Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The (not so) Secret Rulers of the World - Peter Mandelson and "Lockerbie"

On the 17/8/09 under the byline “Political Reporter” the Daily Mail published the following story under the headline

“During his Corfu holiday Lord Mandelson also met Colonel Gaddafi’s son, just a week before it emerged the Lockerbie bomber could be released from jail.

He met Seif al-Islam Gaddafi while staying at the Rothschild family villa – and discussed the case of Abdelbaset Ali ai-Megrahi, the Libyan found guilty of planting the bomb which downed a jet in Scotland in 1988, killing 270.

Only a week later it was announced that Megrahi could get an early release on compassionate grounds as he is suffering from terminal cancer.

Last night a spokesman for Lord Mandelson said his stay and that of Gaddafi’s son overlapped by a night.

‘There was a fleeting conversation about the prisoner’ he said. ‘Peter was completely unsighted on the subject’.

The spokesman said Lord Mandelson had no involvement with the decision on Megrahi, which was a matter for the devolved Scottish government. ‘It was entirely coincidental’ he said.

Nevertheless the timing is unfortunate as many people who believe Britain is overly keen to improve relations with Libya because of its large oil reserves. Lord Mandelson’s spokesman would not say whether the two men discussed the oil industry.

The pair had met on at least one occasion before – at a formal event in London. Both are mutual friends of the socialite Nat Rothschild.

Seif Gaddafi, who is expected to take over from his father as Libyan ruler in the next few years, angered Lockerbie victims relatives last years when he said they were ‘very greedy’ and ‘trading with the blood of their sons and daughters’ in their battle for compensation’.”

I found this story of particular interest in the light of a story published in the News of the World on 11/3/01 under the byline of Ian Kirby the Political Editor. There are other references to this visit on the net. Peter Mandelson had recently resigned as Northern Ireland Secretay in the wake od the Hinduja affair and left Parliament at the 2001 election to take up his appointment as Trade Commissioner.

The text reads -


Fallen Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson faces a fresh probe – this time over a secret visit to Syria.

Tories are demanding to know if the government was informed that the then Ulster Secretary planned three hours of talks with the country’s head of state President Assad.

Mr Mandelson was last week cleared by the Hammond inquiry over the cash for passports scandal that led to his resignation. But now he must face a new quiz over the three day unofficial trip he made at Christmas.

Tory MPs plan to table a series of Commons questions to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cooke about the visit.

Bury St.Edmonds MP David Ruffley and Shadow Foreign Secretary Francis Maude is expected to demand a full inquiry. (I am not aware this ever panned out –Baz)


They want to know when the British Embassy in Syria was informed of the trip - and of Mr Mandelson’s ‘informal talks’.

It is a fresh embarrassment for the government as it tries to draw a line under the ,Mandelso0n affair.

Mr Mandelson – seen canvassing in his Hartlepool constituency yester-day was forced to quit after being quizzed over his links with passport applications made by the Indian millionaire Hinduja brothers. But QC Sir Anthony Hammond’s report cleared him of any impropriety. That made MP’s on all sides ask why he was REALLY made to go. Suspicion then fell on his trip to Syria. Offficials in Whitehall were alarmed about the diplomatic ramifications of the visit, which included a meeting with power broker Wafic Said.

Mr Cook was said by officials in his department to be “beyond furious”. Mr Mandelson has previously defended his trip. He said: “it took place with the Foreign Office’s approval”.

But a Tory spokesman said “justified questions need to be asked.”

(The article concludes with several paragraphs concerning the passport affair.)

If this trip took place at Christmas 2000 that was during a recess in the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist. The defence team were attempting to obtain a document held by an unknown Foreign Government possibly the same document that is the subject of a PII certificate issued by Foreign Secretary David Milliband.

In my articles “A Poisoned Pill – the Mysterious Life and Death of Ian Spiro” and “Lockerbie - Criminal Justice or War By Other Means” I suggested one of the reasons Libya and Mr Megrahi were blamed for Lockerbie arose from Libya supplying prodigious quantities of arms and money to the PIRA evidenced by the seizure of the Eksund in October 1987 en route from Malta .

A decade later the situation in northern Ireland had been transformed due largely to the efforts of Prime Minister Blair and his Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell, brother of Margaret Thatcher's Foreign Policy Advisor Charles Powell. It was Sir Charles who advised Mrs Thatcher to collaborate in the 1986 bombing of Tripoli (the FCO may not have been consulted) and was still there when Libya supposedly retaliated. Sir Charles Powell is a close friend of Lord Mandelson and is Chairman of Wafic Said's investment company.
What is the point of an independent enquiry?

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