Thursday, 21 July 2011

Retrying Megrahi in the United States

In the light of suggestions that have been made over the past few months by American officials and commentators that the United States might wish to have Abdelbaset Megrahi handed over to the United States for retrial in America, it is perhaps worthwhile to consider some of the legal problems that would be faced in bringing this about.

As I said in a blog post on 6 March 2011:
"The United States Government, along with that of the United Kingdom, proposed the UN Security Council resolutions that set up the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist. Both governments thereby undertook internationally binding obligations to comply with the legal processes thus set in motion. The United States cannot lawfully renounce those obligations either unilaterally or in conjunction with whatever new government it chooses to recognise in Libya. To have Abdelbaset Megrahi lawfully handed over to the US would require a further UN Security Council resolution. The United States, as a permanent member of the Security Council could, of course, propose such a resolution. But would the other members support it? The US could also, naturally, simply ignore international legality (as it did, with the UK's supine support, in launching the invasion of Iraq) and seize Megrahi by force (with or without the connivance of a new Libyan regime)."

Furthermore, the Constitution of the United States, provides (art VI, clause 2): "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land". This means that the binding international obligation entered into by the United States in respect of the Lockerbie trial precludes any US court from trying Megrahi since that would be a breach of the international agreement regarding Lockerbie jurisdiction which the US itself co-sponsored.

Moreover, during the Camp Zeist trial, US government lawyers sat amongst the prosecutors and when their presence was questioned the Crown Office responded that the Lord Advocate could select whomsoever he chose to form part of the prosecution team. It can be strongly argued that this active participation by United States officials, as part of the prosecution team, in a trial which the US co-sponsored, personally bars (estops) the US from instituting its own national criminal proceedings.

As mentioned above, the US could sponsor a new UN Security Council resolution permitting it to retry Megrahi. But is there any realistic prospect of such a resolution being passed? The United States could also seek to pass internal US legislation permitting a retrial. But, in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution amending the existing ones, would not any such legislation be liable to be struck down under art VI clause 2 of the Constitution?

[This post has now been picked up in a news item on Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm.

Because I shall be on duty at Gannaga Lodge for the next few days, it is unlikely that there will be further blog posts before Sunday, 24 July.]

42 comments:

  1. Would he be convicted?

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  2. Of course he would. You think the USA can't run a show trial at least as well as we can, or even better?

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  3. This is stupid!

    The US accepted the deal done with Libya on compensation. Americans took the money. Are those people going to hand the millions back?

    Megrahi was tried under Scots Law and convicted. There was also an abandoned (second) appeal which highlighted six grounds to suggest the conviction was unsafe.

    The man, Megrahi, is also STILL Scotland's prisoner under Scots Law. He is free on licence and no more.

    This whole thing is therefore outwith US jurisdiction and that is all there is to it.

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  4. @Professor Black - Reid v Covert nullifies your position.

    I will make you either a gentleman's bet or bet you £50 to the winner's favorite charity, if permissible under law.

    The bet is simple: I say that the US has the legal right to prosecute Al-Megrahi. You say it doesn't.

    The Supremacy Clause relates to the preemption that Federal law has over State law. The case law surrounding it, relates mostly to conflicts between taxes/property rights subsequent to the revolution. However, the modern interpretation extends to the concept that the US is a Federal republic and not a Confederacy (as it was originally organized prior to the Constitution).

    Reid v Covert - from 1957 - unequivocally reinforces that NO treaty or executive policy action may supersede the Constitution...and, again, reinforces that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land.

    I am happy to mutually agree to a neutral arbiter.

    Are you game? I am happy to equally publicly apologize on this blog if I am wrong about the US being allowed to prosecute Al-Megrahi.

    Michael Clarkson

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  5. Dear Mr. Clarkson,

    you write:
    "The Supremacy Clause relates to the preemption that Federal law has over State law." / "...NO treaty or executive policy action may supersede the Constitution..."

    You don't spend a single word on whether there - in this international affair - could be any other valid considerations than US law. I am not surprised, as a majority of americans seem to think this way.

    - - -

    The word "legal" in US foreign policy matters has for decades been synonymous with "the right to kill people as we see fit."

    Any interpretation of any UN resolution is deemed valid cause. What was approved in Libya was AFAIR a "no fly zone", which legalizes a "bomb whereever and whoever we feel like" campaign.

    Inspectors ran freely around in Iraq, not finding any significant trace of WMDs. Didn't matter - the attack was "legal" in the head of those who wanted it.

    US disrespect for "legal" matters are blatanly demonstrated by not applying the authority of the Intrnational Criminal Court in crime cases involving americans. "Others may be prosecuted. We are beyond that."

    Arresting people on flimsy evidence and lock them up for a decade (or two?) without trials - that is legal. Establishment of secret prisons, so people can be hidden away beyond reach of any monotoring organization (and why would that be needed?) - that is legal too.

    - - -

    What business does the US have, to participate with the full powers of CIA/FBI and the country's financial resources (incl. millions of dollars to bribe witnesses) in a Zeist trial, conducted by their allies - and later say "Haha, we don't respect it, we want a new one."?

    No problem! Might is right. The US can do whatever they want, to fool enough of the people enough of the time, which is what it is all about. For the enrichment of the few at the expense of so many.

    The discussion of the theoretical legality of a new Megrahi-trial (which will never occur) can only be of academical interest to lawyers.

    - - -

    When will we see a powerful US political figure suggest, that the people being involved in the bribery of Gauci stand trial?

    Never. Nobody would even consider bringing it up. But if so, you'd have an army of lawyers argue that
    it wasn't illegal according to The Constitution.

    sfm

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  6. "Show trial"? It was Professor Black who designed this bespoke trial.

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  7. Michael, you really should take a hike. Having read your case, put, as it was, on an earlier thread, I know how feeble that case is. Your case is based on, "We are American and therefore we can do as we like." You can shove that for a case. Some of us believe in REAL justice and REAL democracy. The US delivers neither.

    SM

    "The word "legal" in US foreign policy matters has for decades been synonymous with "the right to kill people as we see fit."

    Aint that the truth.

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  8. @Jo G - You're resorting to insults too? That's a shame. However, you are right, Colorado is incredible! I have dinner plans tonight, but a hike tomorrow along the Collegiate Range might be on the agenda. Thanks for the suggestion.

    However, I am splitting my time with LA lately, so I might defer and go hiking outside Santa Barbara...but I digress. It is nonetheless, a great suggestion.


    @SM - In re: your comment. We have a Constitution for a reason. It is the Supreme Law of the US. It can be amended, but it is inviolate. We formalized our Constitution (and ratified in 1789) -- something that I understand is an informal (not in one document), evolved body of common law in the UK. The US cannot subordinate its law to any other country/foreign body/treaty-based entity. Period. That is just a fact. (I will address more shortly.)

    Ironically, all the caterwauling from MacAskill and Salmond re: Cadder, Fraser, and UK Supreme Court/ECHR (et al) that has such prominence (and almost rabid vitriol from "leaders" no less toward Westminster) is very closely the SAME issue regarding US Constitutionality. I believe it's called the Sovereign State theory.

    So, the very "sovereignty" that likely you & Jo G pound the table about is what this exact issue is about. However, you appear to dislike it because 1) it involved Megrahi, whom you believe to be free and 2) involves the US and 3) involves the US righting what I believe was a contrived release.

    Now, to all above, I have reached out to a contact at the world's most highly viewed cable news network, based out of NY. This contact has been gracious in exchanging insights as Professor Black and you all as well, though I don't prefer your tone when it gets personal and goes from pedagogic to petulant.

    This contact is going to ask around their global newsroom for a contact - I presume a contributor on Constitutional Law - on this very discussion which I have shared with them.

    This person was gracious to respond within minutes of the request, so my confidence is high that this subject is on their radar.

    So, we'll have an answer to the above discussion (and yesterday's topic) likely by the end of next week.

    Now, whether Professor Black would consider the eventual contact a neutral arbiter is another story. However, I am sure my contact's contact will be a highly qualified resource.

    Like I said, if I am wrong, I will admit it as publicly as I have called it into question.

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  9. Please allow me to amend one comment:

    "...1) it involved Megrahi, whom you believe to be free..." should read "...1) 1) it involved Megrahi, whom you believe to be free of/from involvement in the bombing..."

    I apologize for that error.

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  10. Dear Mr Clarkson,

    Your patriotism is commendable. It is such a pity however that you focus on the US intervention in the Second World War to justify it rather than perhaps on some of the great contributions that your citizens have made in the world of the arts for example. Jazz and the blues immediately spring to mind: music spawned from the iniquities of a society where democracy is bought and justice is defined by the savagery of its penal system amongst other features of the American way of life. I am sure you don’t need the likes of myself to point out to you that the UK paid the US to intervene in the 39-45 conflict. Indeed, if memory serves, it was only in 2006, I believe, that we paid off our final instalment. Such an arrangement with the US also existed during the First World War.

    Direct financial reimbursement for US involvement was not the only price we paid for the privilege of having a ‘special relationship’ with your country: compromises relating to our previous controls over Sterling internationally for example were also made, and which were arguably more damaging to the UK. Indeed, however white one might wish to paint the US, it was never taken for granted that the US would take up arms alongside us against the Nazis. In fact, had Hitler been more astute in playing his cards, who knows what may have happened? Additionally, the fact that the US invested in a post war German buffer zone had little or nothing to do with American goodwill as I am sure you must be aware.

    (Cont)

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  11. All of this is, however, a digression. The point here is a matter of honour and trust. Words which unenlightened, barbarian, imperialist powers frequently find difficult to spell. The US signed up to Zeist. Mr al-Megrahi is a Scottish prisoner on licence. End of story. The US hegemony plainly has the power to regard or disregard its international obligations as it wishes, just like it ignores UN resolutions or laughs at The Hague when it suits. So any arrangement reached with little Scotland doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things. I'm afraid discussions on the ultimate supremacy of the law/laws concerning whether or not the US is bound to honour its treaties with the outside world is all rather academic to me. Either one honours what one signs up to or one doesn't sign in the first instance.

    As a reader of this blog, you are clearly aware that the various commentators spend almost all their time expounding on the minutiæ of the Zeist trial and why they think the verdict was flawed. You said, in a comment which addressed an earlier post, that Mr al-Megrahi was justly convicted (or words to that effect). Would you please outline for us precisely what evidence placed before the court convinces you of this? Have we missed some critical detail relating to the Malta/Frankfurt/London connection, the printed circuit board fragment, Mr Gauci’s testimony or some other feature of the trial that makes Mr al-Megrahi’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt? We would all sincerely like to know.

    Finally, please do not view my criticism of how your country defines itself around the globe via the conduct of its political representatives as a comment on the American people as a whole.

    Respectfully yours,
    Robert Forrester (JFM).

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  12. @Robert Forrester - You are correct vis a vis the "Lend Lease Act". However, had the UK lost, it wouldn't have been an issue -- paying until 2006.

    The point of relating this to the Wars was to state that we have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and rule of law (which related to an assertion that we are seeking to run kangaroo courts in re: Al-Megrahi). This wasn't a "my dad can beat up your dad" exposition.

    Indeed the Lend-Lease Act during the 39-41 window shows that US would not enter the war until it was attacked -- which reiterates our respect for the rule of law/war.

    I agree with your point that US exceptionalism covers many areas. However, being proud of the US doesn't mean that everyone else sucks. This is a point that is lost on many people.

    I suspect you are rightly proud to be British (or Scottish, or English...). If not, I am saddened that you are not as proud of your country and its contributions as I am of mine. (By the way, I am half-English...and my uncle is a retired Liverpool Labour City Councillor, who was selected Lord Mayor of Liverpool, but was withdrawn when he took up a charity regarding protecting the unborn child. He was subsequently unselected.) Though I disagree with his politics, I am proud of him.

    So, please don't mistake pride with blind patriotism.

    Now, back to the subject at hand...

    The question is: Can the US prosecute Al-Megrahi? And can it do it without all of the Constitutional wrangling Professor Black asserts?

    As I mentioned, I have reached out to secure that resource through a major, NY based media outlet that regularly have this consultants on retainer. The contact I reached out to is a reporter/presenter on that network. And he was kind to offer to check on this very subject (and has seen this very series of debates).

    So, we'll know soon -- irrespective of my opinion and yours.

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  13. @Robert Forrester - By the way, I did also mention the Marshall Plan...the first of its kind to rebuild the vanquished.

    (This was on the prior day's blog.)

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  14. Dear Mr Clarkson,

    Thank you kindly for your response. I am, in fact, a Scot, and am no more or less proud or critical of Scotland or the UK than I am of any other nation where I perceive justice to have been done or injustice to have prevailed. Such issues, like so many others, are ones which know no boundaries as far as I am concerned. I think that we can probably regard our mini discourse on war and law as an interesting introductory diversion and get down to brass tacks.

    Doubtless there may well be some extant indictment on the books of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia as you allude to. However, and as I said, we all know full well that the US not only agreed to the Zeist trial format but was delighted when the High Court of Justiciary incarcerated Mr al-Megrahi for the 103 atrocity. Mr al-Megrahi still falls under Scots jurisdiction. The self same jurisdiction that sent him down has seen fit to grant him compassionate release, and the US, like it or not, is a party to that. The US does not run the Scottish Criminal justice system. It cannot pick and chose the aspects that it likes and doesn’t like retrospectively. If it reneges on its Zeist agreement, it will be yet another nail, to accompany the already many others, in the coffin of the Washington’s international reputation. In terms of honouring its international commitments, I am afraid that the US has been exhibiting all the characteristics of a gangster for a number of decades now. And still successive administrations wonder why nobody likes them.

    As I mentioned before, all this is largely of academic interest; ultimately, the US will no doubt do precisely as it wishes vis-à-vis Mr al-Megrahi. After all, if he is kidnapped and or killed, it will probably play well in the media across the Pond. And, even if question marks are raised, let’s face it, we are dealing with an event dating back almost a quarter of a century and a conviction that is ten years old so we aren’t talking of something that is going to bring the stock market crashing to its knees.

    What is of far greater interest to me, and very probably all the other regular contributors to this blogspot, is the fact that you say: “In the interest of disclosure: I believe Al-Megrahi was rightly (and correctly) convicted, and was NOT the only guilty party and was most likely part of a larger initiative that resides at Qadaffi's doorstep.” Given that, had you been a juror at Zeist, you would obviously have returned a guilty verdict, would you please elaborate on precisely why you think Mr al-Megrahi was rightly and correctly convicted? This is the issue which lies at the heart of JFM’s campaign for an independent inquiry into the trial and the whole Lockerbie saga. As yet, no one, from the Crown down, has been able to produce anything resembling a cogent and coherent argument which justifies this verdict beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, I repeat, what can you say to convince me that Mr al-Megrahi was justly convicted?

    I do very much hope that you will address this question, so many in the past have promised much but ultimately disappointed.

    Respectfully yours,
    Robert Forrester (JFM).

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  15. Michael,if this is America's case and not Scotland's, why weren't American legislators demanding control of it in 1989? Everyone is entitled to change their mind but when it takes 22 years we have to look for alterior motives!
    And after Megraghi was tried and convicted by a Scottish court at Zeist I don't recall any Americans demanding that the verdict should be annulled and he should be handed over and tried there.
    But now that an aspect of the Scottish judicial process fails to find American approval, guys like you suddenly decide that there are sound legal grounds for a (re-?)trial in America.
    Can you really wonder that your motives are questioned by contributors to this site?

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  16. I notice Michael is simply avoiding every question that doesn't take his fancy, while parading as the figurehead of "just, righteous America".

    Does any of the public rhetoric we are hearing regarding these rabid calls to re-try Megrahi sound as if the writers are contemplating a fair trial with an unbiassed jury and a presumption of innocence? No? Didn't think so. It's a blatant announcement of a desire to take revenge because the writers don't think Scotland went far enough. Why should anyone who is interested in truth and justice want to pursue such an obviously biassed and pre-judged tribunal?

    Michael is ignoring two repeated issues. The first is of course the implication that Megrahi would be summarily kidnapped in order to facilitate such a trial. Yes, that would be illegal. But as we've noticed, the USA does what the hell it likes, then calls it legal, and because it's the biggest bully on the block, it gets away with it.

    The other is of course what several people have already asked. On what grounds does he believe Megrahi planted the bomb on that plane? Never mind the timer, he was never shown to have had a timer of that nature in his possession anyway. We should convict anyone who ever had business dealings with Edwin Bollier on that basis?

    There are only two pieces of evidence that can directly link Megrahi to that atrocity. One is the assertion that he bought certain clothes from Tony Gauci. Michael, do you think he bought these clothes? On what evidence do you base this belief? Does the fact that your country simply paid him to say that weigh in your thoughts at all?

    The other is the theory that the bomb travelled unaccompanied on flight KM180. What evidence do you know of that makes you think that happened? Seeing as absolutely none was ever discovered or presented?

    Thanks in advance for addressing these issues.

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  17. Let me say I have grown bored with the personal assaults in lieu of actual dialogue. So, I have committed to responding the material question of this blog and the antecedent: The US being able to legally try Al-Megrahi. Once one of the Constitutional experts review the blog, Professor Black's published position and responds, I will share their informed opinion.

    @Rolfe - I am not avoiding the question. It is not the scope of the discussion. I shared my position re: Al-Megrahi in the interest of full disclosure. As we say in the West: "Tell me where you sit, before you tell me where you stand." I was stating my position in the interest of full disclosure.

    There is simply not enough space here - nor enough time in my schedule to do a full point-by-point on the full trial...and it's not the scope of the discussion.

    @Grendal - The US indictments are long standing. I would have to look them up on Lexis/Nexis for an exact date. However, one of the issues that was agreed to is that the convicted parties would serve their full-term. However, that, too is off-topic...as the topic is can the US proceed with prosecution.

    @Quincey Riddle - The evidentiary issues are off-topic. I have no issue discussing them in an appropriate topic forum...however, the issue is the prosecution of Al-Megrahi in the US.

    Do you really think the intricacies of the trial can be digested in a blog post, when the SCCRC report is 800 pages (if I recall correctly)?

    Hey, ask Professor Black, I have said multiple times that I think there SHOULD be an independent inquiry. Personally, I think you have a Scottish version of Watergate sitting at your doorstep -- I think it's surrounding the release, you all feel it's surrounding the conviction.

    I have said multiple times that it should start with the release and the circumstances thereof. I believe that would uncover the release to be based on insufficient illness, leveraging opening up the whole investigation. Right now, you have a government that is stonewalling the SCCRC report -- going on 3 years?

    However, the very same compromised evidence (SCCRC report) is the same case they are going to re-prosecute Fhimah with? That makes ZERO sense -- unless one is a moron. The logic fails me.

    But, let's say you do get the SCCRC report, where do you go with that? The appeal is dropped. It's not going back to court in Scotland, right?

    That is why I have said there is no better way to prove the case than to move the US charges forward -- as there is no appeal in Scotland. Right? It was dropped (and was ascribed reliably as a condition of Compassionate Release -- though not required). Al-Megrahi and Tony Kelly (if I recall correctly, too) stated the intimation was clear that Al-Megrahi had to punt on the appeal to get Compassionate Release.

    Items you find in question in the predicating evidence, I don't find inconsistent. We're not going to resolve that here.

    My overall position: If you feel the evidence is compromised, then put in the only forum where they can be tried: US Federal Court.

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  18. Michael, I doubt very much that there is an "agreement" between the US and Scotland that Megraghi serve a "full term", whatever that means.
    Megraghi was sentenced under Scots Law and continues to serve that sentence.
    The only issue here seems to be that some Americans are unhappy with his release on compassionate grounds.

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  19. No insults Michael, just plain truths.

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  20. Also Michael, your response to Quincey Riddle exposes the flaw in your argument.
    Law is supposed to be about the administration of justice, not about interested third parties getting repeated chances to have an innocent man found guilty or a guilty man freed.
    Most people who post on this site believe that Megraghi was wrongly convicted and much of the debate here discusses these beliefs. However everyone accepts that he was found guilty under Scot's Law and the first step towards justice being done is to have that verdict overturned.
    This is why your legal gymnastics are viewed with such suspicion.If you believe that Megraghi was freed by corrupt practices then the place to expose that is in Scotland. Some evidence would be useful, though. As you know, Mr Menendez et al have already been down that road with embarrassing results. The fact that they still managed to condemn Mr MacAskill with absolutely no evidence whatsoever is also an indicator of why some of us have no more faith in American justice than Camp Zeist-style Scottish justice.

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  21. Dear Mr Clarkson,

    I am not going to deal with some of the factual errors and assumptions you make in your response largely because I am absolutely certain that some of the other commentators to this blogspot will no doubt be addressing them shortly. I would, however, caution you not to give too much credence to some of the sound bites emanating from the new Lord Advocate as he is in the process of trying to establish his public image as a ‘hang em high’ law officer. Perhaps, if he is called to provide evidence before the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament to answer questions relating to JFM’s petition 1370, we will then see how much substance there is to his current rhetoric. I ought also to point out that the SCCRC’s statement of Reasons deals with Mr al-Megrahi’s case not Mr Fhimah’s.

    (cont)

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  22. I find your response to my invitation to substantiate your belief in the safety of Mr al-Megrahi’s conviction most disappointing. Of all platforms upon which to discuss the matter, I would have thought this particular one to be the most appropriate. Furthermore, and as you will know, discussions here can very often develop organically and there is no restriction, other than that which you may wish to impose upon yourself, which demands that commentators must restrict themselves to the topic of the original post. Moreover, if this platform is one which the man who headed up the FBI Lockerbie investigation, Mr Richard Marquise, obviously has no difficulty in explaining himself on, I fail to understand why it is not appropriate for yourself to do likewise.

    You appear to be a gambling man, I am not. However, I will indulge just this once. I want to see your hand. I do not believe you hold any cards in terms of evidence that can support your belief that Mr al-Megrahi was justly convicted. I am, therefore, calling your bluff. Prove it. I am not asking you to address every detail of the Crown’s evidence, simply select a single aspect that would be sufficient to convict, and corroborate it. This is all I ask. If you refuse to do so, I believe you will lose all credibility as regards any further contributions you make to the on-going Lockerbie/Zeist debate.

    Respectfully yours,
    Robert Forrester (JFM).

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  23. Michael,now that the fitba's finished I've had a look at Reid v Covert (only Wikipedia though!) but wouldn't it apply only if Megraghi was an American citizen?
    But, more basically, why would you want a retrial in America when you have no dispute with the Camp Zeist verdict? I hardly think any American court would grant a re-trial (would a trial in America be a re-trial?) when those applying have no dispute with the conduct and outcome of the original.
    Your dispute is with the sentence (or a single aspect of the sentence-the fact that, in Scotland, the prisoner can be released on licence on compassionate grounds)and surely that cannot possibly be covered by Reid v Covert.
    I'm no legal expert, in fact I often have difficulty understanding legal matters even AFTER they are explained to me, so maybe I am mistaken here. No doubt you will explain it to me if I am.
    Keep it simple, please!

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  24. @Robert Forrester - Reid v Covert re-asserted the Constitution as the Supreme Law (not treaties). In the US, Case Law decided by the co-equal judicial branch has the force of law by assent by the majority on the Court. The Supreme Court takes on specific cases where issues of Constitutional import arise -- Reid v Covert is one of those.

    Let me give you an alternate example: Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113 (1998)

    The net-net of the case is a guy gets pulled over for speeding. A drug search is done in his car, without probable cause (or permission) that he was involved in drugs trafficking. The issue was not about a speeding ticket and marijuana but about unreasonable search and seizure under the 4th Amendment.

    From the majority opinion, "Once Knowles was stopped for speeding and issued a citation, all the evidence necessary to prosecute that offense had been obtained. No further evidence of excessive speed was going to be found either on the person of the offender or in the passenger compartment of the car." So, the case was reversed and Knowles v Iowa is case law that invalidated part of Iowa law that permitted that search.

    So, Covert v Reid has the same import -- adjudicating Constitutional issues stemming from specific cases and circumstances.

    I will defer to the Constitutional Law experts when they share their opinion. I suspect they will know more than both of us.

    Seriously, you want me to go through the entirety of a full case that took 36 weeks? Are you serious? And also go through all the new evidence - evidence which may/may not stand up to judicial scrutiny. Just because someone alleges something is evidence, does not mean it will necessarily be allowed into court in the case-in-chief.

    I am not avoiding the discussion, but it took Al Jazeera an hour to go through three major items: The identification, the payment and the discrepancies on the evidence tags. So, you want me to write 1000 pages here? Thank you, but no.

    I can appreciate Iain McKie (in that report) has a HUGE axe to grind because his daughter got screwed over by the Strathclyde police and the fingerprint agency -- wasn't it the SCRO? So, yes, I can see that there is an established practice of covering up in Scotland (and we've had them here too). However, I can't necessarily make the leap that it extended into Lockerbie, though several news articles alluded to that in the 2006/2007 timeframe.

    The net-net: No case is perfect. It's proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but not proof beyond ANY doubt.

    I am willing to discuss the SCCRC situation -- when it gets released...uh, IF it gets released.

    I'll tell ya' what: When the SCCRC report comes out, I will be happy to engage on the subject as it relates to the issues raised.

    Question for you @Jo G and @Rolfe: Based on your assertions (and others here) are the three judges that convicted Al-Megrahi kangaroo court justices; are the five (I think it was five) justices that denied the first appeal also kangaroo court justices?

    And for all your assertions about blood-thirsty American lynching mob justice, isn't it the Scottish Executive that is holding up the report, when it's fully within its powers?

    And, yes, Bush/Obama are behind holding up the report. It's part of the Book of Presidents -- page 87.

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  25. Let me be direct: I have said MULTIPLE times to Professor Black in private correspondence that if Al-Megrahi is innocent, then he should be released and compensated for false imprisonment. I have just said I don't think he is innocent -- and been found guilty once and denied appeal once.

    I would make one point: I could just as easily ask how do you reconcile the testimony of several former Libyan leaders that Lockerbie was ordered by Qadaffi and performed by Al-Megrahi.

    I haven't asked that of you as the information hasn't been vetted. It's only hearsay at this point. (I would argue credible hearsay, but hearsay is not evidence.) And what was Musa Kusa response to the Scottish Police inquiries? I don't think I saw anything, anywhere about those discussions except that they happened. It's the strangest damn thing.

    So, it's not about avoiding the discussion, it's such a broad topic that one could spend years going through the minutia. A blog is an impractical forum to have that type of discussion. After all, it's a circumstantial case.

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  26. Dear Mr Clarkson,

    Regular contributors to this blog do not normally display the reticence to discuss the evidence that you seem to be displaying. You stated that you regard Mr al-Megrahi’s conviction to be safe yet you have failed comprehensively to substantiate your position. It is my opinion that you cannot because you have no proof beyond your acceptance of the Zeist judgement.

    Speaking for myself, I have, on a variety of occasions explained in published articles and on this blogspot my own perspectives on the trial. There is no evidence whatsoever that any unaccompanied item of luggage was transported from Luqa to Frankfurt on KM180. It is an assumption to claim otherwise. This is not the basis upon which to found guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The rest flows from this point and each has its own inherent problems: Gauci’s stating that Mr al-Megrahi “resembles” the purchaser; the discrepancies in his evidence regarding the date of purchase, height, build and age of the purchaser etc; the provenance of the fragment of circuit board, the fact that it left Scots jurisdiction, the question mark over its having or not having been tested for explosive residue, the retraction of Lumpert’s testimony; the testimony provided by discredited RARDE forensic witnesses and the unexplained alterations to their records; the provenance of the Frankfurt airport printouts. These are but a sample of the issues that were dealt with in court and which I have problems with. This is to ignore, of course, the payments to the Gaucis and the whole business of the Heathrow break in and why this information entered the public domain only after the conviction had been handed down. Along with that last point too, we have the questions surrounding the Bedford suitcase (as it is often referred to). In short, trying to understand the Crown case is like having downed some Datura on a carrousel.

    (cont)

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  27. We have heard nothing from you concerning why you trust in the safety of the conviction. Allow me to place you in a similar position to that which led to the conviction of Mr al-Megrahi for a moment then. I do not, and nor I suspect do many other contributors to this blog, believe you have one shred of evidence you can refer to from the Zeist trial that can substantiate your claim of his guilt. The question we constantly raise is: should he have been found guilty in the first instance? The issues surrounding his release are unrelated and of secondary interest. The US got the result it wanted: a conviction, however flawed and mysterious. But you want more, don’t you? You want blood and you won’t stop until you get it, will you? The way that you constantly hide behind references to the Reid v Covert case when invited to justify your belief in Mr al-Megrahi’s guilt reminds me of the way in which the self-proclaimed evangelist for the pro-Zeist camp, Mr Duggan, simply turns up the volume as if by doing so his position will automatically become irresistibly credible.

    If, ultimately, the US does kidnap Mr al-Megrahi and he dies in your custody or survives long enough to be reconvicted and have a death sentence carried out on him, and then it is subsequently established that Zeist was miscarriage of justice, as JFM and the SCCRC feel may be the case, what then? Is it any wonder that we have such deep reservations about extraditing people to a country with such a barbaric penal code?

    I have no intention of repeating my request to you again. I am now satisfied that your approach is no better than that of the lynch mob.

    Respectfully yours,
    Robert Forrester.

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  28. @Robert

    Let me put a legal hat on for a minute. He was convicted. His conviction was upheld. His 2nd appeal was withdrawn.

    The academic point is: He is legally convicted. And until the appeal is reinstated (and successful), he remains convicted forever.

    I call that pretty convincing evidence of guilt.

    All of the rest of your posturing is academic as it will GO NOWHERE 1) if the SCCRC report gets released and 2) if there is an appeal resulting therefrom.

    I am not being reticent, however, there are many outside allegations. A subset of those make to the evidentiary level and are filtered for a reason.

    I note how you skirt around the corroborating testimony from other Libyan government officials. Though favorable to my position re: guilt, I deliberately did not wade into that because their testimony has not been vetted and are thusfar only allegations. It's HEARSAY at this point.

    So, rather than us having this huge discussion that will result in it going nowhere, I will just concede that I am comprehensively wrong, that Al-Megrahi should be cannonized by the Vatican and should be venerated through the Rosary.

    Happy now?

    It's 32º here in Denver now. I am going to have a nice late afternoon picnic next to a mountain lake about 25 miles into the mountains.

    Trust me, this will be the last thing on my mind while I am there. However, I am sure this response will be as painful for you as taking a square shit.

    It's not my intent, but I have tried to keep this specifically to the issue of being able to prosecute as that issue is fairly narrow...and actually has the possibility of happening, unlike Al-Megrahi's appeal.

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  29. Michael, can I be the first to point out that none of these defectors is reported to have supplied any evidence pointing to Megraghi's guilt.But if he is guilty, most if not all will be aware of the full story. Does the lack of evidence, therefore, point to Megraghi's innocence?
    By the way, what is "vetted evidence?"

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am just going to do a drive-by response as it's 11 PM and I just got back from picnicking and hiking at 11,600' at Echo Lake. So, I am rather tired.

    @Grendal - No, you can't be the first to point that out, as I offered that to you. Permit me to remind you: "Though favorable to my position re: guilt, I deliberately did not wade into that because their testimony has not been vetted and are thusfar only allegations. It's HEARSAY at this point." I concede that this is unvetted as of this writing. And, I am not going to be hypocritical as to let myself off the hook for things I hold you accountable.

    Part of the reason I am not getting into all the distracting assertions is that ALL of them need to be vetted prior to presentation to the Court. So, we could be arguing about non-relevant facets of the case.

    @Robert Forrester - I presume your assertions and what got your panties in a bunch was the recent article from Wolchover.

    So, let me briefly respond...

    A meaningful amount of what I read is derived from contrapositive logic. In short, proving that because something is not a, b, c, d or e, that it must be - by elimination - must be f, which only works if there six options.

    That's like saying someone robbed Wells Fargo Bank near Columbine. It wasn't me. It wasn't you. It wasn't Grendal. It wasn't Jo G. So, if it wasn't us, then it has to be Professor Black. The process of elimination is not necessarily definitive in placing blame.

    So, let me skim the waves here and respond:
    1) If Iran Air was colocated next to PanAm, why is the broken lock at 12:35 AM (or T-2 hours) on 12/21/88 relevant?

    I presume the logic was that the bomb was transferred from Iran Air. If the lock was broken as a part of the plan, Iran Air could have been located on Mars and it would be irrelevant. However, I gather the insinuation is that Iran is a co-conspirator due to the Iran Air 655 shootdown.

    I would purport that a plot of the Lockerbie type takes many months to execute. I mean it can be done in days, but realistically, these things take getting approval (even in terror circles) - like 9/11 - from higher ups...and take maybe a year or more to get approval, plan, and execute.

    And let's not forget Iran and Iraq were demobilizing from the Iran-Iraq War (ending on 8/20/88). Does it make sense - irrespective of IranAir 655, which nearly lost the war multiple times - for Iran to take on the US just months later? I realize this is not evidence, but it is logical.

    Regarding the planning...I mean Scotland can't even clear the winter roads using weather forecasts and snowplows -- which is much less clandestine and more regimented, with in-place infrastructure. Clearing the M8 didn't have the political overtones of pissing off President Reagan -- who had no problem retaliating. So, if clearing a road is a major situation that causes cabinet ministers to kvetch and results in a government acting like they are planning the first manned mission to Mars, then what would engaging in an act of war (Lockerbie Bombing) do to a country that just fought one to a stalemate? Answer: It would bind them up in a serious way.

    Again, this is a logical exercise, not evidence...

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  31. Do you think that a retaliatory strike on PA103 could be done in 5 months (given the above demobilization)? (Remember, the Iranians were sending teenagers and pre-teens into battle, but all of a sudden they have a battalion of James Bonds to throw at this exercise?) Sorry. Doesn't track. Possible. But not likely.

    While I concede there are meaningful concerns on the Gauci testimony, I remind you that no prosecution is perfect. While I understand the payment issue conflicting with Scots Law, it's not necessarily precluded under US law -- and the US was to prosecute this until the UN1192 resolution. So, something could have been done assuming this would be an American prosecution that now conflicts with Scots Law. I don't necessarily agree that there was a nefarious intent there -- and frankly, I would need to refresh my recollection to the facts on that issue, the US law surrounding that and what the SCCRC report is alleged to have addressed regarding it.

    Having said that, I would say it's more logical for a shopkeeper to remember one client out of dozens or hundreds than a baggage handler to remember ONE bag out of likely tens of thousands he sees in one month. It is a well known fact that people remember faces more than objects -- which is why printed money features prominent faces to discourage counterfeiting.

    And this is a guy (Bedford?) who was clocking off for a 1/2 hour tea-break? Trust me, I have seen how English people work: that clock hits tea-break and it's like a jailbreak from death row heading for the tea-room.

    Ironically, the intimation in the article that this bomb was deliberately placed "JUST SO" in the cargo hold implicates Bedford as a co-conspirator, does it not? It could be the difference in the way the US and UK structure syntax, but that's how I read it.

    With regard to Maier and the X-raying of luggage, people get past security NOW with bombs even with TODAY'S advanced technology. (For example, the Fruit of Kaboom bomber in Detroit. Fruit of the Loom is a brand of underwear here in the US.)

    Are you saying that Maier - using 1970's or early 80's technology (likely not new equipment) - can reliably be 100% certain he would have found that bomb -- also reviewing tens of thousands of pieces of luggage a month? Doesn't track.

    So, while intriguing, I find logical counterarguments.

    Also, I will review the STV show regarding Lockerbie. I believe I saw a segment on that show that indicated there was a data set that showed the luggage did transfer. When I relocate that, I will post it on this blog.

    Okay...that's it for me. I am beat tired. I am heading to bed.

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  32. My God! Michael pontificates about the case, expressing utter conviction as regards Megrahi's guilt, but he has to go look at a deliberate hatchet-job TV show, to find out whether there was ever any evidence for the most central finding in the entire case!

    That's it, Michael, you can't go any lower in my estimation, I don't think. You're calling for a terminally ill man to be kidnapped and locked up in a US jail, because you have an issue with the Scottish penal system, and you're not even superficially familiar with the alleged evidence surrounding the most central point in the case?

    I have to say I am physically shocked. I thought you were being evasive because your case was a bit shaky and you were reluctant to expose it in public. It didn't occur to me you didn't actually have a grasp of the first basics of the issues.

    I imagine you will find that TV show includes a bland statement that there was evidence the bomb suitcase passed through Frankfurt. Anyone can make bland statements about anything at all. That one happens not to be true.

    However, if you're just starting to scratch around for a superficial grasp of the evidence at this stage, by watching a TV hatchet-job rather than, for example, reading the Opinion of the Court, I despair.

    I expect silence from you for the next few months as you do your basic literature review.

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  33. "However, I am sure this response will be as painful for you as taking a square shit."

    Oh dear, and he tells Rolfe and me off for being not being polite.

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  34. Dear Michael,

    great that you are being willing to discuss the evidence.

    Most believers of Megrahi-is-guilty don't want to do that, but stick to "he has been convicted".

    You speak about logic. Would you be so kind to let us know your opinion about the below?

    From the article of Wolchover.

    "
    ...John Bedford, the Heathrow Pan Am baggage handler whose job it was to load the container with interline baggage items as and when they arrived in the interline shed, after they were x-rayed.

    He recalled that on the afternoon on December 23, he left the container while he took an extended tea-break lasting roughly half an hour.

    When he returned he noticed two items had been added to the luggage he had earlier loaded into the container, making a total of about 10 items.

    This was well bebore the arrival of the feeder flight from Frankfurt.

    Bedford described one of the two additional items as a "maroony-brown hardshell suitcase, the type Samsonite make."

    He volunteered this information at his first police interview on January 3, 1989
    ...
    The description could not have been prompted by the investigators because the suitcase containing the bomb was only identified as a bronze-coloured Samsonite hardshell several weeks later.
    "

    Now, Sir, let us for the sake of argument assume that a-c below are correct postulates:

    That,
    a. - John Bedford the 3rd of Jan 1989 reported to the police about an extra "maroony-brown hardshell suitcase, the type Samsonite make."

    b. - at that time no investigators, press, journalists etc. had spoken anything about a brown suitcase

    c. - the suitcase that John Bedford claims to have seen could not have come from the interline feed

    - - -

    IF so, do you agree that we have one of these cases:

    I. A clairvoyant baggage handler: "seeing" - and reporting about it to the police - an 'excessive' suitcase that matches something, that nobody else than the bomb-makers would know about at the time of reporting.

    II. TWO excessive brown suitcases unaccounted for on the PANAM 103, one seen by Mr. Bedford, and one sent from Malta (and we would then need evidence that the one from Megrahi was the one with the bomb to convict him)

    III. There was only one excessive brown suitcase, seen by Mr. Bedford. (Which then forces us to drop the bomb-from-Malta theory)

    Did I forget an option?

    If not, let me know which option you would prefer as the most likely one.

    - - -

    From most people I would be able to get an answer. "Well, Frank, if a, b and c is correct, we would need overwhelming evidence otherwise not to choose option III."

    But somehow I don't get such answers from Megrahi-is-guilty believers. We simply do not understand each other.

    Will you be the exception?

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  35. Just for the avoidance of doubt, to clarify what SM said, there was never any evidence at all of a brown Samsonite suitcase being sent from Malta. The only brown Samsonite suitcase seen in the luggage heading for PA103 was the one John Bedford saw in the container, only a couple of inches from where the explosion later occurred, over an hour before the feeder flight from Frankfurt landed.

    There was also no evidence, despite detailed inquiries, that any of the passengers on the plane was carrying a brown Samsonite (or anything close to resembling a brown Samsonite). And that goes double for the passengers who interlined into Heathrow, whose luggage might have been in that container when Bedford saw it. This was all gone into in great detail, because police were concerned that one of these passengers might have been an unwitting mule.

    However, as Wolchover notes, this evidence was not led at Zeist, thus allowing the court to decide that the Bedford suitcase was probably just legitimate passenger luggage, which unaccountably was never recovered at Lockerbie, and then invent this totally imaginary brown Samsonite that came from Malta.

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  36. Also, I will review the STV show regarding Lockerbie. I believe I saw a segment on that show that indicated there was a data set that showed the luggage did transfer. When I relocate that, I will post it on this blog.

    I’m trying to suppress my utter horror that Michael doesn’t actually know anything about the specifics of the luggage evidence, and that he’s running to a TV programme for his information, rather than a primary source. Does that mean that he also has no familiarity with the specifics of the identification evidence? Or of the evidence pointing to the device having been loaded at Heathrow? I fear it might.

    Michael, posters here are mostly familiar with the STV hatchet-job, which was a journalistic disgrace, blatantly intended to sway public opinion in Scotland against Megrahi after his release. Your posting anything from that programme on the blog is entirely surplus to requirements. Posters here know much more about the evidence than the people who made that film, demonstrably.

    Michael, there are three pieces of evidence which are crucial and central to this case. It is important to get them straight.

    One is the alleged identification of Megrahi as the man who bought the clothes from Tony Gauci. You can find the relevant images that was based on here. www.vetpath.co.uk/lockerbie/photoid.pdf That document however barely tells the half of it, alluding only in passing to the fact that Gauci’s description of the customer’s height, build, age and skin colour were all way off for Megrahi, and not referring at all to the fact that the day which best fits the day the purchase seems to have happened, is a day when Megrahi wasn’t even on the island of Malta.

    You say you find the assertion that Gauci was bribed to incriminate Megrahi “vile”. But he was bribed to incriminate Megrahi, both he and his brother. How much more vile is that? And it was the US authorities who bribed him. Why should anyone have any confidence in the good faith of the USA after that episode – or the Giaka one, which was even worse?

    Can you seriously look at these pictures, and the timescales involved, and say you have any confidence at all that Megrahi was “beyond reasonable doubt” the man who bought these clothes? If you can, I think many people here would be very interested in your reasoning.

    [.... continued ....]

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  37. [.... continuation ....]

    The second is the question of an unaccompanied item of luggage having been transferred from KM180 from Malta to PA103A to Heathrow, at Frankfurt airport. The evidence that any luggage was transferred in that way is highly questionable, even when looked at in isolation, that is by considering only the baggage transfer records at Frankfurt airport. Beyond that, there are two factors to take into account. The first is that intensive, prolonged and indeed intrusive inquiry on Malta and elsewhere failed to find any evidence at all of any unaccompanied item of luggage either being loaded on to the flight or being carried on the flight. This inquiry was detailed enough as virtually to amount to positive evidence that there was no such thing. The second is that there is no evidence of the nature of the item in the disputed luggage tray at Frankfurt. It could have been a case of wine. It was certainly never identified as a brown Samsonite, and doubly certainly never identified as a bomb.

    Over the past couple of weeks I have put a lot of work into a detailed analysis of the primary evidence of the baggage records at Frankfurt, to see what the disputed tray might actually have been. My report is not yet completed, but interesting facts are emerging from the depths of 20-year-old hand-written scrawls. Michael, if you seriously think that you posting an extract from a TV programme is an adequate response in this context, I would urge you to think again.

    The third piece of evidence is, coincidentally, the subject of the more recent blog post relating to David Wolchover’s new article. That’s pretty good I have to say, so go read it. It details the strong and compelling evidence that the bomb was in a rogue suitcase loaded into the luggage container at Heathrow airport about 4pm – when Megrahi was verifiably in Tripoli.

    There’s more of course. One piece of evidence central to the assertion that Lockerbie was a Libyan operation (though not directly incriminating Megrahi) has a provenance so dubious that if it wasn’t a fabrication, it would be a miracle of biblical proportions. Other evidence pointing elsewhere has been ignored with a tenacity worthy of Nelson himself.

    This is what the discussion is about. Michael, if you have good reason to believe Megrahi guilty on the basis of what is known about the evidence, then as I said I think we’d all like to hear it. You’d be the first. But it seems you’re not even familiar with the evidence. Please go away and remedy that deficiency.

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  38. No Michael. Maybe he’s gone hiking again. I’ve got a bit of time to go over what he said in more detail, though.

    While I concede there are meaningful concerns on the Gauci testimony, I remind you that no prosecution is perfect.

    If the Gauci testimony weren’t so completely central to the conviction, that might be a reasonable point. But you can’t just shrug off “meaningful concerns” about one of your two most important pieces of evidence, and carry on regardless.

    In addition, you never responded to my question about petitio principii. Better known in layman’s terms as circular reasoning. The Zeist judgement was an absolute classic of circular reasoning. Gauci never said Megrahi was the man who bought the clothes, only that he resembled him. (I think any middle-aged man with a full head of black hair might have come into that category, actually.) The judges decided to elevate this weak piece of evidence into proof beyond reasonable doubt that Megrahi bought the clothes, because Megrahi was at the airport at the time the bomb was smuggled on board the KM180.

    But then, they looked at the extraordinarily tenuous evidence from Frankfurt, and decided to elevate that into proof beyond reasonable doubt that the bomb had travelled on KM180, despite the fact that prolonged, detailed and intensive inquiry into every last detail of that flight had pretty much ruled out the possibility of any unaccompanied luggage on it – because the man who bought the clothes was at the airport at the time the flight departed!

    You see what they did there?

    You can’t just shrug off the Gauci identification in that context.

    While I understand the payment issue conflicting with Scots Law, it's not necessarily precluded under US law -- and the US was to prosecute this until the UN1192 resolution. So, something could have been done assuming this would be an American prosecution that now conflicts with Scots Law. I don't necessarily agree that there was a nefarious intent there -- and frankly, I would need to refresh my recollection to the facts on that issue, the US law surrounding that and what the SCCRC report is alleged to have addressed regarding it.

    I think there is a danger in getting too hung up on the millions of dollars thing. Personally, I think it was the hope of this money that prevented Tony from saying frankly, at Zeist, look it was twelve years ago, and if I ever did remember the guy well enough to recognise him again, I certainly don’t now, especially after all the photos you showed me and the photofits you made me prepare.

    However, to concentrate on the money makes it appear that Gauci made a valid identification, only we want to exclude it because of the money. That’s not the point at all. The point is that the pictorial evidence, and the initial height/age/build/skin colour description, and the day the purchase seems to have taken place, all mean that whoever bought the clothes, it wasn’t Megrahi.

    Having said that, I would say it's more logical for a shopkeeper to remember one client out of dozens or hundreds than a baggage handler to remember ONE bag out of likely tens of thousands he sees in one month. It is a well known fact that people remember faces more than objects -- which is why printed money features prominent faces to discourage counterfeiting.

    There is published research indicating that after only 11 months, witness accuracy in picking out a stranger seen once for a short time declines to no better than chance. It was 26 months from the purchase before Gauci even saw the picture that was supposed to be Megrahi but which was really unrecognisable as him. It was 11 years before the ID parade at Zeist.

    For goodness sake, even if he had an unusually good memory, it’s ridiculous to expect anyone to be reliable “beyond reasonable doubt” in those circumstances.

    [.... continued ....]

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  40. Previous deleted due to bad typo.

    [.... continuation ....]

    And this is a guy (Bedford?) who was clocking off for a 1/2 hour tea-break? Trust me, I have seen how English people work: that clock hits tea-break and it's like a jailbreak from death row heading for the tea-room.

    Bedford wasn’t that busy that afternoon. He wasn’t “clocking off” by his account, he was just taking a break because there wasn’t a lot going on.

    Ironically, the intimation in the article that this bomb was deliberately placed "JUST SO" in the cargo hold implicates Bedford as a co-conspirator, does it not? It could be the difference in the way the US and UK structure syntax, but that's how I read it.

    As I read it, Wolchover is commenting that whoever placed the suitcase had placed it “just so” in Bedford’s absence. That’s with hindsight of course, knowing where the explosion occurred. Bedford didn’t think anything much about it at the time, but it was odd enough that he remembered it. Then when the plane blew up three hours later, he remembered it with a horrible sinking feeling. Wolchover’s point, as I read it, is that Bedford probably realised right then that he had seen the Lockerbie bomb and didn’t do anything about it. He was concerned enough to tell what he saw to the police, but also concerned enough about his own position to make up a story about having asked Kamboj if he knew where these extra cases had come from, and Kamboj saying he put them there.

    With regard to Maier and the X-raying of luggage, people get past security NOW with bombs even with TODAY'S advanced technology. Are you saying that Maier - using 1970's or early 80's technology (likely not new equipment) - can reliably be 100% certain he would have found that bomb -- also reviewing tens of thousands of pieces of luggage a month? Doesn't track.

    Not saying anything of the sort. The x-ray equipment was state of the art, but even so, telling the difference between an ordinary radio and a Khreesat special would probably have been impossible. Khreesat was an accomplished murdering bastard. The debatable point is, would Maier have regarded any radio-cassette player he saw in December 1988 as suspicious, in the light of the Autumn Leaves warning, and called his supervisor? He insisted he would have done, when giving evidence in person in 1992. However others have pointed to other statements he made and maintained that he wouldn’t necessarily have done that.

    He only reviewed 13 items for that flight though, and his work throughput (which is recorded) was far less than you are assuming.

    Maier, however, isn’t the point. Realising that a security screen isn’t 100% reliable is not proof that a bomb definitely got through. You need some positive evidence that there was a bomb going through. There isn’t any. They made it up. It was conjecture piled on supposition with a topping of wishful thinking (as in, "if that was the bomb then neither Heathrow nor Frankfurt airports are to blame, phew!”).

    So basically, they confabulated this bomb coming from Malta, then they spotted poor old Megrahi at the airport at the right time, then they leaned on Tony Gauci to pick the right photo then the right man as the clothes purchaser. Megrahi was held to have been the clothes purchaser because he was present when flight KM180 left. But the almost non-existent evidence from Frankfurt was held to show the bomb had been on KM180, because the man who bought the clothes was there when the flight departed.

    If you’re not familiar with the details of any of this, how can you stand there and bare-facedly declare you believe Megrahi to be guilty?

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  41. Folks:

    I just wanted to offer a quick status.

    I am informed from my contact in NYC that the question (directly responding to this blog re: the Constitutionality of trying Megrahi in the US) is likely to be addressed by a former Superior Court Judge, and host of a TV show regarding legal and Constitutional issues on a major TV cable news network.

    He is also a law professor at a major East Coast Law School outside NYC.

    He has written 5 books on Constitutional issues and is presently writing a sixth.

    I believe these to be substantial legal credentials and will dispassionately answer the question raised on this blog.

    Ironically, the health issues re: Megrahi and the Norway shootings tied up the news room and my contact was not able to circle back.

    I wanted to provide a status to all.



    Michael

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  42. As if any of that matters. The USA is the biggest bully on the block and can do what the hell it likes, that's the only real issue.

    Still no interest in addressing the actual evidence?

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