Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Lockerbie row escalates after amnesia accusations

[This is the headline over a report in yesterday's edition of The Herald on the story featured in the previous day's Mail on Sunday on the spat between Jack Straw and the Scottish Government over the UK-Libya prisoner transfer agreement. The Herald's article reads in part:]

A war of words between Scottish ministers and the former Labour Government over the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing continued yesterday amid accusations of “selective amnesia”.

Labour ministers have claimed that prominent SNP politicians gave them assurances that Abdelbaset Al Megrahi could be released in return for concessions for Scotland.

These included to gain control over firearms legislation and to reduce the bill that the Scottish Government would have to pay to prisoners who had been forced to “slop out” while in jail.

Both Alex Salmond and Kenny MacAskill have denied the allegations outright.

Yesterday, Jack Straw, the former UK Justice Secretary, accused the Scottish First Minister of “selective amnesia”.

“It does seem now that he has been suffering from selective amnesia,’ Mr Straw said.

“What he’s forgotten is that when I went to him in late 2007, asking him to agree to a PTA (Prisoner Transfer Agreement) that would not exclude Megrahi, he indicated that he could be more accommodating if I could offer him two concessions – first to change the Scotland Act to make Scotland less vulnerable to paying compensation to prisoners for slopping out, and second to transfer responsibility for firearms from Westminster to Scotland.” (...)

Mr Salmond’s spokesman last night said: ‘We must agree to disagree with Mr Straw.’

He added that the documentary record held by the Scottish Government contained no evidence of any such deal, and that such a deal would have been irrelevant as Mr Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds, not under the terms of a PTA.

[Two bald men arguing over a comb. What matters is the scandal of Megrahi's conviction, not the circumstances of his release. I shall not in future regularly be posting on this blog articles and media comments about the repatriation. This is because (a) the issue bores me rigid and (b) my internet connection here in the wilds of the Roggeveld Karoo is so unstable that it is a waste of scarce connection time to squander it on this peripheral issue.]


  1. Labor prefers total amnesia, it seems.


    The new WAR of words between Scottish First Ministers Alex Salmond, Kenny MacAskill, Secretary of Justice against the former UK Secretary of State for Justice, Shadow Lord Chancellor Jack Straw (Labour) illuminates the "extorted" deals in connection with the early release of innocent Abdelbaset Al Megrahi (audio monitored).
    To ward off the disgrace Kenny MacAskill remains only a battle cry available: "I stand by my Lockerbie decision"...!
    Now we await the opening of the SCCRC Documents as promised, quickly.

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