Sunday August 23,2009 By Ben Borland, Express
AN AMERICAN citizen is to be named by the Lockerbie bomber as the man who really carried out the terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103.
Megrahi’s early release from prison on compassionate grounds.
Lawyers for the bomber were to argue that an “elusive” terrorist codenamed Abu Elias planted the bomb in December 1988, causing the deaths of 270 innocent people.
Megrahi is now expected to identify the man behind this alias.
The Scottish Sunday Express tracked this man down to his home in the US, and he strongly denied having anything to do with the atrocity.
However, we can reveal that he has connections to at least two international terrorists and a Palestinian terror group, as well as links to the US intelligence services.
The man, who works as a schools engineer for the US government, was to become the central figure in Megrahi’s aborted appeal.
‘Elias’, a commander in a Palestinian terror organisation, was identified as the CIA’s primary Lockerbie suspect but was never caught.
Sources close to Megrahi believe he may actually have been a double agent working for the FBI or the CIA.
Last night the man, who we have chosen not to name, said: “Sorry, I don’t think that I can help in this case. It is a clear case of either mistaken identity and/or fabrication.
“I don’t wish my name to be mentioned in any capacity in the press. I am sure you understand the sensitivity of this matter since I have a family and children.”
However, Christine Grahame MSP, who visited Megrahi in Greenock prison and campaigned for his release, is believed to be considering naming the man in the Scottish Parliament.
She said: “It is apparent that US intelligence has known or must have known the primary suspect of the Lockerbie bombing was alive and living safely in Washington.
“There has been a suggestion made that he is in some way an ‘intelligence asset’ for the US and that is why he has been allowed to live in peace.
“He must be deeply relieved that Megrahi was forced to drop his appeal and that he will never face justice for this atrocity.”
Yesterday, Megrahi promised that before he dies he will present new evidence gathered for the appeal which will exonerate him. He said he will call on the British and Scottish people “to be the jury”.
The man Megrahi believes was Abu Elias now lives in a suburban neighbourhood near Washington’s Dulles airport, just a few miles from the White House and the Lockerbie memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. He even has his own Facebook social network page.
He is the nephew of Syrian terror warlord Ahmed Jibril, the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC).
Jibril was allegedly paid $10million by Iran to bomb an American passenger jet in retaliation for the US Navy accidentally shooting down an Iranian plane earlier in 1988, killing all 298 pilgrims on board.
The man is also related to Nezar Hindawi, a Syrian currently serving a 45-year sentence in Whitemoor high-security prison in Cambridgeshire for plotting to blow up an Israeli jet flying from Heathrow to Tel Aviv in 1986.
A document submitted to the appeal court by Megrahi’s lawyers states: “The FBI had apparently investigated ‘X’ and knew he was the nephew of Ahmed Jibril.
“‘X’ had met with FBI special agents [an appointment was in his diary for August 1988] but neither ‘X’ nor the Department of Justice would disclose who the agents were or the precise purpose of the recorded meeting. ‘X’ admitted the meeting had taken place. It is inconceivable that he did not produce his Syrian passport for examination. Only extracts from his US passport were revealed.
“Once again, the hand of the US government appeared to be guiding matters behind the scenes.”
‘Elias’ was also connected to Mohammed Abu Talb, an Egyptian named by Dumfries and Galloway Police as their chief suspect less than a year after the bombing. The true identity of ‘Elias’ first came to light during a closed hearing at the Lockerbie trial in Holland in 2001, which led to Megrahi’s conviction.
However, the defence claim that attempts to investigate further were dismissed as a “fishing” exercise by the then Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd.
There is further evidence to link the PFLP-GC to the disaster, as first reported by the Scottish Sunday Express in 2004.
In October 1988, following a tip-off from the CIA, German police raided a PFLP-GC safe house in Neuss and discovered a bomb in a Toshiba cassette player, identical to the one which exploded on board Flight 103, as well as a Pan Am timetable.
Codenamed Autumn Leaves, the raid resulted in 16 arrests including that of cell leader Hafez Dalkamoni, later convicted for a bombing campaign on German railways, and Marwan Khreesat, a double agent for the Jordanian intelligence service.
Khreesat said in an interview with an FBI agent that he had been introduced to a man called Abu Elias, an explosives and airline security expert who had been “giving orders”.
Another member of the terror cell, Mobdi Goben, later disclosed Elias’s true identity in a deathbed confession which became known as the Goben Memorandum during the Camp Zeist trial. Goben claimed ‘Elias’ placed a bomb in the luggage of Khaled Jafar, a Lebanese/American from Detroit who died on board Pan Am Flight 103.
A source close to Megrahi said yesterday that ‘Elias’ could have been spying for the Americans.
The source said: “Not only was Abu Elias known to the Americans, but what if he was working for them? The guy comes into the US from the former Soviet Union, he’s the nephew of Ahmed Jibril – the Bin Laden of his day – and he just strolls into the US?
“I think they turned him, and I think he operated as a double agent.
“Khreeshat said if they had waited one more day they would have got Elias in the Autumn Leaves raid.Goben says Elias put the bomb into Jafar’s case without his knowledge.
“Abu Elias was a prime suspect. An American double agent was responsible for bringing down an American plane. How good a reason for a cover-up would that be?”