Gaddafi is certainly a dictator – and is certainly having his own people killed. That doesn’t mean every claim made by a defector from his government is true, any more than those made by Iraqi defectors’ from Saddam’s dictatorship. So former Libyan Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil’s claims about Gaddafi having ordering the Lockerbie bombing may be lies, like many Iraqi defectors' claims about WMDs (1). Jalil claims that he has proof for his claim, but can’t tell us what this proof is – much like Ahmed Chalabi or Tony Blair on Iraqi WMDs.
Jalil’s claim is made even less credible by his additional claim that Megrahi was guilty and that Gaddafi had Megrahi brought back to Libya to hide his own involvement (2). If Gaddafi was responsible for the bombing and wished to hide it, why would he send one of the men he had ordered to carry it out, who could incriminate him, for trial? He would have sent some patsies to take the fall instead.
What’s more Scottish law professor Robert Black, UN observer Dr. Hans Kochler, trial witness Edwin Bollier and Dr. Jim Swire (whose daughter Flora died in the bombing) all say the entire trial of Megrahi and the appeals process was a sham and politically influenced, with some key witnesses paid money to testify (a fact even included in the judges’ verdict), coached and shown magazine photos of Megrahi before the trial, a key piece of evidence (the supposed timer from the bomb) tampered with and the judges coming to illogical conclusions which could not follow from the evidence. There was no jury. The report of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission on the Megrahi case has never been published, though their press release on it mentions several of these serious problems with the trial (3) – (19). (For more details on this see this post and this one)
All these people were present at the entire trial and have researched evidence linked to it in detail. None have any reason to be biased towards Megrahi or Gaddafi. Whoever placed the bomb on that flight, there is no evidence it was Megrahi and plenty of reasons to think it wasn’t. (more detail on this in this post).
While Gaddafi did refuse to give BP oil contracts until Megrahi was returned to Libya in 2009, this is hardly a strong argument in favour of Jalil’s claims. If Megrahi was involved and Gaddafi had given the orders, Megrahi had had over a decade to divulge that secret if he was going to. It’s more likely Gaddafi was showing he could still be a powerful patron for his supporters.
Jalil, having decided to back the rebellion or revolution against Gaddafi has the same motive to lie about Gaddafi to get the US and European countries to intervene that Chalabi and other exiles had on Iraq.
(1) = guardian.co.uk 23 Feb 2011 ‘Gaddafi ordered Lockerbie bombing – ex-minister’,http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/feb/23/gaddafi-lockerbie-bombing-minister-libya
(2) = See (1) above
(3) = Guardian 03 Oct 2007 ‘Fresh doubts on Lockerbie conviction’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/oct/03/lockerbie.scotland
(4) = guardian.co.uk 28 Jun 2007 ‘Libyan granted new appeal over Lockerbie conviction’,
(5) = Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission 28 Jun 2007 ‘NEWS RELEASE
ABDELBASET ALI MOHMED AL MEGRAHI’, http://www.sccrc.org.uk/ViewFile.aspx?id=293
(6) = Lockerbie Verdict 21 Jan 2002 ‘OPINION OF THE COURT delivered by LORD SUTHERLAND in causa HER MAJESTY’S ADVOCATE v ABDELBASET ALI MOHMED AL MEGRAHI and AL AMIN KHALIFA
(7) = BBC News 21 Jan 2002 ‘Lockerbie verdict 'politically influenced', http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/scotland/2002/lockerbie_appeal/1773868.stm
(8) = Independent 21 Aug 2009 ‘Hans Köchler: I saw the trial – and the verdict made no sense’,http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/hans-kchler-i-saw-the-trial-ndash-and-the-verdict-made-no-sense-1775217.html
(9) = Observer 02 Sep 2007 ‘Vital Lockerbie evidence 'was tampered with'’,http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/sep/02/theairlineindustry.libya
(10) = Herald 21 Aug 2009 ‘This shameful miscarriage has gravely sullied the Scottish criminal justice system’ Professor Robert Black , http://www.theherald.co.uk/search/display.var.2526665.0.this_shameful_miscarriage_has_gravely_sullied_the_scottish_criminal_justice_system.php ; also reproduced on his blog ‘The Lockerbie Case’ 21 Aug 2009 , http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/2009/08/this-shameful-miscarriage-has-gravely.html
(11) = BBC News 14 Mar 2002 ‘UN monitor decries Lockerbie judgement’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/1872996.stm
(12) = Guardian 03 Oct 2007 ‘Fresh doubts on Lockerbie conviction’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/oct/03/lockerbie.scotland
(13) = guardian.co.uk 28 Jun 2007 ‘Libyan granted new appeal over Lockerbie conviction’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/jun/28/lockerbie.world
(14) = Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission 28 Jun 2007 ‘NEWS RELEASE ABDELBASET ALI MOHMED AL MEGRAHI’, http://www.sccrc.org.uk/ViewFile.aspx?id=293
(15) = Lockerbie Verdict 21 Jan 2002 ‘OPINION OF THE COURT delivered by LORD SUTHERLAND in causa HER MAJESTY’S ADVOCATE v ABDELBASET ALI MOHMED AL MEGRAHI and AL AMIN KHALIFA
FHIMAH, http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/library/lockerbie/docs/lockerbiejudgement.pdf ; ‘The verdict includes a self-contradictory reference to Gauci as a witness who tried to give “the false impression” that “his continued association with the American authorities was largely motivated by financial considerations” and that “information provided by a paid informer is always open to the criticism that it may be invented...and in our view this is a case where such criticism is more than usually justified”. (Of course there may well be reason to think Gauci’s boasting about being paid for his testimony wasn’t false
(16) = The Firm (Scottish lawyers’ magazine) 10 Jun 2008 ‘UN Observer to the Lockerbie Trial says ‘totalitarian’ appeal process bears the hallmarks of an “intelligence operation”’, http://www.firmmagazine.com/news/901/UN_Observer_to_the_Lockerbie_Trial_says_%E2%80%98totalitarian%E2%80%99_appeal_process_bears_the_hallmarks_of_an_%E2%80%9Cintelligence_operation%E2%80%9D_.html
(17) = New Statesman 17 Jan 2000 ‘Let's peeble the judges again’,http://www.newstatesman.com/200001170028 (quotes Law Professor Robert Black of Edinburgh University)
(18) = BBC 19 Nov 1999 ‘Lockerbie trial judges named’,http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/526405.stm (see 5th and 6th paragraphs)
(19) = Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission 28 Jun 2007 ‘NEWS RELEASE ABDELBASET ALI MOHMED AL MEGRAHI’,http://www.sccrc.org.uk/ViewFile.aspx?id=293