Sunday, 26 February 2017

Verdict will remain crippling to the Scottish justice system

[What follows is excerpted from an item originally posted on this blog on this date in 2011:]

[This is the headline over an exclusive report published today on the website of the Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. It reads in part:]

The claims of the former justice minister in Libya's collapsing regime that Colonel Muammar Gadaffi personally ordered the Lockerbie atrocity have been described as "at the very least, unreliable" by Dr Jim Swire of UK Families Flight 103, who has met Gadaffi several times.

The claims were made to a Swedish tabloid newspaper, and have been given heavy coverage in UK tabloids and around the world.

No evidence has been offered to support the claims.

"If I were running away from my violent boss of many years in the hope of sanctuary with whatever might replace him, I too might be motivated to try to ingratiate myself with my chosen new protectors by offering them news blackening the name of my former boss," Swire told The Firm.

"The circumstances surrounding the story render it at the very least unreliable, in my view."

Swire also said that prior to the claims of responsibility emerging, he had predicted that such revelations would surface amidst the turmoil in Libya as the regime collapsed.

[Dr Swire's full statement to The Firm reads as follows:]

You will already be aware of the circulating story about the Gaddafi minister claiming that he can 'prove' that Gaddafi personally ordered the Lockerbie event. It originated from a Swedish tabloid where it emerged as a tale translated into Swedish from the Arabic. It also said that while the defecting minister claimed to be able to prove this, he was not able to reach the supportive evidence 'at present'.

If I were running away from my violent boss of many years in the hope of sanctuary with whatever might replace him, I too might be motivated to try to ingratiate myself with my chosen new protectors by offering them news blackening the name of my former boss.

It is interesting that from my phone and emails, inquiries about this story have been from the Mirror, the Sun and the Express. Wisely none of the haughtier papers have deigned to become involved in it, at least not by involving me, neither have the BBC, nor Channel 4, though Sky did try.

The circumstances surrounding the story render it at the very least unreliable, in my view.

The position of people like myself and some other UK relatives has always been that whereas the evidence for Megrahi's guilt did not add up, and should never have led to a conviction, we do not know whether the Gaddafi regime was involved in Lockerbie or not. I have said on occasion to interviewers that I thought that at the very least it would be likely that Gaddafi would have known that Lockerbie was being planned.

Of course we would love to know for certain who really did plan it, but the use of a Syrian made specialised IED (as described to the Zeist court), at the behest of Iran, still smarting from the Vincennes 'incident' still seems the more likely explanation. It may turn out that Gaddafi really was responsible, in which case the nonsense about Megrahi risks being sidelined in history, the end being held to have justified the means. But the trial verdict will remain crippling to the Scottish justice system unless they take their own steps to review their precious verdict.

I had already sent out an email 48 hours ago, in which I warned that if the Gaddafi regime did collapse, I would anticipate that America would see to it that 'irrefutable evidence' of Gaddafi as the perpetrator would emerge from the wreckage. I am already receiving gloating 'we told you so' emails from the States. I should have twigged that absconders from Gaddafi's regime would also have a very strong personal motive - terror for their lives at the hands of 'the people' - for doing so too. I think this story may be too naive even for the CIA.

Time may show.

Me, I'm for waiting to see if any verifiable evidence for Gaddafi's guilt does eventually emerge once the dust has settled, meanwhile Scotland still has to wrestle with how her criminal justice system ever came to reach that verdict against Megrahi. (...)

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Desperate measure to influence the conduct of the court

[What follows is the text of a statement issued on this date in 2008 by Professor Hans Köchler:]

Los Angeles, 25 February 2008
P/RE/20878c-is

Upon conclusion of an information and consultation visit on international law issues to the Asia-Pacific region, Dr Hans Koechler today issued the following statement on the decision of the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary not to allow the disclosure of a document, provided by a “Foreign Government,” that is related to the electronic timer device which supposedly triggered the explosion of a bomb on board Pan Am Flight 103:
  1. The continued withholding of evidence related to the case of Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi makes a new appeal actually impossible.  Should the document in question not be made available, criminal proceedings under Scots Law will have to be terminated.

  1. The behavior of the British Government is in contravention to the commitment it made vis-à-vis the United Nations Organization prior to the adoption of Security Council resolution 1192 (1998) to enable a fair and independent trial of the two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie case under Scots Law.

  1. The invocation of “Public Interest Immunity” (PII) – unprecedented in the history of Scottish criminal justice – is tantamount to political interference into the Appeal Court’s conduct. It is obvious that criminal proceedings cannot be fair if the Defense is denied access to a piece of evidence (document) which has been revealed to the Prosecution.

  1. Under the highly politicized circumstances of the Lockerbie Trial, the issuing of a PII certificate by the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom appears to be a rather desperate measure to influence the conduct of the court in a manner favorable to the British Government; it further strains the constitutional relations between Scotland and the United Kingdom.

  1. The separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary is a basic characteristic of the rule of law. In the present case, this principle is violated because of the outright interference of the British Government in a matter of the Scottish Judiciary.

  1. The British Government’s interference makes devolution of authority in matters of Criminal Justice to Scotland entirely meaningless.  What is the meaning of “devolution” if a Scottish Court is prevented from operating according to its own rules? Scots Law is not to be administered under the terms of a Protectorate. The crucial question will now be whether the Scots will be able to assert their (constitutional) independence in devolved matters.

  1. It is to be hoped that the Scottish Judges will uphold the independence of the Judiciary and will reject the British Government’s interference. A court of law is transformed into a political body should the Judges allow this kind of interference.

  1. The persistent refusal of the UK Government to allow the disclosure of vital evidence to the Defense points into the direction of a cover-up. In the context of the irregularities at the Lockerbie trial and appeal in the Netherlands  (described in the undersigned’s reports of 2001 and 2002), this development demonstrates the need for an independent investigation under a United Nations mandate– especially since the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has declared that a “miscarriage of justice” may have occurred.

  1. The convicted Libyan national has a right to a genuine judicial review of his verdict outside the confines of international realpolitik. In June 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred his case back to the High Court of Justiciary for a second appeal. If appeal proceedings are now made impossible due to the British Executive’s interference, Mr Al Megrahi will be denied his right to fair trial under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In this case, he will be entitled to proceed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Libya says it 'bought peace' with Lockerbie deal

[This is the headline over a report published on the South African Mail & Guardian website on this date in 2004. It reads in part:]

Libya’s Prime Minister Shokri Ghanem has said that Libya only agreed to pay compensation for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing to “buy peace”, according to a BBC interview broadcast on Tuesday.
Ghanem also told BBC radio’s flagship Today programme there was no evidence that a Libyan was responsible for the shooting of a British policewoman 20 years ago, an event which led to London breaking off diplomatic relations with Tripoli.
Libya formally accepted responsibility in August 2003 for the bombing of New York-bound Flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, southwest Scotland, and agreed to pay $2,7-billion in compensation to families of the 270 victims.
The following month the United Nations Security Council voted to lift sanctions against Libya.
“We thought it was easier for us to buy peace and this is why we agreed to compensation,” Ghanem said.
“Therefore we said, ‘Let us buy peace, let us put the whole case behind us and let us look forward’,” he added.
His comments could damage the former pariah state’s relations with Britain which have improved dramatically since Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi announced in December that his country had given up the bid to obtain weapons of mass destruction.
Tripoli and London formally re-established diplomatic relations in 1999. (...)
In a sign that Libya was slowly being accepted back into the international fold, it was announced during Shalgam’s visit that British Prime Minister Tony Blair would visit Gadaffi “as soon as convenient”.
No date was fixed for the meeting and the British Foreign Office was unable to confirm in which country such a meeting might take place. Ghanem said a Blair visit to Libya would be important because he could see the country for himself rather than hearing about it from others. The British prime minister would be made very welcome, he added.
He also said Gadaffi would consider visiting Britain if he was invited.
Ghanem called for the United States, which has existing sanctions against Libya, to take his country off its list of states sponsoring terrorism.
[RB: A transcript of the full interview can be read here.]

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The court was misled

What follows is the text of an item published on this blog on this date in 2013:

Dr Jim Swire calls on Scottish Government to institute inquiry into Crown Office Lockerbie failings


[What follows is the text of a letter sent on 21 February by Dr Jim Swire to Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill:]

Almost a year ago, the book Megrahi: You are my Jury was published in Edinburgh. Much of the key evidence it contains derives from the prosecution’s own documents, some of them only shared with the defence a few weeks before Mr Megrahi withdrew his appeal. The book and other sources contain material which demonstrates that the Crown Office and their agents behaved in ways contrary to the proper prosecution of a case under Scottish Criminal law. Two outstanding examples amongst many others are the emergence, and reliance upon, the circuit board fragment known as PT35b with its ‘pure tin’ plating, and the concealment of the break-in evidence from Heathrow airport.

This letter is not an attack upon the verdict. It is a request to you to investigate what errors were made by the prosecution during the conduct of the investigation, the trial and in the subsequent years, and also in the SCCRC investigation.

It was claimed by the prosecution that PT35b had been found within a police evidence bag, and that it had come from the crash site. Yet we now know that this fragment simply could not have come from the timer circuitry of the Lockerbie bomb, if that bomb had been driven by a Libyan timer as cited.  The plating metallurgy is simply irreconcilably different.

Even the Crown’s forensic officer Feraday’s marginal notes show he was aware of the plating discrepancy long before the trial, by 1991 in fact, before the indictments had even been issued. Yet he signed a forensic document claiming that the fragment was ‘similar in all respects’ to the Libyan boards.

The work initiated by Feraday on PT35b, showed the plating discrepancy and was  available to the prosecution  long before the trial. The police did not pursue this matter with Thüring, who have confirmed that their sole plating process was with the tin/lead alloy as on DP347a, a sample Libyan type board. Finally the scientific evidence provided to the defence by Dr Chris McArdle and Dr Jess Cawley just before Mr Megrahi went home, confirmed the ‘pure tin’ plating of PT35b but also proved that proximity to exploding Semtex could not alter tin/lead plating to resemble ‘pure tin’ plating. This was work the prosecution had failed to initiate.

The court was thus misled into believing that PT35b could have been part of one of the Libyan timers which the prosecution had cited. The adoption of this belief was due to the failure of the prosecution to share all relevant evidence with the defence or the court, and to initiate all the appropriate testing. That belief is now demonstrably false.

As you are aware, Kenny, since you have had access to their materials, the SCCRC also knew that the prosecution had withheld evidence from the defence, but did not seem to realise that Thüring simply had no equipment capable of manufacturing circuit boards using the ‘pure tin’ process, failing to understand that in the industry ‘tinning’ refers equally to tin/lead as to ‘pure tin’ plating.

No other origin for PT35b other than the wreckage was ever suggested in court. PT35b was an optically perfect copy of circuitry demonstrated by the prosecution to have been present on the cited Libyan boards. The Crown Office and its agents were responsible for the sanctity of the evidence chain and the evidence bags. No one knows whence PT35b could have come, where it was made nor how it came to be found in the police evidence bag. All we know is that PT35b’s origin could not have been from a Libyan owned timer as cited by the prosecution.

I found that two weeks ago neither the Crown Office nor the police had even bothered to contact the Thüring firm’s Urs Bonfadelli, nor the scientists responsible for the discovery that PT35b’s plating could not have been changed even by a Semtex explosion, in all the more than eleven months since the book was published. Why not?

The concealment of the PT35b plating discrepancy by the Crown’s chief forensics officer, Feraday, the police and the Crown Office, allowed the court to presume that PT35b must have been part of a cited Libyan owned timer, when it clearly could not have been. The relevant documents were available to the prosecution long before the trial, but only discovered by the defence after the trial was over.

In February 2012 the Lord Advocate himself invited us relatives to a meeting in London to explain new moves being made in the criminal investigation. I chose to ask him for an explanation as to why the Heathrow break-in evidence had not been passed to the defence and the court as part of the relevant evidence. He claimed he had also wondered why, but did not know the answer. I then asked the current Chief Constable of the Dumfries and Galloway police, to see if he could discover the answer on our behalf. He did so most courteously and promptly. His letter is enclosed. It shows that the Dumfries and Galloway police of the day knew of the break-in from January 1989, kept this to themselves for a full decade, passed it to the Crown Office only in 1999 and then, together with the Crown Office, kept it hidden from the defence and the court until after the trial was over. Why?

The evidence concerning the break-in only surfaced in 2001 after the trial  had finished. Even then the only reason it did so was that the Heathrow guard who had discovered the break-in was bold enough to ask publicly why his evidence had been ignored by the court.

The prosecution appears to have failed us all in this case, the Heathrow break-in and the PT35b plating are but two of many other examples. There is a special obligation upon Governments to make available the evidence to the families of victims of murder. There is also an obligation upon our prosecution service to bring fair and prompt justice upon murderers. Thanks to the failures of the Crown Office, and their searchers as your prosecuting authority, it falls to your Government to investigate all these failures. I therefore request that you immediately arrange for  the creation of a properly endowed and objectively led inquiry into the apparent failings of the Crown Office in prosecuting this dreadful case, selecting as members and chairperson individuals acceptable as impartial to the relatives and to the people of Scotland.

I will make this letter available to the Scottish public also. They too deserve to know whether steps are now to be taken by their Government to explore the performance of the Crown Office prosecution in this  case and to enact legislation to curtail any future such deviation from their duty, as may be found by such an inquiry.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Investigators to travel to Malta to seek new evidence

[What follows is excerpted from an article published in the Malta Independent on this date in 2009:]

A delegation from the Scottish Crown is due to travel to Malta in the very near future to “actively seek the consent for disclosure” of sensitive documents that could determine a the outcome of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi’s appeal, the High Court in Edinburgh was told on Friday.

The delegation will be looking for previously undisclosed documents related to statements given by a friend of Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, David Wright, who in 1989 raised concerns over Gauci’s identification of al-Megrahi.

The news comes amid arguments presented by al-Megrahi’s defence team, which contended evidence given by the potential witness in the Lockerbie bombing investigation could have undermined the prosecution’s case, but had never been presented in court or given to the defence team. (...)

Gauci claimed that on 7 December 1988 he had sold the former Libyan intelligence officer the clothes later found inside the suitcase holding the bomb that brought down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland, killing all 270 people aboard.

Al-Megrahi’s defence team argued on Friday that evidence given by a friend of Gauci, a certain David Wright could very well have scuttled the prosecution’s case but the evidence had never been presented in court or handed over to the defence team.

Wright was said to have approached the Maltese police in September 1989 and the officers in England in December with a statement contradicting Gauci’s evidence.

Defence counsel Maggie Scot argued that Wright had given a “remarkably” similar description to that used by Gauci to implicate al-Megrahi in the bombing of another unrelated sale made by Gauci at his family’s shop, Mary’s House in Sliema.

But, Ms Scott argued that the details of Wright’s statement, which could contradict and possibly negate Gauci’s evidence, had never been presented in court and that the defence team had never even seen it.

But, Ms Scott argued that the details of Wright’s statement, which could contradict and possibly negate Gauci’s evidence, had never been presented in court and that the defence team had never even seen it.

Speaking in court on Friday, Ms Scott said, “Mr Wright gave statements to police in England saying he was a friend of Mr Gauci and that he had witnessed a transaction at Mr Gauci’s shop which bears a remarkable resemblance to the sale to the two men Mr Gauci described.”

Al-Megrahi’s defence is demanding that the previously undisclosed evidence it believes will help free their client be made available in time for the commencement of the appeal hearing, due to begin on 27 April.

Such evidence includes any documents related to Wright, as well as any documents showing Mr Gauci had been interested in a financial reward for his evidence.

Al-Megrahi’s lawyers are also asking for video footage of the identification parade in which Gauci had singled out al-Megrahi, as well as the details of those who had been selected to participate in the parade.

In addition to Malta, the Crown will also be approaching other foreign sources, but stressed some of the material being requested could have security implications in the respective countries should it be made public.

The call for documents related to Gauci’s interest in a financial reward for positively identifying al-Megrahi comes amid claims that Tony Gauci and his brother Paul were paid millions of dollars each by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation as a reward for their help in convicting al-Megrahi, claims the FBI vehemently denies. (...)

Al Megrahi was found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing in 2001 and although he lost a previous appeal against his conviction in 2002, the SCCRC in June 2007 referred the appeal back to court after it found six grounds that may have constituted a miscarriage of justice. Grounds mainly related to Gauci’s evidence.

In approving a new appeal, the Commission had found “there is no reasonable basis in the trial court’s judgment for its conclusion that the purchase of the items from Mary’s House took place on 7 December 1988” as Gauci had claimed.

Although it had been proven that al-Megrahi had been in Malta on several occasions in the month in question, it had determined that 7 December 1988 was the only date on which he would have had the opportunity to make the purchases from Mary’s House.

New evidence given to the Commission concerned the date on which Christmas lights had been turned on in Tower Road, Sliema near Mary’s House. Taken together with Gauci’s evidence at the trial and the contents of his police statements, the date indicates that the purchase of the incriminating items had taken place before 6 December 1988 – when no evidence had been presented at trial to the effect that the al-Megrahi was in Malta before the date.

Yet more new evidence given to the Commission indicated Gauci, four days before the identification parade at which he picked out al-Megrahi, had seen a photograph of al-Megrahi in a magazine article linking him to the bombing.

The Commission found that Mr Gauci’s exposure to the photograph, so close to the date of the identity parade, “undermines the reliability of his identification of the applicant at that time and at the trial itself”.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Tony Gauci expressed an interest in receiving money

[On this date in 1991, DCI Harry Bell wrote a memorandum to the Chief Investigating Officer headed Security of Witness Anthony Gauci, Malta. The memo is worth reading in full. What follows is a brief discussion of one part of it, taken from The Times of Malta:]

A document seen by the Scottish [Criminal Cases] Review Commission which reviewed the Lockerbie trial proceedings shows that star witness Tony Gauci had shown an interest in receiving money. (...)

The document was a memorandum dated February 21, 1991, titled Security of Witness Anthony Gauci, Malta, that consisted of a report sent by investigator Harry Bell to Supt Gilchrist just after Mr Gauci identified Mr Megrahi from a photo-spread six days earlier.

The memorandum was never disclosed by the prosecution during the trial.

Mr Bell discusses the possibility of Mr Gauci’s inclusion in a witness protection programme. The final paragraph, however, makes reference to a different matter: “During recent meetings with Tony he has expressed an interest in receiving money. It would appear that he is aware of the US reward monies which have been reported in the press.”

Monday, 20 February 2017

A preventable disaster

[I am grateful to the Rev’d John Mosey, whose daughter Helga died on Pan Am 103, for allowing me to reproduce here a piece written by him a few nights ago:]

Thoughts in the night

Regarding the “Lockerbie” atrocity, there has been no full and independent inquiry into all relevant matters before and after the event. This has resulted in a situation where not all of the three major parties with obvious responsibilities in the matter have been thoroughly examined and made answerable regarding their behaviour.

The Airline, PanAm, have, to some extent, faced examination and paid for its wretched security with a pay out under the Montreal Convention and subsequently with its very existence.

The perceived perpetrator, Libya, has been brought to court, tried and has paid out considerable compensation to the relatives of the dead and their lawyers and to the world through violent sanctions imposed on the nation.

The third party with serious responsibilities is a composite body which is mainly composed of the two governments and their agencies who had a duty of care towards their citizens. I refer to the USA and the UK and the agencies they employ for protection from those who would harm us. This party, or any part of it, has not been thoroughly investigated regarding the executing of its responsibilities in this matter nor been charged with making any reparation at all.

Considering that there were at least fourteen clear warnings in the weeks and months running up to the disaster including a photograph of the bomb which our Department of Transport sent to Heath Row security in the Christmas post (It arrived after the event!) and a phone call on the 5th December to the US embassy in Helsinki saying that there would be a bomb in a Toshiba radio cassette player on a PanAm flight between Frankfurt and New York and giving a time window of two weeks which only ended the day before the 21st December should not these two governments be held to account for the way they handled such valuable information?

This was, in the words of Sherif Principal John S Mowat QC who led the Fatal Accident Inquiry, “a preventable disaster”. If this is true should not those who had the information and the ability to prevent it but did absolutely nothing, except to warn some of their embassy staff, be chargeable? They should, at least, be subject to a full and independent inquiry and, if found guilty, be required to pay considerable compensation. Such funds could well finance any legal assistance given.

“Lockerbie” happened either because the relevant authorities failed to take their responsibilities seriously or because they conspired to deliberately let it happen. In either case should they not be brought to some sort of justice and required to pay for their crime? . . . . But it isn’t going to happen, is it!

MI6 warned of Syrian-sponsored attack on American target

[What follows is a brief extract from an article by Cal McCrystal about David Yallop that was published in The Independent on this date in 1993:]

Stranger still was a meeting with Abu Nidal in a suburb of Tripoli, the Libyan capital. At 10am, the bald, bloated terrorist was drunk and talkative, acknowledging an Iraqi role in the 1982 attempted murder of Slomo Argov, the Israeli ambassador to London, and suggesting that a Syrian-sponsored attack on an American target was imminent.
Returning to London, Yallop warned MI6 of the threat. 'To my astonishment the MI6 agent was far more interested in Nidal's drinking habits.' Less than two weeks later Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to New York was blown up over Lockerbie.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Libya and its lost years

[This is the headline over an article published today on the Arab Times website. It reads as follows:]

Years after the Lockerbie crisis in which Libya was implicated, several international bodies attempted to contain the crisis and set up effective solutions for ensuring an acceptable end. This was after charges were officially leveled against Libya’s regime for bombing down Pan-Am Flight 103 on the skies of Lockerbie, Scotland, which was a catastrophe unprecedented in modern history.
I remember one of the initiatives that were pioneered by the United Nations Secretary General at that time Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, who visited Tripoli several times with the aim of finding solutions, especially after the delay by Libya in taking responsibility for this horrific crime.
The regime, which was led by the late Colonel Muammar Al-Gaddafi, had the same governing structure that most of the countries apply apart from the populace rule, which Gaddafi claimed to be the rule of law in Libya where people rule through conventions and committees with the difference being in just the titles.
In short, Colonel Gaddafi did not see himself as the leader. He did not consider himself as the leader of the people of Libya. Instead, he saw himself as a strongman who does not possess the power to take decisions but that the decisions were in the hands of Libyans, when in reality, even a small boy in Libya knew that everything was in the hands of Colonel Gaddafi.
Back to the story of Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, who had set several appointments to meet the Libyan officials, but all such efforts were not fruitful. The only person who could have an effective word on the issue was Gaddafi, who continued to claim that the decision is in the hands of the people and not with him.
The day when Cuellar finally managed to meet Colonel Gaddafi and after the pompous reception he received, he was amazed by how Gaddafi agreed to everything he said. It even would have appeared as though Cuellar will score the solution without using any of the artilleries he had armed himself with in order to deal with the situation if Gaddafi had disputed on any of the points listed in the agenda concerning the Lockerbie incident.
Given that the world was waiting for this issue to be solved, and that the solution seemed to be just around the corner waiting for the end of the meeting and the announcement of the decision, Colonel Gaddafi shocked the UN Secretary General by telling him, “I totally agree with everything you have said, but the decision is not in my hands”. He said the authority is for the people and he is only managing the people but they are the ones with the final say.
The UN Secretary General effortlessly attempted to make Gaddafi realize the magnitude of the issue and convince him that only Gaddafi can settle this issue. However, all he received was hidden mockery without any actual display of effort to reason about the situation.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi suddenly gave in to almost all provisions that would lead to the solving of the Lockerbie crisis, including payment of unprecedentedly huge compensations to the victims. It seemed as though Gaddafi felt he will be next after the fall of Sadaam.
Gaddafi’s preemptive moves to compensate the Lockerbie victims did not come of any help to him. In fact, it paved way for his fall in February 2011 after 40 years in power, becoming the first victim of the so-called “Arab Spring”.
The Gaddafi-Lockerbie story teaches us one important lesson – Despite the structure you choose to rule your country, the titles you give yourself and your governing structure do not mean much as far as the international community is concerned. Such titles can only dupe the populace.
Gaddafi is no more; his regime is way gone; his country is completely destroyed because of foolish and cheap politics which was based on interference in the affairs of other countries, conspiracies and support of terrorism.
I wish stability in politics, security and economy for the new Libya. It deserves stability and its people deserve the best after what they have lost between political feuds and war. I don’t know until when Libya will continue to lose itself and to what level the situation will go.

Crown fights to keep Lockerbie evidence secret

[What follows is the text of a report in The Herald headlined Crown fights to keep 48 pieces of Lockerbie trial evidence secret that was published on this date in 2009:]

Prosecutors are trying to keep secret 48 pieces of evidence relating to the Lockerbie trial, including a secret fax that could discredit a key Crown witness.
Lawyers for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 bombing, yesterday began a challenge over material they believe will free their terminally ill client.
But the Crown Office and the UK Advocate General are fighting against disclosure, claiming that in some cases the evidence does not exist.
The Herald can today reveal that the first item on the list is a fax which, the Libyan's defence team claims, places a fundamental question mark against the original trial testimony of Tony Gauci, who sold clothes later found in the wreckage of PanAm 103 at Lockerbie.
Judges at Camp Zeist were told that the first "photoshow" with Mr Gauci took place on September 14, 1989, while the fax at the centre of yesterday's proceedings is allegedly dated six days earlier.
Megrahi's team believes that confusion and disparity further compromises the integrity of a man described as an "important witness" at the trial.
His QC, Maggie Scott, revealed that the appeal, due to start on April 27, will be based on fresh evidence, the Lord Advocate's failure to disclose and irregularities in how evidence was obtained.
She said: "The predominant theme is Tony Gauci. He is the centrepiece in a sense."
Another previously unseen fax from the Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) or committee, which was set up after Lockerbie to investigate the case and included representatives from Scottish forces and the security services, refers to a meeting between Mr Gauci and FBI agents when Scottish police were not present. However, no record or statement has been shared with the defence.
Another JIG fax referred to yesterday indicates that there are other missing statements in relation to Mr Gauci, saying he saw the key clothes purchaser the day afterwards, and identified him as someone other than Megrahi.
That document refers to concerns among the Scottish police at the time that "the witness was trying to please them".
The defence also claims that the Crown pre-trial precognition of Mr Gauci was missing and was only recently discovered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. The defence is also seeking "undisclosed information about discussion of reward money".
This is thought to relate to undisclosed discussions that Mr Gauci and his brother, Paul, could be influenced by the rumour of financial remuneration.
Ms Scott warned that there was a "reasonable" or "real" possibility that the Crown's failure to hand over the material could constitute a breach of article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, relating to a person's right to a fair trial.
She explained that, in its written responses to the defence, the Crown had argued that in some cases the calls for information were too wide, in others that the information does not exist and/or that it is not relevant. The hearing continues until at least tomorrow.
The Crown has not yet responded, but is understood to be refusing to disclose details of the September 8 photoshow, along with 47 other areas of information.
Megrahi's appeal itself could last at least 12 months.
Megrahi, who is suffering from advanced prostate cancer, is determined to clear his name but it is far from certain that he would survive such a long appeal case.
Libyan authorities have been encouraged to apply for a prisoner transfer to allow Megrahi to spend his remaining time with his family.