Marcello Mega

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Person.png Marcello Mega LinkedIn WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Marcello Mega 1.jpg
Alma materUniversity of Aberdeen

Employment.png Freelance journalist

In office
July 2001 - Present
EmployerMega & Simpson Ltd

Employment.png Reporter

In office
1995 - 2001
EmployerThe Sunday Times
Preceded byMarcello Mega

Employment.png Reporter

In office
1989 - 1995
EmployerThe Scotsman
Succeeded byMarcello Mega

Marcello Mega describes himself on Linkedin as "a freelance journalist and public relations adviser who cares passionately about holding people in public office to account, and about giving a voice to the powerless, especially the poor and victims of serious crime. He believes in social justice and that punishment for serious violent and (especially) sex offences should be severe to match the consequences for victims."[1]

Lockerbie evidence "fabricated"

In an article in Scotland on Sunday on 28 August 2005, Marcello Mega reported that a former Scottish police chief had given lawyers a signed statement claiming that key evidence in the Lockerbie bombing trial was fabricated:

The retired officer­ of assistant chief constable rank or higher has testified that the CIA planted the tiny fragment of circuit board crucial in convicting a Libyan for the 1989 mass murder of 270 people. The police chief, whose identity has not yet been revealed, gave the statement to lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, currently serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison. The evidence will form a crucial part of Megrahi's attempt to have a retrial ordered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC). The claims pose a potentially devastating threat to the reputation of the entire Scottish legal system. The officer, who was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland, is supporting earlier claims by a former CIA agent that his bosses "wrote the script" to incriminate Libya. Last night, George Esson, who was Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway when Megrahi was indicted for mass murder, confirmed he was aware of the development. But Esson, who retired in 1994, questioned the officer's motives. He said:

"Any police officer who believed they had knowledge of any element of fabrication in any criminal case would have a duty to act on that. Failure to do so would call into question their integrity, and I can't help but question their motive for raising the matter now."

Other important questions remain unanswered, such as how the officer learned of the alleged conspiracy and whether he was directly involved in the inquiry. But sources close to Megrahi's legal team believe they may have finally discovered the evidence that could demolish the case against him. An insider told Scotland on Sunday that the retired officer approached them after Megrahi's appeal­ before a bench of five Scottish judges ­was dismissed in 2002. The insider said:

"He said he believed he had crucial information. A meeting was set up and he gave a statement that supported the long­-standing rumours that the key piece of evidence, a fragment of circuit board from a timing device that implicated Libya, had been planted by US agents.
"Asked why he had not come forward before, he admitted he'd been wary of breaking ranks, afraid of being vilified. He also said that at the time he became aware of the matter, no one really believed there would ever be a trial. When it did come about, he believed both accused would be acquitted. When Megrahi was convicted, he told himself he'd be cleared at appeal."

The source added:

"When that also failed, he explained he felt he had to come forward. He has confirmed that parts of the case were fabricated and that evidence was planted. At first he requested anonymity, but has backed down and will be identified if and when the case returns to the appeal court." 

The vital evidence that linked the bombing of Pan Am 103 to Megrahi was a tiny fragment of circuit board which investigators found in a wooded area many miles from Lockerbie months after the atrocity. The fragment was later identified by the FBI's Thomas Thurman as being part of a sophisticated timer device used to detonate explosives, and manufactured by the Swiss firm MEBO, which supplied it only to Libya and the East German Stasi. At one time, Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence agent, was such a regular visitor to MEBO that he had his own office in the firm's headquarters. The fragment of circuit board therefore enabled Libya ­and Megrahi­ to be placed at the heart of the investigation. However, Thurman was later unmasked as a fraud who had given false evidence in American murder trials, and it emerged that he had little in the way of scientific qualifications.

Then, in 2003, a retired CIA officer gave a statement to Megrahi's lawyers in which he alleged evidence had been planted. The decision of a former Scottish police chief to back this claim could add enormous weight to what has previously been dismissed as a wild conspiracy theory. It has long been rumoured the fragment was planted to implicate Libya for political reasons. The first suspects in the case were the Syrian-­led Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP­-GC), a terror group backed by Iranian cash. But the first Gulf War altered diplomatic relations with Middle East nations, and Libya became the pariah state. Following the trial, legal observers from around the world, including senior United Nations officials, expressed disquiet about the verdict and the conduct of the proceedings at Camp Zeist, Holland. Those doubts were first fuelled when internal documents emerged from the offices of the US Defence Intelligence Agency. Dated 1994, more than two years after the Libyans were identified to the world as the bombers, they still described the PFLP-­GC as the Lockerbie bombers. A source close to Megrahi's defence said:

"Britain and the US were telling the world it was Libya, but in their private communications they acknowledged that they knew it was the PFLP-­GC. The case is starting to unravel largely because when they wrote the script, they never expected to have to act it out. Nobody expected agreement for a trial to be reached, but it was, and in preparing a manufactured case, mistakes were made."

  Dr Jim Swire, who has publicly expressed his belief in Megrahi's innocence, said it was quite right that all relevant information now be put to the SCCRC. Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the atrocity, said last night:

"I am aware that there have been doubts about how some of the evidence in the case came to be presented in court. It is in all our interests that areas of doubt are thoroughly examined."

  A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said:

"As this case is currently being examined by the SCCRC, it would be inappropriate to comment."

  No one from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland was available to comment.[2]

Lockerbie: The Fatal Cover Up

This was the headline of an article by Marcello Mega in the Mail on Sunday on 16 August 2009:

The wrong man was jailed for the Lockerbie bombing and the real suspects allowed to escape justice to satisfy political motives, a damning investigation can reveal.

The Scottish Mail on Sunday can today pub­lish remarkable details from a report by two leading investigators which throws major doubt on the conviction of Libyan agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

He is expected to be freed from a Scottish prison this week after serving eight years of a life sentence for the bombing.

The report would have formed the basis of Megrahi's appeal against his conviction, a case which will never be heard after he dropped his legal challenge in return for his early release.

The investigation finds that the man almost certain to have conducted the attack was Mohammed Abu Talb, a convicted Palestinian terrorist with the backing, finance, equipment and contacts to have carried out the atrocity.

It also places Abu Talb at the scene where parts of the suitcase bomb were bought - and in Britain when it exploded over Lockerbie.

But instead of pursuing Talb and his [Iran]]ian backers, the report claims the American and British manhunt was ordered to find a link to' Libya and its leader, Colonel Gaddafi.

In a damning verdict on the case, the investi­gators conclude:

"We are convinced Mr Megrahi's conviction was based on fundamen­tally flawed evidence. We have never seen a criminal investigation in which there has been such a persistent disregard of an alternative and far more persuasive theory of the case. This leads us to believe the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing was directed off-course as a result of government interference."

Talb, serving a life sentence in Sweden for a fatal bombing campaign in the Eighties, was a key witness in the prosecution case against Megrahi in the Scottish courts, for which he received immunity from prosecution.

However, the investigation on behalf of Megrahi's defence team by a former UK terror chief and a former US prose­cutor who has worked for the British government provides compelling evi­dence that Talb was the bomber. The report reveals that:

  • Talb had clothing from the same Maltese shop as that packed in the suitcase that carried the bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103;
  • Talb's alibi that he was in Sweden at the time of the bombing was false he was in London meeting other terrorists with an unprimed bomb;
  • Talb had bribed a corrupt employee at Heathrow to get a suit­ case through security unchecked;
  • Talb was paid $500,000 only four months after the bombing.

Megrahi is expected to fly to Libya after being granted his freedom on compassionate grounds. Officials insist the move followed assurances he has terminal cancer and has only three months to live.

However, it is also understood that a condition of Megrahi's release was that he dropped his appeal, because the UK Government and the Scottish justice system were keen to prevent embarrassing details about the case emerging.

At the centre of the alleged cover-up is evidence that Libya, then a pariah state to the US and Britain, was singled out for responsibility to suit political motives, when in fact the bombing was carried put by Talb on the orders and funding of Iran in revenge for the shooting down of its airliner by a US warship.

The Scottish Mail on Sunday has uncovered much of the evidence that would be a source of embarrassment.

In recent years, we have revealed that critical evidence was manipu­lated and even planted, that the key witness was coached by detectives and rewarded for his ever-changing statements and that recent forensic tests conducted on crucial items of evidence shattered the Crown's case.

Now we have obtained documents which outline evidence that the lead­ing player responsible for taking 270 lives in Lockerbie on December 21, 1988, was not Megrahi but Talb. The report carries weight because of the calibre of those who amassed the evi­dence - Jessica de Grazia, a former senior New York prosecutor who led an investigation for the UK Attorney General's office into the Serious Fraud Office, and Philip Corbett, a former deputy head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch.

Their access to informed sources in Middle East intelligence gives their report particular authority.

Instructed by Megrahi's defence team after his conviction in January 2001, de Grazia and Corbett placed Talb in key locations in Europe with terrorist leaders in the months prior to the Lockerbie bombing.

Much of the evidence implicating Talb was known to the Crown and defence prior to the trial of Megrahi.

Talb had links to at least two terror groups, in particular the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP-GC) and was a strong suspect.

The PFLP-GC, funded by Iran and led by the Syrian Ahmed Jibril, was the first suspect in the Lockerbie case. A cell based in Europe in 1988 was led by Jibril's deputy, Hafez Dalkamoni, with Talb one of their most trusted lieutenants.

However, despite the belief that Iran was responsible, the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1990 caused a major political shift in the investiga­tion. A secret deal for Allied war-planes to use Iranian airspace to attack Iraq required the US and British governments to stop its pur­suit of the Lockerbie bombers and their Iranian connections. Libya was instead chosen as the prime suspect.

When the focus of the investigation switched, the evidence gathered against Talb and the PFLP-GC was effectively discarded by Scottish and US investigators.

However, de Grazia and Corbett say evidence almost certainly proved an Iranian-backed plot.

Five months before Lockerbie, the American vessel USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian Airbus over the Per­sian Gulf. All 290 people on board perished. Iran vowed vengeance and promised that the skies would run with the blood of Americans.

Three months later, in October 1988, German secret police raided a flat in Germany where Dalkamoni's cell was making Semtex bombs con­tained in Toshiba radio-cassettes designed to bring down aircraft, identical to the device used in the Lockerbie attack two months later.

Although the Germans seized five devices, the bombmaker Marwan Khreesat told them a sixth had been removed by Dalkamoni.

De Grazia and Corbett's investiga­tion reveals that Dalkamoni and Talb had been friends since 1980 and met, including in Malta, in the weeks before the bombing. De Grazia was also told by intelligence sources that 'because of his abilities, Talb was given Lockerbie to carry out'.

The investigation says the missing bomb from Germany was probably taken to Malta for safe-keeping before being packed, unprimed, by Talb before its journey to London.

A Maltese connection had also been a focal point of the prosecution's case during Megrahi's trial. They argued that shopkeeper Tony Gauci identified Megrahi as the buyer of clothes later packed in the bomb case. However, de Grazia and Corbett say that Gauci also identified Talb as the man who 'most resembled' the buyer.

Although Gauci's evidence about Megrahi provided key eyewitness evidence to the prosecution's case, it emerged that the store owner had been given paid holidays to Scotland as well as being coached by investigators in his evidence.

De Grazia and Corbett say Gauci's evidence against Talb would have been just as strong if it had been pursued.

Their report says the most con­clusive link between Talb and the clothing bought from Gauci's shop was the discovery of a cardigan in his flat in Sweden. The cardigan was traced to a manufacturer on the Maltese island of Gozo, a firm that supplied Gauci.

The investigation says, based on their evidence, the plan was to launch the attack from Malta but this was dropped because of security at the island's airport. Talb and his colleagues decided Heathrow's security would be easier to crack.

It emerged after the bombing there had been a security breach at Heathrow when a lock was forced near Pan Am's airside berths. Corbett describes the probe into the breach as 'inade­quate'. Their inquiries uncovered evidence that on an earlier visit to London, Talb bribed an employee to get an unchecked case airside.

Crucially, the report exposes Talb's alibi for December 21, 1988. He was not, as he claimed, caring for the children of a relative who was giving birth in a Swedish hospital.

They found that on December 19 he sailed from Sweden to Britain, arriving in London on December 21, the day of the bombing. There he met other terrorists, including bomber Abu Elias and Martin Imandi, who are thought to have been in possession of the device left on Flight 103.

After the bombing, De Grazia and Corbett say more evidence emerges linking Talb and his terror cell to the atrocity. They highlight evidence obtained via ex-CIA agent Robert Baer that the Iranian gov­ernment paid $11 million into a European bank account held by the PFLP-GC two days later. An account held by Talb in Frankfurt was later credited with $500,000.

In their conclusions, De Grazia and Corbett recommend forensic scrutiny of the timer fragment that was the only physical evidence in the case that pointed to Libya. That work showed the fragment had never been near an explosion, shat­tering the case against Megrahi.

The evidence gathered by De Grazia and Corbett would have been the cornerstone of Megrahi's appeal which was expected to have posed a serious challenge to his conviction. However, on Tuesday, as part of the private understand­ing between the dying Megrahi and the Scottish Executive, his lawyers will drop his appeal.

The move will effectively close the chapter on Lockerbie, denying the public the opportunity to hear the full story behind the horror of December 21,1988.[3]

Lockerbie evidence "made AFTER the crash"

On 17 December 2018, Marcello Mega wrote in the Scottish Daily Mail:

Evidence used in the trial of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is unconnected to the case, it has been claimed.

A circuit board used in the case against Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was probably made after the atrocity, investigators say.

The claims are backed by testimony from a British expert and by tests at a police forensics lab in Zurich.

Documentary-maker Bill Cran and his lead investigator George Thomson, a former Scottish police officer, are re-examining the 1988 bombing and later court case for a forthcoming film.

Thomson, 73, was part of Megrahi’s defence team who were preparing the appeal abandoned by the Libyan agent in 2009 to secure his release on compassionate grounds.

Mr Cran and Mr Thomson hope to release their film next year. Much of the focus is on the tiny circuit-board fragment, said to be part of the timer that triggered the bomb. It was key forensic evidence in the case because the timers had been sold to Libya.

The circuit board was linked to Swiss electronics firm MEBO, but it is claimed fresh forensic scrutiny has established the fragment did not match the MEBO boards.

It also appears the fragment was from a type of circuit-board not patented until 1991.

The British expert, who has asked not to be named but was interviewed for Cran’s film, said the fragment contained traces of copper foil, while the older MEBO timers sold to Libya did not.

He said the technique of adding foil coating to circuit boards only emerged at the end of the 1980s and was not patented until 1991.

The fragment of circuit board was said to match those made MEBO and sold only to Libya and East Germany no later than 1986. Its co-founder Edwin Bollier also uncovered new evidence after winning the right to obtain Government files on the firm.

Through those documents, it is claimed a named member of the Swiss secret services visited MEBO in June 1989 and took away a circuit board he passed on to US investigators.

The fragment, known as PT35(b), entered the chain of evidence in October 1990, and later that month the CIA returned to MEBO and obtained circuit boards.

Thomson said:

"Somehow, the Americans knew 16 months or so before the fragment was found to send a local agent to MEBO to secure a circuit board. You have to wonder whether the investigation was following a prepared script."

The Swiss documents also reveals that the Zurich lab found:

"The fragment used as evidence in the Lockerbie trial does not match the timers made by MEBO."

Dr Jim Swire, 82, spokesman for the UK relatives among the 270 who died on December 21, 1988, said:

"This evidence underlines that PT35(b) did not come from boards made by MEBO and sold to Libya. We need a full public inquiry to explore this and to deliver truth and justice before it’s too late for those of us who have the right to know why our loved ones died."

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission is considering ordering a posthumous appeal on behalf of Megrahi’s family. In 2007, it found no reasonable court could have concluded he was guilty on the evidence led at trial.

Police Scotland and the Crown Office said it would be inappropriate to comment on a live case.[4]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:PT35B - The Most Expensive Forgery in HistoryArticle18 October 2017Ludwig De BraeckeleerLudwig De Braeckeleer proves that the Lockerbie bomb timer fragment PT/35(b) is a "fragment of the imagination"