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Pan Am Flight 103

Pan Am Flight 103

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Pan Am Flight 103 was Pan American World Airways
Pan American World Airways
Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991...

' third daily scheduled transatlantic flight
Transatlantic flight
Transatlantic flight is the flight of an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean. A transatlantic flight may proceed east-to-west, originating in Europe or Africa and terminating in North America or South America, or it may go in the reverse direction, west-to-east...

 from London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

 to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport is an international airport located in the borough of Queens in New York City, about southeast of Lower Manhattan. It is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North...

. On Wednesday, 21 December 1988, the aircraft flying this route — a Boeing 747–121 registered N739PA and named “Clipper Maid of the Seas” — was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Eleven people in Lockerbie
Lockerbie
Lockerbie is a town in the Dumfries and Galloway region of south-western Scotland. It lies approximately from Glasgow, and from the English border. It had a population of 4,009 at the 2001 census...

, in southern Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, were also killed as large sections of the plane fell in the town and destroyed several houses, bringing total fatalities to 270. As a result, the event is also known as the Lockerbie bombing.

Aircraft


Pan Am Flight 103 was a Boeing 747–121 named Clipper Maid of the Seas. The jumbo jet was the fifteenth 747 built and was delivered in February 1970, one month after the first 747 entered service with Pan Am.
The Maid of the Seas operated the transatlantic leg of Flight 103, which had originated in Frankfurt, West Germany, on a Boeing 727. At London Heathrow passengers and their luggage on the feeder flight transferred directly onto the Boeing 747, along with interline luggage not accompanied by anyone. The aircraft pushed back from the gate at 18:04, and lifted off at 18:25. Captain James B. McQuarrie flew northwest into the Daventry departure over the Midlands and levelled off at 31,000 ft about 25 miles north of Manchester at 18:56.

Explosion




At 19:01 UTC, air traffic controller Alan Topp watched Flight 103 approach the corner of the Solway Firth
Solway Firth
The Solway Firth is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very...

 on his screen and observed as it crossed the coast at 19:02 UTC. On his scope, the aircraft showed transponder code or "squawk"—0357 and flight level
Flight level
A Flight Level is a standard nominal altitude of an aircraft, in hundreds of feet. This altitude is calculated from the International standard pressure datum of 1013.25 hPa , the average sea-level pressure, and therefore is not necessarily the same as the aircraft's true altitude either...

—310.
At this point, Clipper Maid of the Seas was flying at 31000 feet (9,448.8 m) on a heading of 316 degrees magnetic, and at a speed of 313 kn (613.4 km/h) calibrated airspeed
Calibrated airspeed
Calibrated airspeed is the speed shown by a conventional airspeed indicator after correction for instrument error and position error. Most civilian EFIS displays also show CAS...

, at 19:02:46.9. Subsequent analysis of the radar returns by RSRE concluded that the aircraft was tracking 321° (grid) and travelling at a ground speed of 434 knots (850.6 km/h).

Contact is lost


At that moment, Clipper Maid of the Seas "squawk" flickered off. Topp tried to make contact with Captain MacQuarrie, with no response. Over in the Oceanic Clearance Office, ATC assistant Tom Fraser tried as well and asked a nearby KLM flight to do the same, but there was no reply. Where there should have been one radar echo on Topp's screen, there were four, and as the seconds passed, the echoes began to fan out. Comparison of the cockpit voice recorder
Cockpit voice recorder
A cockpit voice recorder , often referred to as a "black box", is a flight recorder used to record the audio environment in the flight deck of an aircraft for the purpose of investigation of accidents and incidents...

 with the radar returns showed that eight seconds after the explosion, the wreckage had a 1 nautical miles (1.9 km) spread. British Airways
British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...

 pilot Captain Robin Chamberlain, flying the Glasgow–London shuttle near Carlisle, called Scottish authorities to report that he could see a huge fire on the ground. The destruction of PA103 continued on Topp's screen, by now full of returns moving eastward with the wind.

Disintegration of aircraft


The explosion punched a 20 inch (0.508 m)-wide hole on the left side of the fuselage, almost directly under the "P" in the "Pan Am" logo painted in the fuselage. The disintegration of the aircraft was rapid.

Later, investigators from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 (FAA) were lowered into the cockpit in the wreckage before it was moved from the crash site, and while the bodies of the flight crew were still in the cockpit. Investigators concluded that no emergency procedures had been started. The pressure control and fuel switches were both set for cruise, and the crew had not used their oxygen masks, which would have been required within five seconds of a rapid depressurisation of the aircraft. Investigators from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Air Accidents Investigation Branch
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigates air accidents in the United Kingdom. It is a branch of the Department for Transport and is based on the grounds of Farnborough Airport near Aldershot, Rushmoor, Hampshire.-History:...

 (AAIB) of the British Department for Transport
Department for Transport
In the United Kingdom, the Department for Transport is the government department responsible for the English transport network and a limited number of transport matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which are not devolved...

 concluded that the nose of the aircraft separated from the main section within three seconds of the explosion.
The cockpit voice recorder, a recording device in the tail section of the aircraft, was found in a field by police searchers within 24 hours of the bombing. There was no evidence of a distress signal: a 180-millisecond hissing noise could be heard as the explosion destroyed the aircraft's communications centre. Although the explosion was in the aircraft hold, the effect was increased by the large (3:1) difference between aircraft cabin pressure and the outside air pressure (the latter is about a quarter of the former).

Shock waves from the blast ricocheted back from the fuselage skin in the direction of the bomb, meeting pulses still coming from the initial explosion. This produced Mach stem
Mach wave
In fluid dynamics, a Mach wave is a pressure wave traveling with the speed of sound caused by a slight change of pressure added to a compressible flow. These weak waves can combine in supersonic flow to become a shock wave if sufficient Mach waves are present at any location. Such a shock wave is...

 shock waves, calculated to be 25% faster than, and double the power of, the waves from the explosion itself. These Mach stem waves pulsing through the ductwork bounced off overhead luggage racks and other hard surfaces, jolting the passengers. A section of the 747's roof, several feet above the point of detonation, peeled away. The nerve centre of a 747, from which all the navigation and communication systems are controlled, is located below the cockpit, separated from the forward cargo hold by a bulkhead wall. Investigators concluded that the force of the explosion broke through this wall and shook the flight-control cables, causing the front section of the fuselage to begin to roll, pitch, and yaw.

The shock waves of the explosion rebounded from one side of the aircraft to the other, running down the length of the fuselage through the air-conditioning ducts and splitting the fuselage open. This in turn snapped the reinforcing belt that secured the front section to the row of windows on the left side and it began to break away. Then the whole front section of the aircraft, containing the flight deck with crew and the first class section, broke away altogether, flying upwards and to starboard, striking the No. 3 Pratt & Whitney
Pratt & Whitney
Pratt & Whitney is a U.S.-based aerospace manufacturer with global service operations. It is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation . Pratt & Whitney's aircraft engines are widely used in both civil aviation and military aviation. Its headquarters are in East Hartford, Connecticut, USA...

 engine as it snapped off. With the disruption of the steering cables, the aircraft went into a steep dive. When the fuselage disintegrated, the cabin depressurised to a quarter of ground-level pressure, leaving the passengers fighting for breath. Because of the sudden change in air pressure, the gases inside the passengers' bodies would have expanded to four times their normal volume, causing their lungs to swell and then collapse.

The explosion knocked out the power, plunging the passenger cabin into darkness. A Scottish Fatal Accident Inquiry
Fatal accident inquiry
A fatal accident inquiry is a Scottish judicial process which investigates and determines the circumstances of some deaths occurring in Scotland...

, which opened on 1 October 1990, heard testimony that, when the cockpit broke off, the fuselage was now an open cylinder. Tornado-force winds tore up the aisles, slamming into the chests, making it even more difficult to breathe, and stripping the clothes off the passengers. Some were thrown to the rear. Other people and objects not fixed down were blown out of the aircraft into the night at temperatures of -46 °C, their 31000 feet (9,448.8 m) fall through the nighttime troposphere
Troposphere
The troposphere is the lowest portion of Earth's atmosphere. It contains approximately 80% of the atmosphere's mass and 99% of its water vapor and aerosols....

 lasting about two minutes. Some passengers remained attached to the fuselage by their seat belts, crashing to earth strapped to their seats.
Although the passengers would have lost consciousness through lack of oxygen, forensic examiners believe some of them might have regained consciousness as they fell toward oxygen-rich lower altitudes. Forensic pathologist Dr. William G. Eckert, director of the Milton Helpern International Center of Forensic Sciences at Wichita State University
Wichita State University
Wichita State University is a NCAA Division I public university in Wichita, Kansas with selective admissions. WSU is one of six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The current president is Dr. Donald Beggs....

, who examined the autopsy evidence, told Scottish police he believed the flight crew, some of the flight attendants, and 147 other passengers survived the bomb blast and depressurisation of the aircraft, and may have been alive on impact. None of these passengers showed signs of injury from the explosion itself, or from the decompression and disintegration of the aircraft. Forensic tests on some of the bodies suggested that their heartbeats may have continued after the explosion. David McMullon, a helicopter pilot who was involved in the search for bodies, claimed to have found one victim who was clutching a handful of grass.

Fuselage (wing section) impact



Investigators believe that within three seconds of the explosion, the cockpit, fuselage, and No. 3 engine were falling separately. The fuselage continued moving forward and down until it reached 19000 ft (5,791.2 m), at which point its dive became almost vertical.

As it descended, the fuselage broke into smaller pieces, with the section attached to the wings landing first (46.5 seconds after the explosion) in Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie, where the 200000 lb (90,718.5 kg) of kerosene contained inside ignited. The resultant fireball destroyed a number of houses and was so intense that little remained of the left wing of the aircraft. No identifiable remains of 8 passengers seated between rows 23–28 were ever recovered; these seats were located in the wing section directly above the centre wing tank. Also, the remains of 7 of the 11 residents killed in the inferno on the ground at Sherwood Crescent were never identified.

Investigators were able to determine that both wings had landed in the crater after counting the number of large steel flap drive jackscrews
Leadscrew
A leadscrew , also known as a power screw or translation screw, is a screw designed to translate turning motion into linear motion...

 that were later found there – indeed there were no finds of wing structure outside the crater itself. The British Geological Survey
British Geological Survey
The British Geological Survey is a partly publicly funded body which aims to advance geoscientific knowledge of the United Kingdom landmass and its continental shelf by means of systematic surveying, monitoring and research. The BGS headquarters are in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire, but other centres...

 at nearby Eskdalemuir
Eskdalemuir Observatory
The Eskdalemuir Observatory is located near Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Built in 1904, its remote location was chosen to minimise electrical interference with geomagnetic instruments, which were relocated there from Kew Observatory in 1908 after the advent of electrification in...

 registered a seismic
Seismology
Seismology is the scientific study of earthquakes and the propagation of elastic waves through the Earth or through other planet-like bodies. The field also includes studies of earthquake effects, such as tsunamis as well as diverse seismic sources such as volcanic, tectonic, oceanic,...

 event measuring 1.6 on the Richter scale.

Another section of the fuselage landed about half a mile northeast, where it slammed into widow Ella Ramsden's home in Park Place. Her house was demolished, but Ramsden escaped. Ramsden's back garden was strewn with bodies and wreckage, and a victim was found wedged in the roof still strapped in his seat.

Victims

Nationality Passengers Crew On Ground Total
 Argentina 2 0 0 2
 Belgium 1 0 0 1
 Bolivia 1 0 0 1
 Canada 3 0 0 3
 Early Modern France 2 1 0 3
 West Germany 3 1 0 4
 Hungary 4 0 0 4
 India 3 0 0 3
 Republic of Ireland 3 0 0 3
 Israel 1 0 0 1
 Italy 2 0 0 2
 Jamaica 1 0 0 1
 Japan 1 0 0 1
 Philippines 1 0 0 1
 South Africa 1 0 0 1
 Spain 0 1 0 1
 Sweden 2 1 0 3
 Switzerland 1 0 0 1
 Trinidad and Tobago 1 0 0 1
 United Kingdom 31 1 11 43
 United States 178 11 0 189
Total 243 16 11 270


Passengers and crew
All 243 passengers and 16 crew members were killed. Eleven residents of Lockerbie also died. Of the total of 270 fatalities, 189 were American citizens and 43 British citizens. No more than 4 of the remaining 37 victims of the bombing came from any one of the 19 other countries.

Dr Eckert told Scottish police that distinctive marks on Captain MacQuarrie's thumb suggested he had been hanging onto the yoke
Yoke (aircraft)
A yoke, alternatively known as control column, is a device used for piloting in most fixed-wing aircraft.- Principle :The aviator uses the yoke to control the attitude of the plane, usually in both pitch and roll. Rotating the control wheel controls the ailerons and the roll axis...

 of the plane as it descended, and may have been alive when the plane crashed. The captain, first officer, flight engineer, a flight attendant and a number of first-class passengers were found still strapped to their seats inside the nose section when it crashed in a field by a tiny church in the village of Tundergarth. The inquest heard that the flight attendant was alive when found by a farmer's wife, but died before her discoverer could summon help.

The flight deck crew was New York/JFK based, while the cabin crew was based at London Heathrow. Places of birth or nationality included: three from the USA, two from France, and one each from Sweden, West Germany, Spain, the Philippines, England, Dominican Republic, Norway and Czechoslovakia. Many of these crewmembers had become naturalised US citizens while working for Pan Am. 35 of the passengers were students from Syracuse University returning home for Christmas following a semester as exchange students in London.

Notable passengers
Prominent among the passenger victims was the 50-year-old UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Wilmar Carlsson was Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from July 1987 until he died on Pan Am Flight 103, which was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988.-Social democrat:A native of Stockholm, Carlsson joined the...

, who would have attended the signing ceremony at UN headquarters on 22 December 1988 of the New York Accords
New York Accords
The Tripartite Accord, Three Powers Accord or New York Accords granted independence to Namibia and ended the direct involvement of foreign troops in the Angolan Civil War...

. Also aboard were Volkswagen America CEO James Fuller and Volkswagen America Marketing Director Lou Marengo who were returning from a meeting with Volkswagen executives in Germany; English musician Paul Jeffreys
Paul Jeffreys
Paul Avron Jeffreys was an English rock musician and bassist. Jeffreys played bass on the first two albums of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, and later worked with a number of British bands, including Be-Bop Deluxe, Warm Jets and Electric Eels...

 and his wife Rachel, and poet and former girlfriend of musician Robert Fripp
Robert Fripp
Robert Fripp is an English guitarist, composer and record producer. He was ranked 42nd on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and #47 on Gibson.com’s "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time". Among rock guitarists, Fripp is a master of crosspicking, a technique...

, Joanna Walton, credited with writing most of the lyrics on the 1979 album Exposure
Exposure (Robert Fripp album)
-Side two:-2006 bonus disc third edition:-2006 bonus tracks :-Personnel:* Robert Fripp — guitars, Frippertronics* Daryl Hall — vocals on "Preface," "You Burn Me Up," "North Star," "Disengage II," "Chicago" disc two, "New York" disc two, "Exposure" bonus track, "Mary" bonus track; piano on "You Burn...

. Jonathan White, aged 33, was the son of David White
David White (actor)
David White was an American stage, film and television actor best known for playing Darrin's boss Larry Tate in the 1964-72 sitcom Bewitched.-Early life:...

 who played Larry Tate on the sitcom
Bewitched
Bewitched
Bewitched is an American situation comedy originally broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York and Dick Sargent , Agnes Moorehead, and David White. The show is about a witch who marries a mortal and tries to lead the life of a typical suburban...

.

U.S. government officials
There were at least four U.S. government officials on the passenger list, with rumours, never confirmed, of a fifth on board. The presence of these men on the flight later gave rise to a number of conspiracy theories, in which one or more of them were said to have been targeted.

Matthew Gannon
Matthew Gannon
Matthew Kevin Gannon was a CIA Officer killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland....

, the CIA's
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 deputy station chief in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, was sitting in Clipper Class, Pan Am's version of business class, seat 14J. Major Chuck "Tiny" McKee, an army officer on secondment to the Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency is a member of the Intelligence Community of the United States, and is the central producer and manager of military intelligence for the United States Department of Defense, employing over 16,500 U.S. military and civilian employees worldwide...

 (DIA) in Beirut, sat behind Gannon in the center aisle in seat 15F. Two Diplomatic Security Service
Diplomatic Security Service
The U.S. Diplomatic Security Service is the federal law enforcement arm of the United States Department of State. The majority of its Special Agents are members of the Foreign Service and federal law enforcement agents at the same time, making them unique...

 special agents, acting as bodyguards to Gannon and McKee, were sitting in economy: Ronald Lariviere, a security officer from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, was in 20H, and Daniel O'Connor, a security officer from the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia
Nicosia
Nicosia from , known locally as Lefkosia , is the capital and largest city in Cyprus, as well as its main business center. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, sat five rows behind Lariviere in 25H, both men seated over the right wing. The four men had flown together out of Cyprus that morning.

Lockerbie residents
On the ground, 11 Lockerbie residents were killed when the wing section hit 13 Sherwood Crescent at more than 800 kilometre per hour and exploded, creating a crater 47 m (154.2 ft) long and with a volume of 560 m³ (732.5 cu yd), vaporising the house and its occupants, Dora and Maurice Henry. Several other houses and their foundations were completely destroyed, and 21 others were damaged so badly they had to be demolished. Four members of one family, Jack and Rosalind Somerville and their children Paul, 13, and Lynsey, 10, died when their house at 15 Sherwood Crescent exploded.

Kathleen Flannigan, age 41, Thomas Flannigan, 44, and their daughter Joanne, 10, were killed by the explosion in their house 16 Sherwood Crescent. Their son Steven, 14, saw the fireball engulf his home from a neighbour's garage where he had gone to repair his sister's bicycle.

The fireball rose above the houses and moved toward the nearby Glasgow–Carlisle A74
A74 road
The A74 was a major trunk road in the United Kingdom, linking Glasgow in Scotland to Carlisle in the North West of England. The road has been largely replaced by the A74 and M74 motorways and now only one short stub remains....

 dual carriageway, scorching cars in the southbound lanes and leading motorists and local residents to believe that there had been a meltdown at the nearby Chapelcross nuclear power station
Chapelcross nuclear power station
Chapelcross was a Magnox nuclear power plant located near the town of Annan in Dumfries and Galloway in south west Scotland. It was the sister plant to Calder Hall in Cumbria, England, both commissioned and originally operated by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.The primary purpose of...

. Father Patrick Keegans, Lockerbie's Roman Catholic priest, was preparing to visit his neighbours at around 7 pm that evening when the plane destroyed their home. There was nothing left of his neighbours to bury. The priest's home, at 1 Sherwood Crescent, was the only house that was neither destroyed by the impact nor gutted by fire.

For many days, Lockerbie residents lived with the sight of bodies in their gardens and in the streets, as forensic workers photographed and tagged the location of each body to help determine the exact position and force of the on-board explosion, by coordinating information about each passenger's assigned seat, type of injury, and where they had landed. Local resident Bunty Galloway told authors Geraldine Sheridan and Thomas Kenning (1993):

"A boy was lying at the bottom of the steps on to the road. A young laddie with brown socks and blue trousers on. Later that evening my son-in-law asked for a blanket to cover him. I didn't know he was dead. I gave him a lamb's wool travelling rug thinking I'd keep him warm. Two more girls were lying dead across the road, one of them bent over garden railings. It was just as though they were sleeping. The boy lay at the bottom of my stairs for days. Every time I came back to my house for clothes he was still there. 'My boy is still there,' I used to tell the waiting policeman. Eventually on Saturday I couldn't take it no more. 'You got to get my boy lifted,' I told the policeman. That night he was moved."


Despite being advised by their governments not to travel to Lockerbie, many of the passengers' relatives, most of them from the US, arrived there within days to identify their loved ones. Volunteers from Lockerbie set up and manned canteens, which stayed open 24 hours a day, where relatives, soldiers, police officers and social workers could find free sandwiches, hot meals, coffee, and someone to talk to. The people of the town washed, dried, and ironed every piece of clothing that was found once the police had determined they were of no forensic value, so that as many items as possible could be returned to the relatives. The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's Scottish correspondent, Andrew Cassell, reported on the tenth anniversary of the bombing that the townspeople had "opened their homes and hearts" to the relatives, bearing their own losses "stoically and with enormous dignity", and that the bonds forged them continue to this day.

People booked who did not board


There were instances of people who were supposed to board Pan Am Flight 103, but arrived too late to board the flight, escaping the fate of those on board.

The potential "271st victim"
Jaswant Basuta, an Indian national, was checked in for Pan Am Flight 103, but arrived at the boarding gate too late. Having attended a family wedding in Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, Basuta was returning to New York where the 47-year old car mechanic was about to start a new job. Friends and relatives from nearby Southall
Southall
Southall is a large suburban district of west London, England, and part of the London Borough of Ealing. It is situated west of Charing Cross. Neighbouring places include Yeading, Hayes, Hanwell, Heston, Hounslow, Greenford and Northolt...

 came to see him off at the airport terminal, and bought him drinks in the upstairs bar. When "gate closing" flashed on the departure screen, Basuta hurried through security and sprinted to the departure gate, but the room was empty except for Pan Am ground staff who denied him access to the aircraft.

Basuta was initially considered a suspect as his checked baggage had been on the flight without him. After questioning at a Heathrow police station, he was released without charge. Twenty years later, in an interview with the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, Basuta talked about his narrow escape from death: "I should have been the 271st victim and I still feel terrible for all the other people who died."

South African foreign minister
The South African foreign minister Pik Botha
Pik Botha
Roelof Frederik "Pik" Botha is a former South African politician who served as the country's foreign minister in the last years of the apartheid era...

 and a minor delegation of 22 was supposed to board Pan Am 103, but managed to take the earlier Pan Am 101 flight. They were on their way to New York to sign the tripartite agreement whereby South Africa agreed to hand control of Namibia to the United Nations. The UN commissioner appointed to take over, Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Wilmar Carlsson was Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from July 1987 until he died on Pan Am Flight 103, which was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988.-Social democrat:A native of Stockholm, Carlsson joined the...

, was among the victims of Flight 103 as mentioned above.

Celebrities

The R&B singing group The Four Tops
Four Tops
The Four Tops are an American vocal quartet, whose repertoire has included doo-wop, jazz, soul music, R&B, disco, adult contemporary, hard rock, and showtunes...

 had been scheduled to board Pan Am Flight 103 to return to the United States for Christmas after completing their European tour, but were late getting out of a recording session and overslept.

Punk rock musician John Lydon
John Lydon
John Joseph Lydon , also known by the former stage name Johnny Rotten, is a singer-songwriter and television presenter, best known as the lead singer of punk rock band the Sex Pistols from 1975 until 1978, and again for various revivals during the 1990s and 2000s...

 (Johnny Rotten) of the Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band that formed in London in 1975. They were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians...

 and Public Image Ltd.
Public Image Ltd.
Public Image Ltd are an English post-punk band formed by vocalist John Lydon , guitarist Keith Levene and bassist Jah Wobble, with frequent subsequent personnel changes. Lydon is the sole constant member of the band....

 and his wife, Nora, were also booked on Pan Am Flight 103, but missed it due to delays.

The 1988 world tennis No. 1 Mats Wilander
Mats Wilander
Mats Wilander is a former World No. 1 tennis player from Sweden. From 1982 through 1988, he won seven Grand Slam singles titles , and one Grand Slam men's doubles title...

 had made a reservation but did not take a seat on the flight.

The actress Kim Cattrall
Kim Cattrall
Kim Victoria Cattrall is an English actress. She is known for her role as Samantha Jones in the HBO comedy/romance series Sex and the City, and for her leading roles in the 1980s films Police Academy, Big Trouble in Little China, Mannequin, and Porky's...

 was also booked on the flight but changed her reservation shortly beforehand in order to complete some last minute gift shopping in London.

Prior alerts


A number of alerts were posted shortly before the bombing.

Helsinki warning

On 5 December 1988 (16 days prior to the attack), the Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 (FAA) issued a security bulletin saying that on that day a man with an Arabic accent had telephoned the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, and had told them that a Pan Am flight from Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 to the United States would be blown up within the next two weeks by someone associated with the Abu Nidal Organization. He said a Finnish woman would carry the bomb on board as an unwitting courier.

The anonymous warning was taken seriously by the U.S. government. The State Department cabled the bulletin to dozens of embassies. The FAA sent it to all U.S. carriers, including Pan Am, which had charged each of the passengers a $5 security surcharge, promising a "program that will screen passengers, employees, airport facilities, baggage and aircraft with unrelenting thoroughness"; the security team in Frankfurt found the warning hidden under a pile of papers on a desk the day after the bombing. One of the Frankfurt security screeners, whose job was to spot explosive devices under X-ray, told ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 that she had first learned what Semtex
Semtex
Semtex is a general-purpose plastic explosive containing RDX and PETN. It is used in commercial blasting, demolition, and in certain military applications. Semtex became notoriously popular with terrorists because it was, until recently, extremely difficult to detect, as in the case of Pan Am...

 (a plastic explosive) was during her ABC interview 11 months after the bombing.

On 13 December, the warning was posted on bulletin boards in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and eventually distributed to the entire American community there, including journalists and businessmen. As a result, a number of people allegedly booked on carriers other than Pan Am, leaving empty seats on PA103 that were later sold cheaply in "bucket shops
Airline consolidators
An airline consolidator is a specific kind of airline ticket reseller. Consolidators work through contracts with major carriers to manage blocks of airline seat inventory at reduced prices which they then sell. The main benefit being that fares through consolidators will be lower than published...

".

PLO warning
Just days before the sabotage of the aircraft, security forces in a number of European countries, including Britain, were put on alert after a warning from the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO) that extremists might launch terrorist attacks to undermine the then ongoing dialogue between the United States and the PLO.

Claims of responsibility


According to a CIA analysis dated 22 December 1988, several groups were quick to claim responsibility in telephone calls in the United States and Europe:
  • A male caller claimed that a group called the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution had destroyed the plane in retaliation for the U.S. shootdown of Iran Air Flight 655
    Iran Air Flight 655
    Iran Air Flight 655 was a civilian jet airliner shot down by U.S. missiles on 3 July 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz, toward the end of the Iran–Iraq War...

     in the Persian Gulf the previous July.
  • A caller claiming to represent the Islamic Jihad Organization
    Islamic Jihad Organization
    The Islamic Jihad Organization – IJO or Organisation du Jihad Islamique in French, but best known as ‘Islamic Jihad’ for short, was a fundamentalist Shia group known for its activities in the 1980s during the Lebanese Civil War...

     told ABC News in New York that the group had planted the bomb.

After finishing this list, the author stated, "We consider the claims from the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution as the most credible one received so far". The analysis concluded, "We cannot assign responsibility for this tragedy to any terrorist group at this time. We anticipate that, as often happens, many groups will seek to claim credit".
  • On 22 February 2011 during the 2011 Libyan civil war
    2011 Libyan civil war
    The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

    , the ex Minister of Justice Mustafa Abdul Jalil stated in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Expressen that Muammar Gaddafi had personally ordered the bombing.

Investigation


The initial investigation into the crash site by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for the council area of Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.The police force was formed in 1948 as an amalgamation of the police forces of Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire, and preceded the creation of...

 involved many helicopter surveys, satellite imaging, and a fingertip search of the area by police and soldiers. More than 10,000 pieces of debris were retrieved, tagged and entered into a computer tracking system. The perpetrators had apparently initially intended the plane to crash into the sea, destroying any traceable evidence, but the late departure time of the aircraft meant that its explosion over land left a veritable trail of evidence.

The fuselage of the aircraft was reconstructed by air accident investigators, revealing a 20 inches (508 mm) hole consistent with an explosion in the forward cargo hold. Examination of the baggage containers revealed that the container nearest the hole had blackening, pitting, and severe damage indicating a "high-energy event" had taken place inside it. A series of test explosions were carried out to confirm the precise location and quantity of explosive used.
Fragments of a Samsonite suitcase believed to have contained the bomb were recovered, together with parts and pieces of circuit board identified as part of a Toshiba Bombeat radio cassette player, similar to that used to conceal a Semtex bomb seized by West German police from the Palestinian militant group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command is a Palestinian nationalist organization, backed by Syria and Iran...

 two months earlier. Items of baby clothing, which were subsequently proven to have been made in Malta, were also thought to have come from the same suitcase.

The clothes were traced to a Maltese merchant, Tony Gauci
Tony Gauci
Tony Gauci is a former proprietor of a clothes shop in Malta. According to evidence given at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial in 2000, Mr Gauci sold the clothes which were said to have been wrapped around the improvised explosive device that brought the aircraft down...

, who became a key prosecution witness, testifying that he sold the clothes to a man of Libyan appearance. Gauci was interviewed 23 times, giving contradictory evidence about who had bought the clothes, that person's age, appearance and the date of purchase but later identified Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. As Megrahi had only been in Malta on 7 December, that date was assumed to be the purchase date. This date is in doubt as Gauci had testified that Malta's Christmas lights had not been on when the clothes had been purchased, it has since been found they had been switched on 6 December. Scottish police had also failed to inform the defence that another witness had testified seeing Libyan men making a similar purchase on a different day. An official report, providing information not made available to the defence during the original trial, stated that, on April 19, 1999, four days before identifying al-Megrahi for the first time, Gauci had seen a picture of al-Megrahi in a magazine which connected him to the bombing, a fact which could have distorted his judgment. Additionally, Gauci was shown the same magazine during his testimony at al-Megrahi's trial and asked if he had identified the photograph in April 1999 as being the person who purchased the clothing, he was then asked if that person was in the court. Gauci then identified al-Megrahi for the court stating - "He is the man on this side. He resembles him a lot".

A circuit board fragment, allegedly found embedded in a piece of charred material, was identified as part of an electronic timer similar to that found on a Libyan intelligence agent who had been arrested 10 months previously, carrying materials for a Semtex bomb. The timer allegedly was traced through its Swiss manufacturer, Mebo, to the Libyan military, and Mebo employee Ulrich Lumpert identified the fragment at al-Megrahi's trial. Mebo's owner, Edwin Bollier
Edwin Bollier
Edwin Bollier and his partner, Erwin Meister, founded Mebo Telecommunications AG in Zürich, Switzerland in 1969.-Radio Nordsee International:...

 testified at the trial that the Scottish police had originally shown him a fragment of a brown 8-ply circuit board, of a prototype
Prototype
A prototype is an early sample or model built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.The word prototype derives from the Greek πρωτότυπον , "primitive form", neutral of πρωτότυπος , "original, primitive", from πρῶτος , "first" and τύπος ,...

 timer which had never been supplied to Libya. Yet the sample he was asked to identify at the trial was a
green 9-ply circuit board that Mebo had indeed supplied to Libya. Bollier wanted to pursue this discrepancy, but was told by trial Judge, Lord Sutherland, that he could not do so. Bollier later revealed that in 1991 he had declined an offer from the FBI of $4 million to testify that the timer fragment was part of a Mebo MST-13 timer supplied to Libya. On 18 July 2007, Ulrich Lumpert admitted he had lied at the trial. In a sworn affidavit before a Zurich notary public, Lumpert stated that he had stolen a prototype MST-13 timer printed circuit board from Mebo and gave it without permission on 22 June 1989, to "an official person investigating the Lockerbie case". Dr Hans Köchler
Hans Köchler
Hans Köchler is a professor of philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and president of the International Progress Organization, a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the United Nations...

, UN observer at the Lockerbie trial, who was sent a copy of Lumpert's affidavit, said: "The Scottish authorities are now obliged to investigate this situation. Not only has Mr Lumpert admitted to stealing a sample of the timer, but to the fact he gave it to an official and then lied in court". Traces of high explosives RDX
RDX
RDX, an initialism for Research Department Explosive, is an explosive nitroamine widely used in military and industrial applications. It was developed as an explosive which was more powerful than TNT, and it saw wide use in WWII. RDX is also known as cyclonite, hexogen , and T4...

 and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) were found in close proximity to the explosion.

In a documentary entitled "Lockerbie Revisited
Lockerbie Revisited
Lockerbie Revisited is a Dutch 50-minute documentary from the VPRO television documentary series Backlight which was broadcast in the Netherlands on the eve of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's second appeal against conviction that started at the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh on 28 April 2009...

" aired on 27 April 2009, the film's director and narrator, Gideon Levy, interviewed officials involved with the case. Former FBI Laboratory
FBI Laboratory
The FBI Laboratory is a division within the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation that provides forensic analysis support services to the FBI, as well as to state and local law enforcement agencies free of charge. The lab is currently located at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico,...

 scientist Fred Whitehurst described the FBI laboratory itself as a "crime scene", where an unqualified colleague Thomas Thurman
Thomas Thurman
In the late 1980s and for most of the 1990s, James Thomas Thurman was employed at the FBI forensics laboratory, which investigated explosives-related crimes...

 would routinely alter his scientific reports. The interviews also revealed that the timer fragment had never been tested for explosives residue due to "budgetary reasons". Thurman, who led the forensic investigation and identified the fragments' Libyan connection, confirmed that it was the "only real piece of evidence against Libya" and when asked of the importance of the timer in the conviction of al-Megrahi, FBI Task Force Chief Richard Marquise stated, "It would be a very difficult case to prove ... I don't think we would ever (have) had an indictment".

Investigators discovered that a bag had been routed onto PA 103, via the interline baggage system at Frankfurt, from the station and approximate time at which bags were unloaded from flight KM180 from Malta. Although documentation for flight KM180 indicated that all bags on that flight were accounted for, the court inferred that the bag came from that flight and that it contained the bomb. In 2009, it was revealed that security guard Ray Manley had reported that Heathrow's Pan Am baggage area had been broken into 17 hours before flight 103 took off. Police lost the report and it was never investigated or brought up at trial.

Criminal inquiry


Known as the Lockerbie bombing and the Lockerbie air disaster in the UK, it was described by Scotland's Lord Advocate
Lord Advocate
Her Majesty's Advocate , known as the Lord Advocate , is the chief legal officer of the Scottish Government and the Crown in Scotland for both civil and criminal matters that fall within the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament...

 as the UK's largest criminal inquiry led by the smallest police force in Britain, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary is the territorial police force responsible for the council area of Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.The police force was formed in 1948 as an amalgamation of the police forces of Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire, and preceded the creation of...

.

After a three-year joint investigation by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

, during which 15,000 witness statements were taken, indictments for murder were issued on 13 November 1991 against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer and the head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines (LAA), and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah
Lamin Khalifah Fhimah
Lamin Khalifa Fhimah was a station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines at Luqa Airport, Malta. On 31 January 2001, he was found not guilty and acquitted of 270 counts of murder in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial by a panel of three Scottish judges sitting in a special court at Camp Zeist,...

, the LAA station manager in Luqa Airport
Malta International Airport
Malta International Airport is the only airport in Malta and it serves the whole Maltese Archipelago. It is located between Luqa and Gudja. It occupies the location of the former RAF Luqa and was completely re-furbished, becoming fully operational on 25 March 1992...

, Malta. UN sanctions against Libya and protracted negotiations with the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 secured the handover of the accused on 5 April 1999 to Scottish police at Camp Zeist, Netherlands, having been chosen as a neutral venue for their trial.

Both accused persons chose not to give evidence in court. On 31 January 2001, Megrahi was convicted of murder by a panel of three Scottish judges and sentenced to life imprisonment but Fhimah was acquitted. Megrahi's appeal against his conviction was refused on 14 March 2002, and his application to the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 was declared inadmissible in July 2003. On 23 September 2003, Megrahi applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission is a non-departmental public body in Scotland, established by the Criminal Procedure Act 1995 ....

 (SCCRC) for his conviction to be reviewed, and on 28 June 2007 the SCCRC announced its decision to refer the case to the Court of Criminal Appeal
Court of Criminal Appeal
The Court of Criminal Appeal is the name of existing courts of Scotland and Ireland, and an historic court in England and Wales.- Ireland :See Court of Criminal Appeal ...

 in Edinburgh after it found he "may have suffered a miscarriage of justice".

Megrahi served just over 8½ years of his sentence in Greenock Prison
Greenock (HM Prison)
HMP Greenock is a prison located in Greenock, Scotland, and serving designated courts in western Scotland by holding male prisoners on remand, and short-term convicted prisoners. It provides a national facility for selected prisoners serving 12 years or over, affording them the opportunity for...

, throughout which time he maintained that he was innocent of the charges against him. He was released from prison on compassionate grounds on 20 August 2009.

Trial, appeals and release



On 3 May 2000, the trial of the two Libyans, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah
Lamin Khalifah Fhimah
Lamin Khalifa Fhimah was a station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines at Luqa Airport, Malta. On 31 January 2001, he was found not guilty and acquitted of 270 counts of murder in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial by a panel of three Scottish judges sitting in a special court at Camp Zeist,...

, accused of the downing of Pan Am Flight 103, began. Megrahi was convicted of murder on 31 January 2001, and was sentenced to life imprisonment
Life imprisonment
Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

 in Scotland. His co-accused, Fhimah, was found not guilty.

The Lockerbie judgment stated: "From the evidence which we have discussed so far, we are satisfied that it has been proved that the primary suitcase containing the explosive device was dispatched from Malta, passed through Frankfurt and was loaded onto PA103 at Heathrow. It is, as we have said, clear that with one exception the clothing in the primary suitcase was the clothing purchased in Mr Gauci’s shop on 7 December 1988. The purchaser was, on Mr Gauci’s evidence, a Libyan. The trigger for the explosion was an MST-13 timer of the single solder mask variety. A substantial quantity of such timers had been supplied to Libya. We cannot say that it is impossible that the clothing might have been taken from Malta, united somewhere with a timer from some source other than Libya and introduced into the airline baggage system at Frankfurt or Heathrow. When, however, the evidence regarding the clothing, the purchaser and the timer is taken with the evidence that an unaccompanied bag was taken from KM180 to PA103A, the inference that that was the primary suitcase becomes, in our view, irresistible. As we have also said, the absence of an explanation as to how the suitcase was taken into the system at Luqa is a major difficulty for the Crown case but after taking full account of that difficulty, we remain of the view that the primary suitcase began its journey at Luqa. The clear inference which we draw from this evidence is that the conception, planning and execution of the plot which led to the planting of the explosive device was of Libyan origin. While no doubt organisations such as the PFLP-GC and the PPSF
Palestinian Popular Struggle Front
The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front , , is a militant Palestinian organization. The group was led by Dr. Samir Ghawshah until his death in 2009...

 were also engaged in terrorist activities during the same period, we are satisfied that there was no evidence from which we could infer that they were involved in this particular act of terrorism, and the evidence relating to their activities does not create a reasonable doubt in our minds about the Libyan origin of this crime."

Appeal


The defence team had 14 days in which to appeal against Megrahi's conviction on 31 January 2001, and a further six weeks to submit the full grounds of the appeal. These were considered by a judge sitting in private who decided to grant Megrahi leave to appeal. The only basis for an appeal under Scots law is that there has been a "miscarriage of justice
Miscarriage of justice
A miscarriage of justice primarily is the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime they did not commit. The term can also apply to errors in the other direction—"errors of impunity", and to civil cases. Most criminal justice systems have some means to overturn, or "quash", a wrongful...

" which is not defined in statute and so it is for the appeal court to determine the meaning of these words in each case. Because three judges and one alternate judge had presided over the trial, five judges were required to preside over the Court of Criminal Appeal
Court of Criminal Appeal
The Court of Criminal Appeal is the name of existing courts of Scotland and Ireland, and an historic court in England and Wales.- Ireland :See Court of Criminal Appeal ...

:
  • Lord Cullen, Lord Justice-General
  • Lord Kirkwood
  • Lord Osborne
  • Lord Macfadyen and
  • Lord Nimmo Smith


In what was described as a milestone in Scottish legal history, Lord Cullen granted the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 permission in January 2002 to televise the appeal, and to broadcast it on the Internet in English with a simultaneous Arabic translation.

William Taylor QC, leading the defence, said at the appeal's opening on 23 January 2002 that the three trial judges sitting without a jury had failed to see the relevance of "significant" evidence and had accepted unreliable facts. He argued that the verdict was not one that a reasonable jury in an ordinary trial could have reached if it were given proper directions by the judge. The grounds of the appeal rested on two areas of evidence where the defence claimed the original court was mistaken: the evidence of Maltese shopkeeper, Tony Gauci, which the judges accepted as sufficient to prove that the "primary suitcase" started its journey in Malta; and, disputing the prosecution's case, fresh evidence would be adduced to show that the bomb's journey actually started at Heathrow. That evidence, which was not heard at the trial, showed that at some time in the two hours before 00:35 on 21 December 1988 a padlock had been forced on a secure door giving access airside in Terminal 3 of Heathrow airport, near to the area referred to at the trial as the "baggage build-up area". Taylor claimed that the PA 103 bomb could have been planted then.

On 14 March 2002 it took Lord Cullen less than three minutes to deliver the decision of the High Court of Justiciary. The five judges rejected the appeal, ruling unanimously that "none of the grounds of appeal was well-founded", adding "this brings proceedings to an end". The following day, a helicopter took Megrahi from Camp Zeist to continue his life sentence in Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

.

SCCRC review


Megrahi's lawyers applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission is a non-departmental public body in Scotland, established by the Criminal Procedure Act 1995 ....

 (SCCRC) on 23 September 2003 to have his case referred back to the Court of Criminal Appeal
Court of Criminal Appeal
The Court of Criminal Appeal is the name of existing courts of Scotland and Ireland, and an historic court in England and Wales.- Ireland :See Court of Criminal Appeal ...

 for a fresh appeal against conviction. The application to the SCCRC followed the publication of two reports in February 2001 and March 2002 by Hans Köchler, who had been an international observer at Camp Zeist, Netherlands appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Köchler described the decisions of the trial and appeal courts as a "spectacular miscarriage of justice". Köchler also issued a series of statements in 2003, 2005, and 2007 calling for an independent international inquiry into the case and accusing the West of "double standards in criminal justice" in relation to the Lockerbie trial on the one hand and the HIV trial in Libya
HIV trial in Libya
The HIV trial in Libya concerns the trials, appeals and eventual release of six foreign medical workers charged with conspiring to deliberately infect over 400 children with HIV in 1998, causing an epidemic at El-Fatih Children's Hospital in Benghazi, Libya.The defendants were a Palestinian...

 on the other.

On 28 June 2007 the SCCRC announced its decision to refer Megrahi's case to the High Court for a second appeal against conviction. The SCCRC's decision was based on facts set out in an 800-page report that determined that "a miscarriage of justice may have occurred". Köchler criticised the SCCRC for exonerating police, prosecutors and forensic staff from blame in respect of Megrahi's alleged wrongful conviction. He told The Herald
The Herald (Glasgow)
The Herald is a broadsheet newspaper published Monday to Saturday in Glasgow, and available throughout Scotland. As of August 2011 it had an audited circulation of 47,226, giving it a lead over Scotland's other 'quality' national daily, The Scotsman, published in Edinburgh.The 1889 to 1906 editions...

 of 29 June 2007: "No officials to be blamed, simply a Maltese shopkeeper." Köchler also highlighted the role of intelligence services in the trial and stated that proper judicial proceedings could not be conducted under conditions in which extrajudicial forces are allowed to intervene.

Second appeal
A procedural hearing at the Appeal Court
Court of Criminal Appeal
The Court of Criminal Appeal is the name of existing courts of Scotland and Ireland, and an historic court in England and Wales.- Ireland :See Court of Criminal Appeal ...

 took place on 11 October 2007 when prosecution lawyers and Megrahi's defence counsel, Maggie Scott QC
Margaret Scott (lawyer)
Margaret 'Maggie' Scott QC is a member of the Scottish Bar , into which she was admitted in 1991. She 'took silk' in 2002, thus becoming a member of the prestigious Queen's Counsel.-Women at the Bar:...

, discussed a number of legal issues with a panel of three judges. One of the issues concerned a number of documents that were shown before the trial to the prosecution, but were not disclosed to the defence. The documents are understood to relate to the Mebo MST-13 timer that allegedly detonated the PA103 bomb. Maggie Scott also asked for documents relating to an alleged payment of $2 million made to Maltese merchant, Tony Gauci
Tony Gauci
Tony Gauci is a former proprietor of a clothes shop in Malta. According to evidence given at the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial in 2000, Mr Gauci sold the clothes which were said to have been wrapped around the improvised explosive device that brought the aircraft down...

, for his testimony at the trial, which led to the conviction of Megrahi.

On 15 October 2008, five Scottish judges decided unanimously to reject a submission by the Crown Office
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service provides the independent public prosecution service for Scotland, and is a Ministerial Department of the Scottish Government. The department is headed by Her Majesty's Lord Advocate, who under the Scottish legal system is responsible for prosecution,...

 which sought to limit the scope of Megrahi's second appeal to the specific grounds of appeal that were identified by the SCCRC in June 2007. In January 2009, it was reported that, although Megrahi's second appeal against conviction was scheduled to begin in April 2009, the hearing could last as long as 12 months because of the complexity of the case and volume of material to be examined. The second appeal began on 28 April 2009, lasted for one month and was adjourned in May 2009. On 7 July 2009, the court reassembled for a procedural hearing and was told that because of the illness of one of the judges, Lord Wheatley, who was recovering from heart surgery, the final two substantive appeal sessions would run from 2 November to 11 December 2009, and 12 January to 26 February 2010. Megrahi's lawyer Maggie Scott expressed dismay at the delays: "There is a very serious danger that my client will die before the case is determined."

Compassionate release and controversy

On 25 July 2009, Megrahi applied to be released from jail on compassionate grounds. Three weeks later, on 12 August 2009, Megrahi applied to have his second appeal dropped and was reported to have been granted compassionate release on the basis that he had terminal prostate cancer. On 20 August 2009, Megrahi was released from prison and travelled by chartered jet to Libya the same day.
His survival beyond the approximate "three month" prognosis generated some controversy. After hospital treatment ended, he returned to his family home. Following his release, Megrahi has published evidence on the Internet that was gathered for the abandoned second appeal which he claims will clear his name.

Allegations have been made that the UK government and BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

 sought Al-Megrahi’s release as part of a trade deal with Libya. In 2008, the British government “decided to ‘do all it could’ to help the Libyans get Al-Megrahi home … and explained the legal procedure for compassionate release to the Libyans.”

Megrahi was released on licence and is obliged to remain in regular contact with the East Renfrewshire Council
East Renfrewshire
East Renfrewshire is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. Until 1975 it formed part of the county of Renfrewshire for local government purposes along with the modern council areas of Renfrewshire and Inverclyde...

. On 26 August 2011, it was announced that the whereabouts of Al-Megrahi were unknown due to the social upheaval in Libya and that he had not been in contact for some time. However, it was reported on 29 August that he had been located and both the Scottish government and council issued a statement confirming that they had been in contact with his family and that his licence had not been breached. MP
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 Andrew Mitchell
Andrew Mitchell
The Right Honourable Andrew John Bower Mitchell MP is a British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield...

 said Al-Megrahi was comatose
Coma
In medicine, a coma is a state of unconsciousness, lasting more than 6 hours in which a person cannot be awakened, fails to respond normally to painful stimuli, light or sound, lacks a normal sleep-wake cycle and does not initiate voluntary actions. A person in a state of coma is described as...

 and near death. CNN reporter Nic Robertson
Nic Robertson
Nic Robertson is a Senior International Correspondent at CNN.Nic started his career in broadcasting in 1984 within the engineering arm of the UK's Independent Broadcasting Authority He then worked as an engineer with TV-AM until 1989.Nic began his career at CNN in 1989, starting as a satellite...

 said he was "just a shell of the man he once was" and was surviving on oxygen and an intravenous drip
Intravenous therapy
Intravenous therapy or IV therapy is the infusion of liquid substances directly into a vein. The word intravenous simply means "within a vein". Therapies administered intravenously are often called specialty pharmaceuticals...

. In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, and sports commentaries...

, former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton
John R. Bolton
John Robert Bolton is an American lawyer and diplomat who has served in several Republican presidential administrations. He served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 on a recess appointment...

 called for Al-Megrahi to extradited.
"To me it will be a signal of how serious the rebel government is for good relations with the United States and the West if they hand over Megrahi for trial."
Mohammed al-Alagi, justice minister for the new leadership in Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

, said "the council would not allow any Libyan to be deported to face trial in another country ... Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has already been judged once, and will not be judged again."

Alleged motive



Until 2003 Libya had never formally admitted carrying out the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. On 16 August 2003 Libya formally admitted responsibility (but did not admit guilt) for Pan Am Flight 103 in a letter presented to the president of the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

. Felicity Barringer of The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 said that the letter had "general language that lacked any expression of remorse" for the people killed in the bombing. The letter stated that it "accepted responsibility for the actions of its officials".

The motive that is generally attributed to Libya can be traced back to a series of military confrontations with the US Navy that took place in the 1980s in the Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Sidra is a body of water in the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya; it is also known as Gulf of Sirte or the Great Sirte or Greater Syrtis .- Geography :The Gulf of Sidra has been a major centre for tuna fishing in the Mediterranean for centuries...

, the whole of which Libya claimed as its territorial waters. First, there was the Gulf of Sidra incident (1981)
Gulf of Sidra incident (1981)
In the first Gulf of Sidra incident, 19 August 1981, two Libyan Su-22 Fitter attack aircraft were shot down by two American F-14 Tomcats off of the Libyan coast.-Background:...

 when two Libyan fighter aircraft were shot down. Then, two Libyan radio ships were sunk in the Gulf of Sidra. Later, on 23 March 1986 a Libyan Navy patrol boat was sunk in the Gulf of Sidra, followed by the sinking of another Libyan vessel on 25 March 1986. The Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

, was accused of retaliating for these sinkings by ordering the 5 April 1986 bombing of West Berlin nightclub, La Belle
1986 Berlin discotheque bombing
The 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing was a terrorist attack on the La Belle discothèque in West Berlin, Germany, an entertainment venue that was commonly frequented by United States soldiers...

, that was frequented by U.S. soldiers and which killed three and injured 230.

The U.S. National Security Agency's (NSA) alleged interception of an incriminatory message from Libya to its embassy in East Berlin provided U.S. president Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 with the justification for USAF warplanes to launch Operation El Dorado Canyon
Operation El Dorado Canyon
The 1986 United States bombing of Libya, code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon, comprised the joint United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps air-strikes against Libya on April 15, 1986. The attack was carried out in response to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.-Origins:Shortly after his...

 on 15 April 1986 from British bases —the first U.S. military strikes from Britain since World War II—against Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

 and Benghazi
Benghazi
Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, the main city of the Cyrenaica region , and the former provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. The wider metropolitan area is also a district of Libya...

 in Libya. The Libyan government claimed the air strikes killed Hanna, a baby girl Gaddafi claimed he adopted (her reported age has varied between 15 months and seven years). To avenge his daughter's death, Gaddafi is said to have sponsored the September 1986 hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73
Pan Am Flight 73
Pan Am Flight 73, a Pan American World Airways Boeing 747-121, was hijacked on September 5, 1986, while on the ground at Karachi, Pakistan, by four armed men of the Abu Nidal Organization...

 in Karachi, Pakistan.

The U.S. in turn encouraged and aided the Chadian National Armed Forces
Chadian National Armed Forces
The Chadian National Armed Forces was the army of the central government of Chad from January 1983, when the President Hissène Habré's forces, in first place his personal Armed Forces of the North , were merged...

 (FANT) by supplying satellite intelligence
GEOINT
Geospatial intelligence, GEOINT , GeoIntel , or GSI has no universally accepted definition and it has been said that if you "ask 10 people to define 'geospatial intelligence,' and you are likely to get 10 different answers."-Official definition:The...

 during the Battle of Maaten al-Sarra
Battle of Maaten al-Sarra
The battle of Maaten al-Sarra was a battle fought between Chad and Libya on September 5, 1987 during the Toyota War. The battle took the form of a surprise Chadian raid against the Libyan Maaten al-Sarra Air Base, meant to remove the threat of Libyan airpower, that had already thwarted the Chadian...

. The attack resulted in a devastating defeat for Gaddafi's forces, following which he had to accede to a ceasefire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 ending the Chadian-Libyan conflict and his dreams of African dominance. Gaddafi blamed the defeat on French and U.S. "aggression against Libya". The U.S. did not conceal its satisfaction over the Libyan defeat with an official stating that "We basically jump for joy every time the Chadians ding the Libyans". The result was Gaddafi's lingering animosity against the two countries which led to Libyan support for the bombings of Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772
UTA Flight 772
UTA Flight 772 of the French airline Union des Transports Aériens was a scheduled flight operating from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, via N'Djamena in Chad, to Paris CDG airport in France....

.

The 1973 shootdown of a Libyan airliner, Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114
Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114
Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 was a regularly scheduled flight from Tripoli to Cairo via Benghazi shot down by Israeli fighter jets in 1973....

, by Israel is not cited as a motive.

Compensation from Libya


On 29 May 2002, Libya offered up to US$2.7 billion to settle claims by the families of the 270 killed in the Lockerbie bombing, representing US$10 million per family. The Libyan offer was that:
  • 40% of the money would be released when United Nations sanctions, suspended in 1999, were cancelled;
  • another 40% when US trade sanctions were lifted; and
  • the final 20% when the US State Department removed Libya from its list of states sponsoring terrorism.


Jim Kreindler of New York law firm Kreindler & Kreindler, which orchestrated the settlement, said:

"These are uncharted waters. It is the first time that any of the states designated as sponsors of terrorism have offered compensation to families of terror victims."


The US State Department maintained that it was not directly involved. "Some families want cash, others say it is blood money," said a State Department official.

Compensation for the families of the PA103 victims was among the steps set by the UN for lifting its sanctions against Libya. Other requirements included a formal denunciation of terrorism—which Libya said it had already made—and "accepting responsibility for the actions of its officials".

On 15 August 2003, Libya's UN ambassador, Ahmed Own, submitted a letter to the UN Security Council formally accepting "responsibility for the actions of its officials" in relation to the Lockerbie bombing. The Libyan government then proceeded to pay compensation to each family of US$8 million (from which legal fees of about US$2.5 million were deducted) and, as a result, the UN cancelled the sanctions that had been suspended four years earlier, and US trade sanctions were lifted. A further US$2 million would have gone to each family had the US State Department removed Libya from its list of states regarded as supporting international terrorism, but as this did not happen by the deadline set by Libya, the Libyan Central Bank withdrew the remaining US$540 million in April 2005 from the escrow
Escrow
An escrow is:* an arrangement made under contractual provisions between transacting parties, whereby an independent trusted third party receives and disburses money and/or documents for the transacting parties, with the timing of such disbursement by the third party dependent on the fulfillment of...

 account in Switzerland through which the earlier US$2.16 billion compensation for the victims' families had been paid. The United States announced resumption of full diplomatic relations with Libya after deciding to remove it from its list of countries that support terrorism on 15 May 2006.

On 24 February 2004, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem
Shukri Ghanem
Shukri Mohammed Ghanem is a Libyan politician who was General Secretary of the General People's Committee of Libya from June 2003 until March 2006 when, in the first major government re-shuffle in over a decade, he was replaced by his deputy, Baghdadi Mahmudi...

 stated in a BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 Radio 4 interview that his country had paid the compensation as the "price for peace" and to secure the lifting of sanctions. Asked if Libya did not accept guilt, he said, "I agree with that." He also said there was no evidence to link Libya with the April 1984 shooting of police officer Yvonne Fletcher
Yvonne Fletcher
WPC Yvonne Joyce Fletcher was a British police officer fatally shot during a protest outside the Libyan embassy at St. James's Square, London, in 1984. Fletcher, who had been on duty and deployed to police the protest, died shortly afterwards at Westminster Hospital...

 outside the Libyan Embassy in London. Gaddafi later retracted Ghanem's comments, under pressure from Washington and London.

A civil action against Libya continued until 18 February 2005 on behalf of Pan Am and its insurers, which went bankrupt partly as a result of the attack. The airline was seeking $4.5 billion for the loss of the aircraft and the effect on the airline's business.

In the wake of the SCCRC's June 2007 decision, there have been suggestions that, if Megrahi's second appeal had been successful and his conviction had been overturned, Libya could have sought to recover the $2.16 billion compensation paid to the relatives. Interviewed by French newspaper Le Figaro
Le Figaro
Le Figaro is a French daily newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris. It is one of three French newspapers of record, with Le Monde and Libération, and is the oldest newspaper in France. It is also the second-largest national newspaper in France after Le Parisien and before Le Monde, but...

 on 7 December 2007, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said that the seven Libyans convicted for the Pan Am Flight 103 and the UTA Flight 772
UTA Flight 772
UTA Flight 772 of the French airline Union des Transports Aériens was a scheduled flight operating from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, via N'Djamena in Chad, to Paris CDG airport in France....

 bombings "are innocent". When asked if Libya would therefore seek reimbursement of the compensation paid to the families of the victims (US$2.33 billion in total), Saif Gaddafi replied: "I don't know".

Following discussions in London in May 2008, US and Libyan officials agreed to start negotiations to resolve all outstanding bilateral compensation claims, including those relating to UTA Flight 772
UTA Flight 772
UTA Flight 772 of the French airline Union des Transports Aériens was a scheduled flight operating from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, via N'Djamena in Chad, to Paris CDG airport in France....

, the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing
1986 Berlin discotheque bombing
The 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing was a terrorist attack on the La Belle discothèque in West Berlin, Germany, an entertainment venue that was commonly frequented by United States soldiers...

 and Pan Am Flight 103. On 14 August 2008, a US-Libya compensation deal was signed in Tripoli by US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch
David Welch
Charles David Welch is an American diplomat who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in the United States Department of State from 2005 through 2008...

 and Libya's Foreign Ministry head of America affairs, Ahmed al-Fatroui. The agreement covers 26 lawsuits filed by American citizens against Libya, and three by Libyan citizens in respect of the US bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in April 1986 which killed at least 40 people and injured 220. In October 2008 Libya paid $1.5 billion into a fund which will be used to compensate relatives of the
  1. Lockerbie bombing victims with the remaining 20% of the sum agreed in 2003;
  2. American victims of the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing;
  3. American victims of the 1989 UTA Flight 772
    UTA Flight 772
    UTA Flight 772 of the French airline Union des Transports Aériens was a scheduled flight operating from Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, via N'Djamena in Chad, to Paris CDG airport in France....

     bombing; and,
  4. Libyan victims of the 1986 US bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi
    Operation El Dorado Canyon
    The 1986 United States bombing of Libya, code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon, comprised the joint United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps air-strikes against Libya on April 15, 1986. The attack was carried out in response to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.-Origins:Shortly after his...

    .


As a result, President Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 signed restoring the Libyan government's immunity from terror-related lawsuits and dismissing all of the pending compensation cases in the US, the White House said. US State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack
Sean McCormack
Sean McCormack is a former United States Assistant Secretary of State. He was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Department Spokesman on June 2, 2005, and served until January 20, 2009.-Early career:...

, called the move a "laudable milestone ... clearing the way for a continued and expanding US-Libyan partnership."

In an interview shown in BBC Two
BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

's The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie on 31 August 2008, Saif Gaddafi said that Libya had admitted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing simply to get trade sanctions removed. He went on to describe the families of the Lockerbie victims as very greedy: "They were asking for more money and more money and more money". Several of the victims families refused to accept compensation due to their belief that Libya was not responsible.

February 2011
In an interview with Swedish newspaper Expressen
Expressen
Expressen is one of two nationwide evening tabloid newspapers in Sweden, the other being Aftonbladet. Expressen was founded in 1944; its symbol is a wasp and slogans "it stings" or "Expressen to your rescue", always on the reader's side....

 on 23 February 2011, Mustafa Abdul Jalil
Mustafa Abdul Jalil
Mustafa Abdul Jalil or Abdul-Jalil is the Chairman of the National Transitional Council of Libya, and as such serves as head of state in Libya's caretaker government which was formed as a result of the 2011 Libyan civil war. He is also a spokesman for the city of Bayda...

, former Justice Secretary of Libya, claimed to have evidence that Gaddafi personally ordered Al-Megrahi to carry out the bombing.

Quotes: "[Jalil] told Expressen Khadafy [sic] gave the order to Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground on 21 Dec. 1988.
'To hide it, he (Khadafy) did everything in his power to get al-Megrahi back from Scotland,' Abdel-Jalil was quoted as saying."

Al Jalil's commentary to the Expressen came during widespread political unrest and protests in Libya calling for the removal of Ghaddafi from power. The protests were part of a massive wave of unprecedented uprisings across the Arab world in: Tunisia, Morocco, Bahrain and Egypt, where Egyptian protesters effectively forced the removal of long-term ruler, Hosni Mubarak, from office. Jalil's comments came on a day when Ghaddafi's defiance and refusal to leave his command prompted his brutal attacks on Libyan protesters.

Abdel-Jalil stepped down as minister of justice in protest over the violence against anti-government demonstrations.

Contingency fees for lawyers
On 5 December 2003, Jim Kreindler revealed that his Park Avenue law firm would receive an initial contingency fee of around US$1 million from each of the 128 American families Kreindler represents. The firm's fees could exceed US$300 million eventually. Kreindler argued that the fees were justified, since "Over the past seven years we have had a dedicated team working tirelessly on this and we deserve the contingency fee we have worked so hard for, and I think we have provided the relatives with value for money."

Another top legal firm in the US, Speiser Krause, which represented 60 relatives, of whom half were UK families, concluded contingency deals securing them fees of between 28 and 35% of individual settlements. Frank Granito of Speiser Krause noted that "the rewards in the US are more substantial than anywhere else in the world but nobody has questioned the fee whilst the work has been going on, it is only now as we approach a resolution when the criticism comes your way."

In March 2009, it was announced that US lobbying firm, Quinn Gillespie & Associates, received fees of $2 million for the work it did from 2006 through 2008 helping the PA103 relatives obtain payment by Libya of the final $2 million compensation (out of a total of $10 million) that was due to each family.

Compensation from Pan Am


In 1992 a U.S. federal court found Pan Am guilty of wilful misconduct due to lax security screening. Alert Management Inc. and Pan American World Services, two subsidiaries of Pan Am, were also found guilty; Alert handled Pan Am's security at foreign airports.

Lockerbie inquiry demands


Prior to the abandonment of Megrahi's second appeal against conviction and while new evidence could be still tested in court, there had been few calls for an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing. Demands for such an inquiry have increased since, and become more insistent. On 2 September 2009, former MEP
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 Michael McGowan
Michael McGowan (politician)
Michael McGowan is a British journalist and a former Member of the European Parliament, with a special interest in international affairs, European politics, Africa, peace, development, and human rights...

 demanded that the British Government call for an urgent, independent inquiry led by the UN to find out the truth about Pan Am flight 103. "We owe it to the families of the victims of Lockerbie and the international community to identify those responsible," McGowan said. Two online petitions were started: one calling for a UK public inquiry
Public inquiry
A Tribunal of Inquiry is an official review of events or actions ordered by a government body in Common Law countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland or Canada. Such a public inquiry differs from a Royal Commission in that a public inquiry accepts evidence and conducts its hearings in a more...

 into the Lockerbie bombing; the other a UN inquiry into the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Wilmar Carlsson was Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from July 1987 until he died on Pan Am Flight 103, which was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988.-Social democrat:A native of Stockholm, Carlsson joined the...

, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. In September 2009, a third petition which was addressed to the President of the United Nations General Assembly
President of the United Nations General Assembly
The President of the United Nations General Assembly is a position voted for by representatives in the United Nations General Assembly on a yearly basis.- Election :...

 demanded that the UN should "institute a full public inquiry" into the Lockerbie disaster. On 3 October 2009, Malta was asked to table a UN resolution
United Nations General Assembly Resolution
A United Nations General Assembly Resolution is voted on by all member states of the United Nations in the General Assembly.General Assembly resolutions usually require a simple majority to pass...

 supporting the petition, which was signed by 20 people including the families of the Lockerbie victims, authors, journalists, professors, politicians and parliamentarians, as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The signatories considered that a UN inquiry could help remove "many of the deep misgivings which persist in lingering over this tragedy" and could also eliminate Malta from this terrorist act. Malta was brought into the case because the prosecution argued that the two accused Libyans, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah
Lamin Khalifah Fhimah
Lamin Khalifa Fhimah was a station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines at Luqa Airport, Malta. On 31 January 2001, he was found not guilty and acquitted of 270 counts of murder in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial by a panel of three Scottish judges sitting in a special court at Camp Zeist,...

, had placed the bomb on an Air Malta
Air Malta
Air Malta plc is the national airline of Malta, headquartered in Luqa. It operates services to 36 destinations in Europe, Middle East and North Africa. The airline's hub and base is at Malta International Airport.- History :...

 aircraft before it was transferred at Frankfurt airport
Frankfurt International Airport
Frankfurt am Main Airport , or simply Frankfurt Airport, known in German as Flughafen Frankfurt am Main or Rhein-Main-Flughafen, is a major international airport located in Frankfurt, Germany, southwest of the city centre....

 to a feeder flight destined for London's Heathrow airport, from which Pan Am Flight 103 departed. The Maltese government responded saying that the demand for a UN inquiry was "an interesting development that would be deeply considered, although there were complex issues surrounding the event."

On 24 August 2009, Lockerbie campaigner Dr Jim Swire wrote to Prime Minister, Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

, calling for a full inquiry, including the question of suppression of the Heathrow evidence. This was backed up by a delegation of Lockerbie relatives, led by Pamela Dix, who went to 10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street, colloquially known in the United Kingdom as "Number 10", is the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, who is now always the Prime Minister....

 on 24 October 2009 and handed over a letter addressed to Gordon Brown calling for a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the need for a public inquiry and the main issues that it should address. An op-ed
Op-ed
An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page , is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a named writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper's editorial board...

 article by Pamela Dix, subtitled "The families of those killed in the bombing have not given up hope of an inquiry to help us learn the lessons of this tragedy", was published in The Guardian on 26 October 2009. On 1 November 2009, it was reported that Gordon Brown had ruled out a public inquiry into Lockerbie, saying in response to Dr Swire's letter: "I understand your desire to understand the events surrounding the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 but I do not think it would be appropriate for the UK government to open an inquiry of this sort." UK ministers explained that it was for the Scottish government to decide if it wants to hold its own, more limited, inquiry into the worst terrorist attack on British soil. The Holyrood
Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament is the devolved national, unicameral legislature of Scotland, located in the Holyrood area of the capital, Edinburgh. The Parliament, informally referred to as "Holyrood", is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament...

 government had already rejected an independent inquiry, saying it lacks the constitutional power to examine the international dimensions of the case.

Concluding his extensive reply dated 27 October 2009 to the Prime Minister, Dr Swire said: "You have now received a much more comprehensive letter requesting a full inquiry from our group 'UK Families-Flight 103'. I am one of the signatories. I hope that the contents of this letter underline some of the reasons as to why I cannot possibly accept that any inquiry should be limited to Scotland, and I apologise if my previous personal letter of 24 August misled you over the main focus that the inquiry will need to address. That focus lies in London and at the door of the then inhabitant of Number 10 Downing Street. I look forward to hearing your comments both to our group's letter and to the contents of this one."

Alternative theories



Based on a 1995 investigation by journalists Paul Foot
Paul Foot
Paul Mackintosh Foot was a British investigative journalist, political campaigner, author, and long-time member of the Socialist Workers Party...

 and John Ashton, a number of alternate explanations of the plot to commit the Lockerbie bombing were listed by The Guardians Patrick Barkham in 1999. Following the Lockerbie verdict in 2001 and the appeal in 2002, attempts have been made to re-open the case amid allegations that Libya was framed. One theory suggests the bomb on the plane was detonated by radio. Another theory suggests the CIA prevented the suitcase containing the bomb from being searched. Iran's involvement is alleged, either in association with a Palestine militant group, or that it was involved in loading the bomb while the plane was at Heathrow. The US Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
The Defense Intelligence Agency is a member of the Intelligence Community of the United States, and is the central producer and manager of military intelligence for the United States Department of Defense, employing over 16,500 U.S. military and civilian employees worldwide...

 alleges that Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur (Ayatollah Mohtashemi), a member of the Iranian government, paid US$ 10 million for the bombing:
Ayatollah Mohtashemi: (...) and was the one who paid the same amount to bomb Pan Am Flight 103 in retaliation for the US shoot-down of the Iranian Airbus.


Other theories implicate Libya and Abu Nidal, and apartheid South Africa.

Alleged mastermind

On 23 February 2011, amidst the 2011 Libyan civil war
2011 Libyan civil war
The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

, Mustafa Abdul Jalil
Mustafa Abdul Jalil
Mustafa Abdul Jalil or Abdul-Jalil is the Chairman of the National Transitional Council of Libya, and as such serves as head of state in Libya's caretaker government which was formed as a result of the 2011 Libyan civil war. He is also a spokesman for the city of Bayda...

, former Libyan Justice Minister (and later member and Chairman of the anti Gaddafi National Transitional Council
National Transitional Council
The National Transitional Council of Libya , sometimes known as the Transitional National Council, the Interim National Council, or the Libyan National Council,...

), alleged that he had proof that Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

, had personally ordered Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to carry the bomb on to flight 103.

Epilogue from PCAST
On 29 September 1989, President Bush appointed Ann McLaughlin Korologos
Ann McLaughlin Korologos
Ann McLaughlin Korologos , formerly known as Ann Dore McLaughlin, , was the United States Secretary of Labor from 1987 to 1989....

, former Secretary of Labor, to chair the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) to review and report on aviation security policy in the light of the sabotage of flight PA103. Oliver "Buck" Revell, the FBI's Executive Assistant Director, was assigned to advise and assist PCAST in their task. Mrs Korologos and the PCAST team (Senator Alfonse D'Amato, Senator Frank Lautenberg
Frank Lautenberg
Frank Raleigh Lautenberg is the senior United States Senator from New Jersey and a member of the Democratic Party. Previously, he was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Automatic Data Processing, Inc.-Early life, career, and family:...

, Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt
John Paul Hammerschmidt
John Paul Hammerschmidt is an American politician from the U.S. state of Arkansas. A Republican, Hammerschmidt served for thirteen terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from the northwestern Arkansas district before he retired in 1993...

, Representative James Oberstar, General Thomas Richards, deputy commander of U.S. forces in West Germany, and Edward Hidalgo
Edward Hidalgo
Edward Hidalgo served as the United States Secretary of the Navy in the Carter administration from October 24, 1979 to January 20, 1981...

, former Secretary of the U.S. Navy) submitted their report, with its 64 recommendations, on 15 May 1990. The PCAST team leader also handed a sealed envelope to the President which was widely believed to apportion blame for the PA103 bombing. Extensively covered in The Guardian the next day, the PCAST report concluded:
"National will and the moral courage to exercise it are the ultimate means of defeating terrorism. The Commission recommends a more vigorous policy that not only pursues and punishes terrorists, but also makes state sponsors of terrorism pay a price for their actions."


Before submitting their report, the PCAST members met a group of British PA103 relatives at the U.S. embassy in London on 12 February 1990. One of the British relatives, Martin Cadman, alleges that a member of President Bush's staff told him: "Your government and ours know exactly what happened but they are never going to tell." The statement first came to public attention in the 1994 documentary film The Maltese Double Cross – Lockerbie
The Maltese Double Cross – Lockerbie
The Maltese Double Cross – Lockerbie is a documentary film about the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.Produced, written, and directed by Allan Francovich and financed by Tiny Rowland, the film was released by Hemar Enterprises in November 1994....

and was published in both The Guardian of 12 November 1994, and a special report from Private Eye
Private Eye
Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop.Since its first publication in 1961, Private Eye has been a prominent critic and lampooner of public figures and entities that it deemed guilty of any of the sins of incompetence, inefficiency,...

magazine entitled Lockerbie, the flight from justice May/June 2001.

Memorials and tributes




There are a number of private and public memorials to the PA103 victims. Dark Elegy is the work of sculptor Susan Lowenstein of Long Island, whose son Alexander, then 21, was a passenger on the flight. The work consists of 43 nude statues of the wives and mothers who lost a husband or a child. Inside each sculpture there is a personal memento of the victim.

United States


The then US President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 dedicated a Memorial Cairn to the victims at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

 on 3 November 1995, and there are similar memorials at Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

; Dryfesdale Cemetery, near Lockerbie; and in Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie.

Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

 holds a memorial week every year called "Remembrance Week" to commemorate its 35 lost students. Every 21 December, a service is held in the university's chapel at 14:03 (19:03 UTC), marking the moment the aircraft exploded. The university also awards university tuition fees to two students from Lockerbie Academy each year, in the form of its Lockerbie scholarship. In addition, the university annually awards 35 scholarships to seniors to honor each of the 35 students killed. The Remembrance Scholarships are among the highest honors a Syracuse undergraduate can receive. SUNY Oswego also gives out scholarships in memorial of Colleen Brunner to a student who is studying abroad. A local sorority at SUNY Oswego also gives out an award every spring to a Junior who best represents the way Colleen was because she is a sister of Alpha Sigma Chi. Hamburg High School, her alma mater, also gives out a scholarship to a deserving senior.
There is also a children's playground in a New York elementary school donated by the family of one of the victims.

Camp Dudley, YMCA
Camp Dudley, YMCA
Founded in 1885 by Sumner F. Dudley, Camp Dudley YMCA is the oldest continually running boys camp in the United States. It is located in Westport, New York, on the shores of Lake Champlain...

 in Westport, New York, has a bridge on its campus dedicated to its alumni who perished in the attack.

Lockerbie


The main UK memorial is at Dryfesdale Cemetery about a mile west of Lockerbie. There is a semicircular stone wall in the garden of remembrance with the names and nationalities of all the victims along with individual funeral stones and memorials. Inside the chapel at Dryfesdale there is a book of remembrance. There are memorials in Lockerbie
Lockerbie
Lockerbie is a town in the Dumfries and Galloway region of south-western Scotland. It lies approximately from Glasgow, and from the English border. It had a population of 4,009 at the 2001 census...

 and Moffat
Moffat
Moffat is a former burgh and spa town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, lying on the River Annan, with a population of around 2,500. The most notable building in the town is the Moffat House Hotel, designed by John Adam...

 Roman Catholic churches, where plaques list the names of all 270 victims. In Lockerbie Town Hall Council Chambers, there is a stained-glass window depicting flags of the 21 different countries whose citizens lost their lives in the disaster. There is also a book of remembrance at Lockerbie public library and another at Tundergarth Church.

Benefit game
A charity football match was arranged for the benefit of the disaster appeal fund. The game took place at Palmerston Park
Palmerston Park
Palmerston Park is a multi-purpose stadium on Terregles Street in Dumfries, south west Scotland. The site of the ground was formerly a farm called Palmers Toun. This is on the Maxwelltown side of the River Nith in Dumfries. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home ground of...

, the ground of Queen of the South
Queen of the South
For other uses see Queen of the South Queen of the South is an alternative title for the Queen of Sheba. The phrase Queen of the South is used in the New Testament and is attributed to Jesus Christ....

, the nearest senior football club to Lockerbie, based 12 miles (19.3 km) away in Dumfries
Dumfries
Dumfries is a market town and former royal burgh within the Dumfries and Galloway council area of Scotland. It is near the mouth of the River Nith into the Solway Firth. Dumfries was the county town of the former county of Dumfriesshire. Dumfries is nicknamed Queen of the South...

. Opposition was provided by Manchester United and managed by Alex Ferguson
Alex Ferguson
Sir Alexander Chapman "Alex" Ferguson, CBE is a Scottish association football manager and former player, currently managing Manchester United, where he has been in charge since 1986...

. The game took place on 1 March 1989. QoS had a number of guest players in their side as reflected in the their scorers including goals by Roy Aitken
Roy Aitken
Robert Sime "Roy" Aitken is a former footballer who went on to become a coach with clubs including Leeds United and Aston Villa. His position as a player was defence.Born in Irvine, Ayrshire, he grew up in Ardrossan...

 and Fraser Wishart
Fraser Wishart
Fraser Wishart is a Scottish former professional footballer, former Secretary of the Scottish Professional Footballers' Association, and current chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association Scotland...

. Mark McGhee
Mark McGhee
Mark Edward McGhee is a former Scottish professional football player. McGhee started his career at Greenock Morton in 1975 and spent spells at clubs including Newcastle United, Aberdeen, Hamburg, Celtic, IK Brage and Reading...

 was another guest player for Queens. The final score was 6–3 to Manchester United and is the only time the two clubs have played against each other.

Depictions in media

  • A docu-drama made by Granada Television
    Granada Television
    Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....

     for the United Kingdom ITV network, Why Lockerbie?, depicts the events leading to the bombing, and was first screened on 26 November 1990. It was screened in the United States by HBO on 9 December 1990 as The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside Story.
  • Aftermath depicted in the stage play The Women of Lockerbie by Deborah Brevoort was awarded the silver medal in the Onassis International Playwriting Competition in 2001.
  • Daniel and Susan Cohen, parents of Theodora "Theo" Cohen, wrote the book Pan Am 103.
  • The story of the disaster was featured on the seventh season of Canadian Discovery Channel
    Discovery Channel
    Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

     show Mayday
    Mayday (TV series)
    Mayday, also known as Air Crash Investigation in the United Kingdom, Australia and Asia and Air Emergency and Air Disasters in the United States, is a Canadian documentary television programme produced by Cineflix investigating air crashes, near-crashes and other disasters...

    (known as Air Emergency in the US, Mayday in Ireland and Air Crash Investigation in the UK and the rest of world). The episode is entitled "Lockerbie".
  • Lockerbie: Unfinished Business, a play for one actor (playing Dr Swire) had its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010.


In 2010 Nottingham Playhouse
Nottingham Playhouse
The Nottingham Playhouse is a theatre in Nottingham, England. It was first established as a repertory theatre in the 1950s when it operated from a former cinema. Directors during this period included Val May and Frank Dunlop.-The building:...

 in the UK staged a play by Michael Eaton, about the release of Al-Megrahi from the viewpoint of the victims' families, entitled The Families of Lockerbie.

Wreckage in scrapyard


The remaining wreckage of the Boeing jumbo jet is stored about a mile from Tattershall
Tattershall
Tattershall is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England, located on the A153 Horncastle to Sleaford road, east of the point where that road crosses the River Witham. At its eastern end, Tattershall adjoins the village of Coningsby, to the north of the village...

, Lincolnshire, at Roger Windley's scrapyard, pending the conclusion of the American victims' civil case. (53°7′19.35"N 0°12′58.09"W) The remains include the nose section of the Boeing 747, which is largely intact but was cut into several pieces to assist in removal from Tundergarth Hill.

See also


  • Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial
    Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial
    The Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial began on 3 May 2000, 11 years, 4 months and 13 days after the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988...

  • Investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
    Investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
    The investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 began at 19:03 on December 21, 1988 when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. The perpetrators had intended the plane to crash into the sea, destroying any traceable evidence, but the late departure...

  • Iran Air 655
  • List of accidents and incidents on commercial airliners
  • Timeline of airliner bombing attacks
    Timeline of airliner bombing attacks
    Passenger airliners as well as cargo aircraft have been the subject of plots or attacked by bombs and fire since the near the start of air travel. Many early bombings were suicides or schemes for insurance money, but in the latter part of the 20th century, political and religious militant terrorism...



Further reading




http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/khadafy_ordered_lockerbie_bombing_vpkR8Cz6u1q59aR8k2R98I#ixzz1Eo4SCHMy [23 Feb 2011]

External links