Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A time for truth

[This is the headline over a letter from David Flett published in today’s edition of The Scotsman.  It reads as follows:]

The revelation that the SNP sought Donald Trump’s public approval of the release of Megrahi (your report, 9 October) paints a sad picture of today’s PR-obsessed political arena.

Spin doctoring, media manipulation and concealment of uncomfortable truths far outweigh integrity, honesty and justice.

Meanwhile, in the court of common sense, 270 murders remain unsolved, while these same deceptive politicians avoid the politically inconvenient process of initiating a public inquiry into the whole Lockerbie atrocity.

The two key pillars of Megrahi’s conviction have been thoroughly and publicly discredited. Through the work of journalists, investigators and those who simply had a genuine interest in uncovering the truth, we have found out that evidence relating to Tony Gauci and the circuit board fragment with the wrong coating should not have been admissible in court.

Yet, in August 2009, as Megrahi’s appeal neared its successful completion, our backroom politicians kicked swiftly into full crisis manipulation mode.

With expert conniving, manoeuvring and a small dose of clandestine blackmail, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi (despite maintaining his innocence) drops his appeal and is allowed to fly home.

So here we are, 24 years after Scotland’s biggest ever crime, stuck with a vanity-fixated government, ineffectual justice system and a deceived group of bereaved relatives.

Alex Salmond has the power and opportunity here to do something statesman-like and assist to dispel the obscurities surrounding Lockerbie.

Will he leave us all in the darkness with secret e-mails, or will he help shine a light on the truth by starting a public 


  1. That's a very good letter. Who is this guy?

  2. Rolfe took the words right out my mouth.

    That is indeed an excellent letter!

  3. 'Will he leave us all in the darkness with secret e-mails, or will he help shine a light on the truth by starting a public 

    No, of course he won't. He's an appendage of the British Establishment

  4. It is a very good letter but there have been many of those written over the period we have sought justice over Lockerbie. Letters, articles, books, the lot.

    "Alex Salmond has the power and opportunity here to do something statesman-like and assist to dispel the obscurities surrounding Lockerbie."

    Alex Salmond had the chance to do those things in June 2007 when the SNP had only recently taken office and the SCCRC had announced six grounds to suspect a miscarriage of justice in the Megrahi case. He ignored it: his government has ignored it now but has gone further. His "Justice" Minister has altered the remit of the SCCRC so that even if a new appeal is brought on Megrahi's behalf the SCCRC no longer has the power to pass the case straight back to the Appeal Court. That power now rests with a judge thanks to Mr MacAskill's "emergency" legislation.

    So expect nothing statesman-like from Salmond over Lockerbie. His priority has been to support the position of Westminster governments, starting with Thatcher's, to ensure the truth about Lockerbie never comes out. His priority has been, along with MacAskill to spout lies about "the integrity of the Scottish Justice System" when they both know that neither integrity nor justice is welcome within that system. His hands, over Lockerbie, are not just filthy, they are toxic.

  5. Some points, vaguely related.

    1) Salmond is a busy man. He's supposed to be running a country. He doesn't have time to study a matter like Lockerbie in depth: it's more likely he relies on advice, which would be that a thorough investigation was held, due process was followed, Megrahi was convicted and an appeal rejected. So everything's hunky-dory.

    2) The only squit the SDP has got over Lockerbie has been in relation to Megrahi's release. The investigation and trial are still, in the official view, a triumph of Scottish justice. So why put the system's reputation in jeopardy and risk stirring up further rage from across the pond?

    3) The verdicts of the courts are a huge obstacle to an inquiry into the investigation and legal process. An inquiry which could end up saying that the courts got it wrong is, to the legal mind, supplanting the place of the justice system. For many with this point of view the proper place to put right a miscarriage of justice is in court. And they do have a point there. An inquiry would naturally follow from the quashing of the conviction.

    4) It's true that obstaclese have been put in the way of securing a third appeal. But it's a poor judge who could look at the stack of evidence we now have and not agree that a further appeal is necessary for justice to be served, and 'closure' be damned.

    5) What has helped get the big miscarriages of justice in recent times back in court with the bench prepared to listen has been the ability to generate a media storm.
    Remember the BBC special about the Bridgewater Three, or the programme on Barry George? I think we need something of equivalent magnitude on UK-wide media, taking an unequivocal position that something has gone wrong, like Rough Justice used to do, and generating headlines in the news media ahead of its broadcast. Could it happen? Maybe, if we could convince the right person there's a story in it.

  6. " Salmond is a busy man. He's supposed to be running a country. He doesn't have time to study a matter like Lockerbie in depth: it's more likely he relies on advice, which would be that a thorough investigation was held, due process was followed, Megrahi was convicted and an appeal rejected."

    Sorry Pete, not buying any of that. It is nonsense from start to finish. If Salmond claims to want a better Scotland he could have started with this, a case involving the deaths of nearly 300 people over which SIX grounds were raised by Scotland's own CCRC suggesting a miscarriage of justice. That appeal wasn't "rejected". That appeal wasn't even allowed to be heard and that was on Salmond's watch so don't make excuses for him, there are none left! He followed the UK Establishment line in ensuring the truth stayed buried.

    No matter how "busy" you claim Salmond is he should have found time for this case. And, actually, he did. He found time to ensure the second appeal was killed stone dead and his "Justice" Minister found time to re draw the remit of the same SCCRC so that it certainly wouldn't rule on any new appeal on Megrahi's behalf in the future. Now a judge will rule and as we know already from this case Scottish judges aren't that fussed about justice prevailing anywhere. "Due process" did not figure anywhere!

    No one needs to convince anyone "there's a story" here. Anyone with the IQ of a cardboard box knows there is a story. The story is out there. Salmond chooses to ignore it just as his political counterparts here in Scotland and at Westminster choose to ignore it. And, for reasons as yet unknown, the media on the whole choose to ignore it too.

    Like I said, we're out of excuses on this one.

  7. Good points, Dave, all of them. Your point 3 has been my view of the matter, but Professor Black assured me that it isn't quite that simple and that an independent inquiry can indeed look into a case which has not been overturned.

    Your point about the media seems to me to be a forlorn one. All the media want to do now is bash the "release of the Lockerbie bomber". I suspect this is in some way related to the independence referendum. The mainstream media in Scotland are unanimously and vociferously unionist, and anything they can find to smear and discredit the SNP and Salmond is gleefully embraced. There just isn't the same mileage in running stories that say, an innocent man was allowed to spend his last few years with his family.

  8. "Good points, Dave,"

    Errrrrrrr, Dave??????? Who is Dave? I see no Dave here Rolfe.

    But, moving on, you accuse people of trying to "smear" Salmond. What planet are you on? It was Salmond's Scottish Government which abandoned the second appeal. It was Salmond's Justice Minister who played a key role in preventing the SCCRC from publishing their findings. It was Salmond's government which, even after even more evidence was right under their noses insisted on defending "the integrity of the Scottish Justice System". Come on now Rolfe. There were papers written about this case, and YOU would know, about the Lockerbie case which leave the Scottish Government with not a leg to stand on. So please do NOT insult us with your bleating about "smears" against Salmond. For YOU know, don't you, just how far Salmond has gone in ensuring we will not get justice. Do not insult those of us out here who have been around on the whole journey and who have witnessed all of these things for ourselves.

    Loyalty has many meanings: it does not, however, require us to support liars. THAT is Party-politics and Lockerbie does not not need those who cling to Party-politics. It needs those who believe in absolute justice.

  9. Bottom line: there was an appeal. Salmond's government actively prevented that appeal from being heard. Salmond's government made changes to the remit of the SCCRC in the future to ensure any new appeal can be killed stone dead. No "smears" necessary. The facts speak for themselves.

  10. Meant Pete. Sorry Pete. That was bad.

  11. Jo, the press are not criticising Salmond for delaying the appeal and so on. They're criticising him (at the moment) for asking Trump to back the decision to grant Megrahi compassionate release.

    Doesn't really matter what happens, they'll criticise Salmond. The only thing he hasn't been criticised for is declaring that he does not doubt the safety of the conviction.

    Go figure.

  12. Oh I've "figured" Rolfe. I've dealt with the issue as an individual. I've written to newspapers about Salmond declaring the original verdict sound and about his Justice Minister declaring the same despite the fact that neither of them has the authority to over-rule the SCCRC findings on the conviction under scrutiny!

    We can turn on the press, and I have myself, but to use that as a means to protect, to shield, Salmond is something else again. Salmond's government has rejected views on its Megrahi position from people like me and many others. I think that is something we need to "go figure".

  13. The idea that the press are protecting and shielding Salmond, as a general statement, is risible. The frequency of stories and headlines of the "SNP attacked" variety is something of a standing joke.

    Just this ONE thing, they don't have a go.