Lockerbie trial: an intelligence operation?
BBC interview of Dr. Hans Köchler
New revelation about financial offer to a key witness from Switzerland
Vienna/Zurich, 5 October 2007
In an exclusive interview earlier this week with Gordon Brewer of the BCC’s Newsnight Scotland, Dr. Hans Koechler said that the withholding of evidence by the investigators and the Prosecution from the Defense at the Lockerbie court is a serious breach of the fundamental norms of a fair trial. If such action occurs on the basis of a written commitment given to a foreign intelligence service, as has now been revealed concerning crucial evidence related to the timer that allegedly triggered the explosion of PanAm 103 over Lockerbie, the judicial nature of the entire proceedings is to be put into question. If a foreign intelligence service is allowed to determine what evidence may be disclosed in court and what not, judicial proceedings before a court of law are perverted into a kind of intelligence operation the purpose of which is not the search for the truth, but the obfuscation of reality.
This evaluation is further confirmed by the offer of huge amounts of money by US officials to at least three key witnesses.
Dr. Koechler, a professor of philosophy of law at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, served in the period May 2000 – March 2002 as international observer, appointed by the United Nations, at the Lockerbie trial and appeal before the Scottish Court in the Netherlands. In his trial and appeal reports, issued in January 2001 and March 2002, he had highlighted the problematic role of intelligence services in the trial and stated that proper judicial proceedings cannot be conducted under conditions in which extrajudicial forces are allowed to intervene.
It is noteworthy that now – more than six years after Dr. Koechler’s first report – more and more details emerge that confirm the UN observer’s original doubts:
Furthermore, Mr. Edwin Bollier, head of the Zurich-based company MEBO, today confirmed vis-à-vis Dr. Koechler that during a visit to the headquarters of the American FBI in Washington DC at the beginning of 1991 he was offered an amount of up to USD 4 million plus a new identity (name) in the United States if he would testify in court that the timer fragment that was allegedly found on the crash site around Lockerbie stemmed from a MST-13 timer that his company had delivered to Libya. Mr. Bollier told Dr. Koechler that he did not make use of the offer and did not make the requested statement, and that he reported this incident after his return from the US to the Swiss Federal Police. The name of the FBI officer and another US official present at the meeting in Washington DC were given to Dr. Koechler who is also in the possession of a brief memo written by Mr. Bollier about this affair.
In view of all these revelations and serious allegations Dr. Koechler renewed his call for an independent international investigation of the handling of the Lockerbie case by the Scottish and British authorities. It remains to be seen whether the Scottish judicial and political system will live up to the challenge and whether the authorities will allow a full and objective inquiry.
It is to be recalled here what Dr. Koechler had stated in his original report on the Lockerbie trial of 3 February 2001, which was submitted to the United Nations:
“… proper judicial procedure is simply impossible if political interests and intelligence services − from whichever side − succeed in interfering in the actual conduct of a court. […] The purpose of intelligence services − from whichever side − lies in secret action and deception, not in the search for truth. Justice and the rule of law can never be achieved without transparency.”
International Progress Organization