Saturday, 27 April 2013

Refusal to reopen Lockerbie case is damaging reputation of Scots Law

[This is the heading over a letter from Iain A D Mann published in today’s edition of The Herald.  It reads as follows:]

I greatly admire Dr Jim Swire's tenacity in his 20-year battle with politicians and legal authorities to get to the truth of the Lockerbie bombing atrocity (Letters, April 26).

The long-running Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi case has already done serious damage to the worldwide reputation of Scots law and the Scottish justice system, of which generations of Scots have been rightly proud in the past but now have cause to feel concerned and ashamed.

The Scottish Government, the Crown Office and the Scottish legal establishment continue to do everything possible to prevent the case being reopened. If they wanted to I am sure a way could be found and their refusal leads one to the conclusion that they are afraid of the probable outcome of another appeal. The report of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review [Commission] stated clearly that there are several strong grounds for a further appeal. Various well-researched books on Lockerbie have raised very serious concerns about the withholding of vital evidence from the defence at the original Camp Zeist trial, the US Justice Department's alleged bribery of key prosecution witness and the refusal of both the British and American governments to release relevant documents even to an appeal court sitting in camera.

Justice must always be seen to be done, and that has not happened in this case.


  1. As a British Unionist I want Scotland to remain part of the UK and therefore do not want Scotland to be Independent.

    Not that Independence is an option in the forthcoming ‘Independence’ Referendum.

    The actual options being offered are devolution in the UK or devolution in the EU.

    Genuine Independence would involve Scotland leaving the UK and EU, which the SNP once supported.

    And this confusion between independence and devolution is deliberately promoted by the SNP and explains the many contortions in policy to win the Referendum.

    However a real change in policy that will prove the SNP is genuinely an independence party is when they confront the Lockerbie Case and restore a judiciary worthy of an Independent nation!

  2. I have published Dave's comment because of, and only because of, the last sentence. This is not the place for unionist, or nationalist, propaganda.

  3. Yes sorry about that Professor, not intended as propaganda, but just to set the context of why confronting the Lockerbie Case is an independence litmus test for both the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments.

  4. I fear that we will not see an enquiry into the Megrahi conviction precisely because the Scottish Government is not the principle actor. This will not change with independence, of whatever form: this is a free-standing problem of powerful foreign intervention in the legal processes of a sovereign nation, and whether Scotland or UK is irrelevant.

    Solving the problem would entail confessing the existence of influences and structures which are supposed not to exist. How likely is it that George W Bush will stand up and declare that 9/11 was an inside job? That's how likely it is that the Megrahi conviction will be quashed.

  5. It surprises me not at all to realise that there appears to be absolutely nothing Dave says that I agree with. In fact, ignorant little-Englander tripe seems to fit very well with the rest of it.

    I don't know what the SNP leadership is playing at as regards Lockerbie. Its attitude is at variance with the general view of the grass roots of the party. I doubt if there's any serious outside interference - the Scottish establishment in the shape of the Crown Office has a sufficiently large vested interest to do the job all on its own.

    I don't think the Lockerbie issue is of particular relevance to the independence question. I can easily envisage the battle going on much as it is at the moment, even after independence.

    And I don't think 9/11 truther perspectives are terribly helpful either.

  6. Britain is more Independent that Scotland and less independent than others if only because of size.

    But whereas taking orders from others is the reality at Westminster, taking orders from others is hardly what you would expect to hear from an independence party!

    This is why Vronsky makes the valid point that it is not the taking of orders from a bigger neighbour that betrays independence, but the failure to admit to doing so, in the national interest!

    If the Scottish Parliament refuses to overturn the ‘extraordinary miscarriage of justice’ to restore the Judiciary because the USA opposes it, then say so, rather than say the judgement is safe!

    Without this honesty will independence be any better than the status quo?

  7. And the idea that the Lockerbie Case is an internal Scottish matter mishandled by the Crown Office ignores the fact that the Crown Office is a British institution that swears loyalty to the Monarch and acts on behalf of Westminster rather than Holyrood.

    If independence includes abolishing the Crown Office then potentially that would improve the Scottish Parliament’s ability to progress the Lockerbie Case.

    Except the SNP say the Monarch will remain Head of State!

  8. This last comment from Dave is quite simply nonsense. The Crown Office is the body responsible for prosecution in Scotland. Its head is the Lord Advocate, who is a member of the Scottish Government. It most certainly does not act on behalf of Westminster rather than Holyrood. See

  9. "And I don't think 9/11 truther perspectives are terribly helpful either."

    The suggestion was intended to be crazy. That the United States of America might murder 3,000 of its own citizens in order to advance a particular foreign policy is insane, and thus the idea that they might later confess to having done so is absurd.

    Similarly, we have a crime here that cannot be confessed. Would that it were only a miscarriage of justice.

  10. I think even mentioning 9/11 is unhelpful. It tends to tar the reasonable arguments of the Lockerbie protesters with the same brush as out-there fruitloops like Alex Jones and co, and that is not constructive.

    One of the things that got me interested in the minutiae of Lockerbie was being involved in a part of a long-running discussion of the 9/11 lunacy with a particularly deranged example of the truther mentality. As his spurious talking points were forensically dissected one by one to leave nothing more than a heap of smoking confetti, I started wondering about Lockerbie. I'd been reading articles by respected journalists who claimed there was doubt about the conviction, and I had tended to believe them, but why? The rhetoric was the same. A blue babygro that had been found intact but then presented shredded. A missing body. A suitcase full of heroin. A CIA badge. It didn't seem any more substantial than the 9/11 rubbish. I began to wonder, if Lockerbie was looked at in detail the way the 9/11 conspiracy theories had been looked at in detail, would it turn out the same way? Would it turn out that Megrahi really had done it, and the rest was all just people who like a bit of mystery in their lives?

    So I started looking at it, and discovered that I had the wrong set of talking points, and that Megrahi had a better alibi for the crime than I had.

    But really, it does this cause no good at all to say anything that puts it on a par with 9/11 trutherism. Which just about every word that comes from Dave's keyboard does, but there's not a lot I can do about it.

    Scotland is going to vote Yes to independence next year though, and there's nothing at all Dave can do about that, thank goodness.

  11. Yes sorry about that, I rushed to error on that one.

    I meant to say "has been following the Westminster line on Lockerbie", if only because the Scottish Crown Office predates Holyrood.

  12. I agree it is not a good idea to conflate different issues because the truth of one does not prove the other, but AE9/ is an impressive website.

    And conversely just because the official conspiracy theory for 9/11is wrong does not mean the official conspiracy theory for Lockerbie is wrong too.

    However the credulity (or dishonesty) required to believe that 2 planes destroyed 3 towers and that the resulting office fires could turn 267 floors of reinforced steel and concrete into dust at free fall speed, is similar to that required to believe a fragment of circuit board could have survived Lockerbie.

  13. Why am I not surprised about any of that.....?