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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Ahmed Jibril , Lockerbie bombing , Pan Am 103 , Scotland issues , US-Scotland relations

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Old 14th July 2010, 01:51 PM   #241
Caustic Logic
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I thought the BP question is separate enough, and easy enough, to have a stand-alone thread. The very question people ask is the title, thirst post sets up the question - did BP cause Megrahi's release? Second one explains why any connection is indirect at best, links back to this thread on the actual decision. Thread closed as soon as it's established. That'd be best.

Sorry little time for other response ATM
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Old 14th July 2010, 02:06 PM   #242
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I don't see how you can separate the topics out. Any thread just making the BP link with Megrahi's release is going to attract posters baying for the blood of this mass-murdering scum, and then you're right back at square one.

I'm intrigued by the Herald seeming still to give credence to the possibility that Megrahi's innocence might yet be proved. I thought that had more or less gone by the board with the abandoning of the appeal. It's difficult to see what could be discovered that would be held to prove him innocent without it going back in front of the court, and I don't think it could go back in front of the court now.

Or maybe someone can prove tray B8849 was the suitcase belonging to the Maltese family on their way to spend Christmas at Disneyworld.... I'm not holding my breath.

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Old 14th July 2010, 02:22 PM   #243
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Hey, the Iranians are asking if BP had a role in "release of a notorious terrorist."
http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=223031

I can't get my computer to link to Tehran Times servers for some reason, so can't read it. I hear they keep tight control. Are the Mullah's repressively blocking me from reading their awesome media?
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Old 14th July 2010, 02:32 PM   #244
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Quote:
I don't see how you can separate the topics out.
Linguistically at least. It's a separate question that's being asked widely, but with a proper answer kind of like "no. Now read this thread." Eh, whichever. It was a thought.

And I do realize this will be a passing blip in the end, but it's a chance to squeeze into the discussion every time it flares up. Personally I suspect another, maybe larger wave of disgust come August 20, and then I suspect Megrahi will draw down within a couple weeks of that.

Unless one of the assassination teams currently forming ad hoc in the mid-south (I'm guessing) manages to sneak into Libya and the compound. A lot of well-funded people would love nothing more than for Megrahi to die other than naturally, and right as most people believe he was ABOUT to live for another 20-30 years or whatever, perfect time. The Libyans'd never be able to prove he was ABOUT to die within weeks, and the assassins are folk heroes, whatever their physical fate, for doing what the Scots wouldn't.
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Old 14th July 2010, 03:34 PM   #245
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Hey, the Iranians are asking if BP had a role in "release of a notorious terrorist."
http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=223031

I can't get my computer to link to Tehran Times servers for some reason, so can't read it. I hear they keep tight control. Are the Mullah's repressively blocking me from reading their awesome media?

I got straight in. So presumably they don't know I rather think they did it....

It's just boilerplate agency copy. Although I have to say my irony meter needs a lie down in a quiet room.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th July 2010, 03:35 PM   #246
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Linguistically at least. It's a separate question that's being asked widely, but with a proper answer kind of like "no. Now read this thread." Eh, whichever. It was a thought.

And I do realize this will be a passing blip in the end, but it's a chance to squeeze into the discussion every time it flares up. Personally I suspect another, maybe larger wave of disgust come August 20, and then I suspect Megrahi will draw down within a couple weeks of that.

Unless one of the assassination teams currently forming ad hoc in the mid-south (I'm guessing) manages to sneak into Libya and the compound. A lot of well-funded people would love nothing more than for Megrahi to die other than naturally, and right as most people believe he was ABOUT to live for another 20-30 years or whatever, perfect time. The Libyans'd never be able to prove he was ABOUT to die within weeks, and the assassins are folk heroes, whatever their physical fate, for doing what the Scots wouldn't.

Calm down, dear boy. I think you need a lie down in a quiet room.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th July 2010, 05:19 AM   #247
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In view of the much wailing and gnashing of teeth by a few US senators recently, a press release has just issued by Christine Grahame MSP on the matter of Megrahi, Lockerbie and BP.

Quote:
There remains legitimate concern about how this case was investigated and prosecuted and also, from the US side, ongoing anger at the decision to release Mr Megrahi.

[..]

The Scottish Government has already said it would co-operate fully with an inquiry if one were set up.

I am now challenging the US Government to do likewise and help establish an international inquiry into the events that led to the bombing of PA103 over Lockerbie and examine all of the facts related to this case.

Er, don't hold your breath on that one Christine. Virtually no one is the US is interested in the slightest never mind the bluster from a few senators.

Christine Grahame Release
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Old 15th July 2010, 06:19 AM   #248
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The amusing thing is that the bluster from the USA has now morphed into an accusation which I think may well be factually true. Did BP lobby Tony Blair to put in place the prisoner transfer agreement with Libya?

Yes, I think it's virtually certain they did. In 2007.

Was Megrahi mentioned by BP at this time? Probably not, because there was no need. While there were weasel words about whether he was included in the agreement or not, he was the only Libyan prisoner in a British jail at the time so it's hard to see what any of that was about if it wasn't about him.

Did that have any bearing on his eventual release in 2009, on quite different grounds? Not exactly, but possibly indirectly. It's likely Blair's successors were still anxious to deliver on the spirit of that agreement, even though the letter of it had turned out to be beyond their gift. So they kept their mouths firmly shut and offered not a single word in criticism of the Scottish government's proposal to release Megrahi under compassionate release, and they may even have smoothed the path a little behind the scenes.

You don't need an official enquiry to work that out though.

I suppose the question is, in today's fevered political climate of hate against BP, is the fact that they felt, in 2007, that returning Megrahi to Libya under Prisoner Release would be helpful to their interests, enough to damn them further?

Given the aforementioned fevered climate, quite possibly I suspect.

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Old 15th July 2010, 06:23 AM   #249
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
In view of the much wailing and gnashing of teeth by a few US senators recently, a press release has just issued by Christine Grahame MSP on the matter of Megrahi, Lockerbie and BP.

Er, don't hold your breath on that one Christine. Virtually no one is the US is interested in the slightest never mind the bluster from a few senators.

Christine Grahame Release

Leaving that aside, it's an interesting take on all this. Use the publicity generated by the Senators' wittering nonsense as a platform to publicise further the doubts about the conviction, and to call for afurther enquiry.

Every little helps, as they say.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th July 2010, 07:50 AM   #250
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Regrettably, I think that anyone in the US who calls for a new investigation would likely be lumped in with the 9/11 Twoofers.

And sadly, it wouldn't surprise me if the 9/11 Twoofers did jump all over it.
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Old 15th July 2010, 07:56 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
Regrettably, I think that anyone in the US who calls for a new investigation would likely be lumped in with the 9/11 Twoofers.

And sadly, it wouldn't surprise me if the 9/11 Twoofers did jump all over it.
as if we would recognize a real "conspiracy" if it bite us in the but

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Old 15th July 2010, 08:18 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
Regrettably, I think that anyone in the US who calls for a new investigation would likely be lumped in with the 9/11 Twoofers.

And sadly, it wouldn't surprise me if the 9/11 Twoofers did jump all over it.

The funny thing is, I expected the 9/11 Twoofers to be all over it already. So I had a look round to see what the average Twoofer take on the matter was.

You know what? The standard line seems to be that Megrahi actually did it, and they know this because they're clever enough to see through all the mainstream sources pointing out what a travesty of justice the conviction was. And mainly because David Shayler says Megrahi did it, and he knows because as an ex-spook he's privy to inside information that says they fitted up and framed the right guy.

I agree though, putting forward the concept that an innocent Arab really was framed by the CIA (among others) for a terrorist act involving the crashing of a US passenger airliner could be a bit of a strain on some people's irony meters.

In contrast though, many people in Britain have been calling for a full public enquiry into this since day one. Everyone is used to hearing the demand, and equally used to hearing it rejected. Starting in 1989.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th July 2010, 12:23 PM   #253
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I realise this article is some months old, but I only came across it today.

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/52972,...addafi-rammell

Quote:
What does Britain have to gain from Megrahi's release?
Megrahi was preparing an appeal against his conviction in the months before his release, which was dropped when his request to be transferred to Libya was granted by MacAskill. His case was based on the unreliability of a key witness and questions around the exact model of the bomb timer and the bomb's complicated journey from Malta to Heathrow.

If Megrahi had won his appeal, it would have seriously undermined the credibility of the Scottish justice system - an email leaked from the Scottish justice department claims important evidence was withheld from the defence team - and lent credence to conspiracy theories surrounding the case, some of which implicate the CIA.

I think I might have posted this other link already.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...h-justice.html

Quote:
From the start there was a determination to try to prevent this appeal being heard.
It opened but never got off the ground, with stall after stall as each month Megrahi weakened with the cancer that was killing him.
There was rejoicing in the Crown Office in Edinburgh when he was released and the appeal abandoned.
There may well be political manoeuvres behind his release but at the heart was a decision to save the face of the Scottish judiciary - in particular the Crown Prosecution, who would have been shown to have been involved in an abuse of process by non-disclosure of witness statements.

This isn't some sort of crazed "9/11 was an inside job" CT. This is a wholly credible and indeed likely CT.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th July 2010, 04:05 PM   #254
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Ironically, I started posting about Lockerbie on JREF because I thought someone had probably done a debunking job on the Lockerbie CTs in the same way as the 9/11 CTs. However, I could find no reference to the incident on a forum search - although the parallels with 9/11 are really quite striking, right down to "Bush was behind it". I realised after a bit more searching that this was because 9/11 truthers never raise the subject. Then I found that the only references to Lockerbie on truther web sites seemed to be people knowlingly asserting that Megrahi was really guilty, they could see through these mainstream CTs, so they could! Maybe current events will trigger a re-evaluation of this, and we'll see twoofers starting to assert that Lockerbie was a frame-up - could be interesting to watch.

Although it was never uncommon to see Megrahi referred to as "the Lockerbie bomber" in the Scottish press, this was usually followed by letters pointing out that the evidence against him sucked asteroids, and other articles by mainstream journalists going into the issue in more detail. Without quite knowing why, I was aware that "he didn't do it". The main point I recalled from the time of the trial (which was extraordinarily under-reported) was that the original indictment had been against two defendants, and the allegation was that they had acted as a team to introduce the bomb into the baggage system. However, the prosecution had been unable to provide a shred of evidence against one of the accused (Lamin Fhimah), so they had amended the indictment to accuse Abdelbaset Megrahi alone. Except, it was universally acknowledged that it would have been impossible for one person alone to have introduced the suitcase, and no other conspirator was ever identified. Other than that, it was just vague rumours about evidence tampering and mysterious disappearing suitcases.

When I started looking into it further, I wouldn't have been particularly surprised to find it was all as substantial as the Kennedy assassination or Moon Landing conspiracy theories. I vaguely imagined being able to debunk the "he didn't do it" assertions with the panache of Gravy debunking the 9/11 controlled demolition proponents. Alternatively, my favoured line of thought was that it was a classic "we got to get someone for this high-profile crime" fit-up, like the Barry George trial and a number of others. Usually, these miscarriages of justice aren't deliberate on the part of the law enforcement agencies - the usual form is for a suspect with some connection to the incident to be identified, and then every piece of evidence that can be dredged up is somehow shoe-horned into a theory about his guilt.

Well, that's not flying too well either.

The indictment against the two Libyans was issued in 1991. The trial didn't happen until 2000. For nine years we were all told that the CIA had a star witness who would spill the beans.

Originally Posted by Vincent Cannistraro
Oh I think the evidence available to the Department of Justice in their case, which they're keeping under wraps, is overwhelming, it's conclusive. I think it is mind boggling in the amount of detail that they have. They have also…. they have a live witness for one thing, who would be presented in a court of law. I think there is a tremendous amount of evidence that will allow the prosecutors to present the chronology of the operation from its very inception, and that chronology would start even before Malta, go to Malta and then….. you know….. describe and in almost excruciating detail exactly how they made the bomb, how they secreted it, how they got it on board the aircraft, and I think that's a fairly strong case.

When the case came to court, this star witness was exposed as a lying fantasist who had invented the whole thing in order to retain his $1500 per month retainer as a CIA informant, and it was quite clear the US Department of Justice had known this all along. When this was revealed, that evidence was tossed out.

What was left was beyond tenuous. Nothing at all against Fhimah, who was acquitted. A couple of pieces of evidence remained against Megrahi, and one of these was also quite obviously suspect. Another witness gave evidence which by any normal interpretation pointed to the person who bought the clothes in the bomb suitcase not being Megrahi. However, this evidence was tortured to breaking-point to make it appear to have been Megrahi, and the witness's statement that the man resembled Megrahi was leaped on as "beyond reasonable doubt".

Originally Posted by Tony Gauci
Not exactly the man I saw in the shop. Ten years ago I saw him, but the man who look a little bit like exactly is [Megrahi].

Does that look like a positive identification to anyone? And that's his best shot. Other attempts said that a different terrorist looked more like the purchaser, or that Megrahi was at least ten years too young. Not to mention that the day he described as making the sale was a day when Megrahi was somewhere else. The shocker isn't just that the judges bought this as a reliable identification, but that the prosecution even brought such evidence in the first place.

These absurdities were the main planks of the interrupted appeal (that, plus something that has always been kept secret), made even less credible by the subsequent revelation that Tony Gauci and his brother were paid $3 million for getting Megrahi convicted.

Once that identification falls, the case falls. There's no doubt about it at all. However, the case is even shakier than that. Digging a bit further reveals pretty undeniable evidence of a massive cover-up at Frankfurt airport in the hours or days following the bombing, which managed to disappear virtually all the day's baggage movement records. Out of this black hole emerged the only other piece of evidence which provided a circumstantial connection between Megrahi and the bombing. I still don't understand what that's all about, and frankly nobody can, because the context required to make sense of the evidence simply vanished. Nevertheless, this tenuous, circumstantial and entirely coincidental evidence was also accepted as "beyond reasonable doubt".

And it goes on. There's one particular piece of evidence that has been the subject of persistent allegations of having been fabricated. The amount of detail available online about the provenance of this thing is indeed excruciating. It's not possible to debunk the accusation of fabrication, and indeed there's a helluva lot of evidence suggesting that's exactly what happened. Not only that, similar scrutiny of a second piece of related evidence reveals quite serious doubts about that too.

This goes beyond the over-zealous cop going hell-for-leather against a superficially plausible suspect. It even goes beyond the deliberate fitting-up of the only person who can be found, in a case where it's politically imperative to get a conviction, any conviction. There's very good reason to suspect a genuine conspiracy here, where inconvenient and embarrassing and damaging revelations are being covered up, and lines of enquiry that might go in an undesirable direction are choked off.

I don't know how far down the rabbit hole it's reasonable to go. However, I've found that you can't just decide Megrahi didn't do it and it was all a mistake, maybe over-zealous policing, and stop there.

It's odd. This forum is full of people just waiting on tenterhooks for an unwary 9/11 truther to venture here and make a remark that can be debunked in boiler-plate fashion. These threads are pages long within hours, when they start. 9/11 debunkers even start threads spontaneously, debunking things that have been debunked to death five years ago. We have a gargantuan thread about the Meredith Kercher murder, that's growing faster than most people can read it.

Lockerbie. A US airliner, a bomb planted by Arab terrorists, passengers perish, people on the ground obliterated, undeniable CIA manipulation of evidence, suspicions of worse, accusations that President Bush insitgated a cover-up, further allegations that enter the realms of LIHOP and even MIHOP.

And there are three people on the forum talking to each other in a handful of threads, completely ignored by the rest of the membership. Until the 20th of each month comes round, and someone else starts an outraged thread that this murdering scum is still alive.

I don't honestly get it.

Rolfe.
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Old 16th July 2010, 03:25 AM   #255
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Awesome discussion here. This is really just about the polar opposite of the mainstream media discussions over here (in the states). I'd say it's a breath of fresh air, but really the heterogeneity is too much. Sure, there aren't hardly any zombies here, and we've shown how to keep them out or cure the few that stumble in, but here is small, and everywhere else is just teeming.

I laid down in a quiet room for a bit, but then went back out there. Sorry. Can't stay here and dwell on details at the moment. Must go back out.

Thanks for that tip, Buncrana. It seems a few people are taking the chance. It's one of my comment standards. Oh ya want to investigate the Lockerbie bomber's case, do ya? Well, we were just talking about that... I'm all for a probe into Evil evil BP's role in freeing the terrorist, into that questionable prognosis, and the rest. The rest, being ...

I "Seeded" Grahame's PR at Newsvine.

All the noise has done good things for my site - a record run of new American viewers, my core target audience after all. If I could only quit writing about Bollier for long enough, maybe the Swiss will stop coming around so much. I just can't help it though...

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Old 16th July 2010, 03:39 AM   #256
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Oh, the issue was quite prominent on the radio news this morning. A former ambassador to Libya who is now deputy chaiman of a Libyan-UK business group, was interviewed. He said it's simply a non-issue. It never comes up in business negotiations and nobody is talking about it. It hasn't improved business relations. His point was that the Libyans were threatening unspecified dire consequences if Megrahi wasn't sent home (i.e. died in a Scottish jail), but since he has been sent home no dire consequences have happened.

He also made a good point that there was potential for good to come of the repatriation, in showing a magnanimous attitude and sensitivity to foreign feelings. That has however been totally lost by all the bitching and vitriol that's been coming from almost all sides on the subject.

He started by saying that this is about US senators and the US families who still believe Megrahi actually did it (subtext clear, but not explored, that there are a lot of people who don't believe Megrahi did it). Discussion revealed what we all know, that there is no mystery about what happened. Is it perhaps that the US senators don't understand the separation of powers between the Scottish and UK governments, asked the interviewer? Indeed, that's just one of the many things the US senators don't seem to understand, was the answer.

What is the point of calling for an enquiry then, the interviewer asked. To give the senators publicity and make them seem to be tough guys, was the answer.

Yanks need to go away and worry about something they (a) understand and (b) can do something about.

Rolfe.
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Old 16th July 2010, 04:07 AM   #257
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Oh, the issue was quite prominent on the radio news this morning. A former ambassador to Libya who is now deputy chaiman of a Libyan-UK business group, was interviewed. He said it's simply a non-issue. It never comes up in business negotiations and nobody is talking about it. It hasn't improved business relations. His point was that the Libyans were threatening unspecified dire consequences if Megrahi wasn't sent home (i.e. died in a Scottish jail), but since he has been sent home no dire consequences have happened.

He also made a good point that there was potential for good to come of the repatriation, in showing a magnanimous attitude and sensitivity to foreign feelings. That has however been totally lost by all the bitching and vitriol that's been coming from almost all sides on the subject.

He started by saying that this is about US senators and the US families who still believe Megrahi actually did it (subtext clear, but not explored, that there are a lot of people who don't believe Megrahi did it). Discussion revealed what we all know, that there is no mystery about what happened. Is it perhaps that the US senators don't understand the separation of powers between the Scottish and UK governments, asked the interviewer? Indeed, that's just one of the many things the US senators don't seem to understand, was the answer.

What is the point of calling for an enquiry then, the interviewer asked. To give the senators publicity and make them seem to be tough guys, was the answer.

Yanks need to go away and worry about something they (a) understand and (b) can do something about.

Rolfe.
Mr. Miles I presume.I watched a panel discussion with him. I dig his agnosticism and pessimism.

One thing about this country is it's capable of doing things about a lot things, while understanding at the top, but the public level are kept like children. They really think we can and should have Megrahi killed forthwith, or bomb Libya, or something.Flippant discussion, I know but... and the Senatorrs likely know they can't ACTUALLY do anything here. It was just an extremely opportune time to act touch, with "reports" that "bomber could live a decade" and such.

I think it's on the downswing now and will fade, leaving only a faint aftertaste.
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Old 16th July 2010, 12:13 PM   #258
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Here's today's news in the country whose business this actually is.

Fury at US Megrahi allegations

Originally Posted by Brian Currie
The Scottish Government has categorically denied suggestions by US Senators that lobbying by oil giant BP played a part in the decision to release the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

It said there had been no contact with the company and that the issue raised by the politicians centred on the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) negotiated by the governments of the UK and Libya, but nothing to do with the decision to free Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

A spokesman said it was a “totally different process, based on entirely different criteria”.

He added: “We were always totally opposed to the Prisoner Transfer Agreement negotiated between the UK and Libyan Governments. The memorandum that led to the PTA was agreed without our knowledge and against our wishes.”

He said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill rejected the application from Libya under the PTA specifically on the basis that the US Government and families of victims in the US had been led to believe that such a prisoner transfer would not be possible for anyone convicted of the Lockerbie atrocity.

It's also dominating the letters pages
.

Originally Posted by Jim Swire
She [Hillary Clinton] would soon see how desperate Jack Straw (as Justice Minister) was to push through the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) in time for the start of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi’s second appeal, even overriding the request of the House of Commons Select Committee on Human Rights for more time.

She might then stop to wonder what the motivation might have been for Straw’s clumsy haste, and why the UK authorities seem to have been desperate to neutralise Megrahi’s attempts to overturn a verdict influenced by multiple instances of government and Crown Office withholding of documents from the defence and indeed the court.

Interference in criminal justice for political reasons would be a far more serious charge than a mere grubby oil deal, of which there are so many examples in both our and her own country’s history.

Originally Posted by Iain Mann
Why do Americans always think they have a God-given right to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations? Pan-Am flight 103 fell to earth in Scotland, which, under international law, meant that all investigations and subsequent trials and criminal prosecutions came under the jurisdiction of Scots law.

If former barrister Tony Blair did not understand or ignored this when he made a deal with General Gaddafi to release Megrahi (as I suspect he did), that does not alter the fact. And if the deal was made in exchange for Libyan oil concessions to BP (which I suspect it was), neither Blair nor the UK government was in a position to deliver the prisoner exchange. Many like me have concerns about the trial and conviction of Megrahi, but it was carried out under the independent Scottish justice system, as was the decision of Kenny MacAskill to release him on compassionate grounds.

What do the Americans find difficult to understand and accept about this? If the situation were reversed, would they be willing to let British politicians interfere in the US judicial process? I find distasteful the apparent American thirst for revenge and retribution, as if incarcerating one terminally-ill old man in a prison cell would make them feel better [....]

And so on. I don't think Dr. Mann is desperately familiar with the case, because he refers to Tony Gauci as a "Cypriot" shopkeeper later in his letter, but he's got the basics.

It really is quite frustrating. The more you examine the evidence, the more obvious it is that the conviction was perverse in the extreme and flew in the face of the evidence, and less plausible it is that Megrahi had anything to do with it. And yet we hear ignoramuses of all nationalities spouting off about this "mass murderer".

Where's the clue-bat when you really need it?

Rolfe.
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Old 16th July 2010, 12:46 PM   #259
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The only thing bothering me (besides the apparent cock-up) is the people in the US State Department who should know about the solidity (or lack thereof) of the conviction don't seem to. Unless they're really playing politics and are just putting on faces of outraged disbelief for public consumption, all the while just waiting for it to go away.


As for the BP link, it's in progress, so I can't say if it's an ultra-huge deal not or yet, from this side. It's definitely been mentioned on newscasts, though, and stated as being BP warning whoever that this bomber thing was impacting their contracts/whatever with Libya. <-- Just reporting!
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Old 16th July 2010, 01:22 PM   #260
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
the people in the US State Department who should know about the solidity (or lack thereof) of the conviction don't seem to. Unless they're really playing politics and are just putting on faces of outraged disbelief for public consumption, all the while just waiting for it to go away.

They don't know and they don't want to know. This is something that simply hasn't been talked about in America for twenty years.

Beerina, Megrahi was fitted up mainly by US officials (sorry, I'm not familiar enough with the bureaucratic structures to know which department did what). The CIA essentially bribed their informer Giaka to swear to a pack of pure invention about Megrahi and Fhimah, and paraded him in court in the full knowledge that he was making stuff up to keep their retainers coming in.

Tony Gauci, whose evidence was (against all reason and sense) accepted by the court, was subsequently paid $2 million to fund a new life in Australia, by US authorities. US Department of Justice officials practically ran the prosecution case, sitting next to the Scottish prosecutors in court and controlling what was and was not given in evidence.

The USA desires even less than the UK and Scotland to admit to itself that they got the wrong guy.

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Old 16th July 2010, 01:29 PM   #261
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I've just come across an absolutely stellar article explaining the whole oil/prisoner transfer/compassionate release thing, in the Spectator.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassi...nspiracy.thtml

It's about the deals and the release, not the problems with the evidence, but it has the facts right, which is a total breath of fresh air.

Originally Posted by Alex Massie
There are two seperate issues that, unfortunately, continue to be conflated by people who ought to know better. Unsurprisingly this company includes several members of the United States Senate whose grandstanding is equalled only by their ignorance. Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Lautenberg and Menendez have written to Hillary Clinton demanding some kind of pointless investigation into "links" between BP and the decision to release Megrahi.

Unfortunately their request is predicated upon nonsense and, for that matter, riddled with errors. Among them:

[now read on....]

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Old 16th July 2010, 01:54 PM   #262
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'...William Hague spoke to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said Britain may wish to explain the circumstances behind Abdelbaset al-Megrahi's release. ...'

From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-10669618

Er no we don't and Clinton can go and get proverbially stuffed. She should avoid embarrassing herself any further than she already has on this matter because: -

1/ The Government in London has absolutely no authority in the matter of Megrahi's release.
2/ Scotland does not now, never has and never will answer to the USA on anything.
3/ Scotland does not share the values of the USA, especially the blood lust currently on show.
4/ Scotland is not going to change its decision for her, Hague or anyone else. The decision has been made. Suck it up.

In short, Hague should tell Clinton to get another ambassador in the UK. One who knows who is in charge in the case of Megrahi. The current one doesn't seem to know his job.

Incidentally, the institutionalised hatred of Scotland and the UK that is on show by the US Senators in this matter, as well as that for the UK recently shown by Obama shows that there is absolutely no 'special relationship' between the USA and the UK that is of any benefit to the UK or Scotland whatsoever. The UK should stop embarrassing itself by pretending that there is.
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Old 16th July 2010, 02:06 PM   #263
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I've just heard Duggan on the TV news here, pretending to be a bereaved relative, as he does. I think I'm going to throw up. Says it looks as if Megrahi "is going to outlive all of us", and promising a huge fuss at the one-year anniversary of the release.

Top story, everybody politicking away like mad, and not a thought for the actual facts behind any of it.

Rolfe.

ETA: Just watched one of the ignorant US senators go face-to-face with Christine Grahame on Newsnight. The sheer amount of stuff that man doesn't know is breathtaking. He's totally misunderstood the entire thing, but is hell-bent on propounding his own theories as if there's some basis to them.

I was a bit sorry Christine went right back to the Vincennes, though I can see whu she did it - the US arrogance in refusing to apologise for that is fairly relevant. However, she was never going to explain the real comnnection with IA655 in a sound-bite, and Gavin Esler didn't let her. She didn't mention the appeal at all, or the shocking weakness of Gauci's evidence, which was a pity.
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Old 16th July 2010, 02:12 PM   #264
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http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=176962
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Old 16th July 2010, 02:22 PM   #265
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Old 16th July 2010, 02:31 PM   #266
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Oh, give it a rest.

This topic is already the subject of a detailed thread. This is the second time EJ has tried to start a new thread without reference to the ongoing discussion.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...39#post6107139

That was merged. Let's hope this gets merged promptly too.

Or sent to AAH, if I had anything to do with it.

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Old 16th July 2010, 02:44 PM   #267
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My tante had a pretty nasty breast cancer , but still beat the odd the doctor were giving her (them: prepare the coffin. Her : still alive after 10 years and a torough mastectomy).

A friend's father lasted much longer on pancreas cancer than given to him.

That is no evidence that there is no foul play, but living longer than forseen isn't evidence of foul play either.
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Old 16th July 2010, 03:11 PM   #268
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Oh, there's plenty evidence of foul play by the bucketload. It's just almost exactly unlike anything the senators have dreamed up.

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Old 16th July 2010, 03:48 PM   #269
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
They don't know and they don't want to know. This is something that simply hasn't been talked about in America for twenty years.
I'm guessing this is supposition, but do you base it on anything other than assumption of good will? I would think if it's your job to know these things, or you have people whose job is such, it surely must at least have come up. If they're having meetings and whatnot regarding this, would some research on the facts not be done beforehand? It seems a bit of a dilemma to me, since as far as I can they're either shockingly ill-informed, or they're effectively evil. I can forgive the man on the Clapham omnibus for not knowing the details of the case, here or in the US, but these are people whose purpose is to know about such things.

That said, I have encountered a peculiar in several people when I've tried to explain some of the facts to them and their opinion seems to be along the lines of "OK, but he's obviously guilty of something, so we shouldn't have let him go." The mind boggles.
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Old 16th July 2010, 05:04 PM   #270
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Originally Posted by Rat View Post
I'm guessing this is supposition, but do you base it on anything other than assumption of good will? I would think if it's your job to know these things, or you have people whose job is such, it surely must at least have come up. If they're having meetings and whatnot regarding this, would some research on the facts not be done beforehand? It seems a bit of a dilemma to me, since as far as I can they're either shockingly ill-informed, or they're effectively evil. I can forgive the man on the Clapham omnibus for not knowing the details of the case, here or in the US, but these are people whose purpose is to know about such things.

Maybe I'm biassed by having watched these US senators putting their "case" on TV here. They are quite jaw-droppingly ignorant. I just watched one of them try to bluster his baseless suppositions in front of Christine Grahame, an MSP (and also a qualified Scots lawyer), and try to tell her that her explanation of the legal and political situation was "clearly wrong". I actually saw her irony meter explode. It's extremely obvious that these people have their own little CT they're trying to run for pure political gain, and they have no idea of the actual conspiracy underlying it all.

However, I note Beerina wasn't talking about the senators themselves but "the people in the US State Department". I don't know enough about the internal politics to know which department would know about this, and which not. It's true, though, that the kangaroo court travesty at Camp Zeist was only ten years ago, and the US was definitely calling the shots and masterminding the frame-up at that stage. (With lots of co-operation from the UK authorities and the Scottish criminal justice system, I have to say.) The people involved can't all have retired or forgotten about it already.

Nevertheless, a lot of people probably do believe that the evidence was much less flaky than it actually is. Dick Marquise, for example, displays all the symptoms of cognitive dissonance on the subject. If you've persuaded yourself that Gauci really did say, "that's the man, I'm sure of it", and the Maltese authorities were all corrupt and in the pay of Libya, then you tend to go on believing it.

I don't know. It's still a bit of a shock to me to realise this actually does seem to be a conspiracy, as opposed to a common-or-garden miscarriage of justice. My guess is that the people closest to it all are saying NOTHING. (Cannistraro has shut up like a clam in recent years.) Those not quite so close are certain that the evidence was strong enough to convict, and really, really aren't going to re-think that.

Originally Posted by Rat View Post
That said, I have encountered a peculiar in several people when I've tried to explain some of the facts to them and their opinion seems to be along the lines of "OK, but he's obviously guilty of something, so we shouldn't have let him go." The mind boggles.

Well, not really. If you're going to frame someone for a crime, then you don't usually pick the Sunday-school teacher. You pick the small-time villain, the guy with a bit of a record. It's very very common in these cases for the victim of the frame-up to attract little or no public sympathy because of this.

Megrahi was a Libyan security officer. Maybe a spy of some sort. He was apparently involved in running aircraft parts for Libyan Arab Airlines past the sanctions that were in place against Libya at the time. He had some business contacts with arms dealers. He swears he isn't a killer. However, Libya was known as a terrorist state at the time (and surely that wasn't all Cannistraro's invention), and who knows what he might have been involved in.

It depends on your attitude. He didn't put that bomb on PA103. He was nowhere near when that bomb was put on PA103. (I, on the other hand, was less than 50 miles away....) Somebody else bought those clothes, and somebody else put that suitcase on that plane.

I don't believe it's right to jail a guy for something he didn't do just because you might have some vague feelings he might not be the Moslem equivalent of a Sunday-school teacher.

Rolfe.
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Old 16th July 2010, 05:43 PM   #271
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
And so on. I don't think Dr. Mann is desperately familiar with the case, because he refers to Tony Gauci as a "Cypriot" shopkeeper later in his letter, but he's got the basics.
It isn't easy to keep track of all those former British possessions!

Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
The only thing bothering me (besides the apparent cock-up) is the people in the US State Department who should know about the solidity (or lack thereof) of the conviction don't seem to. Unless they're really playing politics and are just putting on faces of outraged disbelief for public consumption, all the while just waiting for it to go away.
That's politics for you. I may presume the people in the State Department know about the solidity of the case - i.e., the civil servants. Though I note that American governments tend to replace quite a bit of higher-ups in the departments with a change of administration, so that knowledge may have got lost in the high echelons. However, knowledge within the State Dept. doesn't imply that politicians will act according, and senators aren't coached by the State Dept.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Megrahi was a Libyan security officer. Maybe a spy of some sort. He was apparently involved in running aircraft parts for Libyan Arab Airlines past the sanctions that were in place against Libya at the time. He had some business contacts with arms dealers. He swears he isn't a killer. However, Libya was known as a terrorist state at the time (and surely that wasn't all Cannistraro's invention), and who knows what he might have been involved in.
Megrahi was high-up within the Libyan security service, he certainly wasn't a small-time villain (or spy). Wiki says:
Quote:
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi (Arabic: عبد الباسط محمد علي المقرحي‎, `Abd al-Bāsaṭ Muḥammad ʿAlī al-Maqraḥī) (born 1 April 1952) is an alleged former Libyan intelligence officer, head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines, and director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in Tripoli, Libya.
That suggests he had a desk top, and was not (anymore) into field work.
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Old 16th July 2010, 06:15 PM   #272
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Megrahi was high-up within the Libyan security service, he certainly wasn't a small-time villain (or spy). Wiki says:

That suggests he had a desk top, and was not (anymore) into field work.

Yes. While that is Wiki and I've never looked into who's been editing it, the information concurs with what has appeared in the quality press about Megrahi. He had been Head of Airline Security for LAA. He himself says, in The Maltese Double Cross, "I finished the Air Transportation course in New York and obtained the American FAA licence when I was below the permitted age."

It's generally accepted that the person holding that job would have been a member of the JSO, the Libyan security service. Spy was probably the wrong word. Some time before Lockerbie he changed jobs, and became Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies in Tripoli. While it was never admitted that he continued to be a JSO member after this, I have no problem believing that he did.

I think one of Giaka's many mistakes was not realising that he had changed jobs and assuming he was still working in the airline industry at the time of the bombing. Same thing for Fhimah - he had also recently changed jobs, but he still had his old airside pass. It made it harder to see how they could have manipulated the baggage system at Luqa (though the judges solved that by simply declaring he must have done it somehow).

Anyway, Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies sounds quite high-powered to me. On the other hand, Megrahi was only 36 at the time (as we well know, because Tony Gauci estimated the age of the clothes purchaser as 50). So he seems to have been a bit of a high-flyer.

Not at all the sort of person I'd expect to be sent out to buy a dozen random garments from Tony Gauci one wet evening. Not even, quite honestly, the sort of person I'd expect to be personally putting the bomb on the plane. (And any plot that had the same person do both things was seriously ill-conceived anyway.)

And yet, we constantly hear him referred to as a "low-level operative". A "patsy". Well, he wasn't Gadaffi. But he wasn't the tea-boy either.

He has never told anyone what he was doing on Malta that day, with the coded passport. (His advocate suggested he might have been negotiating with a builder to carry out an alteration on his house in Tripoli, or just shopping, which was frankly risible.) I think it's quite likely he was up to something covert on Gadaffi's behalf, something appropriately undertaken by someone of his senior position. He didn't explain, and neither did anyone else. Possibly, there was something worth letting Megrahi go to jail for, rather than come clean.

However, we have absolutely no evidence Megrahi was responsible for anyone's death. We're currently fawning all over Gadaffi himself.

There's something very wrong about this on so many levels.

Rolfe.
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Old 18th July 2010, 11:13 AM   #273
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Originally Posted by Rat View Post
I'm guessing this is supposition, but do you base it on anything other than assumption of good will? I would think if it's your job to know these things, or you have people whose job is such, it surely must at least have come up. If they're having meetings and whatnot regarding this, would some research on the facts not be done beforehand? It seems a bit of a dilemma to me, since as far as I can they're either shockingly ill-informed, or they're effectively evil. I can forgive the man on the Clapham omnibus for not knowing the details of the case, here or in the US, but these are people whose purpose is to know about such things.
My point exactly. I cannot fathom Hillary and Obama knowing nothing about the solidity of the conviction. Nobody over there, who should be taken seriously, ever said to a US colleague, "It's a crappy conviction, and he almost certainly didn't do it."???

Or the colleague, or whoever above they reported to, just thought, "Eh, they're exaggerating." Or "Eh, we can't change things now."?


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Old 18th July 2010, 11:42 AM   #274
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Well, it was a crappy conviction and he almost certainly didn't do it. There is great political pressure on all sides to turn a blind eye to that inconvenient truth. I include my own government in that as well as yours.

So what is your explanation? I would remind you, of course, that a crappy conviction doesn't magically become sound just because politicians don't want to acknowlede that fact.

Rolfe.
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Old 18th July 2010, 01:47 PM   #275
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I think the question of the reward to the Gaucis is important when considering the reasons for the behaviour of the US authorities. I found the source material for the information about the rewards.

The SCCRC spent over three years doing its own investigation in to the case, from 2003 to 2007. They rejected many of the grounds of appeal put forward by the defence, but accepted some, principally those relating to Tony Gauci's identification of Megrahi (well, really his non-identification, as he never said more than that Megrahi resembled the purchaser). In addition, however, the SCCRC itself identified further valid grounds for believing there was a miscarriage of justice, over and above those presented by the defence. This was referred to in the relevant press release as, "Other evidence, not made available to the defence, which the Commission believes may further undermine Mr Gauci’s identification of the applicant as the purchaser and the trial court’s finding as to the date of purchase."

In late September 2009, after Megrahi had abandoned his appeal, the defence lawyers themselves published the evidence the SCCRC had uncovered, which was about the reward money paid to the Gauci brothers. The detail starts at page 90 of this pdf. The Guardian reporting of the issue is probably easier to digest.

Quote:
The documents published online by Megrahi's lawyers today show that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) was asked to pay $2m to Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who gave crucial evidence at the trial suggesting that Megrahi had bought clothes later used in the suitcase that allegedly held the Lockerbie bomb.

The DoJ was also asked to pay a further $1m to his brother, Paul Gauci, who did not give evidence but played a major role in identifying the clothing and in "maintaining the resolve of his brother". The DoJ said their rewards could be increased and that the brothers were also eligible for the US witness protection programme, according to the documents.

[.... snip police attempt to claim that this all occurred after the trial so couldn't have influenced Gauci's evidence ....]

However, the documents disclose that in 1989 the FBI told Dumfries and Galloway police that they wanted to offer Gauci "unlimited money" and $10,000 immediately. Gauci began talking of a possible reward in meetings with Dumfries and Galloway detectives in 1991, when a reward application was first made to the DoJ.

I do like the bit about Paul "maintaining the resolve of his brother". What Paul was doing was coaching his brother to make the correct identification that would net them the reward - openly advertised as $4 million at the time, so he knew they weren't performing for chickenfeed.

So, basically, the US Department of Justice paid out an estimated $3 million to this witness (and his brother), the witness whose evidence was being robustly challenged by the appeal process.

The US Department of Justice was also intimately involved with the prosecution at the trial. http://www.i-p-o.org/lockerbie-report.htm

Quote:
As far as the material aspects of due process and fairness of the trial are concerned, the presence of at least two representatives of a foreign government in the courtroom during the entire period of the trial was highly problematic. The two state prosecutors from the US Department of Justice were seated next to the prosecution team. They were not listed in any of the official information documents about the Court's officers produced by the Scottish Court Service, yet they were seen talking to the prosecutors while the Court was in session, checking notes and passing on documents. For an independent observer watching this from the visitors' gallery, this created the impression of "supervisors" handling vital matters of the prosecution strategy and deciding, in certain cases, which documents (evidence) were to be released in open court or what parts of information contained in a certain document were to be withheld (deleted).

The US Department of Justice was a main player in this investigation and in the conduct of the trial. The original "star witness" whose evidence was thrown out (Giaka) was a CIA informer who was inventing stuff to keep his CIA payments coming in. The DoJ prosecutors called Giaka as a witness despite knowing this little factoid perfectly well and attempting to conceal it from the court.

Is it really likely that these people are now going to run to the press and say, that conviction was a travesty of justice? Hardly. It was a travesty they were up to their necks in orchestrating.

And just as an aside, the atmosphere in the US is currently toxic in the extreme. If there was any official US revelation that this conviction was unsafe, a conviction they themselves fought tooth and nail (and not always fairly) to achieve, how would that be likely to be received?

Rolfe.
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Old 18th July 2010, 02:45 PM   #276
Caustic Logic
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Yep.

I was just about to bump this thread, and justlast night dug up the details about Gauci'spayments, to answer Duggan's Q
Quote:
"Who said that? Dr.Swire? Let me tell you one thing. And forgive me if I raise my voice, ‘cause I really get angry. We keep hearing about witness being bribed, witnesses who have new evidence, all sorts of things that are just not true. Who said we paid the man two million dollars? It’s preposterous."
Galloway: “it’s a matter of public record … it’s a commonplace.”
Duggan: “No it’s not. No - it’s - not. … Who said that? Who said that? Who said that? … That’s not so. That’s - not - so.”
Well, DCI Bell says so, SIO Henderson, DSIO Gilchrist, DI Dalgleish... Got a nice post coming up soon to help people out here.

On the toxic climate here, it's nothing new at its heart. This country may not be going downhill, if it's already at the bottom. Here's one comment I just saw at NY Daily News:
Quote:
We should take a cue from Ronald Regan. First bomb Libya for being part of this, and then bomb Scotland and kill 1000 Scots for every 1 American life lost on the Pan Am flight, and then seize all of BP's assets in the USA and destroy all of their assets outside the USA.
There's a decent chance that one was actually in jest, advocating the death of white people. The ones that just advocate the annihilation of all the people of Libya are completely serious, if maybe a bit flippant.

Also FYI "The First Post" which you cited below has a new article on the latest brouhaha:
Quote:
Al-Megrahi would have been released with or without BP's lobbying. Although trade deals were an important factor, far more pressing for the UK government was the fact that al-Megrahi was preparing an appeal against his conviction that may well have resulted in an embarrassing acquittal.
In truth the focus on BP's relationship with Libya is a cynical publicity stunt by four US Senators who, quite understandably, are attempting to win what they see as justice for their constituents.
ETA: I wouldadd that I doubt they "see" it this way, aside from cognitive dissonnance of the Marquise type. They are beahving as if they see themselves that way. Who knows or cares what exactly is wrong inside their heads? It's politics aimed at an incredibly gullible and helplessly prone public.

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Old 18th July 2010, 03:56 PM   #277
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You know, this is making me increasingly angry. With my own government (all flavours) just as much as with the US lobby. We're all up to our necks in it together.

First we all fit up this guy for a crime we have bugger-all evidence he committed, relying on a star witness who was known to be making stuff up for money. (I'm not cetain how much the Scottish prosecution team knew about Giaka's lack of credibility, but I'm betting it was some.) On the way there, we colluded in bribing another key witness - the only other alleged eye-witness there was.

We set up a kangaroo court to try him, with no jury and judges who seem to have been hell-bent on bringing a conviction, right reason or none. At every turn, they chose the less likely explanation for the facts presented, so long as it pointed to a conviction, until each flimsy piece of evidence was propping up each other flimsy piece of evidence in a gravity-defying stunt worthy of a circus act.

We found five more judges who were prepared to stone-wall the original appeal, relying on legal technicalities to uphold the original verdict despite expressing penetrating reservations during the hearing.

We took nearly four years to approve a second appeal. (That might be quite laudable though, when you consider that the SCCRC spent that time doing some decent investigative work.)

We delayed that appeal coming to court by repeatedly pulling rank to block the production of a vital piece of evidence the court had ordered produced, on the grounds that it would upset a foreign government. Another two years went by, by which time the victim of all this was terminally ill.

Once the appeal had started, and a judge fell ill, it was adjourned for six months, despite the applicant being terminally ill.

Three months before the appeal was due to resume, we told this terminally ill man that he had only three months to live, but if he would just withdraw that appeal, he could go home and spend that time with his family. (He has now lived for 11 months since his release, and if he'd refused to withdraw the appeal there's every chance he would by now be a free man as of right - unless we managed to pull kangaroo court #3.)

We then announced that he'd withdrawn the appeal of his own free will, and implied this was an admission of guilt. We then airbrushed the appeal out of history and insisted that he was a guilty man who had been rightly convicted.

And the bigger the fuss gets, the less likely anyone in a position of influence is to call attention to the fact that the evidence he was convicted on wouldn't be enough to get most people a parking ticket.

Just what is it we're trying to cover up here?

Rolfe.

ETA: And I forgot to mention that we released a notorious criminal (coincidentally not called Barabbas) who had been refused compassionate release, just to smooth the path for Megrahi's possibly cruelly-premature release. Biggs was refused compassionate release on 1st July 2009. Might have been difficult to release Megrahi if Biggs was still banged up. The Scottish government was known to be resistant to the prisoner transfer deal. So Biggs was released on 6th August, so Megrahi's release on 20th August could go ahead.
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Old 18th July 2010, 06:14 PM   #278
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Quote:
Al-Megrahi would have been released with or without BP's lobbying. Although trade deals were an important factor, far more pressing for the UK government was the fact that al-Megrahi was preparing an appeal against his conviction that may well have resulted in an embarrassing acquittal.

What makes me particularly sick is that it seems to me that it's just as pressing for the Scottish government to block Megrahi's appeal and tar him as "the Lockerbie bomber" for ever more.

I've been a member of the SNP for pushing 20 years. I know it's been general opinion Megrahi didn't do it, in party circles. But now we're the government, we're doing it too. Is this just about protecting the reputation of the Scottish criminal justice system? Sorry, stable door, horse, bolted. Why are Kenny MacAskill and Nicola Sturgeon Murrell now covering up with the rest of them?

Rolfe.
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Old 18th July 2010, 10:07 PM   #279
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
You know, this is making me increasingly angry.
Yes, let the dark side of the force flow through you.

JK More later.
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Old 19th July 2010, 02:11 AM   #280
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First up on this morning's news, a Tory MP demanding that Kenny MacAskill resign, or at least apologise for his "gross error of judgement" in releasing Megrahi.

This raises quite a few points. First, in less than three weeks it will be exactly a year since Ronnie Biggs was released under the English version of exactly the same legislation. He was supposed to have a three-month prognosis as well. Where are the calls for Jack Straw to apologise for this "gross error of judgement"? (We can hardly call for his resignation, because his party is no longer in power.)

Second, where is the evidence that MacAskill went against medical advice to release Megrahi prematurely? Was the man supposed to be psychic or something? If there is clear evidence that the three-month prognosis was unrealistic then that's different, and I want to know why a dying man was falsely told he only had three months left, exactly three months before his long-delayed appeal was due to come back to court, but we simply don't have the evidence for that. Have these critics any idea at all what damage would have been done to Britain's relations with Libya and the Middle East in general if Megrahi had died in jail a few weeks after an application for compassionate release had been refused?

And thirdly, this from today's Herald.

Quote:
Salmond’s spokesman dismissed a call for a UK Government inquiry by Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski, chairman of Westminster’s all-party group on Libya [the Tory MP in question]. He has written to David Cameron asking how the Scottish Government can be held to account and asking for more information on UK Government involvement.

Salmond’s spokesman said: “As far as Daniel Kawczynski is concerned, he wrote to the Justice Secretary in August last year saying that al-Megrahi should be used as a foreign policy bargaining chip, which is as extraordinary as it is inappropriate in relation to determining applications for prisoner transfer or compassionate release.”

Nobody is coming out of this well.

Rolfe.
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