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Adequately Explained by Stupidity?

KerrCoverAPPROVEDSMLAdequately Explained by Stupidity? – Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies by Morag G. Kerr, Troubadour Publishing Ltd

Most of us who are old enough will remember the shock with which we learned of the atrocity which ended the lives of 270 people at Lockerbie on 21 December 1988.  I first heard about it from an evening BBC radio news bulletin while lying in bed with a nasty dose of flu.  At first I thought it was a preposterous fantasy conjured up by my fevered condition and staggered through to the television in the sitting room to have the horror confirmed.

Dr. Morag Kerr is a Borders-based vet who has previously written books on veterinary laboratory medicine and pet care.  A trip which involved driving along the A74 less than two days after the Maid of the Seas fell from the sky was the initial stimulus for her meticulous research into how that terrible event came about.  She has been Secretary Depute of “Justice for Megrahi” since 2010.

The safety of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s conviction at the trial at Camp Zeist has troubled the national conscience for the last 13 years.   Dr. Jim Swire whose daughter Flora died at Lockerbie was one of those not persuaded by the prosecution case.  He subsequently befriended Megrahi and has campaigned tirelessly and with great integrity and dignity for a re-examination of the evidence.  Dramatisations challenging the version of events accepted in the Camp Zeist judgement have played to packed houses at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  James Robertson’s novel, The Professor of Truth, draws its power from the widespread unease over the official attribution of responsibility.

A number of books have examined the voluminous evidence accumulated as a result of the investigations into the crime. John Ashton’s Megrahi: You are my Jury explores in detail the provenance of the circuit board fragment identified by investigators as part of a timer used in the bomb and the questions over the reliability of Tony Gauci’s identification of Megrahi as the man who bought the clothes packed in the bomb suitcase.  And disquieting revelations about the case continue to emerge.  On 20 December, Channel 4 News reported that between 1990 and 1995 several senior Syrian officials had told CIA agent Dr. Richard Fuisz that the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, led by Ahmed Jibril, was responsible for the bombing.

Morag Kerr’s book is the first book about Lockerbie to deal rigorously with the detail of the transfer baggage evidence.  On the basis of a careful analysis of reports, statements and photographs not previously available to the public she presents compelling evidence that the Samsonite hardshell case containing the bomb could not have been loaded on flight KM180 in Malta because it was already in luggage container AVE4041 in the interline shed at Heathrow an hour before the connecting Boeing 727 from Frankfurt (PA103A) had landed.

If the bomb was indeed introduced into the luggage transfer system at Heathrow, then the whole case against Megrahi and Libya crumbles away.  Morag Kerr wants to see an inquiry into the police and forensic investigations of Lockerbie which she regards as seriously flawed.  Given the growing body of evidence which cannot readily be reconciled with the Camp Zeist judgement, only a fresh consideration of the case by a Scottish court can assuage public concern that a great injustice may have been done in 2001.

Comments (12)

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  1. chris ramsey says:

    If my memory serves me correctly, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command claimed responsibility for Lockerbie within hours of the bombing. The claim was quickly ‘d noticed’ – probably because they were an (unknown) organisation seeking revenge for a US warship shooting down a passenger Airbus in the summer and specifically formed for such a revenge..

  2. Morag says:

    No, the PFLP-GC never claimed responsibility, and in fact have consistently denied carrying out the atrocity. Of course, Mandy Rice-Davies might have had some wise words about that.

    The first thing of course is to have the Megrahi’s conviction set aside. Only when the authorities admit to themselves and everyone else that they screwed up and got the wrong modus operandi can there be any hope of constructive developments in the case. At present they are showing no signs of any willingness to do that, however.

  3. gerry parker says:

    Morag, The establishment admitting it was wrong? slim chances of that given their history elsewhere.
    Got my Kindle copy today, only grouse is a disappointing amount of words have been split in the formatting.
    e.g ha ppened; passen gers; devel oped; Inexplic ably.
    frequent enough to be annoying and I’ve e mailed Amazon about it.

    1. Morag says:

      The printed copy is not like that. I have no responsibility for the Kindle, and had no idea there was a problem.

      1. This seems to be a feature of the electronic version. The copy I downloaded from iBooks has the same formatting problem.

    2. gerry parker says:

      Aye Graeme, I was using an old keyboard Kindle so I removed it from that and installed a new copy to my Mac. Same problem. Readable but annoying. I have suggested to Amazon that they rectify it, lest readers think it is the Author’s problem.

    3. Morag says:

      I don’t know if anyone is still reading this thread, but thanks to the problem being pointed out by Gerry (and later a couple of other people) the eBook file has been fixed. I’m not sure how you get Amazon to let you download the new version, but copies bought from now on should be OK.

  4. Morag says:

    The establishment is extraordinarily reluctant to admit is was wrong. However, there comes a point where the fact of its wrongness is so self-evident that it can no longer be denied. In the case of the Lockerbie investigation, this is still a work in progress. However, given that the bomb was certainly in the container before the flight from Frankfurt landed, the walls are closing in.

    I’m reminded of Wile E. Coyote, having run off the cliff, still suspended in mid-air with his little legs whirling. I think he stays like that until he looks down. I don’t know how long the Lord Advocate can keep this up without looking down, but I give it a couple of years.

    1. John Gourlay says:


  5. tecjj says:

    The Westerns establishment’s first unsuccessful try to rid of Kaddaffi , he didn’t want to play ball buying oil with American dollar.Its a shame what happened to him later on though, with more lies and deceit.
    Seems he didn’t great things for his country and his people loved him.

    Middle eastern leaders that don’t do dirty bidding by the West are treated this way. Saddam never had weapons of mass destruction, kaddiffi was Not to blame for Lockerbie and Bin Laden wasn’t even wanted by the FBI for 911.

    A pattern appearing here? and with no
    reprisals for the real culprits.

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