Friday, 24 February 2012

Megrahi, anger, and me

[This is the headline over an article by Kenneth Roy, editor of the Scottish Review, published yesterday on the Newsnet Scotland website.  It reads in part:]


Hey, I'm not a joiner. (…) Why, then, have I just accepted an invitation to join JFM – the Justice for Megrahi Committee? The one obvious route to refusal was that membership of this committee might compromise my independence as a six hours a week journalist, filling this space; it's often a useful get-out clause from any commitment to altruism or, for that matter, anything else.
In this case, however, it's hardly likely. I have been banging on about Megrahi for years. My views are not going to change in a hurry, if ever. That report of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission needs to be published, it needs to be published in full, it needs to be published pronto. Then and only then will the people of Scotland be able to judge for themselves the credibility of the prosecution case and the conduct of our justice system.
We paid for this report. It's a public document, one of the most important ever produced in Scotland, concerning the worst atrocity inflicted on these shores in peacetime and the deaths of 270 blameless people. But although we’re big enough to have paid for the report, it seems we are not big enough to be trusted with its contents. Important vested interests continue to obstruct its appearance.
Non-joining being bred in the bone, I still wouldn't have joined the Justice for Megrahi Committee. Two things tipped me over the edge. The first was driven by anger, the emotion that my adviser Seneca counsels me against. I can't help it, Seneca, I'm not like you; for the time being I have to live in this world.
Last Thursday, when we published a detailed positional paper from JFM with an accompanying editorial, all of 14 minutes elapsed before an iphone response from a Labour MSP pouring scorn on the Scottish Review's campaign for transparency in the Lockerbie case. Fourteen minutes, huh? Fourteen minutes in which to read and assimilate a complex document, and prepare a negative six-liner on your iphone – it's impressive. It could even tell us quite a lot about why the Labour Party hasn't been in power in Scotland for the last five years. They've all been too busy taking lessons in speed reading.
The second thing was more personal. One of the people on the Justice for Megrahi Committee is Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora on flight 103 and has been fighting for the truth ever since. I have discovered from years of interviewing them that, with few exceptiions, that is what victims yearn for and work towards: not revenge, not blood, but the truth. At the age of 76 Dr Swire goes on fighting for it, risking his life to enter the chaos that is Libya. Why wouldn't I join a committee with that noble man and do what little I can to help him?
So I've broken the habit of a lifetime and joined something. Fourteen minutes from now – maybe less – someone with an iphone will tell me I'm wrong. This time, I won't be counting.
[The Scottish Review has also published an article by Megrahi biographer John Ashton entitled The Crown case against Megrahi is about to sink without trace and another by Gerard Sinclair, the chief executive of the Scottish Criminal Cases review Commission.]

1 comment:

  1. Why would Giaka claim that Gaddafi was a freemason? Assuming Gaddafi was not, it would seem an odd thing for a North African car valet to make up. Does it indicate a shrewd assessment of what his interviewers wanted to hear? Or might his interogators have "inadvertently" revealed to him their own concerns? So, if these people were American, what section of American society fears a Masonic Conspiracy and who of that ilk was debriefing Giaka in the early 90s?

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