Gaddafi's son attacks "greedy" Lockerbie relatives in BBC Two
In an extraordinary interview to be shown in BBC Two's The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie on Sunday, Saif Al Islam Al Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, accuses relatives who sought compensation for the loss of their loved ones in the Lockerbie terrorist attack of being "very greedy".
He also claims that Libya only agreed to take responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing to bring about an end to international sanctions against his father's government.
Saif Al Islam Al Gaddafi is the son seen by many, both inside and outside Libya, as being groomed to become the next leader.
Talking about the relatives' claims for compensation he tells Guy Smith, director and producer of the BBC Two programme: "... I think they were very greedy and they were trading with the blood of their sons and daughters... And they were asking for more money and more money and more money and more money and they were talking just about money! Money, money, money, money!"
He implies in the interview that Libyan citizens may not be responsible for the attack and explicitly states that Libya only accepted responsibility because they wanted international sanctions to be lifted:
"I admit we played with the words. We had to. There was no other solution."
Initially, when asked if Libya accepted responsibility for the attack, Saif Al Islam Al Gaddafi says:
"Well yes we wrote a letter to the Security Council saying that we are responsible for the acts of our employees or people. But it doesn't mean that we did it in fact."
Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the disaster, gave the following quote to BBC News Online in response to Gaddafi's comments:
"From within Western culture Saif Al Gaddafi's comments will be found deeply offensive by some relatives, but I can see this as the Arab way of doing things. I'm cynical enough to know that's how the world works.
"My reaction is that what we're looking at here is a negotiation in which the functions of international politics are driven by the norms of American law. And this has resulted in a debasingly materialistic resolution in line with many international negotiations.
"The Libyans have achieved what they want – and Western commerce has got what it wants too. In this, many of us feel like pawns."
Saif Al Islam Al Gaddafi is just one of the interviews in the BBC Two documentary which investigates the tangled web of claims and counter-claims surrounding the Lockerbie bombing.
It was just before Christmas 1988 that a Pan Am jumbo jet blew up over the Scottish borders en route to New York.
All passengers and crew on board and 11 people on the ground were killed – 270 victims. It was Britain's worst terrorist attack.
After an extensive police and FBI investigation a Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, was eventually handed over by Libya to stand trial under Scottish law in a third country – the Netherlands.
He was found guilty of mass murder and is currently serving a life sentence in Scotland (his co-accused Khalifa Fhimah was acquitted).
The evidence against Al Megrahi was controversial and many people – including some relatives of Lockerbie victims – believed he did not receive a fair trial.
Last year the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission concluded the Libyan may have suffered a miscarriage of justice and granted him a second appeal against his conviction. The appeal hearings are expected to start in Scotland early next year.
The film examines the evidence heard at Al Megrahi's trial and reveals formerly secret CIA documents which have never been published by the media before.
These relate to a Libyan agent, codenamed Puzzlepiece, which the CIA was running in Malta at the time of the Lockerbie attack (Malta was highly significant to the investigation because the prosecution case rested on the claim that Al Megrahi had travelled to Malta to plant the suitcase containing the primed bomb on an Air Malta flight to Frankfurt from where it was transferred to Pan Am).
The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie interviews people directly involved in the crash of Pan Am 103, some giving their first interviews, from all sides of the story.
These include a rare interview filmed in Damascus with Ahmed Jibril, the leader of the Palestinian faction which was an early suspect in the investigation.
He speaks about the terrorist cell he controlled in Frankfurt during 1988. The PFLP-GC group was arrested with bomb-making equipment and bombs primed to explode at altitude just two months before the Lockerbie attack.
The documentary also investigates the so-called Helsinki Warning, which many people believe was a genuine tip-off that a Pan Am flight to New York was about to be targeted.
The United States official who took the anonymous call at the American Embassy in Finland two weeks before Lockerbie describes on camera exactly what happened.
And the film also interviews the Palestinian migrant worker who was claimed by the caller to be the bomber. For 20 years his identity has remained a mystery – until the producers tracked him down.
The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie is produced and directed by Guy Smith who last year made The Conspiracy Files: 9/11, the highly controversial documentary which debunked many of the conspiracy theories surrounding the attack on the Twin Towers and Washington.
The executive producer is Samantha Anstiss.
Notes to Editors
An edited transcript of Guy Smith's interview with Saif Al Islam Al Gaddafi is available as a PDF document on the right-hand side of this press release.
BBC News Communications