[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...