- Andrew Hardie, the Lord Advocate, resigned from his cabinet
post as Scotland's leading law officer because he realised the Lockerbie
case was a shambles which would probably end in acquittal for the two Libyan
- According to prosecution team insiders, Hardie - who
has dismissed as 'outrageous' claims that he resigned over fears that the
Lockerbie prosecution was a mess - quit solely because of Lockerbie. The
case against Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, which
opens in May, is plagued with problems including witnesses changing statements,
allegations that original FBI witness statements no longer tally with witnesses
current account of events and new witnesses coming forward who will throw
the whole concept of a Libyan plot into disarray.
- Hardie realised there were a series of almost fatal blows
waiting to strike the prosecution, including three new witnesses - a British
customs official and two former Pan-Am employees - who will give evidence
pointing towards an Iran-Syria conspiracy behind the bombing.
- Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, who was Lord Advocate at the
time Pan-Am 103 exploded over Lockerbie, said Hardie must have known he
would cause uproar over his resignation. He claims the credibility of the
Scottish legal system has now been damaged.
- Other threats to the prosecution case come from former
CIA chief, Vincent Cannistraro, who headed the agency's Lockerbie investigation
team. Originally on the prosecution's witness list, he was dropped and
is now refusing to be called for the defence. The Camp Zeist court will
have no power to sub poena him.
- From the beginning of the case, he said Mohammed Abu
Talb, a terrorist now in a Swedish jail for bombing offences, was behind
Lockerbie. Talb is connected to Iranian-Syrian group thought to have carried
out the Pan-Am bombing.
- The prosecution also face their own star witness, Abu
Maged Jiacha, being destroyed in the dock. His evidence will place one
of the accused at the centre of a Libyan conspiracy. It has always been
said that Jiacha only contacted the CIA in 1992. In fact a secret cable
between the CIA bureau in Malta and the agency's HQ in Langley reveals
that he was in fact known to the CIA four months before the December 1988
- Apart from this revelation allowing the defence to question
his credibility, they will also make an issue of the fact that he is set
to make millions of dollars in reward money. Defence are also now looking
for Abol Hassan Mesbahi, an Iranian secret service defector who also claims
the bomb plot was Iranian inspired. Scottish prosecutors preparing the
case by interviewing key witnesses have also found that original statements
given to the FBI do not tally with the witnesses current version of events.
- The defence will also focus on FBI examiner J Thomas
Thurman who identified a piece of the alleged bomb's circuit board as being
exclusively used by Libyan intelligence. However, he was removed from his
job when it came to light that his forensics lab was fabricating evidence
to suit FBI inquiries in the World Trades Centre bombing and the Oklahoma
bomb. He also does not have formal forensic qualifications.
- Edwin Bollier, who manufactured the bomb circuit board,
is also expected to claim that he supplied the same instruments to East
German intelligence. One of his claims will be that the fragment of the
circuit board could not have caused the explosion as it had never been
- Tony Gauci, who owned the Maltese shop which sold the
clothes wrapped around the bomb, will also be attacked by defence over
his identification evidence. Questions will also be raised over why military
and political figures, including South African foreign minister, Pik Botha,
switched planes avoiding flying on the doomed Pan-Am flight.
- The defence are further expected to make play of the
role of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. It will be alleged that
Mossad sent a fake radio communication from Tripoli to Lybian agents in
Berlin claiming 'mission accomplished' the day after the explosion.
- Hardie has been severely criticised by the families of
the Lockerbie victims for his resignation. New Jersey family member Susan
Cohen said: "We were told we could rely on him. It is totally unacceptable
that he has walked away without an explanation." She says his resignation
has re-opened questions of Iranian-Syrian involvement.
- Jim Swire, who speaks for the UK families and has always
claimed he was never entirely convinced that Libya was behind the plot,
added: "I can't see why Lord Hardie should want to evade this trial
unless he was seriously worried about this trial."
- One source close to the trial added: "If the Libyans
are freed there will be outrage in the USA. They will think that a Mickey
Mouse court fouled up, and if they'd been in a US court they'd have seen
justice done." Another source said: "One quiet day, after the
case has been underway for weeks, the prosecution will admit that none
of the evidence can be linked to the two men in the dock."
- Hardie had never been in favour of a trial in a neutral
country under Scots law without jury - as he wrote in January 1998 in an
article for the Scots Law Times.
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