[From this blog, four years ago today:]
Truth and justice mean more than national security
[The following letter from Rev John Mosey, whose daughter Helga died aboard Pan Am 103, appears in today's edition of The Herald.]
The Herald is to be congratulated on its excellent coverage of the comments made in London by Their Lordships Thomas and Lloyd Jones in their written ruling concerning "threats" to "national security" were they to publish a summary of alleged torture of a suspect detained at Guantanamo Bay ("MP demands truth on UK torture claim", and Leader, The Herald, February 5).
David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has commented at some length (and with obvious discomfort) on the "intelligence relationship" and the "real risk" posed by the disclosure of terror-related intelligence in the public arena. This is not a new ploy but one being increasingly used by western politicians to hide embarrassing and unpalatable truths.
As a member of UK Families Flight 103 (the British Lockerbie victims families support group) I attended all but 12 days of the 10-month Lockerbie trial in Zeist and the subsequent first appeal. More recently, during the initial stages of the second appeal of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, allegedly "significant information" which, in the submission of the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission could significantly affect the verdict has been deliberately withheld from the defence and thereby the public by virtue of the fact that (being the subject of a Public Interest Immunity Certificate signed by Mr Miliband) it may not be revealed in open court because it "might jeopardise UK security".
The main guarantees of justice in both England and Scotland are (a) the independence of the judiciary to be free and unrestrained by "political" inducements, threats or considerations and (b) a free press allowed to report and comment on what is said within the court confines.
So, we currently have two cases (in England and Scotland) where the full and impartial administration of justice is being actively obstructed and inhibited by political considerations said to be on the basis of national security. The European Convention on Human Rights requires that any accused should enjoy "equality of arms" and both English and Scottish law require that "justice shall be done and be seen to be done". That all now seems to be subject to any dubious and unexplorable claim that it is "not in the interests of national security"
In the first century the satirist Juvenal asked: "Who will guard the guards themselves?" Now we find that in two separate jurisdictions the Foreign Secretary and person or persons unknown are trying to obstruct or inhibit the fair and impartial conduct of two very major cases.
When is truth and justice going to become more important than vested geopolitical interests?