Nov 12, 2006
by Liam McDougall, Home Affairs Editor
THE CIA manipulated the Lockerbie trial and lied about the strength of the prosecution case to get a result that was politically convenient for America, according to a former US State Department lawyer.
Michael Scharf, who was the counsel to the US counter-terrorism bureau when the two Libyans were indicted for the bombing, described the case as "so full of holes it was like Swiss cheese" and said it should never have gone to trial.
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A circuit board fragment, allegedly found embedded in a piece of charred material, was identified as part of an electronic timer similar to that found on a Libyan intelligence agent who had been arrested 10 months previously, carrying materials for a Semtex bomb. The timer allegedly was traced through its Swiss manufacturer, Mebo, to the Libyan military, and Mebo employee Ulrich Lumpert identified the fragment at al-Megrahi's trial. Mebo's owner, Edwin Bollier, later revealed that in 1991 he had declined an offer from the FBI of $4 million to testify that the timer fragment was part of a Mebo MST-13 timer supplied to Libya. On 18 July 2007, Ulrich Lumpert admitted he had lied at the trial. In a sworn affidavit before a Zurich notary, Lumpert stated that he had stolen a prototype MST-13 timer PC-board from Mebo and gave it without permission on 22 June 1989, to "an official person investigating the Lockerbie case". Dr Hans Köchler, UN observer at the Lockerbie trial, who was sent a copy of Lumpert's affidavit, said: "The Scottish authorities are now obliged to investigate this situation. Not only has Mr Lumpert admitted to stealing a sample of the timer, but to the fact he gave it to an official and then lied in court".
In a documentary entitled "Lockerbie revisited" aired on April 27, 2009, the film's director and narrator, Gideon Levy interviewed officials involved with the case. Former FBI laboratory scientist Fred Whitehurst described the FBI laboratory itself as a "crime scene", where an unqualified colleague Thomas Thurman would routinely alter his scientific reports. The interviews also revealed that the timer fragment had never been tested for explosives residue due to "budgetary reasons". Thurman, who led the forensic investigation and identified the fragments' Libyan connection, confirmed that it was the "only real piece of evidence against Libya" and when asked of the importance of the timer in the conviction of al-Megrahi, FBI Task Force Chief Richard Marquise stated, "It would be a very difficult case to prove ... I don't think we would ever (have) had an indictment".
Investigators also discovered that an unaccompanied bag had been routed onto PA 103, via the interline baggage system, from Luqa airport on Air Malta flight KM180 to Frankfurt, and then by feeder flight PA 103A to Heathrow. This unaccompanied bag was shown at the trial to have been the suitcase that contained the bomb. In 2009 it was revealed that security guard Ray Manley had reported that Heathrow's Pan Am baggage area had been broken into 17 hours before flight 103 took off. Police lost the report and it was never investigated or brought up at trial. ....
by Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst
June 28, 2007
The legal review of the case of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has re-opened the Lockerbie affair in a dramatic fashion.
It raises a host of awkward questions.
Was the original trial of the former Libyan intelligence agent fatally flawed, as his lawyers maintain?
Was the evidence contaminated by the American or British authorities?
Was Libya implicated out of political expediency, when all along the main suspect was Iran? .... [story continues at above link]
by ALAN COWELL
June 29, 2007
A Scottish judicial review body ruled Thursday that a former Libyan intelligence official jailed for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing might have been wrongfully convicted and was entitled to appeal the verdict against him.
After an investigation lasting nearly four years, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission delivered an 800-page report — much of it still secret — that identified several areas where “a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.” .... [story continues at above link]
by Alex Duval Smith, Europe correspondent
September 2, 2007
The key piece of material evidence used by prosecutors to implicate Libya in the Lockerbie bombing has emerged as a probable fake.
Nearly two decades after Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Scotland on 21 December, 1988, allegations of international political intrigue and shoddy investigative work are being levelled at the British government, the FBI and the Scottish police as one of the crucial witnesses, Swiss engineer Ulrich Lumpert, has apparently confessed that he lied about the origins of a crucial 'timer' - evidence that helped tie the man convicted of the bombing to the crime. .... [story continues at above link]
LUCY ADAMS, Chief Reporter
September 5, 2007
The makers of the timer used to explode the Lockerbie bomb will travel to Scotland following the revelation that their former employee planted vital evidence.
Edwin Bollier, whose now bankrupt company Mebo manufactured the timer switch that prosecutors used to implicate Libya, plans to visit Scotland with police forensics experts, following news that an engineer was asked to fabricate evidence. .... [story continues at above link]
The United States government, which opposed Megrahi's early release, said it "deeply regrets" the decision.