The US Hand in Libya’s Tragedy

Exclusive: Some 900 people from Libya may have died when their boats capsized in the Mediterranean Sea as they fled the barbaric chaos that the Obama administration helped unleash in Libya in 2011. Yet, the mainstream U.S. media has amnesia about the bloody American hand in this tragedy, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The mainstream U.S. news media is lambasting the Europeans for failing to stop the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea as desperate Libyans flee their war-torn country in overloaded boats that are sinking as hundreds drown. But the MSM forgets how this Libyan crisis began, including its own key role along with that of “liberal interventionists” such as Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power.

In 2011, it was all the rage in Official Washington to boast about the noble “responsibility to protect” the people of eastern Libya who supposedly were threatened with extermination by the “mad man” Muammar Gaddafi. We also were told endlessly that, back in 1988, Gaddafi’s agents had blown Pan Am 103 out of the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

The R2Pers, led by then-National Security Council aide Power with the backing of Secretary of State Clinton, convinced President Barack Obama that a “humanitarian intervention” was needed to prevent Gaddafi from slaughtering people whom he claimed were Islamic terrorists.

As this U.S.-orchestrated bombing campaign was about to begin in late March 2011, Power told a New York City audience that the failure to act would have been “extremely chilling, deadly and indeed a stain on our collective conscience.” Power was credited with steeling Obama’s spine to press ahead with the military operation.

Under a United Nations resolution, the intervention was supposed to be limited to establishing no-fly zones to prevent the slaughter of civilians. But the operation quickly morphed into a “regime change” war with the NATO-led bombing devastating Gaddafi’s soldiers who were blown to bits when caught on desert roadways.

Yet, the biggest concern in Official Washington was a quote from an Obama’s aide that the President was “leading from behind” with European warplanes out front in the air war when America’s war hawks said the United States should be leading from the front.

At the time, there were a few of us who raised red flags about the Libyan war “group think.” Though no one felt much sympathy for Gaddafi, he wasn’t wrong when he warned that Islamic terrorists were transforming the Benghazi region into a stronghold. Yes, his rhetoric about exterminating rats was over the top, but there was a real danger from these extremists.

And, the Pan Am 103 case, which was repeatedly cited as the indisputable proof of Gaddafi’s depravity, likely was falsely pinned on Libya. Anyone who dispassionately examined the 2001 conviction of Libyan agent Ali al-Megrahi by a special Scottish court would realize that the case was based on highly dubious evidence and bought-and-paid-for testimony.

Megrahi was put away more as a political compromise (with a Libyan co-defendant acquitted) than because his guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, by 2009, the conviction was falling apart. Even a Scottish appeals court expressed concern about a grave miscarriage of justice. But Megrahi’s appeal was short-circuited by his release to Libya on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer.

Yet the U.S. mainstream media routinely called him “the Lockerbie bomber” and noted that the Libyan government had taken “responsibility” for the bombing, which was true but only because it was the only way to get punitive sanctions lifted. The government, like Megrahi, continued to proclaim innocence.

A Smirking MSM

During those heady days of bombing Libya in 2011, it also was common for the MSM to smirk at the notion that Megrahi was truly suffering from advanced prostate cancer since he hadn’t died as quickly as some doctors thought he might. Then, in September 2011, after Gaddafi’s regime fell, Megrahi’s family invited the BBC and other news organizations to see Megrahi struggling to breathe in his sick bed.

His son, Khaled al-Megrahi, said, “I know my father is innocent and one day his innocence will come out.” Asked about the people who died in the Pan Am bombing, the son said: “We feel sorry about all the people who died. We want to know who did this bad thing. We want to know the truth as well.”

But it was only after Megrahi died on May 20, 2012, that some elements of the MSM acknowledged grudgingly that they were aware of the many doubts about his conviction all along. The New York Times’ obituary carried a detailed account of the evidentiary gaps that were ignored both during the trial in 2001 and during the bombing of Libya in 2011.

The Times noted that “even some world leaders” saw Megrahi “as a victim of injustice whose trial, 12 years after the bombing, had been riddled with political overtones, memory gaps and flawed evidence. Investigators, while they had no direct proof, believed that the suitcase with the bomb had been fitted with routing tags for baggage handlers, put on a plane at Malta and flown to Frankfurt, where it was loaded onto a Boeing 727 feeder flight that connected to Flight 103 at London, then transferred to the doomed jetliner.”

Besides the lack of proof supporting that hypothesis was the sheer implausibility that a terrorist would assume that an unattended suitcase could make such an unlikely trip without being detected, especially when it would have been much easier to sneak the suitcase with the bomb onto Pan Am 103 through the lax security at Heathrow Airport outside London.

The Times’ obit also noted that during the 85-day trial, “None of the witnesses connected the suspects directly to the bomb. But one, Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who sold the clothing that forensic experts had linked to the bomb, identified Mr. Megrahi as the buyer, although Mr. Gauci seemed doubtful and had picked others in photo displays.

“The bomb’s timer was traced to a Zurich manufacturer, Mebo, whose owner, Edwin Bollier, testified that such devices had been sold to Libya. A fragment from the crash site was identified by a Mebo employee, Ulrich Lumpert. Neither defendant testified. But a turncoat Libyan agent testified that plastic explosives had been stored in [Megrahi’s co-defendant’s] desk in Malta, that Mr. Megrahi had brought a brown suitcase, and that both men were at the Malta airport on the day the bomb was sent on its way.”

In finding Megrahi guilty, the Scottish court admitted that the case was “circumstantial, the evidence incomplete and some witnesses unreliable,” but concluded that “there is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt” of Megrahi.

However, the evidence later came under increasing doubt. The Times wrote: “It emerged that Mr. Gauci had repeatedly failed to identify Mr. Megrahi before the trial and had selected him only after seeing his photograph in a magazine and being shown the same photo in court. The date of the clothing sale was also in doubt.” Scottish authorities learned, too, that the U.S. Justice Department paid Gauci $2 million for his testimony.

As for the bomb’s timer, the Times noted that the court called Bollier “untruthful and unreliable” and “In 2007, Mr. Lumpert admitted that he had lied at the trial, stolen a timer and given it to a Lockerbie investigator. Moreover, the fragment he identified was never tested for residue of explosives, although it was the only evidence of possible Libyan involvement.

“The court’s inference that the bomb had been transferred from the Frankfurt feeder flight was also cast into doubt when a Heathrow security guard revealed that Pan Am’s baggage area had been broken into 17 hours before the bombing, a circumstance never explored. Hans Köchler, a United Nations observer, called the trial ‘a spectacular miscarriage of justice,’ words echoed by [South African President Nelson] Mandela.”

In other words, Megrahi’s conviction looked to have been a case of gross prosecutorial misconduct, relying on testimony from perjurers and failing to pursue promising leads (like the possibility that the bomb was introduced at Heathrow, not transferred from plane to plane to plane). And those problems were known prior to Megrahi’s return to Libya in 2009 and prior to the U.S.-supported air war against Gaddafi in 2011.

Yet, Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC and pretty much everyone else in the MSM repeated endlessly that Megrahi was “the Lockerbie bomber” and that Libya was responsible for the atrocity, thus further justifying the “humanitarian intervention” that slaughtered Gaddafi’s soldiers and enabled rebel militias to capture Tripoli in summer 2011.

Al-Qaeda Hotbed

Similarly, there was scant U.S. media attention given to evidence that eastern Libya, the heart of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion, indeed was a hotbed for Islamic militancy, with that region supplying the most per-capita militants fighting U.S. troops in Iraq, often under the banner of Al-Qaeda.

Despite that evidence, Gaddafi’s claim that he was battling Islamic terrorists in the Benghazi region was mocked or ignored. It didn’t even matter that his claim was corroborated by a report from U.S. analysts Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman for West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.

In their report, “Al-Qaeda’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” Felter and Fishman analyzed Al-Qaeda documents captured in 2007 showing personnel records of militants who flocked to Iraq for the war against the Americans. The documents showed eastern Libya providing a surprising number of suicide bombers who traveled to Iraq to kill American troops.

Felter and Fishman wrote that these so-called Sinjar Records disclosed that while Saudis comprised the largest number of foreign fighters in Iraq, Libyans represented the largest per-capita contingent by far. Those Libyans came overwhelmingly from towns and cities in the east.

“The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s Northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (53) and Benghazi 23.9% (21),” Felter and Fishman wrote, adding that Abu Layth al‐Libi, Emir of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), “reinforced Benghazi and Darnah’s importance to Libyan jihadis in his announcement that LIFG had joined al‐Qa’ida.”

Some important Al-Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan’s tribal regions also were believed to have come from Libya. For instance, “Atiyah,” who was guiding the anti-U.S. war strategy in Iraq, was identified as a Libyan named Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.

It was Atiyah who urged a strategy of creating a quagmire for U.S. forces in Iraq, buying time for Al-Qaeda Central to rebuild its strength in Pakistan. “Prolonging the war [in Iraq] is in our interest,” Atiyah said in a letter that upbraided Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for his hasty and reckless actions in Iraq.

After U.S. Special Forces killed Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, in Pakistan, Atiyah became al-Qaeda’s second in command until he himself was reportedly killed in a U.S. drone strike in August 2011. [See Consortiumnews.com “Time Finally Ran Out for Atiyah.”]

However, to most Americans who rely on the major U.S. news media, little of this was known, as the Washington Post itself acknowledged in an article on Sept. 12, 2011, after Gaddafi had been overthrown but before his murder. In an article on the rise of Islamists inside the new power structure in Libya, the Post wrote:

“Although it went largely unnoticed during the uprising that toppled Gaddafi last month, Islamists were at the heart of the fight, many as rebel commanders. Now some are clashing with secularists within the rebels’ Transitional National Council, prompting worries among some liberals that the Islamists, who still command the bulk of fighters and weapons, could use their strength to assert an even more dominant role.”

On Sept. 15, 2011, the New York Times published a similar article, entitled “Islamists’ Growing Sway Raises Questions for Libya.” It began: “In the emerging post-Qaddafi Libya, the most influential politician may well be Ali Sallabi, who has no formal title but commands broad respect as an Islamic scholar and populist orator who was instrumental in leading the mass uprising. The most powerful military leader is now Abdel Hakim Belhaj, the former leader of a hard-line group once believed to be aligned with Al Qaeda.”

Belhaj was previously the commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which was associated with Al-Qaeda in the past, maintained training bases in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks, and was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

Belhaj and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group denied continued allegiance to Al-Qaeda, but Belhaj was captured during George W. Bush’s post-9/11 “war on terror” and was harshly interrogated by the CIA at a “black site” prison in Thailand before being handed over to Gaddafi’s government which imprisoned and Belhaj claims tortured him.

The Times reported that “Belhaj has become so much an insider lately that he is seeking to unseat Mahmoud Jabril, the American-trained economist who is the nominal prime minister of the interim government, after Mr. Jibril obliquely criticized the Islamists.”

The Times article by correspondents Rod Nordland and David D. Kirkpatrick also cited other signs of growing Islamist influence inside the Libyan rebel movement: “Islamist militias in Libya receive weapons and financing directly from foreign benefactors like Qatar; a Muslim Brotherhood figure, Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar, leads the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council, where Islamists are reportedly in the majority.”

It may be commendable that the Post and Times finally gave serious attention to this consequence of the NATO-backed “regime change” in Libya, but the fact that these premier American newspapers ignored the Islamist issue as well as doubts about Libya’s Lockerbie guilt while the U.S. government was whipping up public support for another war in the Muslim world raises questions about whether those news organizations primarily serve a propaganda function.

Gaddafi’s Brutal Demise

Even amid these warning signs that Libya was headed toward bloody anarchy, the excited MSM coverage of Libya remained mostly about the manhunt for “the madman” Muammar Gaddafi. When rebels finally captured Gaddafi on Oct. 20, 2011, in the town of Sirte and sodomized him with a knife before killing him Secretary of State Clinton could barely contain her glee, joking in one interview: “We came, we saw, he died.”

The months of aerial slaughter of Gaddafi’s soldiers and Gaddafi’s own gruesome death seemed less amusing on Sept. 11, 2012, when Islamic terrorists overran the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. diplomatic personnel. In the two-plus years since, Libya has become a killing ground for rival militias, including some now affiliated with the Islamic State.

As the BBC reported on Feb. 24, 2015, the Islamic State “has gained a foothold in key towns and cities in the mostly lawless North African state [Libya], prompting Egypt – seeing itself as the bulwark against Islamists in region – to launch air strikes against the group.

“IS has launched its most high-profile attacks in Libya, bombing an upmarket hotel in the capital, Tripoli, in January, and releasing a video earlier this month showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians it had kidnapped. On 20 February, it killed at least 40 people in a suicide bombing in the eastern town of al-Qubbah.”

Now, the chaos that the U.S.-sponsored “regime change” unleashed has grown so horrific that it is causing desperate Libyans to climb into unseaworthy boats to escape the sharp edges of the Islamic State’s knives and other depredations resulting from the nationwide anarchy.

Thus, Libya should be a powerful lesson to Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and the other R2Pers that often their schemes of armed “humanitarianism” can go badly awry and do much more harm than good. It should also be another reminder to the MSM to question the arguments presented by the U.S. government, rather than simply repeating those dubious claims and false narratives.

But neither seems to be happening. The “liberal interventionists” like their neoconservative allies remain unchastened, still pumping for more “regime change” wars, such as in Syria. Yet, many of these moral purists are silent about the slaughter of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, Palestinians in Gaza, or now Houthis and other Yemenis dying under Saudi bombs in Yemen.

It appears the well-placed R2Pers in the Obama administration are selective in where that “responsibility to protect” applies.

Samantha Power, now serving as U.S. ambassador to the UN, remains the same self-righteous scold denouncing human rights abuses in places where there are American-designated “bad guys” while looking the other way in places where the killing is being done by U.S. “allies.” As for Hillary Clinton, she is already being touted as the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.

Meanwhile, the MSM has conveniently forgotten its own propaganda role in revving up the war on Libya in 2011. So, instead of self-reflection and self-criticism, the mainstream U.S. media is filled with condemnations of the Europeans for their failure to respond properly to the crisis of some 900 Libyans apparently drowning in a desperate attempt to flee their disintegrating country.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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32 comments for “The US Hand in Libya’s Tragedy

  1. Joe Tedesky
    April 21, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I would like to add to this terrific article a link to a story from March of 2012 how John McCain had visited Libya with Ambassador Stevens. This story never was reported inside the western MSM.

    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2012/03/john-mccain-founding-father-of.html

    I would also like to thank Robert Parry for his reporting. Add to that my appreciation to the many commenters who frequent this site. Between, this sites authors and readers I get a better sense of balance when it comes to gathering information on today’s world events. Keep it up everyone!

    • Daniel
      April 21, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Agreed. There are few places to find news skeptical of the State/MSM Group Think. Thankfully, we have Mr. Parry doing great work here.

      Made my first donation to the site proudly just this week!

    • Gregory Kruse
      April 21, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      When a compliment is given to “everyone” I deign to include myself, but I must say that I don’t consider myself a very disciplined scholar, such as many of the commenters here do appear to be. I’m a slow reader so I content myself with more or less random reading and general study. I do consider myself a good observer and love to point out things that other people may not notice. I too take some pride in being a long-time financial supporter and avid reader of Consortiumnews, and I participate in the good feeling and fellowship that is a common feature of those who fight together under difficult circumstances.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 22, 2015 at 9:39 am

        Gregory, you are included. In fact you are one of my ‘must reads’.

  2. incontinent reader
    April 21, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Bob- Many thanks for this much needed article.

  3. rexw
    April 21, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Even with this detailed explanation of so many items associated with Libya, once the brightest star in Africa but now a US-inspired failed state, all the public ever heard about was the shooting of one man, an American Ambassador.
    Par for the course.

    As for the smart-arsed “we came, we saw. he died” comment from the most frightening woman on the planet, Hillary Clinton, epitomising all that is wrong with the US, if she succeeds in her run to the White House, if the insouciant American people fail to see that she is before selecting a Democratic candidate and if the Jews, the likes of Adelson, put more money in her basket than they do with the Republican Zionist AIPACers, then the US with see what they have allowed over decades to happen, an unrecognisable homeland, wars unceasing and the final ownership of the USA by Israel. Almost there.

    Not much to look forward to, but that what happens when you allow apathy to reign and reign it does.

    Well done, Robert Parry. A great summary, as normal.

    A final comment. One day, not in my lifetime, someone will look at Africa, it’s wealth in the ground, it commercial ventures, most controlled by Tel Aviv, quietly, insidiously over time and think, why do we have a United Nations when we allow an leader like Gaddafi to be killed when he controlled a country with the best standard of living on a continent. What is better? Mayhem, thanks to the the world’s #1 terrorist, America or a benevolent dictator?
    The same terrorist by the way that gave us Vietnam based on a lie, Iraq, same, Laos and Cambodia bombing more that WWII, Iraq, Afghanistan, and yet acts has a puppet for israel, with USS Liberty, 9/11. JFK, 400 nuclear weapons and the big finger to the US people.

    Something wrong there.

    Perhaps someone may have a comment on this. It won’t be anyone from the UN, I can promise you that, yet another US operation like NATO.

    • April 24, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      Well said REXW. You are so right and i agree with everything you have said. I would just like to add one thing. The real reason for getting rid of Gaddafi was to get control of Libya;s high quality oil which he had nationalised. He also was intending to ask for oil payment in gold which would have destroyed the US Petro Dollar Scam. Likewise Saddam Huesein had to go for intending to switch to payment in Euros. Big Oil and Big Money interests are calling the shots here as always. Their next target is Russia. Putin blocked their takeover of his Oil industry at the last minute so he is NATO’s next target. These people are taking the world down a dangerous path to sastisfy their greedy ambitions. Who is going to stop them?

  4. Pablo Diablo
    April 21, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Seems like the “neocons” keep fucking up. AND, getting richer. Gotta keep that war machine fed.

  5. Gregory Kruse
    April 21, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    “there is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt” of Megrahi”. What an odd statement. One could perhaps have some doubt about efficacy of the evidence, or one could consider that some exculpatory evidence may have been left out. The statement suggests that Megrahi was presumed guilty, and there was nothing in the evidence to prove him innocent.

  6. Zachary Smith
    April 21, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    I’ve read an interesting essay on the Libyan operation at a blog.

    Expanding on operation “Mermaid Dawn” in Libya

    The author says the French were the “official” folks behind the drastic expansion of the operation, and the US was the silent partner. Just like in the Saudi Arabian bombing of Yemen.

    That was the situation in which the French military command took a decisive step that was going to unlock the whole campaign. However, it meant overstepping the mandate of UN resolution 1973 and “getting real” rather than “sticking to the book”. The Brits, needless to say, were not amused, but the US – leading from behind – didn’t say anything. As for the Gulf States, they had been pushing right from the start for a much more heavy handed and weaponized approach.

    Obama has been a disaster, and Hillary would be worse. Most of the dingleberries running in the Republican race could actually elect the dreadful woman – they’re obviously much worse. Have the Power Elites in the US thought this through?

    • Brad Owen
      April 22, 2015 at 8:48 am

      My guess would be that the Power Elites have thought it through…the USA is on their agenda to become a spectacularly broken and Failed State, just exactly like Libya, for exactly the same reasons (“They’re absconding with our slaves for our Empire, the entire basis for our Wealth” say the Power Elites). There will even be tens of millions of Dust Bowl refugees streaming in from the West, since nothing serious has been done about water management since the sixties (NAWAPA went into the grave, along with JFK’s coffin). We’ve generated too many ideas over the centuries that are inherently inimical to Empire, the first one being a Republic of the people, by the people, for the people (if we could keep one, that is…which we couldn’t). Along with the on-going Great Depression II, now in its’ 7th year (and no FDR on the horizon), their game plan probably includes vast refugee camps with plenty of job offers for handing out soup-n-bread, and donning the blue U.N. helmets to fight off home-grown “terrorists” trying, belatedly, to recapture the Past, and with the always-unfulfilled promises of reconstruction and development dangled before our eyes. This is because sovereign nations of democratic Republics just get in the way of a well-run global Empire. Oh yeah, just for good measure, they probably plan for a “limited” nuclear war to take out Russia and China, thus ending the threat of BRICS. If this all sounds insane to you, that’s because it is. These Imperial dinosaurs are desperately driven to try to hang onto their financial Reign over the World, when the World’s people are trying to evolve into a new-n-better form for functioning, to the betterment of all Life. It is THEY, who shall fail in these plans for Global Empire.

  7. Dave Johnson
    April 22, 2015 at 1:38 am

    The Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, a group of retired Generals, Admirals and CIA agents. have reported that Qaddafi offered to peacefully surrender power. However, Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and the other R2Pers were so bloodthirsty and hell bent for war that they rejected a peaceful transfer of power. The result was a civil war that killed an estimated 30,000 people and a Libya divided between different Islamic radical groups. Moreover weapons from Qaddafi’s arsenal have armed Islamic terrorists in Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Ansar al Shabab in Somalia. What does it say about America that its leaders like Hillary Clinton are more bloodthirsty than a dictator like Qaddafi?

  8. Brendan
    April 22, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Robert Parry quotes the New York Times on the Lockerbie bomb:
    “The bomb’s timer was traced to a Zurich manufacturer, Mebo, whose owner, Edwin Bollier, testified that such devices had been sold to Libya. A fragment from the crash site was identified by a Mebo employee, Ulrich Lumpert. Neither defendant testified. …
    … the court called Bollier “untruthful and unreliable” and “In 2007, Mr. Lumpert admitted that he had lied at the trial” ”

    Probably even more important than the lack of credibility of those witnesses, is the scientific evidence that their company did not manufacture the timer whose fragment was found in the Lockerbie wreckage. This evidence was not revealed until after the trial.

    It was found that the tinning (the protective covering on the copper tracks) of that circuit board fragment was 100% lead. This is an indication of a ‘DIY’ home-made production and is clearly different to the 70/30 tin/lead alloy used on the vast majority of commercial circuit boards, including those made by Mebo that were suppied to Libya.

    In other words, the fragment found in Lockerbie could not have come from a Swiss-made Libyan timer device, but this item was presented a key piece of evidence to prove Libya’s guilt.

    Al Jazeera described this information in a TV documentary that was shown made last year but it does not appear to be available on the internet.

  9. JOhn
    April 22, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Thanks very much for the insights in this article.

  10. Brendan
    April 22, 2015 at 10:11 am

    As the article explains, the Felter and Fishman report on the Sinjar Records showed a very large proportion of eastern Libyans fighting for Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    The US also received similar information in 2008 from Christopher Stevens in Libya. Stevens was killed by militants in 2012 when he was U.S. Ambassador to Libya.

    Cables from him, which were released by Wikileaks, describe conversations that agents had with locals in the east of the country.
    One of the cables describes the proud reaction of locals to the information in the Sinjar Records:

    “During his last visit to the east in December, relatives and friends cited media reports to the effect that Libyans, most of them from Derna and points east, comprised the second largest cohort of foreign fighters identified in documents seized during last September’s Objective Massey operation on the Syria-Iraq border. Turbi noted that a majority of those in Derna who raised the issue appeared to take pride in the fact that their small city had contributed disproportionately to the jihad against coalition forces in Iraq.”
    https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php?id=08TRIPOLI120

    Another cable describes a similar feeling amongst the locals, who see little difference between Qadhafi, the US forces and Israel:

    “At the same time, sending young Libyans to fight in Iraq was “an embarrassment” to Qadhafi. fighting against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq represented a way for frustrated young radicals to strike a blow against both Qadhafi and against his perceived American backers.

    The consensus view in Derna is that the U.S. blindly supports Israel and has invaded Iraq to secure oil reserves and position itself to attack Iran, he said

    Referring to actor Bruce Willis’ character in the action picture “Die Hard”, who stubbornly refused to die quietly, he said many young men in Derna viewed resistance against Qadhafi’s regime and against coalition forces in Iraq as an important last act of defiance.”
    https://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php?id=08TRIPOLI430#para-3281-5

  11. April 22, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Brendan makes excellent points above as regards the PCB fragment (PT/35b) having been proved NOT to have come from one of the MST-13 timer devices supplied to Libya by MEBO. Nobody knows who made it, for what purpose, why the tracking pattern is identical to the tracking pattern of PCBs made from the MEBO template, or whether it fell out of the sky.

    A point which is probably even more important is that since Megrahi’s death it has been proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the bomb was introduced into the Pan Am baggage system at Heathrow. It did not fly in on the feeder flight from Frankfurt, or from Malta.

    The bomb suitcase was seen by a baggage handler in the luggage container at Heathrow an hour before the feeder flight landed. He told the police about it in January 1989. The police and the forensics officers proceeded to ignore his testimony even as forensic evidence mounted which, if properly analysed, would have proved the bomb to have been in the suitcase he saw.

    A very belated analysis of the forensic evidence in 2012 showed quite clearly that the bomb suitcase was on the bottom of the stack of luggage in the container, not on the second layer as the forensic scientists perversely and vehemently insisted. The case Bedford saw was on the base of the container, matched the description of the bomb suitcase, and it cannot be reconciled to any other suitcase either known to have been loaded into the container or recovered on the ground.

    This discovery does more than case reasonable doubt on Megrahi’s conviction, it is completely exculpatory. If the crime was committed in London in late afternoon, he has an unbreakable alibi, being provably in Tripoli at that time. And if Megrahi didn’t do it, which he didn’t, and the timer wasn’t one of the batch sold to Libya, which it wasn’t, there is precisely NOTHING to implicate Gaddafi in the atrocity.

    See detailed analysis of the blast-damaged suitcases, baggage container and airframe, here.

    http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2499

  12. Bob In Portland
    April 22, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Pan Am 103 is chock full of all sorts of interesting things that seem to never get reported in the mainstream media. There was the Interfor Report, which placed the blame on allowing the bombing to proceed to the CIA (more precisely, a unit called “CIA 2” within the CIA, which, when apprised by German federal agents that they witnessed baggage handlers switch bags for 103 at Frankfurt, informed the Germans to “let it go”). There was the McKee Team, an American intelligence team of five returning from Beirut without authorization, who were on Flight 103. There was the connection of Monzer al-Kassar, who operated a protected heroin importation ring into the US, who was also involved in Iran-contra arms sales. PFLP-GC, a Palestinian terrorist organization with links to al-Kassar, were the initial suspects in the case. A cell in Frankfurt was arrested with an identical bomb made in a Toshiba radio and other bomb-making materials. Needless to say, the Sunday NY Times, after a fairly extensive article pointing to PFLP-GC as the culprits, backpedaled and seemed to forget about them altogether in favor of the Libyan story as political necessities warranted. Even “terrorism expert” Steven Emerson initially pointed to a fragment of circuit board in the wreckage as pointing to PFLP-GC before he got the memo and changed to the Libyan story.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 22, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Bob, great post. None of us would appear to be wearing ‘tin foil hats’ if we were to have a decent news media. Somewhere within all of these stories, that circle around an incident such as this terrible plane tragedy, is the truth. I often, after reading a conspiracy theory story, think of how if nothing else should not the establishment answer at least some of these questions that get raised from these conspiracy authors. Such as how does a 102 story building collapse? Is there any truth to some of these 19 hijackers being still alive, and why, or how is that? There never seems to be any conclusion that makes sense. Bob, the things you brought up with your comment here really does make one wonder. If nothing else where is our media?

      • April 22, 2015 at 5:59 pm

        The media have published plenty about Lockerbie over the years, including a bunch of stuff that’s positively barking. Multiple TV documentaries from The Maltese Double Cross to Lockerbie Revisited have cast doubt on the official story. Even BBC Newsnight got in on the act when it broadcast an item about the metallurgical analysis of the timer fragment.

        The simple fact seems to be that with Megrahi’s death, Lockerbie fatigue has set in. Nobody wants to feature the topic now. Ironically, the unravelling of the suitcase evidence started in earnest a month after Megrahi died, and was complete by the beginning of the following year. But so many different hobby-horses have had an airing and so many of them have turned out to be three-legged, that I think nobody can be bothered with it any more. And anyway, the authorities will simpy ignore the lot – loopy conspiracy theories and painstaking forensic analysis both – just because they can.

        You also do a disservice to the painstaking work that has been done on the Lockerbie evidence by many people, by comparing it to the slew of ill-understood nonsense that fogs around the 9/11 atrocity. It’s extremely well understood how these buildings collapsed. There’s nothing at all mysterious about it. None of the people who were on board any of the hijacked planes survived, but you know, the world contains many people who have the same names as other people, if you don’t check things like dates of birth too carefully.

        Perhaps one of the greatest sins of the conspiracy theorists is to have desensitised observers to doubts about any official story. When you’ve listened to fruitcakes squealing about everything from the second shooter on the grassy knoll and the magic bullet, to the twin towers being wired with demolition charges and the Pentagon being hit by a missile, it becomes all too easy to blank every concern with the lazy insult of “conspiracy theorist”.

        Pro tip. Examine the evidence, and be prepared to change your mind if it doesn’t support the enticing theory you first heard about.

        • Joe Tedesky
          April 23, 2015 at 12:51 am

          Okay! With all due respect, please present me with some evidence to examine.

          • April 23, 2015 at 4:58 am

            You know, this article doesn’t reference 9/11 and I don’t think this is the place to start one of the usually-interminable arguments about it. The internet elsewhere is groaning under the weight of such discussion, and some of it is very well informed and rational. There’s a blog by a chap called Mark Roberts that deals with numerous aspects of the incident, though I believe he gave up discussing it some years ago, saying that the proponents of the conspiracy theories were so impervious to reason and evidence that nothing anyone could say to them would change their minds.

            I just get a bit irritated by lazy comparisons of Lockerbie to well-debunked conspiracy myths, as if the fact that the “official story” about Lockerbie is a pile of steaming dingoes kidneys somehow validates irrational and long-disproved doubts about other incidents.

            If the campaign to achieve justice for those affected by Lockerbie is ever to succeed, we need to distance it from the loopier reaches of conspiracy theorising, and that includes the 9/11 stuff.

          • F. G. Sanford
            April 23, 2015 at 5:28 am

            Joe, this guy is going to a lot of trouble to argue a point he claims has no relevance – methinks the lady doth protest too much. Bullet fragments show up on the radiographs of John Connally’s wrist, yet the “Magic Bullet” is “pristine”. Obviously, he believes in “magic”. Since he advocates a so-called “Pro Tip”, one assumes that ego is a bigger factor here than evidence, which obviously does not concern him much.

          • Joe Tedesky
            April 23, 2015 at 10:20 am

            Morag, I want you to understand how I would never wish to insult the terrible tragedy that Flight 103 was. When I brought up the 9/11 conspiracy talking points it was because these 9/11 theories are more well known. Add to that I am just a reader. Often I am more of a ‘messenger’, so don’t kill me. You may also fine it interesting how I fine what you write here very interesting. I know very little about what happened to Flight 103, but I am learning from reading all these comments. Your comments regarding Flight 103 are certainly intriguing, and worth inspiring a person to wish to learn more.

            BTW, I realize there are some who will never believe that 9/11, or the JFK, MLK, RFK assassinations were anything more than what the official versions said they were, but seriously there is a lot to doubt. Here’s a crazy thought, what if all these conspiracies were somehow tied too the same ‘dark forces’. Okay, now I will put the Reynolds wrap away.

          • April 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

            I certainly didn’t intend to “kill” you, Joe, I just find the introduction of provably-false conspiracy theories about other events unhelpful when debating Lockerbie. Often we’re getting on fine, and then someone starts talking about something else and the entire debate is tarred with the fruitcake brush and never recovers.

            If you want to believe there’s a lot to doubt about the Kennedy assassination or 9/11, I’ll leave you to it. However, I think it’s much more constructive if Lockerbie discussions stay away from these areas. Guilt by association and all that.

    • April 22, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      The Interfor Report puzzles me greatly. Much of the supposedly corroborative detail in it seems simply to have been made up. Phone numbers and so on.

      The main allegation, about the switching of a suitcase at the departure gate, was always implausible. First of all, why switch anything? As the luggage wasn’t counted, an extra item could simply have been added. Switching just leaves you with an extra case to dispose of. Also, what was wrong about the weight? The bomb suitcase was estimated to be quite light, and there was only about 500g explosive in it. So why would anyone think it was too heavy? Wouldn’t a drug smuggler want to maximise the weight of contraband being carried? And the switched suitcase wasn’t the usual case used for the drug smuggling, but was in fact a brown Samsonite. OK Juval, if you say so.

      And a BKA officer was watching all this and videoing it, and phoned to ask for instructions in the light of the unusual pattern of events, and was told just to let it go. And Aviv had copies of both the video and a recording of the telephone call. Sure…. But he handed these over to the CIA and they were never seen again. Because isn’t it such a shame that you can’t keep copies of video or audio tapes, oh wait….

      Then somehow Roland O’Neil and Kilinc Tuzcu were inveigled into travelling to Heathrow where the Met were supposed to arrest them but the Met didn’t do anything and they just went back to Germany. And they were polygraphed at some point too, like that’s ever been any use.

      It all sounds like something from a cheap cold war thriller, and about as likely, but it could have happened, conceivably. Until you find out that it didn’t. Or at least, whatever O’Neil and Tuzcu did or didn’t do in the departure gate baggage hall that afternoon, it didn’t have anything to do with the bomb.

      The bomb was in the brown Samsonite hardshell John Bedford saw at Heathrow airport at about quarter to five. Which means it wasn’t in the baggage hall at Frankfurt airport being loaded on to a plane that didn’t touch down at Heathrow until twenty to six.

      This was a very simple crime, fundamentally. Someone gained access to the airside space at Heathrow airport on the afternoon of 21st December. He waited until the baggage container for PA103 was unattended (Bedford having wandered off for a cup of tea and a chat with Walker, and Kamboj and Parmar – well they could have been playing chess but it’s my guess they were catching a nap) and put the case with the bomb in it exactly where he wanted it, with the asymmetrically-packed IED as close as possible to the skin of the plane. He then buggered off, unnoticed by anyone.

      Bedford didn’t blow the whistle on the mysteriously-appearing suitcase because he’d just been told he could clock off early, and getting involved in a security alert would have put the kibosh on that. He told himself Kamboj had probably put it there anyway, and later invented or confabulated a story of Kamboj actually saying that to him, to justify his lack of action.

      Maybe the terrorist carried the case with him when he used his stolen airside pass and his second-hand BA overalls to get airside that afternoon. Or maybe the gang broke in the previous night and concealed the case for later retrieval, to avoid the risk of an ostensible baggage handler being challenged at the security check carrying a suitcase with a bomb in it.

      Either way, it was simple, uncomplicated, and lethal. And everyone concerned – official investigators and “conspiracy theorists” alike – has been obsessing about points upstream (Frankfurt and Malta) ever since, and ignoring the bleedin obvious right under their noses.

  13. Tom Welsh
    April 23, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Great article, but it’s a pity even you felt compelled to indulge in ritual condemnation of Gaddafi: “Though no one felt much sympathy for Gaddafi, he wasn’t wrong when he warned that Islamic terrorists were transforming the Benghazi region into a stronghold. Yes, his rhetoric about exterminating rats was over the top, but there was a real danger from these extremists”.

    Why wouldn’t anyone feel sympathy for Gaddafi? He ruled his country for over 50 years, changing it from one of the poorest nations in Africa into the wealthiest. That wealth was thoroughly shared around, with free health care, education, and other social services. Gaddafi didn’t maintain any formal armed services, because he thought them immoral and preferred to spend the money in constructive ways. And he was repeatedly victimized, with wicked injustice, for things he did not do. His house was bombed repeatedly, his family killed, his reputation dragged through the mud.

    And was it “over the top” to call the terrorists rats who should be exterminated? Remember, those are the same people whom Western leaders have been doing their level best (not that that is very effective) to exterminate. Several American politicians have talked of using nuclear weapons on Iran, which itself has none – which would amount to exterminating an entire civilian population.

  14. Joe Smith
    April 28, 2015 at 1:34 am

    Gaddafi was acting as an agent of the UK and United States Governments

    Tony Blair’s grovelling letter to Colonel Gaddafi over former PM’s failure to deport tyrant’s enemies revealed
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2923900/Tony-Blair-s-grovelling-letter-Colonel-Gaddafi-former-PM-s-failure-deport-tyrant-s-enemies-revealed.html

    Moammar Gaddafi’s CIA Ties: Documents Suggest Libya And Washington Worked Together
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/03/moammar-gaddafi-cia-ties-_n_947769.html
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/03/secret-libyan-files-mi6-cia
    http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/conflicts/11-09-2012/122132-human_rights_watch_gaddafi-0/
    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/cia-mi6-helped-gaddafi-persecute-dissidents-human-rights-watch

    CIA and U.S. Government worked closely with Gaddafi’s regime (and even helped him write his speeches)
    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Updated: 09:13 EST, 3 September 2011
    American intelligence co-operated closely with Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, according to reports based on documents found in Libyan government offices.

    The papers allegedly show that the U.S. sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite the country’s reputation for torture.

    They reveal new details of the close relationship between the two countries, including how CIA officers helped Gaddafi write a speech to show him in a positive light.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033333/CIA-U-S-Government-worked-closely-Gaddafis-regime.html

    US: Torture and Rendition to Gaddafi’s Libya
    September 6, 2012
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/09/05/us-torture-and-rendition-gaddafi-s-libya
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/08/usuk-documents-reveal-libya-rendition-details

    let’s not forget—-
    Gaddafi loves Condi Rice
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/gaddafi-loves-condi-rice/2011/03/04/gIQALw3rdJ_blog.html
    He supposedly paid a large amount of money for a song about her– “Black Rose of Africa”

  15. mithy
    April 28, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Gaddafi was acting as an agent of the UK and United States Governments

    Tony Blair’s grovelling letter to Colonel Gaddafi over former PM’s failure to deport tyrant’s enemies revealed
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2923900/Tony-Blair-s-grovelling-letter-Colonel-Gaddafi-former-PM-s-failure-deport-tyrant-s-enemies-revealed.html

    Moammar Gaddafi’s CIA Ties: Documents Suggest Libya And Washington Worked Together
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/03/moammar-gaddafi-cia-ties-_n_947769.html
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/03/secret-libyan-files-mi6-cia
    http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/conflicts/11-09-2012/122132-human_rights_watch_gaddafi-0/
    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/cia-mi6-helped-gaddafi-persecute-dissidents-human-rights-watch

    CIA and U.S. Government worked closely with Gaddafi’s regime (and even helped him write his speeches)
    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Updated: 09:13 EST, 3 September 2011
    American intelligence co-operated closely with Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, according to reports based on documents found in Libyan government offices.

    The papers allegedly show that the U.S. sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite the country’s reputation for torture.

    They reveal new details of the close relationship between the two countries, including how CIA officers helped Gaddafi write a speech to show him in a positive light.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033333/CIA-U-S-Government-worked-closely-Gaddafis-regime.html

    US: Torture and Rendition to Gaddafi’s Libya
    September 6, 2012
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/09/05/us-torture-and-rendition-gaddafi-s-libya
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/08/usuk-documents-reveal-libya-rendition-details

    let’s not forget—-
    Gaddafi loves Condi Rice
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/gaddafi-loves-condi-rice/2011/03/04/gIQALw3rdJ_blog.html
    He supposedly paid a large amount of money for a song about her– “Black Rose of Africa”

  16. April 29, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Tony Blair’s grovelling letter to Colonel Gaddafi over former PM’s failure to deport tyrant’s enemies revealed
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2923900/Tony-Blair-s-grovelling-letter-Colonel-Gaddafi-former-PM-s-failure-deport-tyrant-s-enemies-revealed.html

    Moammar Gaddafi’s CIA Ties: Documents Suggest Libya And Washington Worked Together
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/03/moammar-gaddafi-cia-ties-_n_947769.html
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/03/secret-libyan-files-mi6-cia
    http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/conflicts/11-09-2012/122132-human_rights_watch_gaddafi-0/
    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/cia-mi6-helped-gaddafi-persecute-dissidents-human-rights-watch

    CIA and U.S. Government worked closely with Gaddafi’s regime (and even helped him write his speeches)
    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Updated: 09:13 EST, 3 September 2011
    American intelligence co-operated closely with Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, according to reports based on documents found in Libyan government offices.

    The papers allegedly show that the U.S. sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite the country’s reputation for torture.

    They reveal new details of the close relationship between the two countries, including how CIA officers helped Gaddafi write a speech to show him in a positive light.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033333/CIA-U-S-Government-worked-closely-Gaddafis-regime.html

    US: Torture and Rendition to Gaddafi’s Libya
    September 6, 2012
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2012/09/05/us-torture-and-rendition-gaddafi-s-libya
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2011/09/08/usuk-documents-reveal-libya-rendition-details

    let’s not forget—-
    Gaddafi loves Condi Rice
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/gaddafi-loves-condi-rice/2011/03/04/gIQALw3rdJ_blog.html
    He supposedly paid a large amount of money for a song about her– “Black Rose of Africa”

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