Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The charade begins...

Twenty-one years ago today, in simultaneous announcements in Edinburgh and Washington DC, the Lord Advocate, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC, and the Acting Attorney General of the United States, William Barr, disclosed that criminal proceedings had been launched against two Libyans, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and al-Amin Khalifa Fhima, for the murder of the 270 people killed in the destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie on 21 December 1988. The Washington DC Grand Jury indictment can be read here. The Scottish indictment that followed on from the November 1991 Dumfries sheriff court petition was in essence the same.



    Dear Professor Robert Black

    You are familiar with all the aspects of the Lockerbie case and the JfM activities. Perhaps you could answer the following questions:
    The Megrahi family wowed to persue the case. Are they in the process to prepare a re-appeal or do they feel that the time is not right yet?
    I am wondering also why nobody from the victims‘ families is considering to request a re-appeal. Could it be the reason that they all agreed not to persue legal steps at the time they received their payments?
    on the side: In the 'Lockerbie Affair' - on Monday, 12th of November 2012, had become for the claim for damages against Switzerland, by MEBO Ltd and Edwin Bollier, from the supervisory authority of the Federal Prosecutor's Office (Autorité de surveillance du Ministère public de la Confédération) determines a extraordinary public Prosecutor.

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollie, MEBO Ltd Switzerland. URL:

  2. Edwin, I believe the Megrahi family have not yet made up their minds. Their position in the "new Libya" is a difficult and sensitive one.

    Some UK relatives are considering an application to the SCCRC which could lead to a further appeal. They have not signed anything that bars them from doing this. But the chances of success in getting a new appeal before the court are not particularly high and might damage or undermine other legal avenues that are being considered.

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  5. "...a lot of time was spent looking a pictures of different suitcases and “which” would most likely harbor a bomb."

    Sounds like absolute nonsense to me.

    1. How would a brown Samonite suitcase qualify, then? Are there brands particularly popular among plane bombers? Or is it if wires and timers hang outside?

    2. The only ones being able to use that kind of info for anything would be the highly specialized staff checking luggage before being loaded. We don't expect that Linda from check-in would call somebody and say "Hey, I just weighed in a particularly suspicious suitcase" ?

    3. Any such information would be well protected, and hardly let out in hotel-meetings on "how to do Panam jobs".

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  7. Well, as my contribution to the dialogue, I'll agree with SM that it's a silly and irrelevant story.

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  9. @Sharyn Bovat said...
    "It does "tie" into the Lockerbie issue..."
    If you in that context write something I can understand, great!
    If not, I better avoid mixing myself into the matters again. Cheers!

  10. It's still silly and irrelevant.

    "Ooooooh, I know something that would help but I'm not going to tell you what it is!"

    That's just childish.

  11. SM & Rolfe.... YOU made your point.
    I made mine and Yes it's connected but you can't "get" the big picture. If you want to cause chaos instead of peaceful dialogue you do it well. I allow for my identity to be exposed. YOU do not. Therefore my comments "I own" obviously they are not welcome here. I wonder WHY?

  12. Rolfe and SM- I thank Professor Black for his blog - I've recently asked him to remove comments from post that are insulting towards me. To be candid I do NOT know why he allowed them to be posted. For over 3 years I'v done viral effort insisting on RESPECT for all people. If my comment was irrelevant he never would have put it through moderation.

    I've now made it my permanent policy to no longer post on blogs that accept anonymous contributors.
    BOTH SM and Rolfe have not shared their identity.

    Again this blog is fantastic. A LOT of Americans are "waking up" to the Lockerbie issues. I HOPE Professor Black does not harbor prejudice against ALL Americans.

    My hope is he treats future comments from America with the RESPECT that should go to ALL people around the world.

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  14. Sharyn, I have received no message from you asking for comments to be deleted. If I had had such a message, I'd have replied declining to do so. Robust exchanges are par for the course on this blog. Thank you for your generous comments about the blog itself.

  15. Sharyn, you say you have made your point, but you have made no point at all. You posted some rambling anecdote about having attended a course in a hotel about "how to do Pan Am jobs", which didn't appear to have any point to it at all other than that part of it involved some sort of clairvoyance training to spot the sort of suitcase "likely to contain a bomb". Gosh, I wonder why Pan Am bought all these state-of-the-art x-ray machines if you can tell just by looking at the thing?

    You also said that you were told that bombs were always placed on direct flights? Well, so what? I don't think there's anyone active on this blog who doesn't believe that bomb was introduced at Heathrow, though for rather better reasons than that one. (Apart from anything else, one way terrorists succeed is by doing things in a different way from the way they've done them before.)

    One really, really good way to cause "chaos" is to post oblique hints and pretend to know something you're refusing to explain. Which is what you're doing. So if you want "peaceful dialogue", the best way to achieve that would be to say what you think you know, rather than posting these coy teasers.

    Professor Black knows perfectly well who I am. You post an actual name, indeed, but that still doesn't mean we know who you are, or even that that's your real name. Personally, I don't care. It's what you say that's important, not who you are, and so far you haven't said anything useful at all. Please note that the comments of yours that were deleted were deleted by you, not by anyone else. Professor Black seldom deletes any comments and I would be astounded if he deleted yours. Or mine, come to that. He only pre-moderates because of one persistent spammer who was flooding the threads, and I don't believe he rejects any comments that aren't spam.

    You sound like a bit of a cry-baby. You post comments that are oblique and unhelpful, and expect to be hailed as a great contributor. When that doesn't happen you whine about "respect". Respect has to be earned. When do you plan to start?

  16. Actually, dragging this back to the subject of the blog post, the really interesting thing about the indictment is how little of that was ever actually proved against Megrahi. Most of it was complete moonshine.

  17. Yesterday I sent mr black an email at his outlook account - he never responded. I would like them removed.

  18. From: Sharyn Bovat
    Subject: favor
    Date: November 15, 2012 5:42:40 PM CST

    I did send the email. Mr. Black please delete ALL insults to me and I will not post on this blog, Rolfe has not disclosed his identity. I do not need lectures.

    Thank you

  19. As I said in my earlier comment on this thread, no such email reached me. I shall not be removing the comments referred to.

  20. Sharyn, I think you need to distinguish between "insult" and "criticism".

    As I said, Professor Black knows who I am. Who are you? Who is "Sharyn Bovat"? I for one have no idea.

    If you have something interesting or important to say, why not say it, instead of whining.

  21. It was successfully sent. I respect your work. I do feel that you allow for cyber bullying to occur. NOT just to me but I've seen it done to other people that wanted to be part of the dialogue. Not everyone is has the knowledge as your regular blogs readers. If we say something "not worded to your liking" they/we should not get attacked.

    I will hope that "if" the Lockerbie story ever breaks a blog that gives the important data yours does is created but one that is a place for opened discussion that does not allow for personal attacks. Those I find destructive toward reaching the goal. Have a Great Day! Sharyn

  22. Putting aside the above weird spat I found William Barr's wikipedia entry very interesting. From 1973-77 he worked for the CIA (from 1976-77 George Bush was CIA Director).

    Following Bush's inauguration Barr was appointed Assistant Director in the Office of Legal Counsel to the President and in August 1991 was nominated as Attorney General.

    The indictment itself was brought long after the end of hostilities in the 1st Gulf War. My judgement is thnat the timing was related to Britain's assumption of the Chairmanship of Security Council from the 1st January 1992 and Cuba and Yemen losing their seats on the Security Council.

    As I have said before the object of the indictment was sanctions against Libya not a trial.

  23. Sharyn, if you had come into this conversation straightforwardly, simply saying what you thought you knew or had figured out, others would have met you in the same spirit. Asking whether your theory was consistent with what's known about the evidence is also a good plan, if you're not familiar with all the detail.

    Instead you appeared with a barely coherent tale about members of the public being "shown how to do Pam Am jobs" in a hotel, including using their clairvoyance to divine which suitcases might have bombs in them. How that was related to Lockerbie was left to the imagination of the reader.

    You also made some comment about having a blog "reaching out" to some US politician, which, forgive me, sounds slightly unhinged.

    You are coming over as a complete fruitloop. If you don't want to be treated as a complete fruitloop, then I recommend you change your approach. Berating people for "attacking" you when you wander in with a target painted on your back is a touch naive.

    On the internet, posters are usually treated in the way they have brought on themselves. If you desire respect, then bear that in mind when you compose your posts. You don't gain respect simply by being able to use a keyboard and mouse.

  24. Baz, I certainly agree with you about the purpose of the indictments. I don't think they believed for a moment they would have to take that case to court.

    They got their fairy-story about an interline bag coming through Frankfurt past the FAI by heavy stage-management. It relied entirely on there being nobody there with any interest in disproving it. I don't think they ever imagined they would have to make it stand up against defendants who were interested in disproving it.

    There is some evidence of consternation in the Crown Office in 1999 when they got hold of all the evidence they were supposed to base their case on. Someone seems to have asked what the Bedford suitcase actually turned out to be, and of course there was no innocent answer to that. The case was never properly thought through, and they were making it up as they went along.

    The problem was that they squeezed the Libyans too hard. I understand they caused many more innocent deaths than happened at Lockerbie. If the squeeze had been bearable, it might have continued indefinitely. But the situation was so intolerable that eventually the two accused agreed to surrender themselves for the greater good.

    I'm not at all sure I agree with you about how much of this was pre-planned. However, I certainly see that the situation as it developed was used by various agencies to achieve their political objectives, and that took precedence over actually solving the case. I don't think they really cared whether Megrahi and Fhimah had had anything to do with it or not. They managed to convince themselves they had enough evidence to issue the indictments, and that was politically expedient, and I'm not convinced they even thought it through beyond that.

  25. Sharyn, there is an article on the TV news right now about a man who lost his job because of something he said on Facebook, actually something intended only for his friends. Specifically, he said that as a churchgoer, he was not in favour of same-sex weddings taking place in church. Because of this, his employers demoted him to a low-paid job, and he lost 40% of his income, at the age of 55.

    I'm discussing this at the moment with a group of Americans, who seem to have no problem at all with this, and believe that any employer should be able to sack anyone they like of they disapprove of something they said online. (Fortunately free speech is rather better protected in this country, and the man involved has won his court case.)

    You, as an American, want everyone to post on the internet using their own, real names. Do you have a job? Do you want to hold on to it? Because as far as I can see, as an American you're behaving very rashly if you say anything at all on the internet without using a pseudonym.

    I have a job, as it happens. My employer gets most of its funding from the Scottish government. I an sitting here on this blog saying some pretty hostile things about the Scottish criminal justice system, and criticising the Justice Minister.

    And you want me to post under my real name? That'll be the day.

  26. > I understand they caused many more innocent deaths than happened at Lockerbie.

    Oh, yes. Embargoes are always real killers of the people, they enforce the governments they are claimed to be directed against, and so they are usually a prelude to war.

    - - -

    Reg. anonymity:
    I have always accepted that it may be what it takes for a person to speak freely in a certain context. Full freedom of speech in any situation only exists for him who has nothing left to lose.

    I think I learned the word "berufsverbot" before I could count to ten in German.

    BTW, Sharyn, I am not anonymous here.
    Google for Soren Frank Munch, and you should be able to even find my shoe size. Should you be interested, that is.
    Whether this now adds more or less weight to what I write I will leave to you.

  27. Rolfe wrote "they managed to convince themselves they had enough evidence to issue the indictments." (which I argue was sufficient to fulfill the political objective of sanctions.)

    Of course the US Grand Jury din't have sight of the CIA cables relating to the star witness Majid Giaka!

  28. No! But they did have knowledge of what Giaka was supposedly going to testify to. They couldn't have got the indictments without Giaka's lies, but somehow, even after he was exposed as making stuff up to order for the CIA, the judges still had to find some way to convict.