Monday, 26 July 2010

Vital point missed in Megrahi controversy

[This is the heading over a letter from Brian Barder in today's edition of The Guardian. It reads as follows:]

In all the renewed controversy over the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing ... a vital point seems to have been missed. Under the terms of the US-UK "initiative" under which Megrahi was convicted, he was required to serve his sentence in the UK. The initiative was accepted by Libya and approved by UN security council resolution 1192. For that reason Megrahi could never have been transferred to serve the rest of his sentence in Libya under the prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) negotiated by the Blair government with Libya, regardless of whether Megrahi was included in or excluded from its scope.

It's difficult to understand how the PTA came to be signed when it could never have been used to transfer Megrahi, the only Libyan then in UK custody. If BP was pressing for Megrahi to be transferred under the PTA, why was it not told that this was ruled out by the terms of the original agreement? Why didn't Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill point this out to Tony Blair and Jack Straw when they were arguing about the pros and cons of the PTA? Above all, when Blair and Straw made their "concession" to the Libyans under which Megrahi was not after all to be excluded from the PTA, did they remind the Libyans that Megrahi couldn't be transferred to Libya? If not, why not?

In an article published on Comment is Free on 1 September 2009, Oliver Miles pointed out that Megrahi's transfer to Libya under the PTA would have been contrary to the original agreement. It's strange that even then no one seems to have seen the implications of this.

[The implications had, of course, already been seen on this blog: Britain accused of breaking promise to US over Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Foreign Office told Scotland it made no promises to US over how long Megrahi would stay in prison.

The reason why the "promise" was not taken seriously by the UK Foreign Office was that the only country that might have an interest in complaining if it was broken was the United States of America. And both the United Kingdom government and the Libyan government knew (because they had checked) that Washington was relaxed about Abdelbaset Megrahi's repatriation, though it would have to huff and puff for US public consumption when it happened.]



    Hot facts, the large eyes wipe through the US-senators...
    sorry only in german language:

    Die US-Präsidenten ex George W. Bush und Barack Obama, sowie ex UK Prime Minister Tony Blair und ex Prime Minister James Gordon Brown, wussten durch ihre Intelligence Services, CIA und MI/5/6, Jahre vor der Anklage von Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi, am 14./15. November 1991, somit auch vor seiner Freilassung nach Libya am 20. August 2009 (mittels Prisoner Agreement Transfer, 'PTA') dass >>

    Al-Megrahi als *Resident und Täter für das PanAm 103 Attentat nicht infrage kommen kann !
    (that Al-Megrahi as a *Resident and Culprit cannot be applicable for the PanAm 103 assassination attempt) !
    * Resident= getarnter Führungsbeamter = a camouflaged leader

    Unterstützt wurde die Tatsache am 28. Juni 2007 durch die Erteilung eines Reappeals durch die Scottish Criminal Cases Reappeal Commission (SCCRC).
    Die 'SCCRC' hatte in 6 Punkten die Möglichkeiten eines Miscarriages of Justic prognostiziert.

    Al- Megrahi kam nicht durch einen "BP Oil-Deal", wedernoch durch andere UK Wirtschafts-Interessen zu seiner gerechten Freiheit, sondern weil er unschuldig ist und sein von Erfolg versprechendes Appeal für eine fragwürdige Gegenleistung zurück ziehen musste !

    Die grosse Anhörung im US-Senat am 29. Juli 2010 ist falsch gelagert.
    Um die definitive nicht Beteiligung, Al-Megrahi's und Libyen's zu bestätigen, müssten die Dokumente und die Resultate der SCCR-Commission im US Senat geöffnet und behandelt werden.
    Wieso hat man Angst vor diesem Akt und scheut sich davor, wie der "Teufel das Weihwasser" ?

    Finally, I would like to express my apologies for my country Switzerland. The country where I was born; I was always proud to be a swiss. The Swiss invented the "Red Cross", Switzerland was intitiating the Geneva Convention, Switzerland is one of the oldest democracy on this planet (1291 ad.). I was also trusting in swiss authorities and institutions. This trust has been severely damaged. Once again, I ask for apology for the dubious role Switzerland has assumed in the whole tragedy (direct victims as well as "collataral damage" to the disadvantage of the great libyan nation).

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland

  2. Salmond did point this out several times. He said any PTA transfer was open to legal challenge by relatives of the dead because the agreement was Megrahi should serve his sentence in the UK.

  3. Brian Barder is quite right.

    But what if Mr Megrahi's second appeal had continued and been successful in overturning his conviction?

    I can't imagine that the UK-US "initiative" would have required the "Lockerbie bomber" to carry on languishing in a Scottish jail.

  4. I don't think he is right Patrick. As my post above states, Salmond did point this out. People just didn't listen. The UK and Scottish media plus most politicians simply responded in the usual way by saying, "Oh its the Nationalists talking, let's ignore them.

    The appeal is of course a separate matter and had it proceeded and had Megrahi been freed no "initiative" could have prevented his release, a free man.

  5. Certiainly, I well recall the US families insisting such an undertaken had been given, the UK government saying there was no such thing, and then the Scottish government saying it was going to find out who was right.

    When Kenny made that sanctimonous speech last August, he specifically gave the existence of such an agreement as a reason for refusing the prisoner transfer request.

  6. Rolfe, I'm sure Salmond mentioned it too in an interview when he said the PTA route could leave the way open for the families to seek a judicial review???? Was it during the Wark interview last year?

  7. I couldn't say when, but I'm sure you're right.