[The following is the text of a letter by Dr Jim Swire submitted yesterday to The Scotsman but not (yet) published:]
I wish the young couple marrying today every imaginable happiness following their fairytale romance stemming from St Andrews. If they are blessed with children, may they all thrive and blossom too.
I am very relieved to hear that the invitation to the Syrian ambassador to attend the Abbey service has been withdrawn, presumably on the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. But there are more profound reasons, much closer to home for Scotland than the present violence in Syria, as to why I believe it was imperative to exclude him.
Those who still believe that the origins of the Lockerbie bombing lay with the Libyan (Megrahi's) use of a conventional time bomb ingested at Luqa airport, Malta, have to live with two particularly amazing 'coincidences', as well as the damning indictment of the verdict from the UN's special observer Hans Koechler, and the findings of our own SCCRC that the verdict may have been a miscarriage of justice.
First the Lockerbie plane 'happened' to fly for just 38 minutes before exploding.
Second there had been a break-in to Heathrow the actual night before Lockerbie adjacent to where the bomb was loaded there the following evening. This was concealed from the court until after the verdict had been reached, though the investigating Scottish police must surely have known of it. The break-in offered the perfect position and timing for the introduction of a Syrian type bomb.
The court did hear unequivocal evidence that a member of Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-GC terror group in Damascus was the unique origin of bombs which were stable on the ground, but always exploded between 35 and 45 minutes from the take-off of an aircraft. Perfect for introduction the night before use.
The court chose to ignore the flight time, even though it did know that it matched the obligatory flight-time of these Damascus bombs.
The Damascus based PFLP-GC's bomb-maker was a Jordanian man called Marwan Khreesat, the evidence is that he was also an American intelligence asset and a triple agent. He was working, long term, for Ahmed Jibril, a one time member of the Syrian armed forces and head of the PFLP-GC in Damascus at the time of Lockerbie. According to MOSSAD, Khreesat had been implicated in the 1970 bombing of a Swissair plane in which 47 people died. There is also strong evidence that a Khreesat bomb had destroyed an El Al plane in 1972. That bomb consisted of 250 grams of explosive hidden in a radio and triggered by a barometric switch.
His involvement in Lockerbie might, to say the least, have been an embarrassment for the USA, had it become known that one of their assets had made the lethal bomb, killing so many of their own citizens.
The Lockerbie court had also asked Damascus for evidential material requested by the defence, and was rejected out of hand. Nevertheless the court did hear that the timers for Khreesat's bombs were actually manufactured in a PFLP-GC facility in the suburbs of Damascus itself. Still the penny did not drop.
Unlike his father, the present President Assad of Syria may be impotent before the terror apparatus installed by his father, but I would still have found the presence of the current Syrian ambassador at the Royal wedding an insult to the memory of my daughter Flora, murdered, with 269 others, probably by a Syrian bomb, over Lockerbie.
All this remains speculation of course, until Scotland finds a way responsibly to review the Zeist verdict. We have waited for that to happen for 10 years so far: maybe whatever transpires on the 5th of May will help us and Scotland.
Meanwhile may today's festivities usher in a truly long and happy relationship, for Catherine and William, started within the ancient walls of St Andrews.
[Because of another busy long weekend in prospect at Gannaga Lodge, it is unlikely that there will be further posts to this blog before Monday.]