Wednesday, 29 February 2012

...the media and the Scottish Parliament totally miss the point...

[What follows is from an item headed The Transatlantic relationship posted today on the website maintained by Jim Swire and Peter Biddulph:]


With the launch of John Ashton's book Megrahi: You are my Jury, once again we see a furor about what Kenny McKaskill said  to whom about the compassionate release of Al-Megrahi.  And once again the media and the entire Scottish Parliament totally miss the point.

In a closely argued section, Ashton highlights a serious discrepancy in the evidence of British forensic scientist Alan Feraday.  Feraday's own hand-written notes prove that the electronic print on the alleged fragment of timer board found by Dr Thomas Hayes is not the same metal printed on the control MST-13 timer board supplied by Swiss manufacturers MEBO. 

Feraday wrote that the Hayes fragment printing was 100% pure tin, but that the MEBO control sample printing was an alloy composed of 70% tin and 30% lead.  He explained the difference by saying that the heat of the explosion had evaporated all - yes, 100% - of the lead content.  A highly doubtful theory indeed.  No tests were carried out at any stage to back up his theory.

In other words, Feraday's own notes provide strong evidence that the Hayes fragment might be a manufactured plant, designed to point the finger at Libya, and divert attention from Iran in America's strategic interests during the mid and late 1980's. 

This information was supplied to Al-Megrahi's defence team in 2009 only during the course of the second appeal, abandoned at an early stage to enable Al-Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds.  It should, under rules of natural Scottish justice, have been available prior to the trial which took place in 2000. But it was concealed by the police, forensic services and the Crown Office for more than ten years. 

If Iran - who paid $11m to the Jibril terrorist group only two days after the attack - was responsible, then the bomb which brought down Pan Am 103 was constructed by Marwan Khreesat, career master bomb maker for the PFLP-GC. Khreesat was a double agent working for Jordanian security, and rumoured to be a CIA asset. 

In a set of hearsay notes recorded by the FBI and repeated during the Lockerbie trial, Khreesat claimed "He did not think he made the Lockerbie bomb". As a career mass-murderer and double and possibly triple agent, can we trust his word?  We doubt it. 

But the Lockerbie trial judges did trust his word.  Then let us ask for a moment what would have happened if they had not. If they had expressed doubt concerning the timer fragment, their verdict would have suggested that the bomb which killed 270 people at Lockerbie was made by an asset working for America.  

Could the relationship between Britain and America have survived the shock?  And is this question not of far more import than a ministerial statement in a Scottish parliament?

1 comment:

  1. "He explained the difference by saying that the heat of the explosion had evaporated all - yes, 100% - of the lead content."

    Actually, when a lead-tin alloy is heated (something I have tried myself) it reacts as a whole too, with properties that is different from the properties of those of each element alone.

    If lead had the tendency to be "distilled" out of the alloy, we would not expect to see this specific reaction.

    We now have several problems with the timer fragment, some of those being:

    - the claim, by Feraday, that it was not tested. This itself would be absurd, given its status as an absolutely primary piece of evidence in the case. Not unlike not testing whether a gun, claimed to be a murder weapon, ever had been fired.
    - later tests showing no explosive residue.
    - its survival in the middle of an Semtex explosion
    - Feraday's statement about his polariod photo, "the best I can do in such a short time", which he was supposed to have had for 4 months.
    - the 'evaporation' of lead from a 70-30 tin/lead alloy, without providing evidende that this could happen, but on the contrary, scientific experienments contradicting that such evaporation would be to be expected.

    Combustion of an Alloy of Tin and Lead