Thursday, December 31, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
December 31 2009

I recently started an interesting discussion thread at the JREF forum, fishing for thoughts on why people believe the official line on the Lockerbie bombing so fervently. I hadn't yet encountered any serious questions in the course of previous brilliant and provocative discussions - just a few drive-by statements supporting Megrahi's and Col. Gaddafy's absolute guilt, but never accompanied by evidence of any real knowledge. Among the questions and counter-points I suggested people could offer, if they knew anything, was "Libya admitted responsibility and paid out billions of dollars!" And if they had asked, I would answer like this:

There is no doubt that the Libyan government did issue a statement admitting responsibility, and agreed to pay compensation, among other measures, in 2003. It was an explicit pre-condition, inssted by Washington, to having broad UN sanctions lifted. Triploi has always defended its innocence of Lockerbie, but to function in the global economy, they had to do something. Here they managed to not explicitly break the rule, and using careful (cynical?) wordplay, managed to accept responsibility without admitting guilt. Sanctions were lifted.

There’s been much oxymoronic harping on this in the West as both an admission of guilt and an arrogant refusal to admit their guilt. The BBC’s 2008 Conspiracy Files episode on Lockerbie is a brilliant example. “For those that believe al Megrahi was framed,” snarls the narrator, Carolyn Katz, “one fact remains hard to explain away. Libya agreed to award substantial compensation for Lockerbie. Sanctions were then lifted.” Well, ignoring that they just answered their own stumper of a question, it’s a good question, and they continue: “Tripoli accepted responsibility for what it called “the Lockerbie incident.” But does it admit guilt?” Of course not, and by pretending there’s some disconnect, they’ve primed the audience to see the darkest of cynicism at work. Oops, how did that happen?

Under Prolonged Duress
Following he indictment of Libyan agents al Megrahi and Fhimah in late 1991, a process itself twisted with political machinations and riddled with a million broken questions marks, the Security Council moved to enforce the official truth with sanctions. Resolution 748 of 31 March 1992 imposed an arms and air embargo, diplomatic restrictions, and establishment of a sanctions committee. The committee’s work led to Resolution 883 of 11 November 1993, toughening sanctions. This measure “approved the freezing of Libyan funds and financial resources in other countries,” reports, “and banned the provision to Libya of equipment for oil refining and transportation.”

By late August 1998 the framework of a trial was established, and used as the measure of Resolution 1192, agreeing to suspend sanctions once the suspects were handed over to the special Scottish court in the Nehterlands at Camp Zeist. Tripoli made it happen, with help from luminaries like Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia and Nelson Mandela of Africa. Megrahi and Fhimah were flown on a special flight to the Netherlands in early April, and on the 5th were official arrested at Camp Zeist and set to await their trial. Sanctions were immediately suspended, under threat of re-enforcement (that never did materialize).

Many suspect this was never “supposed” to happen, as the evidence behind the indictment was too weak to stand up at Trial. The Crown's prosecutors managed to swing it somehow, but it took nearly two years from the handover, and a display of mental gymnastics worthy of the Realpolitik Olympics in the scale and skill of it. On January 31 2001, the three-judge panel made it official – Megrahi was legally guilty for the plot, and Fhimah was not guilty.

From there, many insisted sanctions should be lifted to reflect Libya’s good faith through this process. But Bush and Blair balked, demanding an admission of responsibility and compensation to victims’ families before they went past suspension. It was a letter, dated 15 August 2003, from Libya’s Permanent Representative to the President of the Council Ahmed A. Own, that paved the way. Own's letter explains “the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” as Libya calls itself, “has sought to cooperate in good faith throughout the past years” on solving the problems made theirs “resulting from the Lockerbie incident.” It was in this spirit that they “facilitated the bringing to justice of the two suspects charged with the bombing of Pan Am 103 and accepts responsibility for the actions of its officials.”

The letter also pledged Libya to cooperate with any further investigations, and to settle all compensation claims with haste, and to join the international “War on Terrorism.” It was widely (and reservedly) hailed as a bold… statement. But still evasive. It doesn’t clearly state anywhere the suspects or any Libyans were in any way actually guilty of the “incident.” Nonetheless, after a month of discussion in the Security Council, sanctions were lifted on Sept. 12 2003. France and the US insisted on abstaining, but it was otherwise a unanimous vote of 13. (source) The United States’ own sanctions would remain in full force due to the general evilness of col. Gaddafy, US officials made clear. (Additional normalizations did happen in 2007).

The Blood Libel Edits
Despite his portrayals as a crazed prophet of death, Moammar Gadaffi proved a shrewd and patient pragmatist in all this. He can't have ever believed his nation actually did the crime, but against "guilty" as a legal truth, he accepted they had no choice but to do “the time.” It’s a type of bind known to breed passive-aggressive tendencies. The Colonel’s son and likely successor Saif al Islam al Gaddafi seemed to understand it, when he was interviewed at home for the Conspiracy Files programme.
Q - Does Libya accept responsibility for the attack on Lockerbie?
A - Yes. We wrote a letter to the Security Council, saying that we are responsible for the acts of our employees, or people. But it doesn’t mean that we did it, in fact.
Q - So to be very clear on this, what you’re saying is that you accept responsibility, but you’re not admitting that you did it.
A - Of course.
Q - That’s… to many people will sound like a very cynical way to conduct your relationship with the outside world.
A - What can you do? Without writing that letter, you will not be able to get out of the sanction.
Q - So this statement was just word play. It wasn’t an admission of guilt.
A - No. I admit that we play with the words. And we had to. We had to. There was no other… solution.

The BBC are masters, among others, of careful editing, and it helped bolster their whole “you don’t admit you’re guilty” thing where people have to explain there’s nothing to “admit” (or fail to explain that, as happened here). Thus he could, with a little imagination, appear to be saying “we don’t admit it, buuuuut of course we did it, you already know that.” Note the cut that removed some of his words from the middle of the exchange, unlikely to have been irrelevant. Thus is clearly established a cynical payout ($2.7 billion) and bit of semantics to buy up and slough off their non-admitted guilt so they could resume trade. They got away with Lockerbie using money and words and are laughing at us and making more money!

Immediately after “there was no other solution,” the video cuts right to the interviewer asking “so it was like blood money if you like,” which seems to be referring to what was just shown. But really it refers to the American victims' families, whose “money, money, money, money” attitude (well-known and spearheaded by Victims of PA103 Inc.) was “materialistic,” “greedy,” and amounted to “trading with the blood of their sons and daughters.” But with the magic of editing, it can seem to mean so much more!

Monday, December 28, 2009


These are the people you've been ignoring so far.

Please see the updated list at my new Lockerbie blog: No One Seriously Doubts the Libyan's Guilt?

Thursday, December 24, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
December 24 2009

In recent moths a loud new presence has dominated the U.S. government side of the Lockerbie discussion - Frank Duggan, current President of the board of “Victims of Pan Am 103, Inc.” (hereafter “the Corporation”). In an excellent article for The Scotsman, John Forsyth explains how long before his current headlining of the official “American Families Group,” Duggan’s connection started in August 1989 with his appointment, by President Bush, as "Liaison to the Families" on the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism. [1] [do please note his involvement did not start with losing anyone in the crash – he is not himself a victim of 103]. Duggan described this to Forsythe as "the Cadillac of commissions” due to “the quality of its work and the number of recommendations, some 60 of them if I recall." Its report, issued 15 May 1990, according to the Corporation’s website, “describ[ed] the lapses in security by Pan Am and the FAA and decried the lack of 'national will' to fight terrorism.” [2]

Mr Duggan maintained his contacts with the families over the years as the blame officially shifted to Libya, as leverage and negotiations led to the trial at Camp Zeist and a partial victory with Megrahi’s conviction. But only in 2008 did he become president of the Victims of Pan Am 103 Inc., which had in the years since proven a highly effective lobbying group, trading leverage for settlements from Pan Am and Libya, netting billions for survivors, lawyers, PR, board members, and so on. It doesn’t seem their shares were publicly traded, but Duggan told Forsyth:
"I could not say no to them. I told them I didn't think there was much more to do. Legally and politically the battle was over. Libya was recognized and compensation had been paid. Then they released Al Megrahi and a 20-year-old story was back on the front pages again." [3]

These developments needn’t have been a surprise to those who followed the news. In June 2007 the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission had announced Megrahi may have “suffered a miscarriage of justice” and should have his appeal heard. Duggan’s election/appointment was clearly after this omen, and perhaps (I don’t know the date) after the prisoner’s September 2008 diagnosis with advanced, terminal cancer. That would be two bad signs – “compassionate release” was known of at the time, as were prisoner transfer deals already being discussed. The increased publicity following the convict’s eventual release and inevitable “hero’s welcome” would, predictably, stimulate both anger and also attention to the case. With all this plus more evidence than ever available, 2008 was a year rife with threats to the official stasis – time to circle the wagons if ever there was one.

And Duggan is well equipped for verbal battle, tackling the growing ranks of official story critics as “Libya shills,” a “shameless band of conspiracy mavens,” and “no worse than Holocaust deniers who will not accept the facts before their faces”. [4] He told Forsyth he’s “through trying to reason with Prof Black or MSP Grahame," reasoning that seems to consist of repeating the most basic of decontextualized facts, straw man fallacies, and ad hominem attacks. [5] He also seems to suffer from a lack of sarcasm recognition. [6]

Earnestness of the wrong kind however he's got a nose for, and used it in preparing for the 21st anniversary service, held Monday at Arlington National Cemetery. As in years past, the somber occasion was largely organized by the Victims’ Corporation, but this year’s ceremony happened under this new shadow of no one behind bars and newly loud questions upsetting the usual calm.

Shadows are cold places to be in December, as Friar Pat Keegans knew 21 years ago, and as he was just reminded. He was parish priest of Lockerbie at the time Flight 103 came down nearby. Through natural outreach following the disaster, he connected early with many of the victim’s families, becoming especially in-tune with Dr. Jim Swire, who has steadfastly denied the official Libyan villain storyline. Nonetheless, Duggan explains “in previous years, we have asked [Keegans] if he would like us to read a statement from him, as a number of US families are very fond of him.” [7]

These past submissions were presumably read to those gathered, and since he was invited back this year, I suspect any support for Megrahi’s innocence was muted if present at all, and tolerable with he safety of his conviction and imprisonment. But on the 21st anniversary, the divide of the Lockerbie Line was more pronounced, and Friar Keegans stated in part:

I want to say very clearly that I believe, irrespective of guilt or innocence, the release of Abdelbasset al-Megrahi on the grounds of compassion was the right decision. […] I hold that it was the right decision to make and it took great courage. The doubts concerning the conviction, the evidence and the reliability of witnesses have been well documented and led to an appeal.
I know that this is not the view generally held within the United States of America; however it a belief held by me and many others in Scotland who have been closely and personally involved since that dark day of December 21st 1988. I do believe that he is an innocent man and that in time the truth of that will emerge. But he was not released because of doubt concerning his conviction. He was released on strict legal grounds and because of the important element of Christian compassion which has influenced the legal systems of Scotland and Europe.

It’s his feeling and opinion, tastefully stated without pushing it down any throats. Should the introduction of questions somehow lessen the importance of remembering the lost? Of course not – variant opinions should be embraced as part of the eternal search for truth these guys are always on about. But that‘s not really the issue, now, is it?

The friar’s statement was pre- screened by Mr. Duggan and the Corporation, and it clearly rubbed them the wrong way. It may have been cast in a different tone than in previous years, or perhaps just the different circumstances had changed the standards. “We would have read his note this year,” Duggan explained in an e-mail to another journalist, “except that it was deemed by the Board, not by me, to be inappropriate for a memorial service.” [9] He made the distinction due to reports it was his own decision - in fact it would seem to be systemic to the Corporation. Doubts had no place in "a day to remember 270 innocent souls murdered in an act of state sponsored terrorism,” [10] so “Fr Keegans' note was sent out to the families on our mailing list rather than read at the cemetery on December 21st.” [11] So it's not outright censorship, but Keegans was denied a very tall soapbox for his "controversial" beliefs (another "Libya shill," and the world's getting crowded with them).

I don’t have the Corporation’s rules book in front of me, but from Duggan’s characterization, we have as reasons for the decision to nix Keegan's statement the following: “It is not a day for politics, a discussion of the bomber's trial and conviction or of his health." And “We try to avoid any political statements or any discussions of the convicted bomber." Friar Keegans’ remarks are “politics” in a real sense, using a platform to amplify his message of conscience. And political interpretations are not a good fit at the solemn parts, with the silence pierced by a ringing bell and the names of the victims. To penetrate that sanctified space with an upsetting statement of Megrahi’s innocence would be tasteless.

But of course no one ever suggested Keegans’ remarks would be said in that part of the ceremony. The other presenters did, as I had guessed they would, speak well past that hallowed point, into the anger or sense of justice or injustice emanating from the attack. Ignoring any hint of the false premise of the official story is tacitly accepting it as the de facto basis of all the post-remembrance activity. What was finally spoken was far worse than tacit acceptance, and in retrospect it’s just a bit clearer than before the ceremony that the dismissal of certain “political” views was nothing if not political in itself.

It would not take long to test these rules in action. President Obama sent John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, to represent the team at the cemetery. It’s not clear whether he had his comments pre-screened, or used any coercive force to demand his lopsided views got a prominent airing on the backs of others’ sorrow. Whatever the case, the results are a horrific breach of memorial protocol.
Thank you, Frank, for your introduction and for your stewardship of this incredible organization ... on behalf of President Obama, and on behalf of his administration, let me say this. The evidence was clear. The trial was fair. The guilt of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. His conviction stands. The sentence was just. And nothing—not his unjustified release and certainly not a deplorable scene on a tarmac in Tripoli—will ever change those facts or wash the guilt from his hands or from the hands of those who assisted him in carrying out this heinous crime.[12]

The mention of "those who assisted him" is of course highly political, aiming the cartoon narrative (with a 50% conviction rate so far) at Libya in general. The "unjustified" release, actually justified on established "compassionate grounds" by the prisoner's near-death state, is a verbotten reference (in the negative) to Megrahi's health issues and "controversial" release. In another jab at this issue, Brennan quipped
Indeed, for any who truly seek it, it is here, in Arlington, among this gathering of families and friends, where you will find “compassionate grounds.” And that is where your government will always be — here, with you and your families.

Wow, that doesn't sound manipulative in the slightest! Solemn and loving memorial with no political spin whatsoever! I suppose Mr. Duggan will announce his regret that the Administration chose his event to air its controversial views? Would that really be too much to ask since the mission here is accomplished anyways? It needn't be, and perhaps can't be, sincere even. To just flat ignore, or tacitly approve, this violation, would show some real temerity, audacity. gall, chuztpah, impudence, nerve, forvovenhed, طيش, تهور, unbesonnenheit, наглость, 蛮勇, and shameless brazen double-standarded effrontery and hypocrisy. On behalf of the Obama administration of course.

[1, 3, 5] Forsyth, John. "After 21 years no end in sight to wrangles over Lockerbie." The Scotsman. 21 December 2009.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
December 15 2009 update 1/6/10

Note 1/6/10: Too many small errors to fix. Don't cite this piece but do feel free to follow leads and double-check.
Tonkin Gulf and the DESOTO Precedent
For some indirect insight on Lockerbie, allow me to turn to two prior events – one decades past, the other bare months. The title of this post is inspired by Edwin E. Moïse’s book “Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War.” (Chapel Hill /University of North Carolina Press. 1997. 255 pages). It was actually two Tonkin Gulf incidents, one overblown and the other complete fantasy, that enabled the widening of the conflict. These were sparked by a naval tactic called the “DESOTO patrol,” in which an unescorted destroyer specially equipped for communications surveillance, was sent as far as possible into the coastal waters of Communist Asia. The twin goals were to flaunt the enemy’s concept of territory while collecting intelligence for eventual hostile use. The missions were always marked by high tension. [Desoto patrols explained ]

Under Admiral Thomas H. Moorer’s guidance, such patrols were increased along the coast of North Vietnam in mid-1964, as US-engineered coastal raids (OPLAN 34-A) were also increased to put the DRV forces further on edge and stimulate “chatter” to analyze. The mission given to the USS Maddox in August has been described as “the delicate task of stimulating coastal defenses without provoking an attack,” a balance made harder by the added agitations. [1] The attack on the Maddox that was finally reported triggered a third and hidden (or unanticipated) power of the Desoto patrol – to start a war. And that crucial second attack didn’t even occur in reality - not for lack of trying.

The escalated Vietnam War of course went sour over the years, in the shadow of that initial dubious incident. It was the same type of patrol the USS Pueblo was on when disastrously captured by the North Koreans in early 1968, and a possibly similar mission that led to the USS Liberty incident the year before that. These plus lesser mishaps led to a decision in 1968 to stop such missions. The awkward U.S. loss of Saigon, plus Watergate and so on, changed the political calculus of manufactured crises. The “Remember the Maine” mentality just wasn’t going to work in the 1970s.

But the same notion of highly-portable naval sovereignty, with all the firepower to enforce it, continued - in, for example, the Persian Gulf in the latter 1980s.

Different Gulf, Different Decade, Different Moves
After Iraq attacked Iran in 1980, with tacit U.S. approval, Washington took Iraq’s side to ensure it didn’t lose in the bitter, grueling war that ensued. Towards this end, the U.S. re-flagged as its own supply and oil vessels coming to or going from Iraq - largely Kuwaiti oil tankers. This made them off-limits to Iran’s attempt at blockade. In Operation Earnest Will, U.S. Naval forces escorted them as well, enforcing its own blockades while denying Iran’s. Instances of Americans opening fire on Iranian forces and facilities rose steadily as well as the conflict dragged on; Operation Praying Mantis responded to Iranian mining with escalated U.S. attacks on Iranian gunboats, oil platforms, and tankers on April 18 1988. [2]

The covert US-Iraq alliance had intensified in latter 1987. Ironically, this was following the accidental Iraqi air attack on the USS Stark – with 37 sailors killed, it proved exactly to Iraq what the USS Liberty incident was to Israel, but in miniature; American cooperation increased. Advisers went to Baghdad full time, originally to prevent further such mishaps, “but the end result,” explained a 1992 Nightline report on America’s secret war, “was that the United States helped Iraq conduct long-range strikes against key Iranian targets, using U.S. ships as navigational aids. “We became,” as one senior U.S. officer told us, “forward air controllers for the Iraqi air force.”” [3]

Two conjoined decision of Late April 1988, following Operation Praying Mantis, set the stage for the IA655 incident: the expansion of shipping protection in the Gulf to all neutral vessels and the dispatch of the USS Vincennes to bolster the force backing it up. [4] The high-tech vessel (a Ticonderoga class AEGIS guided missile cruiser, introduced 1985 and also called "Roboship") was equipped for advanced surveillance of just about every frequency except, apparently, civilian air control traffic. Its combat speciality was surface to air engagements, a poor fit for the surface-surface work it was sent for. But the more aggressive attitude in the Gulf was well embodied by The Vincennes’ commanding officer, Captain William C. Rogers; according to those who worked behind him in the Gulf he was overly-aggressive, but then he may have been privy to certain unusual standards they weren’t.

The details of the incident are still new to this author and beyond the scope of this article, but the story of how the Vincennes came to do battle with Flight 655 seems highly dubious. Around 10:00 local time, the cruiser’s amazing receivers picked up two distress calls from neutral vessels under attack by Iranian vessels, and sent it heliopter to look, which in turn reported being fired on. According to information uncovered by ABC Nightline and Newsweek, one of these signals was later denied by the boat’s captain – he never came under attack nor asked for help. The other was from a completely non-existent “Liberian” vessel. [5]

Both signals were themselves forgeries - pure radio signal fakery as part of a U.S. plot to draw Iranian vessels out to join in the fake melee and become exposed to counter-attack by the Navy. Lt. Col. Roger Charles told Nightline the Navy thus “enticed, in fact, entrapped the Iranian gunboats into a situation where we could then say that there’s been a hostile action by them … And that then allowed — under this kind of specious rule of loosened hot pursuit — us to take military action.” [6] It was to the aid of these ghosts that Captain Rogers sped, like a duck hunter headed to where the decoys were laid, ready to pop any attackers lured out or any threat to his expensive ship.

The Incident and the American Message to Iran
Into this dangerous situation flew Iran Air Flight 655. An Airbus A300B2 with 290 passengers aboard (mostly Iranians, including 66 children), it departed from Bandar Abbas at 10:17 for its 28-minute flight to Bahrain Airport. It seems the plane was talking normally with ground control (in English), was well within an established civilian air corridor, climbing up rather than swooping down for an attack, and transmitting the right civilian transponder code that clearly means don’t shoot. [7]

But the Vincennes had the wrong equipment to hear the control chatter, and apparently the wrong crew for everything else. They misread the transponder signals as being from a MiG fighter jet. They misread its location as several miles outside the civilian corridor. They somehow missed the civil flight listing that would identify it by flight number. They may have failed to properly transmit their warning signals, as the “fighter” refused to turn away. These and other errors all happened at the same time in that dense fog-bank of war effect that only materializes under peculiar conditions like this, and quite often benefits the U.S. of A in no-longer-surprising ways.

So to summarize, on this poorly-run duck hunt, they decided that a fighter jet had been lured out as well as the gunboats - and that’s a bigger and more exotic prize. So with all the storm of mental short-circuits aside, it made perfect sense to fire two missiles at it. 290 non-combatant souls were snuffed out – some in the explosion that made the plane disintegrate, the rest after a three-mile fall to hit the Gulf’s warm waters. Video shows the ship’s crew elated to have hit the bad guy – they weren’t told until hours later what they’d really done, and apparently they didn’t figure it out in the meantime, even with the ship's data records to review.

One overriding message the United States government sent to Iran, aside from vague “regret” over this accident, can be seen in its public pronouncements. Consider the last sentence of President Reagan’s first statement of July 3: “The only U.S. interest in the Persian Gulf is peace, and this tragedy reinforces the need to achieve that goal with all possible speed.” [8] It sounds nicely utopian, but it surely wasn’t meant that way. White House media handler Marlin Fitzwater made the message a little more explicitly a week later:
Only an end to the war, an objective we desire, can halt the immense suffering in the region and put an end to innocent loss of life. Our goal is peace in the Gulf and on land. We urge Iran and Iraq to work with the Security Council for an urgent comprehensive settlement of the war pursuant to Resolution 598. Meanwhile, United States forces will continue their mission in the area, keenly aware of the risks involved and ready to face them. [9]

That is, as the Iranians likely read it, wey’ll keep on shooting at anything that might possibly be a threat as long as we “have to” hang around there, which is until Iran surrenders. Charles Price, US Ambassador to UK later said “this incident wouldn’t have happened if Iran wasn’t, and hadn’t been in the process now for a long time, of attacking U.S. and other shipping in the Gulf.” [10] This is certainly a contributing factor, along with the U.S. decision to fake some of these attacks electronically and lure hem into a fight, the decision to equip, staff, and deploy the Vincennes in such a way that it became deadly to civil airliners, etc. For that matter it wouldn’t happen if the airplane had never been invented. So many variables and alternate outcomes riddle this case, that Price picked on Iran’s small role, played with such limited options, shows the issue at hand – their options were narrower yet and they’d better stop shooting altogether.

Iran Surrenders / A Leaf on the Wind
Since Iraq started the war in 1980, its course had been a grueling back and forth, with steady but modest Iranian gains into Iraqi territory by the end of 1987. UN Security Council Resolution 598 had called for a return to pre-war boundaries, making Iran reluctant to agree, even as the pain deepened. Then Iraq started another push-back in early 1988: long-range bombardment increased, and American assistance got more hands-on as well, as we’ve seen. The balance might have shifted back yet again but for what happened in July.

The shooting down of IA655 undoubtedly contributed to hastening Iran’s effective surrender. However, the precise role it played – minor, major, or peripheral, is difficult to know. Adding to new anxieties, just days after the incident, Iraqi forces “dropped chemical cyanide bombs” on the Kurdish village of Zardan on the Iranian side. Again hundreds were killed and “the enraged Iranians considered a huge rearming and nuclear weapons, but decided that this was beyond their means” by that time. [11] So July was a bad month for Iran - on top of the cumulative effects of years of similar woe, the loss of the Airbus to Americans in particular put a deeper fear than ever across the Persian mind. As an Iranian scholar stated at a conference hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center (paraphrased)
“[A] turning point in Iran's thinking came with the shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in July 1988 by the American cruiser USS Vincennes. That incident apparently led Ayatollah Khomeini to conclude that Iran could not risk the possibility of U.S. open combat operations against Iran and he decided it was time to end the conflict." [12]

There’s every reason to believe that’s just what the Americans wanted to get across, after the tragedy if not shortly before as well. This author is not eager to conclude there was any design to kill hundreds of innocents – but there are some very hard questions to address at another date.

The fighting did continue but Iran’s mindset was definitely shifting and quickly – hostilities officially and physically ended just six weeks after the Vincennes incident, on August 20. Iranian organized revenge meeting were already taking place by then, and their selected contractor groups were making their airliner radio bombs by the time the “Autumn Leaves” were shaken loose in Germany in October. It seems all too likely one of these Iranian grown leaves drifted right across the English Channel and lighted itself in the belly of PA103 on 21 December, less than six months after Captain Rogers’ duck hunt. A half hour after takeoff, it exacted an exact revenge, leaving 259 to deal with five miles of pure gravity however they did before dying against the cold winter soil of Scotland.

That, or the Iranians just gave up after the Germany bust, and the Libyans took their own incidental revenge for something else at just that time, as the FBI, CIA, USG, Scottish Police, Camp Zeist judges, and others claim to believe.

[1] Rust, William. "The "phantom battle" that led to war; can it happen again?" US News and World Report. July 23, 1984. Posted online December 3 2005.
[2]Operation Praying Mantis. Wikipedia.
[3, 5, 6] "The USS Vincennes: Public War, Secret War" ABC Nightline, Aired July 1 1992. Full Transcript, with extensive notes.
[4] Kelley, Stephen Andrew. Better Lucky Than Good: Operation Earnest Will as Gunboat Diplomacy. (Naval Postgraduate School. June 2007. PDF link:
[7, 8, 9] Ghasemi, Shapour. “Shooting Down Iran Air 655 [IA655]” Iran Chamber Society: History of Iran. 2004.
[10] The Maltese Double Cross - 32:00 mark

Thursday, December 10, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
December 11 2009

Note: The Following does not necessarily reflect the author's true views in all regards

The Status Quo
Two previous posts explained al Megrahi’s Malta-based plot to destroy Pan Am 103. First we witnessed the keen memory and staunch bravery of eyewitness Anthony Gauci, standing alone against an uncaring island subdued by Libyan barbarians. Next I chronicled the complete subjugation of Air Malta and its security operations at Luqa Airport, allowing the PA103 bomb to hurtle uncontrollably to Lockerbie. And finally, at the end of the second piece, I just started hinting at their infuriating denials after the fact that any such plot ever did pierce their magical force field.

It’s noteworthy that Air Malta has avoided the notoriety and bankruptcy that sunk Pan Am following this disaster. How, when their initial “failure” is what gave Pan Am its chance to fail as well? As usual in a world rife with anti-American plots, the true villain escapes unharmed, allowed to live and thrive, while the innocent passerby is shot to death. The distatsteful status quo is thus the Americans got their (little fish) bad guy, but lost a major airline, while the Libyans have paid up and admitted responsibility, while cynically denying responsibility, and all Malta had to do was keep quiet on its part. It’s a more than fair deal for the government in Velletta, and one should think they’d be grateful. And normally they act that way.

Demands of the Disgruntled
Some have agitated to upset that stasis, but so far the calls on Malta are quite one-sided, encouraging them to “clear their name” of the Lockerbie taint altogether. These pleas usually come from a small, well-known group of people who would like to de-blame Libya itself. Now if that doesn’t illustrate the axis of malice between Velletta and Triploi, nothing does.

Just in the last couple of months, Lockerbie trial “architect” and general grumpy gus Professor Robert Black piped up in late August. He opined “the Maltese government should be pressing very hard within the EU for an enquiry into Lockerbie,” and criticized the Scottish judges for accepting that Megrahi’s bag from Malta ever existed.

On 25 October that one UN guy, Köchler, that was at the trial and said some bad stuff about it, called for a Maltese probe of Gauci in particular: "If they are committed to the rule of law, the Maltese authorities should open their own investigation and interrogate Mr Gauci," One must wonder how much Gaddaffy is paying Herr Köchler to get at the hero of Silema like the lurking Libyans never were able to?

Never Enough Proof
The Maltese authorities have really done a great job “clearing their name” without the encouragement, but with it they went haywire. On 31 October the UK Daily Telegraph reported “Malta to investigate evidence of key Lockerbie witness.” This was based on an unnamed “Maltese legal official” who said “Tony Gauci is an area where we have to investigate more thoroughly and we are preparing for this. There was never enough proof, to be frank, on the circumstances of his evidence and there is pressure coming from many quarters on Malta to move to resolve the issue." There’s not enough proof in the world, apparently.

The following day, 1 November, the Justice Department specifically denied such preparations, disowning any comment that may have been made. However, their press release took the chance to repeat the infuriating claim that since 1988, the Maltese government has "always maintained the bomb which downed Pan Am flight 103 had not departed from Malta and ample proof of this was produced.” Oh, so now the mountain of proof of a Maltese-origin bomb, that’s “never enough,” is trumped by that tired old paperwork? It becomes clearer.

To top off this cowardly dodge, on the same day, Prime Mnister Gonzi affirmed their disinterest in Gauci. “Over the years we cooperated with every investigation,” he explained, which is technically true. But like the others, he ignores the terrorist plots hatched there that were uncovered by these efforts. “Our position,” he pronounced, “was always that Malta had nothing to do with the terrorist attack.” Well they did host the whole thing except the explosion, so presumably he means nothingconsciously to do with it. But this too is in doubt. When asked if his decision not to re-question Gauci was due to pressure from the U.S., Gonzi replied “it is totally untrue.” Indeed, their own embarrassment seems more at stake than America’s in again contrasting Tony’s sharp eye with the complacent approach everyone else in Malta takes towards the Libyans.

I’d like to quote Stuart Henderson, that proper Scottish copper who led the whole police investigation of Lockerbie. He wasn’t specifically referring to any of the Maltese vomiting this vile venom above when he spoke about Megrahi's release in August. But those who doubt the official story, as most Maltese seem to, “make my blood boil” and are “an insult to our police officers … an insult to the Americans, to the Germans, to the Swiss and the Maltese officers.” That’s right, you guys are slandering your own who helped prove just exactly how the Libyans killed 270 with a bomb your lame-ass airport just “missed” and somehow you can’t just admit it.

Another Call and Surely Not the Last
But it didn’t end there, as proved by a 29 November letter, urging Malta to “defend itself,” issued by the Orwellianly-named “Justice for Megrahi campaign.” The letter was signed by, among others, British MPs Tom Dalyell and Teddy Taylor, plus Noam Chomsky - all outspoken Leftist weirdos who argue that Megrahi is an innocent little lamb framed by “the West” (i.e. – the New World Order, aka “Illuminati”). Professor Chomsky, not surprisingly, called the proper conviction based on proof of a terrorist mass murderer "a remarkable illustration of the conformism and obedience of intellectual opinion in the West". Oh, Chomsky… yawn-skip-yawn-skip-yawn-skip… "I think the trial was very seriously flawed,” he further opined to the Times of Malta, “including crucially the alleged role of Malta. There is every reason to call for a very serious independent inquiry." Certainly Triploi has the roster for it drafted already, and a few more bought souls from now we might see Justice turned on its head, to Chomsky’s delight.

And finally to quote again then Minister of Home Affairs, Tonio Borg, quite a while back in early 2000: "We have no proof that these two Libyan suspects were involved in anything illegal in Malta regarding this case, particularly the placing of this bomb on Air Malta Flight ... 180.” I had hoped he would be fired since then, especially after the trial at camp Zeist shortly put the lie to such claims. Rather, he’s prospered just like Air Malta; since then he’s been Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Justice (ironically), and is currently honored with the titles Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party, leader of the House of Representatives, and Deputy Prime Minister. Would Germany have been tolerated promoting its holocaust deniers like this?

The Final Call: Pull Malta Back From the Dark Side
Clearly this talk of a UN inquiry, under Libyan control, torturing Tony Gauci into recanting his story, and all the rest, has got to stop. That is hardly worth mentioning outright it's so elemental. But while we’re at it, we must ask if this tiny, easily manipulated island nation was really just used by the Libyans against its will? Or have they been swayed to the dark side all along? The petitioners seem to bet on the latter.

Historically, the Maltese are notoriously soft on Islam, and perhaps by now sympathetic to the anti-American Jihad. At the very least they’re likely to slide that way if Libya’s evil grip is allowed to continue unaddressed. Therefore, let’s make it more explicit and issue a new international call on Malta to “Admit it! You're Tripoli's little pet and happy about it!” Sign the informal petition by leaving a comment below. We are all Americans now, worldwide, and we will get our perps, be they Libyan, Maltese, and also otherwise. The case is open!

I specifically speak to Brits – Scots, Welsh, English, Etc. It must be asked if all this was caused by the UK letting go of the island’s hand in this world crowded with evil. Recall that after you freed Malta from the Freemason French, you cared for them and left your names all over, until you set them loose in the hippie 1960’s. But as usual permissiveness breeds wickedness and by 1988, planes were falling on the UK itself due to losing Malta. If those people can’t behave responsibly and face up to the consequences of their long dance with Libya, perhaps independence should be seriously re-considered.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
December 9 2009

Note: The Following does not necessarily reflect the author's true views in all regards

A previous post addressed the fateful clothes purchase by Lockerbie bomber al Megrahi on the island of Malta, well-known as occurring on December 7 1988 at the Gauci family’s shop Mary’s House. But this is only a sliver of the terrorist mastermind’s larger plot with many steps taken all within a few square miles around Silema, under the watchless eye of the Maltese authorities - especially at nearby Luqa airport where the main action went down.

Abdelbaset al Megrahi was a Libyan intelligence bigwig personally carrying out some hair-brained revenge by Col Gaddaffy for a two-year old US bombing of Libya that had killed his adopted daughter. Megrahi had connections at Luqa airport via his own Libyan Arab Airlines links, but the experts agree he could not likely do this all alone without at least one accomplice inside the airport. His exactly one (known) accomplice, Lamin Khalifa Fhimah, also worked for LAA at Luqa and was a Libyan intelligence operative, high-level.

Of course Fhimah was later found not guilty on a technicality, that being the evidence against him, and the other incredible details flowing from star witness Abdulmajid Giaka, was found “inadmissible” by the three presiding judges. This was one of their more cautious and wimpy moves – a key witness ignored over a few piddling doubts raised by the defense about his meager repayments and the doubts of some memo-writer.

To be clear on this point, the prosecution and the CIA (who first worked the witness) have always known Mr, Giaka was honest and credible, with high-level connections at Luqa and in Libyan intelligence, and a knowledge both vast and intimate of the Megrahi-Fhimah plot. The judges didn’t specifically counter this, and any disinterested observer can note his story is still effectively true, as it mirrored the prosecution case. For the prime example, Giaka swears he saw both accused arrive at the airport with a mysterious brown Samsonite suitcase. That’s dynamite info, and all the other evidence proves they did exactly this. That his story so closely resembles that truth can hardly be coincidence, and his dismissal is but a technicality.

Giaka also alerted his handlers of genuine clues that panned out, like Fhimah’s diary entry noting he needed to get “TAGGS” (in English but misspelled). What business would an airline employee have with luggage tags besides planning to use one of them (with a few spares to practice on) to get a bomb onto PA103? It’s been suggested the diary explains he was taking sample tags to a local printer to get more made, but the question that begs an answer then is why write something this boring in your diary when you could jot down clues to your terrorist plot? In English? The critics cannot answer that.

Within that brown suitcase Giaka saw, we know Megrahi had the bomb, ready made with a flexible Mebo timer the Libyans were famous for having by then, packed into a radio with the memorable clothes and umbrella he didn’t need anymore. Fully confident in his ability to walk right through Luqa airport, he decided to send this bundle of malice right from there, correctly presuming gross negligence would repeatedly fail to stop it on its complex chosen path. It was perhaps the sheer arrogance of those “above the law” that made Megrahi time the bomb to just deny the ocean’s anonymity, and leave these scattered clues to be found on land and traced back to Mebo and Gauci and himself. It all makes sense in hindsight, and fits established and understood patterns of criminal behavior. For example, the professionals who write up James Bond villains know just this type all too well and should not be surprised at such mundane contrivances.

As to how this perfectly predictable plot continued on to fruition unopposed, that’s more troubling. All it took to penetrate “Mary’s House” and buy just the right clothes was a little money. It was Luqa Airport that really mattered, and that too proved easy enough for a determined mastermind to part like the Red Sea. The airline Air Malta ran security there, essentially the host airline. Air Malta security director Wilfred Borg has been quite defensive, always speaking up about their “stringent policies” of double-checking the number of bags, and reconciling each with the right passengers. They have produced the documentation for investigators and news cameras alike, to “prove” their case. But paper is just so darn thin as evidence when clearly a bag with a bomb DID come out of Malta.

Unaccompanied bags are not allowed, so couldn’t happen, the logic ran. Strangely, the Matlese police agreed as if they know anything about airports. Outside “experts” like Denis Phipps, former security director for British Airways, have found these records “reliable,” and as showing 55 pieces of luggage, all claimed by 39 passengers, with none unaccompanied. The answer, presuming for argument’s sake these are legitimate records, is that the 56th bag was simply not documented. Why would a terrorist be so stupid and arrogant as to allow his bomb bag to de recorded on the official paperwork to be traced back?

KM180 landed in Frankfurt at mid-day, and it was there the suitcase wormed its way onto PA103, using…. Yep, that “TAGG.” These magical tickets were the perfect tool; in the 1980s, airports routinely searched only bags without tags. One with proper tags was considered “good to go” and sent along. The proof it was sent along was provided by the diligent German Federal Police, BKA, who had sprung into action within days of the crash. It was widely reported in Germany that Flight 103 originated in Frankfurt, which it only sort-of did. So it’s understandable they would visit the airport, as they did on or around Christmas at the latest, looking for the luggage records, computer files and paper forms, relating to 103 and what went on it.

Now it’s no secret that police can goof things up and usually do. They forgot to get the records for what went onto Flight 103 when they were there, and the airport deleted that data a few days later with no official backup or paper copies kept. Luckily, a souvenir printout that an upright employee handed to the BKA in late January proved that an unaccompanied bag was routed from KM180 onto the ‘first leg’ of Flight 103. The BKA investigated the airport again and agreed, six months later alerting Scottish police. And that, good people, is solid proof of an unaccompanied bag from Malta, no matter what the Maltese and their apologists claim.

Few have the guts to openly verbalize the presumption one must make on considering all this. One exception is Vincent Cannistraro, head of the CIA’s Lockerbie investigation, who had been tenaciously telling the truth about Libya for years already before working with Giaka to ‘simulate’ it. In a 1994 documentary (Frontline Scotland: Silence over Lockerbie), Cannistraro told the truth about their northern island possession, masterfully dismissing the claims of Air Malta and their ilk:
“They have vindicated themselves on paper in terms of the security procedures, but if their security personnel are suborned by hostile intelligence service, and they are completely vulnerable to whatever that hostile service would want to put on their aircraft, with baggage tags, without baggage tags. Once you have basically infiltrated the security apparatus there is no barrier to doing exactly what Fhimah and Megrahi DID." (emph. Mine)

They aren't saying it aloud like this, these days, but that MUST still be the official story stood by in Washington and London. Malta was suborned into letting Lockerbie happen and have at least tacitly helped confuse this basic fact. Consider this outrageous claim by Malta's Minister of Home Affairs, Tonio Borg (any relation to the compromised Wilfred Borg, hmmm?): "We have no proof that these two Libyan suspects were involved in anything illegal in Malta regarding this case, particularly the placing of this bomb on Air Malta Flight ... 180.” The suspicious security breach, which they could just admit to but disown as a mistake, was now to be compounded with an equally dubious refusal to admit their … failure? It’s seeming less and less like a failure and Borg is sounding sort of like a German railroadman denying his part in the Holocaust.

Disingenuous and disgusting. I hope he's been fired or at least demoted since then.

To be continued...

Monday, December 7, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
December 7 2009
updated Dec 10

Note: The Following does not necessarily reflect the author's true views in all regards

Today, December 7 2009, marks an inauspicious anniversary in American history. Yes, December 7, 1988 was the date of purchase by convicted Lockerbie bomber al Megrahi of the Maltese clothes stuffed around the bomb he used to take down PanAm 103. 21 years ago today, he made a fateful purchase from one Anthony Gauci, then of Silema Malta, a purchase Gauci remembered all too well. This we know because of a nice confluence of clues that investigators were clever enough to recognize and rigorous enough to assemble into nice neat indicator of a design out of Tripoli.

The mystery shopper was eventually found to sort of be resembled by al Megrahi (once his face was famous enough). Everyone had at one point decided Gauci had sold the stuff to Mr. Abu Talb, a suspect found in possession of more Maltese clothes. While memory is never perfect, time usually improves it and by the year 2000 Gauci was able to point to el Megrahi in court, when the man was sitting in the dock in the special accused gown costume. Justice was served, thanks to Gauci’s sharp memory and clear conscience. This purchaser did originally seem at least four inches taller, broader of build and perhaps darker in complexion than Megrahi, and perhaps 20 years older than either him or Talb. But again, this just shows the natural variation of eyewitness testimony and is not suspicious in the least.

The date which I mark is known as the fateful one because Megrahi was known to be on Malta that day and on no others that mach Mr. Gauci’s given clues. Tony, as some call him, recalled the setting for investigators. It was near closing time, around 6pm. It would be dark, and he recalled it was raining outside. Tony recalled he was alone in the shop, as .his brother Paul had gone home early for a football match (Rome-Dresden). Such a match was aired on December 7 at 1pm, and over by about 3:00. Paul apparently did some other thing after the game hat kept him from returning to help close. It’s fine. The Christmas lights were already up.

The purchaser bought many unusual clothing items, with little care to if they fit or made sense. He seemed like a Christmas shopper, a Libyan one, with “more money than time.” The list of items bought was initially unsure and contradictory to the evidence found scorched and scattered across Scotland. But the roster was generally ironed out over 20-ish interviews with Scottish police (many of them still not erased from view), and agreement was reached that the mystery shopper bought too much of the unusual selection in the bomb bag to be coincidence.

The blue “baby gro” is the most memorable of the clothes. Its own tag said made in Malta, and Maltese Gauci recalled selling it for Megrahi’s Maltese plot. By relating to babies it also shows two important clues: it reflects megrahi’s awareness that this was revenge for the U.S. bombing that killed Gaddafi’s 4-year-old adopted daughter, who may have worn such an outfit when younger. A handy timeline also shows the clear relation – the 103 bombing happened after that 1986 attack, clearly showing the cause and effect relation. The choice also shows how Megrahi was aware that children exist and might be killed in his plot, as they were. It was a sinister final touch for the bomb stuffing that just screamed Libyan guilt and wickedness of spirit.

The only item of utility the buyer picked up was an umbrella, since it was raining enough to warrant one. Local weather records show no appreciable rain in Silema that day, but these aren’t always perfect, perhaps kept poorly in Malta. In fact, that records don’t show this is a vital clue that Maltese authorities might have willfully altered these to cover up their failures. Perhaps they missed the rain on accident after all, but it rained December 7 and that same umbrella Megrahi bought for that was packed and found at the crash site. This suspicious behavior is therefore a good clue of Megrahi’s guilt and Malta’s (unwitting?) complicity.

Open-minded investigators did heavily consider November 23 as another fit for Tony’s evidence – it had appreciable rainfall recorded, and a Rome-Dresden football match from 5-7 pm local, a better fit for Paul being absent still at 6pm. But Megrahi was clearly not there on that day, so that can’t be it. Football times and dates you just don’t get wrong, but Malta’s weather records are now suspect, so Dec 7 it must be, with unrecorded rain and Paul gone not for the game but for post-game activities. And I for one see no reason that the babygro treason should ever be forgot, especially since the mass murderer has been "compassionately" sent home to plot more American deaths. I will in fact elaborate on Megrahi's Maltese plot and the strange failure of Malta as a whole to prevent it or even admit the truth afterwards. This behavior demands a response.
Note: A helpful reader has alerted me that I forgot to address an important point, being Mr. Gauci's payments following his many statements and testimony. Yes, he did receive a small reimbursement, in relative to his troubles; I've read his accounts, and Libyans were hanging around, looking at him and not buying anything. To face such dangers you need some money. It's not a perfect world, obviously. I'm not sure on the amount, I think it was at least a few thousand dollars, and it wasn't even mentioned at all until after Tony had given the police all their information, so any question of influence or leading is ridiculous. In fact, to keep him honest, they had led Gauci to believe he'd be unable to receive ANY money, and in fact made to pay the police a £8 "witness processing fee." It worked, elicited the purest strain of truth, and the gesture of faith was repaid, modestly. Thank you for the reminder, anonymous reader, to toss this straw-man argument aside.