Victim’s father confronts Mohammed Abu Talb after report names him as ‘real’ bomber
By John Davison | 14 December 2013
Two highly-experienced investigators concluded in a confidential report that the Lockerbie case was subverted at “the highest level of government”.
They suggest that the CIA was implicated in interfering with the case, and name who they believe was really responsible for carrying out the terrorist attack in 1988 over a Scottish town.
Jessica de Grazia, New York’s former chief assistant district attorney, and Philip Corbett, who was chief security advisor to the Bank of England after a career as a top-ranking police officer with Scotland Yard, made a series of staggering findings about the official investigation into Lockerbie.
“Superiors would have played on fear, timidity, gullibility, greed, ambition, patriotism, and other human frailties to silence the qualms of the line investigators” – Report, Forensic Investigative Associates
They concluded that police were “directed off course” in their investigation by government interference, and that, as a result, the wrong man was convicted for the attack on Pan Am’s Flight 103 that killed 270 people.
They compiled the report for a London-based company of private investigators, Forensic Investigative Associates, after being commissioned by lawyers for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the bombing. Next Saturday is the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing.
De Grazia, who led the private investigation, was New York city’s highest non-elected law officer and was later appointed by the then attorney general in the UK, Lord Goldsmith, to conduct a wide-ranging review of the Serious Fraud Office in 2008.
Following a five-month investigation, de Grazia and Corbett wrote: “This leads us to believe that the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing was directed off course as a result of government interference.
“In our experience, the decision to intervene would have been made at the highest level of government, most likely by a top executive of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
“The decision would have been communicated in both blunt and subtle ways down the chain of command to the line investigators.
“Since political interference in investigations runs counter to the professional ethos of US and UK law-enforcement agents, superiors would have played on fear, timidity, gullibility, greed, ambition, patriotism, and other human frailties to silence the qualms of the line investigators.”
The private investigation, codenamed ‘Operation Bird’, puts Mohammed Abu Talb, an Egyptian militant, in the frame for the Lockerbie bombing. Talb was a prime suspect early on in the official investigation into the attack.
He gave evidence for the prosecution at al-Megrahi’s trial. In return, Talb was given immunity from personal prosecution. Talb has always denied any involvement with the Lockerbie bombing.
De Grazia and Corbett placed Talb in key meetings with other terrorist suspects around the Middle East in the run-up to the attack.
Talb had close links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), which was initially blamed for the Lockerbie bombing.
The report, dated April 2002, puts Talb in Britain on the day of the attack, saying that he met with other terrorists to place the bomb on the aircraft at Heathrow airport.
The devastating report will feature in a new documentary on Lockerbie due to be broadcast next week by Al Jazeera.
The private investigation uncovered evidence that Talb had previously bribed a Heathrow worker to smuggle a suitcase through security.
Talb was jailed for life in Sweden after being convicted of carrying out a series of terrorist bombings in 1985 in Copenhagen, Denmark and Amsterdam, Holland. These included attacks on offices of Northwest Airlines and El Al, the Israeli airline, killing one person and reportedly injuring another 20 people.
Al Jazeera tracked down Talb in Sweden, but he refused to comment.
Jim Swire, whose 23-year-old daughter, Flora, died in the Lockerbie bombing, also travelled to Sweden to confront Talb. He told Exaro: “Talb is a life-long, proven terrorist. He has completed 20 years in prison for bombings in Scandinavia, and is now out of prison and living in Uppsala in Sweden.
“I believe that he played a crucial part in the causing of the Lockerbie disaster.”
Operation Bird also points to claims by Robert Baer, a retired CIA expert on the Middle East, that Talb was paid $500,000 only months after the Lockerbie bombing. In a book called, ‘See No Evil: the true story of a ground soldier in the CIA’s war on terrorism,’ Baer also raises the possibility that Iran paid the money.
John Davison was reporting from Lockerbie on the night of the attack for The Sunday Times.