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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , Pan Am 103

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Old 15th October 2010, 03:10 AM   #41
Rolfe
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Well, since the thread is supposed to be about conspiracy theories surrounding Pan Am 103, why not go for it.

I'm frankly baffled by the blatant political agenda behind the continuing machinations to keep Megrahi identified as "the Lockerbie bomber", denying both any recognition of the huge flaws in the original indictment and judgement, and a fair appeal hearing. This has been the policy of successive UK governments (Conservative at the time of the bombing and investigation, Labour at the time of the trial), and Scottish governments (Labour/LibDem coalition at the time of the trial, SNP at the time of the compassionate release). They're all in it.

The decision of the SNP to toe the line and continue the charade is to me quite inexplicable, as that party had never been in power at all before 2007, and wasn't involved in any way in the investigation or the trial. Indeed the general mood music in SNP ranks over the years was that the trial was a stitch-up. But as soon as an SNP government was in control of the agenda, it fell into line and continued with the cover-up.

Here's an interesting article from early 2009, while the second appeal was still in progress, before the whole "if you want to go home to die you better drop that appeal" thing got going.

Lockerbie verdict was a "negotiated outcome" says UN observer. Verdict of "diplomatic convenience" was reached.

Quote:
In a remarkable and lengthy critique of the flawed trial process and protracted subsequent proceedings, Kochler says the Scottish Court covened in the Netherlands which convicted Abdelbaset Ali Mohmad Al Megrahi, reached a pre-determined outcome, and accuses the UK authorities of an "apparent strategy" to cover up the "errors and malpractices" in the years since Megrahi's conviction, that have kept him in jail on the basis of a discredited case.

"Altogether, the actions of the Prosecution and Defence often appeared co-ordinated, somehow following an external (non-judicial) strategy, and created the impression of a scripted procedure (whereby the “script” was followed at least to a certain extent) and of a negotiated outcome," Kochler says.

This is an extraordinary accusation, but it comes from a professor of law who was the official UN observer to the trial, not a raving twoofer. It is also supported by the actual events.

There is a school of thought that maintains the present cover-up is simply a cover-up of the original cover-up. That the motivation of those who are so exercised to keep Megrahi branded as "the Lockerbie bomber" NOW, is merely to avoid the embarrassment to the Scottish criminal justice system that would come from the conviction being quashed, and to avoid having to re-open 270 cold murder cases with all the expense and tying up of resources that would entail.

Maybe, but I suspect otherwise. The entire thrust of the machinations involved in the Lockerbie investigation seems to me aimed not so much at convicting some Libyans (highly convenient and desirable though that was), but about NOT getting too close to the Palestinian gang who were the probable culprits, and through them to Iran, their sponsor.

However, does not wanting to mess with Iran (which was at that time an ally) in the late 1980s/early 1990s really explain why the cover-up has continued to be pursued so vigorously right into the second decade of the 21st century? Iran is serious persona non grata now, and I could easily imagine a scenario where an appeal court quashed Megrahi's conviction and a re-opened enquiry found credible evidence that Lockerbie was in fact an Iranian-sponsored operation would go down extraordinarily well in certain political circles right now. (So well that I don't really like to contemplate it, actually.)

Maybe that's a contributing reason for the continuing cover-up? That Scottish and UK governments perceive that exonerating Megrahi could/would lead to the implication of Iran, and that the geopolitical consequences of that could be extremely serious? Or maybe it isn't. I have no freaking idea why certain people are behaving the way they are, right now.

However, this all seems to orbit round the USA, and the CIA, and probable CIA involvement in the original atrocity. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting a LIHOP or MIHOP scenario. A F-UP scenario, though, seems quite possible.

We know the US was expecting retaliation from Iran for the Vincennes incident. We also know the CIA had apparently infiltrated the PFLP-GC, at least in the person of the Jordanian agent Khreesat, possibly others. Peter Fraser, who was Lord Advocate at the time of the investigation, admits as much. Khreesat was actually making the bombs with the barometric timers of the type supected to have blown up Maid of the Seas. He was supposed to be making dud bombs, but he wasn't - either because he was being too closely watched (by Abu Elias among others), or because his sympathies actually lay with the terrorists all along.

When the "Autumn Leaves" arrests happened in October 1988, Khreesat was one of those arrested. He is said to have made one call to his CIA handlers, and hey presto almost the entire gang, caught red-handed with a bomb clearly designed to blow up a plane, was released by the German police on the grounds of "insufficient evidence". Khreesat is said to have been furious on the grounds of the arrests being premature - if the police had waited a bit, he said, they'd have got the lot.

The released gang members went to ground and I think Khreesat himself returned to Jordan. But just two months later Maid of the Seas fell out of the sky in circumstances that exactly matched their modus operandi. Then four months after that, the gang was rounded up again with a bunch more of these bombs, and in the process one exploded and killed a German bomb disposal operative. So much for Khreesat making duds.

The PFLP-GC was based in Frankfurt, and a lot of the early suspicion regarding Lockerbie was that they had smuggled a bomb on to PA103A at Frankfurt airport. This was reinforced by the revalation that the US Drug Enforcement Agency had been using Pan Am flights out of Frankfurt, including PA103A/PA103, for "controlled drugs shipments", a series of sting operations where heroin was allowed into the USA so that the DEA could then track it and apprehend the dealers. It was denied that any such operation had been ongoing on 21st December 1988, but on the other hand one of their known operatives was on the plane, and there is a very strange story of a farmer at Lockerbie finding a split-open suitcase with what seemed to be packets of heroin in it, with this story being subsequently covered up/denied.

The suspicion that there was officially-sanctioned lawbreaking going on at Frankfurt airport is strengthened by the scorched-earth disappearance of all baggage records at that airport within days of the disaster, in circumstances that suggest the police must have been involved. On the other hand, if someone switched the drugs suitcase (which would have been smuggled past the x-ray machine at Frankfurt as part of the operation, very handy) for the bomb, how come the heroin actually ended up on the grass at Lockerbie? And how come the strongest evidence for where the bomb was really introduced points to Heathrow, not Frankfurt?

My vague speculations centre round the CIA having infiltrated the PFLP-GC in an attempt to prevent the Iran-sponsored downing of an aircraft in retaliation for IR655. That they were trying to make a clean sweep of the entire boiling of the terrorist cell, with enough evidence to put them away for a very long time. That they may also have been playing a complicated game in relation to the Beirut hostages, involving the drug-smuggling operation, along the lines of Oliver North's little enterprise of a couple of years earlier - this is essentially what Lester Coleman alleges, and he is either a complete nutter or a dodgy character who actually knew what was going on and was put away as a consequence, take your pick.

I think this went badly wrong, possibly because the German police jumped the gun with the Autumn Leaves raid, and the operation got away from them. I wonder if, as a consequence, CIA agents or assets actually facilitated the bombing of Pan Am 103 inadvertently. I wonder if this is the fundamental reason behind the continuing vigorous cover-up, to which other motivations are secondary.

Discuss.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th October 2010, 10:16 AM   #42
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Kochler's allegation that the defence were conspiring to get their client convicted is particularly extraordinary, but it does bear scrutiny.

At the time of the original indictments in 1992, Megrahi and Fhimah engaged a Libyan lawyer to handle their case, a Dr. Ibrahim Legwell. According to Robert Black, he seems to be a decent sort of chap. When the case finally came to court under Scots law, they of course required Scottish lawyers. I don't know who was responsible for choosing the Scots defence team. However, something else happened at that time. The Libyan government appointed its own lawyer to the defence team, someone who had been very high up in the Libyan government. As a result Dr. Legwell withdrew from the case in protest.

This seems to have been what led to the withdrawal of pretty much all the defence case. Originally a large number of defence witnesses had been cited to appear, almost all, I believe, in relation to the "special defence of incrimination" which had been lodged. This defence is one which essentially aims to prove that someone else may have committed the crime, in this case the PFLP-GC. In order to succeed with such a defence it is not necessary to prove that the other party is guilty "beyond reasonable doubt", but simply to show that there is a plausible case against them, and thus that your own client's guilt cannot be said to be beyond reasonable doubt.

I'm not that well-versed in this aspect, but it appears that the Special Defence of Incrimination was withdrawn after the new Libyan lawyer was appointed. At that point almost all the defence witnesses were cancelled. In the end, after interminable months hearing the prosecution case, the defence called only two witnesses - Major Mifsud, the Maltese meteorologist who testified to the high probability that it didn't rain in Sliema in the evening of 7th December 1988 (and so should have fatally undermined the case that Megrahi had bought the clothes from Gauci at that time), and Lawrence Whittaker, an FBI agent who had observed baggage handling procedures at Frankfurt which undermined the contention that B8849 must inevitably have been an unaccompanied bag unloaded from KM180. Hans Kochler also notes significant participation of Libyan lawyers in the defence deliberations (though less obtrusive than the participation of US DoJ lawyers in the prosecution case), and that the defence team seemed out of step with the accused's wishes.

Against this we have the fact that Bill Taylor, Megrahi's Scottish defence advocate, was devastatingly effective at certain points in the trial. In particular he totally demolished the credibility of Giaka, which in itself should have caused the trial to collapse then and there. But on the other hand Taylor completely dropped the ball at the time of the first appeal, submitting a very weak case which was wide open for rejection, instead of the obvious case which the appeal judges pretty much hinted they might have upheld, that the verdict was one which no reasonable jury, properly directed, could have reached.

Megrahi seems to have changed his legal representation after that, and the second appeal was in other hands. I don't want to digress into the apparent problems there, but again there were some.

However, Libyan involvement in the defence team also continued. Libyan lawyers were involved in the machinations leading up to the dropping of the second appeal and the compassionate release, and Robert Black has expressed the opinion that Megrahi's decision to drop the appeal was influenced by Libyan legal advice. It almost seems to me that the shortcomings and failures in the defence case weren't due to the Scottish defence team co-operating with the prosecution, but to pressure from the Libyan side to pursue the case in a particular way.

Libya wanted their man to be convicted? Now there's a conspiracy theory. But I suspect that's the case.

Consider the state of Libya ten years ago. The UN had imposed sanctions on the country for refusing to give its citizens up for trial, purely on the say-so of the USA and the UK. These sanctions were causing significant hardships to the general population, and it has been claimed they caused thousands of deaths by depriving the population of essential medical care. (This was all arguably quite illegal, because Libya was a signatory to a treaty which should have allowed it to try its own citizens in its own country, but the USA refused to hand over the evidence to allow that to be done, and anyway it served Libya right for being a state sponsor of terrorism.)

The Zeist trial was to be the catalyst for ending that Mexican stand-off. Megrahi and Fhimah surrendered themselves in the belief that they would get a fair trial under Scots law. However, the shenanigans with the Libyan-appointed lawyer cast doubt on whether that was ever going to happen.

After the trial things started getting better for Libya, aided of course by the letter that was written apparently accepting responsibility for Lockerbie, but actually couched in ambiguous language which really admits no such thing. And aided of course by Libya paying out billions of dollars in compensation to the bereaved relatives.

And look where they are now. Gadaffi, who was the mastermind behind the plot if Megrahi was really guilty, is being lionised by western leaders. Western countries are queuing up to get a piece of the action exploiting Libya's vast oil wealth. Libya is persona grata again, and begining to re-integrate in the international community. Lucky them.

Is it possible that this future was promised to the Libyan government by the USA, but only if a Libyan bore the responsibility for Lockerbie? Is it possible that for this reason the Libyan government interfered with the defence case and in particular choked off the part of it that involved throwing suspicion back on the PFLP-GC Frankfurt cell?

I'm only half way through this train of thought, but it's a long post so I'll stop now, and post the second half later.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th October 2010, 04:50 PM   #43
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So what happened then?

The first appeal was brought on the wrong grounds. Was that just Bill Taylor's mistake, or did the Libyan part of the team insist on it? I don't know, Megrahi's legal team aren't telling. The appeal judges obviously realised the evidence was shaky as hell. The things they said during the appeal hearings show it. They were clearly uneasy. People who were there say that they enquired about the possibility of ordering a retrial, but were told that was impossible due to the peculiar circumstances of Camp Zeist. So in the end they decided to go with the legalistic view, and took the loophole inherent in the way the appeal was couched. The trial judges said they took account of all the points you're making, and still came to the decision they did. They were entitled to do that. Your contention that they gave these things insufficient weight thus falls. Appeal refused.

But if this was all a Libyan/US plot to make sure there was a Libyan convicted, where do the judges come in? They have said they were under no political pressure to return any particular verdict. Well, they would say that wouldn't they. Robert Black thinks they couldn't bear to embarrass the Lord Advocate, who brought the prosecution. I think they couldn't face the thought of all the eight years of hoopla and sanctions and so on, and the whole three-ring circus, being for nothing. Indeed, the idea that Libya had been victimised all these years on completely false premises. And that could go for the appeal judges too.

But if this was a US/Libya plot, surely they couldn't leave it to chance, especially after Giaka was rumbled? When that happened, most observers thought it was all over. Nobody would have been surprised if the prosecution had dropped the case right then. In the days between the end of the hearings and the verdict, even the Foreign Office was briefing about the bright new future for Libya/UK relations once the acquittals had been announced. Who could have trusted to the judges to produce that bizarre verdict unprompted?

Same with the appeal. Narrow grounds or not, the judges could still have said the hell with this it's ridiculous, this case is stuffed with reasonable doubt, on your bike. They didn't. So I wonder. I find it implausible that they were got at, but I'm struggling to see how they weren't.

So Megrahi was banged up on a life sentence. I don't think he signed up for that. I think the pair of them agreed to go to Zeist to get the sanctions lifted, in the belief that they would get a fair trial and knowing there couldn't be real evidence against them because they hadn't actually done it. Well, one of them got a fair trial. One out of two ain't bad?

So of course Megrahi applied for leave to mount a second appeal. That had to go through the SCCRC, and it took four years. Why? To a large extent, because the defence entered every single little point of doubt, dubious evidence or faint inference they could scrape up. The SCCRC had to investigate it all. That took time. Was that a deliberate ploy? I don't know.

The result was that the SCCRC still hadn't reported by the time of the deal in the Desert and the Prisoner Transfer Agreement. This is a deeply strange episode. Libya wanted to negotiate a PTA with Britain. Tony Blair said fine, that's OK. Then the Scottish elections happened, and Alex Salmond said, not Megrahi you don't, that's our jurisdiction. Tony lied about it for a bit, then admitted that Megrahi was included (of course the PTA was all about him all the time, there were no other Libyans in jail in Britain). But it's OK Alex, it's still your jurisdiction and it can't happen without the Scottish government's agreement.

At the time, it seemed academic. The PTA couldn't be actioned if there was an outstanding appeal, and Megrahi stated categorically he was going to sit tight and see the appeal to its conclusion. But was it really as simple as that? What would have happened if Megrahi hadn't developed cancer?

The PTA was an extremely peculiar piece of legislation. Every other such agreement puts the application in the hands of the prisoner. It's about allowing a prisoner who wants to serve his sentence at home to apply to do that. This one wasn't. This one didn't allow the prisoner to apply at all. The application had to be made by the Libyan government. And it didn't even require the prisoner's consent - he could be sent back against his will, under its terms.

The SCCRC finally reported in June 2007, just after the PTA was agreed but before it was ratified. Everybody thought the appeal would come to court in 2008, but it didn't. This was because the Crown dragged its heels and refused to release the PIIC document with all the strange conditions round it. This took the start of the appeal up to April 2009. Even then (and even though the appellant was by then known to be terminally ill), a prolonged timetable was enforced, with the hearings split with long gaps between, so that there would have been no decision before the spring of 2010.

What was that about justice delayed being justice denied?

In May 2009, the PTA was finally ratified. The appeal was already before the court and going well. But Libya immediately made an application to have Megrahi returned. Didn't want to wait just another year to see their man and their country vindicated in court, oh no. Send him back now please.

Of course that couldn't happen with the open appeal, and only Megrahi could withdraw that. And the prostate cancer and the possibility of compassionate release were massively complicating the issue by then as well. But supposing Megrahi had been healthy. He'd have stayed put to see out the appeal, wouldn't he?

Or would he? He couldn't himself apply for repatriation under the PTA. He had to rely on his government to do that. They were determined to do it before the appeal had been decided.

It's a neat dilemma. OK, Abdelbaset, you can come home under the PTA right now if you drop that appeal. But if you don't, don't expect us to make a second application if you lose. This is the justice system that's screwed you over twice already. Do you feel lucky?

I think the peculiar terms of the PTA were a deliberate ploy to allow the Libyan government to pressurise Megrahi into dropping the appeal.

Of course it didn't work out like that. The Scottish government didn't want to agree to PTA, for political reasons and because it believed the US relatives had been given an undertaking Megrahi would serve his sentence in Scotland. The Scottish government was minded to grant compassionate release instead. But that didn't require withdrawing the appeal. Everybody thought, fine, he'll go home on those terms and the appeal will continue. Then he suddenly dropped the appeal. He had a Scottish lawyer, who could surely have told him he didn't need to. But the Libyan government lawyers were there too. Robert Black thinks the appeal was dropped on their advice.

However, Megrahi has the entire 800 pages of the SCCRC report. And it's not sub judice any more. He could release a helluva lot of information. At first it seemed as if he was going to do exactly that. He set up a web site and started to post documents. But after he'd posted those referring to the part of the appeal that had already been heard, he stopped. Why? Did his own government tell him to can it?

And now everybody has stopped saying anything about the problems with the verdict. The press, that previously printed lots and lots about it, is now calling him the "Lockerbie bomber" without any of the usual caveats ("the only man convicted of..."), and treating anyone who agrees with their earlier position as some sort of mad conspiracy nut. The Scottish government, which also has the 800 pages and so on, and must know he didn't do it, is blandly asserting that it has no doubts about the safety of the verdict.

This is bizarro-land.

So, my CT on this is that whatever happened on 21st December 1988 at Frankfurt and Heathrow is something the USA still doesn't want to get loose, to the point where it has been able to persuade/manipulate the Scottish criminal justice system to play ball, and has even been able to pressurise Libya to accept formal responsibility for the disaster, pay out a ton of money to the relatives, and co-operate with the justice system to make damn sure a Libyan was convicted and stayed convicted.

Because that's the one way they can be sure nobody is going to re-open the investigation into what really happened.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th October 2010, 05:04 PM   #44
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Come on, guys, it's a perfectly cromulent CT.

Debunk me!

Rolfe.
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Old 16th October 2010, 12:23 AM   #45
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That's a lot to take in, and nothing I really want to debunk.

I agree the main goal here was not to just blame Libya for something. Who could want that so bad to cover up an otherwise fine truth of such magnitude. The risk of exposure, the loss of actual justice, the black eye on the world stage letting Iran get away with it.

No, they had to have a darn good reason to want such a truth covered up, and there's a short list of suitable parties that would be more convenient to blame. We can't say just where Libya was on that list, but Vince C being the head of all terrorism investigation at the CIA had to be one early tipping point that way. If you could neatly quantify all political factors, I suspect blaming Libya would be mathematically inevitable. And of all Libyan actors running around at the time, Megrahi was probably the ripest of all for the framing.

I think you've got a strong case here for Libya being involved in the bombing of Megrahi's appeal. If you really wanted to get the right leverage to keep things quiet, their national powers vis-a-vis their citizen would be the best tools to co-opt.

Quote:
But supposing Megrahi had been healthy. He'd have stayed put to see out the appeal, wouldn't he?

Or would he? He couldn't himself apply for repatriation under the PTA. He had to rely on his government to do that. They were determined to do it before the appeal had been decided.

It's a neat dilemma. OK, Abdelbaset, you can come home under the PTA right now if you drop that appeal. But if you don't, don't expect us to make a second application if you lose. This is the justice system that's screwed you over twice already. Do you feel lucky?
I read a statement somewhere to about that effect - they were so distrustful of the legal system that had railroaded him and felt the appeal was useless waste of time. So distrustful it seems they were just about desperate to keep it from doing its work.

That might be justifiable based just on what had come before. Would a normalizing Libya of 2009/10/whenever, back in the "world community" at great price, want their guilt via Megrahi accepted in court yet again?

But all-in-all, I'm inclined more to the theory you outlined here.

Quote:
So, my CT on this is that whatever happened on 21st December 1988 at Frankfurt and Heathrow is something the USA still doesn't want to get loose, to the point where it has been able to persuade/manipulate the Scottish criminal justice system to play ball, and has even been able to pressurise Libya to accept formal responsibility for the disaster, pay out a ton of money to the relatives, and co-operate with the justice system to make damn sure a Libyan was convicted and stayed convicted.

Because that's the one way they can be sure nobody is going to re-open the investigation into what really happened.
The US pressuring and managing whole other nations? Whaddya think, they run/ran the world?

BTW: Why do you use "pressurised" rather than "pressured?" Is it standard where you live, or a personal quirk?

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Old 17th October 2010, 10:44 AM   #46
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It seems that Megrahi's original team, including Dr Ibrahim Legwell, were maneuvered out of the defence team as the conditions for the trial at Zeist were being agreed upon and concluded. The indication at the time was that this represented a 'strong line' that the defence would now adopt and reflect the political concerns rather than the legal considerations. Legwell commented, "I have turned down an invitation to join the new team [appointed by the Libyan govt] because of differences in strategy with Kamal Maghour who was officially charged with the responsibility of heading the new team''.

New Lockerbie Team Appointed


However, it would appear that, after the guilty verdict had been passed at Zeist, Dr Legwell then rejoined the defence team for the first appeal! 5 days after the verdict had been delivered Gadaffi gave a speech, with Dr Legwell sitting alongside.


Quote:
They said 'Let's convict one of them ... and acquit the other,''' Gadhafi said. ``This will please Libya and its supporters .... and give credibility to the Western, Christian judiciary and please the families of the victims.'' Gadhafi began his speech at sunset. Dressed in electric blue robes with a matching cap, the Libyan leader sat at a desk placed on a rug in front of the shell-pocked ruins of a home on his palace grounds. Posters of the victims behind Gadhafi read: ``This is Reagan's candy to the children'' and ``This is the result of American terrorism.'' [...]

At the right to the table, where Gadhafi was delivering his speech, two wellknown lawyers shared the space. The Libyan head of the defence team 8during trial), Mr. Kamel Maghur, was joined by Ibrahim Legwell, the former Libyan head of defence. Legwell - who was ousted as defence lawyer from the team in 1998 - seems to have been brought back into the team after its losing the case for Megrahi.

During the 2 hour-session, Gadhafi repeadedly listened to explenations and clarifications from both lawyers sitting on a table to the right.

[...] State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, speaking to reporters while Kadhafi was still speaking, said it made no difference what the Libyan
leader said and questioned the point of the address. "Is it possible to define what he's talking about?" Boucher asked rhetorically.

Boucher insisted that the only way for Kadhafi to get UN sanctions against his country lifted was to fully comply with Security Council conditions, including that Libya admit responsibility for the bombing of PanAm 103 and pay compensation to the families of the 270 victims.

"It's really up to Libya to meet the requirements of the international community," he said. "Unfortunately, in the remarks we've seen from Mr Kadhafi today, we don't see him doing either of those things."
Change of Mind?


Initially, it seems a whole new raft of Lawyers were appointed to deal with the first appeal.

Quote:
Harvard legal Professor, Alan Dershowitz says: "After reading the decision of the three-judge trial court, I became concerned not only that the legal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt had not been met, but that the wrong person may well have been convicted of the crime and the real mass murderer may not have been charged." Prof Dershowitz was appointed to study the verdict and make recommendations for appeal by Dr Ibrahim Legwell, the Libyan lawyer in charge of Megrahi's legal team.

[...] Dr Legwell, who is currently in Holland meeting with Megrahi, said last night that his client now had the support of some of the finest minds in the legal world and he was confident of winning his appeal. He said: "With the full consent of my client, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, I have helped gather together an international team of lawyers who share the belief that a miscarriage of justice was carried out when my client was found guilty of the bombing.
So, what the devil was happening here? Taylor left to carry the can of a failed first appeal, and in bringing the appeal to court on the wrong basis? Unless the conviction was found in the first instance, and was subsequently found to be 'safe' on appeal, would only then the sanctions be lifted. A conviction at Zeist, but then overturned on appeal, would be the equivalent of 'no conviction' and thus no sanctions lifted..?

New Lockerbie Team
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Old 18th October 2010, 01:55 PM   #47
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You know, Buncrana, you have this habit of making me feel like a day late and a dollar short...!

I was going to suggest it might be interesting to examine the matter of the Special Defence of Incrimination, and what it actually consisted of, and who were all these witnesses who weren't called for the defence and why. And that you might have some of that information.

I didn't know Dr. Legwell was back on-side for the first appeal? So what happened? Was it really just a simple mistake on Bill Taylor's part?

There are several "what-ifs" in all this, but my main one is, what would have happened if Bogomira's printer had been out of paper on the evening of 22nd December (or even if she'd just binned her printout as she very nearly did), and what would have happened if Bill Taylor had appealed the verdict on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence in law to convict, and that the verdict was one which no reasonable jury, properly directed, could have reached.

Anyway, what do you know about the Special Defence, its withdrawal, and releted issues?

Rolfe.
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Old 20th October 2010, 03:00 AM   #48
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Just wanted to say also, thanks Buncrana for that information above. Another issue I've yet to delve into, but there's a good start at the lest. Certainly in the cases of wrongful convictions here in the US that I've been reading about, inadequate defense is a huge problem in many wrongful convictions. Usually it's with low income people assigned underpaid, overworked public defenders. This clearly would have to be something else...

Being too unfamiliar with leal affairs, I won't probably decide what I think about a Libya-scuttled defense anywhere along the line. Too many factors we can't quantify accurately and too many interactions.

And either way, no bad defense is needed to compel those darn judges to make the leaps and bounds they did. As Rolfe's been pointing out, the very evidence they ruled based on runs against the very ruling they made. It's insane, and I would guess there's enough to go around to account for a sword-falling-on routine from Tripoli.

One can't help but wonder if behind the scenes they were given an ultimatum - Washington gets its way in court or, failing that, the old fashioned way. No one would gripe at some more bombing runs over Pan Am 103, would they?

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Old 20th October 2010, 03:18 PM   #49
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I'm more inclined to think it was, OK Muammar, if you have any thoughts at all that you'd like these sanctions lifted, and look forward to Libya becoming part of the actual workd again, then you pony up these two guys, put a spoke in the defence, and then pay out a lot of money.

Much more effective.

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Old 21st October 2010, 03:34 AM   #50
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm more inclined to think it was, OK Muammar, if you have any thoughts at all that you'd like these sanctions lifted, and look forward to Libya becoming part of the actual workd again, then you pony up these two guys, put a spoke in the defence, and then pay out a lot of money.

Much more effective.

Rolfe.
Oh, sure. That'd be the carrot. It would be foolish not to dangle one of those. But it would be smart to also let them know there's a stick, or at least wondering of there is one. After all, what if they tried to defy you and submit to trial but throw in an amazing and brilliant defense that corners the crown? If the judges were forced by obviousness to rule not guilty (if it becomes obvious to the public and media, that's often the case), who could maintain the sanctions then and enforce the "play along or else" threat?

Then again, who could justify bombing Libya after a resounding "not guilty" to both Libyans? (Vincent?)

Clearly the main thing was to avoid any full exoneration, but just how Libya would be brought aboard is something more complex and unsure.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 01:12 AM   #51
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Quote:
Well, since the thread is supposed to be about conspiracy theories surrounding Pan Am 103, why not go for it.
No, please don't. Read the OP it is asking if there are any similarities with the events of 9/11 as regards conspiracy theories concenring fake plane crashes. Don't hijack it into another long winded rehash of all your other threads.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 01:20 AM   #52
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The thread's four years old, and has been dormant most of that time. I don't think "hijack" is quite the word.

If you're not interested, don't read it. Seems like nobody is reading it anyway, judging by the complete lack of critical comment.

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Old 25th October 2010, 05:04 AM   #53
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It's strange. Under Scottish law, there is the special defense of "incrimination." It is permissible to blame "persons unknown". A special defense is special only in the sense that it must be announced prior to trial. It does not shift the burden of proof to the defense.

The Special Defense application by the lawyers representing Megrahi and Fhimah would appear appropriate given the information available to Taylor, Duff et al from the German's and the Autumn Leaves operation. As we know, the PLFP cell in Neuss and elsewhere had been under surveillance for some time. Movements noted, phone lines tapped, photographed and eventually arrested and interviewed. Then released.

Interestingly though, aside from the obvious cross cooperation between the German's the Swede's (latterly apprehending Abu Talb), with the knowledge or the Maltese or not, they were also keeping close tabs on the Neuss group's associates on the island. Reports by the BKA noted that Talb had been present on the island 4 weeks before Pan 103 fell. Exactly one year after that, Talb is convicted of seperate terror acts in Sweden, and clothing from Malta - some reports say specifically from Mary's House - the date 21 Dec circled on his calendar are revealed, and Tony Gauci had also stated before ever indicating Megrahi that a picture shown to him of Talb had also "resembled" the purchaser.

Now clearly this point of "resembled" is often espoused as quite clearly not identifying Megrahi, and thus quite rightly, equally this can be applied to his identification of Talb. However, unlike Talb, no claims were ever raised that Megrahi had been involved or an accomplice to terror atrocities in the past. And unlike Talb, certainly not connected to the PLFP group tracked around Neuss and, albeit only briefly, detained by the BKA in October after being caught building bombs in Toshiba radios with barometric devices. Neither was Megrahi found with, or connected to, any other Maltese clothing purchased from Mary's house.

So, on this basis alone, despite the tenuous inference of the purchaser "resembles" any of the men, this circumstantial evidence certainly lends far greater weight towards Talb, and not Megrahi. Add to this the very fact that the UK and US investigators themselves were following a case against Talb and the PLFP initially would suggest that Megrahi's defence team were quite reasonably attempting to demonstrate that the evidence uncovered, and as circumstantial as it may be, supports a case against Talb rather than Megrahi.

Reports in 1989 suggested that such was the evidence uncovered that charges were at one point about to filed against the PFLP and Talb. This line of the investigation quietly disappeared into the abyss only to be announced in 1991 that it was actually Megrhai, Fhimah and Libya. However, in the case of Special Defence for Megrahi and Fhimah a number difficult and curious problems presented themselves for the defence lawyers in the proposition. The timer fragment presented, a digital timer as oppose to the barometric one as found in the possession of the PFLP, appeared to point towards Libya and therefore the two defendants.

Another contention for the defence was their application of Special Defence, by implication of the PFLP and Talb, which suggested that the bomb was introduced at Frankfurt, rather than Megrahi unaccompanied bag travelling by Air Malta. However, the defence team were prepared to assert that the luggage had been introduced at Heathrow, as one of the mysterious bags noted by John Bedford matching the description of the bomb bag and crucially it's location within container AVE4041. This ran contrary to the method presumed to have used by the PFLP group and it's insertion of the device at Frankfurt. Furthermore, during the trial Talb was actually called as a prosecution witness at Zeist to which followed this exchange,

Originally Posted by BBC Report
"Lord Sutherland earlier ruled that the court did have power to take action if Talb committed contempt of court.

Defence lawyers claimed that Talb should be charged with contempt for refusing to answer questions on his military background and training.
Alastair Campbell, prosecuting, claimed the judges had no effective sanctions against Talb because he had to be returned to Sweden by 18 November.
Lord Sutherland told Talb:

"As a crown witness you have immunity from prosecution for the offence with which this court is concerned, namely the bombing of Pan Am 103."

"That being so, you are obliged to answer any questions which in the court's view are relevant to this inquiry."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/1024619.stm


So, if this being the case, then one would have to assume any application for Special Defence, and incrimination of Talb by the Defence team, was well and truly scuppered. Subsequently, it was only towards the end of the case at Zeist when the argument was put before the court that strong evidence had been delivered showing the bag was most likely introduced at Heathrow and not Luqa, or notably Frankfurt, thus seeking a "not guilty" or "not proven" verdict from the judges without support from the initial Special Defence.

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Old 25th October 2010, 02:17 PM   #54
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I don't know that that's entirely right. Apparently it has been stated that Talb does not in fact have immunity, and that was a misunderstanding. I think I need to read more of the transcripts to see how this worked.

Rolfe.
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Old 25th October 2010, 06:09 PM   #55
Buncrana
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My head hurts.

An astoundingly complex conflation of serveral issues involving International Law, European Extradition and Legal Treaty's (European
Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters) European Conventions, Swedish Law, Scottish Law and Dutch Law melt together with no clear and absolute agreement on Talb's status. His conviction in Sweden, and appearence at Zeist while serving sentence, the application made by the Crown office with regards to a specific treaty adhered to by Sweden and Scotland and the terms agreed under such prisoner provisions, appears to lead the Lordships to the conclusion that the Treaty (noted above) takes precedent:

Quote:
Page2599 pdf Zeist

And Article 12, to which reference is made in 11, provides: A witness or expert, whatever his nationality, appearing on a summons before the judicial authorities of the requesting party, shall not be prosecuted or detained or subjected to any other restriction of his personal liberty in the territory of that party in respect of acts or convictions anterior to his departure from the territory of the requested party.

And the judges statement to Talb on concluding their discussions on these matters,


Quote:
Page2610 pdf Zeist

[..] LORD SUTHERLAND: Have the witness back, please.

[Witness resumed]

LORD SUTHERLAND: Can you hear me, Mr. Talb?

THE WITNESS: Yes. [8449]

LORD SUTHERLAND: We should tell you that it is a matter for this court and not for you to decide what is relevant for the purposes of this trial.
As a Crown witness, you have immunity from prosecution for the offence with which this court is currently concerned; namely, the bombing of Pan Am 103. And that being so, you are obliged to answer any questions which in the court's view are relevant to this inquiry. We should tell you that you are not obliged to answer any questions, the answers to which might incriminate you in connection with any other offence with which you might be liable to
be charged.
Do you understand what we have said?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

There's more. Tomorrow.
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