Monday, 20 July 2015

Not the monster he has been portrayed as

[What follows is the text of a report by Lucy Adams that was published in The Herald on this date in 2009:]

An eminent psychologist and expert in cancer support who assessed the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has spoken for the first time about his fears for the Libyan.

Dr James Brennan, consultant clinical psychologist at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre, warned that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is so culturally isolated that it is almost impossible for him to come to terms with his terminal illness.

In an exclusive interview with The Herald, Dr Brennan, who is also a senior lecturer in palliative medicine at Bristol University, said that Megrahi was "desperate", partly because he cannot spend his remaining time with his family.

Megrahi, who is serving 27 years in Greenock prison for the bombing of Pan Am 103 in December 1988, was granted the right to a new appeal more than two years ago on six different points that suggested his conviction may have been a miscarriage of justice.

Since then, the appeal has been blighted by delays and last September Megrahi was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.

Dr Brennan said: "Physically he is deteriorating, and emotionally he will deteriorate further without suitable support. It would seem to me that the best form of support would be from his family in his own country.

"Human beings can only cope and conceptualise the end of life through language and it is impossible to imagine how to do this in isolation or through occasional telephone calls with family."

In May, the Libyan government applied for prisoner transfer of Megrahi and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has 90 days to make a decision. The transfer cannot go ahead while legal proceedings are live.

Megrahi has signed a document saying he would drop proceedings, but the move has led to an international political impasse as Mr MacAskill says he cannot complete the transfer until Megrahi has dropped the appeal.

Supporters, including Christine Graham MSP, are pushing for his "compassionate release" as a preferable alternative. Others, including many of the relatives in the US, are furious that the transfer is even under consideration.

"What struck me is just how isolated he is," said Dr Brennan. "He has got so few people he can talk to or relate to. He is cut off from natural systems of support and there is no-one there of a similar cultural background.

"The most important thing when we are facing our mortality is the opportunity to talk about it with friends and family. I have worked in cancer for 17 years and have worked with a lot of people facing the end of their lives and the way they prepare themselves for death is through talking.

"As someone who works in the NHS, it seems inhumane to tell someone they have a fatal illness and then just take them back to their cell. He cannot attend to the things that most people would want to - including preparing their children for the fact he is going to die."

Dr Brennan added: "He seemed very motivated to get his appeal heard. Nonetheless, he seemed desperate and I felt he was very much heading for a major depression.

"He has not made friends in prison. There was someone who worked in the kitchen from India that he got to know, but he has left. This is an educated man and he is pretty offended by the language and blasphemy he hears there.

"To me, he felt very genuine and open. Even though he knows I have no power, he wanted me to know that he is not the monster he has been portrayed as, but a father and husband.


    Many thanks to Dr Ludwig De Braeckeleer your reputable comprehensive investigation in Lockerbie case (PanAm 103) and in the attack on Flight (UTA 772) over the Sahara.

    See latest news on the link…/20/thomas-thurman-pa103-uta77/

    It indicated then the political conspiracy against the former 'Gadhafi regime' - means manipulated evidence and heinous machinations - with the attack on Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie (1988) and UTA 772, over the Sahara Desert (1989) - intentionally Libya so in connection to bring!
    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO AG, Switzerland. URL:

  2. Could well be that Megrahi in fact was quite a bit more decent, kind and relaxed than the vast majority of people could ever have been in his shoes.

    Interesting link, MEBO. Dropping convincing fragments of printed circuit boards is certainly an easy matter. Any hobbyist would find it a piece of cake.
    Inconspicuous mistakes can be made, say, like using Sn-only layered boards where the original would be Sn/Pb - but probably nobody will discover it anyway - and in any case the "similarity" would still apply.

    1. My problem with that is that I'm struggling to see when and how PT/35b could have been introduced into the chain of evidence. Ludwig has (perhaps inadvertently) demonstrated that the shirt collar itself fell out of the sky. Therefore, if PT/35b was a later introduction, it would have had to have been "associated" with the shirt collar at a later date. That gets extremely complicated.

      I can't categorically state that it's impossible, but I'm struggling badly to figure out how the forensic records from May-June 1989 could all have been retrospectively faked up to incorporate PT/35b. This despite Hayes's scrappy note-taking and renumbering of pages. Indeed, there's something very fishy about these notes, specifically pages 50 and 51, but I'm finding it next to impossible to progress from "very fishy" to a concrete proposal as to what was actually done. Much of the problem is caused by Hayes's chaotic, shambolic page ordering. No matter how bizarre, comparison of other anomalous sequences always brings you back to the possibility that it's all just part of the same disorganised muddle.

      I can't exclude the possibility that this conundrum may be solved in the future. I'm a tad sceptical though, because one thing seems to me to be obvious and that is, if you're going to introduce a fabricated piece of evidence into the mix, you keep it simple. There's no simple way to explain this. All possible explanations require extraordinarily complex fakery to have been carried out in retrospect.

      Until a satisfactory explanation of how PT/35b might have been introduced into the mix is advanced, I think we have to bear in mind the very real possibility that it was actually in that shirt collar when it fell out of the sky. I have no idea where that takes us, but we shouldn't deny something just because it's difficult to explain. Let's face it, any way you want to slice it, PT.35b is difficult to explain.