Sunday, 21 August 2016

Lockerbie bomber release saw Scotland take rap, says Kenny MacAskill

[This is the headline over a report just published on the website of The Herald. It reads in part:]

Scotland was set up to "take the rap" for the release of the Lockerbie bomber, according to former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill.
Mr MacAskill likened the SNP government's involvement to "flotsam and jetsam, the same as the bags that fell upon the poor town of Lockerbie and the people there".
Mr MacAskill insisted the Scottish Government had not been complicit in any prisoner transfer deals for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the atrocity, and had "no control and little influence".
The decision to return Megrahi to Libya in 2009 was taken by Mr MacAskill on compassionate grounds.
He said Scotland had not gained anything from the decision, and accused British and American politicians of hypocisy for criticising it while working to secure deals with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to further commercial interests.
The former politician made the comments at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, as he discussed his book The Lockerbie Bombing: The Search For Justice.
He said: "We got nothing out of it (Megrahi's release). The Scottish Government and indeed Scotland got a black spot, not simply the bomb that landed and devastated the town of Lockerbie."
He went on: "There was no deal done by us but there were certainly deals done internationally.
"We had no control and little influence, we knew things were happening, but you have got to remember it suited people to be able to put the blame on somebody and say it was Scotland.
"Because Obama, Clinton and Straw, all of them came out with it and said we don't agree with it, and they had been conniving and working for it.
"We had actually delivered what they wanted which was to let Megrahi go, but what I can give you an assurance on is that we did so following the rules and regulations of Scotland." (...)
Controversy continues to surround who was responsible for the 1988 bombing in which 270 people died.
The Pan Am flight on its way from London to New York exploded above Lockerbie, killing everyone on board and 11 people on the ground.
The politician argues that Megrahi, who died in Libya in 2012, was "a bit player" in an act of "state-sponsored terrorism".
He said: "The major person responsible for this was Colonel Gaddafi, supported by Senussi (Libyan intelligence chief) and various others in senior positions."
But while he described the Libyan's conviction as "extremely weak", he said the Scottish justice system and police had "acted honestly and with integrity".
Mr MacAskill said debate would "run and run", stating Lockerbie was "up there with the grassy knoll along with 9/11" in terms of international incidents in which conspiracy theories rage.
"I don't think we will ever get to the bottom of this. Equally, I am highly sceptical as to whether a Scottish court or a Scottish inquiry could ever get to the bottom of this," he said.


  1. This man has absolutely no shame.

    His reference to the assassination of JFK as a comparison is offensive beyond belief and completely inappropriate for the truth is there WAS evidence to challenge the conviction of Megrahi. The SCCRC found SIX grounds to challenge the conviction. It was just that MacAskill sought to get the appeal out of the picture and did so by coercing a sick man into dropping his second appeal. It was what both the Scottish and Westminster governments wanted. MacAskill went even further in stripping the SCCRC of it's power to refer an appeal straight back to the appeal court. He didn't even follow the rules with that. Instead of a full debate he chose to sneak his new legislation into "emergency" changes to deal with the fallout from Cadder. The SCCRC is meant to function "without political or judicial interference". MacAskill used both to get rid of the appeal and to leave the SCCRC at the mercy of both too. He is a thoroughly devious and dishonest man.

    In claiming that Scotland had no power or influence over this case he lies, again, as he'd lied throughout this whole debacle. If Scotland had no power why did Salmond warn Blair to back off on Megrahi and point out that this issue was Scotland's to deal with? Why did MacAskill, constantly, proclaim that "I and I alone will make this decision."? Does he think our memories out here are all as selective as his own?

    Perhaps the most offensive phrase used in his latest appalling statement is the reference to "flotsam and jetsam, the same as the bags that fell upon the poor town of Lockerbie and the people there". The bags? What about the bodies Mr MacAskill you insensitive oaf! Are they just "flotsam and jetsam" to you as well? What about the nearly three hundred dead whose horrific end you exploited to write a book and make money out of for yourself while actively blocking them, and all of us, from getting to the truth about who really murdered them?

    If we never get to the bottom of this it will be largely because of the steps YOU took to make sure that would be the case. You said Megrahi would "answer to a higher power"? Well, Mr MacAskill, so will you one day for your despicable role as the "Justice Minister" who went further than anyone to ensure there was no role for justice in this whole shocking tragedy. Shame on you.

  2. Somebody leaned on Megrahi to abandon his appeal. I certainly had Kenny MacAskill at the top of my suspects list, but we haven't any evidence to prove it. Kenny said on Sunday that Alex Salmond wanted the appeal to go ahead and I don't think he would have said that if it wasn't true. He didn't state his personal preference, but he said categorically that he would have approved the compassionate release even if the appeal had not been withdrawn.

    My opinion of Kenny MacAskill is not high, but the abandoning of the appeal probably wasn't as simple as him twisting Megrahi's arm behind closed doors. I suspect there were major players in the UK government dripping the notion into Megrahi's Libyan advisors' ears that it would be better to abandon the appeal, and that was passed on to Megrahi by them.

    Kenny is wholly culpable for conflating the two applications though, and especially for not rejecting the prisoner transfer application at the time he should have done that, the previous May. But even then, he's such an idiot that I wonder if someone else might have been manipulating him to do that.