Thursday 3 February 2011

Letters to The Daily Telegraph editor

[Immediately following the publication in The Daily Telegraph of the WikiLeaks cables about the UK Government's attitude towards Abdelbaset Megrahi's repatriation, letters to the newspaper's editor were written by Benedict Birnberg and by Dr Jim Swire. The Telegraph website does not reveal whether these letters were published. But they read as follows:]

Of course, as you urge, David Cameron should honour his pledge to publish all the official papers relating to Megrahi's release. But realpolitik first came into the case not with his release but with his arraignment for trial and conviction in the first place. It was a scandalous miscarriage of justice involving both the British and the US Governments, as the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has suggested. What should be published are not only the official papers relating to Megrahi's release but those, UK and American, relating to the trial and conviction. Only then will the "disturbingly murky" affair, as you so aptly describe it, be exposed for all to see, not least for the families of the 270 victims who have waited 22 years for the truth to begin to emerge.
Benedict Birnberg

[Mr Birnberg's letter has been published. It can be read here.]

From the time when Tony Blair's 'deal in the desert' with Gaddafi became known it has seemed clear that it was in fact a swap: Guaranteed work in the Libyan oilfields for BP against the return of Libyan intelligence officer Megrahi in time to be the cherry on the icing of the Colonel's 40th anniversary in power in September 2009.

Reneging would have meant losing not only BP's advantage but loss of much of the rest of the hard won commercial and diplomatic advances made since the dark days of 1980s terrorism. This extensive threat confirmed in Wikileaks explains the extraordinary behaviour of Jack Straw in overriding the request of the HoC joint committee on human rights in order to get the Prisoner Transfer Agreement(PTA) with Libya up and running before the Libyan deadline.

Those with knowledge of Libya's record on human rights will see at once why that committee had legitimate interest in an agreement which allows the UK government to repatriate a Libyan prisoner even against his wishes.

What Prime Minister Blair seemed not to have taken into account (apart from the small matter of the wishes of the relatives) was that the PTA might not be applied to prisoners in Scotland, and was barred to those with ongoing legal processes.

Hurried reference to Scottish 'compassionate release' must have seemed to offer a politically defensible escape route, which did not even require Megrahi to withdraw his then current appeal.

To this sick man in an alien prison came a delegation from the Libyan Government, then the Scottish justice minister. Days later Megrahi withdrew his appeal and was repatriated. Presumably he was told by the Colonel's men to withdraw his appeal, thus hoping to open the PTA as a second route home, in addition to that of compassionate release (for which the appeal was irrelevant).

The ensuing howls from the US may have surprised UK and Scottish politicians but illustrated the remarkable political clout still wielded by the US Lockerbie relatives and their senators.

No matter how the commercial advantages of this solution for the UK/BP may be balanced against the political fallout for the Anglo/US special relationship, there is no doubt that withdrawing the appeal was a grievous blow for those who still seek the truth over Lockerbie.

Many believe that the atrocity was not caused by a bomb from Malta, nor by the hand of Megrahi, but more likely through an initially uninvestigated break-in to the relevant area of Heathrow airport the night before the disaster, the existence of which was concealed from Megrahi's trial court. The failure to identify who had broken in or why, at a time of heightened terrorist risk and specific threats against Pan Am seems prima facie to be astonishingly irresponsible. Yet there has been no objective inquiry.

Alex Salmond's Scottish government is currently still refusing any inquiry into the verdict against Megrahi. Yet they know that Scotland's Criminal Case Review Commission (SCCRC) after three years study believed that his trial might be a miscarriage of justice. Salmond's government has produced no justification for its deviation from the SCCRC's findings. The SCCRC is a uniquely independent body, the only vehicle in Scotland designed to question criminal verdicts. David Cameron has also claimed to be confident that the verdict is correct, routinely referring to Megrahi as 'the Lockerbie bomber'.

What if that is not true: what if he is innocent? Would it not be of greater importance to review that verdict, rather than try to distribute blame among those who decided to free him?

It looks increasingly likely that those who do not accept that the verdict should remain unchallenged may have to take a legal route to gain access to their human rights: requests to every single Prime Minister by UK relatives since 1988 up to and including David Cameron for an independent inquiry have been rejected.

In the winter of 1990/91 a Scottish Lockerbie Fatal Accident Inquiry(FAI) in Dumfries found that the disaster had been preventable, and that the aircraft had been under the Host State protection of the UK at all relevant times. The FAI court was told to assume that the bomb had been flown to Heathrow from Frankfurt, the background to this belief being 'out of bounds' as it was the territory of the then active ongoing Scottish criminal investigation.

Of course the FAI court knew nothing of the Heathrow break-in any more than Megrahi's trial court did 10 years later.

We, relatives of the dead, have a right under human-rights legislation, extant in our country, to know why our loved ones were not protected by the responsible UK authorities of the day, and to know as much of the truth as can be found about who killed them. It also appears that the UK's Supreme Court acknowledges that it has a responsibility to ensure that the UK Government operates within its obligation to uphold the human rights of its subjects at all times.
Dr Jim Swire


  1. Is there a man more deserving of an award than Dr. Jim Swire?

    He has been a beacon of integrity and dignity thought the years since Lockerbie, when it would have been possible for bitterness and resentment to set in.

    Sadly, given the cause he supports (which sadly chose him, rather than the other way around) means he will not receive recognition from the 'great and good'.

    However we in the general public can continue to applaud his tenacity , articulacy and spirit, and hope that he finally gets the transparency he desires

  2. CJM, he has made his mark on many of us. I do not doubt that he has made his mark on politicians too. Especially on the ones who have lied to him and denied him is own personal share of justice.

    No one who deals direct with Jim Swire could mistake the genuine desire to know the truth plain and simple or question the case he puts repeatedly to justify going after it for all these years. I am sure the politicians must squirm in his presence and I bet they do not forget afterwards that they looked straight at him and lied to him.

    These people, the politicians, the judiciary, it isn't that they're misguided over Lockerbie and Megrahi. Or that they've missed something. They KNOW they are lying and trying to keep the truth buried no matter how much they may protest otherwise. And so do the rest of us: which is why it is never going to go away.

  3. To describe Swire's acts as acts of dignity is to reveal either a lack of understanding what dignity means, or else a misunderstanding that dignity can be fashioned according to one's prejudices, that dignity of an act depends not on its source but on its target. What dignity is there in pocketing stolen money? What dignity is there in pocketing a compensation awarded on the basis of what Swire says is a miscarriage of justice? He says that from one side of his mouth, then in response to Saif Gaddafi's allegations about the insatiable greed of Lockerbie families who trade with the blood of their loved ones, Swire says from the other side of his mouth, or possibly the other end of his digestive track, he and his cohorts would give back the money if they could have their loved ones returned to them. How dignified is that? Swire and his greedy cohorts don't give a shit about the legitimacy of taking stolen money on the basis of a process you outwardly and loudly characterize as being unjust and illegitimate. He uses his loss as a justification, an entitlement for taking the cash. Would this "dignified" man assume the same indefensible position if they money belonged to white Europeans or Israelis? But we are dealing with Libyans in this case, and that warrants a different standard of dignity, doesn't it? If Swire and his media-starved cohorts knew a goddamn thing about dignity, they would never have taken a single penny. No one put a gun to their heads, no one forced them to take stolen money under a false pretense, and no one has stood in their way of giving it all back, and they sure had plenty of time to reconsider their undignified and immoral acts. And now Swire has the nerve to pontificate about the condition of human rights in Libya? I'll be goddamned! Do Libyans have a right to their money that you and your cohorts have been spending for years? And if Swire knew shit about human rights in Libya, he would not join hands with the Jamahiriya Student Union in the pursuit of what he calls "justice." If Swire knew crap about dignity, he would not have been groveling to Gaddafi to create a cancer treatment center for the benefits of Scots! If Swire had any dignity, he would have told the media and the Scottish Parliament about his visit to Gaddafi to discuss common goals on the eve of launching his petition. But, as I said before, dignity and justice and honor must have a different meaning in Scotland from the common human ideals that go by the same name.

    And a note to Robert Forrester: I haven't forgotten about your apparent ethanol-induced sermon and ignorant manipulations of my name. I will be back to put you in your right place, right there with your chosen partners that you now try to cover up with nothing but hot air. I hope my reply catches you earlier in the day than the afternoon, when there is a higher probability of your being sober.

  4. Suliman

    When I referred to "when it would have been possible for bitterness and resentment to set in", I did not think that someone would post so soon to show how that bitterness can manifest itself.

    Clearly - as you suggest - dignity must have a different meaning in Scotland (or indeed in Belgium, where I write from).

    What it is not, is the spittle-flecked invective of your post.

  5. Suliman, I saw your name and could generally figure out what would follow so I didn't even bother reading the post.

  6. While I certainly don’t agree with most of what Suliman said in his venomous attack post above, or the manner of his delivery, I do give a lot of credence to a line of thought that is related to portions of what he said, in particular:

    While individuals are free to comment on the human rights record of any government, western governments should be careful (and have not been) when attacking the human rights record of Libya, particularly when some of such attacking governments, by their actions in prosecuting the accused in the Lockerbie matter and imposing sanctions on Libya, or supporting such actions, or standing silently by while such actions took place, are essentially saying and showing by their actions and non-actions that Libyans are entitled to fewer human rights than citizens of other nations. The hypocrisy of western governments in commenting on Libya’s human rights record when their own houses are not in order with respect to human rights (albeit in different ways) is astounding.

    What about both of the Libyan accused’s right to a fair trial (and timely trials and appeals) that were denied?

    What about Fhimah’s rights not to be charged with a crime and dragged through a decade of hell when there was not a shred of evidence against him?

    Isn’t there something intrinsically wrong with calling for Libyan to improve its human rights record when certain western governments and the UN have themselves denied the basic human rights of Libyans?

    Clearly some western governments have a huge double standard with respect to Libya and human rights issues and are clearly willing to deny the human rights of their own citizens as well with respect to matters associated with Lockerbie. Clearly not all human rights matter to these western governments- indeed they are very selective. Therefore it is my view that they should shut up about Libya’s human rights record until their own houses are put in order.

    It also occurs to me that Suliman is a probably an Arab. While it may appear to westerners from the contents of this site and others like it that there is limited support for the idea that Megrahi is innocent, my Arab friends in the Middle East tell me it is widely accepted in the Arab world that Megrahi is innocent and was framed up by western governments. There is a much broader base of support in the world for the truth to come out in the Lockerbie matter than may appear at first glance.

    One of the main keys for the truth to come out about Lockerbie is for North Americans, particularly US citizens, to demand it. For any non-Libyan to remain silent on this matter is to silently say that he or she is fine with the idea that Libyans are entitled to less human rights than those afforded to people of any other nationality.

    There is some food for thought.

  7. Dear Suliman,

    Nothing personal intended in my playing around with your name, my old curmudgeon. Actually, I thought that 'Suli' sounded rather affectionate. Such a delight to see you back on form again, and so soon too! First the Prof, then the the Doc, and now, I am a drunkard who spouts hot air! Added to which I have a second instalment to look forward to, apparently. As I said before, you really are such a tease.

    I imagine it's going to be quite a while until you actually address the arguments so frequently put forward by the bereaved and JFM regarding concerns over the conviction of Mr al-Megrahi given that, no doubt, before you get to that point, you will feel the urge to treat us to some diverting comments on all the individuals who have been courageous and committed enough to place their names on the dotted line and support this campaign. I do hope though that it won't be too long before you get down to giving us a guided and detailed tour of what is right about the Zeist judgement from your point of view. I'm sure we'd all find that most illuminating.

    By the way, the time is now 11PM with me, and as you can see from all the errant spelling, disorganised syntax, appalling standard of punctuation and my tendency to lapse into expletives, I am clearly absolutely steaming.

    Toodle pip,
    Robert Forrester.

  8. Full, there is no surprise whatsoever in the hypocrisy of Western governments over many things. I heard William Hague, for example, saying on the news last night that the UK really shouldn't say too much about Egypt at the moment or interfere as Egypt, we must remember, is a "sovereign country". Helloooooooooooo, so was Iraq, so why did he back Blair's proposal to invade and impose "regime change"?

    And let's move to 1948 when the UK supported the creation of a state of Israel provided it "does not interfere in the rights of other non-Jewish communities living in Palestine." That was the deal. What did we do when Israel ignored that condition for the next 60 years? Nothing. So hypocrisy goes way back.

    Suliman has, at times, rightly pointed out the fact that Gaddafi is no angel. But no one here has ever claimed he was. Suliman has allowed his bitterness against Gaddafi to colour his view on the Megrahi business and that, in my view anyway, is very wrong. His personal attacks on others here are unnecessary and wrong too. It should be quite possible for him to state his case without being offensive and insulting.

  9. Jo G:

    I couldn't agree more. And Libya was a sovereign country with no extradiction treaty with the US or UK, and entitled to receive evidence that the accused had actually committed a crime accompanying any extradiction request.

    I know of no such real evidence that was provided to Libya, or the UN Security Council for that matter. Yet sanctions were imposed nonetheless.

    I can only hope that my government would insist on the receipt of real evidence and refuse to give me up to any foreign country for trial in the absence of same - just like Libya tried to do.

    Why should Libyans expect any less, and why shouldn't they be able to resist interference from a foreign country as a sovereign nation? Is this primarily because, as you put it, Gadaffi is no angel? I think its THE major factor, but I certainly disagree with that line of thinking.

    And why, when Libya was under legal attack, was it not entitled to seek legal counsel from whomever it chooses, and why are those such as the good RB chastized for providing advice? Isn't it a basic legal right to be entitled to legal representation or advice if accused of a crime? Since when does any lawyer have to justify providing legal advice?

    I guess most people don't care much until their own human rights have been abused. If they did care enough they would be holding their politicians accountable.

  10. Fullinquiry, if you're British, and if it's the USA that wants to extradite you, you can forget about any right to the provision of actual evidence against you. Your government will meekly hand you over.

    Of course Libya was entitled to seek relevant legal advice. And it's not even as if Professor Black's legal opinion has changed. He thought the evidence against the two accused was insufficient to support a conviction beyond reasonable doubt. (He was proved right in the case of Fhimah, and how was Megrahi suppose to have pulled off this trick alone, again?) He still thinks the evidence against Megrahi was insufficient to support a conviction, that is, the conviction was a miscarriage of justice. Since discovering the whole truth about Giaka's life story, and the bribe money paid to the Gaucis, he has become even more convinced of this point of view. As have many people.

    What is so reprehensible about that?

  11. it's a very interesting blog... and your work!!! no words to describe it. I am very new to the whole thing and thank you for sharing!


  12. By omission, Suliman and the other Dugganista-types out there acknowledge these points raised by Swire, Black, etal. are darn good ones. Gauci's buyer was clearly not Megrahi. He was paid @2 million just to let it be fudged to seem that way. The crucial witness Giaka was thoroughly discredited. The third important witness was Edwin Bollier. There's no normal evidence for an unaccompanied bag from Malta. No known accomplice to smuggle it aboard. Strong contradictory evidence. An even more rational alternative theory apparently hushed-up and obscured by the case that did emerge.

    All they can complain about is that the people raising these extremely valid points might have been paid by Libya to tell the truth. Or are perhaps compelled by some moral failings (of the type evidenced by taking Libya's settlement, which is only to reward those who toe the line, not to subsidize free thought) to probe for more accurate answers and deeper truth.

    Unless there's some important unstated middle part there where the actions so inspired are themselves somehow erred or unethical.

  13. Greetings, Mr. Larson.

    You are attempting to paint me in a certain corner, and your rationale is not anything I said but things I did not say! Is that what you call logic? To hold me responsible for what others say or don't say completely independently? How lame! Then again, this comes from the expert who defended the notion that the Libyan dictatorship "takes good care" of its subjects, all on the basis of a Forbes magazine survey. Yeah, that's logic alright!

    As I told you before, you need to stop wasting your time on these lame childish name-calling antics, and focus instead on correcting your blog--at least--to fake a better appearance of balance on that Lockerbie crank called John Wyatt. I note now that you have added a little line under the rubble noting sheepishly that Wyatt's credibility has come into "some question." No links, no independent references, nothing but a poorly documented "update" buried under a voluminous pile of bullshit. To see more of Mr. Larson's logic, the reader is now invited to read the comments on that pile of quackery, where one finds more of Mr. Larson's logic exemplified by the following:

    For the moment, I'm still struck with these points that allow me to not dismiss Wyatt right out:
    1) The stated results line up with common sense as I see it.
    2) So if anyone carried these tests out, I suspect they'd find PT/35(b) and a bit else implausible.
    3) He did the tests, we've seen some of the video.
    4) He says he got the results I'd expect.

    Let's look at these wonderful gems. In the first point, Mr. Larson says Wyatt's "results" are consistent with something he calls "common sense" then he qualifies that by saying "as I see it." Of course, it is called common sense because it is predicated on personal opinion, right? Common to whom, then? In point 3, Mr. Larson says Wyatt "did the tests," which is something he knows nothing about other than what he was told by the very crank whose credibility he is trying to defend! That's logic? Oh, but Larson saw some videos, so that proves their validity, even if they come from a crank who was selling toys as explosives detectors. And in point 4, Mr. Larson presents his real winner that the (unconfirmed) reports of a quack are not to be dismissed because they are consistent with Larson's own expectation! And this, too, passes as logic in the land of the dignified. In view of point 1, Mr. Larson's expectations in 4 are not to be taken as being based on mere "common sense," but something more than that, perhaps uncommon sense?

    Continued in the next comment...

  14. Continued from previous comment...

    With such evident bankruptcy, it is no wonder that Mr. Larson has to resort to unfounded name calling and other inventions based on what is not and never has been said. What Mr. Larson and others will not touch of course is my explicit challenge to them to justify--by any means--their claims about the personal dignity of those rejecting a court ruling while accepting--voluntarily and enjoying--the financial loot that flowed from it. Go ahead, Mr. Larson, call me whatever makes you feel safe and comfortable in your escape from defending your partner Swire's dignity. Go ahead, use even your brand of logic. Borrow from that Belgian bastion of dignity if you have to--the same Belgian dignity that is so aptly reflected in their laws re Muslim minorities vis a vis the laws that ban free speech when it is unfavorable to some Jews. Go ahead, maybe you need to borrow from Gaddafi's dignity, this could be another good opportunity for you to do more than just pucker your lips. But at the end of your contrivances, you need to address the things I do say, not the things I don't say. Tell me: How dignified is it to reject the court ruling and pocket the money? How dignified is it to campaign for justice hand-in-hand with a terrorist organization such as the Jamahiria Student Union. Go ahead, Mr. Larson and your Belgian/Scottish/Swiss experts on dignity, and tell us how the JFM could claim independence when it is joined at the hips with a Libyan state institution, and when their petitioning of the Scottish Parliament came only after their consultation with Gaddafi in a meeting they did not disclose until after the petition was acted upon, and even then they did it in a twisted, ambiguous, unaccountable manner.

    continued in a separate comment...

  15. Swire, Forrester and Co. should be treated as undeclared agents of a foreign terrorist syndicate, until proven otherwise. Instead, and in their desperation to act like an independent state, the Scottish government whored that petition for the whole world to dip in. And after that, we have the likes of Mr. Forrester saying he is not obligated to answer my questions! The petition was open to the world, and Mr. Forrester himself went around pimping it outside of Scotland, yet his brand of dignity affords him the latitude to pimp his cause abroad, to recruit foreigners to add weight to his action, but with no obligation to account to the same community for his actions and suspicious affiliations. It would all be quite comical, really, if it did not reek of the moral corruption that inevitably constitutes the core of serving the agenda of an international mass murderer. When the Lockerbie deal was cut so as to curtail Justice, the appeased Gaddafi knew damn well that he could never touch Lockerbie directly after that, not even remotely. He also knew that he no longer could rely on the likes of the IRA to do his bidding in the UK arena, that if he were to ever revisit Lockerbie, it would have to be on the backs of native mules and under the pretense of civil-society, so-called civil. I bet even Gaddafi knows that people who have the "dignity" to take stolen money would have no trouble working with/for his goons and instruments who were born out of extrajudicial mob killings of Libyan students. I know that acts of lynching and terrorism against Libyan students don't matter much to Forrester and his ilk. But how can he face the British public to justify partnership with the same organization that produced the goons who were expelled from the UK for their role in the murder of a British policewoman on duty, protecting Libyan students in a demonstration against the extrajudicial killings by Swire and Black's partner organization in the pursuit of justice? What is Forrester going to say to that? Is he unaware of that? Can a law professor be unaware that his affiliation with the JSU lends credence to a terrorist organization that has never retracted from the principle and practice of using extrajudicial mob killings as a means of doing justice? Is that were law professors supposed to put their weight? Would Black also join hands with the KKK ina campaign for racial equality? How about the American Nazi Party? Don't be offended, how could you? Before you do that, go contrast the public positions of the KKK and ANP vs. the unrepented JSU on the use of lynch mobs, violence and terrorism as means of doing justice.

    When Forrester says his JFM holds the highest regard for their JSU partner, he is really talking nonsense. If what he says were true, why then, did they fail to mention them in-of all things-what Black wrote on Facebook under the heading of history of JFM? Is the officer of Gaddafi's "revolutionary forces" not a part of JFM history now? Talk about silent revisionism! What a shame, after all he had done to spread JFM propaganda in Gaddafi's press. And after whatever other role he played in the founding of JFM, a role that Forrester side stepped last time and now tries to pass as something he addressed and I forgot. I did not forget, Mr. Forrester, I remember clearly that you said nothing of substance then, just like now, and you only had hot air to offer about your supposed respect for what you desperately try to sweep under the rug. What are you ashamed of, your own organizational history? What transparency do you seek when you can't even come clean about your affiliations and the role of foreign agencies in your campaign? Go ahead, play with my name some more. It shows your ignorance, as all the time you spent in the Mid East hasn't even taught you how to parse a common name. Ignorance, though, may be your best defense for justifying your back pedaling on a shameful partnership. Stand by your actions and face the music, if you've got the liver to do it.

  16. Oh wow. Was about to respond, but then saw what a wall of text you posted. That will take a little bit to see whether you managed to cover any of the things you usually omit, or whether you're still dancing around the facts to poke little holes and insinuate stuff.

    "Common sense as I see it," touche. That's not really common then, huh? Point accepted. Rest later.

  17. In review:

    You criticize my logic in on particular instance. Please note, that explanation was not meant to convince anyone else, you silly person. It was to explain why I myself still consider Wyatt’s tests potentially quite important.

    How different is this from your own acceptance of the Zeist verdict? It fits with your preconceptions about the terrorist nature of Libya, belief in the plausibility of Megrahi’s Malta plot, that judges don't get things wrong. Evidence problems, proven lies, huge bribes, claimed findings that just don’t exist? No problem, it must be true anyway. After all, a trial was carried out. We’ve seen the judges and read their report, which has a lot of words. Do they make sense? They must, because they convicted Megrahi by it, and we know Megrahi is the terrorist, because he was convicted, justly of course, since Libya is a terrorist state, as evidenced by ... They confirm my own prejudice and therefore must be right, no matter what the SCCRC or anyone else says or finds …

    I admit I could be wrong to have put any faith in Wyatt's stated findings. But you're definitely wrong in your much wider and more fundamental preconception. And you'll never admit, you ol' pro you.


    Then you go on with the smears – Jim Swire has taken what you call “stolen money.” He’s not the only one, you know. This point I shouldn’t but will deal with elsewhere. Since you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll be seeing it.

    Then, you take your slimy provocations to a whole new level, saying JFM “should be treated as undeclared agents of a foreign terrorist syndicate, until proven otherwise.”

    This not even by virtue of arguing for a terrorist – you know that hardly flies around here without people asking you for evidence that the legal ruling has any relation to physical reality. And you’ll have nothing by which to illustrate this very central thing you lack.

    The allegation is serious, the evidence - I haven't seen it. Abdullah Swissy being a founding signatory for JFM is cited. He's a onetime director of the Libyan (Jamahiriya) Student Union. You alleges this group is involved in Libyan state killings of apparently "non-Union" students overseas. Correct?

    I don't think there's a rule here against posting links or any other path towards some evidence to accompany such a claim. I'm willing to take a look if you opt to offer anything to that end.

    But in the meantime, really, what is the plot you’re alleging? Gaddafi decides to overturn the verdict, and orders a murderous minion to form a pressure group with some British dupes? He has the minion join the group, only to withdraw to not give the game away. But the brief lapse gives you your crucial clue, your Fhimah’s diary. A freely-offered signature is your evidence for this conspiracy.

    You friggin' sleuth. It’s all plain as day, innit? So what exactly is it that’s so clear?

    It's this: You’re a seasoned argumentator, who knows to stick with the strengths and avoid the weaknesses. You avoid the relevant facts said to establish Megrahi’s very guilt. I’m pretty sure you know that your webs of imagined intrigue are spinning wildly about that hollow center.

  18. Rolfe:

    There is nothing reprehensible at all about what Professor Black did. I only wish more lawyers took the law and their responsibilities with respect to it as seriously as he obviously does and would be as concerned as he is that any person convicted of any crime may be innocent.

    I find it hard to believe that Britain would hand over a suspect to the USA for trial without proof, and I doubt that the USA would try it with Britain. Can you cite any cases where such things occured?

    My own country refuses to extradite murder suspects to the USA (possibly depending on the US State prosecuting) solely on the grounds that there is capital punishment there. Yet it hypocritically supported the UN Sanctions against Libya more than any other country in the world did - including Britain and France which helped bring them about. Surely Megrahi would have faced execution had the trial been in America. Go figure.

  19. Suliman:

    Regarding your questioning of the dignity of accepting compensation on one hand and questioning the guilt of Megrahi on the other, see the Lockerbie Divide, under the challenge Caustic Logic posted there to you, in the comments, where I posted some detailed thoughts about what actually brought the compensation about.

    It's a rather long comment so I won't post it here also (for fear of looking like an Edwin).

    Suffice it here to say that, long, long before the dignified Dr. Swire ever had doubts about the safety of Meghrahi's conviction, the fate of Libya to pay compensation was sealed.

  20. There is currently a serious problem with asymmetric extradition treaties between Britain and the USA. The Nat West Three and Gary MacKinnon are the most high profile cases.

    The situation appears to be that the USA simply has to ask for a British citizen to be extradited and say why, they do not have to provide any proof that the accusation is actually true. In contrast the USA requires actual evidence before it will agree to extradite one of its own.

    It's something to do with the USA not having signed its half of a treaty or agreement. I don't have all the details to hand, but that's a rough approximation.