Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

[Two years ago today, I posted on this blog an excerpt from a column headed “I accuse…” that I had written for Scottish lawyers’ magazine The Firm. It consisted in large part of verbatim extracts (in translation) from Émile Zola’s famous public letter “J’accuse...” on the Dreyfus affair. The article no longer appears on the magazine’s website*, but here is the excerpt:]

With the substitution of Megrahi for Dreyfus, Scotland for France, and the office of First Minister for that of President of the French Republic, every word can with equal justice be addressed to Alex Salmond. The magnitude of the Scottish miscarriage of justice and the flaws in the investigation, prosecution and adjudication that led to it have been exposed in the SCCRC’s Statement of Reasons published by The Herald; in John Ashton’s book Megrahi: You are my Jury; in David Wolchover’s monograph Culprits of Lockerbie; and in Dr M G Kerr’s article An overview of the Lockerbie case.  There is now no shred of justification for continuing to maintain that all is for the best in the best of all criminal justice systems or  -- the coward’s fallback position -- that, while there may have been a few technical, procedural defects in his trial and conviction, Megrahi was clearly guilty anyway, so what does it matter?

Zola’s letter was headed “J’accuse”.  Although the Lockerbie investigation, prosecution and conviction occurred under UK Conservative and Labour administrations, it is Mr Salmond and the Scottish Government that today have the power to put right the disgraceful miscarriage of justice that occurred on the watch of two of their political opponents; and it is accordingly the Scottish SNP Government that today stands accused. The only honourable course of action open to that government is to institute an independent inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 into the performance of the Scottish criminal justice system in the Megrahi case, as a matter which has caused grave public concern. 

[I have today completed a significant Lockerbie-related piece of writing. The details cannot at present be disclosed, but I hope that it may lead to a major development in the quest to rectify the miscarriage of justice suffered by the late Abdelbaset Megrahi.]

*I am grateful to sfm for pointing out that the article does still appear on The Firm's website.


  1. The full text is still there, only the linking to it may have changed:

    And yes, the Megrahi-conviction comparison with the Dreyfuss-ditto is striking.
    May it end the same way.

  2. There is a very good bible story about a man who built his house upon sand.

    I recently made a serious and sincere attempt to read David Wolchover's "Culprits of Lockerbie" but gave up after seven pages while I still had the will to live. Life's just too short! I did note Mr Wolchover still claimed Gaddafi was a closet Zionist and where he got the idea the bomb that destroyed UTA772 was also in a brown Samsonite baffled me completely.

    The article started with the claim that the IED was in the "optimum position". Says who or is this like the existence of "Abu Elias"
    something that is self-evident?

    Ignoring the content I found the layout and the density of the text almost impossible to follow and at the minimum some serious proof-reading is needed. I would be interested to know if somebody paid for Mr Wolchover's labours.

    As the article is OTT in it's praise of John Ashton's underwhelming "Megrahi, You Are My Jury" I presume Mr Ashton (formerly an "Abu Elias" enthusiast) had some hand in this article.

    This monograph does praise an article written by one Barry Walker. Regrettably it is described as "untitled" and (horribly) there is a link to the "Wikispooks" website where an earlier version was copied. It would be nice if the link was to the original article "Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil" on my "Masonic Verses" blog which includes useful photographs. Still the praise and acknowledgement was appreciated. Some people might just have paraphrased my article and published it as their own work!