Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Why was Megrahi's defence team kept in dark about vital evidence?

[This is the headline over a letter from Dr Jim Swire published in today’s edition of The Herald.  It reads as follows:]

I hope the launch of the book Megrahi: You Are My Jury will make a lot of people aware of just how compromised the Lockerbie case at Camp Zeist was, and what the implications are ("MacAskill under pressure over Megrahi appeal claim", The Herald, February 28).
The question of whether or not Muammar Gaddafi's awful clique was involved should now be seen as a tactic by those powerful entities who wished to divert attention from the awful truth; a tactic which the unfortunate Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi found himself involved in.
The picture that now emerges is that neither Megrahi nor Malta was involved, there was no evidence of the use of a long-running timer from Malta and that the real improvised explosive device (IED) was probably delivered through a break-in at Heathrow and triggered by falling air pressure in the aircraft. The IED was one of a series manufactured in Damascus and (West) Germany by bomb-maker Marwhan Khreesat, a Jordanian probably in the pay of the Americans, but ostensibly working within the Palestinian terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), led by Ahmed Jibril, a relative of Basher al Assad's father. All Khreesat's IEDs in 1988 exploded after about 38 minutes in the air. It was 38 minutes from the Heathrow tarmac when Pan Am flight 103 was over Lockerbie.
This was avoidable. Frank Mulholland, the Lord Advocate, told me last Thursday that the Crown Office had tried all it could to discover why it was that evidence about the Heathrow break-in "disappeared" until after the verdict against Megrahi had been reached. It tried but it failed.
Since the Khreesat-type bombs could not be flown into Heathrow (they would explode en route) the question of the break-in looks rather central to the question of how this atrocity was perpetrated.
This Heathrow material would probably have stopped the trial had it been available, yet despite staff at Heathrow having been interviewed by the Metropolitan police in January 1989 about the break-in, the Lord Advocate accepts he is unable to discover why the Met files "disappeared".
It is time for a fully empowered inquiry in which the investigating Scottish police and the Crown Office should be required to answer as to why so much vital material, on both the alleged timer fragment and the Heathrow break-in, was not provided for the defence's use at appropriate times.
[In the same newspaper is a letter from Iain A D Mann which contains the following:]
Your leader article ("Lockerbie and the pursuit of truth", February 28) is right to conclude that an independent public inquiry is the only way of finally getting the whole truth and bringing an end to this long drawn out affair which has caused so much heartache to relatives of the victims.
Have Mr MacAskill's department, the Crown Office and the legal establishment closed ranks, in a misguided attempt to protect the reputation of the Scottish justice system and the Camp Zeist trial process? I am afraid that reputations have already been badly tarnished by the public perception of secrecy, delay and obfuscation.

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