Lockerbie — Pan Am 103 : The Truth at last?

“After writing about the “ravers” who regularly turn up at lectures to claim that President Bush/the CIA/the Pentagon/Mossad etc perpetrated the crimes against humanity of 11 September, I received a letter this week from Marion Irvine, who feared that members of her family run the risk of being just such “ravers” and “voices heard in the wilderness”.

Far from it. For Mrs Irvine was writing about Lockerbie, and, like her, I believe there are many dark and sinister corners to this atrocity. I urge anyone who is aware of government lies over Flight 103 to come forward.”

Robert Fisk

Mandela visiting Megrahi — aka the ‘Lockerbie bomber’ — in prison. Many thanks to my friend John Ashston who took the picture.

The family of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi — the only person ever convicted for the Lockerbie bombing — will launch a bid to appeal against his conviction. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

UPDATE (Monday 24 April 2017 – 11:00 GMT)

Professor Robert Black (QC FRSE) just sent me his personal view on this matter which I reproduce here with his kind permission.

[Professor Robert Black has taken a close personal and professional interest in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing of 21 December 1988, particularly because he was born and brought up in Lockerbie, Scotland. He has published a substantial number of articles on the topic in the United Kingdom and overseas. Black is often referred to as the architect of holding the non-jury Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial at the neutral venue of Camp Zeist, Netherlands, and applying Scots Law to the Lockerbie case. Wikipedia]

Dear L,

I am optimistic about the outcome of the Megrahi family’s forthcoming application to the SCCRC. In June 2007 the SCCRC decided, on six grounds, that there might have been a miscarriage of justice. Since then even more evidence has come to light casting doubt on the verdict (not least Dr Morag Kerr’s masterly analysis of the bomb-damaged luggage, which demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that the bomb suitcase was ingested at Heathrow, not Luqa in Malta).

My only slight worry is how the SCCRC will apply the “interests of justice” requirement (ie not only must the Commission be satisfied that there might have been a miscarriage of justice, it must also be satisfied that it is in the interests of justice for there to be a fresh appeal). It is possible to envisage the SCCRC saying that there have already been two appeals (the first of which Megrahi lost and the second of which he abandoned) and that it is not in the interests of justice for there to be a third bite at the cherry. I am reasonably optimistic that the Commission will not adopt this approach — the Megrahi conviction still casts a dark shadow over the Scottish criminal justice system and is far from being generally accepted as just by the public in Scotland and elsewhere. I would expect the SCCRC to take the view that it is in the interests of justice in Scotland that an appeal take place that can remove this dark shadow, one way or the other.

Best wishes. Robert

END of UPDATE

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi (1 April 1952 – 20 May 2012) is dead but the “Lockerbie Affair” is not going away. The grounds for a new appeal will formally be handed to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) by the Megrahi family’s lawyer this week.

The SCCRC has the power to refer the case to the Appeal Court if it feels there are grounds and if it believes that a new trial is in the interests of Justice. This second test is a recent addition and it is not yet entirely clear to mere mortals when it is that the Truth is NOT serving the interests of Justice.

[The 2010 Act expanded the “interests of justice” element of the test the SCCRC apply so that: “In determining whether or not it is in the interests of justice that a reference should be made, the Commission must have regard to the need for finality and certainty in the determination of criminal proceedings“. The statutory requirement that the SCCRC consider the need for finality and certainty in determining whether an appeal is in the interests of justice (introduced in 2010) ceased to exist on 17 January 2017, when section 96 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2016 was brought into force.]

In June 2007, the SCCRC published a summary of its findings indicating that there were six grounds upon which it had concluded that a miscarriage of justice might have occurred. Moreover, the Commission has already stated that Megrahi’s family — and only Megrahi’s family — can launch a bid to appeal against his conviction.

So the plan seems solid. That is unless the SCCRC would decide to argue that, Megrahi being dead, a new trial would not serve the interests of Justice.

Dr Swire and another relative, Rev John Mosey, are among 25 UK-based relatives of victims who are ­supporting the Megrahis’ appeal. Dr Swire welcomes the plans for a new appeal.

“Shortly before Megrahi died, I met him in Tripoli and reassured him I would still do everything I could to clear his name.”

“I am delighted that this request for an appeal is now being placed before the SCCRC.”

“There are too many ­unanswered ­questions and the best place for the truth to come out is in a courtroom.”

“One of the main questions is why did Kenny MacAskill feel he had to meet Mr Megrahi in person on his own in prison?”

“It is an extraordinary step for a justice ­secretary to meet a prisoner particularly if he is just about to release him on compassionate grounds.”

“We need to know if he was ever given the impression overtly or implied that dropping his appeal would increase his chances of compassionate release.”

The new grounds for appeal include ­questions over the integrity of evidence ­produced by the Crown at the original trial, including circuit board fragments and clothes.

Many experts believe that PT/35(b) — the infamous fragment of the Swiss timer found at Lockerbie — was indeed fabricated and planted at the site to point the finger at Gaddafi. There are serious and undisputable scientific reasons to believe that this is indeed the case.

RELATED POST: DP/10 : Evidence of Fabricated Proof?

They also claim that crucial testimony given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci was false and should have been ruled inadmissible.

RELATED POST: Lockerbie: Key Witness Is Dead

For those interested in the Lockerbie Trial tragedy, I recommend the excellent blog of Professor Black: TheLockerbieCase. Those who want to study the forensic history of PT/35(b) will find many resources and original documents on the  PT35B blog. Also, you may want to check the blog of Dr Jim Swire and Peter Biddulph: The LockerbieTruth.

About Robert Fisk and Lockerbie

Robert Fisk took Mrs Irvine’s letter doubly seriously because her brother, Bill Cadman, was on board 103 and died in the night over Lockerbie 19 years ago.

“We have felt since the first days in December 1988,” she writes, “that something was being hidden from us … the discrediting of the Helsinki (US embassy) warning, the presence of the CIA on Scottish soil before the work of identifying bodies was properly undertaken, the Teflon behaviour of ministers and government all contributed to a deep feeling of unease.

“This reached a peak when my father was told by a member of the American Presidential Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism that our government knew what had happened but that the truth would not come out. In the truth vacuum, the worst-case scenario – that lives were sacrificed in expiation for the Iranian lives lost in June 1988 – takes on a certain degree of credibility. The plane was brought down in the last dangerous moments of the Reagan presidency.”

Lockerbie Revisited – Trailer

REFERENCES

Lockerbie bombing: Megrahi family to launch appeal bid — BBC News

Robert Fisk: Do you know the truth about Lockerbie? — Independent

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Lockerbie — Pan Am 103 : The truth at last?

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