Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Secret papers on Lockerbie bomber to be made public

[This is the headline over an article in today's edition of The Scotsman. Regrettably, but unsurprisingly, the papers in question are not those in respect of which the UK Foreign Secretary asserted public interest immunity in the course of Abdelbaset Megrahi's recent appeal although their non-disclosed existence and contents formed one of the grounds on which the SCCRC decided that his conviction at the Zeist trial might have amounted to a miscarriage of justice. No, the documents being referred to relate to the side-issue of the UK Government's role in the run-up to Mr Megrahi's repatriation. The article reads in part:]

The UK government is set to publish more official documents on the Lockerbie bomber, after American families reacted with fury to revelations that ministers had advised Libya on his release.

Prime Minister David Cameron has asked Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell to review government papers on Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi's case, with a view to publishing them "shortly".

The UK government signalled it would act after the publication of WikiLeaks' documents that suggested Labour's then foreign minister Bill Rammell wrote to his counterpart in Libya in October 2008 to advise on how Megrahi could be freed from a Scottish prison.

Mr Rammell's letter was sent about a week after Megrahi was diagnosed with prostate cancer and it advised the Libyans that this could lead to his release on compassionate grounds. The disclosure of the letter has led to claims that its existence undermines the previous Labour government's insistence that it was not complicit in the release of Megrahi. (...)

In the House of Commons yesterday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sir Gus would look at past papers on the issue and his report would be published soon. He also emphasised that Mr Cameron had opposed Mr MacAskill's decision. (...)

Frank Duggan, the Washington-based lawyer who is representing US families, said the politicians' behaviour had been "disgusting". Mr Duggan renewed his attack on Mr MacAskill for releasing Megrahi but said his conduct had not been as bad as the UK government representatives.

"It was some but not all of the Scottish politicians who let everyone down," Mr Duggan said.

"As devious and manipulative as they were, however, they were not as bad as the British diplomats and officials who claimed to have no part in this decision but are now shown to be advisers to the Libyans one year before the actual release of the murderer. It is disgusting but not unanticipated." (...)

Details of Mr Rammell's letter came to light in an official US memo recording a meeting that saw Rob Dixon, a Foreign Office official, brief the US ambassador on the document.

The memo said the letter gave details of the 1993 act, which, under Scots law, enables terminally ill prisoners to apply for compassionate release.

The memo claimed Jack Straw, then Home Secretary, had spoken to First Minister Alex Salmond. According to the memo's account of the conversation, the exchange had been interpreted as a signal that Mr Salmond would release Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

The minute of the meeting said Mr Salmond would take the "final decision" and added: "Salmond told Straw that he would make the decision based on humanitarian grounds, not foreign policy grounds."

The note added: "Dixon told us HMG [Her Majesty's Government] has interpreted this to mean that Salmond is inclined to grant the request."

But this version of events was disputed vigorously by Mr Salmond, who maintains the decision was taken solely by Mr MacAskill. His spokesman released a letter sent by Mr Salmond to Libyan representatives on 5 November, 2008 – about three weeks after Mr Rammell's letter. The contents indicate that Scottish ministers had not yet considered compassionate grounds.

Mr Salmond's letter confirms that Scottish Prison Service guidance was that a life expectancy of less than three months was an appropriate period for compassionate release. But it added: "No formal consideration has been given to this matter as yet, but clearly the best advice on Mr al-Megrahi's health does not conform to the guidance on life expectancy for release on compassionate grounds."

The First Minister's spokesman said the letter showed "beyond doubt" the Scottish Government had not been considering compassionate release at that time and it was only when the disease later became "hormone resistant" that he was freed.

[A letter in The Scotsman from Ray Newton reads as follows:

"The WikiLeaks exposure of the collusion of the UK and the US in connection with Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi's release is no surprise. The cancer diagnosis was a golden opportunity to have the appeal stopped with its new evidence of planted material used to convict Megrahi and Libya instead of Iran via Syria. Ironically, the political situation changed. Hence the green light for Scottish law to take its course."

A similar, but less detailed, report in The Herald can be read here.]


  1. Mission Lockerbie 2011, doc. nr. 1042.rtf.

    A Major Criminal Case lies in the air

    It was not only in August 2009 that justice secretary Kenny MacAskill announced his decision to release the innocent Abdelbaset Al Megrahi.
    After today (from Wikileaks) we now, THE UK Government and the Scottish Justiciary are responsible for the "criminal" deal: Al Megrahi's release by a questionable confirmation of the prison physician against the withdrawal of the promising Appeal, by Al Megrahi.

    Edwin Bollier (MEBO Ltd) say: THE UK Government and the Scottish Justiciary were partly responsible for a damage compared with MEBO of over US$ 50 million who obviously by this machination is. A criminal investigation in this matter is therefore essential !
    Mr. Al Megrahi and Libya have detectable nothing to do with the crash of Pan Am 103.

    Some of the Scottish Officials are the true criminals in the Lockerbie Affair are responsible for manipulating evidence and police documents in the Lockerbie Affair and are still protected by the Scottish Justice !
    (They are not involved in the PanAm 103 bombing, but responsible for the conspiracy against Libya).

    Notices the words from ex FBI Task Force chief Richard Marquise, cordinator between FBI and CIA in the "Lockerbie-Affair":

    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!
    Please watch now the full documentary film "Lockerbie revisited" by Regisseur Gideon Levy, shown to Scottish members of Parliament about important facts concerning the conspiracy against Libya.

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

  2. "As devious and manipulative as they were, however, they were not as bad as the British diplomats and officials who claimed to have no part in this decision but are now shown to be advisers to the Libyans one year before the actual release of the murderer." Frank Duggan

    Wow. No one does arrogance like the Americans at times. Duggan throws words like devious and manipulative around in the direction of others while being able, for some inexplicable reason, to completely ignore the payment, by his own country, of millions of dollars to Tony Gauci the man widely believed to have "identified" Megrahi but who, in fact, did not once positively do so. He also ignores the findings of the SCCRC some years after the trial.

    How "devious" and "manipulative" is it to bribe people who are going to give testimony in a court of law? How "devious" and "manipulative" is it to keep the amounts being handed over hidden from anyone until long after the trial? And since when was cash for testimony ever acceptable in any country with a balanced and fair legal system?

    When Frank Duggan uses the word devious he should consider how others see him because every word that leaves his mouth suggests strongly that he is more than familiar with the trait himself.