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The Hornet's Nest Kicked Back - A Review of Susan Lindauer's Extreme Prejudice

By Michael Collins - Posted on 22 December 2010

Michael Collins

Fiction delivers justice that reality rarely approaches.  Victims endure suffering and emerge as victors after overcoming incredible challenges.  Stieg Larsson's gripping Millennium Trilogy weaves a story of revenge and triumphs for Lizbeth Salander, locked away in a mental institution and sexually abused for years.  When Salander got out and threatened to go public about a high level sexual exploitation ring, the perpetrators sought to lock her up again.  In the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Salander found some justice. (Image)

Susan Lindauer's autobiography, Extreme Prejudice, tells a story with certain broad similarities.  In her case, however, the hornet's nest kicked back with a real vengeance.  After over a decade as a U.S intelligence asset, Lindauer was privy to information about pre war Iraq that threatened to serve up a huge embarrassment to the Bush-Cheney regime.  She hand delivered a letter to senior Bush administration officials in hopes of averting what she predicted would be the inevitably tragic 2003 US invasion of Iraq.  Those officials, unnamed in the indictment, were her second cousin, then White House chief of staff Andy Card, and Colin Powell.

After the invasion failed to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Lindauer went to Congress offering to testify about the quality of prewar intelligence. In early 2004, she met with staffers in the offices of Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS) in February 2004.  Shortly after those visits and other offers to testify in public, Lindauer was indicted on March 11 for serving as an "unregistered agent" for pre war Iraq and promptly arrested.  .

The Crime That Wasn't

And what did Lindauer do as an alleged unregistered foreign agent, a charge the government was never willing to try in open court?  According to then US District Court Judge Michael B. Mukasey, who handled the case for a period, the "high-water mark" of government's case was based entirely on the letter that Lindauer delivered to her second cousin, then White House chief of staff, Andrew Card.  Lindauer had written Card on at least ten other occasions since the 2001 Bush Inauguration.  She wrote:

"Above all, you must realize that if you go ahead with this invasion, Osama bin Laden will triumph, rising from his grave or seclusion. His network will be swollen with fresh recruits, and other charismatic individuals will seek to build upon his model, multiplying those networks. And the United States will have delivered the death blow to itself. Using your own act of war, Osama and his cohort will irrevocably divide the hearts and minds of the Arab Street from moderate governments in Islamic countries that have been holding back the tide. Power to the people, what we call “democracy,” will secure the rise of fundamentalists."   Susan Lindauer’s last letter to Andrew Card, January 6, 2003 in American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer’s Story, Oct 17, 2007

This letter was based on extensive contacts with Iraqi diplomats at the United Nations in New York and a prewar trip that she took to Iraq with the knowledge  of her intelligence handlers.

Before she could stand trial, in 2005, Judge Mukasey accepted the opinions of court appointed experts that Lindauer might be delusional and ordered her locked her up for an extended psychiatric evaluation and observation.  She was placed in the Carswell federal prison facility at the very secure Carswell Air Force Base in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Mukasey's conclusion was contradicted by evidence not considered (see below) covering fourteen months (March 2004-April 2005) of court ordered evaluation and psychological services in Maryland that consistently reported that Lindauer was functioning well and not delusional.  The order allowed 120 days, the legal maximum detention period.  She was at detained for seven months at Carswell and another four months in a Manhattan lockup.

When Lindauer refused to take strong psychotropic medication as part of her evaluation, Assistant US Attorney Ed O'Callaghan sought a court order from Judge Mukasey to force the medication on her either orally or by injection.  Remarkably, it appears that Mukasey was not informed that the professional staff at Carswell had recommended against forced medication.  Based on his detailed opinion and order of September 6, 2006 denying the Assistant US Attorney's request, Mukasey was also not aware of direct evidence from Carswell professional staff that Lindauer's behavior was well with the normal range, particularly considering the circumstances.

Five years after her indictment, Susan Lindauer never got the trial she repeatedly requested.  On September 15, 2009, Assistant US Attorney O'Callaghan convinced US District Court Judge Loretta Preska that Lindauer was not mentally competent to stand trial.  Judge Preska dismissed the case at the request of O'Callaghan's replacement on January 15, 2010.  This was done against Lindauer's wishes and ignored credible witnesses who testified to her role as an intelligence asset.

Lindauer's  second attorney, Brian Shaughnessy, a former federal prosecutor in Judge John J. Sirica's court and distinguished Washington, DC defense counsel, noted that this was the only case that he'd ever heard of in which prosecutors argued that a defendant was mentally incompetent to stand trial

O'Callaghan went on to serve as legal advisor for then Governor Sarah Palin's scandal defense team in Alaska.  Judge Preska received an appointment from President Bush to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit six days before ruling that Lindauer was incompetent to stand trial.  Andy Card pursued a successful career in the private sector.  And Colin Powell retained is good name and status despite misleading the United Nations about Iraq's alleged chemical weapons programs and his active participation in "choreographed" torture sessions for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and lesser known detention venues.

Despite her efforts and willingness to go public for the benefit of the country, Lindauer was systematically attacked by the federal government and denied her repeated requests for an open trial in federal court.  For her, there were no movies or best sellers, no award or promotions, and no happy endings.  She was left at the side of the road with only her story and evidence to challenge the charges that the government steadfastly refused to try in open court for over five years.

Lindauer's case was so strong that her second and final attorney, Brian Shaughnessy, took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement that her claims were supported by the extensive evidence that he reviewed.  He said, "I … assure you that Ms. Lindauer's story is shocking, but true.  It's an important story of this new political age, post-9/11."  Her uncle, attorney Thayer Lindauer, offered an affidavit on his research which confirmed Lindauer's role as a US intelligence asset.

What Were They Trying to Hide and How Did They Hide It

Lindauer's career as a US intelligence asset and back channel to Iraq first came to light in 1998.  She released an affidavit for the Lockerbie bombing trial recounting information provided to her by the man she described as her CIA handler, Richard Fuisz.  The claim was that the bombings were carried out by Syrian operatives, not the accused Libyans.  Given Fuisz's reputed high level intelligence skills, this was a major event covered in the press.  Despite the publicity and controversy surrounding the affidavit, Lindauer's association with Fuisz continued.  She was never charged or even reprimanded by the government for her role in the affair.

But when Lindauer was willing to go public with her work on Iraq with Fuisz and another reported intelligence handler, Paul Hoven, she was indicted for giving one letter to Andrew Card, a letter which proved to be very much in line with of the best advice the Bush administration received on the ill conceived, deadly invasion and occupation of Iraq.  That was what the administration was so intent on hide hiding.

The information Lindauer would have released, as told in Extreme Prejudice, concerned her work with Fuisz in the months prior to 9/11 in which Fuisz and his team provided early warning about the attacks on the World Trade Center.  She would have revealed Iraq's willingness to turn over terrorists to the FBI and about her contact providing  information on al Qaeda's financial structure and funding.

The vehicle to silence Lindauer was the indictment as an unregistered foreign agent, despite the flimsy basis for the charge.  Once indicted, the newly crafted Patriot Act was the clincher.  The act allows charges to be levied without specifics listed in an indictment or known to the defendant.  In fact, under the act, the defendant’s attorney may not have access to the charges unless certain security requirements are met.

In Lindauer's case, her attorney had a secret briefing with US intelligence officials.  Just as the Patriot Act allows, the occurrence and the content of that meeting were never revealed to Lindauer.   Her first attorney, Samuel Talkin, had a met with US intelligence officials shortly after the defense psychologist, Sanford L. Drob, PhD, conducted a two hour interview with Lindauer (report reviewed by the author)..  A few days after the Talkin-US intelligence meeting, Drob recommended a defense based on mental incompetence.  The meeting between her first attorney's and US intelligence officials was revealed to Lindauer only years later by her second counsel, Brian Shaughnessy, who obtained the information through pre trial discovery motions.

Psychiatric Set Up and Tear Down

The full spectrum tear down of Lindauer relied heavily on highly selective psychiatric testimony from several court appointed psychiatrists in Manhattan.  None of these psychiatrists ever treated Lindauer.  They all interviewed her in a forensic setting, which typically drastically limits understanding an examinee's mental state in politically charged contexts where the examinee is not cooperative.   Worse, the forensic experts hired by the state in such contexts often act as "hired guns," and typically refuse to consider independent substantive evidence that supports the examinee's claims.

By her report and the author's review of interview transcripts provided by her attorney, Lindauer was not once cooperative with the court appointed forensic examiners.  The dialog between her and psychiatrist Stewart Kleinman, MD, the most influential expert, was caustic and devoid of substantive content.  Linder repeatedly stated that she didn't want to be interviewed by Kleinman.

In essence, the court experts routinely refused to follow up with witnesses Lindauer offered to attest to her role as an intelligence asset and to confirm her activities related to Iraq.

Most telling, the experts, upon whom Judge Mukasey relied for his confinement of Lindauer and his later opinion on forced medication, failed to consider the twelve month record of evaluation and counseling treatment after her arrest.  Psychiatrist Dr John S. Kennedy, MD of Maryland concluded that her:

"… thought content was free of hallucinations, delusions, homicidality, or suicidality. She expressed confidence in an acquittal.  Judgment and insight were fair.  Cognition was grossly intact. … I don not believe there are grounds for a psychosis diagnosis."  March 13, 2004

Lindauer attended 35 hours of counseling sessions between March 2004 and April 2005.  You can examine the notes yourself provided by Lindauer and a part of her legal defense documentation.

There is a consistent pattern of assessed psychological stability in every single monthly summary.  A frequent theme is expressed over time is that Lindauer, "appears to maintain psychological stability and shows no sign or symptom of mania or psychosis."   Her treatment was concluded on April 7, 2005 with the note, "So far she has shown no signs of mania or depression and any symptoms of psychosis that would require additional intervention."

This information was not seriously considered or, more likely, completely ignored by the New York court appointed "experts" who labeled her delusional for maintaining her innocence.  In addition, never mentioned in court proceedings was important evidence from Carswell psychiatric nursing reports.  These reports document a consistent pattern of positive behavior and no signs of hallucinations or delusions during confinement.  The Mukasey ruling of September 6, 2006, well referenced with the court expert opinions, makes no mention of Dr. Kennedy's evaluation, the 35 hours of counseling provided in Maryland, or the Carswell nursing reports.  This was highly relevant primary evidence by clinicians familiar with Lindauer's day to day and week to week behavior over time.

As she tells it convincingly in Extreme Prejudice, Lindauer had to be silenced.  First she was defamed publicly as someone who had worked for Iraq.  Then she was diminished by the selective analysis by court appointed psychiatrists which further negated her story.  Like the current Wikileaks controversy over Julian Assange, the delivery of bad news for those in power in the White House resulted in a figurative order to shoot the messenger.

Extreme Prejudice is memoir, action thriller, and cautionary tale on the risks citizens take when they go too far, know too much, and offer to tell the truth.


Disclosure:  Lindauer based a chapter of Extreme Prejudice on an unpublished paper I wrote on the relationship between 9/11 and the Iraq war.  I received no compensation for this.

Extreme Prejudice by Susan Lindauer

Susan Lindauer's web site

Articles on the Lindauer case by Michael Collins

Special thanks to Michael Green for his helpful comments

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.


Re. "Susan Lindauer’s last letter to Andrew Card, January 6, 2003" (a PDF)

I believe she exaggerated the consequences for the US "homeland", i.e., mainland, if the Bush administration launched war on Iraq. I don't think it was intentional, but nonetheless believe that she exaggerated. She was essentially right about the need to definitely not commit this war and that committing it would be very bad for the US, no doubt about that; but, I think she exaggerated about the terrorism threat that'd drastically increase for the US in the US if this war was launched. Theoretically, there's an increase, but I don't think it's as extreme as she let on that it would be.

She may've been very right about US facilities in other countries, and that's not something I'd question. It's just that I don't believe that the terrorism threat for the US mainland is going to be anywhere as extreme as she let on in her letter to Andrew Card. But whether she was right about that aspect, or not, she wasn't wrong to use it as part of her argument against launching the war on Iraq. This war definitely had to be opposed from the very first moment that recourse to committing this war was mentioned. She was absolutely right about not committing this damn war and she acted greatly by writing and sending the letter to Card.

Re. "American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer’s Story, Oct 17, 2007"

I didn't read the whole of that article, but did read enough of the part on the 1988 Lockerbie bombing to be able to see that she was on the right path and greatly acted in this regard, as well. People who have any doubts can read the articles I posted links for here and for which the page or post is linked a little further below; all of the articles being specifically about that bombing, if it really was a bombing. I'll also includes links to and excerpts from some additional articles in this post.

Two of the articles I read this fall and this past evening are about possibility that the Pan Am 103 incident not having been a bombing at all. The older of the two articles explains much more, while the newer article provides a brief mention that reemphasizes the importance of the theory presented in the older piece, which explains that the incident might have been an accident. See the article "Attack or a Trick?" further on in this post, as well as the one entitled, "Explosives analysis concludes semtex theory "scientifically implausible" in Pan Am 103 explosion", which is linked a little further on. "Attack or a Trick?" is the older and detailed article.

Susan Lindauer was on the right track in saying that Mr Megrahi and Libya had nothing to do with the Lockerbie bombing, and many other people have written the same thing. But all or nearly all said that it was considerably likely that the PFLP, working with or for Syria and/or Iran, was responsible, a theory there was reason to believe. However, it seems that an accident is the more likely explanation, and if it's what did happen, then it's the governments of the UK and US that were really responsible and they wanted to keep this covered up.

My post of some months ago for Lockerbie bombing articles is the following one.

Following are some additional articles.

"Lockerbie: Megrahi was framed"
by John Pilger,, Sept. 3, 2009

The hysteria over the release of the so-called Lockerbie bomber reveals much about the political and media class on both sides of the Atlantic, especially Britain. From Gordon Brown’s “repulsion” to Barack Obama’s “outrage”, the theatre of lies and hypocrisy is dutifully attended by those who call themselves journalists. “But what if Megrahi lives longer than three months?” whined a BBC reporter to the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond. “What will you say to your constituents, then?”


The American satirist Larry David once addressed a voluble crony as “a babbling brook of bullshit”. Such eloquence summarises the circus of Megrahi’s release. (my emphasis)

No one in authority has had the guts to state the truth about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 above the Scottish village of Lockerbie on 21 December 1988 in which 270 people were killed. The governments in England and Scotland in effect blackmailed Megrahi into dropping his appeal as a condition of his immediate release. Of course there were oil and arms deals under way with Libya; but had Megrahi proceeded with his appeal, some 600 pages of new and deliberately suppressed evidence would have set the seal on his innocence and given us more than a glimpse of how and why he was stitched up for the benefit of “strategic interests”. (my emphasis)

“The endgame came down to damage limitation,” said the former CIA officer Robert Baer, who took part in the original investigation, “because the evidence amassed by [Megrahi’s] appeal is explosive and extremely damning to the system of justice.” New witnesses would show that it was impossible for Megrahi to have bought clothes that were found in the wreckage of the Pan Am aircraft – he was convicted on the word of a Maltese shopowner who claimed to have sold him the clothes, then gave a false description of him in 19 separate statements and even failed to recognise him in the courtroom.

That's not 100% accurate, as other articles explain. They or some of them say that the shopowner initially said that the buyer was [not] Megrahi and that he quickly changed that claim when he saw a picture of Megrahi. I don't know how much of Megrahi was visible in the picture or pictures the shop owner saw, but his reversed statement was false, certainly incorrect anyway, for there's a lot of physical difference between the purchaser of the clothing and Megrahi, who is much smaller than the actual purchaser was.

The rest of what John Pilger wrote has also been reported by other people who've written about Megrahi and Libya having been framed; about the whole deception.

The new evidence would have shown that a fragment of a circuit board and bomb timer, “discovered” in the Scottish countryside and said to have been in Megrahi’s suitcase, was probably a plant. A forensic scientist found no trace of an explosion on it. The new evidence would demonstrate the impossibility of the bomb beginning its journey in Malta before it was “transferred” through two airports undetected to Flight 103.

A “key secret witness” at the original trial, who claimed to have seen Megrahi and his co-accused al-Alim Khalifa Fahimah (who was acquitted) loading the bomb on to the plane at Frankfurt, was bribed by the US authorities holding him as a “protected witness”. The defence exposed him as a CIA informer who stood to collect, on the Libyans’ conviction, up to $4m as a reward.

Megrahi was convicted by three Scottish judges sitting in a courtroom in “neutral” Holland. There was no jury. One of the few reporters to sit through the long and often farcical proceedings was the late Paul Foot, whose landmark investigation in Private Eye exposed it as a cacophony of blunders, deceptions and lies: a whitewash. ... (Lockerbie – the Flight from Justice by Paul Foot can be downloaded from the Private Eye website for £5).

Foot reported that most of the staff of the US embassy in Moscow who had reserved seats on Pan Am flights from Frankfurt cancelled their bookings when they were alerted by US intelligence that a terrorist attack was planned. He named Margaret Thatcher the “architect” of the cover-up after revealing that she killed the independent inquiry her transport secretary Cecil Parkinson had promised the Lockerbie families; and in a phone call to President George Bush Sr on 11 January 1990, she agreed to “low-key” the disaster after their intelligence services had reported “beyond doubt” that the Lockerbie bomb had been placed by a Palestinian group contracted by Tehran as a reprisal for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by a US warship in Iranian territorial waters. ...

Peversely, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1991, Bush needed Iran’s support as he built a “coalition” to expel his wayward client from an American oil colony. The only country that defied Bush and backed Iraq was Libya. “Like lazy and overfed fish,” wrote Foot, “the British media jumped to the bait. In almost unanimous chorus, they engaged in furious vilification and op en warmongering against Libya.” The framing of Libya for the Lockerbie crime was inevitable. Since then, a US defence intelligence agency report, obtained under Freedom of Information, has confirmed these truths and identified the likely bomber; it was to be centrepiece of Megrahi’s defence.


"The New York Times on the Libya-Pan Am 103 Case: A Study in Propaganda Service"

by Prof. Edward S. Herman, Sept. 22, 2007

Lockerbie bombing; possibly not a bombing at all:

I don't know what the veracity is for this following article, but I have not found any articles referring to this one and it should be read by everyone who's written about the framing of Mr Megrahi and Libya for the Lockerbie bombing. It should be read and what it says should be verified. If what it says is true, then it clearly is very important information that has been left out of the investigation(s).

"Attack or a trick?"
by Steven Raeburn, Firm Magazine, Scotland's Independent Law Journal, Aug. 3, 2007

The Lockerbie bombing case has fascinated the world since Pan AM Flight 103 exploded and fell back to earth. But in light of the SCCRC recommending a second appeal for the man convicted of the atrocity The Firm’s reporter Steven Raeburn has uncovered potential evidence that could further see the finger of blame point much closer to home.

On the 28 June, Robbie the Pict, who spearheaded the campaign leading to the reversal of the tolling regime on the Skye Bridge, sent a letter to new First Minister Alex Salmond, which he copied to Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, and Solicitor General Frank Mulholland. It contained an extract, reproduced below, from the Zeist transcript of the trial of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, whose conviction for the Lockerbie atrocity has been referred back to the High Court for review, on the basis that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

Robbie has looked at the trial transcript and proceedings, and followed the case closely, together with his neighbour and fellow campaigner Dr Jim Swire, representing UK Families 103.

Swire believes Megrahi to be innocent and Robbie has concluded there is sufficient evidence to warrant a fresh investigation, focusing not on a terrorist bombing but on an accident on board the ill-fated airliner. This thesis, if correct, has far reaching implications for the actions of the US, UK and Scottish Governments, and officials within the Crown Office. It requires the open-minded reader to step through the looking glass into the potentially murky world of government intelligence, covert operations and geo-politics, and consider the events of 21 December 1988 from an entirely fresh, disturbing perspective.

Robbie's letter begins by looking at a portion of the trial transcript.

Extract from evidence given by DC Alexander McLean, working in Sector B. (P 339)

McLean: We encountered one or two difficulties, sir. And one of the major ones was that on the aircraft there was a million sewing machine needles being conveyed and they landed with the fuselage in the sector – B Sector. And unknown to us at the time, one or two officers got pricked with the needles. And so eventually we had to spread a very large tarpaulin right along the site and move forward sort of by inch by inch.

Q: The sewing machine needles were being carried as cargo on the aircraft?

McLean: That's correct, sir.

Q: I understand. And they were distributed around the site as a consequence?

McLean: Yes. They caused a bit of a hazard, and that was the reason that the recovery of the bodies just took a wee bit longer than it would have done if we hadn\'t encountered such a hazard.

The above evidence seems to have been missed by all concerned but is worthy of further examination. A million sewing machine needles weigh up to three-quarters of a ton. Who would pay airfreight charges to fly needles to America, when sea freight is so obviously cheaper? Who was the sender? Who was the end-user? Where is the bill of lading, invoice and the delivery note? Is there an insurance claim by the sender?

Why did the Police put a ‘needles warning’ in the Daily Record on 27 December 1988, claiming that these were potentially contaminated hypodermics which should not be picked up? Who sends almost a ton of contaminated hypodermics to New York by air just prior to Christmas?

Alternatively, it is remarkable how similar an electric sewing machine needle is to a flechette. This weapon of terror is also less than two inches long, has a flattened portion in the centre instead of a thread hole and has small flights to ensure stability. Known as a ‘terrain denial weapon of terror’ it is dispersed in packs of thousands in an omni-directional scything motion. Witnesses have described victims as both “flayed alive” and “cut to burger-size pieces”. Royal Ordnance, at that time state-owned, were specialist packers of such warheads. There is apparently an art in lacing the layers of needles with the explosive to achieve the correct effect. The missile known as the Lockheed Hydra 70 is equipped to use such warheads.

However, in the development period from the early 1980s up until at least 1992 such missiles were having serious problems with ‘RadHaz’: their electrical components, although very sophisticated, were also very sensitive to extraneous electrical influence, commonly called ‘radiation hazard’. In layman’s terms it was equivalent to a neighbour’s garage door remote switching off your TV every time he used it, an unwanted side effect.

It is perhaps highly significant that the Maid of the Seas exploded during exchanges with Prestwick, when her navigator would be involved in relatively lengthy broadcasts confirming the flight path to be used across the North towards JFK Airport. No attention at all appears to have been given to this most obvious starting point in any investigation. Instead, we have a rush to judgment in favour of a fantastic conspiracy theory with huge flaws in the technical evidence.

Looked at rationally the actual evidence instead suggests an accident. The accident is terrible in its cause, its nature, its consequences and its implications but it is nonetheless an accident. It is of course illegal to carry munitions of war in a civil aircraft, especially if secretly. There would be serious questions concerning liability and culpability.

The testimony of one eyewitness at the crash site strengthens Robbie’s claim that Pan Am 103 may not have been brought down by a bomb at all, but by accidental misfiring of mainstream weaponry components carried illicitly on the plane.

John Parkes is a former soldier, MOD contractor, and consultant and designer of bomb blast mitigation techniques. He travelled to the scene that night from Edinburgh and returned to assist in the rescue and clear up operations that followed. He has nearly 40 years’ experience of explosives engineering.

Parkes was asked to examine the bodies of three victims in the improvised mortuary at Lockerbie Ice Rink prior to post mortem. The first victim Parkes examined was a child, perhaps nine years of age. The rear of her body showed fragmentation strikes, pieces of metal penetrating her skin. Their distribution, the blast shadowing caused by her seat, and in particular, minute holing in her socks which revealed a chemical propellant, all confirmed a specific blast signature. It revealed the type of explosive and where it was situated in relation to the girl. The holing and fragmentation in particular are not characteristic of Semtex or similar explosives, he says, and rule out a Semtex blast as the cause of the wounding.


Flight 103 was a modified Boeing 747 built in 1970 but refitted in 1987 to become part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF), which according to the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) \"enabled the aircraft to be quickly converted for carriage of military freight containers on the main deck during times of national emergency”. This requires reinforcement of the floor and structure, and the planes are then used to ferry troops, munitions and military equipment. Such modified CRAF planes were used for the mass deployment of troops in the run up to the Gulf War. The possibility that a CRAF modified US jumbo such as PA103 was ferrying pallets of weapons – in 1988 during the Iran-Contra era – is supported by unbroadcast news footage of the iconic nosecone section of the plane, which shows that the structure appears to have been peppered by high impact shrapnel strikes penetrating the crossbeam struts.

Sophisticated military weaponry relies on electronic triggering and jamming to function as designed. Many surface-to-air missiles are sensitive to long VHF frequency transmissions, which can cause weaponry to function and detonate.

If the US was ferrying weaponry on a civilian aircraft, resulting in 270 deaths on UK soil, it becomes apparent why the two governments would try to conceal this information.


The conclusions of the UN-appointed special observer to the trial were not widely reported after the conviction, but they are resonant with both the hypothesis that Pan Am 103 was the victim of a mid-air accident and the SCCRC’s decision to refer the case back to the High Court for a second appeal.


It is clear that the Scottish Crown Office proceeded with the indictment of Megrahi and Fhimah on the basis of assurances from the CIA, given well in advance of the trial, that they possessed a star witness, Abdul Majid Giaka, who claimed to be able to positively identify them both and link them to the atrocity. Scottish authorities believed the witness would be credible. He was not. Almost his entire testimony was dismissed and it was discovered that his cooperation had been conditional upon receiving payment from the US authorities, who knew from the outset he was a fantasist. This information was only given to the prosecution very late during the trial.


Jim Swire received a remarkable insight while at a meeting with UK Families 103 at the US embassy in London. “One of our number was told by an official on the US Commission of Inquiry, in an aside that "your government and mine know exactly what happened, but they're never going to tell".

This admission to the families group reinforces the doubts raised by the UN observer, that the trial was politically, not judicially motivated. And if the flight was downed by the accidental detonation of munitions, the motives of the UK, the US and latterly Libyan governments become clearer, in the light of Kochler’s analysis.


Definitely recommended is definitely reading the whole article.

More articles on Pan Am 103 incident/accident:

The following article tells us that the US and UK first aimed to blame Iran and Syria, until the US war against Iraq in 1990-91, and the US and UK, US anyway, made use of a a former Israeli Mossad agent as a (false) witness.

"Exclusive: Former Scotsman editor confirms government and CIA influence over Lockerbie investigation"

by The Firm, Aug. 14, 2009

Magnus Linklater, the editor of the Scotsman newspaper at the time of the Lockerbie investigation, has revealed that UK Government and intelligence services influenced coverage of the Lockerbie inquiry to implicate Iran and Syria.

Linklater admitted that both the police and UK Government ministers directed the newspaper to concentrate their coverage on Iranian and Syrian links with the downing of Pan Am 103, the suspects initially favoured by the US and UK administrations.

"This is not just conspiracy theory," Linklater said.

"It is sometimes forgotten just how powerful the evidence was, in the first few months after Lockerbie, that pointed towards the involvement of the Palestinian-Syrian terror group the PFLP-GC, backed by Iran and linked closely to terror groups in Europe. At The Scotsman newspaper, which I edited then, we were strongly briefed by police and ministers to concentrate on this link, with revenge for an American rocket attack on an Iranian airliner as the motive."

This line of inquiry was heavily promoted by the US and UK Governments for two years until the invasion of Kuwait, when the coincidental requirement to use Iranian airpsace to bomb Iraq became a priority. Libya was then identified as the prime suspect.

This line of inquiry was heavily promoted by the US and UK Governments for two years until the invasion of Kuwait, when the coincidental requirement to use Iranian airpsace to bomb Iraq became a priority. Libya was then identified as the prime suspect.

The involvement of Iran and Syria has been promoted consistently as an alternate explanation for the Lockerbie event, and PFLP-GC group member Mohamed Abu Talb was named by the two accused, Megrahi and Fhimah, in their special defence of incrimination. However, only three of the hundreds of listed defence witnesses were actually called at the trial, and this avenue of inquiry was never explored in a judicial forum.

Talb's alleged involvement was held to be at the root of the event in the case compiled by Juval Aviv on behalf of Pan Am's insurers. Aviv was a former agent of Israeli secret service Mossad, creating a further link to US intelligence of the heavily promoted Iran/Syria connection to the event.

A Firm investigation published in 2007 concluded that there was sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation into whether the airliner had been brought down by the accidental firing of an illegal cargo of explosives or munitions carried on the plane. On 22nd December 1988 Scottish Secretary Malcolm Rifkind described the mid air explosion to TV camera crews as an "accident". (my emphasis)

The lack of evidence in the circumstancial case against Megrahi and Fhimah has been the focus of much of the criticism of the judgement against Megrahi. Material submitted to the trial as semtex explosives evidence had in fact been found to have been manufactured from test explosions.

Linklater does not disclose why the newspaper did not undertake its own investigations. However he did state how former Lord Advocate Lord Fraser expressed concerns to him about whether the CIA could have been involved in planting some of the "evidence".

"I don’t know. No one ever came to me and said, ‘Let’s go for the Libyans’, it was never as straightforward as that. The CIA was extremely subtle," Fraser is reported to have said.

The Firm's report if (sic) its investigation can be read here.

The last sentence links to the article already excerpted from, above, "Attack or a Trick?".

"Explosives analysis concludes semtex theory "scientifically implausible" in Pan Am 103 explosion"

March 4, 2009

A scientific analysis of the Crown's discredited theory that approximately 1lb of semtex contained in a Toshiba radio caused the destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, has concluded that the notion is "scientifically implausible."

The report, by Dr Ludwig de Braeckeleer agrees with the findings of John H Parkes, a former MOD contractor and explosives engineer who assisted in the rescue operations in Lockerbie, and subsequently submitted a report of his findings to the then Scottish Secretary Malcolm Rifkind. Parkes was never called as a witness to the trial.

Dr de Braeckeleer's findings reiterate the initial findings from US sources, that the Crown theory does not stand up to forensic scrutiny.

"In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, researchers at the Centre of Explosives Technology Research in Socorro, New Mexico, estimated that up to thirty pounds of explosive was needed to destroy a Boeing 747, if the explosion had occured in the container. We agree with that estimate," the report says.

"As the explosion of one pound of Semtex H inside the luggage container does not generate a blast wave sufficiently powerful to fracture the skin of the fuselage, we have little choice but to conclude that the verdict appears scientifically very implausible."

The AAIB report into the destruction of the Boeing 747, which concluded that the plane was downed by a small semtex blast, contains five conflicting accounts of the moment of the explosion on board the aircraft.

Evidence of fragmentation observed on victims at the site and on the wreckage - which was not heard at the trial- indicate an explosives "signature" that was not consistent with a semtex blast close to the skin of the fuselage. Unbroadcast footage of the wreckage, and contemporaneous photographs of the crashed plane, shows puncture damage to parts of the plane far away from the claimed site of a semtex blast, and of a character indicating far more powerful explosives events on board.

The evidence introduced during the trial to support the semtex theory, which was claimed to have been recovered from the crash site, was later demonstrated to have actually come from simulated test explosions.

The Firm's investigation, conducted over three years and which concluded that there was sufficient evidence to justify an investigation into the possibility that the airliner was downed by a larger explosion, possibly caused by the illegal carriage of munitions on board, can be read here. (linked)

In 2004, it was revealed that Soviet munitions were carried illegally on civilian passenger vehicles, including the MV Estonia, which later sunk in the Baltic sea with the loss of 852 lives.

The report's conclusions can be read here. (linked)

A Crown Office spokesman said: 'Since the case is live and currently before the appeal court, it would be wholly inappropriate to comment on any speculation or indeed, any aspect of the case.'

"US and Scottish authorities at loggerheads on Pan Am 103 anniversary

Dec. 22, 2010

A report by four United States Senator into the compassionate release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi has been published on the anniversary of the Lockerbie carnage. The report is critical of the Scottish Government's handling of the release of the Lockerbie convict.

In response the Scottish Government have issued a lengthy and critical riposte.

The US Senators report can be read here. (linked) The Scottish Government response can be read here.(linked)

I believe the lead on the alternative theory that the Pan Am 103 incident was an accident and that the governments of the US and UK would be responsible needs to be pursued, strongly, but will nevertheless post the link for this following two-part video that I just came across at within the last hour. That blog provided a link for embedded copies of the two video clips posted at

"Gauci on al-Megrahi part one" (6:25)
LockerbieDivide, Dec. 11, 2010

Part 2 (6:13) is new to me as of this past evening, but after considerably checking it out, it's clearly a resource to recommend.


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