Sunday, 7 November 2010

Public Petitions Committee hearing on Megrahi petition

[On Tuesday 9 November, the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee will hold a hearing on the Justice for Megrahi petition. Dr Jim Swire, Mr Iain McKie, Mr Robert Forrester and I have been invited to attend to make a brief presentation and to respond to MSPs' questions.

The Scottish Sunday Express today runs an article on the forthcoming committee hearing. It reads in part:]

Shocking unseen evidence from the Lockerbie bomber’s abandoned appeal is to be presented to Holyrood this week in a bid to prove his innocence.

Campaigners including Professor Robert Black and Dr Jim Swire will use the documents to try and force a Scottish Government inquiry into Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi’s conviction.

Dr Swire, whose daughter Flora was among the 270 killed in the 1988 atrocity, will introduce previously unseen diaries which could cast doubt on one of the trial’s key witnesses and show he was offered cash for evidence. [RB: The journalist is in error. This material will not be introduced at the committee hearing, which will be concerned simply with what action, if any, should be taken on the petition, NOT with the merits of Abdelbaset Megrahi's conviction. That would be a matter for any inquiry set up as a result of the petition.]

Written by a Scottish detective they reveal police knew from an early stage that Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, whose identification of the bomber was pivotal in the conviction, had been promised an “unlimited” reward by the US.

Dr Swire, who will deliver a plea to ministers on Tuesday, said: “The diaries kept by Detective Inspector Harry Bell show he knew when he was interviewing Tony Gauci he was getting excited about the possibility of a reward.

“This information alone would ordinarily be enough to overturn the conviction. Both Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and First Minister Alex Salmond have made public statements saying they have full confidence in the verdict against Megrahi.

“That is an extraordinary situation given the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has ruled there may have been a miscarriage of justice.” He added: “How can politicians say they have total faith in the verdict when the one organisation that Scotland possesses to look into these matters says otherwise? It is an untenable position.”

DI Bell was the Dumfries and Galloway detective who traced a scrap of material which had been wrapped around the bomb to Gauci’s clothes shop in Malta. When Megrahi was finally brought to trial, Gauci identified the Libyan in court as the man who had bought the clothing.

It has since emerged that Gauci received $2million and his brother, Paul, received $1million from the US Department of Justice. DI Bell kept a diary during the investigation, although this was not presented to the three judges at the Lockerbie trial in 2001.

On September 28, 1989, he recorded that the FBI had discussed with the Scottish police an offer of unlimited money to Gauci, with $10,000 being available immediately. On March 5, 1990, he recorded a meeting with the FBI and a Maltese detective to discuss “reward money as a last resort”.

And on January 8, 1992, he said Dana Biehl from the US Department of Justice had offered a $2million reward to Libyan double agent Majid Giaka, who also gave evidence against Megrahi. DI Bell wrote: “He was immediately advised of our concern regarding this. I also clarified with him about the Gauci reward and the response was only if he gave evidence.”

It contradicts police sources who have always insisted the rewards were only “engineered” after the trial to help the Gaucis leave Malta. (...)

At Tuesday’s Holyrood hearing, MSPs will consider for the first time a 1,646-signature petition calling for an independent Lockerbie inquiry. Previously, ministers have maintained such a wide-ranging probe could only be called by Westminster or the United Nations. However, Prof Black, Professor Emeritus of Scots Law at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The reasons the Scottish Government has given for not holding an inquiry are simply not correct.”


  1. The Scottish government is in the thrall of the UK government

    No evidence of any connection between Libya, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and the Cruelty of PanAm 103 at Lockerbie.

    Keine Beweise gegen Libyen und Abdelbaset Al Megrahi für eine Beteiligung an der Lockerbie-Tragödie.

    Alle schottischen "Phantom- Beweise" für die Zuweisung der Verantwortung in einem zukünftigen Attentat, wurden für eine Verschwörung gegen Colonel Moammar Gaddafi, bereits ab Februar 1988 vorbereitet:

    Z.B. Miete eines Office durch Mr. Badri, als (ABH) bei MEBO Ltd. in Zürich;
    2 Stück MST-13 Timer nach Senegal überbracht (März 1988);
    Agent Giaka, Abd al Majid, ab August 1988 in den Sold von CIA aufgenommen;
    Bestellung von weiteren 40 MST-13 Timer Ende 1988;
    Al Megrahi unter dem falschen Namen "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusumad" am 20.Dezember durch seinen Chef, nach *Malta beordert (*nicht im Zusammenhang mit PanAm 103)!

    Unter dem verschwörungs Attribut "Exercise Amsterdam" (Mission Amsterdam) wurde nach dem Absturz von PanAm 103, am 21. Dez.1988, das vorbereitete und nachträglich manipulierte "Material" offensichtlich als Beweis, gegen Libya und Al Megrahi, im Lockerbie-Fall verwendet.

    Beteiligte Personen an "Exercise Amsterdam" sind heute bekannt, sie haben aber mit dem Attentat auf PanAm 103 nichts zutun.

    Sorry only in "Babylon" computer translation, german/english:

    No evidence of any connection between Libya, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and the Cruelty of PanAm 103 at Lockerbie.

    All Scottish "Phantom Evidence" for the assignment of the responsibility in a future assassination attempt, for a conspiracy against Colonel Moammar Gaddafi, starting from February 1988 were already prepared:

    For example the rent of the Office (ABH) of MEBO Ltd. in Zurich;
    2 pieces of MST-13 timers to Senegal brought (March 1988) later passing to CIA;
    Agent Giaka, Abd Al Majid, starting his work for CIA on August 1988 and paid of CIA;
    Order of further 40 MST-13 timer by Mr. Badri, at the end of 1988; Al Megrahi under the wrong name "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusumad" on 20-December was ordered by its boss, go to *Malta (*not in connection with PanAm 103).

    Under conspiracy the attribute "Exercise Amsterdam" (Mission Amsterdam) became after the crash of PanAm 103 (21st Dec. 1988) preparatory and later manipulated "Material" obviously as proof, against Libya and Al Megrahi, in the case of Lockerbie uses !

    Persons involved on "Exercise Amsterdam" today well-known, but they have with the attack on PanAm 103 nothing to.

    Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland

  3. “How can politicians say they have total faith in the verdict when the one organisation that Scotland possesses to look into these matters says otherwise?"

    That is of course absolutely no problem for a genuine politician - otherwise he would not qualify for his job.

    "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." (John Acton 1834-1902)

    In politics and business this holds with only countable exceptions, and it should surprise nobody.

    Nobody were ever elected or hired to be an honest loser.

  4. In that case sfm perhaps we get the politicians we deserve. : )

  5. Wishing the best of luck to the four dedicated men in making their all-important upcoming presentations.

    And thanking them for their continued dedication and perseverance.

  6. FullInquiry, well said.

    Jo G said...
    > In that case sfm perhaps we get
    > the politicians we deserve. : )
    True for most! But unfortunately, also those few(er) who'd deserve better (including myself, of course :-) will get those of the apathetic majority.

    In late democracies, people start taking justice for granted, as a matter of course, and forget that these matters will so easily slide in the hands of those few seeing their advantage in changes to it.
    This has been known forever, and is the reason why constitutions were invented. Neither UK nor Scotland has one, but in any case, constitutions will always have loopholes.

    This is a perfect example of a slide and it is quite incredible that it takes a mere afternoon to pass it, effectively curbing the powers of SCCRC, which has overwhelmingly proven its importance as a bastion for justice. A particular event is used as an opportunity to take general actions that goes far beyond what the event itself would justify. Again, the oldest story in the book.

    The impact on the Lockerbie case in particular will be well known by those getting this bright idea.

    Yes, best wishes for JFM tomorrow.

  7. sfm, I'm straightforward. Politicians are elected to do a particular job. In this particular case an independent body, the SCCRC, made a statement about this particular trial. They were obliged to take note. They did not. That makes them pretty corrupt no matter which way they look at.

    I also take the view that politicians don't have the choice whether to be honest or not. Honesty is demanded of them. If they cannot deliver they are corrupt.

    Sadly however if the wider masses cannot respond accordingly that is where my, "We get the politicians we deserve." comes into play. It would appear that the masses in the case of Megrahi don't give a toss.

    Let me expand further: if the masses had reacted to, say, Blair's idea of the illegal war with Iraq that war would never have begun.

    That is what I believe democracy is: it is about people, not politicians. Sadly people these days cannot be bothered which leads me back to the "We get the politicians we deserve." position.

    It may change, I sure hope so. The masses in the form of the sick and the unemployed in the UK are about to be hung out to dry as a result of the recession which wasn't caused by them. Those manning DWP offices are currently engaged in a war with claimants who will go through hell as a result of recent changes (started by Labour it must be said) and continued with gusto by the Tories and their coalition partners. They will pay: the sick and the vulnerable will pay the price of the insanity of the bankers.

    Like I said, if we sit silently by these things will come to pass. The majority are sitting silently by while MacAskill announces new legislation that is outrageous. I hope Robert Brown's motion to have that emergency legislation scrutinised in the Scottish Parliament is successful. For it does indeed require scrutiny since justice is the last thing MacAskill clearly had in mind when he drafted it.