Friday, 19 July 2013

Lost and stifled voices of Lockerbie must now be heard

[What follows is a recommendation written by Dr Jim Swire for the play Lockerbie: Lost Voices to be performed on the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe (August 2 - 26, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Venue 30a) by The Elements World Theatre:]

270 voices were stilled forever that dreadful night before Christmas over Lockerbie town. To those who have failed us it may seem that the voices of some of us who are left are heard too often, but the rights of relatives to know the truth, and the rights of Scottish people to a transparent and fair criminal justice system demand that they now be heard almost a quarter of a century later.

At the trial of the two Libyan suspects the prosecution claimed the bomb had come from Megrahi's hand in Malta, using a Libyan timer, and they had a fragment of such a timer to show the court that this was true.
The defence claimed that a Syrian made bomb, triggered by falling air pressure in flight and having an unalterable flight time of 30-45 minutes was used: that was what dictated the strange short flight time of 38 minutes. It could not be flown in from Malta since it would have exploded long before reaching Heathrow. But with the evidence heard in court and with smart footwork by the prosecution they couldn't persuade the court that their Syrian device had been put aboard at Heathrow.

Only after the verdict did it emerge that the prosecution's timer fragment was bogus.

Only after the verdict did we discover that Heathrow had been broken into before the bombing, close to where the bomb was loaded, which the Crown Office had known all along but concealed from the court. Such a trial with such illegal concealment of such critical evidence could never have been fair.

Since the verdict, for over a decade, the voices of the relatives of the dead have been muffled by the stifling hand of the Crown Office and our SNP Government.

For the sake of those who died and for the right of all our citizens to a fair justice system those lost and stifled voices of Lockerbie must now be heard.


  1. It's true that "our SNP government" is handling this matter extremely badly. However, I'd be interested to know which party anyone thinks would handle it better, were they in government.

    Consider. The original botched investigation happened before devolution, under a Conservative government in Westminster. There are credible sources who believe that Thatcher herself took a crowbar to the thing. The even more botched trial and appeal at Camp Zeist took place under a Labour government at Westminster, and a Labour/LibDem coalition at Holyrood.

    Who's left? UKIP? I don't think so.

  2. What "credible sources"?

  3. Paul Foot? Or don't you consider him credible? Thatcher herself, in what she didn't say in her memoirs?

  4. Thatcher was wrong on many things but she had an old fashioned honesty that meant that she would want her memoirs to be an accurate record.

    And this is why omitting reference to Lockerbie is very revealing because being unwilling to lie, she never mentioned it.

    And why would she do that, unless to hide the true cause of the crash.

    If it was a bomb she would have said so, but as it wasn’t, she never said a word and followed the American line to her I’m sure, deep regret.

    And Paul Foot’s flight of fancy is a wordy diversion!

  5. When Tam Dalyell asked Thatcher why she omitted mentioning Lockerbie, she said, because she didn’t know anything about it!

    This is impossible, because she would not have agreed to an American request not to hold a public enquiry into a disaster involving British deaths, without asking why!

    And failing to ask why would be an appalling failure of duty in itself.

    Therefore the more logical reason for her silence is that she knew the truth but could not tell and refusing to lie, never said a word.

    A similar silence was experienced by Martin Cadman who was told by a Senator, ‘we know the truth, but were not telling you’.

    And by implication this means there was no bomb, because if there was, Thatcher and the Senator would have said so!

  6. Do I consider Paul Foot a credible source? What a daft question. Of course not. What would he know of Mrs Thatcher (supposedly) taking a crowbar to the thing? However I doubt he even made such a claim.

    Perhaps Rolfe is mis-recollecting Private Eye's cribbing of Seymour Hersch's 1991 New York Times story which claimed that in a telephone conversation between George Bush and Margaret Thatcher Bush suggested the investigation be put on the back burner (until November 1991 in preparation for UN Sanctions I suggest.) Credible but again Hersch has no personal knowledge.

    I have personal experience of a major case which was brought at the behest of No.10 and the defendants were selected for HMG's Foreign Policy objectives, to facilitate a Civil suit. (The case collapsed and the UK taxpayer picked up the considerable tab via "Pergau".)

    As Rolfe is quite aware notably CSP John Orr bungled the case ab initio. Mrs Thatcher did not take an axe to it simply by putting Scotsmen in charge.

    Indeed the creation of the Libyan solution was an affront to Mrs Thatcher if it was supposedly revenge for her co-operation with the 1986 bombing (a price paid for the US abandoning its romantic fantasies about IRA terrorism). Mrs Thatcher wrote "Libyan retaliation did not and could not happen". Unfortunately this is also untrue they armed the IRA.