Saturday, 11 December 2010

It is imperative for the survivors of Lockerbie that we continue to search for the truth

[This is the heading over a letter from Ruth Marr in today's edition of The Herald. It reads as follows:]

Professor James Mitchell is correct to praise the Scottish Government for refusing to be bullied and by taking the decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi on compassionate grounds, but he is perhaps understandably pessimistic regarding getting answers to the questions which, almost 22 years later, continue to haunt the Lockerbie tragedy (“WikiLeaks proves Scotland was right on Megrahi release”, The Herald, December 10).

However, it is absolutely imperative for the sake of the families of the victims, for the town of Lockerbie, for all who care about the Scottish justice system and, indeed, for Megrahi, that we probe to get the relevant answers, because until we do, all those whose lives were changed for ever by that horrific crime cannot hope to try to move on.

Father Pat Keegans, who narrowly escaped death at Lockerbie, has concisely and poignantly summed up the situation when he said: “We need truth and we need justice to be at peace. Otherwise we are back in December 1988 in the darkness.” It is for those reasons that a full, independent public inquiry must be held to determine all the facts, and answer the many troubling questions surrounding the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, and the conviction of Megrahi for the crime.

All those lost at Lockerbie, and those they left behind, deserve nothing less than truth and justice, and we must not fail them now.

[A further letter in the same newspaper from John Scott Roy reads as follows:]

What a refreshing article by Professor James Mitchell in which he summarises many of the reasons for people to distrust politicians as a group. Their cynical behaviour is well exposed by the examples he provides.

The SNP Government is praised, to some extent. It has not been in power long enough for the infection to have taken full root.



    It is high time that on the SOLSTICE of 21st December 2010, at the twenty-three Anniversary for the Families of Victims of the Lockerbie-Tragedy 1988, by support of the Scottish Parliament with a new investigation to be can proven, that Mr Abdelbaset Al Megrahi deliberately by proof falsification, was wrongly condemned and thus he even is a "Lockerbie Victim" (no. 271)...

    A hard-fought re-investigation adds to the legal fact that Mr Al Megrahi and Libya have nothing to do with the "Lockerbie tragedy".
    There is now nothing stopping a new search for the real culprits behind the atrocity on PanAm 103, if the circumstandtial evidence are clean proofs !

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

  2. "What a refreshing article by Professor James Mitchell in which he summarises many of the reasons for people to distrust politicians as a group. Their cynical behaviour is well exposed by the examples he provides."

    I found nothing refreshing in Prof Mitchell's article. He ignored the SCCRC report.

    I'm afraid Ruth Marr, for whom I have great admiration, has missed that out too. In saying it is "understandable" that Prof Mitchell is pessimistic about getting to the truth she ignores the fact that, with a Scottish Government determined to take on Unionist reluctance to even try for the truth all these years, we could have seen a very different outcome.

  3. Have the petitioners actually had a formal reply to the questions that the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee addressed to the Scottish Government in relation to the JFM e-petition?

    These are the questions that Messrs Salmond and MacAskill have to answer:

    • Will you open an independent inquiry into the 2001 Kamp van Zeist conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988 as called for by the petitioner and for the reasons given in the petition?
    • If not, will you provide a detailed explanation why not, specifying whether there is any legislation which would prevent you from holding such an inquiry, what this legislation is and how it prevents?
    • Who would have the power to undertake an inquiry in the terms proposed in the petition?

    The petitioners want answers!

  4. I hope no one gets personally offended, but the window provided by this blog leads me ever closer to the conclusion that Scottish political culture is "third-world."

    Those who think the SNP are clean politicians should go back and review the role plaid by Qatar in the release of Megrahi. Qatar, you may not know, was Libya's financial surrogate in another major international settlement, namely the Libyan-Bulgarian-EU HIV case.

    And on the e-petition by the same JFM that claims it only deals with "verifiable information"... Just how verifiable is the identity of a petitioner named "Joe" signing an online form? And how can one verify that the number of online signatures = a number of humans? Why did the JFM keep hush hush on the fact that Jim Swire had a meeting with Gaddafi not long before launching this e-petition? Even Swire himself was vague in his disclosure about his dealings with Gaddafi. Other than the little parenthetical buried anonymously by Prof. Black in a long and redundant post, has the JFM ever disclosed the meeting of Swire with Gaddafi last September? Is that not considered relevant to the public debate, even as Swire acts more royal than the king and falsely inflates Gaddafi's public positions on Megrahi's case. I don't think Swire's own words are worth much. But the lack of transparency and full disclosure on the part of JFM certainly would leave a big stink in the air in any worthy democracy. In Scotland, it seems, genuine public scrutiny is trumped by small-time partisan quibbles. The WhiskyLeaks cables say Scotland figures with some distinction in relation to the activities of Gaddafi, Inc. That's the same Scotland where JFM was formed by an outfit that includes a Jamahiriya Student Union leader and a "businessman," both of whom have since fallen out of JFM propaganda. No one cares, apparently, whether JFM's businessman had any "business" relations or prospects with the Scotland based subsidiary of One-Nine Petroleum. Salmond's affair with surrogate Qatar also carries very little weight, even though it seems to be an important piece in the smoke-n-mirror operations of the UK institutions to create plausible deniability as a mechanism for the dissipation of accountability. But enlightened Scotts apparently want to know what happened to some e-petition with anonymous signatories. Sorry, Scotland, but I wish I were never exposed to your disabled and disappointingly shallow political culture.

  5. Quite a big diversionary rant but no offence taken, Suliman!

    As stated above, we Justice for Megrahi e-petitioners still await the SNP Government's formal reply to the questions posed by the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee.

  6. I'm not offended either. I agree our political and justicial establishments - on this matter at least - make third world political set ups look quite open really.

  7. Patrick: Weren't you kicked out of here before? Anyway, you need not answer that, but if you have anything to say about the reliability, verifiability or veracity of your nifty online petition, or maybe you can tell me about how you feel about why Swire broadcast his meeting with Megrahi but he stayed quite about his meeting with Gaddafi? I am sure that an experienced British diplomat like you knows what kinds of meetings are kept secret.

  8. Dr Swire can, and doubtless will, speak for himself about his recent trip to Libya, Suliman.

    Yes, I agree that the JFM online petition was rather nifty: very good, effective, cleverly conceived and executed. But I disagree, Suliman, with your anonymous signatories slur: I signed the e-petition (and so did Mrs Haseldine).

    We and the other 1,644 petitioners await Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's formal response to the questions posed by the Public Petitions Committee.

    Today's revelation by The Sunday Telegraph that Foreign Secretary William Hague has declared a public inquiry into Lockerbie to be against the "public interest" does not in any way absolve the Scottish Government from replying in detail to the JFM e-petition.

  9. Suliman, I welcome your return as previously you have offered some interesting information that I would have liked to hear more about. Qatar's connection is one.

    Having said that I cannot allow your further criticism of Jim Swire to stand unchallenged. Swire does not remotely act as if he is "more royal than the king". If anything it is Swire's humility and dignity that have brought many people to question the facts surrounding Megrahi's conviction. You must remember too Suliman that Swire's motivation here is about the truth. In a world, especially politics, where there is no room for the truth that is surely refreshing?

    So. My questions to you are about Qatar and its connection here? Tell us more about that and the SNP.

    The second question is about Megrahi. Do you believe he was rightly convicted?

    Finally I would say to you, as I have previously said, that as a resident of the West I am deeply ashamed of the part the UK and the body previously known as the British Empire have played in turning our world upside down. I despise the hypocrisy of the West and of those in the West who believe we have the right (while cowering behind the USA) to tell others what they can do while we do as we like. That is not how global democracy works.

    I genuinely do hope you will engage here.