Filmmaker Details Investigation That Determined Alleged Pan Am Flight 103 Bomb-Maker

30-two yrs after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, new expenses have been brought

30-two yrs after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, new expenses have been brought against the man suspected of generating the bomb that took down the airplane over Lockerbie, Scotland.

U.S. Legal professional Normal William Barr announced Monday that the section was charging former Libyan intelligence officer Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi. He is accused of supplying a Samsonite suitcase with a Toshiba cassette player that was armed with an explosive.

The rates occur just after decades of investigations in quite a few nations that led to only a person conviction for the attack that killed 270 persons. Scottish judges convicted Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi in 2001 for his position in the bombing. He died in 2012.

Filmmaker Ken Dornstein was sure others were included.

His brother, David, was killed in the bombing, and Dornstein has dedicated his everyday living to browsing for the truth of the matter. In his 2015 Frontline documentary sequence “My Brother’s Bomber,” he revealed hyperlinks that finally led to the indictment of Mas’ud as the suspected bomb specialist.

Irrespective of the Libyan government’s denial of involvement, Dornstein was confident there were being other individuals concerned in the plot. So he did what journalists do: pored in excess of vacation documents and video archives and even went around the world to track down these accountable for his brother’s loss of life. He found travel files linking Mas’ud to yet another attack on People in america in Germany two a long time in advance of the Lockerbie bombing.

But it appeared like most everybody who had worked with Mas’ud was useless, and other people questioned to Dornstein whether that was even his actual name.

“My Libyan pal and fixer at the time looked at the identify and mentioned, which is almost a built-up title,” Dornstein tells Early morning Edition host Noel King.

Then, in 2012, Dornstein uncovered about a Libyan man dwelling in Germany. He had long gone to prison for bombing a German nightclub in 1986. Dornstein went to Germany to question him who experienced designed the bomb he used. The guy went on to identify Mas’ud.

Even now, there was no just one who could tell Dornstein in which to come across the suspected bomb-maker.

Then in 2015, additional than two decades just after they met, the Libyan male in Germany sent Dornstein a text. It was a photograph of a person prolonged suspected was Mas’ud. He was becoming held in a Libyan prison.

On Morning Edition Dornstein describes what took place upcoming:

And so what do you do? Do you just take that data to the FBI? Do you phone them up and say, “Fellas, there is a man who was concerned in Lockerbie and I’ve bought a picture of him. He is in prison on trial in Libya.”

I was in one thing of a bind mainly because as a filmmaker and a journalist, of course I was seeking to get as a great deal as I could on the file. I experienced at different periods been questioned by the FBI. They preferred to know if I experienced anything at all suitable to their investigation at unique factors. I did give them data, so they knew what I knew as of 2014. And it was truly just a waiting around game of whether there would be the capability or the political will probably to do something about it.

If this gentleman, Abu Agela Mas’ud, is in fact responsible, that indicates he is in component responsible for your brother’s death. How did you experience hearing Lawyer Basic Barr say we have indicted this gentleman, this gentleman that you put in several years chasing?

You know, it can be perhaps understandably a blended bag of feelings. I signify, as a journalist and filmmaker, I am usually grateful if anyone can take your operate very seriously and one thing will come of it. As a brother, the detail that passions me at this moment is about the organization of truth of the matter and lies and that [Libyan leader] Moammar Gadhafi was the initial type of strongman and he lied brazenly. And individuals lies have been recurring by his interior circle, and they had been repeated by the convicted bomber, al-Megrahi, who went to his death denying that he played any purpose in expressing he was scapegoated. And even some kin of Lockerbie victims have internalized people lies. And around time, that system is corrosive. I have thought that if you could uncover specific truths and establish selected information and even film them, then you could disarm of the hurt. And I am waiting around to see what comes of the Justice Department’s announcement. My hope is that it puts far more points on the history that are incontrovertible and that it finishes any remaining queries and that it silences the lies.

You tried extremely difficult to discuss to Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi before he died. You did not get a prospect. What would you want to inquire Abu Agela Mas’ud if you experienced an option to sit down with him?

What I needed a lot more than anything, was for him to notify me the story. The narrative truly was what I was wanting for, the sort of specificity of detail that you couldn’t deny and you couldn’t make up. And the instant I desired was the minute when he to start with read that his title had occur up in link with Lockerbie and that 20 several years, 20 furthermore years of lies and denials about his role experienced basically come to almost nothing. And I needed him to know that you could not lie and deny eternally and that someone would treatment enough to place out the truth of the matter. And I needed him to know in this situation that that was me.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see far more, check out https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

This was December 21, 1988.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Unidentified REPORTER: A Christmas tragedy in Scotland tonight – a New York-certain Pan Am 747 traveling from London’s Heathrow Airport crashed in the village of Lockerbie in southern Scotland about an hour right after takeoff. There were 258 on board Flight 103, and a Royal Air Force formal coordinating rescue effort states all perished.

KING: And this was December 21, 2020. Here is Lawyer Basic William Barr.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WILLIAM BARR: I am delighted to announce that the United States has submitted felony costs towards the 3rd conspirator, Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, for his purpose in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

KING: To realize how extended the odds ended up of this taking place, take into account this. It took Scottish judges 13 many years to convict one particular of the two Libyan guys who’d been charged in the bombing, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi. He was convicted in 2001. The other person wasn’t convicted at all. Family associates of the victims believed he couldn’t have done this on your own. He had to have experienced collaborators. But Libya denied any involvement, and Megrahi swore he was harmless. And then in 2008, he got cancer, and the Scottish authorities permit him out of jail on compassionate grounds. Some of the victims’ people ended up outraged.

Ken Dornstein’s brother David was on board Flight 103. Ken is a documentary filmmaker. He and other people had been convinced that Libya was lying about its involvement, so he did what journalists do. He pored more than previous films, pics, photocopies.

KEN DORNSTEIN: I steeped myself in the files. I signify, it was a great deal of paperwork.

KING: And he went to Libya during the Arab Spring to try to discover the fact of who else experienced been involved.

DORNSTEIN: The individuals who had been the – I feel the architects of the bombing – they had been killed, some by Gadhafi. And other people experienced been killed by the rebels who had toppled Gadhafi. It was a violent routine, and they died in a violent way. But I was still left all over again with just this title who my Libyan buddy and fixer at the time seemed at the identify and said, that is practically a designed-up identify – Abu Agela Mas’ud. The people today who labored with him were being lifeless or gone, and my Libyan fixer reported that could not even be a real identify.

KING: He listened to this once again and once more. Abu Agela Mas’ud perhaps does not exist. And then Ken acquired about a Libyan male residing in Germany. This gentleman experienced long gone to jail for bombing a German nightclub in 1986. Two American servicemen were killed. Ken requested this man to meet up with, and he said Okay. So Ken flew to Germany, and he asked, who made the bomb that you applied in the nightclub?

DORNSTEIN: And he went on to name the name of the bomb maker, and it turned out to be Abu Agela Mas’ud.

KING: The gentleman Ken experienced been chasing was genuine. But in the chaos immediately after Libya’s civil war, it seemed like there’d hardly ever be a way to discover him. Soon after all, he’d been a ghost for years. And then in 2015, additional than two several years right after they satisfied, the Libyan gentleman in Germany sent Ken a textual content. It was a image of a man Ken experienced witnessed in an outdated video clip, a guy he’d long suspected was Abu Agela Mas’ud. He was sporting a blue jumpsuit.

DORNSTEIN: And I understood that all those blue jumpsuits had been the form that the former Gadhafi routine associates who were on demo in Libya would don in courtroom. And so we went via – my filmmaking group went by each stock photograph of illustrations or photos taken of the gentlemen who have been on trial. And we pored via them, and we observed more and far more visuals of this identical guy. And I understood that is him. Mas’ud is not a ghost. He does exist. And in actuality, he is currently being held in a Libyan jail.

KING: And so what do you do? Do you consider that details to the FBI? Do you contact them up and say, guys, there is a man who was involved in Lockerbie, and I’ve acquired a picture of him he is in prison on demo in Libya?

DORNSTEIN: I was in a thing of a bind due to the fact as a filmmaker and a journalist, certainly, I was hoping to get as substantially as I could on the record. I experienced at various situations been questioned, you know, by the FBI. They preferred to know if I had anything applicable to their investigation at distinct factors. I did give them facts, so they realized what I realized as of 2014. And it was truly just a waiting video game of no matter if there would be the capacity or the political will, maybe, to do something about it.

KING: If this gentleman, Abu Agela Mas’ud, is in actuality responsible, that indicates he is in portion accountable for your brother’s death. How did you experience listening to Attorney Basic Barr say, we have indicted this male, this man that you expended many years chasing?

DORNSTEIN: You know, it really is possibly understandably a combined bag of feelings. I imply, as a journalist and filmmaker, I am usually grateful if somebody can take your work severely and something will come of it. You know, as a brother, the point that pursuits me at this instant is about the business enterprise of truth and lies and that Moammar Gadhafi was the unique sort of strongman and he lied openly. And those lies have been repeated by his inner circle. They were being repeated by the convicted bomber, al-Megrahi, who went to his dying denying that he performed any part in expressing he was scapegoated. And even some relatives of Lockerbie victims have internalized those lies.

And in excess of time, that system is corrosive. I have believed that if you could discover sure truths and establish selected information and even movie them, then you could disarm the damage. And I’m ready to see what comes of the Justice Department’s announcement. My hope is that it puts a lot more information on the document that are incontrovertible and that it finishes any remaining questions and that it silences the lies.

KING: You experimented with quite tough to converse to Abdel Basset al-Megrahi right before he died. You did not get a prospect. What would you want to request Abu Aguila Mas’ud if you experienced an opportunity to sit down with him?

DORNSTEIN: What I needed additional than anything was for him to explain to me the story. The narrative genuinely was what I was seeking for, the type of specificity of element that you couldn’t deny and you could not make up. And the instant I required was the instant when he 1st listened to that his title had arrive up in relationship with Lockerbie and that 20 a long time, 20-in addition yrs of lies and denials about his job had in fact arrive to very little. And I preferred him to know that you couldn’t lie and deny permanently and that somebody would treatment adequate to point out the fact, and I preferred him to know in this circumstance that that was me.

KING: Ken Dornstein is a documentary filmmaker. His movie for PBS’ “Frontline” about this situation is named “My Brother’s Bomber.”

(SOUNDBITE OF Pleasure Wants ETERNITY’S “Dying IS A Doorway THAT OPENS”) Transcript supplied by NPR, Copyright NPR.