Thursday, 21 October 2010

Lockerbie petition hit by technical glitch

[This is the headline over a long article just published on the Newsnet Scotland website. The first two paragraphs read as follows:]

Having been online accepting signatures for only thirteen complete days at the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Site, the Justice for Megrahi petition has suffered a technical glitch. Just as the petition was about to break through the 1,500 mark, possibly a record for the parliamentary site, the system crashed today.

As yet no explanation has been forthcoming from BT, however, it may simply be down to a system overload or suchlike. In the meantime a solution to the problem is available via e-mail (see details at the end of this piece). The petition has attracted huge support in the short period that it has been up and running despite the almost non-existent press coverage, particularly over the border.


  1. I can't confirm this at the moment because the site is down, but there is another petition earlier this year that got over 3,000 signatures. It was about the death of a Swedish girl on the beach in Troon, which was judged to be suicide but her mother believes she was murdered.

    However, the woman who raised that petition spent weeks joining every internet forum in sight and begging the members to sign up to get justice for her daughter. She did that at JREF and didn't get any takers I know about, but it's the sort of approach that is likely to bear fruit in general - many people simply see no harm in humouring a grieving mother in a request like that.

    Also, that petition was open for three months. As far as I know, no petition that was open for only two or even three weeks has come close to four figures.


    From fear of the truth in the Lockerbie- affair also the technology became manipulated ! Disgrace...

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., URL:

  3. Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity.

  4. However, if it were to stay off-line for any length of time, it is inevitable the conspiracy theorists will be attributing malice - or is that just stupidity?

  5. They could always keep the petition open longer, but that wouldn't necessary make up for the glitch. If the publicity was getting out about now, then many people who went straight to the web site might never bother to try again.

  6. The 'glitch' (but we all know it's really Cameron's new Cyber Warriors) may actually be picked up by the press and in a funny way (couldn't think of a better phrase) serve to get the e-petition some advertisink.

  7. I think with the recent ridiculous comment by Alistair R Brownlie it's far more likely that the site was deliberately put out of action by the intelligence services.

    It's all part of a coordinated policy by the UK government to shutdown Lockerbie.

  8. It's a stupid thing to do in that case. The petition already has a fair whack of signatures, and it's debatable how much difference a day or two will make. It's not as if there's a target that has to be made, that could be specifically sabotaged.

    If the intelligence services are intelligent, which by and large they probably are, they know that the best way to counter this petition is to ignore it. Indulging in histrionic cyber-attacks is only going to whip up publicity.

    Unless they think publicity of the "web site goes down and these stupid conspiracy theories think it's s cyber-attack" type is useful, I suppose.

  9. I agree with Ruth.

    Rolfe is naive if she thinks the 'powers that be' are not behind the blackout of the Scottish Parliament's e-petitions website!

  10. Rolfe: Ah...don't assume it's 'our' side? It could be some Libyans in a tent somewhere. I seen Enemy of the State on DVD, so I know, not even to trust my own mother...(well she's dead - so maybe that's not a good example). This could end with you and the Prof (clutching the petition) being pursued through the streets of Locherbie by apache helicopters...

  11. Another day, another DoS. Funny that all the other items around the e-petition hosted at are still available. So it's not ISP trouble. However, if it was just an issue with the software which serves the e-petitions application (CGI scripts etc) you would think they could be restored pronto...whatever the issue, does not reflect very well on the IT side of the Scottish Government.

  12. FYI: "Unfortunately, the Scottish Parliament’s e-petitions website is currently experiencing technical difficulties and is temporarily unavailable. We are working on a solution to resume the service as quickly as possible. Once the service is back online, users will be able to sign e-petitions as normal. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused."

  13. Dear commentators,

    JFM deals in verifiable facts only. The facts concerning the current difficulties on the Scottish Parliament Petitions Site are at present:

    1 The site crashed in the early hours of 21/10/10.

    2 BT is still working on a solution.

    One must assume that the Parliamentary contract is one of BT's most prestigious ones and that they are doing all they can to both identify the cause of the crash and remedy it so that all the petitions can go back online as soon as possible. The fact that BT seems to be taking an inordinately long time to rectify this state of affairs would seem to indicate that they are encountering considerable difficulty. JFM's immediate concern is to get the petition up and running again post haste.

    Once the petition comes down on the 28/10/10, we will be able to assess any impact this breakdown may have had. However, given that the JFM petition went online on the 8/10/10 and was around the 1,500 mark at the time of the crash, there are good grounds for concluding that it had already broken existing records for the number of signees over time.

    Taking into account the spike of Maltese signees, resultant from a single piece in the Sunday Times of Malta, and the fact that there may also be a number of spoof signees to be extracted come the end of play, JFM feels it safe to assume that the average number of signees per day has been around a steady 100 plus. Therefore, out of a possible 100 individuals per day who attempt to sign up when the site is down perhaps 50 of them will either forget to try again or not be bothered to. This is clearly disappointing both to those who wish to sign and to JFM. Nevertheless, the phenomenal response to the petition has already made a very significant point, and one which cannot easily be ignored, even if the site remains down right up to the 28/10/10.

    Following the Malta input, the Government's 'international fig leaf' has begun to slip. It is regrettable, however, that the site crash has occurred just when JFM had launched yet another international media campaign seeking support for the petition.

    Speaking personally, I do not hold with the contention that those whom JFM is confronting on the Lockerbie/Zeist case are attempting to sabotage the petition. There are far more effective methods of dealing with us, also including the tried and tested 'just-ignore-them' tactic. To do something as blatant as this would simply present JFM with yet another weapon to use against them.

    So, what good has accrued thus far? JFM has been campaigning specifically to have Mr al-Megrahi's conviction quashed for around a year now, and today it has a committee of 6, a signatory list of 33, 66 Friends of JFM and, last but very far from least, around 1,500 JFM petition signees. I believe in sporting circles that could be described as something of 'a result'.

    JFM wishes to offer its most heartfelt gratitude to all those who support this cause. Without you we are nothing.

    Yours sincerely,
    Robert Forrester (JFM).

  14. Agreed with all. Who knows?

    It sure is taking a long time, though.