Pan Am 103: A friend comments and makes some helpful corrections
In response to my previous posting about questions being raised over hidden evidence on Pan Am 103 and the Lockerbie disaster, a friend writes:
Interest in this case even at this late stage from anyone the left is
welcome: many thanks for your piece. The campaign fell instead to
politically moderate folk with a sense of justice and remarkable
staying power. Jim Swire has been inspirational; Christine Graham,
one of very few MSPs of merit, has been raising the issue for years;
Paul Foot wrote a Private Eye pamphlet in 2001. And so on. Whatever,
there are small but significant errors in your piece.
Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up by a remotely detonated bomb . . .
The detonator was not activated remotely but by a timer concealed in
a radio-cassette. Timers play a critical role in the story.
. . . alleging a Syrian-based group had arranged the bombing as a
gift to Iran.
Not just allegations but a strong case with Europe-wide police
investigations reaching an advanced stage. A good book (Lockerbie
- The Real Story by David Johnston, 1989) detailing the case
against the Syrian-backed PFLP-GC doesn't even mention Libya.
As Libyan leader Gaddafi sought better relations with the West he
was persuaded to let Al-Megrahi face trial in a Scottish court . . .
This is too simple. In the context of the sanctions crippling Libya's
economy, "sought better relations with the West" reads a bit like an
apology for the blockade.
Those who persuaded the regime to reconsider included Nelson Mandela and Scottish legal academic Robert Black QC. (Mandela was well disposed to Libya because of Gadaffi's
long-term material support for the anti-apartheid fight.) The two argued that fears that the accused would never get a fair trial in Britain might be answered by holding a trial elsewhere.
The US in particular wanted not a trial (given the poor evidence, it
might well have found the men innocent) but Gadaffi's head on a
block. Happy to help, senior pro-Labour law officers argued that
Scottish law explicitly prohibited a trail outwith Scotland. Black
showed that to be absurd. But al-Megrahi is adamant that the final
decision to stand trial was taken by the two accused, convinced as
they were that they would be cleared.
The trial being, in the event, a farce, Black and others have worked
honourably ever since to expose that. Mandela, to his great credit,
visited Megrahi in HMP Barlinnie a few years ago - few long-retired
elder statesmen would travel to a dump like Barlinnie to pledge
support for a pariah like al-Megrahi who, by the way, was not an
intelligence operative but a small-time sanctions buster, more Arthur
Dailey than spook.
Lockerbie bombing victims' relatives called for a public inquiry.
Some relatives have also campaigned tirelessly for an inquiry ever
since the trial.
the official report released in Scotland . . .
The SCCRC report was NOT released, it was leaked to The Herald. The
Scottish pretendy-government and Westminster played the blame game as
to who suppressed what but both were happy to keep it hidden even if
His Royal 'Eckness Prince Alec of Salmond has since huffed and puffed
about "justice being served". Aye, right.
Blair had been happy to seek a deal with Gadaffi by misusing that
rather odd Anglo-Libyan "Prisoner Transfer Agreement" as lubricant
but the PTA did not apply in Scotland. The decision to release
al-Megrahi was taken by Scottish Injustice Minister Kenny MacAskill
who seemed to hope he would quietly pop off within weeks as any good
wog should. (al-Megrahi would have died pretty much on cue given the
standard of palliative care to be had in HMP Greenock. To the
disappointment of many, he hasn't.)
MacAskill is one of that fearsome breed, Edinburgh lawyers, compared
to whom Freemasons with Vatican connections are as lambs. If it takes
controversy to cover for chums in a scandal, so be it. Duty calls.
The notion of Holyrood / Westminster collusion is advanced only by
those who do not understand just how much the Nats hate McLabour (and
vice versa) and do so as only those without substantive disagreements can.
I'd never argue that the bombing and proxy invasion to depose Gadaffi
was driven primarily by a need to cover up the Lockerbie scandal but
it seemed to be an added attraction given the zeal with which the US
and the Brits have since pressed for evidence-cooking by what passes
for a Libyan government.
showing that Megrahi had admitted regular visits to Malta to see a
woman friend . . .
Ashton's book confirms that al-Megrahi did have a lover in Malta.
What is sick about the story is that BBC hack Reevel Alderson was
given sight of critical documents on condition that he did not report
the dalliances as doing so would reveal the leak's source. It seems
that's just what the little shit did:
BTW, al-Megrahi reportedly used secret passports to visit his lover
in Malta but not to travel there to blow up Pan Am 103. An oversight, perhaps?