Thursday, 12 August 2010

Letter to editors

[What follows is the text of a letter sent on behalf of the Justice for Megrahi campaign to the editors of selected newspapers and broadcast news media in the United Kingdom and abroad.]

In recent weeks the issues surrounding the release and repatriation to Libya of Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi have been dominating television newscasts, newspaper front pages, editorials and comment on letter pages of the press throughout the UK, most notably in Scotland.

Whilst there have been demands from a number of quarters to open an inquiry into how and why Mr Al-Megrahi was availed of compassionate release, you will certainly also be aware of the efforts of others to not only investigate this but to establish a full, comprehensive and open public inquiry into the entire Lockerbie affair including:
*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 Mr Fhimah and conviction of Mr Al-Megrahi.
*The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission's (SCCRC) 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.

Ever since Mr Al-Megrahi's conviction in 2001, many of the bereaved and eminent public figures from the fourth estate, legal, political, academic and religious spheres have protested that the trial was a travesty of justice. In the latter months of 2008, a campaign was launched with the express aim of obtaining Justice for Megrahi (JFM). Since its founding, it has petitioned the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation, the Government of Malta, and most recently the Scottish Government and members of the US Senate to support the establishment of a comprehensive, public inquiry, of the type mentioned above, into all matters pertaining to the Pan Am 103/Lockerbie tragedy. At the heart of this campaign from its inception has lain a commitment to see transparency prevail and justice done in a case which from the outset has been afflicted with accusations of buck passing, obfuscation, political interference and a gross miscarriage of justice.

Confusion still continues to reign where this case is concerned, ranging from some believing that Mr Al-Megrahi was convicted by eight Law Lords to his having been released via the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA). Both of these contentions are erroneous. Mr Al-Megrahi was convicted in a court of fact, and it has always been central to this campaign, whether he actually committed the offence he has been convicted of or not, that this conviction was a miscarriage of justice based simply on the evidence laid before the three judges at Zeist by the prosecution. We do not seek to attribute blame for the events of 21st December 1988. We do not seek retribution for investigatory or judicial shortcomings. We seek justice in the name of justice.

Courts of fact can and do get things wrong. This, after all, is precisely why we rely on the institution of the Court of Appeal. Where most convicts would be happy to have their case put before the appeal court on just one ground for appeal, Mr Al-Megrahi’s second appeal was referred to the Court of Appeal by the SCCRC on no fewer than six grounds. Taking this into account, we also fully and deeply identify with those bereaved friends and families who, perfectly understandably, believe the conviction to be safe. Clearly they, more than any other group, would be utterly devastated if it were to be established that the conviction was unsafe. Nevertheless, if Mr Al-Megrahi’s appeal is not to be heard, the only option remaining is an inquiry. Justice should not and must not be viewed as a tool of convenience. It is our belief that all of the bereaved, regardless of their positions, have been done a disservice under Scots Law at Zeist.

For your convenience, you will find included below the letters sent to Mr Salmond and Mr McAskill, and, additionally, to the American senators. Furthermore, you will also find the list of signatories who are endorsing the objective of opening a Lockerbie public inquiry.

It is our belief that the fourth estate owes a moral obligation, not only to its readers and viewers but to the bereaved of Lockerbie especially, to commit its voice firmly behind demands for an inquiry into Lockerbie/Zeist. MSPs have already come out in support of such an inquiry, and although both Mr Salmond and Mr MacAskill have endorsed such in principle, they seem hesitant to grasp the nettle where it comes to setting one up in Scotland. Moreover, the media have a vital and powerful role to play in ensuring that our Scottish justice system, which is currently regarded internationally as an embarrassment, and is seen as demonstrably malleable by political hands, is reinstated to its rightful former position as an institution which can be looked up to, respected and trusted by the people.

With this in mind, we wish to extend to you an invitation to place your name alongside those of the other signatories on the letter to the Scottish Government. We feel that support of this nature from yourself, given the prominent stature of your institution, would add considerable weight to promoting the aims of this campaign.

The Scottish Government should not be allowed to expect other authorities to pick up the gauntlet.
*The case was investigated by a Scottish police force.
*The trial was conducted under Scots Law.
*Mr Al-Megrahi was convicted under Scots Law.
*Mr Al-Megrahi was imprisoned in a Scottish gaol.
*The SCCRC referred the second appeal to the Scottish Court of Appeal.
*Mr Al-Megrahi was given compassionate release by the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
This is undeniably a Scottish issue.

The time to act is now. The once good name of Scottish justice can be redeemed. It must not be seen to die with Mr Al-Megrahi and finally sink into a mire of disrepute. Media pressure is a vital tool in achieving this in a case where the judiciary and politicians seem thus far to be failing. We hope that you will find the arguments presented here and in the letters below convincing enough for you to add your name to the list of signatories.

This letter is being sent to multiple press and media outlets.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Yours faithfully,
Robert Forrester (Justice for Megrahi committee member).


Mr John Ashton
(Co-author of ‘Cover-up of Convenience: The Hidden Scandal of Lockerbie’).
Mrs Jean Berkley
(Co-ordinator UK Families Flight 103 and mother of Alistair Berkley: PA103 victim).
Professor Robert Black QC
(Commonly referred to as the Architect of the Camp van Zeist Trial).
Professor Noam Chomsky
(Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
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 campaign 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 bombing of Pan Am 103).
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 Denis Phipps
(Aviation security expert).
Mr Steven Raeburn
(Editor of The Firm, one of Scotland’s foremost legal journals).
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).


Dear First Minister,

I write on behalf of the current signatories to the petition to the United Nations Organisation General Assembly (published in September 2009) requesting the institution of a full, open and public inquiry into the investigation of the Pan Am flight 103 tragedy at Lockerbie in 1988 and the subsequent trial of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi at Kamp van Zeist, which resulted in his conviction in 2001 for the murder of 270 people. (...)

In August of 2009, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP, sanctioned the compassionate release of Mr Al-Megrahi on medical grounds. No matter which side of the fence one is on, Mr MacAskill took a sensitive and challenging decision on an issue that was always going to be contentious and fraught; his conclusion was based on medical advice suggesting that Mr Al-Megrahi's life expectancy might not exceed a total of three months. Medical judgments, much like legal ones, are based on practice and precedent. Medicine, however much we may wish it to be, is not an exact science, hence it is referred to by the term practice; no case is identical to any other in all respects and there must, therefore, always be an element of guesswork involved. Nevertheless, no sooner had the three month period elapsed than protests were emanating from predictable quarters in debating chambers and the press questioning why a Greater Power had neglected to avail Mr Al-Megrahi of an audience.

In light of the recent difficulties being encountered by BP in the USA, these voices have been encouraged to become increasingly shrill: with ill-informed aspersions being cast on an almost daily basis in the direction of the Scottish Government. Mr MacAskill employed due process under Scots law in acting as he did. He did not resort to the device of the PTA but instead applied a facility that is enshrined in Scots law, namely, compassionate release. All Scots have just cause to be proud of their system in this regard insofar as, combined with the fact that we have no death sentence available to us, we can demonstrate that we do not bring our system down to the level of the murderer to resolve our problems, and that we are compassionate. In response to the current attacks from both the USA and within the UK, it is now being suggested that an inquiry might be opened under the auspices of the Scottish Government into the circumstances of Mr Al-Megrahi's release.

In our view, it is vital that the scope of any such inquiry ought also to encompass all aspects of the Lockerbie affair from December 1988 to the present day, including the investigation of the disaster and the Zeist trial itself (as laid out in the UN petition). Clearly, it is our belief that Mr Al-Megrahi may have been a victim of a gross miscarriage of justice, and in that regard, simply to focus on the questions arising from his release is of secondary import. It goes without saying, therefore, that we would be fully supportive of a full, public inquiry of this type should Edinburgh wish to open one.

From a political standpoint, such a course of action might succeed in fanning the existing flames, however, we feel that to institute a more wide-ranging inquiry could well serve to silence some of the critics, or at least make them more circumspect before going public. A step of this nature may also go some way towards restoring faith in Scotland's once justifiably envied system of criminal justice, which is now internationally derided as a result of our continuing failure to tackle the problems created and sustained by the Lockerbie affair.

Finally, we should point out that the reason the petition was originally directed to the United Nations was because we considered that although the General Assembly does not have within its gift the power to subpoena witnesses to testify before it (unlike the Security Council), given the international nature of the incident and the fact that there seemed to be little appetite to open an inquiry in the either Westminster or Holyrood at the time, it was the appropriate route to follow. We hope that Holyrood will now take up the gauntlet and attempt to lift the fog that many feel has obscured aspects of this case from the very start.

Thank you kindly for your time and attention.

Yours faithfully,
Robert Forrester (Committee member of Justice for Megrahi).


Dear Senators Gillibrand, Kerry, Lautenberg, Menendez and Schumer,

You may be aware that a group of signatories, many of international repute, have lobbied both the United Nations Organisation General Assembly (September 2009) and more recently the Scottish Government (July 2010) in an effort to establish a thorough, all encompassing and open, public inquiry which would cover all matters relating to: the investigation into the downing of Pan Am flight 103 (1988), the Kamp van Zeist trail of Mr Al-Megrahi and Mr Fhimah, the acquittal of Mr Fhimah and the conviction of Mr Al-Megrahi (2001), and the eventual release of Mr Al-Megrahi (2009). The petition to the Scottish Government received the endorsement of seventeen signatories (see at the end: the list of signatories to the letter sent to the Scottish Government last week followed by a copy of the UN petition).

For your convenience, this link will provide you with a report on the Scottish letter and a link to the letter itself. The letter was sent both to First Minister, Alex Salmond, and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill:

In light of recent developments taking place in Washington, signatories to the Scottish Government letter wish to extend an invitation to members of the Senate of the United States of America to add their support to lobbying the Scottish Government for an inquiry by becoming signatories to the letter themselves. We all deeply sympathise with the position of those bereaved families and friends resultant from the 103 tragedy who are satisfied that the Zeist conviction of Mr Al-Megrahi was safe. Given their position, it is hardly surprising that they are outraged by his release and return to Libya. Nevertheless, on the basis of the evidence laid before their Lordships at Kamp van Zeist, it has always been our contention that Mr Al-Megrahi may have been a victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. This view is clearly supported by the fact that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) referred the case to the Court of Appeal. This appeal was in progress up to a point immediately prior to Mr Al-Megrahi's release. We feel that the current focus on the circumstances surrounding Mr Al-Megrahi's release, whilst engaging in their own right, pale into insignificance if indeed there was a miscarriage of justice.

With regard to the release, we too have questions. The Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) reached by Prime Minister Blair and Colonel Gaddafi appears to be in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1192. It, moreover, seems to be rendered invalid by an existing agreement between the UK and US governments, which states that the prisoner was required to serve out his sentence in Scotland. If the PTA was in violation of the aforementioned, why was outrage not expressed on both sides of the Atlantic at the time of its being signed? See this link for details:

As it happens, and as you will be cognisant of, the PTA was not utilised in the release of Mr Al-Megrahi. He was released via due process under Scots Law by the device of Compassionate Release available the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Mr MacAskill, resulting from consideration of the prisoner’s medical condition. However, the following sequence of events may be worthy of investigation: Mr Al-Megrahi's appeal commences, Mr MacAskill visits Mr Al-Megrahi in Greenock gaol for a private interview, Mr Al-Megrahi drops his appeal, Mr Al-Megrahi is released and repatriated to Libya. Given that under Scots Law there is no requirement to drop an appeal to be granted Compassionate Release, many of us would like to know why this was done and what transpired during the meeting between Mr MacAskill and Mr Al-Megrahi at Greenock. See also:

Dr Swire, in his capacity as one of those many bereaved by the tragedy over twenty-one years ago now, has already made an impassioned plea for support in his quest for justice to Senator Kerry recently. It is essential, even after the passing of so many years, to address the question marks which continue to hang over the entire Lockerbie affair. The bereaved rightfully deserved justice from Zeist in the same way that Mr Al-Megrahi rightfully expected it. However, the verdict produced such controversy that it is simply not sustainable to continue to claim that it was safe because it was the one preferred by the three judges at the time. This is why we have courts of appeal and why the SCCRC referred the case to the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh. Now that this legal avenue is no longer open, it appears that the only possible recourse to addressing the doubts surrounding the issue is by means of an inquiry.

It is inappropriate in this letter to list the litany of shortcomings in both the investigation of the disaster itself and the prosecution evidence laid before the court at the subsequent trial. The criticism is copious and has long been in the public domain. Professor Robert Black (oft referred to as the ‘architect’ of Zeist) and Dr Hans K√∂chler (International Observer at Zeist – appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan) have both variously and very publicly stated views ranging from the verdict’s being a clear miscarriage of justice to one which seemed more concerned with political expediency than justice. If protestations of this calibre alone are not enough to generate an inquiry, one feels obliged to ask: what is? If ever a case were crying out for an inquiry, it is this one. Not only for the bereaved, not only for Mr Al-Megrahi but for justice itself.

High above courthouses worldwide stands a statue of Justice holding scales in her left hand and in her right a sword. She is a symbol of the glue that binds together the very fabric of society. We depend on justice and its instrument, the law, to provide cohesion in our relationships. If justice loses its lustre or becomes tarnished, we degenerate into a world of cynicism and chaos. Surely it is a sign of a great society if that society can reflect on its deeds and not be afraid to revisit perceived mistakes to seek redress and right wrongs where they have been committed. To have the resolve to take such action is not an admission of weakness but a sign of supreme strength.

An inquiry will no doubt bring with it embarrassment for some as it calls into question their reputations. However, if justice is regarded as a tool with which to achieve expedient results and defend human frailties by obscuring the truth, we are all in a very sorry state indeed. We do not seek retribution, we seek the truth. The ghosts of Lockerbie must be laid to rest.

We hope, therefore, that you will feel able to identify with the sentiments expressed in this letter and join with us in lobbying the Scottish Government by adding your names to the list of signatories.

We all thank you for your time and attention, and look forward to hearing your response.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Forrester.


  1. Whilst I appreciate these calls for an inquiry and appreciate the list of worthy names backing it, it remains essentially a lopsided call. There is nothing however about conducting a proper inquiry of our own and coming to far more concrete conclusions.

    As many on this site know, and may who call for this inquiry have been made aware of, I have extremely strong views, but well argued, and not describable as conspiracy theory in any way about what happened on that tragic evening.

    We can sweep awy all the nonsence of official theory, and I fear almost everything in Foot theory which dates from before the trial. Foot theory fails primarily because it believes Pan Am 103 was genuine terrorism, it was not. It is best regarded as a late flowering of the close arrangements between Iran and the US developed in Iran-contra and designed to solve a burning issue between the two countries: what could be done about the destruction of IR-655. The mob in Iran was convinced that was a deliberate attack by the US, and demanded blood. They got it, but on thw US's ow terms.

  2. Charles, I note your self-assessment that your personal views are "well-argued" and "not describable as a conspiracy theory in any way".

    I would beg to differ in the strongest possible terms, on both of these points.

    And as I mentioned earlier, you are currently holding a commanding lead in the current JREF Stundies poll, for "the most incredible abortion of logic and reason in discussions relating to a conspiracy theory." No less than 30 of the 45 voters cast a vote for you. Your closest rival has garnered a mere 11 votes.

    Hearty congratulations.

  3. And back to the actual point, I'm enormously impressed by the tenor and wording of these letters. They also provide a useful encapsulation of the current state of play, to refer our US friends to when they start getting uppity.

  4. Back to the deviation, what's a 'stundie'? Doesn't sound like something you'd put in your CV.

  5. What is the proposed form and authority of the Inquiry?

    Realistically, we all know that the governments of the UK and UK would block any UN Security Rouncil resolution which would set up a UN sponsored Inquiry.

    Ideally, the Inquiry should be supranational and preferably international. That doesn't leave many appropriate groupings. The EU is the obvious one, but that Union is now such a geographical sprawl and 'Lockerbie' is of no interest whatsoever to the vast majority of people in a large majority of EU member states that the EU isn't going to get excited about taking a lead investigatory role.

    That leaves the UK and Scotland. The UK would have slightly wider powers to subpoena witnesses, such as SIS and the Security Service, but neither of those organisations has a policy or history of glasnost so the slightly wider powers of a UK Inquiry wouldn't actually be much greater than the similarly limited powers of a Scottish Government Inquiry.

    What, or whom, is the focal point of the request/demand for an Inquiry?

    Who, exactly, is being asked to set up the Inquiry?

  6. No. It's humorous award given in the JREF forum Conspiracy Theories section for the most mindboggling (and funny) display of irrationality within the discussion of conspiracy theories.

    Charls has made the short-list twice before, and on one of these occasions he was joint winner. He's currently surpassing himself though. I think the voters warm to his frank and open statements that facts are irrelevant and only get in the way, as opposed to some of the more convoluted writhings among the finalists.

  7. Percontor, I had thought that the letter made it clear that, on this occasion, it is a Scottish Government inquiry that is being referred to:

    "The Scottish Government should not be allowed to expect other authorities to pick up the gauntlet.
    *The case was investigated by a Scottish police force.
    *The trial was conducted under Scots Law.
    *Mr Al-Megrahi was convicted under Scots Law.
    *Mr Al-Megrahi was imprisoned in a Scottish gaol.
    *The SCCRC referred the second appeal to the Scottish Court of Appeal.
    *Mr Al-Megrahi was given compassionate release by the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
    This is undeniably a Scottish issue."

    JFM has previously petitioned the UN General Assembly (where no state has veto powers).

  8. Sorry, my previous reply was directed to Blogiston.

    Sorry for the derail; as this is an important thread I realise that was unwise.

  9. Commentators, play the ball, not for a man.

  10. The conclusion of a Scottish Government Inquiry ito its own conduct, and into the conduct of its own police and "Crown" office officials is horribly predictable.

    Don't you think?

  11. Depends on the integrity and independence of of whoever is appointed to chair it, I'd have said.

  12. I think if it ever gets as far as an inquiry then by that fact alone there will be the impetus and mood, as far as the Scottish components are concerned, to be truthful or even brave about the consequences. But whether all that integrity and veracity would be completely undone by the reluctance or evasiveness of external agencies to tell the truth is the real issue. History isn't a good omen here - the intelligence agencies will hide behind ‘national security’ red tape to thwart progress on the bits that really matter --- and in the end, all you might get would be, ‘there was a miscarriage of justice’, without the satisfaction of knowing what really happened. Would that be satisfactory?

  13. It would, at the very least, remove a stain from the reputation of the Scottish criminal justice system and give some comfort to Abdelbaset Megrahi's family (assuming the man himself is by then no longer with us). It would also deprive the UK Government of its favourite excuse for not holding a wider-ranging inquiry than any Scottish one could be, viz "We don't need an inquiry. We know what happened because the judgment of the Scottish Court at Zeist tells us."

  14. I think that expecting a public inquiry to solve this murder case is a bit of a stretch. That's the job of the police, and it's one that starts once it has been accepted that the Megrahi conviction is unsound.

    The remit of an inquiry, in my view, would be to scrutinise the judgement, and agree that it was one no reasonable jury, properly directed, could have come to on the evidence available. More than that, it should make it clear that this is not just a technical matter of having insufficient evidence to convict the probable perpetrator, but as there's no evidence the bomb was introduced at Malta, that actually gives Mr. al-Megahi an alibi.

    It should then scrutinise the processes that led to the miscarriage of justice, including whether any possible/probable leads to the actual perpetrators were not sufficiently well followed up, and if so why.

    If we got that far, I really don't think we could ask for more. It would then be the duty of the police to re-open the case, though how far they'd get more than 20 years down the line is anybody's guess.

    I think the main danger might be that the verdict might be criticised, or even set aside (I don't know what the legalities about that are, but I know it's possible to review convictions even after the person convicted is dead - didn't they do that with Derek Bentley?), but then the police blandly declare they're "not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident" which tends to imply they think they got the right person in the first place, thankyouverymuch.

    I wonder if it's the prospect of the costs and complications and manpower requirements of starting all over again with a cold case of 270 murders, that's putting some people off taking a proper look at this.

  15. I find a couple of puzzling aspects of this Justice for Megrahi Campaign, beyond its being a misnomer. It is evident that the real objective is not Megrahi but something else, maybe Justice for Scotland would be a better name.

    It is intriguing that the JFM Committee could not get all of its members to be signatories to their latest letter. In particular, I note the absence of two committee members: Mr. Bob Watts (previously identified as a businessman), and--more interesting to me--Mr. Abdullah Swissy, who was previously identified at length, but not identified by his current status, rather by a former status: "Former President of the Libyan Students’ Union in Scotland and Libyan Student Affairs of the Libyan Students’ Union, UK Branch." Take that to the nearest blanket shop of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and they'll tell you "it's a bit short and tenuous." I think it would be beneficial for the group to seem united, not evidently divided on unspecified lines. And I wonder whether Mr. Swissy is still an active member or his role ended with the funding--oops, founding of the Campaign?

    I am also intrigued by another absence, namely that of Libya, among the list of states targeted by the JFM petitions and letters. Why is that? I don't quite understand. It is true that Libya is not only a member state but actually happens to chair the UN General Assembly, and I believe I read here before that only a single member-state endorsement is required for advancing the petition, which has so far gone nowhere. One might read into that that lobbying Libya is hopeless, but I am not sure they should be left off the radar screen completely. For example, I read a lot of conjectures about why Megrahi dropped his appeal, and it all strikes me like a medieval scientific discussion. You want to know why, ask him and his lawyers! What stops them from telling their version, and why is that being overlooked? If the aim is really for a full, comprehensive and transparent search for justice, then put Libya in your distribution list. Let them stand off and say they are not interested in justice; that would only give more urgency for the other side to come clean.

  16. Dear Suliman,

    In an effort to put any speculation at rest, both Mr Swissy and Mr Watts have made perfectly clear to the JFM committee their reasons for withdrawing their names from the list of signatories. The committee respects and fully understands these reasons. Furthermore, the committee continues to hold Mr Swissy and Mr Watts in the highest regard as men of great honour and the deepest integrity. Whilst I understand that you may find this answer unsatisfactory, I must ask you to accept that the committee is not at liberty to discuss on a public platform statements made in private correspondence by signatories.

    Robert Forrester.

  17. Dear correspondents,

    JFM thanks you for your comments. We appreciate both your compliments and criticisms at all times. I can assure you that JFM is one of its own greatest critics, constantly questioning the potential and effectiveness of its activities. All I can say is that we are trying as hard as we can in an on-going battle with at least four governments, one of which represents the most powerful nation on the planet at present.

    Robert Forrester.

  18. "Percontor, I had thought that the letter made it clear that, on this occasion, it is a Scottish Government inquiry that is being referred to:
    JFM has previously petitioned the UN General Assembly (where no state has veto powers)."

    Therein lies the lack of clarity on this occasion.

    The letter does not make clear that it is focussed on the Scottish Government. It's aimed-at target is vague and non-specific, therefore diffuse.

  19. Dear Percontor,

    "With this in mind, we wish to extend to you an invitation to place your name alongside those of the other signatories on the letter to the Scottish Government. We feel that support of this nature from yourself, given the prominent stature of your institution, would add considerable weight to promoting the aims of this campaign."

    Perhaps it's time for a visit to Specsavers!

    Robert Forrester.

  20. Wow. How easy is it to sit on the sidelines and rip lumps out of other people.

  21. Mr F, that was not directed at you. : )

  22. Robert, sorry I've sat out the commens so far, but this letter is excellent and well-placed. As always, you're up against a mountain and so on, but something's got to give somewhere sometime, maybe in Scotland and soon.

    I'm not surprised critics would try to find fault with the group by singling out one or another member or former member who has some other interests. I don't know or much care if there's a problem with Mr. Watts, and I guess Swissy's Libya links make him 'suspect' to some, like he's secretly running the group for Triopli's propaganda advantage. I say the group's actions speak for themselves. A call for an independent inquiry is in order, isn't it?

    And the same critics have no problem taking the words of those on the other side who have reams of conflict of interest, from planting evidence to accepting Libya's billions. And, coincidentally, can speak nothing but errors or lies when discussing facts of the case.

  23. To clarify, I don't mean to support or endorse any such criticism. Rather, I was trying to draw out and neutralize what I thought Suliman was implying.

  24. Blogiston makes some very sensible and cogent points. He's right on Patrick Haseldine, the AA theory man. The problem with SA theory is that Pik Bothas team had their reservations changed at the last minute from 103 to 101. Not all the party could then get to NY, as 101 was then overloaded, itself a hint that in reality the advice not to travel as distributed by the SD was as specific as being about 103, for remember even with the take up of students etc, 103 was only two thirds full.

    I expect the Pik Botha party intended to have a little Christmas shopping in London, before flying to NY, but when was by a successor agent to Boss That he'd had a tip off that the party for their own safety should not take 103, accepted with grumbles a switch to 101.

    Carlsson is different. By setting up a meaningless meeting with de Beers, he is delayed to the evening flight.

    Now if SA was in charge of the bombing, they could presumably have arranged to blow up 101 rather than 103. Therefore SA was not in charge of the bombing.

    Patrick has never been able to accept this very simple syllogism of mine, and I can't see on the face of it anything wrong with it.

    If SA had wanted to blow up 103, then it would have ensured that Botha travelled by any flight other than 103, or on a different day, and not made a cock-up (what we used to call at school a dead give-away) over the flights.

    Also no SA agents on the ground at Lockerbie. Why would the CIA want to claer after after a SA plot.

    On the matter of the AAIB, I have thought about their posssble criminal involvement (which would only have been a secondary one in any case). The AAIB report makes clear a bit of Toshiba case was handed to RARDE. But, essentially any fact reported in the report is truth, but the text is a gloss and cannot be relied on. Hence the point of not more than one IED. The AAIB does not regard the second badly explained device as an IED, so the statement is true. In my story it's the CIA package or insurance bomb.

  25. Permit me to respond to this latter post by Charles.

    Charles appears to have forgotten that six months ago on The Lockerbie Divide website Pik Botha and the 22-strong SA delegation were shown to have been booked for travel on the morning flight Pan Am 101, which departed Heathrow at 11:00am. Contrary to the Reuters news agency report of 12 November 1994 therefore, Pik Botha and his party were never booked on Pan Am Flight 103. This was confirmed in June 1996 by South African Justice Minister Dullah Omar in a parliamentary statement.

    And, in his letter to a Lockerbie victim's family, former South African MP Colin Eglin wrote:

    "In the circumstances, I have to accept that an assertion that the reservations of the South African group were either made or changed as a result of warnings that might have been received, is not correct."

    UN Commissioner for Namibia Bernt Carlsson should have travelled direct from Brussels to New York. De Beers insisted that he stopover in London for a meeting, and Carlsson arrived at Heathrow on BA 391 at 11:06am. After the meeting with De Beers, Carlsson got back to Heathrow at 17:30 - in good time for the scheduled departure of PA 103 (18:00).

    I should also mention that the South Africa theory has now evolved to include Iran as a joint perpetrator of the crime of Lockerbie. The revised theory is explained here.