Thursday, 10 November 2011

Drugs 'keep Lockerbie bomber alive'

[This is the headline over a report published today by The Press Association news agency following an appearance by Dr Karol Sikora on the BBC Daily Politics programme.  It reads as follows:]

A cancer expert who examined the Lockerbie bomber in prison has said he is being kept alive by "experimental drugs".

Professor Karol Sikora said that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was being given medication not available on the NHS.

Megrahi was controversially freed from prison on compassionate grounds more than two years ago after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

He was said to be three months from death when he was released from Greenock prison on August 20 2009 following a decision by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Megrahi returned to Libya upon his release. Cancer expert Prof Sikora was asked by the Libyan government to provide an independent medical assessment of Megrahi and visited him in prison in July that year.

On the BBC Daily Politics show, he was asked: "You did the health assessment of al-Megrahi giving him three months to live or thereabouts. He is still alive. How has he managed to survive so long more than two years later?"

He replied: "He has been on experimental drugs, including one that was developed in the UK and is not available on the NHS, which is quite ironic." He added: "My opinion wasn't taken into account by the Scottish Government. Nine doctors looked at it and they all said three months. They were using standard NHS practice in Glasgow in 2008, 2009."

Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie in December 1988, killing 270 people.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Mr al-Megrahi is an extremely sick man, dying of terminal prostate cancer. He was released on compassionate grounds based on the recommendations of the Parole Board, the prison governor and the medical report of the Scottish Prison Service's most senior health professional, Dr Andrew Fraser.

"Dr Fraser is a professional of impeccable integrity and he concluded that his clinical assessment was that a three-month prognosis was a reasonable estimate, drawing on the work of a range of specialists and other Scottish health service professionals involved in al-Megrahi's care from when he was first diagnosed with cancer in 2008."

[During most of my tenure of office as Professor of Scots Law in the University of Edinburgh, law and medicine students graduated in the same ceremony.  The medical graduands were required to swear an oath to the effect, inter alia, that things learned about patients in the course of medical practice would not, save for weighty cause, be divulged. Dr Sikora is not an Edinburgh graduate.]


  1. I must say, if he is on "experimental drugs" it must be deemed a successful experiment, seeing that he is till alive after so many months. The medicine seems to be "good stuff." All successful oncology drugs have its aim to lengthen life and to increase quality of life during the terminal stages.

  2. ...or is it that Megrahi was never "that sick" at all?

    I have opined that Mr. Megrahi's medical diagnosis was "contrived" and he was not as sick as publicized. Indeed, I have offered to take on bets that Megrahi would live (at least) through the end of the year...RIGHT after he was "reported on CNN as near death and in a coma"...and I think that was coming up on 3 months ago now... the betting window is still open...

    As they say on Seinfeld, "It's a Festivus Miracle!"

    Given Megrahi is NOW 3+ years since his original "weeks to live cancer diagnosis", one is constantly amazed that Megrahi has more miracle drugs than Jonas Salk and Alexander Fleming put together!

    So, what makes more sense:
    * Megrahi was THAT sick?
    * MacAskill / Salmond got their chains jiggled by Musa Kusa, et al, in 3/ much so it was reported in the 3/30/09 Scotsman that the SNP was in discussions to return Megrahi to Libya...4 months prior to a Compassionate Release even being lodged with the Scottish Executive?

    Permit me to quote:

    "Officially, the diplomatic meetings to discuss the future of the bomber are taking place between the Foreign Office and Libyan officials, because Scotland is not a sovereign state. But Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, has asked Robert Gordon, director general of the Executive's justice department, to play a major role in the discussions."

    "Meetings between Mr Gordon and a Libyan delegation began last October [2008] and included discussions with US senators."

    Methinks you Scots got duped...or you just have doctors as competent as your dentists.

    Oh, let me add..."Megrahi was released under the precepts of Scots law...yada, yada, yada..."

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.

  3. AND let me reiterate: I DO NOT wish Megrahi dead. I want him to serve his full sentence in a US Federal Prison, because the Scottish apparently have no sense of either how to keep someone in prison or (if the charges of JFM are true) how they can permit SUCH a HUGE miscarriage of justice to stand...neither looks good.

  4. MISSION LOCKERBIE, 2011, doc. nr.7066. rtf. (google translation, german/english):
    ALLAH's help and the TRUTH keep Abdelbaset Al Megrahi alive--Assalam alay-kum.

    The truth is: Abdelbaset Al Megrahi is terminally ill. We continue to pray for him for ALLAH's help.
    The truth is: that Abdelbaset Al Megrahi has not only to do nothing with the "Pan Am 103 bombing" - but from "specific" reasons, he can not had to do with the "Pan Am 103 bombing" !
    The truth is: that the questionable medical 3 monts certificate for Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, only means to an end was, that the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill conformity with the Scottish law Al Megrahi was released into the freedom; order to meet the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA).
    The truth is: that the contested former leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, is dead - now Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, must have no fear of Gadhafi's reaction and he can announce the truth about his own realy role in the "Lockerbie-Affair" >> important: the "Lockerbie affair" has nothing to do with the real "Pan Am 103 bombing" !
    Abdelbaset Al Megrahi is innocent. Justice for Al Megrahi.

    Die Wahrheit ist: Abdelbaset Al Megrahi ist schwer krank. Wir bitten für Ihn weiterhin um Gottes Hilfe.
    Die Wahrheit ist: Abdelbaset Al Megrahi hat nicht nur nichts zu tun mit dem "PanAm 103 Attentat"--, sondern kann aus "spezifischen" Gründen, mit dem reaken "PanAm 103 Attentat" nichts zu tun haben !
    Die Wahrheit ist: Dass das fragwürdige Arztzeugnis für Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, nur das Mittel zum Zweck war, damit der schottische Justiz Sekretär Kenny MacAskill. rechtskonform
    Al Megrahi in die Freiheit entlassen konnte; um damit das 'Prisoner Transfer Agreement' (PTA) zuerfüllen.

    Die Wahrheit ist: Der Macht umkämpfte ex Leader von Libyen, Muammar Gadhafi ist tot-- Abdelbaset Al Megrahi könnte, jetzt ohne Angst vor Gadhafi zu haben, die Wahrheit über seine eigene Rolle in der "Lockerbie-Affäre" bekannt geben >> wichtig: Die "Lockerbie-Affäre" hat nichts zu tun mit dem realen PanAm 103 Attentat !
    Abdelbaset Al Megrahi ist unschuldig. Gerechtigkeit für Al Megrahi.

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. URL:

  5. Dr Sikora,
    'Nine doctors looked at it and they all said three months.'
    But on the contrary it is stated in the Telegraph 16/8/10
    'But now doctors who were treating the 58-year-old Libyan have said they were not asked for their opinion about his life expectancy and were surprised to hear the convicted mass murderer was being sent home.'

    So why does Dr Sikora appear to be misleading the public? Whose interest is he serving? Surely not Gaddafi's anymore.

    At the time of Megrahi's release a Libyan in a position to know said to me, 'It's not just the Libyan intelligence services up to something, it's the UK intelligence services, too. I expect to see Megrahi walking the streets of Tripoli for many years.'

    If this is true then Megrahi under Gaddafi would have had no other option but to go along with the scheme, a terrible blow to an innocent man who had suffered years of incarceration at the hands of a corrupt judiciary.

  6. I think this was all about getting the appeal dropped, yes. But Megrahi does not look like a man who will be walking any streets for years to come. I agree with Michael that his family seem to have been exaggerating the severity of his illness at various times over the past two years. However, unless he has been on a starvation diet to cause emaciation that way, he's seriously ill.

  7. I apologize...

    It turns out that the CNN report was that Megrahi was not IN a coma...He was IN TACOMA (Washington state). TACOMA is near Death (which I think is another town). He also was in Comatose State, a small, junior college.

    So, it's all a misunderstanding.

    So, to correct the record: Megrahi was in Comatose State (likely taking a class) in Tacoma, near Death...

    Funny, we are a people separated by a common language...

    Oh, or maybe the Scottish Executive lied about how sick Megrahi was?

    I still think you all should push the SE about the validity of the Megrahi release (the ACTUAL medical condition)...once that lie is on the table, you can seal the deal in a full inquiry...

  8. Just as an FYI, I don't mean to make light of the CNN report.

    However, I warned you all it was a crock of guano. You all scoffed at me. And scoffed Jonathan Hunt...

    Now, you're finding out that your well-intentioned loyalties (to the SNP) and to Megrahi (which by the way, if his family is lying, he is complicit in it) are misplaced.

    Remember: When you are kind to the cruel (Megrahi), you eventually are cruel to the kind.

  9. Michael,
    I think you're totally wrong in saying if his family is lying, he is complicit in it. Under Gaddafi he would've had no option but to go along with what was ordered. Remember he had family in Libya. Now he would have no option but to keep up the pretence. If he was well then he would be right to fear being kidnapped to US or worse. If the UK let a well Megrahi go, then of course the US would've been in on it. Look at the evidence that the US interfered in his trial. Think about how much the US and UK would have to pay back in compensation to Libya in falsely apply sanctions over many years because of Lockerbie. But the US was very clever in making Libya pay compensation to the victims' families. It keeps them quiet.

  10. 1. It is impossible to make predictions about when a person will die from a disease like cancer. If new treatments are being evaluated it makes predictions even more insecure. Throughout modern medical history people have been saved from predicted death because of the discovery and evaluation of drugs during their disease.

    2. If it is in the interest of Megrahi that his family lies about his condition, they are entitled to do so. Megrahi and family has already once trusted their life and happiness to how the truth would be handled by powerful institutions. Doing it again would be unusually irrational.

    3. There is a large group of people who haven't realized, or would not agree, or will not admit, that the already paperthin case against Megrahi completely fell apart with what is now known about Gauci's testimonial history.
    Even if disregarding the little detail that he was a bribed with millions of dollars.
    Even if disregarding what is now known about the other evidence and some of the other witnesses.

    This group appears, maybe not surprisingly, to be identical to these groups of people
    - a. Who refuse to discuss what is now known about the validity of the trial and evidence.
    - b. Who would like to stop further investigations, as well as the release of evidence, like the SCCRC report.
    - c. Who would like to see further hardship - death or jail etc. - hitting Megrahi.
    - d. Who find it relevant to continue focusing on Megrahi's health at release time.

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  12. I edited this post to remove the editorial mockery I made of the name of the Justice Minister. That was not appropriate of me to do.


    In one comment you have totally undercut the JFM's one trait I have admired: A unflagging desire for the truth.

    You have used a utilitarian argument to justify lying. What if it was in the SE's interest to lie, because of utilitarian motives? Does THAT make it okay for them? When one extends your argument - even under utilitarian ethical constructs - to the entire pool of potential liars, it doesn't hold up.

    You all have argued - from a Kantian perspective (and I believe credibly) - that it is a universal "wrong" to lie about evidence. I point out to you that if he (who played the dutiful role of bedridden victim) and his family lied in an attempt to use the world's media, HOW DO YOU KNOW HE IS NOT MAKING A DUPE OUT OF YOU, PROF. BLACK, JFM, DR. SWIRE, ET AL? Without delving into the details which serve nothing but to resurrect our irreconcilable positions, a lot of your faith in Megrahi (and the evidence) is predicated on his being a good man caught in bad circumstances.

    However, SM, you now acknowledge lying is ok. Not a logically consistent position...

    You are correct, though, in saying that cancer diagnoses are not exact. HOWEVER, that is exactly the reason the panel of judges declined to permit the first release (as it was reported). Let's not forget: Whether he is truly innocent, he is convicted...and as such the release was that of the SINGLE LARGEST MURDERER OUTSIDE OF WAR CRIMES in WORLD HISTORY.

    If one were to release in accordance with the principles of Scots Law "yada, yada, yada", how can you seriously overlook the scope of the crime?!?!?! (I editorially add "yada, yada, yada" to indicate the oft-regurgitated tripe about how Scots are mistakenly proud of the Einsteinian precision MacAskill used to free Megrahi.)

    The next time you get on a plane, I challenge you to look around about 20-30 minutes into your flight and consider what was likely a good facsimile of what the victims of PA103 felt/experienced JUST before the fuselage disassembled violently around them. Then recognize that Megrahi was convicted of taking those lives - 270 of them - and ask if compassion is appropriate. If exoneration is on the menu, so be it, that is our body of law. However, offering compassion in light of a conviction that is believed in is plainly wrong, no matter how hard you justify it.

    The fact is: the Scottish Executive lied. Megrahi's cancer allegedly metastasized to his bones...which is very treatable in the supermajority of cases. When cancer metastasizes to major organs is when things go downhill quickly. Even advanced pancreatic cancer - like Patrick Swayze had - can take years to claim a life. Ironically, he was extended less compassion than Megrahi...and the only thing Swayze took from anyone was about 90 wasted minutes watching "Road House".

    However, the largest point is: He was convicted. And as such should be shown no mercy until he is exonerated.

    I do applaud you all for your unbridled belief in Megrahi (though I think it's misplaced). However, don't spend your credibility on justifying lying to the world's media to falsely elicit sympathy THEN cry foul about how the SE is lying to you about: 1) Promising and not delivering the inquiry, 2) "CIA evidence plants" and 3) the failure to release the unredacted SCCRC report.

    Be careful of lying...lest Justice for Megrahi devolve into Justification for Megrahi.

    I will add: of ALL the predictions of death, mine seems to be the most accurate to date...and I am not an oncologist. Amazing!

  13. Michael, the history of cancer treatment over the last 20 years is, to a great extent, the prolonging of high quality lives of those who are terminally ill. The outrage that he continues to live (of those who never wanted Megrahi released in the first place) is a distasteful distraction to the real issue; that he was framed.
    For you to come on here, in the full knowledge that his conviction was only achieved by a huge bribe by the American government, and "challenge" us to remember the horrific details of the atrocity is digusting hypocrisy.
    ".....the largest point is: He was convicted...." No, the "largest" point here is that he was framed by Scottish investigators using American bribes and though that framing has now been proved it is still being covered up.
    Lastly, you have given no prediction on when Megrahi will die. Neither have any of the rest of us here. That is because we are not oncologists....

  14. Dear Michael,

    you wrote:
    "In one comment you have totally undercut the JFM's one trait I have admired: A unflagging desire for the truth."

    JFMs goals and obligations towards the truth, the whole and nothing but, are completely different from Megrahi's family's.

    "You have used a utilitarian argument to justify lying."

    If a group of 25 drunk and armed hooligans showed up at your front door and shouted "IS YOUR PIG OF A FATHER IN THIS HOUSE??" would you tell them the truth, see them entering and beat up and maybe killing your father?

    That situation is very close to the situation Megrahi's family can be facing any moment.

    You may read this story by one of your great writers, which I read first time when I was 10 years old.

    - - -

    "Whether he is truly innocent, he is convicted...and as such the release was that of the SINGLE LARGEST MURDERER OUTSIDE OF WAR CRIMES in WORLD HISTORY."

    Well, USA happens to be in the good position that they can start wars when and where they choose, and thus do the murdering with figures that would qualify the Lockerbie deaths to get a ten-line description on page 13, if at all.

    This self-made war-context appears to be something you think is a mitigating circumstance. I don't.

    Institutionally-legally, I think there is a difference between a man that is convicted, and a man for whom SCCRC has referred the case back to court.

    The evidence against Megrahi's conviction is towering up, to an extreme that must be unique for court cases in our time, plain for anyone to see.

    And so there's a group of people who desperately need to close their eyes for that fact, and is grasping for the straw "He was convicted" as their best argument.

    When your position can only be maintained by closing your eyes, you are in fact at least lying to yourself.

    - - -

    I appreciate your inputs here. I wish you one day would start discussing the matters that forces me to disrespect the court system in a world I once trusted:

    The evidence against the fairness of Megrahi's conviction.