Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Senate postpones BP-Lockerbie hearing

[This is the headline over a Reuters news agency report on the ABC News website. It reads in part:]

Senators postponed a hearing on whether British oil giant BP plc influenced the release of the Lockerbie bomber, saying on Tuesday key witnesses had "stonewalled" the investigation by refusing to appear.

Senator Robert Menendez announced the postponement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing set for Thursday and said it would be rescheduled "in the near future." (...)

Menendez said the Senate committee had called two Scottish officials, former British Justice Secretary Jack Straw and two BP executives -- including departing chief executive Tony Hayward -- but all had declined to testify.

"It is utterly disappointing and I think pretty outrageous that none of these key witnesses will cooperate with our request to answer questions before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They have stonewalled," Menendez told reporters.

"It is a game of diplomatic tennis that is worthy of Wimbledon but not worthy on behalf of the lives of the families who still have to deal with this terrorist act and the consequences of the lost loved ones."

He said the panel would conduct a longer-term investigation of the release of the Lockerbie bomber, noting the Scottish government did offer to provide answers to further questions.

"We appreciate that and we will take them up on their offer," he said.

[The report on the BBC News website can be read here.

The Herald's report contains the following:]

Dr Jim Swire, who daughter was killed in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and who has protested the innocence of Megrahi, said: “Kenny MacAskill made himself pretty clear that he used compassionate release in line with Scots law and explained to the Senators that he had nothing further to add.

“I suppose it is quite embarrassing for the Senate if they have no one to testify.”

[The report in The Independent includes the following:]

Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the crash, said today that the US senators were looking at links between BP's commercial interest in Libya and the return of Megrahi.

"That's a question that if anyone from Britain could address, it would be people from Westminster," Dr Swire told BBC Radio Scotland.

"People have forgotten that there is no real link between his release and the so-called 'deal in the desert', because Kenny MacAskill and Alex Salmond didn't want to touch the prisoner transfer agreement which was set up in the deal in the desert."

Megrahi was eventually freed under compassionate release after medical evidence indicated the bomber had three months to live.

Dr Swire believes that Megrahi has been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

"Are we not interested that the man who has been freed by Kenny MacAskill might, in fact, not be the man who was involved in causing the tragedy?" he said.

"That seems to me over-ridingly a more important question than the question of the minutiae of why he was freed.

"I can understand why they major in on those aspects of it, but I do think it's relatively peripheral."

[The Newsnet Scotland report on the issue can be read here. Newsnet Scotland's coverage of the whole saga of the US Senate circus has been exemplary.]


  1. Being Americans they won't have heard of Hubris.... unlucky for them.

  2. Hopefully, they will be finding out about Nemesis shortly, though....