Friday, 4 January 2013

"Lockerbie, the time is right for a UK-led inquiry"

[What follows is the text of a motion tabled in the Scottish Parliament by Christine Grahame MSP:]

Motion Number: S4M-05301
Lodged By: Christine Grahame
Date Lodged: 03/01/2013

Title:  ♦ 25 years on from Lockerbie, the Time is Right for a UK-led Inquiry

Motion Text:
That the Parliament notes that 2013 marks 25 years since the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie; believes that many questions remain as to whether the conviction of Abdelbaset al Megrahi is secure; understands that, in terms of section 28 of the Inquiries Act 2005, the scope for a Scottish Government inquiry is restricted to only those matters fully devolved to Scotland; agrees with calls for a full public inquiry into UK and international issues such as the prisoner transfer agreement between Tony Blair and Colonel Gaddafi and the $2 million reportedly paid (together with a new identity) to the shop-keeper,Tony Gauci, who is considered to be the prime witness; further notes the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) findings that there may have been a miscarriage of justice and what it considers was the unsatisfactory abandonment of appeal proceedings, which left the SCCRC case untested; understands that the Scottish Government has pledged to co-operate fully with any UK-led inquiry, and agrees with calls for the UK Government to instigate that inquiry without further delay in order that, not least, the victims’ families and the residents of Lockerbie can finally be free of speculation.

[Ms Grahame has written to Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg requesting him to support this call for a UK-led inquiry. A report in today’s edition of The Herald reads as follows:]

Holyrood’s Justice convener is urging Nick Clegg to put his weight behind a public inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing.

The Herald reported yesterday that Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie had renewed his call for an inquiry into the Megrahi conviction.

Now Christine Grahame has written to the Deputy PM pressing for that to be a full UK public inquiry.

Citing factors such as British Government and CIA involvement in the investigation, she states: "Under the Inquiries Act 2005 (Section 28) any inquiry undertaken by the Scottish Ministers must deal only with matters wholly within their devolved competence.

"This would restrict it to such a degree, in my view, that it would not be satisfactory, given there are political and international issues which remain unresolved."

Last August, Mr Clegg criticised the release of Abdelbaset al Megrahi two years previously on compassionate grounds as he fought cancer, although he lived on in Tripoli for 21 months.

Ms Grahame, who is a member of the Justice for Megrahi campaign, wrote to Mr Clegg: "It seems that you harbour no doubts over this conviction, but that does not chime with the sentiments, as I read them, of Willie Rennie.

"It may be that your views have shifted with the passage of time and more revelations which cast the conviction as questionable.

"You, as Deputy Prime Minister, have it within your power to deliver that public inquiry and if you do, the Scottish Government has it on record that it would support any such inquiry."



    The "Lockerbie Affair" (not the "Bombing of PanAm 103") is the work of deliberate misinformation and reverse engineering that went wrong !

    1) As the case is still open in United Kingdom, the authorities will sooner or later accept the fact that the "Evidence FRAUD" around the MST-13 Timerfragment (PT/35) the "Toshiba" Radiorecorder, RF-8016, the alleged "bomb-bag" transfer with AirMalta KM-180 to PanAm 103/A, at Frankfurt and buying clothes from al-Megrahi by shopkeeper Gauci in Malta, is real and not fiction or just another weird conspiracy theory.

    2) Who was the mysterious visitor at MEBO, which after only 9 days knew that Libya had something to do with the "PanAm 103 bombing" ?

    Only this small investigation it takes for get return the honor for the deceased Abelbaset al-Megrahi (small costs).

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland. URL:

  2. I cannot state strongly enough how deeply I disagree with Christine Grahame's latest move.

    Nick Clegg? And he is?????

    It really is time Christine Grahame decided what she stands for. She sometimes shows so much promise but ALWAYS she pulls back, as if remembering, "Oops I'm in the SNP, I can't go too far!"

    Stop it Christine. And take time out to think what you are about. Stop messing about going in directions that will achieve bugger all. The Lockerbie dead are saying are you for them or against them? Pick a road but don't do the middle road because after nearly twenty five years it is no choice at all to go down the middle! Put up or shut up Christine. You are chairing the Justice Committee which is pushing for the Scottish Government to announce a Public Inquiry and now here you are writing to Nick Clegg to ask him to have a UK Inquiry! Oh please! This is the same UK where, in the previous government, David Miliband was rushing to sign Public Immunity Certificates to deny the SCCRC access to evidence vital to their investigation! You will achieve nothing and you must know it. If you are serious about the truth behind Lockerbie then you need to get serious with your own Party, starting with your Justice Minister who responded to allegations by JFM by passing them on to the Crown Office! If you are serious about the truth then ask why the Crown Office is funding trips to Libya when there are piles of evidence right here they are ignoring! If you are serious ask Kenny MacAskill why he barred the road in any new appeal by putting a judge in charge of any decision to refer it to the Appeal Court!

    But please, don't insult the rest of us with these insane "pleas" to Nick Clegg. Just decide if you want the truth on Lockerbie and if you do, then go for it. If you have the guts I think you will have plenty of people behind you. Your move.

  3. Jo, you are being very harsh. Without Christine there would have been no progress on PE1370, but now there is cross-party agreement to keep the petition alive.

    It’s an astute and well-timed move to ask Nick Clegg to support an inquiry following Willie Rennie’s comments.

    This matter won’t be resolved by a take it or leave it approach, but by building a consensus that the truth must be told.

    And ultimately this depends in a change in America that allows its satellite countries to speak freely about this issue?

  4. Dave

    I assure you I'm not being harsh with her. This latest scheme of hers will achieve nothing. There are enough diversions out there already without her going another route all on her own. Especially one that will deliver nothing. There is nothing astute about it in my view.

    How long have we been "building consensus" Dave? And if you think we need to depend on the US altering its position on Lockerbie and the Libyan connection we will wait forever. They won't.

    What good will any UK inquiry do anyway? As I pointed out earlier they were up to their necks in the original deception. The last Labour Government refused to co operate with the SCCRC by withholding evidence the SCCRC needed during its investigation.

    Christine has certainly done well in keeping the petition alive but to go haring off in the direction of the UK government is just ridiculous. As Prof Black stated earlier in an FB message regarding a post he added to a letter today in the Herald:

    " Nothing -- other than governmental intransigence and Crown Office fear of the outcome -- impedes the Scottish Government in setting up an inquiry into the Scottish investigation of Lockerbie and the Scottish prosecution and conviction of Abdelbaset Megrahi,"

    So why has Christine left her own Party's government in peace Dave? Why is she off their backs and instead addressing herself to Nick Clegg?

    As for Rennie, he's on about the Crown Office investigation in Libya so he too isn't interested in focusing on what we have, in terms of evidence held already to prove that what happened at Zeist did not involve justice. What has emerged from the SCCRC and other sources since screams that the verdict was deeply flawed. Christine knows all these things Dave, she's been clear about her belief that Megrahi was innocent so why all the diversions, detours and other distractions? Haven't we had enough of those?

  5. I understand Jo's frustration, and the move with Mr. Clegg also to me seems like her 'less troublesome way to nothing'. Why asking for a UK-led enquiry? This can only delay matters, waiting for a response, where the reply is known in advance.
    UK is in bellow-deep with USA on every matter I can recall. The motivation for stirring up the rottenness in the Scottish judicial system, at the sure cost of their most important friendship, must be rock-bottom low.

    I also recalled RB's quote
    'Nothing ... impedes the Scottish Government in setting up an inquiry into the Scottish investigation of Lockerbie...'.

    So, just do it.

    At the same time, 'politics is the art of the possible'. I have zero insight in Christine Graham's situation.

    This case is absolutely dynamite, and it is hard not to imagine that plenty of high heads would - and should - roll as the result of an enquiry. Powerful people would like to see CGs head roll instead.

    And indeed we are very grateful to Christine.

    The best thing we can do to help her is to spread the info about the case to more voters, and continuously ask ourselves if more could be done in this matter.

  6. Dave I met Jim Swire for the first time in August last year. He is now seventy five years of age. He was fifty-one when that plane went down.

    His years since then have been spent pleading simply for the truth. And even after the SCCRC delivered six grounds to challenge the conviction the political establishment would not listen.

    Dr Jim told me during our conversation that he believes he won't live to see justice over Lockerbie. He urged people to stay involved and to get others involved to make sure the cause remains alive even if he isn't. I found that conversation distressing and deeply sad. Which is why I get very angry when more diversions arise and from someone like Christine Grahame who absolutely does not accept Megrahi's guilt and is aware of the evidence already in the public domain which would allow the Scottish Governement to confront this case right here and right now in Scotland.

    Her own Party has shocked many of its own supporters through its position on this since 2007 when it first took power in Scotland. The stage, in my view, was set then for Salmond and he absolutely blew it. Here was an opportunity for a Party with clean hands on Lockerbie to kick the trash away from the case and order the Judiciary to get that appeal heard. (The SCCRC issued its recommendations around a month after Salmond took office.)

    Instead the SNP ended up with hands more toxic than every other Party's put together in its handling of the case. The conduct of the Justice Minister in particular throughout was shocking starting with his decision to bar the SCCRC from publishing its findings. It is also claimed that it was his department which told Libyan aides that Megrahi needed to drop his appeal if he wanted to "help" his application for release on compassionate grounds. (Megrahi's QC, Maggie Scott, confirmed Megrahi had been told this.) But MacAskill's absolute gift to the establishment was the sneaking in of other changes in his Cadder "emergency legislation" which would in future cripple the SCCRC and remove from it the authority to refer cases direct back to the appeal court.

    MacAskill has since taken it upon himself to announce, at regular intervals, Megrahi's absolute guilt when he does not possess the authority to make such a statement but in his arrogance this matters little to him. Salmond is in the same boat. Both have ignored evidence that contradicts their every word on the subject.

    I speak here as someone who had voted SNP for a long time incidentally. I have still not recovered from the shock of SNP involvement in the attempts to absolutely pervert the course of justice in this case. And that is another reason why I get really peed off when Christine Grahame wants to take us all on another de-tour which will achieve nothing and when she fails repeatedly to confront her own Party. For had her Party grasped the nettle at the time we would be in an entirely different position now and that appeal would have been heard. Some SNP supporters claim Salmond is just "too busy running a country" to have time for Lockerbie. I say when Salmond took over at Holyrood with his Party the message that came from the SCCRC should have shocked him as it shocked many of us. I say the deaths of nearly 300 people should have sent the testing of that conviction right to the top of any First Minister's agenda pretty darn quick.

    We don't have time for diversions: Jim Swire doesn't have time either.

  7. Dave, I would also make this point. Earlier you said:

    "Without Christine there would have been no progress on PE1370, but now there is cross-party agreement to keep the petition alive."

    I agree but this move by Christine is in her own right and actually is in conflict with PE1370. PE1370 asked the Scottish Government to open an Inquiry and the Justice Committee agreed to keep that petition (containing that specific request) open. It does not ask for the UK Government to open an Inquiry. So where does her position on that petition fit in with her personal request to Nick Clegg that the UK Government should conduct the Inquiry?

    There are other politics at work here and I think it is absolutely right to question what Christine Grahame is up to. How can she explain herself to her fellow Justice Committee members when, astonishingly, they were unanimous that PE1370 be kept open only to go off on this completely separate route herself? She needs to explain herself to all of us. Those who signed that petition have every right to question her actions because what she is doing is NOT what we asked for.

  8. Jo, Christine’s call for Clegg to support a UK Inquiry is an astute way of asking him to back Rennie’s call for a Scottish Inquiry.

    If asked to support a Scottish Inquiry, Clegg would simply say “a matter for the Scottish Parliament”.

    It’s astute, because if Clegg says yes this will be another remarkable breakthrough, but if he says no, it will reveal a divided party on a major Scottish issue that could increase support for a yes vote in the referendum.

    In other words it puts Unionist Clegg between a rock and a hard place.

    But also if he says no, this will compel the Scottish Lib Dems to support Christine’s motion to prove their ‘independence’!

    And this in turn would make it difficult for any MSP to oppose the motion?

  9. Dave, I believe you have all the political insight and acumen of a wet sock.

  10. Dave

    "Jo, Christine’s call for Clegg to support a UK Inquiry is an astute way of asking him to back Rennie’s call for a Scottish Inquiry."

    Please read the Motion. It quite clearly asks for a UK Inquiry.

    And Rennie isn't "the man" here on a Scottish Inquiry. There is a JFM petition already sitting with the Justice Committee at the Scottish Parliament calling for a Scottish Inquiry. Christine chairs that Committee.

    That is the aim: a Scottish Inquiry. It has been established that we can absolutely have one into a case where the crime happened in Scotland, was investigated in Scotland, prosecuted in Scotland and where the accused was convicted in Scotland, albeit in a court convened in the Netherlands. So the UK Government, in fact, has no jurisdiction over those matters: Scotland's government does (unless we're talking about issues relating to ECHR matters which can be dealt with by the UK (meaning all of it) Supreme Court.

    My position, Dave, is this: right now I think the authorities in Scotland are, as Rolfe put it, on the run. Real progress has been made.

    We had the SCCRC findings, we've had much more evidence since then (including the part about the circuit board fragment material not matching the make-up of the type sold to Libya). We have more on the Heathrow connection: we have the case brought by JFM against those who investigated this atrocity right out there in the public domain.

    And, Dave, they have no answers to it and they are crumbling and running to Libya and they are attacking JFM and those who believe the Megrahi conviction was a sham. We have a Lord Advocate right now who is even bringing his office into disrepute by very personally attacking us with nothing better than, "You're all conspiracy theorists!" because he cannot bear to look at the evidence piling up. (He says he's looked at the evidence. "I've been through it myself!" he claims. "I've had the evidence reviewed by outside counsel." He says. By whom? Where are the findings? "I'm not telling you." he says. "You can't see the findings." he says. "I'm not playing, its my ball and I'm keeping it." Well for Mulholland, as we say up here Dave, the ba' is on the slates and in my view, Christine's rush in another direction altogether damages the momentum severely.

    That is why I'm deeply unhappy about it. I am also now afraid that Party-politics will kick in again on the JC at the Parliament because of Christine's independent move to approach Clegg. It is very true that she worked hard to get consensus and it was a real feat to get unanimous support to retain the petition. But remember too that others went before that Committee and talked to them. JFM went several times. And there is the petition itself from, if you like, "the people". Those people did not ask Christine to approach the UK government, and in particular, Clegg, for anything. The current PM's Party kicked off the deception on Lockerbie with Thatcher at the helm. He is also fiercely against opening that particular can of worms just as Labour are. Christine is wasting time at, for me, a crucial stage in all of this. When you have someone on the run Dave you expect them to run down side-alleys (as the Crown Office are doing now with tales of jaunts to Libya for new evidence) but you don't run down side-alleys yourself in the middle of the chase. For when you do that you could possibly be accused of wanting to let your target get away.

  11. Jo it’s a process. The Justice Committee (JC) has kept the petition alive by asking for more information and this in turn has exposed the extraordinary miscarriage of justice that no self-respecting Justice Committee can now drop.

    But if the Committee’s recommendation had been to hold a Scottish Inquiry the Government has made clear they would say no and that would be the end of PE1370.

    But the cross-party support on the JC shows the mood has changed and Christine’s motion gives Parliament a chance to reflect this change too.

    This is because an appeal for a UK inquiry gives the Scottish Parliament the chance to vote for the principle of an inquiry, without actually voting for an Inquiry.

    And this moves the process on in a way that can get Unionist and SNP support.

  12. Dave, the Lord (incl. -Advocates) and politicians work in mysterious ways, but:
    Whenever you ask somebody to do something, you must give them time. If they don't really want to do it, they will drag their feet. And any further delay in this case is a bad delay for JfM.

    Isn't there a dialogue between CG and JfM? Doesn't she comment on her motives? I have known a handful of politicians, they were (with one, female, exception) all hard to reach on any personal level.

  13. SM

    Would do you suggest Christine do and the likely outcome if she did it?

  14. At current, with the level of evidence, and the action taken last year by JfM: anything else than asking UK.

    You write:
    "This is because an appeal for a UK inquiry gives the Scottish Parliament the chance to vote for the principle of an inquiry, without actually voting for an Inquiry."

    You are not kidding?? Are they going to vote 'for the principle of an inquiry'?

    Not to jump to into this sensitive matter in a too direct way, maybe they should first carefully vote for whether such a 'principle' would be appropriate to vote about?

  15. Dave,

    I'm sorry to be rude but your position on this is just nonsensical.

    The petition before the JFC is for a Scottish led Inquiry.

    Christine is quite wrong in her personal assertion that the Scottish Government cannot meet that requirement and make progress. It absolutely can. JFM's petition concerns the conviction of Megrahi. It followed this up by putting before MacAskill a list of allegations concerning the conduct, at various levels and by various bodies, during that investigation. It also raised the fact that the abandoned appeal leaves us in limbo despite six official grounds to point to a possible miscarriage of justice and more evidence since which backs up that position.

    The Scottish Government can, within its devolved remit, address all of those things in any Inquiry. That is a fact, not an opinion. The question is why they do not want it.

    My question is why is Christine backing off and taking the matter, as I put it earlier, down a side alley when we simply do not have time for such stunts. The JC agreed to keep the petition open and observe developments in the case meantime.

    I believe it was after that decision that JFM released their alleagations referred to above. That was a significant development indeed. Christine's decision to go haring off to Nick Clegg asking for a UK Inquiry instead is therefore bizarre and needs explaining, particularly when the UK government has no jurisdiction in Scots Law. I could live with an independent country leading an independent Inquiry into the conviction but we know only too well that the UK government, on Lockerbie, cannot remotely be considered independent when UK governments actively obstructed the SCCRC during its investigation.

    My personal view is that she is stalling for the sake of her own Party and her position within it. That is quite wrong of her I would say and thoroughly dishonest as well. It does not serve anyone well and especially JFM when she is a member of it for she thwarts their aims through her own conduct.

    Your logic in the earlier post is absurd. I would repeat, we do not have time for this nonsense. We just don't.

  16. "Isn't there a dialogue between CG and JfM? Doesn't she comment on her motives?"

    I'm not sure if there is dialogue or not SM. I like to think she would recognise the need to explain herself on this one 'tho when it is a clear departure from what was requested via the petition.

    Christine has done a lot of work on Lockerbie, no doubt about that, but invariably Party politics itself has caused her too frequently to "fall in and fall back" if you like. So we end up taking one step forward and three back. It has been difficult when she has done that in the past but at such a stage as this it really is infuriating.

    If her position was that the Scottish Government could not lead an Inquiry why did she sign the petition or champion it? Why did she urge the JC to support it and list, during hearings of the committee, all the reasons why a Scottish Inquiry was essential?

    To run off now begging a UK Inquiry instead is just bizarre.