Saturday, 21 August 2010

Address to the People and Government of Scotland

This is the title of an open letter issued by Justice for Megrahi calling upon the Scottish Government to set up an independent inquiry into:

• The Fatal Accident Inquiry into the downing of Pan Am 103.
• The police investigation of the tragedy.
• The subsequent Kamp van Zeist trial.
• The acquittal of Lamin Fhimah and conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
• The SCCRC’s referral of Mr al-Megrahi's case to the Court of Appeal.
• The dropping of this second appeal and the compassionate release of Mr al-Megrahi.

The full text of the address can be read here on the Newsnet Scotland website.

The list of signatories is as follows:

Ms Kate Adie (Former Chief News Correspondent for BBC News).
Mr John Ashton (Co-author of Cover-up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie).
Mr David Benson (Actor and author of the play Lockerbie: Unfinished Business).
Mrs Jean Berkley (Mother of Alistair Berkley, who was killed on flight 103).
Mr Peter Biddulph (Lockerbie tragedy researcher).
Professor Robert Black QC (Commonly referred to as the architect of the Kamp van Zeist Trial).
Professor Noam Chomsky (Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and human rights commentator of international repute).
Mr Tam Dalyell (Member of Parliament: 1962 – 2005, Father of the House: 2001 – 2005).
Mr Ian Ferguson (Co-author of Cover-up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie).
Mr Robert Forrester (‘Justice for Megrahi’ committee member).
Ms Christine Grahame (Member of the Scottish Parliament and justice campaigner).
Mr Ian Hislop (Editor of Private Eye: one of the UK’s most highly regarded journals of political comment).
Father Pat Keegans (Lockerbie Parish Priest at the time of the Pan Am 103 incident).
Mr Adam Larson (Editor, writer and proprietor of The Lockerbie Divide).
Mr Iain McKie (Retired Police Superintendent and justice campaigner).
Ms Heather Mills (Reporter for Private Eye specialising in matters relating to Pan Am flight 103).
Mr Charles Norrie (Brother of Tony Norrie, who died aboard UT-772 over Niger on 19th September 1989).
Mr Denis Phipps (Aviation security expert).
Mr John Pilger (Author and campaigning human rights journalist of world renown).
Mr Steven Raeburn (Editor of The Firm, one of Scotland’s foremost legal journals).
Mr James Robertson (Writer and author of the recently published And the Land Lay Still).
Doctor Jim Swire (Justice campaigner, Dr Swire’s daughter, Flora, was killed in the Pan Am 103 incident).
Sir Teddy Taylor (Former Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland and Member of Parliament from 1964 to 2005).
His Grace, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu (Defender of human rights worldwide, Nobel Peace Prize winner and headed South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission).

[The writer A L Kennedy is the latest person to add her name to the list of signatories.]



    PanAm 103 "bombing": USA verlangt von Scotland, dass Mr. al-Megrahi nach Scotland in das Greenock Gefängnis zurückgebracht wird.
    Ist das die Chance für den Neubeginn seines Appeals ?

    Zur Erinnerung: Am 4. August 2009 musste Mr. al-Megrahi sein Erfolg versprechendendes Appeal fallenlassen um seine vorzeitige Freiheit zubekommen.
    Dahinter stand kein "BP-Oil Deal", der wahre "Deal" war "die Freiheit gegen Rückzug des Appeals"! Grund die Scottish Justice fürchtete sich vor einem Appeal Urteil als "Miscarriage of Justice" und den nachfolgenden Konsequenzen !

    Die Krankheit Megrahi's war für den Secretary of Justice, Kenny MacAskill, nur Mittel zum Zweck um eine legale Freisetzung verantworten zukönnen !

    MEBO Aufruf: Mr. al-Megrahi aktivieren Sie sofort Ihr Erfolg versprechendes Appeal, Sie sind dazu berechtigt. Vergessen Sie nicht, die USA kann mit einem neuen Embargo gegen Libyen Ihre Auslieferung wieder erpressen...

    sorry only a computer "Babylon" translation, german in english language:

    Lockerbie bombing: The United States calls Scotland for al-Megrahi to be returned to jail Greenock at Scotland.
    Is that the way for an new start of his success promising appeal ?

    To the memory: On 4th August 2009, Mr al-Megrahi have to withdraw his appeal and notify the Court accordingly. Not a "BP Oil Deal", but its freedom against withdraw of his appeals, that was the true deal...
    Reason the Scottish Justice was afraid of a Appeal judgement as "Miscarriage of Justice" and the following consequences !

    The illness Megrahi's was for the Secretary of Justice, Kenny MacAskill, only means for the purpose around a legal release !
    MEBO recommendation:
    Mr. Al-Megrahi activate it now immediately your dropped Appeal, before you are brought back to Scotland in the prison! Do not forget it is easy for the USA her transfer to scotland by a new embargo against Libya to obtain by force again...

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd.,Switzerland


    Call for public inquiry into PanAm 103- bombing.
    The official investigation can be limited to the crucial Facts:

    1) the manipulations around the MST-13 timer fragment (PT/35b)
    possible by Dr. Thomas Hayes, Allen Feraday (RARDE) and ex FBI expert Tom Thurman ?

    2) the changes of text(manipulations) on labels and of documents possible by those Scottisch Police. (faks and wrong statements)?;

    3) the stolen MST-13 Circuit board by engineer Lumpert (Affidavit)
    and the bad delivery of the MST-13 Circuit board for a criminal
    action from the Swiss federal police ex "BUPO" (abuse and
    collaboration against Bollier and MEBO) ?;

    4) the not implemented Bag-Transfer between AirMalta KM-180 on PanAm flight 103/B at Frankfurt Airport (FRA);

    5) No purchase of dresses of Mr. al-Megrahi on 7th December 1988
    with Gauci's fashion shop Mary's House at Malta. The payment of
    US$ 2 million to Gauci for wrong certifications ?

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland

  3. Wow. That's an impressive list of signatories. Would love to see what Private Eye has on this issue.

  4. Alas many of the usual suspects on Newsnet Scotland's comments are protecting only MacAskill. Some are claiming Scotland can do nothing, Scotland is helpless, MacAskill was in a difficult situation over the release,he can't order an enquiry. One added people should "Get real." He should get real and read up on the endless possibilities. Another claimed there is no "evidence" Megrahi didn't do it. ~These are the same people who will tell you til they are blue in the face that if you're not a nationalist you're doing Scotland down and not allowing her to show her might and her courage. Then in the next breath they'll say, "Oh but Salmond can't do this, we don't have the right!" Sheeeeeesh!

    One enlightened soul was brave enough to declare that if anyone has the ability to bring it about its Alex Salmond. Now a bit more of that and we'd get places.

  5. Jo G makes an important point. If somebody blogs that there is no evidence that Mr Megrahi didn't blow up Pan Am 103, that can hardly be used as evidence he did. And everyone in this blog knows that the evidence against him is entirely fabricated. Can we now move on and uncover the real villains, starting with HW Bush and the CIA?

  6. Worthy of note: Two of the co-founders of the Justice for Megrahi Campaign did not sign this address.

    The two missing co-founders were included on the appeal to the UN, where they were identified as:

    Mr. Bob Watts (businessman)

    Mr. Abdullah Swissy (Former President of the Libyan Students’ Union in Scotland and Libyan Student Affairs of the Libyan Students’ Union, UK Branch)

    Worthy of consideration:

    A Justice campaign cannot afford any level of association with the so-called Libyan Student Union, the latter being the product of violence and extra-judicial killings of dissenting Libyan university students.

    One of the first presidents of the Libyan Student Union was Abdel-Qadir al-Baghdadi, whose name should be known to some informed British citizens. He was one of those diplomats, and former Libyan Student Union leaders, who were expelled from the UK in 1984, following the shooting of Yvonne Fletcher in London. Last year, British press reported that, according to a then-two-year-old report by an independent prosecutor, the UK had sufficient evidence to charge al-Baghdadi (and Matoug) with conspiracy to cause the death of Yvonne Fletcher. This month, MP Daniel Kawczynski was threatening to disclose a third name in the case...

    Nope, I wouldn't want the Libyan Student Union name to appear on my roster of campaigners for Justice. I also understand why distinguished people may not want to risk lending credence to an organizations like Gaddafi's hatcheries. But the disappearance of a Libyan connection from the Campaign literature might also be in line with the lack of support from the Libyan president of the UN General Assembly.

    I think, in the pursuit of disclosure and transparency, the Justice for Megrahi Campaign Committee can certainly afford to be more forthcoming about its own workings. Pure and simple: What happened to the unity of support by the campaign founders? The founders are split evidently, but neither the Scottish nor any other public has heard about the reason for their lack of unanimous support.

  7. Suliman, you clearly have many personal issues with Libya and I respect that.

    Can I just assure you that I do not hold Libya up as some blameless country, nor do I see Colonel Gaddafi as the Libyan equivalent of Martin Luther King. I would like you to understand that we are informed when it comes to the sins of many countries including Libya's but I don't believe Lockerbie is on that list.

    I am Scottish and also British and there are those from a similar background who will not tolerate criticism of the UK in any shape, manner or form. They call it loyalty: I call it hypocrisy. My country is guilty of a great deal and it makes me ashamed. We partitioned the world once upon a time. My father is now dead and had he lived he would now be ninety years old. He fought for his country in WW2 and he saw much but he was also a great man for history and very learned. He told me when I was in my early twenties or thereabouts that you could point to any trouble spot in the world and almost guarantee that Britain had lit the torch paper there and created the unrest and the resentment. We did it all over the world.

    Our most recent adventure into Afghanistan and Iraq have been disastrous for those countries and for us. The tide of racism we helped Mr Bush to unleash on the planet was a truly evil thing and the world is a more dangerous place as a result.

    You have many criticisms to make of Libya and you have the right to do that. But please don't allow your anger about these things to distract you from something that Libya was almost certainly not involved in. That would be a mistake and it would also be very unfair of you. There is a great deal at stake.

  8. The kind of inquiry you are talking about would be something like the inquiry into the Bloody Sunday massacre. Except it might be more complicated. The Bloody Sunday inquiry cost in the region of £181,000,000.

    Now I don't argue that a public inquiry would cost that much, but there would be a significant cost attached to it, and where do you suppose that money is going to come from.

    I fully support having a full public inquiry into the Lockerbie verdict, but I think suggesting that the present Scottish Government can somehow deliver it unilaterally, mired as they are in mud slinging after the correct decision to release Megrahi, is politcally incompetent.

    Just try and think it through.

    The SNP Govt were not responsible for the Lockerbie verdict, they had nothing to do with it, it is a poison that has landed in their lap unasked for and unwanted.

    All the indications are that they will hold open the door to any inquiry & co-operate fully, but I do not think for one moment that a minority government heading into an election who's popularity is slipping, part of which might be down to the release of Megrahi & the appalling publicity that generated, are going to have at the top of their ''things to do'' list launching an inquiry into the Lockerbie case.

    What I would like to know is why Megrahi dropped his appeal. All I have read so far is speculation, no facts.

    Before expecting the SNP to commit political suicide I think that aspect of things requires to be clarified.

  9. You seem to believe, having read through some of your other posts, that the Scottish Govt had some part to play in the dropping of the appeal.

    Where is your evidence?

    If the Scottish Govt were of a mind to suppress evidence relating to the Lockerbie case to preserve the reputation of Scottish justice then they could just have decided to release Megrahi via the PTA agreement, that is what a Labour Govt would have done. It was the easy way out and they could have magicked up a reason to go along with a policy they had previously opposed, that's what politicians do.

    But they didn't.

    There was no political or economic advantage to releasing Megrahi via compassionate release, it has strategically been a disaster for the SNP.

    There was no requirement for Megrahi's team to drop the appeal to qualify for compassionate release, the visit McAskill made to Megrahi was at HIS request in connection with the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, as that allowed the applicant to make representations, the agreement did not specify what kind of representations, and my understanding is that if McAskill had refused to meet with Megrahi and subsequently refused the PTA application that decision could have been appealed.

    You seem to have deduced from that visit that McAskill or someone else used that meeting to persuade Megrahi to drop the appeal - something he had already indicated he was prepared to do by applying for prisoner transfer.

    Your argument doesn't make any sense to me.

    I think the campaign, which I support incidentally, to exonerate Megrahi would be at least a step further forward if the circumstances around the dropping of the appeal were clarified by the person who dropped it.

  10. Observer. I'm not sure if that was directed at my views or not but I will respond anyway.

    I have my views. They are not remotely incompetent. They are shared by some pretty knowledgeable people so I'm in distinguished company.

    This is nothing like Bloody Sunday. There was a trial involved here, a verdict and evidence which said the opposite of what the judges concluded. There are court records which actually expose the Lord Advocate lying to the judges about the contents of cables exchanged between the US and Scottish authorities concerning Gaika, the man who put Megrahi and his co-accused in the frame. Those cables proved Gaika made up stories for money and that even the Americans had figured that out! The judges agreed, after they had over ruled the Lord Advocate, (you know the guy who is meant to make sure everything is done in a just manner?), although in agreeing that Gaika was completely unreliable they chose to forget he had implicated Megrahi and his co-accused.

    There is much more besides, all available to the Scottish Government, ready and waiting. And, in case you've forgotten, the evidence is already in our hands in the shape of the SCCRC findings. They are independently on record that a miscarriage of justice could have occurred at the original trial. There were six grounds to support this view.

    I too would like to know why the appeal was dropped but Mr MacAskill is staying quiet on that one.

    Even so all Salmond has to do is choose a date and announce that we, Scotland, are going after the truth. He can actually use this, if he must, as a massive stick to beat other political Parties around the head with. He can shame them, confront them and challenge them. And you know, there isn't one politician around today who is remotely a match for him. He could do it and he could take the vast majority of Scots with him, and many others throughout the UK, because the issue of the doubts over Megrahi's guilt will not go away and more and more people, and prominent newspapers, are pushing for answers and action.

    So I am not asking the SNP to commit political suicide. What I am suggesting is entirely do-able. And bleating that it wasn't the SNPs fault is to deny a man justice and say that it isn't their problem. He was denied justice on their watch and the right to have that appeal heard far earlier. So it really is their problem. They took office in 2007, the very year the SCCRC passed the case back to the Court of Appeal. To look the other way and deny this isn't all right either. They are still in government and if they have the guts they can tell the world they are going to take this matter forward. If they were big enough to release Megrahi then they can be bigger still and really go for it. And they will finally give us ALL justice on Lockerbie and ultimately Megrahi too. After that Salmond won't have to worry about the election because he will have left the rest of them standing and shown all Scots that unlike them he has courage.

    You're saying you support a full inquiry but you are asking "But where will the money come from?" This is about LOCKERBIE Observer, remember Lockerbie? And in any case your costs argument collapses when one considers the evidence we already have which I have outlined above. It is at our fingertips.

    So with respect, I think you are the one who needs to "think it through". I have done so very carefully and for some time. And frankly anyone who sets aside this issue on the grounds you just have needs to give the matter some more thought.

  11. Observer..........MacAskill gave a very well rehearsed excruciating speech on the day he announced Megrahi's release in which he declared the original verdict sound. He paid tribute to those who had "investigated this heinous crime" knowing that the SCCRC had already publicly declared that there were six possible grounds to believe a miscarriage of justice could have occurred during that trial. Furthermore we all knew by then that the US had paid Mr Gauci TWO MILLION DOLLARS for his testimony. And yes the appeal was gone by then of course but that independent statement by the SCCRC stands alone, seperate from the appeal. They said it publicly. And any Justice Secretary who chooses to ignore such a massive statement is not being entirely honest.

    He made the decision to visit Megrahi. His choice but in doing so he left himself wide open to serious questions. My questions didn't arise from that visit incidentally: they came when I heard him declaring that verdict sound because in my view his priority was to spare the Scottish Justice System from global humiliation had the appeal gone ahead. I think Megrahi, by then a very sick man, was coerced into dropping the appeal. Imagine his state of mind: his homeland maybe days away. Imagine his physical state and the misery of this cancer advancing while he was trapped in a prison cell. As for evidence. Christine Grahame claims someone from MacAskill's office told her Megrahi had been told if he didn't drop the appeal he wasn't going anywhere.

  12. Erm usually when I address a post to a blog it is to the blogger I am speaking. However as you have responded to me I will give you the courtesy of a reply.

    The cost of the Bloody Sunday inquiry related in part to the volumes of evidence that needed to be heard & the length of time it took to hear it. The amount of evidence that would be required to be heard in this case would be mountainous, and so would the cost.

    The SNP are a MINORITY government - do you imagine for one moment that the combined Labour & Tory opposition would say ''OK then, on you go'' if the SNP decided to commit an unknown amount of money to an inquiry into Lockerbie?

    It's just not realistic in the current political climate; any such inquiry would be voted down before it could be launched.

    Do you understand that? Alex Salmond cannot just say ''Here is the date and we are going to go after the truth'' the Scottish govt can only govern by consensus, without a consensus in the Parliament no inquiry will ever get off the ground, and seeing as the Parliament condemned the very release of Megrahi, there is no prospect of it supporting an inquiry into the verdict which incarcerated him in the first place, is there.

    What you are suggesting is not remotely do-able. If Salmond announced an inquiry tomorrow then it would be voted down - that is the reality of the situation, and the SNP would be hammering another nail into their own coffin over the Megrahi issue, with no benefit to anyone at all.

    The idea that you can switch from pressuring the UN to pressuring the minority SNP govt to exonerate Megrahi is politically naive.

    I also don't understand your comment that you would like to know why the appeal was dropped but McAskill is keeping quiet on that one. I was not aware that he moonlighted as Mr Megrahi who is the person who dropped the appeal.

    Mr Megrahi or those who act for him need to explain that.

  13. Whit? Are you serious? OF COURSE MCaskill declared the original verdict sound - he is the Justice Minister he could do nothing less.

    Justice Ministers do not have the option of declaring a verdict unsound without due process, I am amazed that anyone could consider the possibility of that.

    So you don't actually have any evidence that McAskill coerced Megrahi into dropping his appeal. You just think he did.

    What were the motivations of McAskill then? If he was dedicated to preserving the reputation of Scottish justice why didn't he just go along with the PTA? The SNP have backtracked before on previous disputes they had with Westminster, it would not have been hard to do it in this instance. Why would he put himself through this tremendous ordeal, being subjected to death threats & all the rest, whilst at the same time forcing Megrahi to drop the appeal? Something he could have achieved very easily by other means.

    It makes no sense.

    Christine Grahame needs to produce the e mails.

    There needs to be evidence here, not supposition & drawing conclusions from circumstantial evidence. That's what put Megrahi into jail in the first place.

  14. Observer, Mr Megrahi has nothing to explain. His condition, his situation and his plight are well documented.

    Mr MacAskill has everything to explain starting with why he declared a verdict sound which, it was already established, there were grounds to consider unsafe. Those grounds didn't come from a conspiracy nut but from the SCCRC. He had seen their report!

    And on the issue of wasting money, how much do you imagine it cost for the SCCRC to conduct its almost four year long investigation ahead of presenting its findings? How many hours were put in getting that work done?

    These findings were presented on the current government's watch and the appeal was delayed during their watch also, for more than two years. A delay which Dr Hans Koechler, the UN observer at the original trial, said involved conduct which was tantamount to the obstruction of justice. He also declared that the delay breached Megrahi's legal and human rights under ECHR legislation. All on the SNP's watch.

    "The combined weight of the Tory and Labour opposition" are out of step with public opinion on this one. Bigtime. That changes everything. You should never underestimate what public opinion can achieve and how afraid politicians are of it. Many Scots are livid that Labour here have stood back and allowed Americans to walk all over here. They have seen Salmond telling them to take a hike in recent weeks. And they backed him for doing it. They will back him again if he goes even further.

    Tell you what Observer, you should read more about the evidence surrounding this matter. That might help. We clearly have different priorities. I'm about justice. You're about defending Mr MacAskill. Given what Lockerbie was about that is deeply sad. Because it is bigger than all political Parties put together. Maybe you should view some old footage of what actually happened to remind yourself of what we are actually talking about. The biggest terrorist attack on the British mainland that we have ever seen, almost 300 dead followed by a trial which ultimately has been trashed repeatedly and which involved the US paying massive amounts of money to a star witness who did not positively identify Megrahi at any time and who actually described the person who bought clothes in his shop very differently in every way from the man who finally came to stand in the dock.

    I hope I am never standing in a dock accused of something I didn't do. And I hope I'm not relying on that wonderful old Scottish Justice System to treat me fairly. Because this trial proved that this myth of a Justice System people have been bragging about for years is simply that, a myth. And that makes me ashamed.

  15. Jo have you read the papers today? Opinion polls show that fewer people agree with the release of Megrahi today than did a year ago - and a year ago it was a minority of people who agreed with the release.

    If people in Scotland don't agree that Megrahi should have been released then it is fair to assume they don't believe he is innocent.

    I am assuming that we are cross-posting but I have already said McAskill can't do anything else but speak in public as if the verdict is sound, because the SCCRC report in itself is not enough, as it was never tested in any way. It would actually be quite shocking for a Justice Minister to question a verdict without due process - you must see that.

    Imagine the possibilities that could open up in other cases, it's just not on.

    I am quite clear that Megrahi is innocent I have no doubt about that at all.

    I am not here to defend Kenny McAskill; I am here to try & point out to Robert Black that what he is asking of the current Scottish govt is impossible for the reasons I have set out.

    They can't wave a magic wand & set up an inquiry. They are a minority government who would be voted down if they even suggested it.

    Robert and his fellow campaigners need to be aware of the political realities in Scotland if he is ever to get what he wants, justice for a falsely condemned man.

  16. Observer, where have you been for the last almost three years? On the moon?

    Do you not remember Salmond having to explain to the learned Kirsty Wark the implications of Blair's filthy deal in the desert and who it was about and what the PTA was about? It was about Megrahi and about trade! Even while Labour denied it, it was about Megrahi and trade. The SNP wouldn't have touched the PTA with a barge pole. They said so quite clearly. It was a deal done by the UK government and they wanted nothing to do with it.

    There was also the matter of the US relatives claiming that under a PTA deal they had the legal right to appeal any Megrahi release decision and had been given an assurance by the (Westminster) government of this. The PTA was a non-starter even tho Libya made the application: it was never a goer for the Scottish Government.

    In later days on the compassionate release versus the PTA issue they rejected the PTA because it also required the dropping of the appeal and, at that point at least, the appeal was important to them.

    Anyway, I'm kind of busy. Go read up and remember that much of the evidence you will find is certainly not merely circumstantial even if you wish to describe it as such. And as yet you've done nothing but cheerlead for MacAskill. That doesn't even reach the dizzy heights of being described as circumstantial: its just blind loyalty and one should never trust to that. It can be terribly dangerous. It makes us blind you see.

  17. PS. Thank you for swapping views. Sincerely.

  18. Jo where have you been forever?

    Do you think politicians can't turn somersaults & argue black is white & Monday is Tuesday? They do it all the time. Apart from political anoraks, which I assume you are, I am anyway, who do you think actually remembers the Kirsty Wark interview?

    Jeez the SNP have dropped numerous manifesto commitments & are now being strangely silent on the referendum on independence itself, which is supposed to be their main motivation, I don't think a volte face on the Prisoner Transfer Agreement would be all that difficult.

    You seem to have mistaken me for a Kenny McAskill or SNP groupie, I am not.

    The American relatives right of appeal over the PTA was dropped - by the Americans who were the only people who could have triggered it.

    There was precisely nothing to stop McAskill approving the PTA application were he setting out to suppress the appeal.

    That is the one fact that you can't walk from & you have no evidence at all to condemn McAskill - you just are.

    Sorry but I think that is a simplistic analysis. I want to know why the appeal was dropped & ''McAskill did it'' doesn't work for me.

    I also want Robert Black & his colleagues to know the realities of the Scottish political world.

    No inquiry into Lockerbie can ever be launched unless there is a consensus in the Scottish Parliament that there should be one.

    We are absolutely nowhere near that, the last action the Scottish Parliament took in relation to Lockerbie was to condemn the release of Megrahi.

  19. Ok Jo thanks to you too

  20. On the issue of factual evidence relating to reasons why Mr Megrahi dropped his appeal:

    In September I went through the Scottish Government documents to look at the question,

    “Did the Justice Secretary take adequate care, through promptness of action and appropriate information to the appellant, to avoid influencing the court process?”.

    I sent the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee the results.

    I considered, in the light of facts in the documents, possible influences on the prisoner's decision to drop the appeal. I questioned the (mad) idea that his decision proved he was guilty.

    It is not my final word on the subject.

    Here is the first part.

    Suggestion for Megrahi inquiry: question of Departmental influence on prisoner through delay and/or problematic information

    My brother died in the crash of Pan Am 103. Before Mr MacAskill’s decisions, I met him twice and had three telephone conversations with his adviser Dr Burgess.

    I am writing to suggest that the Committee might consider, for its discussion on the remit or later, a question similar to this:

    “Did the Justice Secretary take adequate care, through promptness of action and appropriate information to the appellant, to avoid influencing the court process?”

    Scottish Ministers emphasised that they would have preferred Mr Megrahi's case to continue without the possibility of prisoner transfer. The wider interests of justice were perhaps best served by the process continuing.

    UK Families Flight 103, which represents most UK families, made it clear to the Minister that the overwhelming wish was for the appeal to continue.

    There are two areas which may be of interest. The first concerns timeliness, and the second appropriateness of information given to the prisoner. The issue is whether both in combination could reasonably have been foreseen to influence the prisoner's decision to abandon the appeal.

    It is perhaps uncontentious that for an ill prisoner in a foreign jail, the longer Mr MacAskill took to decide, the more incentive there was to abandon the appeal. More on this is in an Appendix.

    1. Timeliness

    The Department had good indications for two years that this prisoner transfer application was likely. Officials had been discussing it with the Libyan Government for months beforehand.

    There had been relevant contact with the US and UK Governments.

    It is not therefore clear whether Mr MacAskill acted responsibly when, given a 90-day timescale, he:

    a) delayed contacting relatives for 43 days;

    b) did not meet relatives of victims from Lockerbie until the 79th day;

    c) delayed contacting the FCO for 48 days;

    d) waited until the end of his 90-day period for the FCO to provide information, when the FCO had already failed to do so since February;

    e) delayed for 21 days replying to Mr Megrahi’s acceptance of a meeting;

    f) visited the prisoner after the 90-day period had already expired;

    g) took 41 days to think after hearing UK and US relatives and the US Attorney General talk of the relevance of an international agreement; and

    h) delayed decision beyond the 90-day period on the grounds that he was waiting for information not listed in the criteria, even though the actual criteria were clearly not met.

    The note of the meeting with the Libyan delegation on 12 March states, "Mr Gordon confirmed that this matter ...would be dealt with expeditiously". The First Minister made a similar statement in May. Yet despite the prisoner's worsening illness and the possible consequent increase in temptation to abandon the appeal in the hope of going to Libya to die, the actual priority given by Dr Burgess in May and June was "routine".

    [Later note: I do not know of any other priority being given until 14 August, which was after the 90 days had already expired and Mr Megrahi had lodged the application to withdraw the appeal.]

  21. (submission to Justice Committee of 28 September 2009, continued)

    It is perhaps unfortunate for the course of justice that Mr MacAskill's delay beyond the time when the appeal was live was in addition to:

    - several years’ delay in agreeing the form of the trial;

    - delay beyond the normal 110 days’ pre-trial detention to around 400;

    - the SCCRC taking two-and-a-half years longer than their usual target of one year;

    - delay to the second appeal due to the UK Government withholding evidence;

    - other delays to the second appeal; and

    - delay from the judge's illness.

    The point is about cumulative frustration as well as illness: it is not about guilt or innocence, but fairness. It is not about anyone's motivation, but about the effect on a judicial process.

    Consideration of these factors together might lead to the conclusion that even an innocent man might drop the appeal under the circumstances. There may be a legitimate question as to whether all innocent people, in a situation where the prison governor had by then already described them as deserving of compassionate release because they were dying, would have continued with the appeal.

    Bearing in mind that

    a) the prisoner was terminally ill;

    b) he may have wished before he died to see his aged mother who was not perhaps easily able to come to Scotland, and

    c) the Cabinet Secretary could not transfer unless the appeal was dropped,

    it is perhaps not clear that the abandonment of the appeal was related to an acceptance of guilt or of weakness in his legal case.

    It is perhaps not beyond doubt that the explanation for abandonment is other than that the appellant became desperate, and/or believed that the Minister was waiting for him to abandon before transferring him.

    Perhaps it is worth asking whether the Minister could reasonably have foreseen effects of his delay on the prisoner's attitude towards his appeal, given i) the history of previous delays in this case and ii) the apparent belief on the part of the Libyan authorities from 2007 that Mr Blair had at least not discouraged the expectation that Mr Megrahi would be transferred.

    The aims of prisoner transfer agreements relate to cost, rehabilitation and conditions for the prisoner. Since in this case only the last of those was a consideration for the Scottish Ministers, it was surely against the intention of such agreements for the situation of a prisoner to be at risk of worsening by abandonment of an appeal not being followed by transfer.

  22. Suliman: I note that in that long and detailed comment you only discuss perceived problems with a FORMER signatory (and a note of another). Even if your analysis on Mr. Swissy and is spot-on (I'm agnostic 'til I study it), it changes not this fact you did not comment on:

    Quite a few credible and informed people are willing to put their names to a challenge to the previous verdict. They're absolutely right to insist on better answers. Megrahi, Fhimah, and Libya. Framed. Real killers - escaped behind the distraction.

    Many people insist on only touching the fringes of this case - the degrees-of-separation game of connections to allegations of suspected involvement in a shady business connected to the JSO and LAA, seen at a meeting with...

    AS IF the core evidence against M+F - that allowed any of this to even SEEM to mean anything - still stands. It doesn't.

  23. Greetings, Observer. Thank you for the point about support in the Scottish Parliament for an inquiry, and for this:

    "What I would like to know is why Megrahi dropped his appeal. All I have read so far is speculation, no facts. Before expecting the SNP to commit political suicide I think that aspect of things requires to be clarified."

    I hope what I posted, and/or the rest of the document, is in some way a useful contribution.

    You say, "If the Scottish Govt were of a mind to suppress evidence relating to the Lockerbie case to preserve the reputation of Scottish justice then they could just have decided to release Megrahi via the PTA agreement".

    That in itself - deciding to transfer, which perhaps you correctly describe as release (how would the Libyan Government have explained that they were keeping him in prison for his heroism?) would not have ended the appeal.

    Perhaps you meant,

    "they could have intimated to Mr Megrahi that he was likely to get transferred, so he would give up his appeal".

    His deciding to abandon could have happened at any point he chose, for any reason.

    Mr MacAskill said he would not give any nods and winks, so he was not going to announce a decision in principle.

    In the event he could not have transferred him anyway because of the Crown appeal against sentence.

    Perhaps Mr MacAskill might one day explain under what circumstances he was envisaging the Crown appeal being dropped, since if that was not going to happen, he was wasting everyone's time.

    It is not clear under what circumstances Mr Megrahi or Libyan Government representatives who went to meetings with Scottish Government representatives were anticipating the Crown would drop their appeal and thus make possible a return to Libya.

    You also say,

    "There was no political or economic advantage to releasing Megrahi via compassionate release".

    May I ask why you say that?

  24. Jo: I dig your shame. It's Anglo-American, and I share it.

    As a signatory of this letter now (whatever help that is, really...), I'm hopeful that someone in Scotland will pull together some truth commission, but not hopeful in the sense that I'm holding my breath at all.

    Observer and Jo G: Interesting discussion above. I'm a little more inclined towards Observer's side on the plausibility of an investigation. Structural considerations do tend to triumph, in reality, over ideals.

    On the appeal, I'm leaning to Jo's side. The appeal has not been proven to be wrested away by MacAskill's machinations, but there is just a ton of weirdness surrounding the whole process. I admit, I'm no expert in these things, but partially tracked them out at my blog the last few weeks. My first cues in examining this were from Mr. Berkley here.

    If we can agree the appeal's closure was favorable to the Scottish justice system, we have a motive. Opportunity is obvious - they controlled the prisoner's escape routes. Means ... not entirely clear at the moment. And being realistic and structural, why would they be? It would have plausible deniability sewn in tight, and would obviously be denied in a way that seems plausible.

    "If the Scottish Govt were of a mind to suppress evidence relating to the Lockerbie case to preserve the reputation of Scottish justice then they could just have decided to release Megrahi via the PTA agreement, "
    Or, alternately, they could have done it some other way, perhaps to be less obvious. It's all about impressions, that politics stuff.

    I also don't understand your comment that you would like to know why the appeal was dropped but McAskill is keeping quiet on that one. I was not aware that he moonlighted as Mr Megrahi who is the person who dropped the appeal.

    Mr Megrahi or those who act for him need to explain that.

    I am working on it. In short it seems the prisoner was treated like a mushroom - kept in the dark about the process and fed manure. The two-track approach, to be decided at the same time on tangled bases, with Megrahi KNOWING his appeal was a ticking bomb, and the nexus suggesting he should drop it to shake Kenny's deadlock loose... Strangely (???), he did decide to request abandonment, and it was granted 18 August. Kenny was shook into decision by something on 19 August.

    That's a circumstantial case, is it not? We're missing some pieces, to be sure.

    What needs to happen maybe is a voluntary revival of Megrahi's appeal as it stood, advocated by whoever Megrahi selects. This will be blocked if it is, not out of budget concerns but out of fear.

    What say you to that. Observer?

  25. Thank you Mr. Berkley. I had to read the below section of your PDF again to fully grasp it. I recommend "Observer" take a look at this. Read it carefully. The seven facts are all relevant facts about the decision to abandon his appeal, which could or should have been communicated to him, to make a balanced, informed decision.

    Apparent selectivity of information to the prisoner
    At the prison, there were seven facts Mr MacAskill could have told the
    appellant on the relevance of the conviction appeal to the decisions:
    a) he would have to drop it to be transferred;
    b) he would not have to drop it for the Minister to refuse transfer;
    c) he would not have to drop it for the Minister to release him;
    d) if he did drop it, he could not be transferred unless the Crown
    decided to drop their sentence appeal;

    e) the Crown would decide independently;
    f) the Minister currently had no information on what the Crown
    would do;
    g) the Minister would not find out in advance what the Crown would
    Mr MacAskill appears to have mentioned only one of these – (a), that he
    would have to abandon the appeal to be transferred – while omitting both
    the possibilities which did not need the appeal to be dropped and the one
    which would defeat his stated purpose of doing so. This impression from the
    Department's note is bolstered by Mr MacAskill's statements in Parliament on
    2 September in reply to Margo MacDonald, that what he said to Mr Megrahi
    was in the note and "no further matters beyond that were discussed".


    Is the dropping of the successful promising "Lockerbie appeal invalid and must be set back to the status from 19/20 August, 2009?

    Professor Dr. Hans Koechler, UN Observer during "Lockerbie trial" held in Kamp van Zeist points out a servere error, which was not happening for the first time:

    According to Scottish law, it is NOT necessary that a convicted shall with drawal his demand for reappeal in order to profit from a so called "compassionate release". Such with drawal would have been necessary only, if Mr Adelbaset Al Megrahi would have been returned to his home country on the basis of the agreement between Libya and Great Britain referring to the mutual transfer of prisoners.

    It lacks of any reason, that Mr Megrahi has abandoned his right, that the reappeal-procedure shall continue also in the case of his sudden death. It is well possible, that Mr Megrahi was not informed/consulted correctly during his stay in prison. There is a vital danger, that this fatal error will deeply influence the jurisdiction in the case in question.

    Professor Dr Koechler explained to me personaly, that it is a generaly accepted principle of right, that such decision is only valid, wehn this desicion has been made in full liberty. Professor Koechler has furthermore immediately after the desicion of with drawal was made public asked, that all circumstances, which have lead to this desicion must be 100% cleared-including the role, which was "played" by his (Megrahi's) defense-team!

    MEBO states the following: The publication of Mr Megrahi's appeal-documents on his internet-webpage for the sake of clearing his name is a clear indice, that the "dropping" of his appeal was NOT based on his free will:

    Why so?

    1. Mr Megrahi was blackmailed by facts, which have nothing to do with the PanAm 103 attack and were clearly aimed do drop the appeal;

    2. Mr Megrahi was not protected to absolutely avoid a legally wrong decision by the present lawyer Tony Kelly;

    continuation down >>>

  27. >>> continuation MISSION LOCKERBIE:

    In a TV interview with Al Jazeera, Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi has denied any deal was done to secure the release of the only man, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, convicted of the Lockerbie bombing and this problem ended.
    He said also: "It is not possible anymore to talk about clearing Libya or not Mr. Megrahi was the only person who had the right to appeal to the European Court, but as I said because of his illness and release it seems that there is no need for an appeal".

    In a other interview: With regard to Lockerbie case, Leader Gaddafi said that Libya has not accepted culpability, and only took responsibility for the actions of its citizens. "We never acknowledged any guilt ... and Libya was never indicted in any court as responsible!"

    MEBO states that the Leader of Libya Mr Gaddafi was intentionable wrong informed by his Scottish solicitors!

    Firstly, Mr Megrahi would not have been forced in this moment in time to apply the European Court, since the dropping of his appeal, and if this would be the fact, the High Court in Edinburgh would fully remain in duty.

    Mr Abdelbaset Al Megrahi personaly, his family, the Libyan People, the families of the victims of PA 103 and any person and/or organization, who suffered either morally or financially, like MEBO, from this tragedy are definitely asking for a true, rightful and final decision of the second appeal on the High Court in Edinburgh!

    We ask Mr Al Megrahi to use his good and guaranteed right with draw the wrongful dropping of his appeal, stating a declaration dated from 19/20 August, 2009 which should be formulated and substantiated by his Libyan lawer and then immediadely submitted to the Scottish Justiciary in Edinburgh!

    In order to restaurate the prestige and the honour of Libya and the whole Libyan People we again ask the respective unknown government (possible Switzerland or Germany) which has delivered to the United Kingdom, on September 13, 1996, a document under 'National Security' (PII), please give to Justice Secretary MacAskill the granted permission for opening PII for exoneration Libya's and public interests.

    If Megrahi not make use of its right and will take back the dropping of his appeal -- the internationally media and the victim families of PA-103 will say -- the Megrahi's transfair was definitive dependent from a BP oil deal between UK and Libya...

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland

  28. Caustic, whether or not you "lean" towards Observer's views on the "structural" issues being problematic there is one matter where sides don't come into it and where we deal utterly in fact.

    MacAskill may not have been able to declare the original verdict unsafe, during his big speech that day, but nor did he have the right, or the authority, to declare it absolutely safe. The SCCRC's statement had already said otherwise more than two years earlier.

    The public declaration of the SCCRC, in finding six separate grounds to suggest a miscarriage of justice could have occurred, contradicted MacAskill's statement utterly. And his failure, as Justice Secretary, to acknowledge the existence and implications of the official and formal statement by the SCCRC regarding that verdict is not only questionable but highly suspicious. The SCCRC is not some pro-Megrahi group nor is it made up of conspiracy theory nuts. It is a public body. It is made up of highly qualified legal people who were instructed to investigate Megrahi's case and spent years poring over it. Their findings don't come from an opinion poll. The SCCRC is an integral part of our Justice System with a remit to independently investigate cases which come before it. It also has authority and all politicians, including the Justice Minister, have a duty to recognise they do not possess the power to set aside statements it has made publicly regarding particular cases.

    I have said it before, the appeal was gone by then yes, but the official statement by the SCCRC remained on record. It didn't vanish with the appeal. It is still there. MacAskill chose to ignore that. That says a great deal, none of it reassuring.

  29. Hi again Observer. There are questions you've raised which interest me.

    I hope Prof B will forgive me for diverting slightly on the grounds that Lockerbie very much figures in my own thinking when we get into Scottish politics. I hope participants from other countries will forgive me also.

    I would say Prof B knows how politics work. He probably knew it long before Lockerbie.

    If you are the Observer I know from other forums then you are as keen as I am, when I smell a rat, to say so and demand answers. And yes, I'm probably a bit of an anorak too.

    You've very honestly expressed your concerns about how taking this forward could hurt the SNP. But where you see the issue as political suicide by the SNP I see it as a massive opportunity.

    The issue shouldn't be Party-political and it shocks me that some have made it so. That is a betrayal of the Lockerbie dead. Lockerbie wasn't about Party-politics. It was global, it was an international issue. But I nevertheless believe the SNP would emerge streets ahead of the others if they cast aside the filthy sewer type politics others have happily paddled in for decades. The Lockerbie/Megrahi issue provides that opportunity.

    I'm not sure the SNP would be defeated on this issue in the Parliament. The Lib-Dems are not absolutely against a full investigation. The SNP could get their backing and the Others in the Parliament could back them too. That more than deals with Labour and the Tories and don't forget there may be people in those groups who want an Inquiry. There will be those for whom this isn't about politics but justice and restoring Scotland's tattered reputation. Not due to Megrahi's release but the verdict at his trial.

    If Salmond dealt with this in the right way he would have all of Scotland baying for action regarding the belief, stated formally by the SCCRC, an official public body, that there are grounds to suspect there could have been a miscarriage of justice at Megrahi's trial.

    Salmond has the ability to do that. He could bring all of Scotland behind public calls for action on those findings and leave Labour and the Tories watching the tide of public opinion forming behind him.

    Salmond could challenge every politician in the Parliament to decide if Lockerbie matters, if the dead matter, if the prospect that we got the wrong man matters. He could ask them if the findings of a body like the SCCRC can be ignored and if so on what grounds? He could repeatedly return to what actually happened at Lockerbie and emphasise the importance of knowing whether or not that verdict was safe.

    As I said earlier, he doesn't need to go and find the evidence: its there. The SCCRC have it. Yes Westminster rushed to block access to other evidence but their refusal to co-operate in fact only assists Megrahi's case for it exposes a government (Blair's/Brown's) desperate to lock away the truth.

    Salmond encourages Scots not to believe we are dependent on anyone Observer. He urges us, as a nation, to believe in ourselves. He remained diplomatic but a shot across the bows of the US in the last week to ten days ago slapped them down and he was applauded widely for doing that while Mr Gray and others stood by apparently unconcerned while the US ran riot over Scottish matters. Those who applauded were not all nationalists.

    So I urge you to think more about this. I realise there are other matters for the SNP to think about ahead of elections next year. This issue however will not take up a lot of time. All Salmond has to do is get the ball rolling. If he does he won't have to worry about the elections or, perhaps independence either. For he will be the man leading the Party who went out there and demanded justice, not just for Megrahi, but for Scotland. It could be done Observer.

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. The deleted posts are duplicates of my last post. Blip!

  33. Jo G: Thanks for your sincere reply, but I am afraid you actually did not hit any of the points I raised. Let me try this a different way.

    Suppose I were not a Libyan-American but a Jewish-American person, and suppose that I wrote to express dismay that a campaign for justice is co-founded by a member of the American Nazi Party. Would you say that I have "personal issues" with the Nazi Party? I doubt it very much. In your opinion, would it make sense for a campaign for racial equality to be co-founded by the KKK? I hope you get my point. I made sure not to bring any "personal issues," unless you think I am related to Yvonne Fletcher or something. The murder of Yvonne Fletcher is not a personal or a Libyan issue, it is a British issue.

    Do you think it is right for a campaign for justice to join hands with an organization that is an affront to justice? Do you think it is right for law professors to collaborate with an organization that celebrated its anniversary with lynchings of students? And if the co-founders think all of that is right, why are they being cagey now about their colleagues? Give me your straight answers, please.

    Caustic: You seem to have missed the point at length. FORMER signatory, which you emphasize, is completely irrelevant. Mr. Swissy is a CO-FOUNDER of the Justice for Megrahi Campaign. That cannot be changed, canceled or withdrawn; it is a done deal. Why is a co-founder of this effort being kept out of the spotlight now? Do you know? You can also take a crack at the questions I posed above to Jo G.

  34. Jo G: Sorry, I'm an ideas and debate oriented person. On your sticking point of MacAskill's failure to openly declare doubts about Meagai's guilt (or certainty of his onnocence?), I again take Observer's "side" and note that he's a politician. They mince words.

    I'd also give him credit however for his less-noted part,where he may have snuck the idea in despite the up-front doublespeak:
    "the abandonment of the appeal has caused concern to many ... there remain concerns to some on the wider issues of the Lockerbie atrocity. ... The questions to be asked and answered ... a further inquiry ... The Scottish Government would be happy to fully co-operate in such an inquiry."

    Maybe as an American, I'm just excited too see anyone in authority even acknowledge that there are or may be valid questions needing an inquiry. I'm less than impressed with the dodging I omitted with the elipses, of course.

  35. Suliman: Caustic: You seem to have missed the point at length. FORMER signatory, which you emphasize, is completely irrelevant. Mr. Swissy is a CO-FOUNDER of the Justice for Megrahi Campaign. That cannot be changed, canceled or withdrawn; it is a done deal. Why is a co-founder of this effort being kept out of the spotlight now?

    I would guess (and that's all I can do) Mr. Swissy backed away because of certain people who will try to use his connection to brand the JFM as some kind of terrorist front.

    As someone involved in the effort, I'll let you in on a little secret: mostly it involves figuring who to mail or mostly e-mail next, and who can be persuaded to sign on. No amazing support from Tripoli is required, in the founding or continued program.

    Out of curiosity, what would satisfy you? The whole group dissolving and then reforming under a new name with no Swissy? Somehow I suspect that wouldn't "fool" you either.

    You can also take a crack at the questions I posed above to Jo G.

    No thanks, it seems like a red herring to me.

  36. Adam

    I did not say MacAskill should have announced there was doubt about the verdict. I said he should not have declared it was sound in view of official statements to the contrary. He should have left the verdict out of it and not mentioned it at all.

    MacAskill did indeed go on to say the words you quote in your post. Which makes it all the more absurd that he had, just earlier, paid tribute to the Scottish Judiciary who tried the case and to the investigators who put the case together, while declaring the verdict sound. The later statement you have quoted from MacAskill contradicts all of that.

    Those he referred to with "doubts about wider issues" include the SCCRC and their issues did not involve "wider" aspects of the trial but absolute fundamentals including the verdict! He failed to acknowledge this and instead gave the impression that we were just talking about the odd half a dozen folk here and there. And he isn't just a politician, he's a lawyer so he knew how serious the doubts were and the implications of that SCCRC report. If he chose to ignore that then he should have ignored everything else and remained quiet about, the sound-ness or otherwise of, the verdict altogether.

    I was aware of those words he spoke Adam, I've read them hundreds of times. But ultimately they meant nothing so they didn't excite me. He had still declared the verdict sound and paid tribute to those who investigated and tried the case.

    I have heard him since actually call for a full inquiry but he isn't doing very much to bring that about either.

    And you know what else Adam? I happen to think that people who shrug their shoulders and simply say, "Oh politicians mince words." are the reason we get the politicians we deserve. That might be ok when we're talking trivialities. This was no triviality.

  37. Suliman
    I was not aware of your nationality.

    The term "personal issues" was used as I had seen you several times appearing to want to harm or undermine attempts to highlight the clear wrongs done in the prosecution of this case. I did not understand what these issues were and asked about them. You have now clarified certain things.

    To issue some sort of challenge for me to respond to is, in my view, pointless. You have issues with two people who were part of JFM. Fine. That does not mean you should attempt to undermine what others on that group are seeking to do.

    Caustic has asked you to say what it is you wish JFM to do, reform under a new name? He also asks if that would satisfy you and he suspects it probably would not. Answer his question.

    I would add another question: do you think it is reasonable to attempt to sabotage the group - as a body - in progressing its case in demanding justice over the Lockerbie affair? I don't think it is.

    Libya is guilty of a great deal certainly but in my view it took the fall for Lockerbie when I don't believe it was responsible for what happened there.

    In my own country we have people in government now (in Northern Ireland) who were formerly terrorists. Elsewhere Mr Mandela is seen as an international figure of respect yet once he too was seen as a terrorist.

    I have given you examples above of things my country did (most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq) that I am ashamed of. My country's entire history in the Middle East makes me ashamed. The UK agreed to the creation of the state of Israel provided Israel did not "interfere with the rights of other non-Jewish people living in Palestine." That's a direct quote from the declaration the UK signed. Yet during the 60 years or so after we ignored every occasion Israel breached that condition. And at the UN we vetoed any attempt (along with the US) to bring Israel to account.

    South Africa was dealt with using sanctions. Libya was crippled because of sanctions imposed for a crime it almost certainly did not commit and it had to buy its way out of that situation. But Israel? No sanctions there, no matter what.

    If there are very bad people in the world Suliman its because when it comes to justice the odds are fixed very much in favour of those and such as those. The West treats Arabs with contempt and when it comes to justice there is very little available. The only thing they matter for is their oil. That is why we are so detested.

  38. I am perhaps approaching this from a different angle than others.

    I want there to be an inquiry into Lockerbie, but I hae ma doots the current approach is going to work.

    Not least because quite frankly all the speculation about Kenny McAskill trying to suppress the appeal is pissing off some of the people that the campaign needs on its side.

    McAskill was in an impossible position, he knew by releasing Megrahi he was going to infuriate the Americans, which he did, so he had to frame his speech in such a way to mollify them as much as possible.

    BUT within that context he also managed to make mention of the fact that the abandonment of the appeal was very concerning & that there was disquiet about the verdict & that the Scottish Govt would co-operate fully with any inquiry.

    I am sorry but McAskill is the only government minister to have made such an admission, so why is he getting cast as the bad guy when it comes to the appeal? That still doesn't make any sense to me in fact it seems bizarre - why would he force Megrahi to drop his appeal & then say to the world that it was very concerning he had done that.

    I take on board Jo's points, & agree with much of it, bad sadly this has become a party political issue because the Scottish Labour Party smell blood, which is why they are taking a diametrically opposing line from UK Labour on this issue.

    They see the Megrahi issue as a stick to beat the SNP with right up to May's elections, and polls are suggesting that their relentless propoganda is working.

    What I am trying to say is that the campaign needs to take on board political realities. If you want the SNP govt to go where the UN will not then is it a good idea to portray the Justice Minister as a bad guy?

    And I still think the onus is on Mr Megrahi to clarify why he dropped the appeal, although I acknowledge that there are issues about the way McAskill handled the PTA application.

  39. Welcome back Observer

    "Not least because quite frankly all the speculation about Kenny McAskill trying to suppress the appeal is pissing off some of the people that the campaign needs on its side."

    I take your point, but I'm not a Labour person and I still can't get my head around the whole appeal business. I don't say it to wind up nationalists, I say it because it made no sense when the SNP wanted, at some point, to save the appeal and have it heard. That would have vindicated the SNP for the decision to release if you like but it would also have allowed the appeal to be heard and what came out there could not possibly hurt them in any way. But it would have hurt the rest of them and especially Labour for their efforts to keep under lock and key certain evidence.

    MacAskill has called lately for a full investigation, so has Salmond but adding the "but we're powerless" bit on the end of that sentence should stop. Instead they could challenge as I've outlined above.

    I won't go over old ground as I realise you've read what I said earlier. I do appreciate that there are everyday Scottish business concerns they must address too leading up to an election. But......I'm convinced if they get the ball rolling on this, especially with the Americans starting to push us around again, they would get absolute backing throughout Scotland. This issue is huge: its Lockerbie and I'm utterly convinced that if the SNP really decide it's bigger than all of them put together they will get results. The UN can't act Observer. This is Scotland's show. They can assist if asked but they have no power to come here and do anything. The Scottish Government has to make the big move first.