It is amazing what we get blamed for...

A former Libyan spy and CIA informant was depicted at the Lockerbie trial yesterday as a desperate man who made "incredible" claims to his American paymasters.

Abdul Majid Giaka was billed as the star witness in the prosecution's case against two Libyans accused of blowing up Pan Am flight 103, killing 270 people.

However, defence barristers portrayed him as a liar who had made up crucial evidence in order to stay on the CIA's payroll, when he realised the American intelligence agency was about to ditch him.

The lawyers also highlighted far-fetched claims he made to the CIA about Libyan leader Col. Gadaffi being a Freemason.

Two years after the Lockerbie bombing, the CIA telegrams is revealed Giaka was a "shattered man", who desperately needed to come up with new information for his CIA handlers, said William Taylor, QC.

"The Americans were suggesting come up with something and the future is rosy, come up with nothing and your cut-off without a penny," said the barrister. Only then, the court heard, did Giaka say he saw one of the defendants with a suitcase like the one which contained a bomb - something he had not mentioned in the previous two years.

Giaka, who turned CIA informant a few months before the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, said: "Quartz I was not given any offer to act as a witness or any other offer. They did not try to buy me off."

Giaka's description of being shown a stash of explosives in the Libyan Arab airlines office at Malta airport, where he walked with the defendants, was a "downright lie", Mr. Taylor added. "That was a complete fabrication by you and it was carefully thought out to be uncheckable."

Giaka, who is giving evidence under strict security with his identity disguised from the public gallery, insisted he was telling the truth.

In a farcical episode, defence barrister Richard Keen QC asked the Giaka about some of the claims he had made to the CIA.

Mr. Keen said Giaka had told American agents that Col. Gaddafi was involved in an international Masonic conspiracy.

He tersely asked Giaka the same question six times: "How did you discover that Col. Gaddafi is a Mason?" Giaka repeatedly asked Mr. Keen for the source of this question before trial Judge Lord Sutherland ordered him to answer.

Giaka said: "I know from a person but I can't divulge the name of that person. The person is in Libya and for security considerations I can't mention the name of that person."

Mr Keen said: "Mr Giaka, you are a liar, aren't you? You tell big lies and you tell small lies, do you not?"

Giaka replied: "I do not lie about anuthing."

Secret telegrams revealed the CIA was disappointed with the insight Giaka had given them into the Libyan intelligence service, said Mr. Taylor.

American agents reported Giaka was pressing them to boost is $1000 a month pay-check by $500 and was becoming "desperate" as he struggled to find himself a new role after leaving the Libyan secret service.

Abdelbasset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifah Fhimah deny conspiracy to murder, murder and breach of the 1982 aviation Security act. The trial continues.

The Daily Express. Thursday, 28 September 2000.