Saturday, 31 October 2015

US dictation in Lockerbie case

[This is the headline over a group of three letters published in The Herald on this date in 1997, reflecting views that were commonly held at that time. They read as follows:]

[1]  Asked by Tam Dalyell, MP, whether the Americans might be unwilling to give information to the Dumfries and Galloway Police on the Lockerbie air disaster in order to facilitate a “neutral country trial”, Mr Robin Cook replied: “We have had full co-operation...from the United States authorities. It would not be possible, however, to mount a prosecution without the co-operation of the US authorities, who hold part of the evidence. Most of those killed on the Pan-Am jet were Americans, and the majority of their relatives do not want a trial to take place outside Scotland or the United States.”
Throughout the past nine years we have constantly been assured that the criminal investigation was being conducted by the Dumfries and Galloway Police, with Scotland's Lord Advocate having overall responsibility.
At the one inquiry we have so far been allowed - which was mandatory under Scots law anyway - namely the Lockerbie Fatal Accident Inquiry, it was concluded that the plane, although American, had been loaded from empty (and therefore acquired the bomb) at London's Heathrow airport. It was deemed to have been “under the host-state protection of the United Kingdom”.
Soon after crossing the Border my daughter and 258 others aboard the plane (over 30 of them British) were cruelly done to death by the action of that bomb. The debris then fell upon Lockerbie, 31,000 feet below, where 11 Scots citizens not even associated with the aircraft also died.
By what metamorphosis of his position as the Foreign Secretary of our country does Robin Cook propose that America should dictate that a path be followed which, over the past six years, has shown itself incompetent to deliver the accused to trial, thus obstructing the process of truth and justice, which is what we, his citizens, seek?
Dr Jim Swire  Bromsgrove.
[2]  Was ever a dead horse flogged as hard and as long as the Lockerbie air disaster?
One cannot fail to be impressed with the tenacity of Dr Jim Swire and his fellow sufferers, who have been determined to ''keep the faith'' with their loved ones, lost in such terrible circumstances.
Having watched and read every serious report available, allied to information available locally, I conclude that neither this British Government nor any American one (certainly not the latter) will ever permit this case to come to trial.
Much of the evidence against the Libyans centres on occurrences in Malta, and particularly the miraculous memory of a Maltese shopkeeper, who can remember perfectly the appearance of some shopper plus all the common or garden items he bought on just another mundane day, months after the event.
Much hinges on this ordinary case of ordinary clothes, identified with amazing precision by investigators and shopkeeper alike. I would have more confidence in this detection had there been any report that the owner/s of the suitcases of powder found in a field on a local farm had ever been formally identified.
We may of course be told that this is merely a piece of local mythology, but I remember very well the farmer saying to me deadpan, and with only his eyes smiling, that he was worried in case his sheep developed a taste for the stuff!
If the cases had ordinary labels on them, the culprit/s should have been identified at once. If the cases had no labels on them, it confirms everything about the institutionalised breaching of security at Munich and Heathrow airports, as has been suggested by security experts in the past.
I have heard Dr Swire state that he wants to know who was responsible for the death of all the victims, a reasonable enough request from a grieving parent.
Look no further than the commanding officer of the United States warship which, equipped with every state-of-the-art electronic artifice, blew to smithereens an unarmed, fully laden civilian Iranian aircraft.
Are we supposed to forget the obfuscation which followed, with the White House spokesman firstly describing the plane as if it was a divebombing Stuka, and then as time passed conceding bit by bit that the plane was not quite as close as detailed the last time he was briefed? And then his final statement, that it was in fact miles away from the warship?
It was, we were then told, an ''unfortunate accident''. Indeed it was. Just how unfortunate, we learnt one December night in and above Lockerbie, long after that same commanding officer was welcomed home to the ''Land of the Free'', feted as some conquering hero.
Though they got precious little, it has never been my belief that the Iranian families were due any less sympathy and understanding than the families of those who suffered the inevitable repercussions of that heinous original crime.
Small wonder that neither our Government, nor the American Government to whom we seem so beholden, will agree to holding a trial outwith territory which they control, where elimination would be simple.
On the basis that ''if the mountain will not go to Mohammed'' I suggest, not that we seek a neutral country, but that we select an entire judicial team, court staff, and jury, and then request Libya to host the trial, to be run under Scots law by Scottish professionals in Libya, and with no TV cameras allowed anywhere near the court.
We control the trial, and they control the surrounding security. Whoever refuses to accept such a solution to the current impasse just might have a good deal to hide.
And I haven't mentioned the CIA once!
R S Carlaw  Lockerbie.
[3]  It has pained me for years that the anguished relatives of the Lockerbie massacre are still being led by the move to seek a Scottish trial for the Libyan accused.
Every adult in the UK knows that the bastard verdict, Not Proven, would be brought.   
Malcolm Campbell  Girvan.

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