Thursday, 23 September 2010

Bite the bullet, Alex!

[This is the headline over my most recent column in Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. It can be read here. The magazine's associated news item can be accessed here. It reads as follows:]

Professor Robert Black has challenged First Minister Alex Salmond to "immediately set up an independent inquiry into the full circumstances of the Lockerbie case" and adds that the Government's view that it does not have the necessary powers to do so "will no longer wash".

"Until such time as, at the very least, the six grounds on which the SCCRC concluded that he might have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice are addressed, the Scottish criminal justice system will languish at home and abroad under a cloud of suspicion - and rightly so," Black says, writing exclusively in The Firm.

Black, a signatory to an international petition before the UN calling for such a widespread review, says the Scottish Government must not be allowed to "duck" its responsibilities. Earlier this week, Dr Jim Swire announced that UK families of the Pan Am 103 event plan to resurrect Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi's dropped appeal.

"But why let the matter drag on? The Scottish Government should immediately set up an independent inquiry into the full circumstances of the Lockerbie case. The excuse that under the devolution settlement Scotland does not have the necessary powers will no longer wash. The Scottish Government should not be allowed to expect other authorities to pick up the gauntlet," he says.

"This is undeniably a Scottish issue and the Scottish Government must not be allowed to duck it. Over to you, Alex. You know it’s the right thing to do."

[BBC Two Newsnight Scotland's programme on this issue can be viewed here.]



    Lockerbie-Affair: There is a Crime Scene in the FBI laboratory in Washington !

    Into the documentary film "Lockerbie revisited" by producer Gideon Levy, is shown one crucial *film-sequenz from the FBI laboratory with expert Tom Thurman which bring him definitive in a Criminal Offence ! (Video sequence no.*30-23)

    VERY CRUCIALLY ! sory only in german language:

    Thurman will anhand der ersten Beweisfoto mit der Abbildung des angeblich in Lockerbie aufgefundenen (braunen) original MST-13 Timer-Fragment (PT/35) beweisen, dass das Fragment mit den nach Libyen gelieferten MST-13 Timer identisch ist.
    Dazu zeigt er eine Foto worauf ein (*grünes) MST-13 Circuit Board gezeigt wird, welches in den nach Libyen gelieferten 20 Stück
    MST-13 eingebaut waren. (*Thüring PC-Boards).

    Diese Beweisfoto hätte Thurman besser nicht gezeigt, weil die Abbildung eindeutig zeigt, dass es sich um ein MST-13 Circuit-Board handelte, welches noch nicht mit elektronischen Bauelementen bestückt war und zeigt, dass auf der Platine die Ecke noch nicht als Kurve abgetrennt war !

    Wichtig: Es beweist endgültig, dass aus diesem (grünen) MST-13 Circuit Board das DUPLICAT MST-13 (PT/35B) Fragment hergestellt wurde !
    Der Lötstützpunkt "1" wurde bereits, vor der definitiven Manipulation als Fragment (PT/35B) dermassen beschädigt, dass man meinen könnte das PC-Board sei durch eine Explosion beschädigt worden !

    Nur mit einem "grünen" MST-13 Circuit-Board (Marke Thüring) konnte man Libyen in das PanAm-103 Attentat verwickeln !
    Das angeblich originale MST-13 Fragment wurde aus einem "braunen" Prototype hergestellt, welche nicht nach Libyen geliefert wurden !

    Notices the words in the Video from ex FBI Task Force chief Richard Marquise for those it applies: If someone manipulated evidence, if somebody didn't invesitgate something that should have been investigated, if somebody twisted it to fit up up Megrahi, or Fimah or Libya, then that person will go to jail. I mean that sincerely, that person should be prosecuted for that!
    OK please Mr Marquise it stands nothing in the way, acts you now…

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd.,Switzerland.

  2. They're flagging Lockerbie up again on NN Scotland. Asking can relatives resurrect the appeal. Worth a look.

  3. BBC Newsnight Scotland: Assuming the summary by the BBC Washington corresponent reflects reality, it is the first time I have heard there is concern amongst some of the families of the American victims regarding the original conviction.

  4. Hmmmm. More positive news then Blogiston.

    I wish Christine Grahame would answer straight questions. She was asked about "other evidence" and babbled on about something else entirely.

    Steven Raeburn was excellent tho'. (In appearance he could be someone in a John Grisham novel. Very handsome!)

    I'm puzzled again tho', am I right in thinking that if a push can be made - a really massive one - that it is in the interests of justice to have this appeal heard then it can happen while Megrahi is still alive? Again Grahame kept insisting he had to be dead for it to happen?

  5. Yep, I've re-read the "Most Appealing" thread below which deals with a piece by Steven Raeburn and includes comment by the Professor and it does refer to the appeal being heard even while Megrahi lives. It envisages the SCCRC having to consider the reasons why the appeal was dropped and could take into account his state of health and even confusion in believing he had to drop the appeal in order to get home to his family at a time when he was critically ill. So Christine Grahame was muddying the waters in my view.

  6. Assuming the summary by the BBC Washington corresponent reflects reality, it is the first time I have heard there is concern amongst some of the families of the American victims regarding the original conviction.

    I noticed that too. I wondered if I'd misheard, but you heard it too. Well, there are a lot of US relatives, it would be surprising if there was complete unanimity in something as divisive as this. I hadn't heard that any of the doubters were prepared to stick their heads above the parapet though.

    I thought the item was excellent. I take a lot of issue with some of Stephen Raeburn's writings on Lockerbie, but he didn't put a foot wrong in the interview. Christine also. I think it's a big enough push to get the idea accepted that the victims' relatives can re-open the appeal of a convicted man over. That this might be done while he's still alive is pushing it a lot. I don't think it's muddying the waters not to go the whole nine yards on that one. Simply getting the point over that the appeal can be resurrected at all is the important thing.

    And Christine didn't say a word about the chain of custody of the timer fragment or anything like that. Totally focussed, SCCRC report, serious doubts about the safety of the conviction, need to be tested in court, interests of justice, really good.

    It was the BBC interviewer who said most about the damage this was doing to the reputation of the Scottish justice system, which was kind of interesting. Maybe a bit of a seismic shift happening here....

  7. Top marks to the BBC for having an interviewer on Newsnight Scotland, for once, who didn't have political points to make. Well done Isabel Fraser. You put Brewer and Campbell to shame.

  8. I think if we hammer the message home that if the Scottish Justice system does you over good you have to die first to (only maybe) get justice the people of Scotland will respond accordingly.

    What I like about Raeburn is he has no political axe to grind. When he speaks no one is thinking, "I vote Labour and the SNP released Megrahi so I have to be against it." He gave the legal position. I mean even the lawyers among our politicians can't bear to do that because in so many cases it exposes their own hypocrisy in seeking to deny Megrahi justice. To their shame the Labour Party have relied very much on Party-political thinking until now.

  9. And those who want to bang a drum for Grahame need to ask what has she achieved so far? The answer is ZILCH!

  10. "Grahame ... what has she achieved so far? The answer is ZILCH!"

    Well, what did you expect? That Elish Angiolini should break down in tears, confessing to their ongoing attempt to distort justice?

    EA is not involved in fighting for justice. If so she could resign right away. She is involved in defending the Scottish judical system, which is very a different matter.

    That these questions are being asked is already a great achievement, extending the awareness of the problems regarding the trial. It is necessary in the battle for fooling fewer of the people more of the time.

    So Go!, CG!

  11. Sorry sfm, maybe I was a bit harsh.

    I do however find Christine Grahame exasperating at times. For someone who believes Megrahi is innocent I feel she could have asked much more probing questions of Angiolini for a start. She has so many opportunities in her position and for me she always seems to hold something back. Even on NN Scotland the other night she couldn't cope with any sort of appeal being demanded unless Megrahi was already dead. Why? As it has been pointed out our Legal System is adaptable here. So why not say outright, do we want justice or not? Does a man have to die first to get justice in Scotland? How can the Lord Advocate be comfortable with the SCCRC position regarding the doubts about this verdict, because their position is unchanged? Would she personally not like to see the thing settled once and for all? She is on record that she was "ready" for the appeal? So let's have it.

    I don't know about "Go! CG." I'd say she's moving but there is a point beyond which she isn't willing to go for some reason.