 688

US hounds accusers over claims of Lockerbie crash cover-up By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Washington

THE US Justice Department appears to be waging a campaign of persecution against those who have challenged the official explanation of the Lockerbie disaster.

The FBI has used its immense power to sift through the background of whistle-blowers, investigators, and their employers, searching for vulnerabilities that could be exploited in a criminal prosecution.

The chief targets have been those who allege that the bombing of Pan Am 103, which took 270 lives on Dec 22, 1988, was an Iranian-Syrian plot that exploited a security breach in a bungled CIA operation. The US government says this is a conspiracy theory cooked up by the US Aviation Insurance Group (USAIG), the underwriters for Pan Am, to try to avoid liability for up to $500 million in damages for families of the victims. Both the US and British authorities insist that the bombing was the work of Libyan terrorists.

Insurance disputes of this kind are typically adjudicated in civil court. But the Justice Department began an extremely aggressive criminal investigation of Pan Am's lawyers and insurers. The investigation, begun in 1992, was unable to muster evidence of a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the Lockerbie case. But after broadening the scope of its inquiry the FBI managed to sustain a case of fraud against the former chairman of USAIG, John Brennan. This involved insurance claims over a 1987 crash of a USAir commuter plane. Brennan was convicted in July 1996. He is expected to be sentenced later this month. USAIG has accused the government of engaging in a malicious vendetta.

The Justice Department was less successful in its efforts to destroy Juval Aviv, an expert on terrorism employed by Pan Am's insurers to investigate the bombing. He was acquitted on federal charges of fraud last December after an ordeal lasting more than four years. Aviv, head of a New York security firm, Interfor, was indicted in 1995 for supposedly defrauding a client, General Electric, in a minor security contract involving a fee of $20,683.

But General Electric had never issued a complaint. FBI agents nevertheless visited Aviv's clients demanding files. They were the same agents, Chris Murray and David Edward, who had conducted the Lockerbie investigation. "The whole thing was obviously trumped up in revenge for his role in the Pan Am 103 disaster case," said a juror afterwards.

Aviv has now filed a claim alleging malicious prosecution, violation of constitutional rights, and the launch of a campaign to discredit him "in retaliation for his report to Pan Am".

It was Aviv's report in 1989 that first sketched the outlines of a cover-up. He claimed that a rogue CIA unit had allowed a Syrian drug ring to smuggle heroin on Pan Am flights from Frankfurt to New York. He said this was to gain help in the release of US hostages in Lebanon. But the operation was penetrated by Iranian-backed terrorists who exploited the Pan Am channel to plant a bomb on flight 103.

"Aviv stirred up a lot of trouble, playing on the emotions of the families," said Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of counter-intelligence for the CIA. "He goes around saying that he used to be a member of Mossad, but the office of the Israeli prime minister has written a letter denying it. The man's a fraud."

But documents introduced at his trial paint a more complex picture. An internal FBI memo, marked secret, confirmed his "past association with the Mossad". Other documents corroborated his claim to have served as a security consultant to the FBI, Secret Service and other US agencies. Aviv believes that he was indicted in 1995 to destroy his credibility just as claims of a Lockerbie cover-up were gathering momentum. A film that supported his theories, The Maltese Double Cross, was about to be shown in Britain for the first time. It was never broadcast, but families of the victims had a private screening.

The US embassy in London, joined by the Crown Office, went on the offensive, calling him a "fabricator . . . recently arrested in the US for defrauding an American company".

The same treatment was meted out to another source for the film, Lester Coleman, who had worked for the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The embassy said he was "a fugitive from justice, wanted in the US for perjury related to the Lockerbie case and for passport fraud".

Coleman was indicted in 1993, four days before the British launch of his book, Trail of the Octopus - still unpublished in the US - confirming that the American government was indeed running "controlled" heroin deliveries from Lebanon on Pan Am flights out of Frankfurt.

He returned to the US from exile in Sweden last year to clear his name and now awaits trial in New York. The US government's actions clearly indicate that something is amiss in the Lockerbie case. Fabricators are usually ignored, so perhaps it is time to pay closer attention to the charges of Juval Aviv, Lester Coleman, and apostles of the "Syrian Connection".

Lockerbie lawyers study new theory
The Telegraph
May 15, 2000
By Auslan Cramb, Scotland Correspondent

PROSECUTION lawyers in the Lockerbie trial are said to be studying a report that suggests a bomb hidden in a suitcase could not have blown up Pan Am Flight 103.

Edwin Bollier, a Crown witness whose Swiss firm is alleged to have made the timer used to detonate the device, commissioned the study by explosives "specialists" and aviation engineers. It was sent to the prosecution before the trial started at Camp Zeist in Holland on May 3 and puts forward a new theory that casts doubt on the charges against the two Libyans accused of the atrocity.

They are charged with putting a bomb inside a suitcase that was carried on a flight from Luqa Airport, Malta, where they worked for Libyan Arab Airline, to Frankfurt and later transferred to Flight 103 at Heathrow. But the privately-funded report concludes that for the device to have destroyed the plane, it could not have been in a case inside an aluminium luggage container, but must have been placed against the inside wall of the cargo hold.

Mr Bollier states on the web site of his company Mebo that "very recently received, highly sensitive photographs and technical information. . . will demonstrate that the alleged explosion originated from an impact directly on the skin of the fuselage and not from within the luggage container AVE 4041".

He was to have submitted the material to two former employees of Boeing, and to two explosives experts with military training. He was regarded as a "star" Crown witness, but one legal source said his report, based on photographs of the wreckage, would raise concerns about "how helpful a witness he would be".

The prosecution is understood to have informed the defence about the report's conclusions and both sides will consider its claims. The trial was adjourned for 12 days last week to allow the prosecution to interview technical experts before the next chapter of the trial, which will deal with the evidence of air crash investigators and aviation specialists.

Abdelbast Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44, deny charges of murdering 270 people, conspiracy and breaching an aviation security Act.

11 May 2000: Woman found booklet for cassette player by stream 3 May 2000: Iran theory 'held up Lockerbie trial' 23 May 1999: Gadaffi 'ordered Lockerbie plot' 22 December 1998: Lockerbie case may prove suspect6 December 1998: [International] Analysis: The ten-year quest for justice 13 April 1997: [International] US hounds accusers over claims of Lockerbie crash cover-up

David Martin
May 21, 2000

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