The Murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher

U.K. politics and terror threat analysis.

The Murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

01 Oct 2006, 03:20 #1

Bearing in mind the following:

1) that one Peter Power, now of Visor Consultants and 7th July terror rehearsal fame, was deputy forward control coordinator at the Libyan People's Bureau siege at which WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot and killed, and

2) that it is reasonably clear from evidence and the testimony under oath of a retired police officer that the evidence to implicate Libya in the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am flight 103 was planted by the CIA....

Behind the politics and dirty tricks that demonised Libya’s Colonel Qaddafi

By David Guyatt

"it’s an easy hit." The voice of Lester Coleman, former Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) operative and joint author of the explosive book Trail of the Octopus, echoed hollowly down the line. Lester answered my question in four simple words. I had asked him why the US continues blaming Libya’s Qadaffi for all the woes in the world. Since his enforced "exile," Lester has become something of an expert on Libya.

"Listen David," he continued, "It’s all domestic politics." Libyan skulduggery plays to the "Red-necks" who inhabit middle America. Lester, an accomplished linguist launched into a humorous back-woods drawl to emphasise his point. Most Americans believe anything they’re told about "Ay-rabs" he said, particularly at politically sensitive times or during an election year. One reason, perhaps, why the US had threatened to use a nuclear weapon against Libya in spring of 1996.

I was told this latter piece of gossip by Sir Teddy Taylor, Conservative Member of Parliament. Sir Teddy had consented to an interview to provide background on the assassination of WPC Yvonne Fletcher and also on the downing of Pan Am flight 103, over Lockerbie. The MP had a special interest in both cases. Somehow, I had missed picking up the US nuclear threat on the news. When Sir Teddy mentioned it, my jaw dropped with a jowl-shuddering "clunk." I later confirmed the story from American media sources. In the event it was just bluster. 1996 has proved a peculiarly good year for Libya. For the second time in a decade, it got shunted into the political back woods by Presidential warlords. Instead the mad Ayatollah’s of Iran took centre-stage as America’s arch-demon in this election year. But by all accounts it was touch and go whether Libya or Iran would be awarded the honour of the black boot this time around.

Les Coleman is the first DIA operative to have gone public and blown the whistle. His book blew the lid on the Lockerbie story. Because of his inside knowledge, he was inundated with death threats from the intelligence community and fled with his family to Europe for safety. Originally given temporary political asylum in Sweden, two years later he was forced to move on. Most recently he was residing in Spain.

When I spoke to him, he was planning his return to the US after years of exile. Now penniless and unsettled, we spoke about his chances of arrest on an old charge of obtaining a passport in a false name - something he did under DIA instruction as a field operative. In any case, Les hoped the forthcoming Presidential election might insulate him from prosecution, but was going to return "home" no matter what. His family had, understandably, grown tired of their nomadic life and missed "home".

Unsurprisingly, word of his return to the USA had leaked out. A short while before finalising his flight plans he was attacked by four men and beaten to a pulp. He arrived in the US in a wheelchair on 17 October 1996, arrested and placed in custody on Federal charges. His book, due to be published in the US has been now been suppressed. US distributors for Signet Books, say the publication date is "indefinitely postponed."

Les was one of many people I spoke to in an attempt to get a clear understanding of the nonsensical US position on Libya. For the better part of twenty years Libya and its leader Muammar Qaddafi has been hoisted atop America’s most hated nation list. It was a form of political vilification that Europe didn’t share, until the murder of Yvonne Fletcher, to which I shall return.

Upon taking power, the Reagan administration immediately commenced a bitter campaign against Qaddafi, principally under the guidance of Director of Central Intelligence, Bill Casey - a gruff, no nonsense financial street-fighter who’s lack of political eloquence was matched by a well used black-jack. Casey had been Ronald Reagan’s Campaign Manager and carried Reagan to victory on the back of the "October Surprise" issue of 1980. President Carter’s re-election chances were dashed by the intransigence of both the Iranians and US officials who - unknown to him - had concluded a secret deal to delay the release of US hostages, held by Tehran, in exchange for battlefield weapons. Reagan romped home to a landslide victory and immediately announced that the hostages would be released. It is now clear that Casey was one of the central architects who negotiated the deal with the Iranian Ayatollahs.

A virulent pro-market, anti-Communist, Casey shared his views with British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher - a close personal friend. Thatcher was one of the few Prime Ministers who took an active interest in the machinations of the intelligence community. She went out of her way to attend Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) meetings and insisted on being regularly briefed. Her interest in these exotic areas may have been whetted by many of her ardent supporters, like Airey Neave, who possessed intelligence backgrounds.

Casey also had a "thing" about Qaddafi, who he saw as a lowlife rebel-rouser who bankrolled the globe’s terrorists. Along with other administration hard-liner’s, Casey set out to destabilise Libya and over-throw Qaddafi in true CIA fashion.

Within months of taking office, President Reagan authorised a battle fleet to sail along Libya’s coastline. Announced to the media as a "naval exercise," the manoeuvre was designed to challenge Libya’s recently announced sovereignty over the Gulf of Sidra - a move that extended Libya’s territorial claims well beyond the internationally recognised twelve mile coastal boundary.

Ordinarily, a territorial dispute of this nature would typically be subject to international diplomacy and discussion. In the event the Reagan administration saw it as a perfect excuse to buckle on the hip-holsters and start blasting away with a set of Texan six-guns. Qadhafi was about to get a taste Reagan’s gung-ho, go-get-‘em diplomacy - the first in a series of "police actions" that were later to lead to the invasion of Granada and Panama.

On August 19, 1981, two US Navy F-14 "Tomcats" patrolling thirty miles inside the disputed territorial waters were attacked by Libyan jets. In the melee that followed two Libyan jets were shot down. A delighted Ronald Reagan mimicked his old western movie days - for the benefit of his close aides - by drawing two imaginary six-guns and peppering an equally imaginary Qaddafi with numerous bullets. It was pure "boy’s own" stuff but backed by multi-megaton muscles.

Over the following months, numerous intelligence briefings reported that Qaddafi had ordered a revenge attack against President Reagan and other high administration officials. Quickly shown to be unfounded, the fabricated report was traced to Manucher Ghorbanifar - a shadowy Iranian arms dealer who had helped to broker the arms for hostages deal. Despite this, the "false" death threat gave Casey and other administration insiders the ammunition they needed to wage a protracted campaign against the Libyan leader.

By November, a top secret National Security Planning Group (NSPG) chaired by the President (who was known to sleep through Cabinet meetings) authorised planning for " a military response against Libya in the event of further Libyan attempts to assassinate American officials or attack U.S. facilities." Soon drafted, the Top Secret memo "counter-terrorist planning towards Libya" recommended the President to "immediately direct the Joint Chiefs of Staff to ready assets to carry out military action against Libya in self-defence, following a further Libyan provocation." A number of retaliatory "graduated" responses were planned. Out of the main five options, four centred on air strikes against Libyan targets. Fear-stricken at these developments, Qaddafi reacted by sending an envoy to Washington, pleading that the whole thing was pure bunkum. The strategy proved successful… for the time being.

There followed a hiatus in US activity against Libya, as the CIA and Casey focused most of its resources on the Nicaraguan situation. But Qaddafi was not to be forgotten. In a tour of European Capitals in early 1984 - a US Presidential election year - US officials seeking allied co-operation against Libya returned home in bleak mood. The picture they presented of European attitudes to Qaddafi was not encouraging. The Libyan leader was generally well regarded. First he did a lot of business with Europe; he wasn’t a fundamentalist, and; a large number of European ex-pats lived and worked in Libya. Collectively, the Europeans wouldn’t sanction US hostilities. Hardly surprising when the bulk of Libya’s crude oil - almost 80% - is exported to western Europe - principally Italy, Germany, Spain and France.

With administration insiders concluding that Qaddafi would be just the "ticket" leading to a Reagan victory at the upcoming election in November, something had to be done to modify European public opinion. Within months, "fate" seemed to lend a helping hand.

Woman Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher was on duty outside London Libyan people’s Bureau, on 17 April 1984. Located in the fashionable and serene St. James Square, the Libyan Bureau building huddles in a corner of the square. It’s address is No. 5. On that day a hail of automatic gunfire disturbed the tranquillity, sending Pigeons flying in all directions. The eleven round burst - fired by a 9mm Sterling sub-machine gun - from the first floor of the Libyan building, felled a number of anti-Qadaffi demonstrators protesting outside. WPC Fletcher was killed outright. The slaying caused uproar and hit the headlines around the world. Condemned in the worlds media and Parliament, all Libyan diplomats were expelled by a furious Home Secretary. The only problem with the Home Secretary’s understandable indignation was that the Libyan gunman didn’t shoot Yvonne Fletcher.

The Fletcher killing occurred out-of-the-blue and singularly changed British political and public opinion overnight. Open season was declared on Qaddafi and Libya by the US, and most importantly, was supported by Britain. The rest of Europe kept silent and sulked - having been out manoeuvred. With the aid of a single bullet, the Reagan administration’s "destabilisation" plan against Qaddafi was back on track.

Eighteen months after Fletcher’s assassination, 40 US warplanes screamed across the night sky above Tripoli and Benghazi. Of those, eight F111 bombers had launched from bases in East Anglia, England - with the blessing of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and a still enraged British population. Each bomber carried four 2000-pound laser-guided "smart" bombs. In all, 32,000-pounds of high explosive ordnance were explicitly targeted to kill Qadaffi. Miraculously, he escaped unhurt. His fifteenth-month old daughter was killed and two adopted sons badly injured.

The Reagan administration loosed the warplanes on Libya following the bombing of the La Belle Discotheque in West Berlin, nine days earlier. One US serviceman and a young Turkish woman had been killed outright, and 230 people injured. The Disco was a known hangout for off-duty US servicemen.

President Reagan claimed he had irrefutable proof of Libyan sponsorship for the atrocity. Despite this claim, no evidence has been submitted by the Reagan administration to support their allegations. A host of well informed individuals and "sources" doubt any proof ever existed - except in the fevered imagination of CIA boss, Bill Casey. Conservative MP, Sir Teddy Taylor, regards the American allegations as "total rubbish."

In April 1996, Britain’s Channel Four "flagship" documentary programme Dispatches - in a massively researched broadcast - revealed that Fletcher had been murdered by elements of British and American intelligence. The purpose of the slaying, as outlined earlier, was to "shape" public opinion and, importantly, pre-empt Parliamentary indignation for the later bombing of Tripoli by British based US warplanes. Disgracefully, these astonishing revelations went unreported by the media.

The film, made by the highly regarded Fulcrum Productions, was the subject of a debate in the House of Commons on 8 May 1996. MP’s Sir Teddy Taylor and Tam Dalyell, demanded the government initiate a full inquiry. Responding for the government, Home Office Minister of State, David MacClean, described the Dispatches programme as "preposterous trash." In doing so, he called into question the reputations of leading ballistics experts and gun-shot specialists - and carefully avoided reference to information provided to the documentary team by well placed, and knowledgeable, intelligence sources. It was a white-knuckle statement that will hopefully, one day, boomerang back on him.

Fulcrum had learned that British and US intelligence had established a major surveillance post - adjacent to the Libyan People’s Bureau - at No. 8 St. James Square. This post had been "active" for at least six weeks prior to the shooting, with up to 40 individual intelligence officers present. On the morning of the shooting, the post was abandoned. Moreover, Dispatches also learned that the demonstration outside the Libyan Bureau was a phoney. The demonstrators belonged to a CIA front organisation.

Two additional facts were discovered: British and American intelligence knew that Col. Qaddafi had sanctioned his London Bureau to shoot at the demonstrators - they had intercepted the secret message granting authorisation. Secondly, the CIA and MI5 knew precisely the calibre of weapon to be used. Both intelligence agencies had "penetrated" the Bureau and had Libyan "sources" supplying information to them.

Crucially, Fulcrum Productions learned, beyond doubt, that the bullet that killed Fletcher had been fired from the upper floor of No. 8 St. James Square - the location of the surveillance post. Ballistics experts consulted by the documentary team, confirmed the bullets entry track to have come from No. 8. The team also learned that the bullet was adapted to fire with "Terminal Velocity." This technique - a speciality of SAS "shooters" - is achieved by removing some of the explosive propellant from the cartridge. The result is a quieter shot - similar to using a silencer. A side effect of a bullet fired in this manner is that it flies slower and "tumbles" as it strikes the target - wrecking havoc as it rips through soft tissue. In every respect it is a "killer" shot - where chances of survival are so slim as to be negligible. The information on the bullet’s "Terminal Velocity" characteristics were also confirmed by independent experts.

A well-placed and reliable "source" interviewed by this writer, explained why WPC Fletcher was targeted. Intelligence operatives knew Qaddafi had authorised a "hitman" to let loose with a sterling automatic weapon against CIA funded demonstrators gathering outside the London Bureau. This information was gleaned with the aid of signals intercepts and human intelligence (HUMINT) sources inside the Bureau itself. The great worry amongst the secret cabal who planned the assassination, was that random killing of Arab protesters would not be sufficient to force the British Home Secretary to expel all Libyan diplomats. It was argued that a targeting a British "Bobby," especially a Police Woman would do the trick.

Such appalling cynicism is the hand-maiden to the intelligence community as well as heartless politicians who believe the end justifies the means. The "source" also explained that it was an "off the books" hit, and that "elements" inside the British and American intelligence community were "out of control." But the suspicion remains that someone with power and influence gave a "nod and a wink" to the operation. It is just not credible to suppose otherwise. The key to this convoluted reasoning was the cabal’s fear that the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, would not act as required, without immense public and political pressure to jog him along. This is the rationale of someone with a developed sense of political reality.

After the shooting, Brittan immediately ordered an investigation, which has remained under lock and key ever since. Not long afterwards, sordid stories began to circulate amongst the British media that the Home Secretary had unusual sexual appetites. The rumours were fed to the satirical magazine, Private Eye, who recognised the handiwork of the security service and refused to publish the allegations. However, within a year, Leon Brittan was forced from office for his part in the Westland helicopter debacle.

With Western European objections so neatly taken care of, Qadaffi’s demonisation went in to full gear. The anachronistic Bedouin was rapidly elevated from "useful" to "primary" middle east "scapegoat." At the same time, European governments learned as a result of the Libyan bombing, just how "hard" the US were prepared to play in pursuit of domestic politics and wider foreign policy. Tarring Qadaffi as the world’s bad boy suited the selfish interests of the political power elite in the US, and was an added bonus when other illegal CIA middle east "covert ops" went belly-up. One such operation was the CIA protected Heroin pipeline operating from the middle east to the USA.

A recurring problem for President Reagan was his inability to rescue the US hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah. Hanging like a dark cloud over his otherwise successful term of office, the hostage problem was turned over to Lt. Colonel Oliver North to resolve. North, a medium ranked military officer with close personal ties to the CIA’s Bill Casey, was the administrations global Mr. Fixit. He, in turn, called on the services of his old friend, Manzur El-Khassar - a Syrian born "big-time" narcotics and arms trafficker. Earlier, the Syrian had assisted North in his time of need, by brokering a large shipment of weapons to the CIA backed, Nicaragua’s Contra’s. It earned him a lot of kudos inside the administration.

Lebanon’s Bekka Valley is a fertile and productive area specially suited to growing Opium poppies. Rifat Assad, the brother of Syria’s President Hafez Assad was widely known to have been in charge of Syria’s narcotics enterprise. As the "Supremo" of the Bekka Valley’s massive Opium industry, he was also a paid "asset" of the CIA and was being "groomed" to succeed his elder brother as Syrian President. He was also an extremely close friend to El-Khassar. It is widely believed that the influx of 30,000 Syrian troops in to the Bekka Valley during the eighties, had as much to do with protecting the lucrative Opium fields as with separating Lebanon’s warring factions.

El-Khassar agreed to negotiate on behalf of the US for the release of the US hostages. His side of the deal was to get an agreement that the US would protect the Syrian drugs pipeline that shipped through Frankfurt airport to the USA. The CIA allegedly established a group - known as "CIA One" - who would oversee and protect the drugs route. If publicly discovered, the response was to say that the "protected" drugs shipments were part of a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) "sting" operation, dedicated to tracking distribution networks inside the USA.

Unknown to North and his cahoots, there was also a secret five-man Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) team working in Lebanon. The team, headed by Major Charles "Tiny" McKee was independently tasked with locating and rescuing the US hostages. During the course of his work, McKee, stumbled across El-Khassar’s "CIA One" protected Heroin network. Reporting his "discovery" to CIA HQ at Langley, and outraged at the lack of response, McKee booked his team on a flight home. At this point, El’Khassar learned of McKee’s activities and was also informed of his flight plans. Anxious that McKee would put a stop to his activities, he contacted his CIA One handlers who, in turn, communicated with their "control" in Washington.

Against this insidious backdrop, other, unrelated covert plans were being hatched. Following the July 1988 shoot-down of an Iranian Airbus by the US Navy battle-cruiser Vincennes, hard-line Iranian Ayatollah’s demanded swift retaliation for the 290 lives lost. They hired the Syrian based Popular front for the Liberation of Palestine, General Command (PFLP-GC) for a tit-for-tat attack. Led by Ahmed Jibril - and with a $10 million Iranian bounty - the PFLP-GC searched for a suitable target. An expert at bombing aircraft, Jibril soon learned of El-Khassar’s Frankfurt based dope pipeline and persuaded El-Khassar to place a bomb inside the Heroin laden suitcase. Pan Am flight 103 was scheduled for destruction.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Federal Police, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), received a warning that a bomb was to be substituted for the dope shipment aboard flight 103. They alerted CIA One, who passed the information on to their Stateside "Control." The reply came back: "Don’t worry about it. Don’t stop it. Let it go." On December 21st 1988, Pan Am’s Jumbo 747 "Maid of the Seas" exploded high above the Scottish village of Lockerbie. All 259 passengers perished. A further eleven people died as wreckage from the aircraft hurtled down to earth.

Within hours, a host of CIA agents arrived at the crash scene. It is thought that the CIA search team arrived via helicopter from a US Special Forces facility located at Machrihanish, on the Mull of Kintyre. The speed of their arrival suggests they had foreknowledge of the bombing. In any case the CIA agents, dressed in Pan Am overalls, set about ransacking the crash sight in a desperate search for incriminating evidence. For two days they searched for the luggage of the dead DIA team and frantically sought the suitcase containing the heroin shipment. One suitcase was recovered, flown out and later returned empty, to be "re-discovered" by the forensic team scouring the wreckage. It belonged to Major Charles McKee. Curiously, one unidentified body was snatched from the wreckage and never returned.

Les Coleman believes it would be wrong to blame the CIA in toto for the Lockerbie atrocity. Intelligence outfits do not work as cohesively as many outsiders believe. There is a great deal of rivalry and fragmentation at work. DCI Bill Casey, had plenty of detractors inside the monolith he directed. Some worked hard feeding unattributed information to their favourite journalists that was designed to damage him and, hopefully, lead to his removal. Others are known to operate as part of small and secretive core that has variously been identified as the "Enterprise" or the "Octopus." The latter is said to operate with organised crime and leading politicians who covertly traffic in guns, drugs laundered money and any other commodity that can generate massive profits. Whether the proceeds of these illegal activities are siphoned back into the "black" budgets of the CIA, or fill the pockets of participants - or both - isn’t entirely clear.

Despite Coleman’s caution, the CIA’s infamous history - stretching over fifty years - clearly suggest that US foreign policy and private gain "coalesce" in to a game-plan that benefits various parties. Some intelligence "watchers" point to the wealth of some long-term CIA officers and ask how they amassed their fortunes based on salaries of $60,000 a year? It is a valid question that can be equally addressed to former and serving politicians and senior government bureaucrats.

By attributing the responsibility of Lockerbie on Qaddafi, the US administration was following in the well-worn foot-steps of many predecessors in similar situations. It’s a technique as old as the hills. Caught virtually red-handed in massive illegality, the first thought is to cast round for a suitable scapegoat. As Lester Coleman said when I first spoke to him, Qaddafi is an easy target. Independently minded and unwilling to align himself with US middle eastern policy, he became a target in the US. His past bankrolling of "terrorist" causes - and one-time expansionism - also did him no favours. It’s a case of if you’re not for us, you’re against us.

Sitting on vast reserves of oil is also a significant factor for Libya’s treatment at the hands of the US. The fact that most of this oil flows to western European oil companies, clearly doesn’t cut much ice with the US. Rivalry between the European and US business elite is as intense as ever. US oil companies can’t be pleased that they are effectively out of the picture. In that sense Qaddafi was, as Les Coleman said, an "easy hit."

Perhaps more telling than anything else, British support for the US anti-Libyan "campaign" clearly demonstrates the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the British political process. That those in power manipulated the British judicial system and continue to lie to the families of the Lockerbie victims is sinister enough. That they not only tolerated, but connived in the murder of an innocent woman police officer - to further American political designs - says more than any party political manifesto could begin to utter. All power corrupts, but the continued exercise of raw, unadulterated power of this magnitude is the very antithesis of a participatory democracy.

In researching this article I spoke with many different individuals. Some agreed to speak on the record, whilst others requested anonymity. One well placed and knowledgeable source summed up the situation with these words: "There is no democracy. There is no free press." That source remains a leading Member of Parliament.



©1996 - David Guyatt
As mentioned in the article above, the issues raised in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme were also raised in Parliament by Tam Dalyell. The following is an excerpt from the Hansard record of events:
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow):  My locus in the tragic murder of Woman Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher is simply that, for reasons deployed in seven Adjournment debates and elsewhere, I do not believe the official view on Lockerbie, or that the accusations against Libya provide the whole story. Like Dr. Jim Swire, Pamela Dix, Rev. John Mosey, Martin Cadman and others of the Lockerbie relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher want the truth.

Very frequently, a Government are justified in dismissing a television programme or a press article as being without foundation--I use polite terminology. But as I watched Fulcrum Production's "Dispatches" programme on Channel 4 on Wednesday, 10 April, I came to the conclusion that casual dismissal simply will not do. I deploy two sets of reasons for that belief.

First, anyone who watches the programme must acknowledge the care and detail with which those responsible for that production have put it together.

Secondly, the people appearing are of a calibre and relevant experience that cannot merely be brushed aside. It is not on to imply that the professional opinion on ballistics of Lieutenant Colonel George Styles is of no value. He had 26 years in the British Army and is one its leading weapons experts.

It is preposterous to imply that the professional opinion of Hugh Thomas on the anatomy of gunshot injuries does not require a serious and detailed response. He is a former chief consultant surgeon to the British Army in Northern Ireland and has dealt with hundreds of firearms injuries in Ulster. Thomas is, quite simply, one of the leading gunshot experts in the world.

The Minister knows that Professor Bernard Knight has been one of the Home Department's most trusted and eminent pathologists for many years. He was entrusted with the investigation at Cromwell street, and much else.

I gave notice to Detective Superintendent Emerton of Scotland Yard, and he to the Home Office, that I would ask the following questions.

First, was Yvonne Fletcher shot from a different direction from that which we have hitherto been given to believe?

Secondly, there is a stark difference between what the pathologist, Dr. Ian West, wrote in the post mortem report and what he said at the inquest. Why is there that discrepancy? In his post mortem report, for example, he suggested that Yvonne Fletcher had been shot from the upper floors of an adjacent building--an angle of wound that he measured as between 60 and 70 deg. At the inquest, however, Dr. West stated:

      "Her injuries were entirely consistent with a shot fired from the first floor window of the Embassy, an angle of 15 degrees."

Why was there this extraordinary change of view? Hugh Thomas said that the post mortem, the first view, was correct.

Thirdly, is Hugh Thomas right in saying:

      "The one bullet that caused the fatal injury certainly came from the higher building"?

Fourthly, Dr. West expressed the view that WPC Fletcher must have been turning when she was shot. Turning with the natural curve of her back would greatly reduce the angle of the bullet wound. Professor Bernard Knight dismisses that analysis. I ask the Government: is Dr. West or Professor Knight right?

Fifthly, is Lieutenant Colonel Styles right in saying that WPC Fletcher's injuries could not have been caused by a Sterling machine-gun fired from the embassy's first floor because of the range and the tumbling nature of the bullet?

Sixthly, why was the video recorded by one of the Libyan demonstrators not presented in evidence at the inquest, even though the police had a copy of it? It was a student video that recorded far more than either of the professional recordings made on 17 April 1984, and it undermined the analysis of the police ballistics experts in terms of the number of bullets fired and the weapons used.

Seventhly, have the police interviewed those members of the intelligence services who witnessed the exchange of signals between the Libyan People's Bureau and Tripoli, which indicated that there would be a shooting incident? Was that information passed on to the police?

Eighthly, can the House of Commons be told what Ministers said to those members of the Security Service who indulged in what we all know was a smear campaign against the then Home Secretary, Sir Leon Brittan?

This matter goes beyond the simply personal concerns of those involved. I appreciate the presence in the Chamber of the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the right hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley). This matter concerns our relations with the Arab world and our relations with Libya.

I have had seven Adjournment debates on this subject already, which, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you would not wish me to rehearse. I shall just draw to the House's attention a statement in The Independent, on 16 February, by the right hon. Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Needham), a former trade Minister. He wrote:

      "Case one involved a large order for Bedford lorries, which were to be used by the Libyan army for civilian purposes--mainly ambulances and fire engines, or so they claimed. The trucks were standard issue and not adapted in any way for military purposes. On this order depended the future of the company. I came to the conclusion that on balance, the company's licence should be supported. I was strongly opposed by the Foreign Office--as much on political grounds, post Lockerbie and post-Scott, as military ones. The Ministry of Defence, as far as I recall, stayed aloof. I lost. The company shut down and its factory now lies empty. Fifteen hundred men and women have had to find new work."

So much for our relations with Libya.

The case refers to a central moral argument. It is not my style to involve such matters in party controversy and therefore it is a pleasure that the hon. Member for Southend, East (Sir T. Taylor), whose record in searching for the truth is impeccable, should have an opportunity to put his point of view.
Tam Dalyell also raised the issue with the new prime minister of 1997, one Tony Blair, after a follow-up to the original Dispatches was made and broadcast. Perhaps Mr Dalyell was labouring under the misapprehension that changing the figurehead of state, or indeed the political party which heads the state, might have some impact on the actions of the state:
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow):  On Africa, does the Prime Minister recall that the one subject about which President Mandela wrote a personal letter to the previous Prime Minister was his unease about Libyan sanctions? The unease felt about Lockerbie has been outlined in 11 Adjournment debates. Will the Prime Minister also reflect on the Channel 4 programmes that cast grave doubt on whether the Libyans were responsible for the brutal and wicked murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher? Before dismissing them merely as television speculation, will he take into account the fact that to do so he would have to suppose that George Styles, the senior ballistics officer of the British Army, does not know much about ballistics, that Hugh Thomas, who was the senior consultant at the Royal Victoria hospital in Belfast, does not know much about the angles at which bullets enter bodies, and that Bernard Knight, as the distinguished Home Office pathologist in charge of the Cromwell street investigation, does not know about pathology? Will he take this matter seriously?

The Prime Minister: As I said to my hon. Friend last week, the Libyan sanctions will remain until Libya complies with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Channel 4 programme was a follow-up to the original programme that was made some time last year. The continuing investigation into the murder of WPC Fletcher is a matter for the police, and anyone who has new evidence relating to the crime should pass it to them. The original extensive investigation by the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory and the pathologist Dr. Ian West concluded that she was killed by a bullet fired from the Libyan People's Bureau. Every piece of new evidence has been reviewed, but my advice is that the view prevails that she was killed by a bullet from the Libyan People's Bureau.

The police are reviewing the contents of the programme broadcast on 5 June and they expect to have completed their analysis by the end of September. I do not hold out to my hon. Friend any prospect of change in that respect; I merely say that, whenever new evidence is presented or claims are made, they are investigated. However, the best advice that we have at the moment remains the original advice.
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

01 Oct 2006, 20:49 #2

Squall has an excellent article covering some of the points made by the Dispatches programme in slightly greater detail than Tam Dalyell's comments to Parliament:
(Investigation into controversial shooting of British policewoman)

Who killed WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in 1984? Did the bullet come from the Libyan Embassy as we are told or did it come from a different building? As the public profile of issue is raised once again by Tony Blair's meeting with Colonel Gadafy in Libya, Jim Carey reviews the evidence behind the possility that the fatal bullet was fired not by a Libyan but by an American agent working for the CIA.

When Channel Four first broadcast 'Murder at St James's' in 1996, viewers were agog. How come such apparently irrefutable evidence concerning the political murder of a British policewoman on the streets of London had never been aired in public before? We'd all been led to believe that the one fatal bullet had been fired from the Libyan Embassy by a Libyan. And now a series of high level experts brought together by Fulcrum Productions were casting serious doubt on the official line. A can of secret service worms spilled across the our television screens unadvertised. And yet the rest of the national media didn't touch the subject, either before or after broadcast. So what is it about the events of that day that lent serious weight to a controversial alternative to the official position. An alternative that involves both British intelligence and the CIA.

The premise of the programme was that WPC Yvonne Fletcher had not been shot by occupants of the Libyan Embassy as the official government line runs, but by a single shot from a different building. Furthermore, the programme traced the probable source of the fatal bullet to a silenced pistol possibly born in the hands of a CIA agent and fired from offices rented by British Intelligence. Strong stuff and certainly open to accusations of an over-active imagination, were the assembled evidence not so strong. For the expert testimonies presented by the programme included a top British Army ballistics specialist with years of experience in Northern Ireland, a top Home Office pathologist formerly involved in the crucial forensic examination in the Rosemary West trial, and a former member of British Army Intelligence with intimate contacts with the security services. All of them agreeing on an interpretation of events widely at variance to the official government line. An interpretation with massive implications. When Tony Blair meet Col Gadafy in March this year, calls for the resolution of culpability have come in thick and fast. But do they know something we aren't allowed to consider.

On the morning of April 17 1984, an anti-Gadafy demonstration took place outside the Libyan Embassy (The Libyan People's Bureau) at No 5 St James's Square, London. It was destined to be a highly charged affair, having been called by the National Front for the Salvation of Libya to coincide with the month in which Colonel Gadafy traditionally put extra effort in hanging his opponents at home whilst hunting his enemies abroad. The majority of Libyan dissidents attending the demonstration wore scarves over their faces, keen to avoid photographers inside the Embassy responsible for collating dossiers on Gadafy's 'enemies abroad'.

Linda Kells, an Englishwoman and employee of an American finance company occupying No 3 St James's Square, was watching the demonstration: "Soon after the anti-Gadafy demonstrators arrived, Gadafy supporters came out of the embassy to shout back at them. Then it got a bit nasty. Everyone was yelling and screaming and being quite horrid. At that time I noticed that a window on the second floor was being opened by some swarthy Egyptian-type looking man.... About 10 minutes after that some shots were fired."

Eleven anti-Gadafy demonstrators were injured in the volley of gun fire. WPC Yvonne Fletcher was also shot and, although rushed to Westminster Hospital, died soon after arrival.

Following a ten day siege, the 22 Libyan diplomats still in the embassy were escorted to Heathrow and expelled back to Libya. The British media subsequently broadcast pictures of Gadafy welcoming the diplomats back as heroes and the British public were led to believe that Yvonne Fletcher's murderer was among them. Three weeks later the jury at the official inquest recorded a verdict asserting that WPC Fletcher had been unlawfully killed by a bullet fired from the first floor of the Libyan embassy. In his inquest report, pathologist Dr Ian West stated: "Her injuries were entirely consistent with a shot fired from the first floor window of the Embassy, an angle of 15 degrees."

As the Dispatches programme clearly pointed out, there is no dispute over the fact that shots were fired from the Libyan Embassy on that day. Indeed the recorded angle of bullet trajectory for the wounds inflicted on the anti-Gadafy demonstrators was consistent with a 15 degree angle. However, Dr Ian West's original post mortem report, obtained by the programme makers, states that the angle of the bullet that killed WPC Fletcher was measured at 60-70 degrees. As Hugh Thomas, former Chief Consultant Surgeon to the British Army in Northern Ireland, said on camera: "There is lots of leeway possible in determining the angle of entry into a body. But from 60 to 15 degrees is really unacceptable.....You can't match an angle of 60 degrees to a 15 degree angle. What happened in this case was that an attempt was made to marry the post mortem findings to the 15 degrees........obviously there's pressure on the pathologist to try and match the evidence."

When the programme makers attempted to interview the pathologist, Dr Ian West, about these inconsistencies, he cancelled two appointments and then refused outright to meet at all.

The second unusual characteristic about the bullet which took Yvonne Fletcher's life was its velocity. By examining its path and the nature of the subsequent tissue damage, it was possible to determine that, by the time it travelled the 30 yards to where Yvonne Fletcher was standing, the bullet had reached terminal velocity and was slowing down. And yet the weapon used to fire the shots from the Libyan Embassy is accepted by British Police to have been a submachine gun with a far longer range. Lieutenant-Colonel George Styles, a member of the British army for 26 years and one of its leading ballistics experts, stated on camera: "I don't think a submachine gun killed the police lady because the bullet had gone comparatively slowly and I think from a sub-machine gun it would have gone that extra bit faster than the wounds described."

Hugh Thomas, British Army Surgeon, also stated: "The end of the range of a submachine gun certainly isn't 30 yards and any pathologist faced with this would have raised eyebrows instantly at such a concept."

Piecing together the sound tracks from two available pieces of video footage, the programme makers asked leading sound analyst, Simon Heyworth, to examine the audio characteristics of the recorded shots. He concluded that of the twelve shots fired, only the first eleven came from the same source. Those eleven were of the same audio profile, spaced exactly a tenth of a second apart. However, the twelfth shot came two and half seconds after the eleventh, and was of a distinctly different audio quality than the others. According to Heyworth, the twelfth shot was a "separate shot entirely" from the other eleven suggesting another weapon was involved "firing a single shot".

The terminal velocity of the fatal bullet suggested either a low range weapon, such as a handgun, and/or a weapon fitted with a silencer; a device which both dulls the full sound and slows the bullet's speed. The camera accompanied former army surgeon Hugh Thomas to St James's Square to view the Embassy, one of the smallest buildings in the Square, and its neighbouring properties. "There may well have been shots fired from number Five [the Embassy]," he concluded. "But you can't say the bullet that entered her body came from that angle. It's impossible to have that occur. The bullet that caused the fatal injury certainly came from the higher building."

"Not the embassy?" asks the interviewer. "No," replies Thomas. When asked to point out the buildings from which the fatal bullet was likely to have been fired, Thomas then points to No 8 and No 3. The programme's investigators discovered that the sixth floor of No 3, St James's Square was rented by the British security services for use as a surveillance vantage point on the Libyan Embassy.

Interviewed on the programme, the security guard on duty in this multi-tenant building relates how he had no knowledge of which organisation was renting this floor, he was simply told they were watching out for petty thieves in St James's Square. At the time he believed their story, now he doesn't. On the day of the demonstration he noted that none of these sixth floor tenants had arrived. Bearing in mind that the discovered use of this floor was to conduct surveillance on the Libyans, it was highly unusual no one was present on the day anti-Gadafy dissidents were demonstrating on the streets outside. However, the building has a back staircase leading onto a quiet side street via which a discrete entry and exit is possible.

The absence of the usual British intelligence surveillance team is rendered even more significant by the fact that British security had intercepted a message sent by Gadafy to the Libyan Embassy the day before the shooting incident. Gadafy's communique ordered the occupants of the Embassy to shoot at the demonstrators. Despite the significance of this information, British security services failed to inform the Metropolitan Police who had the responsibility of supervising the demonstration. This fatal failure to communicate vital information leaked out into the public domain, with selected journalists being told at the time that the intercepted communique had been mislaid in the bureaucratic maze. However, as Colin Wallace, former member of British Army Intelligence, told the programme makers: "I think it's unbelievable that an intercept of such importance, dealing with a prime target, would have been put aside casually or overlooked." Indeed, when the then Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, commissioned a secret report into the affair, the conclusions were highly critical of the Intelligence Services. In an attempt to head off public embarrassment, MI5 began a smear campaign on Brittan's private life in order to discredit him. According to Richard Ingrams, then editor of Private Eye: "I became convinced that they [stories about Brittan] were being deliberately put about and...were manufactured by MI5.

"Most people have skeletons in the cupboard somewhere and the intelligence community have access to that and, of course, can put pressure on people when the situation arises. One doesn't necessarily have to have a skeleton in the cupboard to be damaged by rumour, particularly when its coming from reliable sources."

In the end, the report commissioned by Leon Brittan dealt only with the handling of the affair, not confronting the question of who actually shot Yvonne Fletcher.

Colin Wallace also reveals in the programme that "an American agency, whether it was the CIA or one of the other organisations we don't know" was party to the information that a shooting was to take place from the Libyan Embassy that day.

The collated evidence strongly suggests that the bullet which killed Yvonne Fletcher was a single shot rather than part of a volley, fired not from the Libyan Embassy but from a high nearby building consistent with the floor hired by British Intelligence at No 3, St James's Square. On the day of the shooting, none of the usual occupants of that floor appeared and yet both the British security services and the CIA knew the day before that there was to be a shooting incident. Eleven shots were fired from a submachine gun from the Libyan embassy, followed very closely by a single shot from elsewhere. There is a back staircase in No 3, St James's Square which leads out into a quiet back street.

The programme of course was unable to state who exactly fired the single fatal shot, but political motivations for the killing Yvonne Fletcher were explored.

Not long after the shooting (1986), American bombers were finally allowed to fly from British bases in a bombing raid which narrowly failed to assassinate Colonel Gadafy but succeeded in killing his baby daughter. According to Howard Teicher, former Libya Policy Chief at the US National Security Council, the British were not keen to enter into a scrap with Gadafy: "The Europeans consistently wanted to do business with Libya." Indeed as the programme revealed, British arms dealers, with the full knowledge of the British Government, had more than likely sold the Libyans the very submachine gun fired from its first floor window that day. However, with the Reagan administration ploughing a high profile anti-Gadafy line, the American's needed both the public support of a European partner and the use of its air bases, before undertaking a politically risky bombing raid on Tripoli.

Vinnie Cannistraro, former CIA Chief of Counter-Terrorism, was unequivocal about the significance of the public outcry following the death of WPC Fletcher: "It was certainly a key factor leading to the British Government's decision to provide support to the raid on Tripoli. Without that support the raid probably would not have taken place at all."

In May 1996 Labour MP, Tam Dalyell, levelled the allegations contained within the Dispatches programme at David MacLean, the then Tory Home Office minister. MacLean's answer was a classic cocktail of outrage and avoidance. Despite Dalyell putting the allegations in eight clear and concise factual questions, MacLean failed to specifically address a single one of them. Instead, he expended several Hansard column inches with: "The [Dispatches] programme asks us to believe that WPC Fletcher was murdered by, or with the connivance of, British or American intelligence officers. If it were not so offensive and obscene, it would be laughable.... If people want to sit in the bowels of some television production company and invent those feverish fantasies, that is up to them. However, I do not know what hurt they have caused the parents of WPC Fletcher and all her other relatives who must be suffering the anguish of not seeing her killers brought to justice. Clearly the programme makers do not care. However, I do care that the memory of that brave officer should not be sullied by preposterous suggestions that she was murdered by other servants of ours or of a friendly country as part a treacherous plot......etc etc." (Hansard 8/5/96 Cols 208-216).

As reported only by journalist Paul Foot in his regular Guardian column, Yvonne's mother, Mrs Queenie Fletcher, was in fact sitting in the House of Commons gallery listening to this debate. She was singularly unimpressed with the fact that she didn't get any answers and with the crocodile tears shed on her behalf by MacLean.

There the subject dropped until the 1997 general election provided Tam Dalyell with renewed hope of forcing the Home Office to specifically address the evidence presented in 'Murder in St. James's'.

On June 10 1997, Jack Straw announced that the Metropolitan Police were reviewing the allegations made in the programme and were expected to complete their analysis by September of that year. But September came and went, and so too did 1997 and 1998 and still no word. Meanwhile the murder of Yvonne Fletcher was now being cited as the sole reason for maintaining trade sanctions against Libya.

According to Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry: "Our response to the end of sanctions will be positive but satisfactory progress must be made in a number of areas and especially in resolving the outstanding issues in the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. Until that matter is resolved satisfactorily, it will not be possible to resume full diplomatic relations." (Hansard 6/5/99 Col 1074). The following month, Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs, Dr Kim Howells, further asserted: "Normalisation cannot occur while a young police officer has been murdered on our streets in uncertain circumstances. We have a duty to find out the truth of that murder and to find the guilty parties." (Hansard 17/6/99 Col 557).

In line with this policy, a delegation of businessmen and politicians heading for Libya at the end of June were refused permission to travel by the Foreign Office. A foreign office spokesperson said: "Until and unless the WPC Fletcher case is resolved satisfactorily there will be no government-sponsored trade missions and a parliamentary delegation would sit quite oddly with that policy."

Finally, in June 1999 Jack Straw announced: "The Metropolitan Police have recently completed the report of their review of the evidence surrounding WPC Fletcher's murder and of the allegations made in the Dispatches programmes, and I understand that no evidence or intelligence was found to corroborate those allegations. Instead, the review has supported the findings of the original investigation that WPC Fletcher was killed by a bullet from the first floor of the Libyan People's Bureau." (Hansard 14/6/99 Col 18) And that was it. An investigation forecast to last three months had inexplicably lasted two years, only to conclude there was no evidence to justify the investigation in the first place. And still not one of the high level testimonies aired in the programme have been specifically addressed or convincingly refuted.

Meanwhile British business was haranguing the Government, saying that European counterpart were cashing in Libya's lucrative market whilst, under the British trade sanctions, they were "missing the boat". Amongst a myriad of pending trade deals, British Aerospace have a $6 billion contract waiting in the wings, whilst British and foreign banks based in London are keen to recuperate the $1.4 billion owed to them by the Libyans in debt repayment. As Tam Dalyell told SQUALL: "It is remarkable, given that a delegation has been prevented by the Foreign Office from visiting Libya this year specifically because of the unresolved murder of Yvonne Fletcher, that none of the expert evidence in the Dispatches programme has been publicly addressed."

Finally, after a series of talks between Derek Plumbly, director for the Middle East at the foreign office and Abdulati al Obeidi, the Libyan ambassador to Italy, the wording of a political apology was agreed between the two countries which led to the immediate resumption of full trade and diplomatic relations. Just like that.

Could it be that like the Tory government before it, this government were more interested in shielding the Americans from public exposure than they are in seeking justice for the death of a British police officer? And that a strategically negotiated acceptance of "general responsibility" was all that was publicly needed to get the trade dollars flowing again. Certainly the political nature of whole affair has been highly unusual from the moment Yvonne Fletcher fell on that spring day in 1984, to the broadcast of the Dispatches programme in 1996 to strategically negotiated Libyan acceptance of "general responsibility" in 1999 to the current negotiations over how to officially phrase culpability. Following SQUALL's original coverage of the issue, we were contacted by John Murray, one of WPC Yvonne Fletcher's police colleague on the day. In his letter he wrote: I was most impressed by your article on the death of my colleague and friend, Yvonne Fletcher. I was a serving police officer at the time of her death and was actually standing next to her when she was shot. I have been pressing the UK government for some time to open an enquiry into her death but to no avail. Indeed a couple of years ago the Daily Mail Newspaper interviewed me at length and my story was due for publication. However, after I believe political intervention the story was dropped. I am continuing my quest for justice and will never give up.  There is little doubt that trade rather than truth emerges as the preoccupying force in the whole affair."

Source: Squall
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

01 Oct 2006, 23:32 #3

MP Tam Dalyell Vs Michael Howard, 20 May 1996:
WPC Yvonne Fletcher

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department

      (1) what questions relating to the death of WPC Yvonne Fletcher were asked of people taken from the Libyan bureau to Sunningdale; and if he will make a statement on the answers received; [29292]

      (2) pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 8 May, Official Report, column 212, if the bullets from the spent cartridge case coincided with the bullet found in the body of WPC Fletcher; [29298]

      (3) pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 8 May, Official Report, column 212, how many shots were fired from the first floor window of the building. [29299]

Mr. Howard: The continuing investigation into the murder of WPC Fletcher is a matter for the police. The police could not give details which may form part of the evidence in future criminal proceedings without running the risk of prejudicing those proceedings.

20 May 1996 : Column: 19

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 8 May, Official Report, column 214, at what angle was the body of WPC Fletcher at the time of shooting. [29293]

Mr. Howard: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State on 8 May, Official Report, column 214, and to the pathologist's evidence which was put before a jury.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 8 May, Official Report, column 213, what meetings or correspondence he has had with the parents of WPC Fletcher since the memorial service in Salisbury cathedral. [29294]

Mr. Howard: I have had no meetings or correspondence with the parents of WPC Fletcher.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 8 May, Official Report, column 211, what report he has had from the Metropolitan police about why the video was not presented in evidence at the inquest. [29295]

Mr. Howard: The police are reviewing the contents of the Channel 4 "Dispatches" programme of 10 April, including giving specific consideration to this question. I have not yet had a report of their conclusions.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 8 May, Official Report, column 211, what factors led him to describe Professor Bernard Knight, Surgeon Hugh Thomas and Lieutenant-Colonel George Styles as so-called experts. [29301]

Mr. Howard: I refer the hon. Member to the explanation given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State on 8 May, Official Report, column 211.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 8 May, Official Report, column 211, what factors have made it impossible to charge anyone with the murder of WPC Fletcher. [29300]

Mr. Howard: The investigation of crime is a matter for the police. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State made clear to the House on 8 May, the police were unable to obtain enough evidence to sustain a prosecution without the full co-operation of those concerned in the Libyan people's bureau. Such co-operation was not forthcoming. None the less, the police were of the view that it was likely that the murder was committed by one of two people who were in the bureau. Both of them possessed diplomatic immunity and could not be prosecuted under English law even if the necessary evidence had been available.

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the oral statement of the Minister of State of 8 May, Official Report, column 209, if he will put in the Library the exchange of reports between the Libyan people's bureau and Tripoli, indicating the date on which this information was passed to the police. [29291]

20 May 1996 : Column: 20

Mr. Howard: It is not Government policy to comment on matters which relate to operations carried out by the Security and Intelligence Services or to confirm or deny that such operations have been carried out.
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 07 May 2006, 23:31

17 Nov 2006, 13:04 #4


Were British & American intelligence involved in the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher?
By David Guyatt

On 17 April 1984, a hail of gunfire echoed around the prestigious and normally serene St. James Square, London.  Located in one corner of the square, was Muammar Qaddafi’s Libyan People’s Bureau.  The eleven-round burst, from a Sterling automatic assault weapon felled a number of anti Qaddafi “demonstrators” protesting outside the Libyan Bureau.  Killed outright was Woman Police Constable (WPC) Yvonne Fletcher.

Police investigators found weapons and shell-casing on the first floor of the Libyan Bureau.  Intelligence sources later revealed, in secret, that they had intercepted a message from Qaddafi, 24 hours prior to the shooting, authorising officials inside the London Bureau to open fire against the demonstrators.  Public outrage ensured the expulsion of all Libyan diplomats from British soil.

Eighteen months later, at 2 a.m. on Monday, 14 April 1985, 30 US Air Force and Navy bombers thundered through the night sky above Libya.  Of those, eight F111 bombers were tasked with killing Qaddafi.  The attack followed the La Belle discotheque bombing in West Berlin, nine days earlier.  One US serviceman and a young Turkish woman had been killed outright, and 230 people injured.  The discotheque was known as a hangout for off duty US servicemen.  Claiming he had irrefutable proof of Libyan sponsorship for the atrocity, an indignant President Reagan immediately authorised military reprisal.

Reflecting continued public hostility against Libya following WPC Fletcher’s murder, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, authorised the launch of F111 bombers from a USAF base in East Anglia.  Asleep in a Bedouin tent inside Tripoli’s Golden Gate barracks as the bombers struck, Qaddafi escaped injury.  His fifteenth-month-old adopted daughter was killed and two sons badly wounded.


The involvement of Conservative MP, Sir Teddy Taylor in the Fletcher story began during the late mid-eighties.  The MP had been participating in a government backed initiative to repair diplomatic relations with Libya, following the expulsion of all their diplomats in the post Fletcher fury.

Although Foreign Office officials would never admit it publicly, they viewed Qaddafi with some sympathy.  He wasn’t a fundamentalist, his regime did most of it’s business with the west, plus there were 6,500 British ex-pats living and working in Libya.  Rapprochement was called for.

Acting as an “honest broker” between the Foreign Office and Libya, Sir Teddy negotiated Libyan agreement to a secret Foreign Office plan.  Returning home in sprightly mood, Sir Teddy was devastated to learn that the government had decided to renege on the deal.  Worse still, selected details of the plan were leaked to the media which sought to eclipse Foreign Office authorship by placing the entire blame on the MP’s shoulders.  There followed a cat and mouse game.  Ultimately, Sir Teddy was able to prove his innocence and received an official letter of apology.  However, the dame age had been done and the MP began taking an interest in the Fletcher case.

In 1992, British citizen, Joe Vialls, was rummaging around in his old files looking for material for a book he was writing.  Now living in Australia, Vialls’ was a Hughes Tool Company employee at the time of Fletcher’s murder.  During his search, he came across documents he thought were “dynamite.”  They revealed the existence of what he believed to be an “ultra low-key” Hughes Tool Co., office at 8 St. James Square, adjacent to the Libyan People’s Bureau.

Aware the Hughes organisation had sometimes fronted for CIA personnel, Vialls grew suspicious.  Scrutinising a BBC film taken in St. James Square at the time of the murder, he concluded the fatal shot came from the little known Hughes building.  Certain he possessed damning evidence of a British-US intelligence conspiracy to kill WPC Fletcher, Vialls decided to take action.  In every respect except one, Vialls’ was wrong.  However, his belief that British and American intelligence were behind Fletcher’s murder is now borne out by new evidence.


The arrival of Joe Vialls letter at Channel Four Television renewed their interest in Fletcher’s murder.  They considered Vialls’ information suspicious enough to require detailed investigation, and contacted Fulcrum Productions, a highly regarded documentary film company.  Providing them with Vialls’ BBC film analysis and other documents, Fulcrum set about a comprehensive investigation.  The alarming results of their meticulous research were broadcast in a Channel Four Television, Dispatches programme during April 1996.

Fulcrum’s first stop was with Coroner, Paul Knapman, who presided over the Fletcher inquest.  An attempt to “marry” the original autopsy report with the inquest report proved difficult.  Knapman refused the film-makers access to the autopsy findings, despite the request being routed through Yvonne Fletcher’s mother.  Receiving advice from Professor Bernard Knight, a leading British Consultant Pathologist, Fulcrum re-submitted his request - noting it conformed to requirements of the Coroner’s Act .  The report was eventually released.

Immediately, a number of inconsistencies were evident.  Foremost was the original findings of Pathologist, Dr. Ian West, who wrote in his autopsy report: “…the angle of the bullet wound track indicates that she [WPC Fletcher] was shot in the back by a person situated at a considerably higher level… the track would indicate that she had been shot from the upper floors of an adjacent building [to the Libyan People’s Bureau].”  Dr West noted that the bullets entry track was consistent with an angle of 60-70 degrees.  During later evidence given at the inquest, West changed his mind.  Now he agreed with Police investigators that the bullet had come from the first floor of the Libyan people’s Bureau - signifying an entry wound of only 15 degrees.  This unusual change in heart was to prove vital.

Reviewing the evidence, Prof. Knight found Dr. West’s amendments strange.  “I can’t understand it,” he said.  Hugh Thomas, former Chief Consultant to the British Army in Northern Ireland - and an acknowledged expert on gunshot wounds - concluded that Dr. West’s testimony at the inquest was “rubbish.”  Adding that it was “facile” and a “nonsense,” he concluded that the updated scenario West painted for the Coroner was “impossible.”  Backtracking over the Post Mortem report, Thomas was convinced that the bullet that struck WPC Fletcher must’ve come from the upper floors of an adjacent building.  Totalling five floors, the Libyan building simply didn’t have a high enough elevation for the killer shot.

Forensic examination also showed the bullet’s “energy” was depleted and the round was “tumbling” as it hit the police officer.  The tumbling effect and the “terminal velocity” are consistent with the use of silencers.  Significantly, these effects are even more pronounced following the removal of part of the bullet’s propellant, creating a “low velocity” and, equally importantly, a less audible discharge.  The latter is a known technique of British SAS snipers.  The damage caused by a bullet doctored in this way is horrific.  The “tumbling” bullet tears through the body, ripping tissue and vital organs beyond repair.  Whoever shot Yvonne Fletcher was aware it was a death shot in every sense.

The automatic weapon used inside the Libyan Bureau - a 9 millimetre Sterling sub-machine gun - was not silenced.  The sharp sounds of it’s eleven rapid-fire rounds being discharged were caught on BBC videotape and analysed by an audio expert for the Dispatches team.  An additional videotape was also analysed.  It proved to be critically important.  Taken by an amateur, the film caught the sound of a “duller” gunshot two seconds after the Libyan gunman ceased firing.  The evidence was irrefutable - a twelfth bullet had been fired.  What started off as a conspiracy theory in Australia, was fast becoming a conspiracy fact in London.


The Dispatches team next learned that British and US Intelligence were running a major surveillance post on the upper floors of No 3 St. James Square, next door to the Libyan People’s Bureau.  Tom Peile, former security officer at No 3, revealed that as many as 40 intelligence officers were active at the surveillance post in the weeks prior to the shooting.  Locations at No3 and No 4 St. James Square were previously used as listening posts before that.

Surveillance included signals interception - reading telephone and telex traffic - the use of sophisticated microphones to pick up conversations and, where possible, physically planting “bugs” inside the Bureau itself.  In addition, MI6, MI5, CIA and the Special Branch had human “sources” within the Bureau who were providing regular updates.  Significantly, MI5 knew the Libyans had a cache of guns sealed in a cabinet on the first floor of the Bureau.  They were all 9 millimetre calibre weapons - the same calibre bullet that killed Fletcher.

Incredibly, no intelligence personnel arrived to man the surveillance post on the day of the shooting.  This fact, in view of the previous days signals intercept that shooting had been authorised, must be viewed with the gravest concern.  Serious questions also surround the nature of the anti Qaddafi demonstrators who had gathered outside the Bureau on that fateful day.  Many were aligned with the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a CIA funded front organisation.

A well placed and knowledgeable source has told This Writer that the fatal shot almost certainly came from the upper floors of No. 3 St. James Square - location of the secret joint MI5/CIA surveillance post.  The operation was engineered to create public outrage that would have hardened the existing “soft” view of Libya by the British government.  We were also told that the operation “planners” were concerned that deaths of Libyan protesters by Qaddafi’s own assassin, wouldn’t be enough to mobilise the government to take extreme retaliatory measures.  Consequently, an additional target was chosen that was certain to inflame public opinion.  Yvonne Fletcher was the sacrificial lamb.


By 1984, Reagan administration insiders believed the Qaddafi card “could be Ronald Reagan’s victory” in the forthcoming Presidential elections, due in November 1994.  Anti Libyan sabre rattling became part of the Reagan team strategy, and played well to “middle American” voters.  A tour of European capitals by US officials found no appetite on the part of their NATO allies to support US military action against Libya.  The Fletcher killing hardened British government attitudes to Libya, and Qaddafi was later targeted by US bombers flying from British bases… previously unthinkable.

Despite receiving a severe mauling by Sir Teddy Taylor and Labour MP, Tam Dalyell, in a House of Commons debate this summer, the Government views the new facts disclosed by the Dispatches programme with a contemptuous wave of the hand.  Why?  The theory goes that ruthlessly conned, the government is now unable to openly accuse its closest ally of this tragic murder.  Nor does it care to address the unpalatable fact that elements within Britain’s own security service are out of control.  It is far too easy to have one’s political career ruined by slur and innuendo in today’s free for all media - a technique intelligence operatives excel at.

Four years later another atrocity was to occur that again involved Libya, Britain and the United States.  The Lockerbie story also witnessed some very peculiar activities on the part of British and US intelligence.  This time, though, suitcases of cash, shipments of Heroin and a “missing” body remain at the centre of an on-going controversy.

Key dates Libya and the US 

Nov 1980 -            Ronald Reagan elected US President

May 1981 -            US expels Libyan diplomats

Aug 1981 -            US fighters shoot down two Libyan fighters

Apr 1984 -            WPC Yvonne Fletcher murdered outside Libyan people’s Bureau,


Nov 1984 -            Ronald Reagan re-elected in landslide victory.

Jan 1986 -            Libyan government assets frozen by President Reagan

Apr 1986 -            Tripoli bombed by US warplanes

Nov 1988 -            Vice President and former Director CIA, George Bush elected


Dec 1988 -            Pan Am 103 bombed above Lockerbie

Apr 1996 -            US threatens Libya with possible use of Nuclear weapon

Jun 1996 -            MP Sir Teddy Taylor says US claims of Libyan

involvement in La Belle Disco “total rubbish.”

Nov 1996-            US Presidential elections due 

Secret Reagan Presidential Directives

On August 16, 1994, President Reagan signed a National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) classified as Top Secret and bearing the code word “VEIL.”  A central theme was to bring about a change of leadership in Libya.  Said to be predominantly concerned with disinformation and psy-ops, the NSDD - entitled “Psychological Warfare against Libya” - remains classified to this day.  Amongst a host of other still classified NSDD’s signed by President Reagan, is one entitled “Legal Protection for Clandestine Killing Teams.”

DCI William Casey “anything goes”

Some observers look towards former CIA Director, William Casey, as the probable author of the Fletcher assassination.  Formerly Reagan’s Campaign Manager during the 1980 election, Casey didn’t mind getting his hands dirty.  His involvement in a number of highly illegal activities during his term of office at the CIA are well documented.  Probably more than any other person in the Reagan administration, Casey was obsessed with over-throwing Qaddafi, who he called a “Bastard.”  Removing Qaddafi from office, by whatever means it took, became de facto policy.  Whether the Fletcher murder was part of that policy, we may never know for sure.  Casey died in 1987.

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

25 Feb 2007, 21:02 #5

Libyan embassy siege. Crowd dives after hearing gun shots, policeman unphased and continues walking upright with arms crossed. Someone has a 7-7 banner. Peter Power was deputy forward commander. WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot and later died in hospital.

Snapped from SO19 documentary [07m:30s].
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 04 Dec 2005, 17:55

24 Jun 2007, 04:42 #6

Yvonne Fletcher: the net closes in

Libya helps Scotland Yard in hunt for embassy sniper amid moves to free Lockerbie bomber

Mark Townsend, crime correspondent
Sunday June 24, 2007
The Observer

Police have come face to face with the man suspected of shooting Yvonne Fletcher after the Libyan authorities allowed officers to interview suspects for the first time since her murder more than 20 years ago.

Scotland Yard detectives in Tripoli have taken a series of statements as part of the investigation into the killing of the 25-year-old policewoman outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984. Her mother, Queenie, described the latest developments as 'promising'.

During previous visits to Tripoli by Met officers investigating Fletcher's death, detectives were prevented from talking to the chief suspects by President Muammar Gadaffi's regime. However, the present Met inquiry has the personal support of the Libyan leader. Scotland Yard has refused to comment on whether it has identified the killer.

The co-operation confirms a warming of relations between Britain and Libya, a trend likely to be strengthened this week with the expected announcement that the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber is to be referred back to the High Court as an alleged miscarriage of justice. The dramatic decision could see Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi - who was sentenced to life imprisonment after his conviction for the murder of 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in 1988 - free to return to Libya in weeks.

Five detectives from the Yard's Counter Terrorism Command have returned to London after seven weeks spent gathering evidence in Tripoli. As well as interview testimonies, they are also believed to have taken fingerprints and possible DNA traces as part of a fresh concerted attempt to bring Fletcher's killer to justice.

A Scotland Yard source said that 'dialogue with the Libyan authorities' over the case would be continuing. He added that officers would be returning to Libya in the near future to continue with the inquiry.

Queenie Fletcher, 74, of Semley, Wiltshire, who visited Libya 12 years ago in search of answers about her daughter's killing, said: 'The interviews of a suspect are very promising. I just hope that we are not going to be disappointed and that they don't build it all up then for some reason it all drops down again.'

Her daughter was policing a demonstration against Gadaffi's regime outside the embassy in London's St James's Square when she was hit by a volley of shots believed to have been fired from a first-floor window. The bullet was fired by a sniper and was intended for the protesting Libyan dissidents. The shooting resulted in an 11-day siege of the embassy which only ended when the killer and 21 embassy staff were allowed to leave the building and Britain. The gunman was smuggled out of the building with embassy staff under diplomatic immunity laws and flown back to Libya.

The death of WPC Fletcher triggered a lengthy breakdown of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Now news that Gadaffi's regime has helped Scotland Yard to identify the suspect is seen by diplomats as evidence of a blossoming relationship between the two countries. The breakthrough comes after Tony Blair met the Libyan leader for talks in his tent near Tripoli last month.

Among evidence submitted to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, the body that examined the safety of Megrahi's conviction, are claims that a Palestinian group funded by Iran was responsible for the attack.

Libya returned to the international fold after it abandoned efforts to acquire nuclear weapons in late 2003 and agreed to pay compensation to families affected by the Lockerbie bombing.

The Libyan embassy would not comment on the Fletcher case.
Follow the numbers.

Joined: 14 Jul 2006, 09:00

28 Jun 2007, 08:56 #7

Has anyone got a copy of the two documentaries done for Channel 4's Dispatches about this case?

I've emailed C4 and Fulcrum a couple of times in the hopes of getting a copy, but no-one replies...

There definately was a push by the Thatcher government (in ca-hoots with the Reagan administration) to point fingers at Lybia. This also ties in with the Lockerbie thing (where Iran seemed the more likely, unless you take on the Maltese Double-Cross thing).