Cressida Dick

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Person.png Dame Cressida Dick   History Commons PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(police officer, “terror expert”)
Cressida Dick.jpg
BornCressida Rose Dick
1960-10-16
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
NationalityBritish
Alma materOxford University/Balliol College
Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, terror expert

Employment.png Director General

In office
January 2015 - April 2017
EmployerForeign and Commonwealth Office

Employment.png Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police

In office
8 November 2011 - 23 January 2012
EmployerMetropolitan Police Service
Preceded byTim Godwin
Succeeded byCraig Mackey

In January 2015, Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, Britain’s most senior female police officer, left the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) after 31 years, having climbed the ranks from beat bobby to national counter-terrorism chief and having been in charge of the Met’s response to 9/11, the 7/7 bombings and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.[1]

Cressida Dick spent two years in a senior position at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), then rejoined the MPS in April 2017 as the first ever woman Metropolitan Police Commissioner.[2] In September 2019, she was awarded the DBE in Theresa May's resignation honours and became Dame Cressida Dick.[3]

FCO Director General

Cressida Dick joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 19 January 2015 but her new role was shrouded in intense secrecy.

In response to Freedom of Information Act requests from The Intercept, the Foreign Office repeatedly declined to disclose even the most basic details about Dick’s position. Government officials handling the FOIA requests said that members of the public were not entitled to know anything about Dick’s job title, role and responsibilities, or the amount of money she was earning – despite the fact that specific salaries earned by senior Foreign Office officials, as well as their job titles, were usually routinely made available online.

In two separate refusal letters issued in February and March 2015, the Foreign Office said that it would not hand over the information because it relates to “bodies dealing with security matters,” and so the government was “not obliged to consider the public interest in disclosure.” It would acknowledge only that Dick has been appointed in a “director general” position.[4]

Met Police Commissioner

In February 2017, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the appointment of Cressida Dick as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police upon the retirement of Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe[5]:

“I am delighted Her Majesty has agreed my recommendation after a rigorous recruitment process which highlighted the quality of senior policing in this country."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said:

"Cressida Dick will be the first female Commissioner of the Met in its 187-year history, and the most powerful police officer in the land."

The appointment was criticised by the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian man who was killed after the 7/7 London bombings, when he was mistakenly identified as a terror suspect during an operation Cressida Dick led in 2005 as national policing lead on counter-terrorism. A jury later found there was “no personal culpability for Commander Dick”.[6]

First day

Cressida Dick's first day as Metropolitan Police Commissioner on Monday 10 April 2017 coincided with the funeral at Southwark Cathedral of Police Constable Keith Palmer who was stabbed to death by Khalid Masood on 22 March 2017.[7]

Yvonne Fletcher

On 16 May 2017, Metropolitan police detectives announced for reasons of "national security" that it had been decided WPC Yvonne Fletcher's alleged murderer, Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk, would not be taken to court. Senior policing sources told The Telegraph that the case against Mabrouk – a former minister in Muammar Gaddafi’s government and a high-ranking member of the team tasked by the regime with suppressing opposition – was dropped after a decision taken at the “highest level”. The source added: “Number 10 was involved.”[8]

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

“I cannot comment on the details of this case. I would however like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment the Metropolitan police have shown over a prolonged period of time to bring to justice those involved in the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher.
“WPC Fletcher was one of their own. Her murder remains as shocking and senseless as the day it occurred and I understand that the decision will be deeply disappointing and frustrating for all her family, friends and colleagues.”[9]

Manchester Arena bombing

Theresa May "complicit in murder"

On 22 May 2017, Libyan Salman Abedi carried out a suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande killing 22 people and injuring 119.

On 30 May 2017, Jonathan Cook published an article entitled "MI6, Theresa May and the Manchester attack" in which he wrote of the "close ties between the British spy agency MI6 and UK-based Libyans, most of them from Manchester. Back in the late 1990s, MI6 effectively sponsored their trips overseas to become fighters against Muammar Gaddafi. They came to be known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG. And here’s the rub. Because when MI6 began funnelling British-Libyan fighters to Libya in 2011, Theresa May was Home Secretary. May must have known of the MI6 policy and doubtless approved it."[10]

In November 2017 Westminster Magistrates' Court issued an arrest warrant for Hashem Abedi, brother of the bomber Salman Abedi, and prosecutors asked Libya to extradite him to face 22 counts of murder in the UK. Hashem Abedi was being held by Libya’s Special Deterrence Force, a Tripoli-based militia with close ties to Abdelhakim Belhadj, an Islamist extremist who was suing MI6 and former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.[11]

Hashem Abedi was extradited in July 2019, convicted at the Old Bailey on 20 August 2020 and sentenced to 55 years in prison on 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.[12]

Lockerbie bombing

In June 2018, Patrick Haseldine created a petition inviting Cressida Dick to open a murder inquiry into the case of Bernt Carlsson:

"United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Bernt Carlsson, was the highest profile victim of the December 1988 Lockerbie bombing which killed all 259 passengers and crew on Pan Am Flight 103.
"Whereas the Lockerbie trial that took place in 2000 assumed that the aircraft (a Boeing 747 jumbo jet) was the bombers' target and a Libyan man Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted, no investigation has ever been carried out into the obvious targeting of Bernt Carlsson.
"In May 2015, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe failed (when requested by Lockerbie campaigner Patrick Haseldine) to undertake a Bernt Carlsson murder inquiry. Three years later, Hogan-Howe's successor Cressida Dick must take action to identify the real Lockerbie bombers."[13]

Petition updates

In January 2021, Haseldine updated the petition twice:

Dear Dame Cressida,

On 15 January 2021, five Scottish judges upheld the 2001 verdict against Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, the only person convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people.

Last week's decision is the second time an appeal on Megrahi's behalf has been rejected by the courts amid the continued suppression of contradictory evidence.

In 2002, an initial appeal was thrown out. In 2009, Megrahi, already terminally ill, was tacitly offered release from Greenock prison on compassionate grounds if a contemporary appeal was dropped as part of rapprochement between the Libyan and British governments. The most recent appeal was launched by Megrahi's son, Ali al-Megrahi, to clear his father's name posthumously.

The appeal hearing heard from Claire Mitchell QC that Megrahi's original conviction hinged on Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci’s uncorroborated identification of Megrahi. She pointed to contradictions in Gauci’s testimony and challenged the trial judges' decision that the clothing was purchased on 7 December 1988, rather than 23 November, which was supported by the evidence. Megrahi was not in Malta in November.

Mitchell noted that while the trial verdict "cherry picked" items from a mass of conflicting evidence, no evidence existed that the bomb started its journey from Malta.

The appeal was allowed to go forward following a decision by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), that a miscarriage of justice may only have occurred because of the manner in which Megrahi was identified by Gauci. Gauci first identified someone else, appeared confused, and was found to have been coached by police in expectation of a huge reward. $2 million was duly paid, a matter about which the trial defence was not informed.

The SCCRC did not consider confusion over the date of Megrahi's identification in Malta, analysis of the metallurgical characteristics of the alleged bomb timer—proving it was not part of a batch sold to Libya—or devastating evidence of the bomb suitcase entering the luggage system at Heathrow Airport, London, as grounds for appeal.

The reason for the appeal being restricted to Megrahi's identification by Gauci is increasingly clear. Any broader querying of the original verdict threatens to bring down the house of cards that is the legal frame-up of Megrahi.

It is worth recalling some of the contradictions and unconfirmed assertions on the official version of events leading to PA103's destruction, upheld at the 2001 trial and again on two subsequent appeals.

Megrahi was found guilty of loading a suitcase, containing a bomb armed with a complex electronic timer, in Luqa airport, Malta, onto a flight to Frankfurt, Germany. No viable evidence has been presented confirming that such a suitcase existed. No explanation has been given of how Megrahi overcame Luqa's tight security. No record has been found of an unaccompanied suitcase transiting Frankfurt airport to be loaded onto another flight to London. No explanation has been offered of how Frankfurt airport's X-ray scanning missed a bomb in a cassette recorder when staff had been advised to look out for one.

From Frankfurt, the feeder flight travelled to London’s Heathrow airport, where the bomb was allegedly transferred to Pan Am 103. No such suitcase has been identified.

Not accounted for is the fact that a suitcase closely resembling the one containing the bomb appeared unexpectedly at Heathrow airport before the feeder flight from Frankfurt arrived and was reportedly inserted onto PA103 at Heathrow.

This suitcase was seen by witnesses on the floor of the luggage container in which the explosion later occurred. No explanation or significance has been attached to a break in at Heathrow airport, where security was poor, the night before, adjacent to the luggage loading area for PA103.

The explosion that destroyed the Boeing 747 took place 38 minutes after take-off from Heathrow. This is exactly the time at which a well-known design of barometric bomb, triggered by a fall in air pressure, would explode had one been loaded at Heathrow.

Barometric bombs of this design were, at the time, being manufactured in Germany by a Syrian backed Palestinian group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine–General Command (PFLP-GC), a group with a history of aircraft bombing. Four of these bombs were seized by German police, a fifth went missing for unexplained reasons.

No explanation has been offered of why the stated design of electronic timer, an MST-13 manufactured by Swiss company MeBo-AG, would not be set to explode at a time much later, over the Atlantic, where any evidence would sink to the ocean floor.

Nor has an explanation been offered as to why evidence relating to the belated appearance of a fragment of MST-13 timer in the Lockerbie wreckage showed evidence of having been doctored, as had the records relating to its discovery. Or why this timer fragment has subsequently been proved NOT to be part of a consignment of timers admittedly sold to Libya by Mebo-AG.

Days before the appeal hearing, the judges ruled that documentation in the possession of the British government since shortly after PA103 was brought down should remain hidden, upholding a public-interest immunity certificate signed by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in August this year. One of Raab's predecessors, Labour's David Miliband, signed a similar order in 2008 before Megrahi's previous appeal was dropped.

Lord Carloway upheld Raab's view that the documentation was relevant but revealing it would "damage counter-terrorism liaison and intelligence gathering between the UK and other states".

The documentation is reportedly a letter from then Jordanian ruler, King Hussein, an ally of the Western powers and a CIA asset, implicating Jordanian intelligence agent and PFLP-GC supporter Marwan Khreesat in making the bomb. King Hussein claimed the attack was revenge commissioned by the Iranian government for the US Vincennes' shoot-down of an Iran Airbus at the cost of 255 lives in July 1988. Khreesat was arrested as part of the group that was making bombs in Germany in 1988, but was quickly released. He died in Syria in 2016.

Another remarkable intervention on the eve of the appeal, which coincided with the December 21 anniversary of the disaster, came from outgoing Justice Secretary William Barr.

Barr announced charges against the hitherto little-known Libyan,Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi (Masud), whom Barr accused of helping Megrahi make the bomb used in the attack and whose extradition to the US is now being sought. Barr claimed the then-Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi personally thanked Masud for his efforts. Masud has been held in a Libyan jail since 2012. Gaddafi's government was violently overthrown by the US and European war machine, and Libya pitched into a catastrophic and ongoing civil war in 2011, but this claim of involvement only surfaced years later.

Barr has a history with the Lockerbie case. Prior to his installation by Donald Trump in 2019, he was known for a series of cover-ups arising from his first period as Attorney General, between 1991 and 1993, during George H.W. Bush's term as US President, arising from the successive debacles of US foreign policy in the Middle East.

It was on Barr's watch that Bush handed out pardons to senior state officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, including former Defence Secretary Caspar Weinburger, who had been charged with crimes of perjury, lying to Congress and obstruction of justice.

Barr oversaw a fundamental shift in the focus of investigation into the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 from the PFLP-GC and Iran to Libya, and announced the November 14, 1991 indictments against Megrahi, and his then co-accused, Lamin Khalifah Fhimah.

The transition took place during US preparations for the assault on Iraq in the first Gulf War, launched earlier in 1991. Prior to the war, US officials shuttled around the various Arab regimes in the Middle East seeking support and acquiescence in the planned bloodbath. Then US Secretary of State James Baker visited Syria repeatedly and extracted regime support for the assault on neighbouring Iraq. Iran remained neutral.

Speaking of Lockerbie when the war was over and days after the unexpected indictment of the two Libyans, Bush said: "A lot of people thought it was the Syrians. The Syrians took a bum rap on this."

None of this mattered to the Scottish judges. Instead, the 64-page verdict sought to strengthen the case against Megrahi by attributing sinister significance to entries in co-accused Fhimah's diary referring to "luggage tags". Fhimah, however, was acquitted in the original 2001 trial. Both men worked at the airport.

Speaking outside the court, lawyer Aamer Anwar said Megrahi's family were heartbroken by the verdict and intend to take the case to the UK Supreme Court.

Jim Swire, 84, whose daughter Flora died in the disaster said: "For a long time I have been persuaded that it isn’t likely the truth will come out during my time left on the planet."

I posed the same question to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, your predecessor as Metropolitan Police Commissioner, on 28 May 2015.

More than five years have elapsed and I should be grateful for your answer, Dame Cressida: Why doesn't Scotland Yard launch a Bernt Carlsson murder inquiry?

Looking forward to your reply,

Yours ever,

Patrick Haseldine

22 January 2021[14]


DAME CRESSIDA's 'PATCH'

Dear Detective Inspector Blair,

Many thanks for your email of 26/01/21 in reply to mine of 22 January 2021 that asked "Why doesn't Scotland Yard launch a Bernt Carlsson murder inquiry?"

You say that Dame Cressida has no operational jurisdiction over non-Metropolitan Police matters, which implies that the Met's 'patch' does not extend to London's Heathrow airport (where the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December 1988 was ingested).

You suggest I should redirect the question to Police Scotland, just as your colleague Marcus Barnett did when he emailed me on 30/07/15 saying: "Whilst I recognise the tragedy and trauma that came from the Lockerbie disaster many years ago, the matters which you are seeking to be investigated are ones that sit within the Jurisdiction of the Police Service of Scotland."

The Met's reticence to venture onto Lockerbie bombing territory is perfectly understandable after its ignominious exclusion from the Pan Am Flight 103 investigation which was left to the CIA, FBI and Scottish police to conduct. And what a mess they made of it!

The exclusion of the Met from the investigation is set out in excruciating detail here:

"In Chapter Three of his 2002 book 'The Lockerbie Incident: A Detective's Tale' (pages 70/71), Scottish policeman John Crawford describes how officers from the Metropolitan Police were excluded from investigating the Lockerbie bombing in Scotland and quickly dispatched home to London.

"I knew that a considerable amount of political in-fighting had been going on from day one. The Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist squad from London had tried to make the enquiry theirs from the first day. There was considerable opposition to this both politically and from the Scottish police.

"Scotland Yard as any ordinary cop knows was like living on a reputation built 100 years ago. Sure it had the facilities to conduct a huge enquiry; sure it had the personnel and was supposed to have the expertise. It certainly had the resources in manpower and finance. But ask a cop in any force up and down the country who they consider the most arrogant, the most useless and the least likely to do anything for anyone beyond their 'patch' and they will undoubtedly tell you – The Met.

"It's an unfortunate reputation because I personally know of a number of fine officers in that organisation who would match the best anywhere. But the reputation of the Met precedes it and it does not enjoy the high standing it thinks it does in what it disparagingly calls the 'provincial' forces. I would like to think things have changed since then but I rather think they have not.

"No – neither the Scottish police nor the Lord Advocate Lord Fraser of Carmylie wanted them messing around in our enquiry. It was said the Lord Advocate presented an ultimatum to the then Prime Minister, the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher that either he was in charge of the enquiry as befitted his role as Lord Advocate in Scotland or he would resign. I cannot vouch for the veracity of that but as far as the Met Anti-Terrorist squad were concerned it was all over. They were hanging around for a few days with their flashy designer suits and the full weight of their own egos and self-importance on their shoulders, the once deserved reputation of Scotland Yard expected to sweep all before them.

"After all, what could a bunch of hick 'jocks' do, we were experts only in dealing with sheep and haggis – let's face it, according to them nothing of any consequence ever happened outside London.

"The Met were told in no uncertain manner that they weren't welcome! It was back to London for them."

Having had the posthumous appeal (on very limited grounds) against his conviction for the Lockerbie bombing rejected on 15 January 2021 by the Scottish High Court of Justiciary, the Megrahi family are now taking the appeal to the UK Supreme Court in London. I anticipate the Supreme Court will rule that Heathrow was indeed where the Lockerbie bomb was ingested, so you can therefore expect me to repeat the question "Why doesn't Scotland Yard launch a Bernt Carlsson murder inquiry?" quite soon.

Next time, though, I won't be fobbed off with any of that "Police Scotland" nonsense!

Sincerely,

Patrick Haseldine

27 January 2021[15]

 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:MI6, Theresa May and the Manchester attackArticle30 May 2017Jonathan CookAnd so the story of MI6 and Theresa May, their sponsorship of Islamic jihadism, and the likely “blowback” the UK just experienced in Manchester is a sleeping dog no one seems willing to disturb.
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