Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Megrahi doubts

"The suspicion that Kenny MacAskill was pulling out all the stops to prevent a Megrahi appeal - and the resultant almost certain embarrassment for the justice minister, Scottish justice and the country - grows stronger with every new revelation."
From a letter in today's edition of The Scotsman.

"[The writers of two earlier letters] continue zealously to follow the tradition established by all previous opponents of Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s intervention in the Megrahi affair: that is, to studiously ignore the monstrous pachyderm in the living room – the manifestly unjust nature of the original verdict." (...)

"I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church but I found it depressing to read the bitter letters from Tom Gallagher and Alistair McBay attacking Cardinal Keith O’Brien. Looking at the bigger picture, there is growing opinion in Scotland and elsewhere that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi’s conviction of a most heinous crime is, at the very least, unsafe.

"That opinion is shared by many of the bereaved families, and was articulated by Dr Jim Swire in his uplifting and inspirational letter (August 10) in which he wrote: 'There was evidence at Camp Zeist that made me and many others doubt Megrahi’s guilt. Much more has accumulated since, and the total of it now strains credulity beyond breaking point.'" (...)
From two letters in today's edition of The Herald.

It is precisely this attitude, which is prevalent in Scotland (and even more so in the rest of the world, with the exception of the United States of America) that renders it imperative to restore the shattered reputation of Scottish criminal justice by establishing an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie case. The concerns of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission and others cannot simply be swept under the carpet. Lockerbie will not just go away. However unpalatable it may be to the Lord Advocate and the Crown Office, the Scottish Government must now act. The interests of justice -- including the restoration of confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system -- demand it.


  1. "How would the senators like it if a British parliamentary committee asked CIA staff to reveal sensitive information? Scotsman 17th August 2010
    Didn't we say likewise yesterday?

    [Still don't see this story being picked by U.S. news sites, e.g. Washington Post, New York Times, despite it being attributed to Menendez - why did it get here first, and who reported it first?]

  2. Indeed Bloggy. On the subject of these letters featured today I'm pleased to see another phrase creeping in: Lord Advocate. It really is high time she put in an appearance in the whole thing. Whatever MacAskill is guilty of concerning the dropping of the appeal whose advice would have been sought? The Lord Advocate's. Maybe its time someone turned the spotlight on the advice taken and received by the Scottish Government in all of this. Who, more than anyone, was in a position to make sure that whatever happened the judiciary remained protected?

  3. It's good to see Professor Black coming out with such fighting talk.

    As progenitor of the Zeist process, perhaps he ahould be more critical about how his initial proposal was implemented.

    It had no jury, was held at a location remote from Scotland, and only the most determined of journalists, relatives of the victims or the great unwashed could attend.

    I think Black's original idea called for a trial in a neutral territory according to Scottish law, and dispensing with juries was grossly unfair. Three judges do not a good Glasgow jury make.

    And so the inevitable absence of spotlight made it possible for the outrageous attack on the truth to take place and the prosecution produce its hideous tottering skyscraper of lies, fabrications, and untruths, all manfully created by the CIA, MI5 and others.

    I have now put my green ATOTA up and it's at adifferentvieoflockerbie.blogspot.com

  4. Charles, I think we've discussed the jury issue before. There is a great fuss made in the UK about "a fair trial" (ironic I know) and in this particular trial it was felt the Libyans would not get a fair hearing from a Scottish jury given the huge coverage, obviously, of Lockerbie from day one. I remember actually understanding the logic of this at the time. I have also done jury service here and believe me I pray to God I am never up in court ever because some on jury service could barely tell you their name never mind follow a trial! Anyway, the thing was, it was felt learned judges were fair people, honourable people and the sort for whom justice would be at the heart of every decision they made. That was how it meant to be. Alas, the judges forgot to pack fairness, honour and justice in their bags when they set out. And the rest, as they say, is history.

  5. I have neither your disdain for the jury, nor your respect for the members of the Zeist court, You do not need expertise to exercise yout jury duties. Both juries I have been on seemed to be fair minded muddled Englishmen and women.

    But judges become prosecuton minded. This was particularly true of Lord Sutherland, who behaved on occasion as if he were a police court magistrate.

    That Hayes' and Fereday's evidence was ever admitted, given their previous legal failures is extraordinary.

    Perhaps there were no forensic experts with impeccable background prepared to go and lie to the couty over what actually happened.