Sunday, 28 August 2016

MacAskill ignores Megrahi evidence

[This is the headline over a letter from John Ashton that appears in today’s Scottish edition of The Sunday Times (but not, as far as I can see, on the newspaper’s website). It reads as follows:]

The first serialised extract of Kenny MacAskill’s book, The Lockerbie Bombing: The Search for Justice, contained factual errors (“Who was really behind the Lockerbie bombing”, News Review, May 15). I shall confine myself to two.

First, MacAskill claims Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was “unable to give any explanation” for his presence in Malta -- where the Lockerbie bomb supposedly began its journey -- on the night before and morning of the bombing. He adds: “Even in his own biography professing his innocence he simply says he can’t recall why he went.” In fact, in his biography, which I wrote, Megrahi gave a clear explanation of the visit. Second, MacAskill states crown witness Edwin Bollier claimed to have seen Megrahi at explosive tests conducted in Libya two years before Lockerbie. In fact, Bollier made no such claim, either in his numerous police interviews or in his trial testimony.

MacAskill insists Megrahi was guilty of the bombing, yet ignores the substantial body of evidence that suggests not only that the prosecution case was deeply flawed, but also that Megrahi was not involved.

[John Ashton has this afternoon provided on his Megrahi: You are my Jury website an account of his protracted dealings with The Sunday Times that eventually led to the publication today of the above letter. What follows is the gist:]

The Scottish Sunday Times has today published a letter by me about some of the significant errors in its serialised extract of Kenny MacAskill’s book The Lockerbie Bombing: The Search for Justice published on 15 May. This comes after a three-month wrangle, which began on 17 May when I wrote to the paper asking that they correct the errors (my email can be read here). It took almost two months for the paper to respond. The letter, which was from from the paper’s legal department, contained annotations by Mr MacAskill of my complaint and a flat refusal to print corrections (the letter can be read here).

I wrote back on 3 August pointing out errors in Mr MacAskill’s annotations and again asking that the paper publish corrections of the significant errors in line with section 1 of the IPSO editors’ code of practice (the letter can be read here). The paper again refused to print corrections, but offered to publish a letter from me. After some negotiation, it today published the following letter under the headline MacAskill ignores Megrahi evidence: [RB: see above].

You can read a more detailed critique of the book extract here.


  1. Just so.
    So which of the following applies to MacAskill:
    He is an honest man who sincerely believes what he has written
    He didn't write those parts of the book and hasn't read what has been printed
    He has read what has been printed and does not care that his statements are untrue
    He didn't intend to write what he did but hasn't bothered to correct anything
    Someone has altered what he wrote before printing
    He believes things that are untrue
    He is deliberately propagating falsehoods (lying)
    He doesn't understand the difference between truth and lies
    He does not have capacity
    Something else. ....?

    Would he be prepared for a minuted meeting to discuss these matters with just a few who take issue with him and for a report to issued subsequently? I suspect there would be no shortage of other participants.

  2. It's an idea. One might approach him of course. Any takers? An even-handed debate between Kenny and John, with a knowledgeable moderator. I would pay actual money for that.

  3. To expand on that. The problem always seems to be that people like Kenny are interviewed in a situation where they have the upper hand. Even with a knoweldgeable moderator like Ruth, Kenny was the attraction being interviewed about his book and sheer politeness doesn't really let her go for the jugular when he makes false statements. SHe actually did pretty well, but the format constrained any serious challenge.

    The person on the platform being interviewed always has the edge even if half his audience know better than he does. He gets to make bland false statements and it's not good form to let it develop into a one-on-one with an audience member no matter how able that person might be in refuting his assertions. If John had been in the audience last week he wouldn't have had much of a chance to lay a glove on Kenny in any case.

    John needs to be on the platform on an equal footing with Kenny, and the ability to come back at him with chapter and verse. Who wants to organise this?

    In his book (THE LOCKERBIE BOMBING) of MacAskill, states crown witness Edwin Bollier, claimed to have seen Al Megrahi, at explosive tests conducted in Libya, two years before Lockerbie.

    Comment by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd.: This is again a malicious, deliberate insinuation (lie) from MacAskill !
    I, Edwin Bollier, have never made such a statement. against my friend Abdelbaset Al Megrahi !

    Incidentally, the experiments with a military fighterplane bomb, was carried out by the official Libyan military and had absolute nothing to do ,with an improvised explosive device (IED) - an MST-13 timer, was used in this test for reasons of safety, before the military aircraft take-off !

    MacAskill is due for a criminal investigation against him...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage: