Evidence The US Bought The Megrahi Conviction

The case against convicted Lockerbie/Pan Am 103 bombing suspect Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi was always thin, at best. Despite all the commotion over his trial and conviction, the entire prosecution case was founded upon the testimony of a single clothing shopkeeper from Malta, Tony Gauci, that supposedly sold the clothes that were believed to be in the suitcase containing the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103. Long after the unremarkable alleged sale, Gauci somewhat incredibly remembered selling the clothes to Megrahi. Megrahi has consistently maintained his innocence.

Megrahi’s trial was held in a Scottish court that was constituted in the Netherlands by agreement in order to obtain the extradition of Megrahi for trial. Since the conviction at trial, Megrahi has appealed unsuccessfully, but the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, had taken jurisdiction of the case and referred it back to court for appeal, which is the posture the case was in when the Scottish Justice Ministry cut a deal to release him to his home country of Libya on compassionate grounds (Megrahi has terminal cancer) in return for Megrahi giving up his appeal.

With no appeal available to press his case, Megrahi has taken to releasing material and briefs that were to constitute the foundation of the appeal, and in that regard has opened a website where the material is posted. One of the filings disclosed yesterday on the website documents a blockbuster finding and allegation by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) on collusion of the Scottish Crown prosecution team and US authorities to effectively buy Shopkeeper Gauci’s testimony against Megrahi by paying Gauci two million dollars and Gauci’s brother, Paul Gauci, a million dollars:

The SCCRC has recovered undisclosed material which indicates that:

(a) The witness Tony Gauci had, at an early stage, expressed an interest in receiving payment or compensation for his co-operation in giving evidence, and that this interest persisted until after the trial

(b) that the witness Paul Gauci had " a clear desire to gain financial benefit" from his and his brothers co-operation and that Paul Gauci exercised considerable influence over his brother

(c) that the U.S. authorities offered to make substantial payments to the witness Tony Gauci from an early stage

(d) that an application for reward monies was made on behalf of the SIO of the investigation team of the Scottish police to the U.S. Department of Justice, after the trial, and that substantial payments were received by both Tony (in excess of $2m) and Paul Gauci (in excess of $1m) after the appeal.

The Scottish Crown prosecution team concealed both the early discussion prior to the trial of financial reward to Gauci for his testimony and the big payoff by the US Government after his testimony and the trial concluded. The prosecution did not reveal the clearly material and exculpatory (in that it gutted the credibility of the sole direct witness against Megrahi) evidence to either the defense or the court. In fact, the investigation and prosecution team put numerous entries into their reports and records that "Tony Gauci has never at any stage sought to benefit" from his testimony, statements that appear to have been designed to mislead.

There were already substantial questions regarding the credibility of Gauci’s identification of Megrahi as the purchaser of the clothes (detailed in the above linked document and summarized here). There further appears to have been a series of inconsistent statements by Gauci prior to trial, and several indications that he was not confident in his identification, many of which were also not disclosed to the defense for trial. Although these are allegations not yet proven up in court, the work and findings were done by the SCCRC and carry some serious weight; they are not self serving pablum from a desperate defendant.

The clear inference from the putative facts and findings by the SCCRC is that Gauchi was the crucial witness for the prosecution, was wobbly on the critical identification facts, was looking for a payday out of his involvement and the Scottish Crown got the US to agree to reward him with a windfall in order to firm him up. To be fair, there is often financial payment made to government witnesses from reimbursement of travel and lodging, to money for inconvenience, to payment to informers. But two million dollars to an identification witness? And another million to his brother that did not even testify? And active concealment of the situation? If true, that is blatant prosecutorial misconduct and perversion of justice. Another day at the office for the US Department of Justice.

The lottery payoff to the Gauci brothers purportedly was financed by the US "Rewards For Justice Program", the same program that was used to pay the tipsters on Uday and Qusay Hussein. The Rewards For Justice Program (RFJ) is administered by the State Department and is described by the State Department as follows:

Under this program, the Secretary of State is currently offering rewards of up to $25 million for information that prevents or favorably resolves acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property worldwide. Rewards also may be paid for information leading to the arrest or conviction of terrorists attempting, committing, conspiring to commit, or aiding and abetting in the commission of such acts.

In short, the program is designed to entice tipsters and witnesses to come forward with information aiding the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases. It seems a bit of a stretch to use it to make huge payments to identification witnesses already known to investigators and prosecutors but that are looking for a windfall to give the prosecutors the testimony they want. Not surprisingly, the US Government has concealed their involvement. US authorities were a formal part of the Lockerbie task force investigating the bombing, yet, according to the SCCRC, made no written reports whatsoever regarding this material portion of their involvement in the case.

American politicians, including President Obama and AG Eric Holder, Secretary of State Clinton and many Congress members from across the spectrum howled with outrage at the Scottish Justice Ministry’s decision to release Megrahi in return for dismissal of his appeal out of concern that the convicted Megrahi was cut loose in a secret deal by the Brits for oil rights with Libya. Perhaps instead they should investigate whether the US colluded to buy dubious testimony from Gauci in order convict Megrahi in the first place.

One thing is certain, if the evidence uncovered by the SCCRC is accurate, instead of howling US authorities might want to thank Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill for killing Megrahi’s appeal, an appeal that very well may have led to a reversal of Megrahi’s conviction based on misconduct involving the Americans. While it is unlikely either the US government or Congress will touch this bit of stench, let’s hope the authorities in Scotland take a hard look into the matter.

55 replies
  1. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Thanks Marcy! Im in Edinburgh right now reading this and want to thank you for having the courage to publish information regarding such potentially underhanded subterfuge by the U.S. Departments of “Justice” and State. How the world will view us is still to be determined, but it is looking less and less like we’ve turned a corner at the DOJ. Until we clean up our own messes we should be very circumspect about criticizing the rest of the world regarding universal human rights and the “rule” of law.

      • radiofreewill says:

        Now that I look at it, again, it makes sense that the Iranians responded ‘in-kind’ to the shooting down of their airliner full of totally innocent civilians.

        As I understand it, Iran has a Culture of Honor with an Ancient tradition of Revenge, which they share with many of the Tribes (ie – the Pashtun) and Countries around them.

        To do them wrong – and then not apologize – would have brought-on their response – they would have felt they had no other choice in the face of such disrespect.

        Eye for an Eye keeps the cycle of violence going around and around…

        We are essentially fighting the Pashtun in Afghanistan and Pakistan – those Drone attacks are Almost Certain to generate revenge attacks against US in the future.

  2. skdadl says:

    There are layers to this case. It’s true that MacAskill’s decision put an end to the appeal, but with so much evidence about, it’s hard not to think that the truth won’t come out one way or another. The families of British (and I think some European) victims have been pressing for serious investigations for some time (and did not oppose Megrahi’s release, or at least those who are organized did not). I don’t know what paths are now available to them; I’m not sure whether MacAskill was thinking forward to any further processes; but then there are investigative journalists too.

    When I read the Guardian report that Megrahi had released this material, my first thought was that we had vaguely known this, hadn’t we? At least there has been gossip for a long time that the U.S. paid off the Gaucis. How that would fit with speculation about an Iranian-Palestinian connection (a response to the shooting down of an Iranian airbus by the U.S. navy in 1988), I don’t know.

    (Here is a summary of the various conspiracy theories about Flight 103.)

    A couple of small points, bmaz: I didn’t know that the Scots spelled Crown with an e? And I don’t think there’s an h in Gauci.

      • stryder says:

        “Megrahi’s trial was held in a Scottish court that was constituted in the Netherlands by agreement in order to obtain the extradition of Megrahi for trial”

        Are you saying that the Netherlands made the arrangements to have the trial in Scotland for extradition purposes?

        • bmaz says:

          No, just the opposite. Megrahi and a co-defendant, Fhimah, were indicted by both the US and the Scottish Crown, but their home country, Libya, refused to extradite them claiming they could not receive a fair trial in those two jurisdictions. Negotiations over many years finally resulted in an agreement between the US, the Scots and Libya that the trial would be held in a neutral country, the Netherlands, but under Scot law and judicial control.

  3. DWBartoo says:

    Thank you, bmaz.

    As oldoilfieldhand says, this revelation does little to suggest that the essential “thrust’ of American “involvement” in the world will “change” from manipulation, deceit, and the threat or direct use of force or economic “inducement” in pursuit of policies and policy “ends” of which the American people are not informed, owing to the “national security” aspect of such “information”, and then, deliberately misled to believe absolute rubbish.

    If my remaining memory cells have not failed me utterly, then I seem to recall the outrage that our President, Barack Obama, expressed at the release of Megrahi and his clear implication that a grave injustice was occurring …

    So, perversely, I wonder, what did the President know and when did he know it?

    Could it be, that as President, Barack Obama did not know the truth of the Megrahi “affair”? Does he yet? And, if he somehow comes to learn of the truth of this small “matter”, will he be moved to do anything about it?

    The “leadership” of this nation has, somehow, failed to grasp the significance of the moment on so many levels that it, almost, seems intentional.

    I wonder if anyone else has noted that?/s


  4. JimWhite says:

    Gosh, bmaz, don’t you know that our war against brown people terrists means that we can’t have the usual big ceremony where the informant who produces a conviction is given a gigantic check like the ones Tiger Woods gets every week? With more brown people terrists out there, we have to be all hush hush about this, dontcha know? /s

    Thanks for some very informative digging.

  5. Palli says:

    The question always seems to remain: why do authorities believe that the public simply wants vengeance not justice, “closure” not truth?

    Certainly one element of answer is people management; authorities apparently prefer a level of generalized terror.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      The bombing occurred at the beginning of the last month of the Reagan administration, and according to the Wikipedia the indictment took place in the Bush 41 era, specifically on November, 1991, two weeks before William Barr, the 77th Attorney General, ended his short, three month term of office. The trial took place almost entirely on Clinton’s and Janet Reno’s watch, with the conviction being handed down on January 31, 2001. I was tempted to write that the Bush 43 crew was probably not involved, but depending on when the monies were actually paid out they might well have been. After all, in the foreign policy sphere they were astoundingly adept at fucking up anything more complicated than a two car funeral.

  6. Phoenix Woman says:

    Oh, and if anyone’s wondering why the US was so eager to nab Megrahi and pin the blame on him and Libya — one explanation is that Iran was responsible, but the Reagan and Bush administrations didn’t want to publicly accuse Iran at the time because the Iranians were once again holding some Americans hostage and negotiations were at a delicate point:

    As the Scottish judges pieced together their curious rationale for a guilty verdict, they also were rejecting earlier scenarios for the bombing.

    For instance, Scottish radio reporter David Johnston devoted a chapter of his book Lockerbie: The Tragedy of Flight 103 to the prevalent theory in the months following the attack, that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) was responsible.

    Scottish journalist Magnus Linklater, in an article for the London Timesonline on Aug. 13, noted that this was hardly a wild conspiracy theory at the time:

    “It is sometimes forgotten just how powerful the evidence was, in the first few months after Lockerbie, that pointed towards the involvement of the Palestinian-Syrian terror group the PFLP-GC, backed by Iran and linked closely to terror groups in Europe. At The Scotsman newspaper, which I edited then, we were strongly briefed by police and ministers to concentrate on this link, with revenge for an American rocket attack on an Iranian airliner as the motive.” 

    Indeed, the Sunday Times of London reported in its front-page headline of March 26, 1989, “Pan Am Bombers Identified.” The article stated that anonymous intelligence sources knew who was behind the bombing: “the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command, led by Ahmed Jibril, a Damascus-based PLO renegade who opposes Yasser Arafat’s current peace drive.” 

    The paper claimed that PLO sources had told it the group had received $10 million to bring down the plane in retaliation for the downing of an Iranian civilian airline by the American cruiser Vincennes the summer before.

    (The U.S. claimed the Vincennes thought it was being attacked, and fired in self-defense, a claim which had no basis in reality, despite having been voiced by President Ronald Reagan and Vice President and former CIA director George H.W. Bush. President Reagan refused to apologize to Iran for this tragic mistake.) 

    The Observer reported that, after the shootdown of the Iranian plane, the Iranian chargé d’affaires in Beirut invited Ahmed Jibril and other terrorists to a meeting attended by representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, where plans were made to bring down a plane with a bomb.

    The final meeting purportedly took place at the Carlton Hotel in Beirut just days before the Lockerbie incident.

    On Dec. 24, 1989, the Sunday Times reported that white plastic residue found at the Lockerbie crash site matched material in alarm clocks purchased from a couple of Jibril’s PFLP-GC associates just before their arrest in West Germany in October 1988, just two months before the Lockerbie bombing.

    As Bill Blum’s report, recently republished at Consortiumnews.com, noted, the Iranian-PFLP-GC conspiracy “was the Original Official Version, delivered with Olympian rectitude by the U.S. government — guaranteed, sworn to, scout’s honor, case closed — until the Gulf War came along in 1990 and the support of Iran and Syria were needed.”

    This is not exactly breaking news — hell, back in 2007 right-wing blogger Pam “Atlas Shrugs” Oshry referenced it in the course of citing a Scotsman article on the subject (though of course while she was oh-so-careful to make sure Jimmy Carter got name-checked and blame-checked for having “helped to install” Khomeini, she avoids mentioning Ronald Reagan’s or George H.W. Bush’s names once)

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      Bmaz and PW with the scoop I’m guessing the real history of Reagan should be interesting any chance of Obama releasing Presidential records?

  7. PAR4 says:

    For some reason I don’t feel better knowing that we are not the only country with a questionable legal system.

  8. MrCleaveland says:

    Ahh, more attacks on the Great Satan by the Conspiranoids.

    As a sane person, I have to say that your irrational and undiluted hatred of the U.S. is really something to marvel at.

    • Twain says:

      What a ridiculous thing to say. When our country doesn’t live up the standards we believe it should, we not only can, but we must, speak out – not because you hate it but because you love it.

    • pastfedup says:

      In the words of some of your likely heroes, “it would be irresponsible not to speculate.”

      You can go back to holding your fingers in your ears while singing “LALALA’ now.

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      We hate America? True Love is when you feel you have to tell the person you love the truth like buying evidence is wrong.
      What you call love we can Enabling.

    • oldnslow says:

      So far the responses to your comment are much too kind. To attempt to hold our government accountable is the very pinnacle of patriotism. To do otherwise is a crime against the Constitution.

      As for your anti-American projectionism you sure do hang out in strange places.

  9. BoxTurtle says:

    Something doesn’t compute. BushCo was desperately looking for a reason to hit Iran, they could care less about Libya. Why on earth would they want to lay off something Iran did (which would surely have been enough to justify an airstrike or two) on Libya?

    Geez, is there a NATO country whose courts can give a fair trial to an Arab?

    Boxturtle (Or is Iran’s secret service that good at messing with the west?)

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      Maybe they were afraid that if we used the plane crash as a causa beli then the press would look at the Iranian plane that was shot down?

      • BoxTurtle says:

        But that was a Reagan mistake, hitting that aircraft. Everything I remember reading at that time said US government screwup except for the formal US government statements, so I dunno what they’d hope to deny.

        Other than saving us from paying compensation to the Iranians, I see no gain.

        Boxturtle (But something certainly stinks. And it ain’t just the Browns)

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Maybe. But Poppy is out of the picture politically and if anything BushCo seemed to glory in ignoring Poppy’s advice. I think that BushCo would have cheerfully pissed on Poppy if it meant they they could hit Iran.

        Europe in general would have done anything to keep BushCo from hitting Iran. Perhaps the answer is in France or Germany.

        Boxturtle (Don’t like my theory much better than yours. But there’s gotta be a reason)

        • skdadl says:

          I think we need to remember that there are over twenty years of foreign-policy history involved here, and American interests relative to both Libya and Iran have shifted several times each through that time.

          I agree that it’s interesting to wonder who would rather bury evidence of Iranian involvement, particularly at a time when the propaganda drums are sounding again, but I don’t think the answers lie in Europe, except maybe at a complicity level.

          And like the Iranians, even those in opposition, I’d really prefer not to see anyone “hitting” Iran.

    • Ishmael says:

      “Geez, is there a NATO country whose courts can give a fair trial to an Arab?”

      Yes, I believe there is – see my #28.

  10. Ishmael says:

    There may be another judicial avenue that may lead to some truth. Following Megrahi’s conviction in January 2001, he appealed his case to the European Court of Human Rights, which in 2003 declined to consider the case on the merits on the ground that Megrahi had not exhausted all his internal remedies in Scotland. I don’t know if Megrahi’s acceptance of Scottish clemency was made conditional in part on abandoning his appeal rights to the ECHR, or the European Court of Justice, but given the original ruling, and recent ECHR caselaw on the review of life sentences passed in the EU, the legal grounds would certainly be available for a review.

    • klynn says:

      bmaz, great post. It brings up some important questions.

      Ishmael, interesting points worth looking into.


      This mess with CBO and Wyden is quite curious – in a bad way.

  11. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Corrected. Thanks bmaz and thanks again Marcy for providing the platform for bmaz to write his in depth and revealing reviews. More in the Kitty!

  12. oldoilfieldhand says:


    The Scots have a saying, that an honest man is “straight as a die” I like to compare it to my personal assessment of my brother and mother who are both “brutally honest”. It doesn’t matter to them who is hurt, the truth must out. We can hope that Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill is cut from the same (tartan) cloth.

  13. Leen says:

    Was really intrigued with the Scottish law having to do with compassion and prison sentences. Can not find the one article that also said that folks in Scotland are tired of the pressure from the U.K. and the U.S. to “do as we say not as we do” contradictions

    this is an interesting link about

    Lockerbie : Al Megrahi publishes appeal documents online

  14. Gitcheegumee says:

    Just out of curiousity, the monies dispensed to the brothers by the DOJ,I wonder if those checks were directly from the US Treasury,or from some OTHER banking institution?

    Or indeed,if they were actually checks,at all?

  15. spoonful says:

    On July 3, 1988, the U.S. naval ship Vincennes shot down Iran Air flight 655, killing all 250 passengers on board. Pan Am 103 was brought down by a bomb just over four months later. The math is not to difficult. The question is, why did Bush/Raygun cover up Iran’s clear responsibility? It’s also noteworthy that two of the top officers on board the Vincennes at the time of the shooting down were later awarded medals for bravery.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The US rather desperately needed a conviction in this case, given the flight’s destination and the number of Americans on board.

    That the US paid $3 million to elicit testimony favorable – nay, essential – to conviction is something the court and the trier of fact should have known. Not knowing it is like not knowing that a prosecutor paid half a million bucks to a forensic arson expert to testify against a reputed mobster. It might not have been arson, he might not be a mobster.

    In many minds, the payments in the Lockerbie case would create a reasonable doubt that would preclude conviction. Which means that secrecy – lying to the court by omitting material facts that the state was legally required to disclose – was an essential part of this particular exercise of American subterfuge.

    The US might claim, in defense, that the payments were necessary “risk premiums”, given the possibility of revenge by various parties. But that’s not necessarily the only or primary reason the monies were paid – and the US was never asked to defend its actions. As in Gitmo. As in domestic spying. As in lying us into war. Ad nauseum.

    If claims that Roman Polanski “paid to rape” – or more accurately, paid to avoid the most serious possible consequences of his actions – are accurate, he and Hollywood were mimicking a process that K Street corporate lobbyists and the US government have made into an art form.

  17. Mary says:

    I think 25 & 27 are both correct and tied together.

    Regan is the First St. of Republicanism. If you go to the US airliner being brought down in retaliation for the Iranian airliner, it’s hard not to get into the issue of the Iranian airliner. How do you have trials and convictions for the one, but not the other? And the concept of promotions for *mistakes* (like the analysts who said the aluminum tubes were for nukes and the CIA operatives who headed up the Italian fiasco and who were involved in the torture killing in Afghanistan) seems to tied lots more to the nature of those mistakes as something the Exec wanted to happen.

    You also get into the whole issue of Iran and hostages and you may end up with some issues that aren’t covered by pardons as you unravel the ties. I don’t know enough to know what theory of the case is more beleivable, but I think one thing you have to say if you rule out Iran is that Iran is a bunch of forgiving guys, all huggy and forgivey, who have just forgotten all about what happened to their airbus and hold no grudges. Would we?

    • acquarius74 says:

      I needed to learn more about the shootdown of Iranian Flight 655 by the missile cruiser, USS Vincennes so I found a seven-part video here, but it is vital that the text be read because it points out the mountain of lies told to us and the world about it. (including those by Reagan and GHW Bush who was looking to be president). 5 months after the shootdown Pan Am 103 happened, ironically both flights had the exact same number of passengers: 290, with no survivors of either.

      Thanks, bmaz, for showing us yet another lower and older act of dishonor by lying leaders who never knew or cared about the meaning of Justice.

    • fatster says:

      Yes. Both (protect Reagan and/or Iran-Contra Bush) seem excellent candidates to answer the most intriguing question: Who benefits the most from this? If the Megrahi documentation turns out to contain the truth, then his conviction was of utmost importance to someone(s)l, regardless of the cost (in dollars and, more importantly, US reputation).

  18. Gitcheegumee says:

    Here’s an interesting bit of arcania from New York magazine,circa 1992:

    New York Magazine – Sep 21, 1992 – 112 pages – Magazine
    THAT ’GOVERNMENT ROLE1 IN THE BOMBING OF FLIGHT 103 WAS AN INSURANCE PLOY Pan Am needed a defense strategy capable of overcoming its own misconduct. …
    books.google.com/books?id=3uQCAAAAMBAJ… – More book results »

  19. Gitcheegumee says:

    Pan Am Games – Google Books ResultNew York Magazine – Sep 21, 1992 – 112 pages – Magazine
    The claims expert left the insurance company after warning that Pan Am could … BY CHRISTOPHER BYRON AS THE DUPING OF Time magazine on the crash of Pan Am …
    books.google.com/books?id=3uQCAAAAMBAJ… – More book results »

  20. pseudonymousinnc says:

    The payoff to Gauci isn’t news for anyone who has paid attention to the case, though the new documents make it clearer than before.

    A Scottish MSP has used parliamentary privilege to name a naturalized US citizen, known under the pseudonym “Abu Elias”, as a person of interest in the bombing; the person in question has long been under suspicion both for the Lockerbie bombing, and as a potential CIA mole in the PFLP-GC.

    • bmaz says:

      Rumors of a payoff to Gauci may not be new; hard evidence of it in the eye of the SCCRC and that the source was the US Reward for Justice Program most certainly is new. If true, it is a huge development.

    • Hmmm says:

      OT — FWIW “Abu Elias” is a very strange pseudonym. ‘Elias’ is English-Greek-Hebrew meaning ‘My God is the Lord’ and/or derived from ’sun’ in ancient Greek. It was more common as a male first name in ancient Greece and in the 17th century, but also used in the US the late 1800’s/early 1900’s; for example it was Walt Disney’s middle name and also his father’s first name. Doesn’t appear to go with the Arabic ‘Abu’ particularly, neither the honorific form nor the ‘father of’ form. Some kind of ironic nickname?

  21. al75 says:

    In the years after the bombing I read very detailed reconstructions of the crime that implicated a PLO bomb-maker. From the NYT recently (2000)

    More widely believed was the theory that American and Scottish investigators worked with until 1991: that the plane was bombed by Syrian-backed Palestinians working for Iran, which was seeking revenge for the downing of an Iranian passenger jet by an American warship in July 1988.

    That had plausibility because in October 1988, two months before the plane went down, the West German police arrested a dozen Palestinians with Syrian passports, a Toshiba boom box, detonators, barometric fuses, a bazooka and other arms.

    But most of them, including a known bomb-maker named Marwan Khreesat, were released by a German judge and disappeared. Later, the Germans found three more bombs packed in Toshibas, one of which killed the man dismantling it.

    The Palestinian groups have repeatedly denied blowing up Pan Am 103.

    Investigators changed their minds about them after finding bits of a timer embedded in a charred shirt in the debris. The timer was traced to a Swiss company that is said to have identified its customer as the Libyan government, although it later said it had sold the timers to others too and had lost some in a burglary.

    Note the other issue – real bomb-makers with real bombs were released by the German court – irrespective of their responsibility for Lockerbie, that was extraordinary.

    The Libyian theory of the crime surfaced years later, and always seemed pasted together to me.

    Judges hearing an appeal by Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi said the prosecution’s claim of where and how the bomb was loaded onto the airplane was contradicted by airport luggage records presented at evidence during the original trial.

    One of the five-strong panel said the prosecution’s version of events was “difficult to follow rationally.”

    Prosecutors say the bomb, hidden in a radio cassette player concealed in a brown suitcase, was checked in at Malta by al-Megrahi and transferred to Pan Am Flight 103.

    But Judge Kenneth Osborne told the prosecution team: “There is considerable and quite convincing evidence that that could not have happened.”

    We may never know what happened at Lockerbie, but the police handling of the case has stunk, from beginning to end.

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