Friday 4 October 2013

Media reports following launch of John Ashton's Scotland's Shame

[The following are excerpts from media reports following upon yesterday’s launch of John Ashton’s Scotland’s Shame: Why Lockerbie Still Matters:]

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter was killed in the Lockerbie tragedy, has written about the "painful task" of clearing out her room after her death and his struggle to avoid becoming bitter.

In the foreword to a new book by John Ashton, biographer of the Libyan convicted of the bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, Dr Swire describes Flora as "our deeply loved elder daughter" slaughtered "a day short of her 24th birthday". She was on flight PanAm103 because she wished to visit her boyfriend in Boston for Christmas. "If we had only said no..." he writes. "We would still have Flora with us."
Yesterday, at the launch of the book, Scotland's Shame, Dr Swire and Mr Ashton released an open letter to Frank Mulholland, the Lord Advocate, asking why he dismissed new evidence revealed in the [2012] biography of Megrahi, and why the witnesses relating to this evidence have not been questioned. Dr Swire said a public inquiry is the only way to answer the questions and concerns of the relatives of the 270 victims and the only way to hold the Crown Office to account.
The Scottish Government has repeatedly refused and instead called for Westminster to hold an inquiry or for the case to be tested with another appeal in the courts.
Dr Swire and Mr Ashton said an appeal, even if feasible, would not answer questions about the Crown Office's failure to disclose key documents.
The Crown Office said the case is still live and it therefore cannot comment. 
(From The Herald)

Twenty five years after his daughter was killed by the Lockerbie bomb, Jim Swire is to step back from active involvement in the campaign to uncover the full facts about the atrocity.
Dr Swire, 76, a retired GP, is the most prominent spokesman for British families affected by the attack on Pan Am Flight 103. Among the 270 dead was Flora, 23, his daughter, a medical student. He hoped he might find closure when Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi came to trial in 2001.
Instead he was horrified by what he saw as the flimsy case against the Libyan, who was found guilty. Dr Swire redoubled his efforts to get to the bottom of the crime.
Yesterday, at the launch of a book entitled Scotland’s Shame: Why Lockerbie Still Matters, he said he was ready to “disappear from the battlements”.
“I think my campaign has been my means of survival, but I have got to a point where I really have to cut back on it, otherwise it will do harm,” said Dr Swire. “One of the parameters of doing it is what Flora would have thought. I think Flora would be saying, ‘You’ve done your very best dad. It’s time to leave it to others, to younger men.’
“I suspect I will be called in to make comments to the media from time to time. That’s OK. What I don’t think is OK is investing as much time as I have been doing. I’m going to try to find ways of trying to avoid spending as much time on it.” Dr Swire has already bought a computer programme which converts words to text, which he say will cut by two thirds the time he has to devote to writing. By the anniversary, December 21, he would be ready to move on. (...)
There was little immediate sign that he was ready to wind down. In the foreword to the book, Dr Swire says the country’s justice system had survived the act of Union with England intact, only to be blighted by “the impenetrable arrogance of her prosecuting authorities”, the Crown Office.
Together with John Ashton, the book’s author, he used a press conference to launch an outspoken attack on Frank Mulholland, the Lord Advocate. Dr Swire and Mr Ashton have also written an open letter to the Crown Office, questioning aspects of the al-Megrahi trial, including the alleged withholding of evidence and the payment of a key witness, Tony Gauci.
At a meeting London in 2011, Dr Swire said he had asked Mr Mulholland repeatedly why evidence of a break-in at Heathrow airport in 1988, the night before the bombing, had not been presented at the trial.
“We went through this routine four times,” recalled Dr Swire. “At the end of, Mr Mulholland said. ‘You know, I wondered why it wasn’t available, but I haven’t been able to find out’. An incredible statement.”
Mr Ashton added: “Frank Mulholland, with aspects of his behaviour ... has really raised questions about whether he is fit to hold office.”
The Crown Office said that because the bombing was still a live case it could not comment on it. A spokesman said the remarks attributed by Dr Swire to the Lord Advocate at the meeting in London were “simply untrue”.  
(From The Times)
A report in The Scotsman can be read here.


  1. MISSION LOCKERBIE , 2013 (google translation, german/english):

    It is puzzling that the Scottish Parliament or the public prosecutor > the Justice or the new 'Lockerbie Investigation operational team', led by Detective Superintendent Michael Dalgleish, today issued no order, the crucial evidence piece against Libya , the MST 13 timer fragment (PT-35) - forensically to examine ?

    The supposedly discovered in Lockerbie ultimate piece of evidence "PT-35", in the presence of specialists and a Swiss police officer from ex (BUPO) and Ing Ulrich Lumpert - Edwin Bollier (MEBO Ltd.) inter alia are investigated forensic the composition of 8 or 9 layers of fiberglass.

    9 layers of fiberglass indicate it was from a MST-13 timer, wo was supplied to Libya, from MEBO Ltd.

    8 layers of fiberglass shows it was from a "prototype circuit board", which had to do nothing with Libya !

    It is high time that before 25 Anniversary of the "Lockerbie Tragedy", an important part of the truth comes to light...

    In german language:
    Es ist rätselhaft, dass das Scottish Parlament oder die Staatsanwaltschaft, der Justice oder dem neuen 'Lockerbie Investigation operation Team', unter Leitung von Detective Superintendent Michael Dalgleish, bis heute keinen Auftrag erteilte, das entscheidende, bezugsweise belastende Beweistück gegen Libyen, das
    "MST-13" Timerfragment (PT-35) - forensisch zu prüfen ?

    Das angeblich in Lockerbie aufgefundene ultimative Beweisstück "PT-35", soll von Spezialisten im beisein eines schweizerischen Polizeibeamten, von ex (BUPO) sowie Ing. Ulrich Lumpert und Edwin Bollier (MEBO Ltd.) u.a. auf die Zusammensetzung von 8 oder 9 Lagen Fiberglas forensisch untersucht werden.

    9 Lagen Fiberglas weisen auf einen nach Libyen gelieferten MST-13 Timer hin;
    8 Lagen Fiberglas weisen auf einen "Prototyp Circuit Board" hin, welcher mit Libyen, nichts zutun hätte !

    Es wäre höchste Zeit, dass vor dem 25. Jahrestag der "Lockerbie Tragedy", ein wichtiger Teil der Wahrheit an den Tag käme...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO LTD. Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:

  2. Mr Ashton added: “Frank Mulholland, with aspects of his behaviour has really raised questions about whether he is fit to hold office.”

    And yet if he got the sack, Rolfe wouldn’t mind him fronting the Yes campaign, which answers Quincey’s comment about Rolfe’s politics.

    Alas communist because for them ‘the end justifies the means’, except the end turns out very different to that promised, particularly when the promise is independence, but the reality is devolution in EU, like Greece.

  3. Sorry, what? I'd probably slit my wrists if anyone was so grossly misguided as to appoint Mulholland to front the Yes campaign. I don't even know if he supports independence. I suspect not - he's wrong about everything else so why would I imagine he'd be right about that?

    Blair Jenkins, Dennis Canavan and Nicola Sturgeon are fronting the Yes campaign, and we're lucky to have them.

  4. Dave, in my view, on this issue, one sometimes needs to ignore some in the same debate and just concentrate on going for justice on Lockerbie.

    Ignore egos here. Just focus on the fact that Megrahi's conviction was seriously suspect. If we all believe that then surely that is the main thing?

  5. For some the search for truth about Lockerbie is about illustrating the virtue of voting SNP rather than Unionist.

    And progress has been made regarding PE1370 thanks to Christine Grahame, but the SNP government has failed to deliver.

    This is because the cover-up is US rather than UK inspired and who dare defy the rogue super-power unless they are compelled to do so?

    And of course any government has a duty to the living as well as the dead and must make progress where they can.

    Hence Rolfe says, “This (non-independence referendum) is about the future prosperity and self-respect of our country. I’d vote Yes if it was Frank Mulholland fronting the Yes team”.

    But it is arrogant for Rolfe to marginalise the importance of Lockerbie truth in restoring Scottish self-respect and judicial system on a Lockerbie blog dedicated to that purpose!

  6. I'm "arrogant", "desperate" and I've kind of forgotten what else? You reveal your own quality, Dave.

    The 2014 referendum is the first chance we've had in four hundred years to restore our country's place in the international family of nations. People have worked all their lives to see this come to pass. It's bigger than all of us.

    As Derek Bateman observed recently, we are the "lucky generation". "Generation X", the people who have the right to put that X on the ballot paper to win for their country the status citizens of other countries have had to fight and die for.

    The very idea that anyone would advocate a No vote, apparently for no better reason than to spite the SNP, appals me. What is unionism offering, and what have the unionist parties done, that we should consider granting them their dearest wish?

    The referendum isn't about the SNP. The SNP have merely facilitated the referendum. As a political party, they probably won't survive for long in their present form post independence. Parties will re-group and re-form, as befits a new start. A new start which offers us the best chance we have of breaking the log-jam of Lockerbie.

    But make no mistake, the long-term future of the country IS more important than Lockerbie, just as it's more important than whether or not James of the Glen murdered the Red Fox.

  7. Scotland has a population smaller than London and has survived in the UK with some distinct institutions for 400 years, with a great deal of influence on UK governments.

    How long will Scotland continue to survive in the EU with no control of currency or borders?

    A Yes vote to spite the English will not deliver independence or a public enquiry, if only because devolution in EU rather than devolution in UK will reduce Scottish influence over Scottish affairs.

    Indeed the idea that exchanging Westminster rule with Brussels rule and the Common Fisheries Policy is Independence is silly!

  8. Scotland had a population about a quarter of the size of England's when the UK began, which was 300 years ago not 400 years ago - you seem ignorant of the history, or what I was referring to in my post. With just a bit more than half the land area.

    Now, Scotland's population is less than a tenth of England's. That's how well the country has done under the union.

    Scotland has succeeded in retaining many of the institutions of statehood, but these can be revoked at any time by Westminster. There have been threats to do just that, all in the name of "harmonisation". These are likely to ramp up if we're so barking insane as a nation to vote No.

    Scotland has never had any meaningful influence in Westminster. How is that even possible with only a tiny minority of MPs? Certain people of Scottish origin have risen to positions of power and personal advancement in Westminster, but these people have never used that power to advantage Scotland in any way. How could they? They depend on English voters for their position.

    A Yes vote will have nothing at all to do with "spiting the English", and everything to do with regaining self-determination.

    It will deliver independence, in the same way other countries of similar size are independent in today's globalised world. That of course includes the ability to make or break alliances and to enter into or leave unions, without having to follow whichever course England decides on whether we like it or not.

    It may not deliver a solution to the Lockerbie debacle, but it has a damn sight better chance of doing that than if Scotland is crazy enough to remain in the union. Doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome is the very definition of futility. Independence is at least doing something different.