Sunday, 24 December 2017

Lockerbie relatives again call for independent inquiry

[What follows is excerpted from a report published in today’s edition of
The Herald:]

Relatives of Lockerbie bombing victims have renewed a call for a full independent inquiry into the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 following the 29th anniversary of the atrocity which killed 270 people.

John Mosey and Jim Swire, who both lost daughters when the aeroplane was blown out of the sky on December 21, 1988, believe Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the bombing in 2001, was innocent. Swire’s campaign group, Justice for Megrahi (JfM), lodged a legal appeal bid in July. (...)

On [4] July 2017, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission confirmed it had received a third application to review the conviction.

Meanwhile, a three-year investigation by police into nine allegations of criminality by Lockerbie investigators, known as Operation Sandwood, is ongoing. It is expected to conclude in February.

Jim Swire, 81, whose 23-year-old daughter Flora was on the flight, said it’s “essential” there is also “a full public inquiry which has to go beyond confines of Scotland”.

Mosey, 77, who lost his 19-year-old daughter, Helga, when the plane came down, said: “Maybe, just maybe, one or both of the two current direct approaches via Police Scotland and the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission will bring us one step nearer to getting a full, independent inquiry and some honest answers to the big questions that trouble us."

“This would, at least, restore some of our confidence in our legal systems and in those who govern us and give us back a little of our national pride.”

Detective Superintendent Stuart Johnstone, of Police Scotland, said Operation Sandwood was at an advanced stage and that the final report would be closely scrutined by an independent QC before being submitted to the Crown Office.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We will examine the findings of Police Scotland’s Operation Sandwood report before we consider any future steps.”


  1. A public inquiry should have taken place just after the atrocity was committed but the CIA had it blocked by Thacher. That situation hasn't changed. It may change if Jermey Corbin gets elected but our security services will be working to make sure that doesn't happen.

  2. A public enquiry was denied because from the beginning the truth was known and needed to be covered up, for commercial reasons, and America hoped the whole matter would be forgotten over time. This is why Thatcher never mentioned Lockerbie in her memoirs, because being a truthful women, the truth couldn't be told, so she avoided the subject altogether. And she would have known the truth, because asking why, would have been an elementary question, before agreeing to American 'request' not to hold an enquiry.

  3. I wonder who will be allowed to see the Sandwood report. Will fractions of it be made public (like for the SCCRC's back then)? It should of course be made available to JfM, but probably we run into some restrictions on police work.

    1. Very good question. The police report goes to the Crown Office (the Scottish public prosecution office). It is not a public document. However, Justice for Megrahi brought the criminal complaints that are the subject of the Sandwood investigation and expect (and are entitled) to be informed of the outcome of their complaints. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission would also be entitled to call for a sight of the report in the context of their consideration of the Megrahi family's recent application to the SCCRC.

  4. Thank you. So, let's hope the 'information about the outcome' is strong enough to force a notoriously foot-dragging and self-serving Crown Office out of their usual ways of hiding behind the fact that they are responsible towards nobody.

    E.g. 'A spokesman stated that the Crown did not find sufficient grounds for further action...'.
    Oh, and '... but it was considered that that the ongoing police investigation into the Lockerbie disaster could be extended to include some of the matters brought forward, and if so it would be expected that a conclusion should be available latest 2050...'

    And of course a statement that the Sandwood report contains 'defamatory accusations'!

    1. That last part is inevitable. The original allegations were absolutely riddled with defamatory allegations by their very nature.

      For my own part, regardless of whether criminal charges are recommended, I want to know where Sandwood concluded the bomb was introduced. If it was Heathrow, as surely it must be given all the evidence, then that needs to be made public. If they cling to the Malta theory then I want to see their working. I think I'm entitled to know where I went wrong.

      We'll see.

  5. Is that in the scope? Would be nice if it was.
    The elaborate doing away with the simple the-Bedford-suitcase-was-the-bomb theory could need all the official attention it could get.

    Just how many suitcases were found (whole or in bits) out of the total expected number?
    Trusting the Bedford observation, the official theory must claim there were two brownish Samsonites, one with the bomb, found in bits, and the one Bedford saw, which then disappeared.

    Obviously, this alternative theory becomes less acceptable if the number of disappering suitcases would be small.

    And I sit with a feeling that suitcases are not very likely to disappear, considering what else was found.
    So, exactly how many suitcases were found out of the expected number? I have a vague idea that you once said that this information was just not available, which would be crazy.

    1. It's like this. We've accused certain individuals of misconduct in respect of diverting the inquiry away from the evidence showing that the bomb was introduced at Heathrow, and sending it on a wild-goose-chase to Malta. This effectively forces them to look at the Heathrow evidence and evaluate it.

      At one point I actually said to a couple of the detectives, "If you can show me that the bomb was definitely or even probably transferred from the feeder flight, then I will withdraw these allegations. Because after all, who would accuse someone of misconduct 25 years after the event, for the crime of not following up a promising lead that actually didn't lead anywhere?" All I got was a bit of a smile and shaken heads.

    2. I also meant to say that all the luggage known about that would or might have been in AVE4041 was traced and detailed by Henderson. There is absolutely nothing there that might have been the case Bedford saw.