SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES AT THE CRASH SITE – 22/12/1988

[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 173

DECEMBER 22 1988

“I need not go into the rest of the story and the explosion, except to say that some of us believe that, within hours, the Americans had guessed, at a very high level, what had gone wrong. It is a matter of fact that the American helicopters were on site within an hour and 25 minutes. It began back in December 1988, New Year’s Eve to be precise, when a police officer, a constituent and friend, came to me and said that he was very worried about so many Americans, on the awful site of Lockerbie, searching and rummaging through the wreckage, and possibly destroying important evidence.” Tam Dalyell [1]

 Lockerbie

Claim of Responsability

According to a CIA analysis dated Dec. 1988, 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 an Iranian passenger airliner the previous July. [2]

“We consider the claims from the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution as the most credible one received so far,” the analysis concluded.

Yet, in a matter of days, US intelligence came to the conclusion that the group was not involved in the tragedy.

“A consensus is emerging among American intelligence officials that the pro-Iranian group that claimed responsibility for the Pan American World Airways crash last week probably had no involvement,” the New York Times stated.

”The feeling now is that they weren’t involved in the blast, and we’re focusing attention on other groups,” said an Administration official. [3]

The officials explained that the ”Guardians of the Islamic Revolution” was not known to have been previously involved in an attack on a commercial airliner. Moreover, the group was not believed to be ”conversant with sophisticated bombing techniques.”

The Guardians of the Islamic Revolution claimed responsibility for the killing in May 1988 of a German banker believed to be involved in the Iraqi Scuds program. [4]

According to a DIA declassified document, the organization is “related to the Iran Revolutionary Guards.”

In fact, according to an Iranian source, the two names are identical. If you translate the Farsi name of the Revolutionary Guards Corps word by word into English, this is the result: ‘Pasdaran-e Enghiab-e Islami’ which means ‘Guardians of Islamic Revolution’.

In English-speaking media, they are called Revolutionary Guards Corps. But ‘Guardians of Islamic Revolution’ is a more accurate and closer to the original Farsi name of this army.

CIA on the Crime Scene

On 28 June 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred the case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi to the High Court of Justiciary.

As a result of the Commission’s decision the applicant was entitled to a further appeal against his conviction for the murder of 270 people who died following the bombing of Pam Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988.

However the SCCRC found no evidence that the CIA was active at the crime scene soon after the crash of Pan Am 103.

“The Commission also investigated claims that a former police officer who was involved in searches of the area around Lockerbie after the crash had found a “CIA badge” but had been told by colleagues that such items were not to be recorded as evidence. As part of its enquiries into this allegation the Commission interviewed the officer concerned. It also took statements from another officer who it was alleged had been present when the badge was found, and from the senior investigating officer at the time. Both of these witnesses disputed the officer’s claims and the Commission’s other enquiries established nothing that might support the claims. Accordingly the Commission was not prepared to accept the officer’s allegations. “

Richard Marquise, the FBI agent who led the investigation, also forcefully denied any involvement of the CIA at Lockerbie. [5]

“You said the CIA and FBI took control of the crash site on the first night after the crash. Clearly you have no understanding of how our bureaucracies worked as it would have been impossible to have done so as the crash happened at just after 7pm. This allegation was made many times and NO ONE was ever able to substantiate those allegations – EVER,” Marquise recently wrote regarding a post on Pr Black website.

In the third day of the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist, Chief Inspector Alexander McLean admitted that CIA agents had been involved in the recovery of items on the crime scene.

Q And I infer from your answer that you are aware that items were being recovered from the site by members of the Central Intelligence Agency.

A I understand at one point there may have been, Sir, yes. It was a necessity for a liaison officer such myself to be appointed, to ensure that the procedures, as far as the production in the criminal inquiry, were carried out to this extent.

Q It would be unusual, in the course of most criminal inquiries, to find members of a foreign intelligence agency recovering evidence at the site, would it not?

A Well, yes, it would be, Sir, yes. It would not be allowed, particularly. It would be under the control of the Scottish police.

Q Do I take it this was not something that you had encountered in the past?

A I had not personally encountered this.

Suppression of Evidence

The SCCRC found no evidence that evidence had been taken away from the crime.

“It was also alleged in the submissions that items found at the scene of the crash had been “spirited away” and that there had been “unofficial CIA involvement” in the recovery and examination of these. One such item was a suitcase belonging to one of the passengers on PA103, Major Charles McKee. Despite extensive enquiries the Commission found no evidence to suggest that anyone other than Scottish police officers came into contact with Major McKee’s suitcase at the scene of the crash. The Commission also found no evidence to support the allegation that a hole had been cut in Major McKee’s suitcase in order to gain access to its contents.”

But it is in fact indisputable that one of McKee two luggages was tampered by a third party.

The suitcase was found on Dec 30 and not entered in the system before January 5. The suitcase was examined by RARDE scientist Dr Hayes on Jan. 16 1989.

During cross examination by Fimah lawyer Keen, Dr Hayes admitted that the inside of the suitcase could not have been the original content.

Q    Was it disclosed to you that Charles McKee referred to there was in the service of the United States government?

A    No, it wasn’t.

Q    Or that this case had been returning from Beirut?

A    No.

Q    I see.  You then make this entry: “Contents:  Assorted clothing with unlike the suitcase from which it was supposedly taken showed little evidence of explosives involvement.”

A    Yes, I did.

Q    Now, I see the use of the word “supposedly” employed by you, Dr. Hayes.  And I take it you chose that word with care?

A    Yes, I did.

Q    And was that intended to convey that in your own mind the assorted clothing which had been passed to you labelled as the contents did not appear on the face of it to represent the contents of the suitcase which had been damaged in the way already described?

A    Yes, that’s certainly one interpretation.

Dr Hayes also conceded that the rectangular hole cut next to to locking mechanism could not have resulted from the blast of the explosion.

Q    A rectangular hole has been cut in the top of the case, and that cannot be attributed in any form to blast damage or impact damage in the disaster, can it?

A    No, it cannot.

The Mysterious Coffin

“Weird and inexplicable happenings haunted the Lockerbie disaster on the very night the plane went down,” wrote Paul Foot and John Ashton in their 1995 piece, Investigation into Lockerbie.

According to Emerson and Duffy, within hours of the crash, Oliver Revell, the head of FBI Counter-Terrorism, dispatched SAA Thomas Thurman to Lockerbie.

Moreover, Inspector George Stobbbs, of the local police force, stated that an FBI agent had set up a desk at the Emergency Response Center, the Lockerbie Academy, around midnight.

During the afternoon of Dec. 22, a crew from Border Television filmed the arrival of a large number of plain-clothed Americans agents bringing a single coffin to the crime scene. They American became very nervous and asked the crew to stop filming at once. But the police had granted him authorization and he continued. The pictures were broadcasted that evening.

The strange story of Dr Fieldhouse

Back in 1988, Dr. David Fieldhouse was a police surgeon from Bradford, Yorkshire. On Dec. 21, Fieldhouse heard about the crash of Pan Am 103 on “News at Ten.” He immediately phoned the Lockerbie police station to volunteer his help and experience, which the Lockerbie Police eagerly accepted.

Minutes later, Fieldhouse was driving on the highway to Scotland and arrived to Lockerbie shortly before midnight. There, he reported to the police station. After having received his instructions, he was sent out with a police officer to find bodies and certify them dead.

“My work began after briefings and involved several square miles of the crash scene over a period of about 16 hours — ending, as I recall, at about 1600 hours on 22nd December 1988. “During those hours of the search for and confirmation of death in the case of many bodies, I was accompanied by one or more police officers at all times. We occasionally met others both during the night and the ensuing day,” Fieldhouse told me.

Fieldhouse was working to the east and southeast of Lockerbie between Middlebie and Tundergarth, which happens to be the earliest place where the bodies fell from the plane.

When he reported to the police station that evening, he had certified 58 bodies dead and labeled them accordingly from DCF 1 to DCF 58.

“I saw 58 bodies during that period of the search. Fifty-five of them were to the Northwest of a road that runs from Middlebie to Bankshill and only three were to the Southeast of that road.”

“I confirmed death in the case of many bodies including one that I afterwards learned was that of McKee [an American intelligence operative returning from Lebanon]. At the time I saw the bodies I made brief notes which included, in some cases, a note of any clothing remaining on them and in every case, the sex and any major injuries visible, such as decapitation or loss of a limb,” he said.

Identification

For several weeks after the explosion, Fieldhouse traveled on one day per week to Lockerbie to work on the computers installed at the temporary headquarters of the team at the Academy, a School in Lockerbie, in order to help the police identify the bodies and where they had been found. On each of those occasions, Fieldhouse was officially signed, or logged, in on arrival and logged out on departure.

“I always had a police officer, not always the same one, to assist me in the work. The aim was to work out the identities of the bodies I had certified as dead at the scene of the crash during the night of 21st and the daylight hours of 22nd December 1988 by looking through all the information available at the time such as statements, post mortem notes, other reports,” Fieldhouse explained to me.

Fieldhouse was told that information was made available on a “need to know” basis only. It is thus likely that so some was probably withheld from him. He was told that the computers were linked to Washington.

“My identification was limited to correlating the bodies I had certified as being dead with those logged by the police. My sole aim in doing so was to enable me to write an accurate report of which persons I had pronounced deceased and at roughly what times I had done so,” he said.

Reputation Tarnished

Nearly two years later, during the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the Lockerbie disaster, Fieldhouse was unjustifiably tarnished by a police officer in official sworn evidence.

Led by Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, the Scottish Lord Advocate, Sgt. David Johnston of the Strathclyde police started his evidence about Fieldhouse as follows.

“On the evening of the disaster, and in the early hours of the following day, Fieldhouse went out and examined a number of victims on his own, pronouncing life extinct, and attached on them his own form of identification. This was not known to us until some considerable time later,” Johnston said.

The Lord Advocate continued with a series of similar questions that were all intended to destroy the credibility of Fieldhouse. After asking about the discovery of the body of American businessman Tom Ammerman, Fraser went as far as suggesting that Fieldhouse was not a medical doctor.

“Would this be another example of or Mr. Fieldhouse carrying out a search on his own,” the Lord Advocate asked.

“It would, my Lord,” Johnston said.

“And marking the body of a person who is dead without notifying the police?”

“That is correct.”

False Accusations

In fact, Fieldhouse was accompanied throughout by police officers, three of whom he has named. Ammerman’s body had been found by Fieldhouse and an accompanying police officer. Both men agreed on the report.

On Jan. 22, 1991, Fieldhouse appeared at the inquiry. He had no difficulty to swiftly dispose of all the false allegations that had been tossed against him.

“I would record my thanks to Fieldhouse and my apologies for the undeserved criticism of his activities,” concluded Sheriff Mowat, who was in charge of the inquiry.

‘I Labeled One Body DCF 49’

“I was accompanied by three Police Officers at about 1500 hours GMT on 22nd December 1988,” stated Fieldhouse. “One of them made notes for me as I dictated what I wished to be recorded. There were several bodies in a few fields near a monument south of Tundergarth church, near to Lockerbie town.

“I labeled one body DCF 49 and recorded: Heavy adult male, multi-colored T-shirt, blue jeans, field going northwest from monument.

“I knew that the identification of McKee was absolutely correct because of the clothing which correlated closely with the other reports and statements, and the computers that were linked up to Washington,” he concluded.

In a letter to me, former FBI agent R. Marquise, who led the Lockerbie investigation, wrote:

“I would like to know about the statement attributed to Fieldhouse where he spoke of the clothing worn by McKee based on reports and statements and the computers that were linked up to Washington. Please we are talking about FBI computers I assume and we did not have any then. Before we ever had any infrastructure in place, I would imagine that McKee was identified.”

Field house explained:

“The quote is very slightly incorrect and should have read: reports and statements on the computers that were linked to Washington. I noted this at the time of reading the FAI report, but did not make any comment as I did not think that it was relevant, though the sense is slightly altered by the correct version of what (I think) I said.”

All Codes Erased

In the early weeks of 1989, Fieldhouse studied the records held on the computers in the Academy (Investigation Headquarters) at Lockerbie.

He noted that none of the codes (DCF 1 to 58) he had given to bodies was recorded on the computers. He was amazed that all except two of his labels had all been thrown away and replaced with others. “This was astounding to me,” Fieldhouse said.

Fieldhouse claims that the computer record, which seemed to match his notes relating to DCF 49, gave the mortuary body number as 225 and although he did not recall and did not note the description of the clothing on the computer file, it would certainly have correlated with his findings sufficiently for him to be confident that he had correctly “married them up.”

Body Coded DCF 12

Fieldhouse told me a very disturbing story. He is adamant that no body on the computer files matched the location of the one that he recorded as “DCF 12.” He is almost certain of this because the body was found at a very particular location. DCF 12 was one of the three bodies southeast of the road that runs from Middlebie to Bankshill.

“I saw 58 bodies during that period of the search,” Fieldhouse told me.

“Fifty-five of them were to the north of a road and only three were to the south of that road. DCF 12 was one of the three bodies south of the road. I was as confident as I could have been that I had not made any errors, but I do accept it is possible that I misunderstood the location of the body when trying to pinpoint its position on a map and trying to provide a map reference number. “However, if the police had recorded my codes (DCF 1 to DCF 58) on the computer records which they were compiling, there would have been no difficulty in marrying up the bodies which I had seen and the ones which they had recovered.

“When the bodies were being examined by the pathologist, all notable characteristics such as sex, fractures, clothing were noted, but apparently not my labels. It seems inconceivable that 58 consecutive numbered codes on 58 bodies could be disregarded. Clearly it would have been obvious to the most ignorant observer that they served a purpose and that, in any event, it would have been better to record the details in case they had a usefulness not then apparent to the person recording the details in the mortuary.

“You could not, for example get any results for a ‘search and find’ instruction given to the computer for ‘DCF 12,’ whereas it was easy enough to get results in the search for a ‘black face’. It does make one wonder why they ignored, for official purposes at least, all my reference codes and labels and this gives rise to suspicions that there was an ulterior motive on their part.”

The Aftermath

Nearly two years later, in December 1993, Fieldhouse gave an interview for a film about Lockerbie, the “Maltese Double Cross,” in which he narrates some of the events discussed in this article.

A few days after the interview, Fieldhouse was summoned to a meeting with two senior West Yorkshire police officers at Wakefield. Without explanation, he was sacked as police surgeon with a three-month notice.

“In my wildest dreams, I did not realize that I was to set a ball rolling which resulted in the ensuing lies by the police to the Fatal Accident Inquiry about what I had done or about the apparent missing body — DCF 12,” Fieldhouse wrote to me.

A Final Puzzle

The day before the Lockerbie bombing McKee called his mother.

“Meet me at the Pittsburgh airport tomorrow night,” McKee told his mother.

“This was the first time Chuck ever telephoned me from Beirut,” McKee’s mother said.

“I was flabbergasted. It’s a surprise. Always before he would wait until he was back in Virginia to call and say he was coming home.”

McKee’s mother says she is sure her son’s sudden decision to fly home was not known to his superiors in Virginia.

If indeed McKee was returning unannounced, one is left wondering how the computers in Washington had information concerning the clothes he was wearing on Dec. 21.

NOTES AND REFERENCES

 (1) Tam Dalyell, 1997: ‘Nothing has been done.’ Guardian July 23, 1997

(2) CIA SPOT COMMENTARY – PAN AM 103 – ANALYSIS OF CLAIMS

(3) U.S. Thinks Pro-Iran Group Was Probably Not Involved – December 28, 1988

(4) Did US Illegal Weapons Sale Cause Pan Am 103 Bombing?

(5) See Part 55 — August 26, 1988, Letter from Marquise to Pr Black, point 2

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One Response to SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES AT THE CRASH SITE – 22/12/1988

  1. l8in says:

    Reblogged this on L8in.

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