Reopening Libya’s Lockerbie file

Why is the US reviving a long-resolved fake charge?

The abduction by the US of Libyan citizen Muhammad Said Abu-Ageila and his imprisonment on the grounds that he made the bomb used in the 1986 Pan-Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie in Scotland is blatant piracy in breach of binding agreements and undertakings. It is still unclear why the US chose to reopen this file which was closed under the terms of internationally ratified agreements. But it’s widely believed to be a new extortion attempt involving Libya in ways that are not yet apparent.

Abu-Ageila, who was an intelligence officer during Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi’s rule, was arrested and jailed at the US’ behest in 2011. After the regime was brought down by NATO aerial bombardment, successive Libyan governments refused to extradite him because that would violate Libya’s laws and constitution. It would have been impossible to abduct him from his heavily guarded cell without the collusion of the mandate-expired government of Abdelhamid Dbeiba as part of a deal with the US, as Libyan MP Misbah Douma charged. Political analyst Muhammad Mahjoub went further, accusing foreign minister Najla al-Mangoushof playing a role in the handover given her official position and close ties with the US.

The Lockerbie case was closed completely on 14 August 2008 after a final agreement between the US and Libya under which it abandoned its nuclear and chemical programmes and surrendered the equipment to the US. The regime accepted formal responsibility for the incident and paid $2.7 billion in compensation to the families of the victims — amounting to around $10 million each: about ten times the internationally agreed amount. A key provision of the memorandum filed with the Security Council in which Libya accepted responsibility was that the US would take no further action against the country or its leaders. But after the US made sure Libya was disarmed, it broke its promises as usual and sent NATO warplanes to bomb the country,topple its regime, and arrange the brutal murder and mutilation of its leader.

All the evidence indicates that accusing Libya of the Lockerbie bombing was a fabricated ploy aimed at getting rid of the Libyan regime — after disarming it — by imposing a suffocating blockade and air embargo to bring it to its knees. The German industrialist who claimed to have supplied the Libyans with the explosives retracted his testimony. The Maltese shopkeeper who claimed he sold the clothes found in one of the suitcases to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, one of the two indicted ‘suspects’, admitted from his new location in Australia that he was paid several million dollars in bribes for cooperating with US intelligence and investigators.

For the historical record, I personally bore witness to the falsehood of US claims that Gaddafi’s regime was behind the Lockerbie bombing. I will cite two specific experiences to support this.

First, when Megrahi contacted me from his purpose-built cell in Barlinnie Prison in the Scottish city of Glasgow a few weeks before he was released in August 2009. He asked for a meeting to discuss a very important matter. I went to visit him accompanied by his Algerian lawyer. The prison governor, who recognised me from my then frequent appearances on British TV, kindly gave us use of the conference room in his office to conduct the interview, which lasted three hours. Megrahi broke into an uncontrollable flood of tears the likes of which I had never seen in my life. Then, explaining that he was talking for the historical record, he swore to me that he had no role whatsoever in the Lockerbie bombing and that if he had he would have confessed. He had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, the doctors had given him only three months to live, and he had nothing to fear or lose.

Second, a meeting I had with Libya’s ex-foreign minister Abderrahman Shalgam, a friend and former classmate, at London’s Dorchester Hotel. He had been the architect of the Lockerbie deal and was chief negotiator with the US administration in August 2003. He insisted that Libya was not behind the Lockerbie bombing in any way. I asked him: “So why did you take responsibility and pay $2.7 billion in compensation for a crime you didn’t commit?” He replied: “We did that to buy security and stability for Libya and have the blockade lifted from it.” He added: “Paying the compensation was wise and courageous… it served higher national interests.”

What I want to say is that the abduction of Abu-Ageila from his prison in Libya and his transfer to the US is not only a violation of agreements and undertakings. That comes as no surprise in any case from US administrations and agencies. It is also the epitome of extortion, arrogance, piracy, and contempt for all Arabs and Muslims — be they allies or enemies. Yet there remain some in the Arab and Islamic worlds who continue to trust and align with them.

The US invaded Iraq and Libya, devastating them and toppling their regimes after it ensured they had no WMD as deterrence against its duplicity and back-stabbing. It is continuing to this day to fleece Libya and advance its plans to turn it into a failed state, riven with anarchy and internal conflicts and divisions more than ten years after it promised to turn it into a haven of democracy, prosperity, stability, and respect for human rights.

May God rest in peace all the Libyans who were martyred defending their freedom, sovereignty, and unity, standing up to US and European conspiracies, and preserving its Arab and Islamic identity.

Reopening Libya’s Lockerbie file

One thought on “Reopening Libya’s Lockerbie file

  • Guy St Hilaire

    The real reason why the US/NATO destroyed Libya was because Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi
    was going to institute a new African currency ,the African dinar based on gold . Why the US chose to re-open this file is yet to surface .


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