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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , US-Libya relations

View Poll Results: Should convicted Libyan terrorist have been released?
Yes. He is a dying man and we should show compassion as a result. 11 11.34%
Yes. Such are the doubts over his conviction, and given that he will die before any appeal he should be released. 20 20.62%
Yes, but only under a prisoner transfer with strict rules over media access. 4 4.12%
No. Regardless of the legal considerations on the specific case, this hands a propaganda victory to the Libyan regime. 7 7.22%
No. He is legally guilty for the deaths of 270 people and should serve his sentence fully. 52 53.61%
Any other opinion, specify below! 3 3.09%
Voters: 97. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
Old 22nd August 2009, 11:35 PM   #81
GlennB
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Put
+Thurman +timer +residue
into Google

And take it from there. They didn't even test the critical piece of evidence for explosives residue. And it goes much deeper than that.
Originally Posted by scissorhands View Post
Just like at GZ!!!
Did they ship it off to China?
And have you got a youtube link?
Nothing like GZ. There was no reason to suppose 9/11 involved explosives and no reason to test for them.
Flt 103 was known to have been blown up and this fragment of timer was supposedly part of the device. Failing to test it for explosives is inexplicable by any normal forensic standards.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 12:24 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'd be surprised if Architect was claiming that this article describes what happened. Note the date. It's merely an example of the mainstream press speculation about WTF has been going on, because a guy has just been handed a life sentence on evidence you wouldn't hang a case of illegal parking on.
Exactly. How often does the Herald, or the Scotsman, have an article about these issues? How often do we hear from Professor Black? Jim Swires?
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Old 23rd August 2009, 12:26 AM   #83
Architect
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Nothing like GZ. There was no reason to suppose 9/11 involved explosives and no reason to test for them.
Flt 103 was known to have been blown up and this fragment of timer was supposedly part of the device. Failing to test it for explosives is inexplicable by any normal forensic standards.
And there is still no meaningful evidence that 911 involved explosives.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 02:14 AM   #84
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Regarding the poll...
I'd like to ask Andy what he meant by:
"No. Regardless of the legal considerations on the specific case, this hands a propaganda victory to the Libyan regime."

And I'd like to ask the 7 who voted that option: how did you interpret it?

Is it simply: "The law is wrong in this case and should have been ignored by those whose job it is to uphold the law."
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Old 23rd August 2009, 02:56 AM   #85
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I doubt it as the law (as far as I understand it) does not require a prisoner to be released on compassionate grounds.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 03:07 AM   #86
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That is correct. The Minister decides based upon advice from, amongst others, the Prison Governor and the Scottish Parole Board.

It came up in today's Sunday Herald.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 04:08 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I doubt it as the law (as far as I understand it) does not require a prisoner to be released on compassionate grounds.
Point taken.
I still don't understand what Andy meant by "Regardless of the legal considerations...." in that option.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 07:16 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by Architect View Post
Exactly. How often does the Herald, or the Scotsman, have an article about these issues? How often do we hear from Professor Black? Jim Swires?

Quite. This isn't just a buch of teenagers swapping far-fetched CTs in their mum's basement. This is mainstream journalists in quality papers not given to sensationalism, plus the BBC. And it's every time the subject is mentioned. In 2007 when the Deal in the Desert came out, there was an absolute storm of conflicted prose, half fury with Tony Blair for encroaching on our sovereignty and half believing that Megrahi should be released because of the doubts over the safety of the conviction.

Then of course there was the outstanding appeal, and all the frustrations surrounding the prosecution's refusal to release this "sensitive document" that has been declared to be highly favourable to to the defence case.

I've always felt this could do with the same internet scrutiny that 9/11 has been subjected to. There are undoubtedly parts of the CT that are simply myth, but it's hard to know which ones. But it's not Dylan Avery or Alex Jones putting this forward, it's people like Ian Bell (who has previously stated he's certain of Megrahi's innocence). And genuine investigative journalists can't be engaged on the same level as truthers.

People who want to catch up on how this is perceived where it's happening need to read the Sunday Herald today.

America's Rage, joint article by the political reporters

Quote:
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The US authorities indicated that although they were opposed to both prisoner transfer and compassionate release, they regarded compassionate release as far preferable to the transfer agreement, and Mr Mueller should be aware of that."

Brown backtracks on threat over hero's welcome for bomber, by James Cusick

Quote:
The PM's letter contained what an FCO source described as a "diplomatic threat put in the nicest terms".

The threat described how Megrahi being politically lionised would put at risk the commercial, business and scientific bi-lateral progress that had grown between the two countries since the 2007 accord brokered by Tony Blair.

In one large deal alone, up to $20bn of oil and gas investment is being planned by BP in the coming years as exploration, both on and offshore, accelerates.

Brown's letter is said to have made clear that Britain "seriously" believed such bilateral agreements would be in danger if Libya offered a public hero's welcome to Megrahi.

However, Westminster is now backing away from any punitive action as there are currently no plans at the Foreign Office to punish Libya, with the FCO now saying there is only a "watching brief".

Although Washington is said to have wanted some form of diplomatic reprisal from Britain, they will now be disappointed.

A question of human rights, by Prof. Alan Miller, chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission

Quote:
At the very least, the concerns highlighted by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission should be revisited. Political influence over decisions on detentions should also be scrutinised, and the UK government opposition to releasing crucial documents should be dropped. The key lesson is that the human rights of all parties need to be at the centre of the legal process and decision making if the public interest is to be served, and if justice is to be done and be seen to be done.

Megrahi: deal or no deal? by James Cusick

Quote:
What Miliband and Mandelson cannot dismiss is that since Blair's visit in 2007 Libya has become a commercial target for oil and gas investment, banks and the chemical industry with deals in these lucrative sectors routinely acknowledged by analysts' reports that they are made against a backdrop of a highly politicised trading environment.

BP has plans for a $20 billion oil and gas investment programme in both offshore and onshore Libyan fields still to be fully explored. More than one billion dollars have already been spent. The release of Megrahi will see petroleum investment accelerate with other UK "blue chip" companies now expecting business opportunities to increase. Had the release of Megrahi been a Westminster decision, Miliband's denial would not have been enough to keep the allegations of political collusion from increasing. But Holyrood, and the powers of the devolved parliament, have been convenient. Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice secretary, who has little experience of international affairs, is said to have constantly tried to involve Westminster in his decision. Regular contact with the FCO was made by MacAskill and his advisers since Libya first approached the Scottish government in May this year with a request for Megrahi's release on medical grounds. But both Downing Street and the FCO have kept their distance, with the prime minister's continued silence now an issue he will have to address before the end of the summer break.

The No 10 silence, according to one Whitehall source, was carefully crafted diplomacy. "If MacAskill had kept Megrahi in prison, Downing Street could have told the Americans they positively helped the decision, and Libya could have been told it wasn't Westminster's call to make. And with Megrahi back in Libya, the Americans are told it wasn't in Westminster's power, meanwhile the Libyans are waving Scottish flags. Silence sometimes works."

Salmond - who initially criticised the 2007 "memorandum of understanding" signed by Blair and Gaddafi as constitutionally flawed, with the First Minister saying Blair had no authority over Scottish judicial matters - said he believed MacAskill had taken the right decision. Salmond will, however, be relieved that Megrahi's release was not made under the terms of the UK-Libyan prisoner release treaty. MacAskill's only positive political option was to look carefully at grounds of compassion and the imminent death of Megrahi.

Megrahi: Scotland vs. the world, by Tom Gordon

Quote:
Besides Megrahi's application for compassionate release, he also had to weigh a parallel application from the Libyan government under a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA). Under a deal initiated by Tony Blair and ratified under Gordon Brown, Libya was entitled to ask that prisoners in UK jails be repatriated to serve out their sentences in their homeland, provided there were no outstanding legal issues.

It was a deal which MacAskill and Alex Salmond had both resisted when news of it first emerged in mid-2007, weeks after the SNP came to power.

The Labour government had denied it was engineered to return Megrahi to Libya in order to further business with the oil-rich state, but no-one in Edinburgh or Tripoli believed that.

"The entire purpose of the PTA was to get Megrahi back to Libya," said a Scottish government source. "It was absolutely about trade. It was a shabby deal but it ended up being overtaken by a humanitarian decision."

For MacAskill, it was by far the easier of the two options he had to consider.

The families of the American victims of the attack on Pan Am flight 103 had been promised anyone convicted of the Lockerbie bombing would serve their sentence in Scotland.

The UK government, who had devised the PTA, had made it clear to MacAskill that this promise had been "political", rather than legally binding, all but inviting him to renege on it.

However MacAskill wasn't about to take the "perfidious Albion" route, and ruled out a prisoner transfer. That left the request for compassionate release. [....]

Instead of the usual rapid-fire jokiness, his speech had more than a touch of pulpit torpor to it, as he painstakingly acknowledged the pain caused by Lockerbie, frowned at the UK government's silence, ruled out prisoner transfer, and after 23 minutes finally came to the point.

"Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people. No matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated.

"For these reasons - and these reasons alone - it is my decision that Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, convicted in 2001 for the Lockerbie bombing, now terminally ill with prostate cancer, be released on compassionate grounds and allowed to return home to Libya to die."

The last two word were given special emphasis.

Unusually for MacAskill, who is not religious and whose first vote at Holyrood was against saying prayers before business, it also referred to Megrahi facing "a sentence imposed by a higher power", a cynical but clever sop to a transatlantic audience.

Megrahi: the legacy in Lockerbie, by Ewan Fergus

Quote:
Compassion, cited as the main reason for releasing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, is a sentiment which Father Keegans [whose house was narrowly missed by the plane's engines] understands.

"I'm very, very pleased that Mr Megrahi has gone home,'' he said. "From the very beginning, following the investigation very closely, the whole thrust of it was towards Iran. Then suddenly that shifted and it switched to Libya. We were being told at the time by the American and British authorities that if we get the Libyans, it will lead to all the others.

"I was suspicious about this sudden switch anyway. As we can see, time has shown that it has certainly not led to the conviction of other people. I feel an innocent man was convicted."

Though Canon Keegans has moved away from Lockerbie to become administrator at St Margaret's Cathedral in Ayr, he is still in regular contact with friends in Lockerbie, and has spoken to many in recent days about the release of Megrahi.

He adds: "There's mixed reactions and mixed views. The majority of people are uncertain but a great number are of the same mind as myself. An innocent man has been convicted and they're happy to see him released."

Megrahi: the contracts, by Paul Hutcheon
Note which government is getting the commercial advantages. It's not Scotland's. Labour MPs are simultaneously playing to the gallery by criticising the SNP, and raking it in from Libyan contacts.

Quote:
A FORMER Labour defence minister is one of a number of government insiders helping British business unlock the multi-billion pound opportunities afforded by the thawing of diplomatic relations with Libya.

Adam Ingram, who stood down as armed forces minister in 2007, receives up to £25,000 a year from Argus Libya UK LLP, described as a firm that "sniffs out" commercial opportunities in the North African country.

A host of former UK government officials, British companies and at least one member of the Royal Family are also behind moves to pursue commercial opportunities with the former pariah state.

Megrahi's release is likely to be a key turning point in Libya's relationship with the UK. The two countries began to travel down the road of economic co-operation in 2004, when former Prime Minister Tony Blair met Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi in a Bedouin tent. This was followed by the lifting of EU and UN sanctions against Libya.

At the same time, BP, a company with impeccable New Labour links, signed a £900m gas exploration deal that gave the firm the right to drill 17 wells in the offshore Gulf of Sirte basin and the onshore Ghadames basin.

Co-operation documents have since been signed in areas including science, defence, visas and health. [All this refers to the London government]

Megrahi's release, according to one senior government insider, will now give UK companies a "seat at the table" as Libya opens up its financial, defence and energy sectors.

We're a 'Global Pariah'.... but not everyone's against us. Ask London. by Ian MacWhirter
It's a pity this one isn't online, because it makes many interesting points.

Quote:
It may be Scotland against the world, but that does not mean that Scotland is wrong.

I can't see any reason why Kenny MacAskill's "act of humanity" should lead to Scotland being shunned by the commuity of nations, just because a few saltires were flown in Tripoli on Megrahi's return to Libya. [....] And speaking personally, I man rather proud that this country seeks to act with compassion, even towards a convicted mass murderer.

The whole episode was saturated with hypocrisy. The foreign secretary David Milliband may have been "distressed and upset" by the scenes in Tripoli, but it was the UK government that initiated the diplomatic process that led to Megrahi's return to his homeland. They willed the end even if they didn't determine the means. The initial contacts over the fate of Megrahi were made by London - specifically by Tony Blair in his "deal in the desert" with Colonel Muammar Gadaffi in 2007.

Be in no doubt: the UK government is entirely content with the decision [....]

There are also two more short articles by Tom Gordon - The Backlash and The Appeal - which aren't online, and an editorial, Megrahi: the questions our parliament must pursue.

Reading US journalism by people who're picking this up for the first time, jumping to conclusions, and completely missing out on the complex political differences between Westminster and Holyrood isn't really going to provide an understanding of something that has been going on for over 10 years,

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 23rd August 2009 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 07:36 AM   #89
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Is the USA in the habit of bribing witnesses with enormous sums of money to "encourage" them to give evidence against a defendant?

In one of the Sunday Herald articles that isn't online, but here's the salient point.

Quote:
The Scottish police recommended to US authorities that Gauci be paid a $2 million reward, and his brother Paul should be paid $1 million.

Gauci was described by police as having "expressed an interest in receiving money" as early as 1991, nine years before the trial.

In the appeal Megrahi's lawyers would have argued that Gauci's evidence was as unreliable as that of Abdul Majid Giaka, a former Libyan intelligence officer, who told the trial Megrahi took a brown Samsonite case through Malta airport the day before the bombing.

Giaka's testimony was fatally undermined when it emerged that he was to receive $4 million from the US government if he helped gain a conviction.

And by the way, I entirely condemn the Scottish police for condoning the bribing of witnesses.

This whole "reward for information" thing totally stinks when it leads to people being encouraged to give evidence against someone in the hope of being made fabulously wealthy.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 08:13 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by Rolfe
Is the USA in the habit of bribing witnesses with enormous sums of money to "encourage" them to give evidence against a defendant?

In one of the Sunday Herald articles that isn't online, but here's the salient point.

Quote:
The Scottish police recommended to US authorities that Gauci be paid a $2 million reward, and his brother Paul should be paid $1 million.

Gauci was described by police as having "expressed an interest in receiving money" as early as 1991, nine years before the trial.

In the appeal Megrahi's lawyers would have argued that Gauci's evidence was as unreliable as that of Abdul Majid Giaka, a former Libyan intelligence officer, who told the trial Megrahi took a brown Samsonite case through Malta airport the day before the bombing.

Giaka's testimony was fatally undermined when it emerged that he was to receive $4 million from the US government if he helped gain a conviction.
I'm still working my way through the Paul Foot pamphlet on this but there's a section in it that makes the above even worse.
Originally Posted by Paul Foot on Abdul Majid Giaka
He pretended he was a senior official in the Libyan intelligence organisation JSO though in reality (as the Americans quickly realised) he was a former garage mechanic who helped to maintain JSO vehicles and had graduated to the exalted position of assistant station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines.
So he was a lying weasel even without a four million dollar incentive.
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Old 23rd August 2009, 08:45 AM   #91
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Mod Warning A number of bickering and off-topic posts have been moved to AAH. Keep it civil and talk about the topic, not each other, especially you scissorhands and architect.
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Old 24th August 2009, 02:51 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by FireGarden View Post
Is "pardoned" the correct word here?
Not as I read it.
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Old 25th August 2009, 03:44 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by FireGarden View Post
Regarding the poll...
I'd like to ask Andy what he meant by:
"No. Regardless of the legal considerations on the specific case, this hands a propaganda victory to the Libyan regime."

And I'd like to ask the 7 who voted that option: how did you interpret it?

Is it simply: "The law is wrong in this case and should have been ignored by those whose job it is to uphold the law."
I agree that the wording is slightly ambiguous. It could either mean "putting to one side questions as to whether or not he is guilty" or it could mean "even if the legal ruling was that he should be released on compassionate grounds" [ he should not be because it hands a propaganda victory to the regime]

I meant it for the former, but the latter interpretation is probably also worth considering. Governments have quite a knack of circumventing or ignoring legal rulings when it is considered necessary (and certainly in the case of "national security"). I think that if Gordon Brown had really not wanted him to be released then he wouldn't have been, regardless of any legal considerations. But then perhaps I'm being overly cynical.
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Old 25th August 2009, 04:01 AM   #94
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Hard to know, on that last one. I don't know how much real pressure Brown is capable of exerting on Salmond, to counteract the natural impulse to do anything Brown doesn't want just for the hell of it.

However, I just don't think that applies in this case. The opinion in Scotland among people who've actually followed the case is that Megrahi's conviction is "unsafe and unsound", and it's a scandal that the appeal process has been dragged out for so long, especially so now that he has no chance of living long enough to see its conclusion. I would be very surprised if Kenny McAskill didn't agree at least with the first part of that, though as a lawyer he possibly has no problems with the second part....

So, we know that Tony Blair wanted to send Megrahi back to Libya in 2007, and was only thwarted by the SNP at the time. Now the SNP government is also of the belief he should be sent back, though for different reasons. I really don't believe anyone in Westminster was going to stop this.

It's just politically expedient to let McAskill take the flak, and to use the affair for party-political point-scoring (much kudos to Malcolm Chisholm who broke Labour ranks and voiced support for McAskill). Also, apparently, to allow the Americans to believe that it was the Scottish government who had the trade agreement interest in seeing him released, not the UK government.

To do this, all Gordon Brown has to do is keep his mouth shut on the subject (while commenting on everything else from cricket to Michael Jackson), and let Ian Grey have his head. Ignoring the fact that if either Grey or McConnell had been First Minister in 2007, Tony would have said look, we need Megrahi sent home to secure these oil deals, and Ian/Jack would have said "yes, massa".

It's a shame the Herald don't put their cartoons online. Todays shows a crowd of cheering people, some waving saltires. Others have placards of McAskill, and others are releasing yelow SNP-logo balloons. The caption reads, "Meanwhile at 10 Downing St...."

Rolfe.

ETA: Analysis of the Herald letters column shows the following:
Monday, 9 for release, 2 against (both these from US addresses)
Tuesday: 12 for release, including 2 from US addresses, 2 against, again both US addresses.

If Ian Grey is right that the "silent majority" in Scotland is outraged by McAskill's decision, well, I've never known such a large number of outraged people keep quite so quiet about it.
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Old 25th August 2009, 06:04 AM   #95
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Well, it appears that at least one US intelligence agency was still completely convinced of Iran's culpability even months after Libya had been publicly fingered as the probable culprit. And they make rather specific claims in a very matter-of-fact tone as to who within the Iranian Govt was behind the bombing, and how much they paid for it.

www dot dia dot mil/publicaffairs/Foia/panam103.pdf

Check out the bottom of page 7 and the top of page 8.

Also, notice the first "area of concern" on page 3. I find it very interesting that there's no stance regarding the actual veracity of the claims of Iranian responsibility, the writer of the intel brief is simply admonished for contradicting the official public line on Lockerbie in an article that could one day be leaked.

If the intelligence administrator who reviewed the brief didn't think that Iran was probably behind Lockerbie based on what he/she knew intelligence-wise, wouldn't the factual inaccuracy or use of bad/old intelligence in the article be just as much an "area of concern" as a possible future public relations issue?
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Old 25th August 2009, 06:32 AM   #96
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WOW!

Rolfe.
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Old 25th August 2009, 06:59 AM   #97
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OK, after glancing over the document again, it's not clear what part of the document "area of concern" is actually referring to (it might be referring to a redacted section or to an entirely different document?), and that section only mentions the PFLP-GC explicitly, not Iran. But the most widespread "conspiracy theory" asserts that the PFLP-GC executed the bombing at the behest of Iran, and my point still stands that the "concern" doesn't actually dispute the veracity of the claims but only addresses potential PR/messaging fallout.
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Old 25th August 2009, 07:19 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by manierisme View Post

www dot dia dot mil/publicaffairs/Foia/panam103.pdf

Check out the bottom of page 7 and the top of page 8.
Link to the document.

And welcome to the forum.
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Old 25th August 2009, 06:14 PM   #99
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The bombing of the discotheque in West Berlin was likely done by the Mossad. After the bombing they faked Libyan intelligence to make it sound like the Libyans were responsible . This fooled the Americas and they later attacked Libya which is what Israel wanted all along. Libya later retaliated with the Pam Am bombing.

Israel started all of this.
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Old 26th August 2009, 04:19 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by MaGZ View Post
Israel started all of this.
This is coming from the man/woman who believes that there were missiles at ground zero.
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Old 16th November 2009, 02:21 AM   #101
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by MaGZ View Post
The bombing of the discotheque in West Berlin was likely done by the Mossad. After the bombing they faked Libyan intelligence to make it sound like the Libyans were responsible . This fooled the Americas and they later attacked Libya which is what Israel wanted all along. Libya later retaliated with the Pam Am bombing.

Israel started all of this.
Uh, yeah. Too bad there's no credible evidence that any Libyans were involved in this revenge. Do you embrace false positions on purpose?

Anyway, this seems as good a thread as any to rseurrect at this time. The time being the approximate three month anniversary of al Megrahi's three months to live prognosis.

Professor Black's blog today, quoting Gerald Warner, Scotland on Sunday
http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/20...ssing-for.html
Quote:
This is becoming embarrassing – for Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. <snip> The problem for our Kenny is that Megrahi has not done the decent thing. This Friday will see the expiry of his supposed three-month maximum lease of life, but it looks likely he will not have shuffled off this mortal coil, as MacAskill assured us he would.
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Quote:
When al-Megrahi flew home to a hero's welcome in Libya, Member of Scottish Parliament Richard Baker recalls "universal outrage" among Scots at the sight of Scotland's flag "being waved to welcome home the Lockerbie bomber in Tripoli. It just turned stomachs" - and produced among sensible Scots "profound shame and embarrassment."
This attitude makes me sick. Do people not think about what they are saying? Can someone please tell me they're upset both that the guy was released alive and got a hero's welcome? I'd like to argue with you.

ETA: If you're upset he's not dead yet by this Friday, or fantasizing finishing it yourself, that's a bonus.

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Old 16th November 2009, 02:53 AM   #102
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Well, you know my opinion.

The evidence the court relied on to convict him was risible. Whether Libya had anything much to do with the PAN Am 103 attack I don't know, but the evidence that Megrahi either bought the clothes that were packed round the bomb in the suitcase, or smuggled the suitcase into the luggage system, simply should not have stood up in court. Not only that, since there was evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that wherever that suitcase went on the plane it was not in Malta, and Megrahi definitely was in Malta at the time, that looks like an alibi to me.

It is a howling shame on my country's justice system that anyone, whether or not he was an intelligence agent for a hostile regime, should have been railroaded in this way. Kangaroo court, show trial, call it what you like. I watched the coverage of the so-called "hero's welcome" live, and I was pleased that my country's flag was being waved, not burned! For goodness sake, if one of your family had been imprisoned for eight years on charges you firmly believe to be false, and then was finally released as a dying man, would you go to the airport to welcome him?

The Scotsman recently ran a piece declaring that it was a huge embarrassment to Kenny MacAskill that Megrahi hadn't had the decency to die yet. To the credit of the online readers, the subsequent comments were all highly critical of the piece. Someone asked if there was a word for journalism that had yet to aspire to reach the dizzy heights of the gutter.

So Megrahi has been having additional chemotherapy in Libya that he wan't getting in Scotland? Shame on the NHS, then. But then, there's probably more incentive for doctors to fight hard for someone who might have something left to live for, compared to someone languishing in jail far from his family. And simply being home with the family is likely to improve the short-term prognosis. What sort of ghouls are we?

I have no real idea how I'd feel about releasing a genuine terrorist who was responsible for such an atrocity in this way. Because that hasn't happened. I hope I'd try to take the compassionate view, even so. I just wish Megrahi hadn't been pressurised to drop his appeal, so that there might have been some prospect of a new investigation to find out who did do it. If that ever happens, and that person is being considered for compassionate release, ask me how I feel about it then.

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Old 16th November 2009, 03:10 AM   #103
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he was set up by the c. i. a.
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Old 16th November 2009, 03:38 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Well, you know my opinion.

The evidence the court relied on to convict him was risible. Whether Libya had anything much to do with the PAN Am 103 attack I don't know, but the evidence that Megrahi either bought the clothes that were packed round the bomb in the suitcase, or smuggled the suitcase into the luggage system, simply should not have stood up in court. Not only that, since there was evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that wherever that suitcase went on the plane it was not in Malta, and Megrahi definitely was in Malta at the time, that looks like an alibi to me.
Oh wah! Shouldn'ta stood up or shoulda, fact is it did, he was convicted, in the castle, scales of justice, die is cast, die in gaol. It's an old game, it's the form that matters.

But No one will argue with me! They're all over the other forums I guess, and editors rooms, think tanks, and in "I don't look into things, I trust" land and so on.

Just for those of you so-inclined to get upset about Megrahi's "hero's welcome," please ask yourselves what that really means to you. It seems a lot see them cheering a killer of 270 as a hero, for that. How could so many Libyans cheer a mass murderer? Are Libyans just evil by nature? Just that anti-American? Nah, that'd be racist or something... So was Col Ghaddafi bussing them in at gun point? Mental equivalent with brainwashing propaganda, banning CNN, etc, so they beileve killing people that way is heroic?

But, see, "Lockerbie bomber" is in OUR minds (some), not necessarily theirs. And it's really more from an absence of inaccurate propaganda, which we suffer from on this side of the Lockerbie line.

Go ask the people and I bet they'll say overwhelmingly he was an innocent man, framed and jailed for life in a ridiculous politically motivated show-trial. They were happy for him and their country that he was able to at least die at home, and that other nations almost seemed to care about justice. Whatever you say about the case and conviction and his guilt, one cannot honestly say the conviction was completely sound and untarnished by scandal, inconsistency, cover-up, etc. Even if genuinely guilty, just the ambiguity of it all (reasonable doubt up the wazoo that never should have been glossed over) PLUS his (app) 3 month life span, there's no doubt in my mind he deserved the benefit of doubt, a return home, good medicine, plenty hugs, and as many months as he feels up to and can be allowed.

For God's sake, you'd think these people wanted to pester MacAskill into flying to Tripoli with that pillow and smother the guy now.

Quote:
It is a howling shame on my country's justice system that anyone, whether or not he was an intelligence agent for a hostile regime, should have been railroaded in this way. Kangaroo court, show trial, call it what you like. I watched the coverage of the so-called "hero's welcome" live, and I was pleased that my country's flag was being waved, not burned!
See above - It was contextual. I'm sure plenty of them have burned plenty Scottish flags. there might still have been some in the back row that day, but clearly the prevailing mood was all this paying up and playing nice despite all the harassment was paying off - another power showed humanity to one of ours. Then they remember what he was released from and I'm sure their wave goes limper.
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Old 16th November 2009, 03:51 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by silver birch View Post
he was set up by the c. i. a.
Yeah, pretty much it seems.

It's funny watching the middle part where attention shifted from PFLP-GC to Libya. First all clues pointed to Jibril's group, paid $11 million by Iran, using a Khreesat altimeter bomb loaded at London (31,000 ft detonation), in revenge for what they felt was the intentional US shootdown of Air Iran 655 just six months earlier. It all fits, symmetrical death toll and method, transactions, timing, but can't hardly be followed through on for various reasons, and suddenly Libya enters. Secret meeting alleged, the Iran-PFLPGC plot still starts it but then hires Libya to do the actual bomb, since Khreesat's cell got busted up. So... the Libyans, stupid, stupid Libyans, decide to back their bomb with Maltese-made clothhes, bought in Malta, packed there, and inserted into the air system to PA103A, blind luck allowing, within a couple weeks. And this bomb uses one of the Swiss blabbermouth's timers, carefully set to somehow replicate what a Khreesat bomb from London would do, perhaps by pure accident, or to frame that group and draw attention to Heathrow. But this also made sure the plane blew up just around the British coast, rather than the vast hard-to-miss target zone of the friggin ATLANTIC. So, all these neat blabbermouth-bought-from Maltese clothes, blabbermouth-bought-from timer fragment, etc. are FOUND at Lockerbie, with routine (but oddly delayed and rerouted) luggage records at Frankfurt (but nothing at Malta) pointing to Malta as well. and lead right to Libya and people are PATTING THEMSELVES ON THE BACK for busting this case?

Scooby Doo grade material, at best. It was old man Megrahi all along!

So who's mad now? Real killers never brought to justice, etc.? JREF at large, you're too smart to argue this point. That's a plus for you all.
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Old 16th November 2009, 07:04 AM   #106
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I wish someone would come and argue the "Megrahi did it" case. It would give us some specific points to discuss. To my mind, though, it's a done deal.
  • Whoever bought the clothes, it wasn't Megrahi - too young, not tall enough, and not the right build.
  • Wherever the bomb was put on board, it wasn't Malta. And Megrahi was on Malta on 21st December 1988.
  • Giaka was making stuff up to keep the CIA happy (and paying him money and keeping him in their witness protection programme).
The rest of the evidence was candy-floss - Megrahi's association with Bollier, which never extended to showing he'd ever had possession of an MST-13 timer, and Fhimah's diary, which said something about luggage tags in the context of a name that might have been Abdelbaset but might have been something else, which had an innocent explanation, and anyway, if you were a terrorist, would you write incriminating stuff in your diary, then leave it lying around and hand it over to the authorities quite willingly more than a year later?

If Megrahi didn't do it, and it wasn't done at Luqa, this throws everything back in the melting pot, but it still doesn't exonerate Libya. Maybe it was some other Libyans who completely evaded detection. Maybe.

But the timeline of the shifting of the blame is odd, and gradual, and inconsistent. The press reports blaming Libya started coming out in late 1989. Saddam Hussein didn't invade Kuwait until the summer of 1990, and the USA didn't go after him for this until early 1991. The indictments were later in 1991.

Some people have said the indictments were too late to be motivated by the desire to appease Syria and Iran, but the indictments were only the culmination of a process that had been going on possibly since March 1989, which actually seems too early to be consitent with that motivation.

From about March 1989 there seems to have been official policy to downplay the PFLP-GC angle, but it kept resurfacing anyway, probably because the circumstantial evidence was too strong. (However, they may have been barking up one particular wrong tree which put a spanner in the works. Because baggage container AVE4041 contained no luggage belonging to passengers who had begun their journey at Heathrow, and most of the luggage in it was from Frankfurt, the investigation ignored the possibility of a clandestine introduction at Heathrow and concentrated on Frankfurt.)

Only after August 1989, when the Frankfurt police finally handed over the Erac printout of the PA103A loading records, did the Malta connection surface as a serious proposition. This culminated in the first interview with Gauci, in September 1989. Gauci believed the mystery shopper to be Libyan, and I think that's when the focus really shifted. I think the French newspaper report in September 1989 was the first public blaming of Libya, and English newspapers joined in about December.

Nevertheless, the FAI (which happened in 1990) was still all about the PFLP-GC, as if the legal process hadn't really caught up with changing theories. It wasn't that concerned with who put the bomb on board anyway, more with how it happened. (The legal justification for holding the FAI was the the Pan Am flight crew were at work when they died, and they were in Scotland when they died, which made holding an enquiry into work-related fatalities mandatory.)

So the changing focus from Syria to Libya happened well before the MST-13 fragment was identified in June 1990. It seems to have been the Erac printout followed by Gauci's testimony which really drove the shift in emphasis.

I can see why Marquise keeps saying, "it's the evidence, stupid". But it's evidence pointing to Libya, not evidence pointing to Megrahi, that he's talking about. The evidence pointing to Megrahi is tissue paper. In a typhoon. However, if he's the only Libyan who could be linked with the incident in any way at all, is that telling in itself?

You know, this is beginning to make some twisted sort of sense, and it's in entirely the wrong thread, sorry.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 16th November 2009 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 16th November 2009, 05:06 PM   #107
Caustic Logic
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Bump. Convicted killer set free, ain't dead. Gotta be some strong feelings.
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Old 16th November 2009, 05:57 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think the French newspaper report in September 1989 was the first public blaming of Libya, and English newspapers joined in about December.

Sorry, that was 1990, not 1989. Doesn't really change what I was saying though.

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