Author Q&A: Charles Albert Booth on the Lockerbie Bombing of 1988

Charles Albert Booth has authored the definitive work on the Lockerbie Bombing of 1988. Confronted daily with the developments of the investigation, The Truth Never Dies is a comprehensive and eyewitness account of the events and their aftermath which examines the evidence and investigating its validity. Charles was the manager of the largest hotel in Lockerbie at the time of the event.

The Truth Never Dies is an in-depth and carefully researched memoir and critical study of the Lockerbie Bombing of 1988. To make sure we’re all up to speed, can you summarise the events on which you base your critical study?

To summarise the events on which I base my  critical study of the Lockerbie Air Disaster, naturally I must start by illustrating the vast loss of life caused by the disaster, and the suffering caused to so many, including the local community of Lockerbie. In summary, I do this by examining the following.

•  The investigation that reached out to so many countries.

•  The difficulty of communicating effectively with different countries.

•  The internal power struggle that existed between different departments and countries.

•  The inefficiency caused by politics of different countries.

•  The tug-of-war by different countries and their politics, creating many conspiracy theories.

•  Attitudes towards relatives of the victims which caused unnecessary suffering.

•  The discrepancy of evidence, presented in one manner and later represented differently.

•  The unreliable witnesses called upon who testified against Al- Megrahi.

•  The offering of the sacrificial lamb to compensate for the lifting of sanctions againstLibya.

•  The shambolic trail in theNetherlandspresided over by Scottish judges.

•  The withholding of evidence, by the prosecution team to the defence team, namely the “Lockerbie Papers”.

•  The disgraceful judgement of the first appeal by Scottish Judges.

•  The manner in which Al Megrahi was released from prison by Kenny MacAskill.

•  The British government pre-involvement  withLibyaprior to Magahi’s release from prison.

•  The devious manner in which Megrahi was interviewed in prison, and the unnecessary dropping of the second appeal against Megrahi’s conviction.

•  The convenient manner in which the government escapes embarrassment by the dropping of the second appeal.

•  The venom expressed by certain Americans against Megrahi’s release.

•  The deceit and governmental lies and politics, over twenty-two years on.

I guess that we were pawns in the beginning. My investigation reveals that we’re still pawns in the struggle between the influence and interference of theUnited States of America.

What inspired you to put this book together – a book that, ultimately, was years in the making?

The final inspiration for me to put this book together was someone like Dr. Jim Swire, who was a long-suffering truth seeker; I tried to see things from the perspective of these people. It was becoming obvious, not just to me but to others, that manipulation was in play with certain aspects of the investigation. As governments created conspiracy theories, these truth seekers walked through the complicated maze and were caught up in a web of deceit.

At the time of the bombing you were the manager of the largest hotel in Lockerbie, and while you were certainly a first-hand witness to what happened you were also in a position to, essentially, view the consequences and the aftermath of that day. If one thing stands out to you, whether it’s in terms of the ensuing investigation or observations of the community or the actions of those involved in the follow-up, what would it be?

The most compelling thing that stands out about the “Lockerbie” disaster is the over-riding confusion of the Lockerbie investigation team, as they tried to come to grips with the ever-changing face on the investigation.

How does your first-hand experience with that investigation make The Truth Never Dies unique?

I view the event not just in terms on the amount of new evidence emerging on a regular basis, but I witnessed first-hand the internal conflicts that occurred between, for example, the (Met) police and the local Lockerbie police, and the delayed evidence from the German police which was ultimately given to the Lockerbie investigation team some six months on. Everyone was protecting their own corner, rather than participating in a full and complete co-operation.

This includes the CIA, whose evaluation of certain matters conflicted with the local investigation team’s evaluation.

Looking down the line, how could there ever be a satisfying conclusion to such a tragic event?

For relatives that lost loved ones, most would not relate to any conclusion. If it were possible to put grief to one side, and not conveniently, see blame placed at the door step of those who were responsible for a miscarriage of justice (whether this be through the evidence being re-examined by a public inquiry), more clarity would surface and show how governments did not play the honest broker at the time of the original investigation.

This in itself would allow all people, relatives or others, to think more critically and not just believe what governments tell you and want you to believe.

Thanks to Charles for taking time out of his schedule to answer a few questions. The Truth Never Dies is the Melrose Books book of the month for May. It is now available through Amazon, through the Melrose Books website and Gardners, so be sure to stop into your local bookseller to place your order! ISBN 978-1-907040-98-6 PRICE £9.99 PAPERBACK 272pp