Tuesday, 15 May 2018

What is source of information on which Kenny MacAskill's opinions based?

[The following are two letters submitted a few days ago to The Scotsman but not, as far as I can see, selected for publication:]

As the 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie Pam Am disaster approaches it appears as if a light is finally going to be shone into the murkiness surrounding the UK’s worst ever terrorist outrage.

Police Scotland is finalising its four-year investigation into Justice for Megrahi’s (JfM’s) nine criminal allegations against some of those involved in the investigation and trial of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, and is preparing its report for Crown Office.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) has decided that it is in the interests of justice to conduct a full review of Mr Megrahi's conviction in order to decide if the case should be referred back to the Court of Appeal.

The Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament continues its consideration of JfM’s petition for a public enquiry and is monitoring the police, Crown Office and SCCRC initiatives.

At such a critical time therefore it is surprising that Kenny MacAskill (Scotsman 10 May - Kenny MacAskill: Lockerbie bomber’s conviction may well collapse) should yet again see it appropriate to speculate publicly about the likely outcome of these enquiries and Mr Megrahi’s guilt.

It must be remembered that Mr MacAskill, as Cabinet Secretary for Justice, made the controversial 2009 decision to release Mr Megrahi on compassionate grounds and in 2013  turned down JfM’s request for a public enquiry, underlining that the Scottish Government 'did not doubt the safety of the conviction'. Yet, since leaving office, he has repeatedly, in writing and in interviews, questioned and dismissed key pieces of the evidence on which Mr Megrahi was convicted. If, as Mr MacAskill avers, that evidence is in doubt, then as he himself acknowledges the case against Mr Megrahi falls.

Both in reaching his decision to release Mr Megrahi and in making the statements that he has since leaving office Mr MacAskill must have received substantial confidential information from the police, Crown Office and other sources which he now chooses to release into the public arena before the various investigations are complete and apparently without regard to the effect this might have.

Has Mr MacAskill reported his concerns to Police Scotland and/or Crown Office? Where did he obtain the information on which he is basing his speculation and opinions? Was this confidential information received while acting as Cabinet Secretary for Justice and should it have  been used for public speculation and profit?

It is in the interests of justice that these questions are asked and that Mr MacAskill passes any relevant evidence to the authorities as a matter of urgency.
Iain A J McKie 
Secretary of Justice for Megrahi

I am sorry to see that Kenny MacAskill's article contains a number of easily refutable errors, but I value his continued contributions.

One of the more obvious errors is that there is, so far as we know, no proof that Gaddafi ever admitted responsibility for Lockerbie. 

That means that when, as I believe will eventually happen, the Megrahi verdict is seen as untenable, it is likely that many will continue to believe that 'it must have been Libya's work through Malta somehow'.

When I last met members of the Tripoli based Government after the murder of Gaddafi, senior members were seized with a determination to blame Lockerbie onto their fallen leader, perhaps in the hope of reducing blame on others. It seemed to be a belief without any 'proof', except for their own enthusiasm for it.

Among all the conspiracy theories of thirty years, my friend has always been William of Occam [1287-1347] who seems to have believed quaintly that the simplest explanation compatible with the actual facts was the most likely to be true. Here are some facts about Lockerbie, suggesting a relatively simple explanation:-

1. Iran had an airbus containing 290 innocent victims destroyed by a US missile 5 months before Lockerbie, and received no timeous apology whatever for that dreadful error. Indeed the man responsible for firing the missile, Captain Will Rogers of the USS Vincennes, received a medal.

2. Iran publicly swore revenge.

3.Iran was linked to the Damascus based terror group known as the PFLP-GC and their bomb maker, the Jordanian, Marwan Khreesat. The CIA knew this and also were aware of a payment by Iran into a numbered PFLP-GC bank account discovered in the possession of an arrested member of that group. 

4. A letter from the King of Jordan to John Major claiming that Lockerbie was not the work of the Libyans was in possession of the Zeist prosecution, but when later requested for defence purposes was hastily given a PII certificate by the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, at the request of Scotland's Advocate General.

5. Kreesat had developed anti-aircraft bombs based on an air pressure sensitive switch and crude timer. His bombs were not adjustable, were stable at ground level, but constructed to explode automatically within 30 - 45 minutes of take off if placed in an aircraft.

6. A detailed analysis of these devices by the West German police had been sent to UK and US authorities well before Lockerbie, confirming that not all the examples of these devices were thought to have been recovered from the terrorists.

7. Steps taken to block insertion of such devices at Heathrow were wildly inappropriate.

8. In the light of Morag Kerr's book Adequately explained by stupidity? there is powerful reasoned argument for re-assessment of the happenings at Heathrow that evening, and in particular uncertainty over the origins of two suitcases loaded there aboard the fatal flight, and placed close to the origin of the explosion. 

9. The fatal flight exploded in the very middle of the designed fixed flight time for Khreesat's devices.

These are but a few simple facts from among many others. It is to be hoped that the question of ingestion of the bomb at Heathrow, not just Malta or Frankfurt as well as the bomb's most probable origins, will soon accompany new steps by the Scottish authorities to review this dreadful case in detail, on behalf of the late Mr Megrahi's family. 
Dr Jim Swire

No comments:

Post a Comment