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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , Scotland issues

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Old 8th October 2010, 12:47 PM   #1
Rolfe
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Scottish Parliament e-Petition 417

A number of people on the forum have posted in support of the view that the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing appears to be a miscarriage of justice. I would therefore encourage them to visit the web site of the Scottish parliament where an e-Petition has been opened which reads as follows.

Quote:
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to open an independent inquiry into the 2001 Kamp van Zeist conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.

Signatures are accepted from residents of any country in the world who agree with the termsn of the petition in question. Only names and country of residence are published on the web site.

As most people know, Mr. al-Megrahi's original conviction attracted widespread criticism. Although the trial returned a guilty verdict, the evidence seemed to admit of a great deal of extremely reasonable doubt, and on critical points the judges appeared to have repeatedly preferred an unlikely interpretation which supported guilt to a likely interpretation which supported innocence. Prominent critics included Dr. Hans Kochler, official UN observer to the trial, Prof. Robert Black QC, who was instrumental in arranging the trial, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a number of the bereaved relatives of the victims.

The original appeal against the verdict in 2002 was unfortunately brought on the wrong grounds, due to the unique nature of the trial (which was decided by a judicial bench, not a jury), and failed as a result.

In 2003, permission to lodge a second appeal was sought, and this was granted in 2007, when the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission found no less than six points on which there might have been a miscarriage of justice. The appeal had not yet come before the court by 2008, when Mr. al-Megrahi was diagnosed with aggressive metastatic prostate cancer. This was largely due to the repeated refusal of the government to allow the defence sight of a document cited by the SCCRC, which had not been disclosed by the prosecution and which was deemed potentially favourable to the defence.

When the appeal began in 2009 it was subject to a prolonged timetable which would not have seen a decision until the spring of this year. When Mr. al-Megrahi was given the prognosis of three months to live in August 2009, he dropped this appeal, apparently in the belief that this would expedite his release back to his home country.

The dropping of the appeal has closed off the obvious judicial route to a re-examination of this contentious and indeed perverse verdict. The lingering doubts are seen by many as casting a cloud over the reputation of the Scottish criminal justice system. As a result there has been increasing pressure for a full public inquiry into the affair. The e-Petition seeks to encourage the Scottish parliament to open such an inquiry.

Rolfe.
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Old 8th October 2010, 02:25 PM   #2
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In an instant ....
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Old 8th October 2010, 02:46 PM   #3
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Excellent idea, this thread. I haven't signed the petition yet, bust day, and I want to be sure I do it right. Apparently it's open for everyone to sign, and it wouldn't hurt to have a million signatures saying "look again," even if they finally decide to say no.

Fr the record, the deadline is the 28th, so no huge rush.

Rolfe's got the reasons for a new probe explained quite well. I wonder if she knows much about the petition and e-petition process in Scotland?
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:21 PM   #4
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Ooops.... bump with links didn't transfer. Will try again.
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:24 PM   #5
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I have signed it: not least because of all the research Rolfe and others have done on this board. I have learned a lot and I think there is not question but that this case needs to be re-examined
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Rolfe's got the reasons for a new probe explained quite well. I wonder if she knows much about the petition and e-petition process in Scotland?

This isn't something with much influence. Anyone can start one of these petitions. We had a poster on the forum once before, who joined specifically to promote her petition, some sort of CT about the police covering up her daughter's murder by insisting it was a suicide.

The committee is free to take a cursory look at it and throw it in the bin. I expect them to do that. However, a high number of genuine signatories including some prominent names is a useful publicity move.

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Old 8th October 2010, 03:28 PM   #7
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I overlooked this thread where Rolfe also posted. My comments are here. Sorry, I haven't figured out all of the ins and outs of JREF and how to link between forums. Help?
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:33 PM   #8
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Bunntamas, your link brings me back here.

You can link to threads, which takes you to the beginning, or to individual posts, or to specific pages in a thread. This last is not recommended beause it will take different posters to completely different places in the thread depending on how many posts per page their system is set to display.

You can even quote posts, with link-back, in different threads, simply by copying on the text that appears in the "quote" box and copying it into the thread you want it in.

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Old 8th October 2010, 03:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Bunntamas, your link brings me back here.

You can link to threads, which takes you to the beginning, or to individual posts, or to specific pages in a thread. This last is not recommended beause it will take different posters to completely different places in the thread depending on how many posts per page their system is set to display.

You can even quote posts, with link-back, in different threads, simply by copying on the text that appears in the "quote" box and copying it into the thread you want it in.

Rolfe.
Thanks Rolfe. Sorry about that link taking you back here. I'll try again.
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:42 PM   #10
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Trying again, per Rolfe's guidance in copying quote from the "Did..." forum.
Originally Posted by Bunntamas View Post
So, how do you think it will stand up against other previously (pro Megrahi) failed petitions and polls such as this one - I gather that one didn't turn out as hoped. And this one Wow. Eighteen signatures.
I'll save the embarrassement of posting Charles' poll, which garnered, I think much less than 50 signatures. Which one was it that also failed? I'm losing count. You know, the one on / to which CL was so boasting about posting his name? Maybe it was the one noted above, in the Firm article, on which CL's name doesn't appear, that got snubbed.
And in contrast, have a look at the the number of signatures on this one and this one. Hmmmmm..... Can't wait to see how this latest one turns out. Maybe the polls will change as a result of the media that Swire has been [expletive]ing lately. Time will tell.

And by the way, where is the Megrahi / Megrahi family, any other Libyan, or Maltese supporter signature on any of the pro Megrahi petitions? Why are they absent and their absence un-noted here, or anywhere else for that matter?
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Old 8th October 2010, 03:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bunntamas View Post
Trying again, per Rolfe's guidance in copying quote from the "Did..." forum.

I don't see much point in having the same discussion in two different threads, and the mods don't like it.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...postid=6421408

One thing though. The petition calls for an inquiry. What I think it should really be calling for is for the findings of the SCCRC to be properly tested in court, with the verdict having the force of law. However, one petitions for what can feasibly be granted, I suppose.

Why are you so set against there being a proper inquiry into this, one way or another? You may have a particular point of view, but you can't possibly maintain that there's no cause to doubt the verdict, given the SCCRC findings and the widespread concern over the issue.

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Last edited by Rolfe; 8th October 2010 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 8th October 2010, 04:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I don't see much point in having the same discussion in two different threads, and the mods don't like it.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...postid=6421408

Rolfe.
Okay, I can understand why the mods don't like it. I don't either. Going back and forth is like dealing w/ the Black Blog... Blech. so where are we continuing this conversation? here or there? I just posted a long comment. Not sure where it went. Argh.
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Old 8th October 2010, 05:00 PM   #13
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Well, you know, calm down a bit. I don't know why this petition angers you so much. Is an independent inquiry into the conviction something you're afraid of?

This thread is in Current Events. Different people post here than in Conspiracy Theories. Stay calm and you might find some posters to support you. You're the one apparently in the strong position, after all. Why are you so upset?

Rolfe.
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Old 8th October 2010, 06:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Well, you know, calm down a bit. I don't know why this petition angers you so much. Is an independent inquiry into the conviction something you're afraid of?

This thread is in Current Events. Different people post here than in Conspiracy Theories. Stay calm and you might find some posters to support you. You're the one apparently in the strong position, after all. Why are you so upset?

Rolfe.
I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that I'm not calm. I think my comments above are quite calm. What's the deal?
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Old 8th October 2010, 07:12 PM   #15
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OK, you're calm. That's great. I was only talking about the quoted post.

I see the petition now has 217 signatures, up from 120 when I logged in earlier in the evening. It hasn't been going 24 hours yet. I have no idea what's considered to be a level of support worthy for the committee to take seriously. Probably a thousand more than this petition gets, irrespective of what it actually gets....

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Old 8th October 2010, 07:24 PM   #16
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Signed, but I expect it to have as much of an effect as the time I signed the number10 petition for Tony Blair to stand on his head and juggle ice cream. Unless I missed that spectacle.
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Old 9th October 2010, 06:13 AM   #17
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Well, I can't say I'm optimistic about the prospects of this leading to an inquiry but I've signed it anyway.

I didn't recognise any particularly influential names among the signatories, except for Teddy Taylor, not sure if he's really an asset though...
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Old 9th October 2010, 06:20 AM   #18
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Old 9th October 2010, 06:40 AM   #19
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Oh, happy birthday Professor Yaffle!

I don't think these things have much clout at all. However, if JFM have chosen to set up a petition, then I think they deserve a bit of support.

I think the petitions have a general problem in that the signatories don't seem to be verified in any way. I see several without a surname, and at least one which is clearly a pseudonym. I put my full name, address and email, but I haven't had a confirmatory email, and indeed the email field is optional. I added my mother's name for her, with no email, and her name appears too. It seems to me I could simply add the names of all my friends, relatives and neighbours, or indeed just go through the phone book adding people willy-nilly. Unless they've got some way to check whether a single computer is adding multiple unrelated names.

It's not very well thought-through.

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Old 9th October 2010, 07:53 AM   #20
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Signed.

Did anyone ever check paper petitions? Maybe some unpaid intern in a basement somewhere.
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Old 9th October 2010, 11:24 AM   #21
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Quote:
Security measures
Signatures are checked for repeat signing and unlikely names. These will be removed.

Privacy policy
Only your name and country will appear on the website. The other details you give us are needed by the Public Petitions Committee (PPC) to validate your signature. This is the same information required for a paper petition. Your details will only be used by the PPC unless you have given permission for your details to be passed on to the principal petitioner. Your details will not be used for any purposes other than e-Petitioner, unless you have expressly given permission otherwise.

I wonder, though, how they would detect people signing up acqaintances without their knowledge, or indeed strangers from the phone book. These would appear genuine to any test apart from contacting the people concerned and asking if they had actually signed. Of course they may have some sort of IP address checking to ensure the same computer isn't being used to sign up an improbable number of signatories.

I believe the famous Scottish Covenant petition of 1950 had names like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse amoung its 2 million signatures. I don't know if anyone ever did a verification to see how many people really did sign that.

Rolfe.
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Old 9th October 2010, 01:57 PM   #22
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It's standard operating procedure in the US to way overshoot your petition numbers when submitting something for the ballot. Opponents will join your "side" and fill out reams of fake petition signatures on the hopes you submit when you have "enough", then fail to clear the bar because of it.

Disgusting behavior, but there you go.
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Old 9th October 2010, 02:53 PM   #23
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The Scottish petition has a pre-set close date, so persuading petitioners that they have "enough" isn't really an issue. I don't think the format is serious in the first place. How many people are there in Scotland? How many people are there in the world? So how many signatures is "enough" anyway? It's meaningless.

The fact is that the Scottish parliament, with a few individual exceptions, is dead set against re-opening the appeal in this case, or doing anything else to allow official doubt to be registered about the conviction. I imagine partly because they don't want the Scottish criminal justice system to look stupid (which it is), and a lot because they seriously don't want to have to re-open 270 cold murder cases.

I don't quite know how we got ourselves in this mess, although the steps are clear enough to see. How we get out, is quite beyond me. History will judge matters differently of course, because there's way too much information running wild now for the conviction to be regarded as sound by any disinterested observer. It would be rather good to be able to rectify it sooner than that, though.

Rolfe.
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Old 9th October 2010, 04:04 PM   #24
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Maybe this is a bit premature, but I find the absence of a certain type of post in this thread quite encouraging. A year and more ago, it was impossible to discuss this issue without a fair number of posters insisting that of course he must be guilty because criminal counts never bring in the wrong verdict, and he should be taken up in an airliner and thrown out at 31,000 feet, or words to that effect.

A year and more ago, it was impossible to discuss whether this conviction could be a miscarriage of justice without loud insistence that the thread should be moved to Consipracy Theories (and yet the Amanda Knox thread is still here). A year and more ago, even introducing the subject of Megrahi probably being innocent was greeted with barracking and dismissal.

We're not seeing that now. My belief is that the evidence for this verdict being a travesty of justice has been sufficiently well aired in the forum that most members realise there is every reason for an enquiry into the affair.

I hope those who feel that way will support the petition.

Rolfe.
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Old 10th October 2010, 12:38 AM   #25
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Signed (Roy Omond).

It's up to 381 now.
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Old 10th October 2010, 06:49 AM   #26
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465 now. I see quite a few signatures from Malta now - according to Robert Black, the petition was mentioned in an article in a Malta Sunday newspaper.

One of the Maltese names is just given as "Godfrey". Not Godrey Scicluna, surely.... Or maybe it is, for all his connection to the case.

Rolfe.
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Old 10th October 2010, 10:52 AM   #27
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Going there now. 519.

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Old 10th October 2010, 01:49 PM   #28
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548, and I noticed Vincent Vassalo. The US signaturres re not yet impressive, me, a few people I've never heard of (that's the good part), and Carl Davies, Rodney Stitch... I'm ashamed again.
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Old 10th October 2010, 02:13 PM   #29
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Well, it all depends on who knows about it. I have seen no publicity in the Scottish press, for example. I only knew about it because I read about it on Robert Black's blog. After the Maltese newspaper published an article about the petition today, a fair number of Maltese names appeared.

Rolfe.
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Old 10th October 2010, 02:56 PM   #30
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I've just signed it to take it up to566.
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Old 11th October 2010, 01:28 AM   #31
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Thanks, Delscottio. I just saw it's at 613, mostly from Scotland and Malta. Is "(Councillor) John Finnie (SNP)" someone famous? Aku Nisray is on there (pseudonym, but a real person, I'll leave it to them - brilliant chap). I shan't scan it all now.

The comments are getting interesting.

Last edited by Caustic Logic; 11th October 2010 at 01:46 AM. Reason: to add the larger number of now for theatrical effect
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Old 11th October 2010, 02:30 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post

The comments are getting interesting.

Weird that no-one uses capital letters in the comments
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Old 11th October 2010, 12:57 PM   #33
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I had a look at the petition the Swedish lady came to JREF to promote. (Here's the thread.) Although she didn't get many (any?) takers here, she actually garnered over 3,000 signatures, many from Sweden. I note however that that petition was open for four months, while the JfM petition will be open for less than three weeks. I don't know why that is.

Other petitions I've looked at at random have had much more limited support, a few hundred at best.

The Swedish lady's petition closed last June, but I can't see any evidence that this has made any headway or produced any results.

The JfM petition has risen above the 700 mark, in under four days.

Rolfe.
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Old 11th October 2010, 03:26 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Bunntamas View Post
So, how do you think it will stand up against other previously (pro Megrahi) failed petitions and polls such as this one - I gather that one didn't turn out as hoped. And this one Wow. Eighteen signatures.
I'll save the embarrassement of posting Charles' poll, which garnered, I think much less than 50 signatures. Which one was it that also failed? I'm losing count. You know, the one on / to which CL was so boasting about posting his name? Maybe it was the one noted above, in the Firm article, on which CL's name doesn't appear, that got snubbed.
And in contrast, have a look at the the number of signatures on this one and this one. Hmmmmm..... Can't wait to see how this latest one turns out. Maybe the polls will change as a result of the media that Swire has been [expletive]ing lately. Time will tell.

And by the way, where is the Megrahi / Megrahi family, any other Libyan, or Maltese supporter signature on any of the pro Megrahi petitions? Why are they absent and their absence un-noted here, or anywhere else for that matter?

I was going to put this in the thread where the above post appeared, but on reflection I think Bunntamas is right and the discussion belongs here.

I have had a closer look at the other "petitions" she has linked to. The first is of course a poll on this forum which AndyAndy started in August 2009, asking posters whether they thought Megrahi should have been released. The majority vote was no, as might have been predicted given the make-up of this forum and the timing of the poll. However, there is another poll which is more congruent with the current petition, which I think Bunntamas must have overlooked. I started it myself in September 2009, asking whether posters believed Megrahi actually committed the crime. The majority vote went to "I'm familiar with the evidence presented and I don't believe he did it." As an aside, none of the 17 posters who claimed to be familiar with the evidence and nevertheless think he did it, responded in the thread to give their reasons - except LongtabberPE!

The second link isn't to a petition at all, but to a letter. The 18 signatories were people who were invited to sign, as being directly connected with the tragedy or otherwise prominent in public life. It includes several bereaved Lockerbie relatives, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. So, "Wow, eighteen signatories!" isn't really a relevant comment.

The contrasting petitions Bunntamas invited us to view are both on web sites that allow anyone to create a petition about anything. The first is entitled "Boycott Scotland for releasing Megrahi, Lockerbie Bomber", but there's no information about who started it or what anyone is going to do with it. It seems to have garnered 1,248 signatures in the few days after Megrahi was released. However, looking more closely at the comments is interesting.

#4 This is not a black and white issue. There are many hidden aspects to this - so piss off America with your boycott! The Scots will not be bullied by you, or any other nation!

#12 This is the same USA who campaigned for Rudolph Hess to be released from Spandau Prison after WW2 on compassionate grounds! You are a joke.

#16 Personally I don't believe [the bomber] was Megrahi.

#17 I am NOT signing the petition. Boycott Scotland because we chose to release the dying Megrahi on compassionate grounds, and because he was welcomed home by Libya? It seems that the USA has no compassion for anyone but itself. It seems to have forgotten the events of July 1988, when an unarmed Iranian Airbus was shot out of the sky by missiles from the USS Vincennes. What happened to the crew of the warship? It was given a hero's welcome, and its commander was given the Commendation Medal for "heroic achievement" and the ability to "maintain his poise and confidence under fire". Fire from an unarmed civilian aircraft?

And so on. Well, I wonder how many signatures would be left if we went through and deleted the ones like that? However, as the petition isn't being submitted to anyone, it's a bit of a futile exercise to trim it properly.

The other iPetition is entitled "We invite you to petition against the decision to release Abdelbeset Al-Megrahi, and call for Mr MacAskill's resignation." It's standing at 586 signatures gathered over a period of almost a year. I note the first six people to sign are all called Kieran Fergusson. Quite a coincidence, hmmmmm? The petition was started over a year ago, and it's still open if anyone wants to sign it. Quite who is being petitioned and what influence they have is entirely unclear. It's also unclear who owns the petition.

It also seems to me that these petitions might also be described as "failed". Scotland is quite self-evidently not being boycotted, Megrahi is still in Libya, and Kenny MacAskill has not resigned.

As regards the presence of Maltese signatories on the JfM petition, while there were indeed none in the first 24 hours or so, because nobody in Malta knew about the petition, there are now numerous Maltese names present. I'm sure Bunntamas, on more sober reflection, would agree that for Megrahi himself or any of his family to sign this petition would be grossly inappropriate. To infer from the absence of their names that Megrahi is guilty, as Bunntamas seems almost to be doing, is ridiculous.

I don't quite know what relevance any of this has to the strength or otherwise of the legal case against Megrahi, but as it's been brought up, I thought we should set the record straight.

Finally, I would like to register my disappointment at Bunntamas's reference to "the media that Swire has been [expletive]ing lately". Bunntamas was herself bereaved at Lockerbie, and I would have hoped that she would extend the same respect and sympathy to other bereaved relatives that she would wish to receive herself. I don't know Dr. Swire, but in public he has only ever expressed sadness that the US relatives will not, in his opinion, look at the flaws in the evidence against Megrahi. I have never heard him bad-mouth any of them, and Bunntamas's comment saddens me.

Sorry to be so picky, but my main debating interest is in homoeopathy, and it's my habit to look carefully at any publications submitted in evidence to see if they actually support the argument being made. In this case, I don't think they do.

Rolfe.
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Old 12th October 2010, 12:32 AM   #35
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Bunntamas
And by the way, where is the Megrahi / Megrahi family, any other Libyan, or Maltese supporter signature on any of the pro Megrahi petitions? Why are they absent and their absence un-noted here, or anywhere else for that matter?
731 signatories now. Previously I saw only one Libyan, now there are three. One signatory: Khaled Elmegarhi, Libya. Typo?

Originally Posted by Rolfe
I'm sure Bunntamas, on more sober reflection, would agree that for Megrahi himself or any of his family to sign this petition would be grossly inappropriate. To infer from the absence of their names that Megrahi is guilty, as Bunntamas seems almost to be doing, is ridiculous.
I don't think it's grossly inappropriate if so, but I'm no expert. However, if that had been Bunntamas' theory, it'd be debunked. He'd be proven innocent!

Okay, not really.

Last edited by Caustic Logic; 12th October 2010 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 12th October 2010, 12:41 AM   #36
Caustic Logic
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And by the way, I was also disappointed in this part:

Originally Posted by Bunntamas
...the media that Swire has been [expletive]ing lately.
Maybe I'm wrong, but whoring is about the only dirty-ish word that makes much sense to me there. And that's not really an expletive, just not something you'd rather be seen using in the same sentence like that with Dr. Swire. Neat idea for next time, and this is just advice/my opinion, not some kind of order:

just don't write such a sentence.

It's better for your public image to clearly illustrate the immorality you perceive in Dr. Swire's media actions than to just flat-out accuse it in thinly-veiled semi-obscenities. IMO, makes you look brash and juvenile.
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Old 12th October 2010, 05:03 AM   #37
Soapy Sam
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Originally Posted by Delscottio View Post
I've just signed it to take it up to566.
766 two days later.
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Old 12th October 2010, 06:00 AM   #38
Rolfe
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
731 signatories now. Previously I saw only one Libyan, now there are three. One signatory: Khaled Elmegarhi, Libya. Typo?

Typo? How would you suggest spelling عبد الباسط محمد علي المقرحي ?

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
I don't think it's grossly inappropriate if so, but I'm no expert.

I suppose it depends on the closeness of the relationship. However, if the petition were to be swamped by Libyan names, especially if a lot of them were al-Megrahi, I think the Scottish Parliament would look on that as a good excuse to chuck the whole thing in the bin.

Rolfe.
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Old 12th October 2010, 09:24 AM   #39
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Just noting that the count has now exceeded 800. I see some quite well-known names in there. A(nne) L(orne) Gillies is a well-known singer. A. L. Kennedy is a well-known writer and comedien. Angus Robertson, if it's the same one, is an MP. Bill Paterson is a well-known actor. I also notice David Fieldhouse there, who is the police surgeon who identified many of the bodies on the first day. And that's just scanning the first page.

That's assuming these signatures are genuine and also assuming it's not just other people with the same names. But overall, the signatures look genuine to me.

Rolfe.
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Old 12th October 2010, 09:25 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Just noting that the count has now exceeded 800. I see some quite well-known names in there. A(nne) L(orne) Gillies is a well-known singer. A. L. Kennedy is a well-known writer and comedien. Angus Robertson, if it's the same one, is an MP. Bill Paterson is a well-known actor. I also notice David Fieldhouse there, who is the police surgeon who identified many of the bodies on the first day. And that's just scanning the first page.

That's assuming these signatures are genuine and also assuming it's not just other people with the same names. But overall, the signatures look genuine to me.

Rolfe.

Rolfe.

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