On the eve of 21.12.1988 an American civil aircraft Boeing 747-121 was on its
way from Frankfurt via London towards New York at flight level 310 (31000
feet), when it suddenly and violently blew up into several fragments. The plane,
or rather pieces of it, were scattered on the ground around the Scottish city of
Lockerbie, Scotland, one large part of the plane crashed directly onto residental
buildings in the city.
The exact time of the crash was 21 December 1988 at 19:02:50 hrs. We know this due to
technical investigations of the socalled black box, the flight voice recorder, radar timings and
seismic readings. The accident was notified to the British AAIB at 19.40 hours same day.
II. The last readings
Pan Am 103 took of from London Heathrow Airport at 18.25 hrs. As it was approaching the
Burnham VOR it took up a radar heading of 350 degrees and flew below the Bovingdon holding
point at 600 feet. It was then cleared to climb initially to flight level FL 120 and subsequently to
FL 310. The aircraft levelled off at FL 310 nort west of Pole Hill VOR at 18.56 hrs.
Approximately 7 minutes later, Shanwick Oceanic Control transmitted the aircraft's oceanic
clearance but this transmission was not acknowledged from the aircraft. The secondary radar
return from flight PA 103 disappeared from the radar screen during the transmission.
III. Impact information
The impact of the crashing plane was so strong, that the British Geological Survey in its stations
in the south of Scotland recorded a seismic event measuring 1.6 on the Richter scale.
A complete wing primary structure, incorporating the centre section of PA 103, impacted on the
southern edge of Lockerbie. Most of the airplane, including the engines, also hit town. Large
portions of the airplane fell in the countryside to the east of the town, and some other wreckage
was found further east over a distance of 130 kilometres.
The part that hit Lockerbie created a crater with a volume aprx. 560 kubicmeters, about 47 meters
(155 feet) broad and 196 feet long. The weight of material displaced by the wing structure was
estimated to be well in excess of 1500 tonnes.
Worst hit was the Lockerbie Sherwood Crescent Site, the crash starting fire to the surrounding
buildings. 21 residential buildings became demolished as a result of the crash.
The crash became breaking news at many western TV- and radio-stations. The mass media with
journalists and photographers arrived at the crash scene in Lockerbie within the hour of the crash.
Many newspapers roomed the frontpage of their paper to bring the story of the terrible air-disaster
that suddenly brought the name of the city of Lockerbie around the world.
As always, the media started to panic and rush to Lockerbie. But some journalists didn't even
bother to go there and watch. They stayed at home and - so it seems - broadcasted news as they
made them up along the way.
What happened to Pan Am 103 ? This was the question on everybodys mind the days after the
crash. Was the pilot drunk ? Did Boeing do a lousy job on latest maintenance ? Was the RAF
flying a bit to close a civil plane again ? Or was it a bomb ?
3.1 The crash cause
The report from the AAIB (Air Accident Investigation Branch) concluded the cause of the crash
to be an intentional explosive device on the aircraft, placed in the cargo container in the right
forward section of the aircraft. Other theories of the crash have been put forward. But how do we
tell what actually happened ?
Investigations about the Pan Am 103-crash were conducted at an official level by the Air
Accident Investigation Branch , AAIB, in UK and Scotland. Other technical experts helped the
AAIB. The conclusion was, that an intentional explosive device was the cause of the crash. But
other people have during the years brought forward other theories for the crash.
3.2 Personnell conducting the AAIB investigation
The investigation expenses of the AAIB exceeded 5 million British pounds already in the first
M.M.Charles from the AAIBwas chief-of-staff in the AAIB investigation. Take a look at a list of
those activly involved in the investigation.
James Thomas Thurman was the leading forensic expert, that analyzed the tiny piece of timer
circuit board, that was allegedly recovered from the wreckage of Pan Am 103. He, together with
forensic crash expert Korsgaard, could not determine, whether the device was triggered by a
barometer or just a simple timer device. However he could trace the scrap of the circuit board to a
Swiss manufacturer, Meister et Bollier of Zurich, known as the MEBO AG. Amazing - !
Alan Faraday, head of the Forensic Explosives Laboratory at the Royal Armament Research and
Development Establishment, proved specimens from the wreckage to show evidence of two types
of chemicals used to manufacture Semtex, a plastic explosive. However, it was not proven, that
these chemicals actually came from the bomb. They could be traces of other cargo, since the
aircraft had been used for military transport before. In fact, the traces of chemical ingrediens used
in making semtex was so small an amount, it could very likely been scraps from army uniforms
or even traces from medical chemicals such as heartpain-pills....
3.3 The black box
The black box, wich isn't black at all, but is bright orange, contains the flight data recorder of
every aircraft. It contains cockpit-instruments measurings and readings, pilot's talking over the
radio, steardesses announcing to fasten seat-belts etc.
The black box of Pan Am 103 was found early on December the 22nd. It landed close to the
Lockerbie Tundergarth countryside at Banks Hill. Stuart Dodd (14) took his dad's tractor
together with his brother Robbie Stuart (13) to search for debris on the fields, and they found the
box laying on Chris Grahams land, close to some woods.
The Data recorder was from 1972, but due to the technical lessons from the crash of Pan Am 103,
data flight recorders today are equipped with new, seperate power links, in order to record also
after the main power has been ruptured due to crash in midflight.
Investigators had their trouble with listening to the sounds of the black box's voice recordings.
Due to mechanical failure, the recorder didn't vipe out the old sounds completely, before
recording a new session. Investigators had to filter those old noises and conversations away,
before they could listen to the session just before the power rupture.
3.4 A giant 3-D puzzle
How does one find out what really happened when a plane has crashed ? The only way is to find
all the pieces of the aircraft and put them together again in order to see, first of all, how the
aircraft disintegrated (broke into pieces). It is just like a GIANT 3D-puzzle. After this, the
technical staff of investigators go through all the disintegrational points as to find out why they
broke apart. In the case of Pan Am 103 it was easy to see, where the plane first
disintegrated.....i.e. where the bomb went off. The plane started disintegrating just at the "neck"
between the cockpit and the fuselage.
The forensic puzzle took place at a massive hangar at the British Ministry of Defense depot in
Longtown, near Carlisle in north England. There all the remains recovered from the surroundings
of Lockerbie were sorted out, no matter how small the shrapnels might be. Sometimes big sacks
of mud and rubble were sifted through nets to find tiny pieces of airplane debris. Those pieces
came mostly from the famous crater at Sherwood Crescent, where the fuel explosion dismantled
everything into confetti.
3.5 What was the crash like when it happened:
The technical investigators found out, that the blast, which brought down Pan Am 103 wasn't a
very big one. The plane wasn't blown to pieces by the bomb.....it was the mach stem waves that
ruptured the plane into pieces together with the gravitational and aerodynamical forces in flight.
IV. Finding the bomb
Air planes just don't crash like that without a cause. Radar readings, analysis of the cockpit-voice
recorder all indicated the crash to be due to a sudden power break or rupture. Analysis of
wheather and winds as well as fracture trail, indicated that Pan Am 103 must have broken
up/disintegrated already in descent in midair.That doesn't nescessarily mean the plane has been
blown up. Aircrafts can disintegrate if they descent violently because of other reasons, too.
However, the investigation team concluded in their report, that the crash of Pan Am 103 was
triggered by a socalled IED (intentional explosive device), in plain english: a bomb. Or at least,
this is what they assume was the most plausible explenation. It is not 100 % the truth...but it is the
explenation, that comes closest to the truth. Let's take a look at the indication for the crash to have
been triggered by an IED/bomb:
The CVR (cockpit voice recorder) recorded a loud sound just miliseconds before power rupture.
It could be the sound of a bomb. But it could also be the sound of the aircraft disintegrating. No
final conclusion was made as to the origin of this sound, only technical correct speculations. If a
bomb started the disintegration, the wreckage of this direct impact would be first on the ground,
at the beginning of the wreckage trail. The lower, forward cargo deck was indeed one of the
pieces lying at the beginning of the wreckage trail. Engine no. 2 shows heavy damage due to
powerful airflow disturbance as well as intake of foreign objects, among them a cable similar to
the closure curtain of a cargo container. This means engine no.2 had been hit by some sort of
strong blast as it still was working. In fact, later they found out engine no.2 actually "ate" about 8
passengers, including seat and seatbelts! Burned marks on a luggage container, and the one next
to it shows a blast fraction. An electronic timing device allegedly found inside piece of suitcase
from the blasted luggage container.The device doesn't nescessarily have to be a timer for a bomb
- but that is what FBI assumes. There was no indications of prior technical problems with the
aircraft. Neither to be found in the aircraft repair-reports, flightrecorders, crew conversation or
other proofs of flight history. At least, that's what Boing says.
Technical investigations assume the IED was found in a brown Samsonite luggage, inside a
Toshiba Cassette Recorder, a socalled Ghettoblaster, probably packed with 10 to 14 ounzes of
semtex. However there was no direct indications of semtex, wich is a plastic explosive. Two
traces of socalled ingrediens of semtex where found in cargo area (RDX and PETN), but this does
not automatically proove them to be fragments from semtex.
Traces of RDX and PETN can be found in many other chemical substances, too. And even just a
soldier having used explosives, brushing dust from his clothes could be the explenation for the
finding of RDX and PETN. After all, PA 103 had been used recently by military forces as part of
agreement between commercial airliners and the US government.
So there is in fact no legal proof of explosive devices aboard!
Any traces of explosive material are not nescessarily proven to be related to a bomb blowing up
Pan Am 103....but it is a high possibility they actually are. The "bomb" is nevertheless a very
plausible explenation of crash cause.
In a court of law, the traces of semtex wouldn't stand the evidence.
4.1 Other theories of damage
Beeing an American plane, carrying CIA personell among others, a bomb can be no big surprise.
But it doesn't have to be a bomb. Other weird things can make an aircraft disintegrate and crash
as well. Seagulls sucked into the engines. Meteorites hitting the aircraft. Oops!-missiles or
deliberate missiles. UFO's trying to abduct the plane. Metal fatigue. Bad weather. Bad luck. Most
of the mentioned incidents are very unlikely to be the cause of the crash of Pan Am 103. But
some theories other than a bomb are within reason.
Crash expert John Barry Smith put forward another theory about the crash. It is his opinion, that
the crash was triggered by a defect cargo door. He claims, that other Boeing 747-aircrafts have
had similar problems, and even thinks that other crashes involving 747-aircrafts can be connected
to this cargo door problem. Some air accidents are factually caused by week cargodoors. In his
opinion, the crash of Pan Am 103 was not a criminal act, but inevitable sooner or later.
Having concluded the technical investigation with the assumption that a bomb caused the crash of
Pan Am 103, the next question to ask is: How was the bomb brought aboard the aircraft, and
We should look away from the idea, that the bomb aboard Pan Am 103 maybe could have been
an accident. That maybe someone carried a bomb or even just some explosive material, and it
went off by accident. That DOES happen sometimes, since the world is full of careless idiots. But
it is most possible, the bomb was put on Pan Am 103 and timed to blast by purpose and evil
A warning had been issued by the American embassy in Finland and Russia a few days before the
crash. American civil airliners could be the target of terrorist attacks - but did the US government
bother to tell the passengers at Pan Am ?
Did the US government do anything in regard to that warning ? YES - they made sure no
important personell of their own stayed on that plane. Many people believe the US government
knew Pan Am 103 was a dangerous plane to be on - and that perhaps the passengers of Pan Am
103 became sacrified on the altar of hostage politics with ... Iran.
V. Criminal investigation
Scottish police stood for the immediate criminal investigation with the help of the American FBI,
German Police, Maltese Police and others. Scottish police spent months searching 845 square
miles of fields, forests, lakes and towns for pieces of the aircraft and its cargo.
One year after the crash 21.12.1989 Scottish detectives had visited 13 countries, collected more
than 35000 photographs, compiled 12700 name cards and taken more than 15000 statements.
The Scottish criminal investigation was headed by Chief Inspector Watson McAteer from
Scottish Police. Superintendent JOHN ORR from Strathclyde Police was the senior investigating
Officer for the first 8 months or so of the enquiry. He then went on to become the Deputy Chief
Constable of Dumfries and Galloway Police and is now the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Polic
The head of the American FBI-team was Lawrence G. Whittaker. The American Justice
Department used Robert Muller as head for their investigation into Lockerbie. The American
CIA mingled into the investigations because CIA-people had been travelling with Pan Am 103.
The CIA-team was headed by Vincent Cannistraro. Pan Am had their lawyers doing
investigations, too, among them James M.Shaugnessy.
There was another investigations branch, with less legal accuracy and less technical approach:
the mass media. The crash of Pan Am 103 was and is still a good story for the mass media. In
the aftermath of the Lockerbie Incident, the mass media almost every day had a new suspect to
blame. Few countries in the Middle East escaped this media circus. The accusations of the mass
media are what people remember best. The hard evidence and facts play only a little role.
Right after the crash of Pan Am 103 in 1988, several "islamic" organizations took responsibility,
claiming by anonymous phonecalls and messages, that they were the ones behind the attack on
Pan Am 103. The public and the investigators did actually for a long time believe the downing of
the plane was an act of revenge for the shooting down of a civil Iranian airplane by the US army a
few months before. And as Sherlock Holmes might have said: the first and the most obvious
explenation of a crime is probably also the real and the most possible explenation as well.....
But then came the 14th of November 1991 - the world was struck by surprise as Iran suddenly
and with no appearant reason was pushed back and Libya dragged into the spotlight of the
investigation. 2 days after the US federal attorney made his public statement that Libya was to
blame for the downing of Pan Am 103 and that neither Syria nor Iran had any involvment.....two
important American hostages were released from their captivity in Lebanon by shiamuslim
resistance fighters! Calculating all the hours and hours of work done in the Lockerbie
investigation, and calculating the seriousness of the case, it is shocking to see such scamped and
contradicious outcome. Accusations changed from country to country, persons to persons, and
then suddenly two Libyan citizens are pulled into the culprit's bar. Did the investigators have a
hard time making up their final minds ???
Abdelbasset Megrahi and Lameen "The Egg" Fhima became FBI's most wanted men - and it
seems they already are judged by the media circus as the culprits behind the crash of Pan Am
5.1 Evidence and witnesses
The two Libyans were named as possible suspects at a joint press conference in the UK and USA
at the same time.
Let's take a look at the alleged evidence against the two Libyans:
Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhima
5.2 4 million reasons not to leave the home
The two Libyans are wanted by the FBI and the reward to catch them is 4 million US-dollars The
dead-or-alive-posters were printed in several languages, including in arabic to be published in
Libya's neighbouring countries.
American tax payers money was used to make copies of the FBI poster and print it on the roof of
matchboxes in neighbouring Tunisia 1992-3. The empty matchboxes are today worth a fortune
for matchbox collectors all over the world. An American proposal to publish FBI posters of
Fhima and Megrahi on milk jugs in Tunisia was abandoned...
"We'll follow them (Megrahi and Fhimah) to the ends of the world to bring them to court," said
deputy FBI director Robert Bryant.
5.3 Fhima and Megrahi speaking out
It is a very peculiar experience to be the most wanted men of the century!
Fhima and Megrahi are of course innocent until proven guilty....but more than 6 years of living
like 4-million-dollar-fugitives has certainly made their life living hell. In the medias they are
already guilty. What has life become for them recently ?
The two Libyans have given several personal TV-interviews, talking about their experience as the
worlds 2 most wanted and most hunted men...
5.4 The electronic timer - vital evidence or technical perjury?
A tiny fragment of an electronic circuit board was found in the contents of the explosion-struck
baggage container of Pan Am 103. Experts do believe it to be a piece of a MST-13 timing device
used for military engeneering operations. The board was allegedly manufactured by the Swiss
firm Meister et Bollier of Zurich, MeBo AG. The firm had sold such timing devices to Libya in
However, MeBo AG had sold the same timer-devices to other countries at that time, too. In fact it
is a good piece of equipment, used by many military services in the world. Edwin Bollier, co-
owner of the manufacturing firm told Swiss Police about some of the pre-manufactured timer
circuit boards beeing missing from his stock, during a series of break-inns during 1985-87. After
microscope examinations of the fragment - and the official forensic photographs - Mr Bollier
insisted that the circuit board evidence had never been "connected electrically". He is understood
to be adamant that the fragment was not from a timer supplied to Libya and can no longer be
connected to the Pan Am bombing. Mr Bollier was questiond by the Scottish police in September
1999, and he personally got to see, for the first time, the fragment from the circuit board. After
careful examination he found these had not even been connected electrically. So, how can it be
used as evidence?
Mr Bollier was accompanied by a personal adviser, Anthony Meli, during a visit to police
headquarters in Dumfries to examine the fragment. Mr Meli said yesterday: "The actual viewing
of the fragment and the many photographs did prove that this forensic piece of evidence was
actually not from any timers sold to Libya. "You can now judge for yourself if such facts will be
able to put the entire Lockerbie trial in doubt."
Actually, it is hard to believe the electronic timer device-story. It is most fascinating, how
incredible lucky the USA was, finding the tiny piece of plastic, and even the piece that luckily
had the timer-registration number printed on it ! And imagine finding it almost 2 years after the
crash and not in the weeks after...!
In fact, the USA seems to be so incredibly lucky, that one might ask the question, if it could have
been possible, that the fragment of the MST-13 timer could have been planted on the spot by the
CIA or anyone else. It is funny they even say it was at the crash scene - because Scottish police
hasn't any list of evidence-on-crime-scene with that timer device fragment listed!
And remember: there are no traces of the bomb found! Only an electronic circuit, some blast
exposure and less than 0,5 mg chemicals. The bomb itself is not there. In a court the evidence
found on place will never be enough to actually proove a bomb has been aboard.... and even
more important: there is no concrete evidence linking the electronic board to either ones of the
The circuit board was allegedly found inside the remains of another electronical device which
later was identified as the remains of a Toshiba Cassette Recorder model 8016 - exactly the
same brand as found in Frankfurt, when the German police raided terrorist hideouts and found 3
such devices together with timers, explosive chemicals and other tools of evil.
5.5 MEBO report brings new theories
19/11/99 In the light of the recent Scottish investigation reports in the media, the chairman of
MEBO Ag. has sent following comments:
The latter report contains new evidence of the alleged Toshiba Bombeat radio-recorder that was
said to contain the bomb on PA 103, as well as thoughts around the identity mismatch of a
passenger aboard the plane. And why is the crash of Pan Am 103 still classified with the military
security level "National Security" in the US, although being a civil airline crash ???
5.6 Thomas Thurman: the crook inside FBI
Where did the tiny circuit board fragment come from ? Someone might say "it came out of the
blue", but the first person to "discover" the fragment was FBI's forensic "expert" Thomas James
Thurman. Why are we putting "" around the words expert and discover ?
Already while Thurman was working on another case, along side with the Lockerbie Case, his
collegue at the FBI's Scientific Analysis Section (SAS), Frederic Whitehurst, wrote a memo to his
"SSA Tom Thurman, the principle examiner of evidence in this matter, circumvented established
procedures and protocols in the assignment of evidence to examiners in the SAS, testified to areas
of expertise that he had no qualifications in therefore fabricating evidence in his testimony, in
order to prove the guilt of Walter Leroy Moody instead of establishing the true significance and
weight of the scientific data. Thurman was fully aware of the fact that he was in violation of
procedures and protocols of the FBI laboratory and did knowingly and purposely commit perjury
and obstruction of justice in this matter."
...and that was one case, Thurman was working with. More perjury and obstructance of justice
followed after the Leroy Moody case. And since the indictment, Thurman has been suspended
from the FBI after his laboratory was suspected of falsifying evidence.
Later on Whitehurst testified to these points in a court of law:
" Thurman is simply fabricating evidence as he sits on the stand to make evidence fit." "Mr.
Thurman is not an explosives residue expert. He is not a chemist. His opinion is not an experts
opinion but personal conjecture." "During a recent investigation while conducting tests at
Quantico, Virginia, both I and SSA Steven Burmeister had to explain to Thurman in the most
elementary terms the significance of the presence of nitrate oxidizers in explosives. Thurman had
no idea what an explosive material was composed of or how the different components functioned
in the chemical reaction of the explosion. He expressed his belief that the "nitrogen content" of
the explosive was the factor which controlled its power."
..... and much more of the same stuff. It quicly became clear that Thomas Thurman had no idea of
what he has been working with. Furthermore, Thurman went to Germany to interview Pan Am
103-suspect and bomb-wizard Marwan Khreesat - but he completely forgot to tell Scottish police
about that. They never got any report... Thurman today does not work at the FBI as forensic
5.7 The found piece of t-shirt
The alleged circuit board was claimed found wrapped inside a child's t-shirt. Taggings indicated
the t-shirt to be of Maltese origin, and supposedly only sold in one single shop in Malta, Marys
House, Tower Road in Valetta.
The shop-owner was shown a series of photographs of arab men, mostly involved in terrorism,
among these pictures, the two Libyans. His description of the man buying the clothes was "6 foot
tall, Arab looking, about 50 years of age and heavy body." Megrahi was at the time of PA 103
less than 6 foot tall, Arab looking, about 34 of age and had a thin, small body....
The shop owner then, according to FBI, identified Megrahi as the man, that had bought the t-
Later on, he changed his mind, and went to identify a palestinian terrorist arrested in Sweden. He
withdrew his identification of Megrahi, but this was not accepted by American investigators.
However, the description given by the shopowner resembled a bomb expert from the PFLP,
currently serving a verdict for life in a Swedish prison under maximum security: Mohammed Abu
And again: in a court of law, the circuit alone is not enough evidence to actually state, that the
circuit was responsible for setting of a bomb. There are no traces of a bomb, and the circuit may
very well just be a piece of an electronic board, that someone was carrying with him in his
luggage. A court needs the indoubtable link between the circuit and an explosive device. And
there is none...
5.8 The travelling suitcase
By carefully matching 400 bags with their murdered owners, the investigators discovered that
there was only one bag unaccounted for among the luggage that was loaded on to Pan Am 103A
at Frankfurt for Heathrow, where they were transferred into the jumbo designated as Pan Am 103
for the flight to New York.
The investigators also discovered that the bag in question was put into the Frankfurt baggage
system at the same point, and at about the same time, as baggage was coming off Air Malta's
incoming flight 180 from Luqa. But, as the defence will no doubt show, this does not
conclusively prove that the bag actually came from Malta, since there appears to be no direct
computer record of its origin.
Both Libyans were at the time of the crime working as airline officials in the office of Libyan
Arab Airlines at Luqa International Airport in Malta. It is the opinion of the prosecution, that only
they could have smuggled a bomb through the luggage transferring system. How the bomb then
came aboard Pan Am 103 in Frankfurt Airport remains unanswered by the prosecution. How did
the suitcase, as claimed by the prosecution, enter Pan Am 103 in Frankfurt, and from where ?
It is claimed, the suitcase came to Frankfurt from Malta with Air Malta flight KM 180. The
German company of FAG, operating the highly sophisticated luggage transfer-system, found in
its printouts, that a suitcase was logged in at Coding Station 206 at 1:07 p.m. and then routed to
gate 44 in terminal B, where it was to be put aboard the Pan Am 103. However the printout does
not clearly show, what actually happened to the suitcase, only what was supposed to happen, and
not what the suitcase looked like.
Both C.I.Watson McAteer and FBI special agent Lawrence Whittaker later proved, that it was
possible for any employee at Frankfurt Airport to subsitute the suitcase, or even put a new
suitcase on the luggage transfer-system. And furtheromore, it was proved that two American
suitcases were logged into the computer as beeing put aboard Pan Am 103 in Frankfurt, but only
one of them was ever found at Lockerbie. The FBI has a report about these two points - and
published it in TIME magazine 1992.
So - as they say in court - the guilt of the two Libyans is far from being proved beyond any
doubt...in fact their guilt has not been proved at all. Vincent Cannistraro, former head of the
CIA-investigation of the crash, told New York Times, that it "was outrageous to pin the whole
thing on Libya." Later he changed his mind.
5.9 Looting of Pan Am 103: what is missing ?
Aviation disasters can bring out the worst in people. In Lockerbie it seems like the crash of Pan
Am 103 brought out only the best in people. Helping hands and comforting words...relatives
received the belongings of their dead family almost without anything missing. The Lockerbi'ers
washed the clothes and ironed them and packed the belongings of the victims in the battered
suitcase for shipment home to the US or elsewhere.
But a few individuals did not have the same sincere kindness and compassion regarding the crash
of Pan Am 103. They were caught looting by the Lockerbie Police. (Looting = stealing from the
dead). Several Lockerbi'ers and other people having come to the crash site to view the disaster as
if it was a TV-programme did steal parts of the plane, including victim's possesions. It is logical
to assume that some of them weren't taken in or discovered by the police. How many people have
"souvenirs" of Pan Am 103 in their homes today ?
Is looting important to the criminal investigation at all ? Yes, because it shows that parts of the
plane could easily be removed without notice, and that could very well mean that "planting" of
"evidence" without someone noticing could have happened as well. Could evidence have been
removed or put on the spot by someone? Yes...
Did Libya have a motive to make Pan Am 103 crash and kill all aboard. Well, they might have.
Many people, movements, governments and secret services would have had a motive to blast Pan
Am 103 right into the history of modern aircraft terrorism. But only few have some degree of
possibility. Here are just a few - within reasonable power of divination - that could be the ones
behind the Lockerbie incident:
Summer 1988 the US military stationed in the Arab Gulf, under the command of USS Vincennes,
shot down an Iranian civil aircraft killing more than 200 people on their way to one of Islams
most joyful celebrations: the end of the annual pilgrimage.. The captain later was awarded a
medal for his action. The American government did not even pay adequate compensation, nor
gave any formal excuse as to the happened. Iran swore in public to avenge this act of terrorism.
And why not ? There are many similarities between Pan Am 103 and the Iranian Airbus. For
instance, the Iranians were going to perform the pilgrimage in Mekka, Saudi Arabia, the most
joyful times of all in the islamic year. The passengers of Pan Am 103 prepared to go home
celebrating Christmas, the most joyful time of year in the Christian world...it seems both logical
and possible, that the downing of Pan Am 103 was an answer to the downing of the Iranian
Many other evidence point towards the Iranians. Well, not real evidence, just a lot of roads all
beginning and ending in Iran. Charles McKee from the CIA was aboard. He and his team had
just finished the latest US government-attempts to conclude a hostage-release-deal, in return
delivering vast military equipment to Iran. If the Reagan-gate white-wash hadn't took place in the
USA just few months later, nobody would believe such a story.
IRAN was possibly behind the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in which 270 people died, according to a
document released in America under the Freedom of Information Act. The document, a report
compiled by a United States Air Force signals intelligence unit during the Gulf War, accuses a
former Iranian minister of paying the bombers £6.5 million to carry out the attack.
The former minister, a leading hardliner opposed to the more moderate policies of President
Rafsanjani, ordered the bombing in retaliation for the shooting down by the US Navy of an
Iranian airliner, it alleged. Both the US-Foreign Office and the US-State Department have always
insisted there is no evidence to show any other country or terrorist organisation was involved.
But the document, dated March 4, 1991, and released by the National Security Agency alleges
that the Iranian paid for the operation. He is "closely connected" to the Palestinian Liberation
Front of Abu Abbas, which carried out the hijacking of the Achille Lauro passenger liner, and to
the PFLP-GC led by Abu Nidal, the document says."He is actually a long-time friend of Abu
Nidal," it says. "He recently paid $10 million (£6.5 million) in cash and gold to these two
organisations to carry out terrorist activities and was the one who paid the same amount to bomb
Pan Am 103 in retaliation for the US shoot-down of the Iranian Airbus. "
The document was obtained through the US Department of the Air Force by the makers of a
controversial film about the Lockerbie bomb attack, The Maltese Double-Cross. But the report
didn't change the mind of USA...
6.2 The Lester Coleman affair
A few months into the criminal investigation another BOMB went off: the Lester Coleman-
story. Coleman was a former DEA-agent, who claimed the bomb was smuggled aboard Pan Am
103 camouflaged as a drug-luggage, cleared to enter the USA by the very DEA itself in payment
for arms and hostage deals made by the American government and a Syrian armsbroker, Monzar
The story of Lester Coleman is quite complicated - and American relatives of victims of Pan Am
103 never believed the man and his tale. His story is a terrible lesson of international criminal
law, conspiracy theories and is probably soon ready to be a major motion picture!
If his story is true, then Libya is definitly innocent - after all!
The Iranians and their Syrian arms-broker Monzer al-Kassar have often been related to the
Lockerbie Incident, right from the day after the crash.
Only a country can pay to blow up another countries airplane. But countries mostly don't do such
an act themselves. They need a bomb-for-hire. There are always people in this world more than
ready to carry out such bad deeds, including even American citizens. The only hindrance is the
prize of such a contract. If a country would spare some millions on next year's budget, the road to
airline-terror is open for everybody who wants to take on the task.
As mentioned before, major Charles McKee and his team could be targets for a bomb-contract.
Other people on the aircraft are competent targets. Pan Am 103 didn't exactly carry Gods Own
Children ! A far out theory is, that someone planned to whack Pan Am Company out of Wall
Street. The company went bankrupt because of the crash. Pan Am 103 was used to smuggle
drugs. One suitcase found on the ground of Lockerbie consisted of 500.000 USD in cash. Hardly
from a lottery-prize or charity-fund....The suitcase was property of the CIA. So many mysteries
and thoughts...is the truth hiding somewhere among them ?
6.3 The Long Arm of the Stateless People
The worlds most well known guys to use airline-terror as means of living are the Palestinians,
some of them that is. Other states have their share of airline-terror, too, but for some reasons
Palestine is on top of the user list. Well, sometimes you cannot really blame them for doing it....
Right from the beginning of the case, the General Command of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP-GC) has been suspect number one. There is also some evidence,
pointing its finger against PFLP-GC. If they truely did it, we can't blame them...but let's take a
look at the evidence:
The Leader of PFLP-GC is Ahmed Jibril. You might not know this, but throughout the Middle
East Ahmed Jibril is known as MR.BOMB. This is no joke of ours ! No other man can build an
explosive device, like Jibril. His fingers never shake. He smokes, but never coughes. He knows
explosive formulars, like others know pop-melodies. He can make a bomb in any shape, hide it in
any place, make it go off with precise timing. And what is most important: he is a formidable and
generous teacher. He still gives regular engeneering courses in the Syrian Army.
When someone at a regular level builds a bomb, it's just like a fingerprint. Alas, the full explosive
device was never recovered at Lockerbie, just a tiny shrapnel of a timer decice circuit board. But
when German police raided the PFLP-GC's hideouts in Dusseldorf and Frankfurt few days before
the Lockerbie-crash, they found PFLP-GC-member, faithful student of Jibril and bomb-wizard
Marwan Khreesat. They also found explosive material, semtex...and 3 Toshiba Cassette
Recorder's, similar to the one in the crashed cargo remains of Pan Am 103.
What motives had the PFLP-GC to blow up Pan Am 103 ?
We should rather ask: what motive didn't they have ? An opportunity to pay back Amerika, the
biggest bully and protector of Israel. A long-needed cash surplus from Iran, Syria or any other
country to make the party go on. A direct order, or rather an offer, they neither could nor would
refuse. Whatever the reasons may be.
The role of the PFLP-GC is still not crystal clear in this case. But should they be guilty, it is a
poor victory to the USA or UK. Because since Palestine, alas, still not is a sovereign state and
member of the UN, they cannot use any sanctions to punish the Palestinians. What a relief !
When an airplane crashes - it is bad. When it crashes due to terrorist actions - it is even more bad.
But the worst part of all airplane disasters is the fate of the victims. 270 people were killed in the
crash of Pan Am 103.
VII. Wanted: Legality - Reward: Justice.
Since April 1992, the people of Libya have suffered, deprieved of their human rights, as the UN-
sanctions were put in effect throughout 7 long years. Since August 1998 the sanctions have been
suspended, but not removed. A whole nation was and still is made responsible for the crash of
Pan Am 103, just like that. Without any verdict. How can such injustice be assumed valid
legality? And since when does the UN suddenly support the principle of collective punishment ?
7.1 International Criminal Law and international sanctions
International Law is mainly written in the form of treaties or charters. International Law does not
deal with individuals, only relations between states. The UN Charter is a part of International
Law. How then can the UN Security Council evoke any sanctions against Libysn suspects al-
Megrahi and Fhima ? They aren't. By making the issue of the denied extradition of the two
Libyan nationals to USA or UK a case for breaking international peace and security, the UN
Security Council took the case away from international criminal proceedings into the hands of
Never before in legal history has anyone used the sanction-weapon as a legal tool for use in
international criminal law. Never before has a country punished another country for something,
the second countries nationals MAY or MAY NOT have done. 5 million innocent people, men,
women, children, are being punished and deprived of their human rights, year after year. Where is
the voice of the international community ? The UN-sanctions against Libya can be compared
with genocide. A legal holocaust. It is nothing compared to the situation in Iraq, yet 5 million
people are sitting hostages under the agreement of international law.
My major academic paper in International Criminal Law is an analysis of the problem of the UN
Security Council interferring with the procedures of International Criminal Law. If you like to
know about the rules and legalities in the legal aftermath of the crash of Pan Am 103, then this is
the place to start:
Maybe you want to know more about international criminal law in general ? The leading
authority on this subject in the world is an Arab. Dr.Cherif Bassiouni is THE intern. criminal
legal expert. He has written a number of books. The ones International Criminal Law and Aut
Dedere Aut Judicare are the easiest to understand and give a good basic knowledge of
international criminal law. His books carry many references and comments to the Lockerbie
Since the crash of Pan Am 103 and the rise of the Lockerbie Crisis, the legal issues of the Libyan
question of refusal of extradition has arousen many discussions in the legal world. International
Criminal Law has never been the same....Not surprisingly, it is specially in the USA that the
discussion of Libya's refusal of extradition has become an important legal topic. Many students in
law schools and college have been researching and studying the Lockerbie Crisis for the last 5 or
6 years. To students in the USA it has been difficult to explain and understand the problem of
politic vs. legality - but law is law, even in the US - and they turn out to be very surprised:
USA and UK want the two Libyan suspects extradited from Libya for legal proceedings in the
USA or UK. Well, legally they can ask Libya to extradite. But legally Libya had the sovereign
right to refuse extradition of nationals, and rather forward legal proceedings inside Libya. This
principle is called Aut Dedere Aut Judicare , meaning Either Surrender or Prosecute. That legal
principle is a part of Jus Cogens, meaning international recognized and followed legal rule. Libya
was not refusing the extradition of their own nationals just for fun or bad taste. They only did,
what everybody else is doing, and has the right to do. Including USA and UK or any other
country. There is at present not a single state in this world, that surrenders nationals for
prosecution outside their territory as a general rule of law!
So why did Libya have to ?
The Libyan citizens Fhima and al-Megrahi would not get any fair trial if surrendered to USA or
UK, one could say. During the legal aftermath of the criminal investigation following the crash of
pan Am 103, both USA and UK have been playing prosecutor, judge and jury at the same time.
Of course, someone might say, the 2 Libyans would not get any fair trial in Libya, too. A solution
would be to surrender them for trial in another, 3rd party-state, neutral in the conflict. But USA
and UK did not accept this idea for almost 7 years, not even with a Scottish jury and judge. That's
why they invented international economic sanctions as a way to force about extradition.
7.3 Surrender, not extradition ?
In August 1998, US and UK forgot all about the extradition claim and asked Libya to "surrender"
the suspects for trial in the Netherlands. There is a very big legal difference between surrender
and extradite. In April 1999 the suspects were surrendered for trial in the Netherlands, a step
based on agreement, not on law. The legal validity of such a claim or surrender is yet to be
The families involved with the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 group made a back-up plan while
waiting for the extradition. "If he doesn't turn them over very very very soon we will be pushing
our U.S. Congress and our State Department and our president to harshly enforce the present
sanctions," said VOPAF 103's president Williams. "And we will be asking them to consider other
options, particularly an oil embargo." But what so far had looked to some like a clear case of
stalling on Libya's part may not be that simple.
"I certainly don't characterize it as Libyan delaying tactics," Al Rubin, professor of international
law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University said, explaining that none
of the involved nations have an extradition treaty with Libya and the U.N. resolution against
Libya can be interpreted in more than one way. In refusing to cooperate, he noted, "the Libyans
are saying to us exactly what we would say to them in the same situation."
If pressure from the U.S. and Britain is able to force extradition of a Libyan national, this sets a
dangerous precedent, according to Rubin. "It seems to me a lot of U.S. CIA agents would be in
trouble. We do some unmentionable things like trying to assassinate Castro." The northern
African nation will therefore continue to resist, he thinks. "I doubt very much that Libya will ever
actually agree to extradite these people." And Libya never did: Fhima and Megrahi were
surrendered, not extradited for trial in spring 1999!
7.4 The UN sanctions
Some of the sanctions against libya were totally absurde. For instance, Libya was not allowed
access to the internet (threat to world peace!), and Libya had to close down all its airline-offices
abroad, so people couldn't even make any national flight-reservations inside Libya, if they needed
to travel to Libya. Take a look at the UN Security Resolutions making the sanctions work, and
those UN resolutions calling for abolishment of the sanctions:
7.5 Libya vs. UK+USA in front of the International Court of Justice
As you (hopefully) might have read in the academical thesis on the subject from above, Libya
presented its case in front of the International Court of Justice, short ICJ. Libya believed its case
to fall into the legal context of the Montreal Convention. This conventions deals with criminal
acts in connection with civil aviation, in case more than one state and its jurisdiction is involved.
However the ICJ declined to impose provisional measures, as Libya wanted to. This happened in
1992, only a few days before the UN-sanctions came into action.
In the above mentioned academical thesis, the author specifically deals with the reasons for Libya
to invoke the powers of the ICJ, and the reasons for USA/UK not to invoke that kind of legal
ways for finding a solution.
The ICJ made on the 27/02/1998 a statement in its judgment as to whether it is Libya, that has the
right to choose the Montreal Convention as a basis for a solution, or whether it is the USA/UK
that are obliged to return to the Montreal Convention, and refrain from using international law,
i.e. the Security Council.
If the ICJ would see itself unfit to rule on such an important question in the eyes of international
criminal law, then there isn't much else for it to do. I think that we in a few years will see a
growing need for the ICJ to make such kind of preliminary decisions in order to clear the
questions of international criminal law.
However, the ICJ in its judgment 27/02/1998 carried Libya's point of view.
The ICJ ruled, that Libya has the legal right to bring its case in front of the ICJ to clearify legal
procedures as to extradition of their own nationals and that the ICJ sees itself fit to handle the
question. Libya won the case at the ICj (27/02/1998)- click below to read more!
The judgment of the ICJ was followed by a big debate in the UN Security Council about the
ongoing Lockerbie Crisis. This happened on the 20th of march 1998. Relatives of victims from
PA 103 attended the debate at the UN Security Council as visitors and talked to the press about
their views. Jim Swire and D. Cohen, both relatives of victims, didn´t agree on what should be
done now. Libya received big support from all speakers at the debate, except from USA and UK.
7.6 Libya and the issue of sanctions - what has been done lately?
Much has been done to find a solution in the case of UN vs. Libya. Lawyers, politicians, religious
peoples, organizations, private persons....all have they somehow tried to find a way to abolish the
UN sanctions, devide the facts from the frauds, and not forgetting justice for the victims of Pan
Am 103 as well:
7.7 What is the standpoint of the USA/UK in the legal case and in connection with the UN
Security Council ?
The USA is not satisfied with the the UN and its sanctions against Libya. So they invented
national, American sanctions as well. Already during the Carter and Reagan-era national
sanctions against Libya became part of American law. But not until after the 2nd Gulf War in
1992, the body of United Nations was used to promote American domestic politics on an
international level, regarding Libya. Bush and Clinton followed up on that one.
Most recent, there was the Helms/Burton Act pased on by the American Congress:
USA and UK say, that they use economical sanctions as weapons to fight international
terrorism. But what is international terrorism ? And aren't sanctions that target innocent
civilians also a form of international terrorism, even if they are based upon international law
and politics ?