Pending Pan Am
103 Libya Suspects'
Trial Case Said A Shambles
Investigation By Neil Mackay, Torcuil Crichton and Ian
Ferguson in Minnesota, USA

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 defendants.
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 bombing.
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 used.
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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