Thursday, 24 May 2012

... a stain on Scotland's very soul ...

[What follows is taken from an article in the current issue of the Scottish Review by Judith Jaafar headlined Unless the SNP tells us what it knows about Lockerbie, I'm quitting the party:]

I am one of the many supporters of the present Scottish Government who is suffering what one might describe, in a cliched manner, as a dark night of the soul. Why is it not coming clean about the lies of previous administrations regarding the guilt of Megrahi? 

Why is it not, even in the most cynical view of such things, making political traction out of the fact that this happened before it came to power and that it is now in a position to show the world what a just, decent and honest nascent nation Scotland is, by washing dirty, filthy linen in public and pointing fingers at conspirators and wrongdoers? Why indeed has it seemingly made it even more legislatively difficult for potential miscarriages of justice to be opened up to public inquiry, away from the judiciary who may indeed have perpetrated such miscarriages?

I have thought long and hard about these questions, speculating wildly about this and that and the other. I do not believe that the SNP government is intrinsically weak and corrupt, nor ill-motivated. I firmly believe that it knows the whole truth about the Lockerbie affair, as does the Westminster government, the American government and just about every Tom, Dick and Harry on the planet – everybody knows that something is seriously amiss (except Johann Lamont) [Scottish Parliament Labour Party leader]. 

I think that by releasing Megrahi compassionately the Scottish Government tried to do the right thing, morally, whilst failing to address the legal and justiciary issues. So what's stopping it going the whole hog and revealing the the extent of the fitting-up of an innocent man, and the cover-up that has thus ensued? What is tying its hands? What subtle, or even overt pressure is being applied? By whom? For what reason? For surely there are things going on here that we do not understand, at least not in public circles. (...)

My speculations are as useful or as useless as anyone else's, but I must admit my old buddy Robert Fisk of Beirut and Independent fame put into words the other day in the paper exactly what my thoughts are on this matter. Oh, how enraged the Americans were when we released Megrahi on compassionate grounds. Hillary Clinton went ape-shit, at least publicly, and half the American government and nation wanted to see Scotland disappear off the face of the earth, those of them that had any knowledge of the Lockerbie bombing in the first place. What weak fools the Scots were, and a whole bunch of Yankees were never going to set foot in Scotland again. 'Bovvered', I had to ask?

But therein lies the possible answer to this ethical/judicial/political conundrum. How much does a fledgling-yet-ancient nation on the periphery of Europe, breaking away from the colonial master and possibly now flying free without the safety net of a strong European Union, need the goodwill of the USA (and all the Scottish expats and ancestors therein), still the most powerful political and economic entity in the world? Hmm. As Fisk concluded, no matter how self-righteously enraged the Yanks were at the release of Megrahi, can you imagine how incandescent they would be if Scotland dared to reveal the truth about the Lockerbie bombing?

If I were Alex Salmond, I would be finding it hard to sleep at night. I don't envy him his position, but have informed the party executive that unless they come clean about Megrahi, in whatever way they can, I will be leaving the party that I have belonged to since I was a nipper. That's how important this issue is to me. It's not really about poor Abdelbaset (may Allah bless him), but about the integrity of Scotland. This whole affair is a stain on Scotland's very soul.


  1. My sentiments entirely. My continued membership of the party is seriously in doubt unless some action is soon forthcoming, or a much more convincing explanation for inaction than we have heard thus far. My prime motivation in wishing independence is definitively to escape the corruption and decadence of Westminster, but it seems that Edinburgh is no less a poodle of the CIA than London. Unless Salmond and the SNP very quickly 'grow a pair' and institute a full and truly independent inquiry I and many others will be left wondering why on earth we have been treading pavements and knocking doors for the last several years.

  2. I'm mindful of the paragraph or so in David Torrance's biography of Salmond, in which he says that in his opinion Salmond sincerely believes Megrahi to be guilty. If this is the case, I surmise it can only be as a result of relying on briefings from Crown Office advisors, rather than his having looked at the evidence for himself.

    There is a way to present the evidence, selectively and partially, which makes it sound very very incriminating. Add that to the commmon perception that Megrahi was one of Gaddafi's goons (no evidence of that as it happens), and I can see why someone being fed that line would buy it. I suspect Salmond is in that category.

    This being the case, it would put a rather different perspective on the matter. Salmond, a busy man with a lot to think about other than Lockerbie, has been convinced that the right man was convicted and the rest of us are a bunch of raving conspiracy theorists. (Isn't is wonderful how the phrase "conspiracy theory" can be used to dismiss any argument you don't like without having to take the trouble to deconstruct it?)

    Thus, while trying to do the right thing by a convict suffering a terminal disease far from his homeland, the Scottish government simply stonewalls the whole embarrasing subject and hopes it will go away. That's my impression.

    Salmond is a very self-confident person, and once he has formed an opinion is hard to shift. Is there any way to persuade him that he has been wrongly advised on this matter, and in this case the "conspiracy theorists" may be in the right? I hope there is but I'm not holding my breath.

  3. Like Ms Jafaar I would definitely recommend Robert Fisk's article in The Independent of the 21st May 2012. In view of the Johann Hari affair his statement that

    "the bag containing the bomb was actually put on the baggage carousel for checking in by the passenger's Lebanese handlers"
    was particularly interesting. (The "passenger" was Khalid Jafaar of whom others have made a variety of allegations without a shred of credible evidence.)

    I wonder if this unidentified Lebanese handler was the PFLP-GC's airline security expert Abu Elias?

  4. I thought Khaled Jaafar's (no relation, I presume!) handler at Frankfurt was Ghannam?

    In view of the orientation and positioning of the suitcase in the container, and the 38-minute detonation, I really don't think that bomb came in on the feeder flight, whether checked in at Frankfurt or through the interline system. And that's before you even start of the details of Bedford's and Sidhu's evidence.

  5. Thank goodness even members of the SNP are finding this as difficult as those of us who simply have voted SNP for a long time. I still cannot believe I have witnessed such conduct from them. It has at times been actually painful.

    There is no way Salmond does not know the evidence. Busy or not the deaths of nearly 300 people and the possible conviction of the wrong man for the crime should kind of have taken precedence over everything else as soon as the SCCRC announced it had found six grounds to suggest a miscarriage within weeks of Salmond taking power as First Minister. There are no excuses available.

    Why has MacAskill altered the remit of the SCCRC and seized their power to refer cases straight to the high court?

    Why have they both chosen to INSIST the conviction was sound when the SCCRC found SIX grounds to suggest otherwise? Who are they to trash the SCCRC the very body set up by a Scottish Parliament to oversee such cases "free from judicial and political interference". What have they done since other than interfere in every way imaginable in this case in order to get it buried?

    Who told Megrahi if he didn't drop the appeal his chances of going home might weaken when compassionate release did not require him to drop the appeal?

    Perhaps if more SNP members, and voters, put pressure on as Vronsky and the writer featured here intend to they would really understand how important this is and what it will cost them if the go on with this farce.

    For as the writer says, it isn't about Megrahi, its about Scotland's so called Justice System which is utterly corrupt if this case is anything to go by. And there are other cases where both Salmond and MacAskill have defended "Scots Law" and its "integrity" to the hilt despite clear evidence that it is rotten to the core. Why would Salmond want a Scotland like that? Why would any of us?

    If anyone could have carried this off it was Salmond. Yet he did not. He has worked hand in glove with that London Government, Westminster, the UK carry on the lie started by Thatcher. He has protected the Tory liars and the Labour liars over Lockerbie and he has gone further than any of them did by even fixing the SCCRC too so that a good old corrupt judge can carry on the disgusting injustice delivered by other judges before him.

    In 2010 Salmond told the USA to go take a hike when certain minor individuals in the senate summoned him to go there and explain himself. He told them he was answerable only to the people of Scotland. He should tell Westminster and the Labour and Tory Parties the same thing. He should tell them Lockerbie was their mess, their tangled web of deceit and that he is having no more of it. He is a fool to have gone in with them and emerged with hands more toxic than all of theirs put together. But in doing so he has practised a dishonesty I have not seen in a politician since Blair. As Blair continues to insist the war in Iraq was illegal so Salmond continues to claim the conviction was sound.

    I am not a member of the SNP but if this is not sorted I will never vote for them again. Which means I will never vote again period. These men are dishonest. They are attempting to pervert the course of justice, to obstruct justice and to deny justice. I expect that of the others. I did not expect it from Salmond. And pointing to the "compassionate release" as proof that Scotland "forgives" only adds insult to injury. Had they delivered justice Megrahi would almost certainly have left Scotland truly a free man. There was nothing compassionate about it. And all of us know it.

  6. Who is Ghannam?

    According to the Maltese Double Cross Jafaar had a sister, although in the context, the claim Khaled had called her to report Abu Talb had given the 19 year old bachelor a blue babygro, this may be a fabrication. (Jafaar's supposed trip to Sweden was based on the evidence of a "witness" "Mr Goldberg" who appears to be another Maltese Double X fabrication.

    In the book Lockerbie - The Evidence John Ashton claimed Jafaar had a fiancee. This seems to be part of a yarn supposedly told to him by a supposed relative of Jafaar who was trying to get official sanction to smuggle drugs into the USA!

    According to this Jafaar was given a radio cassette recorder at "the airport" by a Hezbollah leader who promised Khaled he could marry his sister. The cassette recorder was full of drugs (how did the relative know?) and in Germany it was taken off him the drugs removed and a bomb put in the cassette recorder. (Perhaps the promise of the sister's hand was insincere!)

    Indeed in "Cover-up of Convenience" the authors alleged Jafaar was a member of Hezbollah evidenced by the recovery of a "Hezbollah" T-shirt at Tundergarth. Even if it was Jafaar's T-shirt it would be risible "evidence" But according to Robert Baer it belonged to Major McKee (presumably not a member of Hezbollah).

    Baer also deflated the claim made in Private Eye that Jafaar was a "named"member of the PFLP-GC. Apparently Baer had told Ashton this in a interview but decided he was mistaken, which is why he shouldn't be giving interviews to journalists about stuff he may have picked up in the CIA. Still let's not expect any retraction by Private Eye or Mr Ashton.

    I'm still baffled as to how you have a baggage carousel at check-in. Doesn't seem very secure!

  7. I'm sure you can find out who Naim Ghannam was. He is mentioned in a number of contexts, including the Zeist transcripts.

    My impression is that it was a mis-hearing of that name that led to the mistaken claim in The Maltese Double Cross that Matthew Gannon was Jaafar's minder at Frankfurt.

    I imagine the reference to putting an item on the carousel at check-in is simply a mis-speaking for putting it on the belt, which is what you would actually do.

  8. I thought Rolfe was getting mixed up with some character from Lord of the Rings. Forgive me if I am not familiar with every character in this hoax.

    Matthew Ghannam - that makes sense. So evidence in the Maltese Double Cross was fabricated that claimed that Jafaar had a CIA escort onto the plane (going up the staire must have been a laugh!) to his "keeper" on the plane (Matthew Gannon who wasn't actually on the plamne) was just a mix up. He really had a CIA escort taking him to this Ghannam character. Was he also a big M-F-? Was he on the plane as well? What a crock.

    So Jafaar's "Lbanese minder" picked up his suitcase and put it on the weighing machine at check-in? Hardly a "baggage carousel".

    Another explanation may be that Fisk is just making it up the whole story (unless you believe the German authorities organised some surveillance operation to watch Lebanese militants putting a bomb on the plane then gave their files to Robert Fisk!) Perhaps he is dumb enough to think you put luggage on a carousel in departure!

    Incidentally I have never claimed that your friend John Ashton has ever fabricated evidence. Nor have I described
    Didier Drogba as "a diver" preferring to give him the benefit of the doubt.