Dec 28 1988: Evidence of Terrorism

On Dec 28 1988, Michael Charles (AAIB Inspector) announced that Pan Am 103 had been downed by a High Performance Plastic Explosive.

An analysis of swabs taken from two pieces of a luggage container conducted by Dr Douse at RARDE had revealed the presence of traces of RDX and PETN.

Because both compounds enter in the production of Semtex, it is almost universally accepted that Semtex was the High Performance Plastic Explosive used to destroy Pan Am 103.

On Nov 20 1991, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs was asked “what evidence he now has on the country in which the high-performance plastic explosive used in the Lockerbie outrage was manufactured.”

Mr Garel-Jones replied that: “the Air Accidents Investigation Branch report No. 2/90 and the report of the fatal accident inquiry relating to the Lockerbie air disaster refer to the positive evidence of a detonating high performance plastic explosive, similar to Semtex, being responsible for the explosive destruction of Pan Am flight 103. We have no evidence linking any one country to the manufacture of the plastic explosive used.”

Semtex was manufactured in Czechoslovakia. On March 20 1990, President Vaclav Havel disclosed that his country had supplied 1,000 tons of Semtex to the Libyan government of Col. Gadhafi.

 Of course, Semtex was a particularly sensitive matter in Britain because Libya had supplied large amount of it to the IRA.

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