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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 23rd July 2010, 03:55 AM   #361
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip...
Now all we're getting is a load of guff from Labour and the Tories saying MacAskill is running scared and so on. But the actual man in the street seems to be pretty happy our politicians aren't simply rolling over when Obama says, "Here, boy!"

The person to ask about the whole BP/PTA thing is Tony Blair. He did the deal. We saw it on TV for God's sake! So guess who the USA has decided not to invite to appear?

Rolfe.
Why should they invite Tony Blair? He had nothing to do with the release, according to the Scottish minister anyway, also you seem a tad confused about the highlighted part, Obama has nothing to do with the invites.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 04:58 AM   #362
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They want to know about BP's role in the affair. BP's role was to lobby the UK government to push through a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya. In 2007. BP says they never mentioned Megrahi specifically, but since he was the only Libyan prisoner in a British jail, it wasn't really necessary, was it?

The PTA was pushed through in spite of vociferous objections by the Scottish government, and about ten minutes later BP got their oil deal.

The Scottish government has provided full details of the process by which the decision on compassionate release was arrived at, and offered to answer further questions in writing. They have also called on the UK government and the US government to agree to disclosure of documents of theirs in relation to the process, which they have so far withheld.

What more do you want? Why should a Scottish minister, and the First Minister, show up like naughty schoolboys when Obama an American whistles?

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:18 AM   #363
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The Scottish government has provided full details of the process by which the decision on compassionate release was arrived at, and offered to answer further questions in writing. They have also called on the UK government and the US government to agree to disclosure of documents of theirs in relation to the process, which they have so far withheld.
There might be something I've misunderstood -- but doesn't the compassionate release pretty much make the prisoner transfer agreement moot?
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:23 AM   #364
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
They want to know about BP's role in the affair. BP's role was to lobby the UK government to push through a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya. I...snip...
Which according to the Scottish government had nothing to do with the transfer. Or are we to assume that the Scottish government was lying when they said that? ETA: Or to put it another way, unless the Scottish government has been lying BP had nothing to do with his release.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The PTA was pushed through in spite of vociferous objections by the Scottish government, and about ten minutes later BP got their oil deal.
Good for BP but nowt to with his release.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip...
What more do you want? Why should a Scottish minister, and the First Minister, show up like naughty schoolboys when Obama an American whistles?

Rolfe.
When did I say they should do?

It was your use of "Obama" and also saying Tony Blair should be invited when neither Blair or Obama has anything to do with the matter of his release and the Americans looking into the matter of his release that seemed to indicate that you were a tad confused about the matter.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:38 AM   #365
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Which according to the Scottish government had nothing to do with the transfer. Or are we to assume that the Scottish government was lying when they said that? ETA: Or to put it another way, unless the Scottish government has been lying BP had nothing to do with his release.

It's already a matter of public record that BP had nothing to do with his release. There was an enquiry into it last year, and all the papers were examined.

You need to understand that the Americans are as confused as hell about this. They don't seem to understand that the PTA is a completely separate thing from compassionate release. Or that the Scotttish government has autonomy on criminal justice matters. They reason - oh look, BP was lobbying for the PTA (true), and that means they were lobbying for Megrahi's release (arguable), and Megrahi was released, QED. BP was the influence that led to Megrahi's release.

The Scottish government was bitterly opposed to the PTA from the word go. MacAskill turned down a PTA application for Megrahi because of that. This is all a matter of public record. However, he granted compassionate release because all the criteria for that had been met according to the reports that were made available to him. He has said in words of one syllable that BP had no influence over this at all, and never sought such influence. What more do you the Americans want?

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Good for BP but nowt to with his release.

Precisely. But this is a point the US senators appear not to have grasped.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
When did I say they should do?

OK, it was a rhetorical question.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
It was your use of "Obama" and also saying Tony Blair should be invited when neither Blair or Obama has anything to do with the matter of his release and the Americans looking into the matter of his release that seemed to indicate that you were a tad confused about the matter.

If Obama has nothing to do with this them I'm extremely surprised, but if he's not involved in the process then I'll alter my wording and call it quits, OK?

I'm not at all confused about the matter. The Americans want to investigate whether BP influenced the question of Megrahi's release. Any such influence was through contacts with the UK government, and in particular Jack Straw and Tony Blair. If they want to understand that process, these are the people they need to talk to.

If there's any more tenuous connection, maybe they then need to ask the same parties (that is, the Westminster government of the day) whether they gave any sort of a nod or a wink to the Scottish government that a compassionate release would be just fine by them, because that would actually do just as well as regards facilitating BP's commercial interests.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:58 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It's already a matter of public record that BP had nothing to do with his release. There was an enquiry into it last year, and all the papers were examined.

...snip...
So why did you think Blair should have been invited? The only reason for Blair to be invited would be if you thought he had something to so with it. And the only way you can think Blair had something to do with it is if you think the Scottish government lied.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
You need to understand that the Americans are as confused as hell about this.
...snip...
And as I said you also seem to be a tad confused, perhaps not as confused as the Americans but certainly confused since you think Blair should be invited despite the fact we know Blair had nothing to do with his release.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

They don't seem to understand that the PTA is a completely separate thing from compassionate release. Or that the Scotttish government has autonomy on criminal justice matters. They reason - oh look, BP was lobbying for the PTA (true), and that means they were lobbying for Megrahi's release (arguable), and Megrahi was released, QED. BP was the influence that led to Megrahi's release.
Which seems to be somewhat the reasoning you must be using to say that Blair should be invited to appear.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The Scottish government was bitterly opposed to the PTA from the word go. MacAskill turned down a PTA application for Megrahi because of that. This is all a matter of public record. However, he granted compassionate release because all the criteria for that had been met according to the reports that were made available to him. He has said in words of one syllable that BP had no influence over this at all, and never sought such influence. What more do you the Americans want?
The silliness of striking out "you" is just that a silliness - I've never said anyone should appear.

If Blair had nothing to do with his release why should Blair be invited, why should he be invited when he had nothing to do with the release of Megrahi?

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

Precisely. But this is a point the US senators appear not to have grasped.
And how would Balir appearing before them help them understand the point? All Blair could say is "Sorry but I had nowt to do with Megrahi's release you need to speak to the Scottish justice minister".


Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

If Obama has nothing to do with this them I'm extremely surprised, but if he's not involved in the process then I'll alter my wording and call it quits, OK?
Why not support your apparent claim that Obama is involved?

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

I'm not at all confused about the matter. ...snip...
Yet you do seem to be since you think that it will help the Americans understanding to invite someone who had nothing to do with Megrahi's release to speak to them.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip...The Americans want to investigate whether BP influenced the question of Megrahi's release. Any such influence was through contacts with the UK government, and in particular Jack Straw and Tony Blair. If they want to understand that process, these are the people they need to talk to.

...snip...
And around we go again Unless you think the Scottish government was lying then there is no reason for the likes of Blair and Straw to be invited since they had nothing to do with his release.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

If there's any more tenuous connection, maybe they then need to ask the same parties (that is, the Westminster government of the day) whether they gave any sort of a nod or a wink to the Scottish government that a compassionate release would be just fine by them, because that would actually do just as well as regards facilitating BP's commercial interests.

Rolfe.
So you do think the Scottish government may have lied.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:00 AM   #367
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Originally Posted by Leif Roar View Post
There might be something I've misunderstood -- but doesn't the compassionate release pretty much make the prisoner transfer agreement moot?

Completely. He went home under the compassionate release proposals, and BP had absolutely nothing at all to do with that. There are some Americans who don't see the logic though. It's like kiddie's join-the-dots picture. If you follow the numbers in order, it's a lamb. However the US senators have joined the dots in any order they pleased, missing out a few and adding a couple more of their own, and they're now convinced it's a wolf.

If there's anything at all to investigate, it's Labour hypocrisy. They exercised an absolutely deafening silence when the compassionate release was under consideration. Not a cheep out of any of them, even when asked. Then once the release was announced, they were queuing up to say what a terrible, bad decision it was.

They're now trying to say, nothing to do with us mate, we were always against releasing him, we wouldn't have contemplated such a thing, but these terrible Scottish politicians, look, it was them. Well, if you were so against it, why didn't you make your feelings public at the appropriate time to influence the decision? (In fact, David Miliband - I think - said it would not have been in the UK national interest for Megrahi to have died in a British jail.)

If there's anything at all to investigate, it's whether this silence was to be taken as assent, and whether there was any behind-the-scenes wink that compassionate release was absolutely fine by Labour, because of the whole oil thing. And they might consider Ronnie Biggs in that context. Who is also still breathing by the way.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:10 AM   #368
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
So why did you think Blair should have been invited? The only reason for Blair to be invited would be if you thought he had something to so with it. And the only way you can think Blair had something to do with it is if you think the Scottish government lied.

No, you are entirely misunderstanding me. The US senators want to know what BP did about getting Megrahi released. All BP's lobbying was to the UK government, so that's the only reasonable place for them to enquire.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
And as I said you also seem to be a tad confused, perhaps not as confused as the Americans but certainly confused since you think Blair should be invited despite the fact we know Blair had nothing to do with his release.

I'm not confused at all. What do the Americans want to know? BP had nothing to do with the compassionate release. They've already been told that. If they still want to know whether BP was lobbying for a course of action that could have led to his release, which is where they seem to have moved on to, as they're kind of beginning to get it about the first point, then Tony Blair is the person to ask. Because it was Tony Blair we saw beaming from ear to ear in that tent, shaking hands with Gadaffi, in 2007.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Which seems to be somewhat the reasoning you must be using to say that Blair should be invited to appear.

I'll say again. If they want to know what influence BP tried to have over the question of Megrahi's possible release, which is what they are now asking, then they need to talk to the people lobbied by BP in that respect.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
If Blair had nothing to do with his release why should Blair be invited, why should he be invited when he had nothing to do with the release of Megrahi?

I draw the honourable gentleman's attention to my previous answer on the matter.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
And how would Balir appearing before them help them understand the point? All Blair could say is "Sorry but I had nowt to do with Megrahi's release you need to speak to the Scottish justice minister".

But that's not the question the senators want answered. They are enquiring into BP's attempt to influence the release process. Blair was involved in that.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why not support your apparent claim that Obama is involved?

I'm not claiming Obama is or isn't involved, frankly I don't care. They're all American politicians.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Yet you do seem to be since you think that it will help the Americans understanding to invite someone who had nothing to do with Megrahi's release to speak to them.



The Americans want to know about BP's attempts to influence the release process. So they need to speak to the only politicians BP attempted to influence in this matter.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
And around we go again Unless you think the Scottish government was lying then there is no reason for the likes of Blair and Straw to be invited since they had nothing to do with his release.

I draw the honourable gentleman's attention to my previous answer on the matter.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
So you do think the Scottish government may have lied.

Oh, I think the Scottish government is lying in its teeth, certainly about one thing, probably about another. Just not about that.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:24 AM   #369
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip...

If there's anything at all to investigate, it's Labour hypocrisy. They exercised an absolutely deafening silence when the compassionate release was under consideration. Not a cheep out of any of them, even when asked. Then once the release was announced, they were queuing up to say what a terrible, bad decision it was.

...snip...
And your attempt to bring the UK government of the time into this is astonishing. It would have been totally wrong for the UK government to have said anything or offered any comments since it was a matter for the Scottish government. I can well imagine how you would have responded if the UK government had been making comments prior to the decision.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip...
They're now trying to say, nothing to do with us mate, we were always against releasing him, we wouldn't have contemplated such a thing, but these terrible Scottish politicians, look, it was them.

...snip...
What do you mean "trying to say"? There is no trying involved. Unless the Scottish government has been lying the UK government didn't have anything to do with it!
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip...

Well, if you were so against it, why didn't you make your feelings public at the appropriate time to influence the decision? (In fact, David Miliband - I think - said it would not have been in the UK national interest for Megrahi to have died in a British jail.)

...snip...
On what legal grounds would the UK government have had for getting involved in such a matter?
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip...

If there's anything at all to investigate, it's whether this silence was to be taken as assent, and whether there was any behind-the-scenes wink that compassionate release was absolutely fine by Labour, because of the whole oil thing. And they might consider Ronnie Biggs in that context. Who is also still breathing by the way.

...snip...
Provide the evidence that shows or even indicates that the Scottish government has been lying and I'll take some interest in your conspiracy theory.

You do seem absolutely desperation to spread some muck. This is a very simple matter unless the Scottish government has been lying the UK government had nowt to do with his release.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:39 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
No, you are entirely misunderstanding me. The US senators want to know what BP did about getting Megrahi released. All BP's lobbying was to the UK government, so that's the only reasonable place for them to enquire.

...snip...
I'm not misunderstanding you, you just seem to be quite confused about Blair's involvement in Megrahi's release.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

I'm not confused at all. What do the Americans want to know? BP had nothing to do with the compassionate release. They've already been told that. If they still want to know whether BP was lobbying for a course of action that could have led to his release, which is where they seem to have moved on to, as they're kind of beginning to get it about the first point, then Tony Blair is the person to ask. Because it was Tony Blair we saw beaming from ear to ear in that tent, shaking hands with Gadaffi, in 2007.
So let me understand you. Someone who was not involved in the release should be invited to talk about something that had nothing to do with Megrahi's release.

The American's seem to understand this part better than you do since they do not seem to want to invite someone who had nothing to do with the release, Blair, to speak to them about the release.

They may as well invite me, according to the Scottish government I had as much to do with the release as Blair did.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

I'll say again. If they want to know what influence BP tried to have over the question of Megrahi's possible release, which is what they are now asking, then they need to talk to the people lobbied by BP in that respect.
Then they need to speak to the people that could have made the decision, which does not include Blair.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

But that's not the question the senators want answered. They are enquiring into BP's attempt to influence the release process. Blair was involved in that.
And again here we around the bush we go... sorry not going to keep following you around your bush my posts are above.

Just two last points:

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip...

I'm not claiming Obama is or isn't involved, frankly I don't care. They're all American politicians.
Apart from when you said "when Obama says, "Here, boy!" sorry I didn't know that "Obama" was a synonym for "All American politicians".



Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

...snip...

Oh, I think the Scottish government is lying in its teeth, certainly about one thing, probably about another. Just not about that.

Rolfe.
Any evidence?
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:42 AM   #371
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
And your attempt to bring the UK government of the time into this is astonishing. It would have been totally wrong for the UK government to have said anything or offered any comments since it was a matter for the Scottish government. I can well imagine how you would have responded if the UK government had been making comments prior to the decision.

What do you mean "trying to say"? There is no trying involved. Unless the Scottish government has been lying the UK government didn't have anything to do with it!

On what legal grounds would the UK government have had for getting involved in such a matter?

We seem to be in reasonable agreement here. I merely point out that if the Americans are going to get so aerated about how the UK government should have stepped in and stopped the compassionate release (which is what has actually been said), then maybe they need to examine what the UK government actually did.

Which was to express no opinion at all before the event, when arguably they might have influenced the decision even if only informally, and then break out into a stream of vituperative condemnation afterwards.

That's just politics, of course. However, if the UK government, as the "superior" jurisdiction according to that senator who was on TV the other night, believed that the compassionate release was detrimental to British interests, then the time to say so was before the decision was announced.

The senator actually said that the UK government should have refused permission for the LAA plane to land at Glasgow, and forcibly kept Megrahi in jail. This is the nature of the "inquiry" they're currently organising.

I don't think the UK government should have done any such thing, of course. I do think that if they were vehemently opposed to Megrahi's release for reasons of UK interest, they should have laid out that position before the release - it would then have been up to the Scottish government whether it wanted to take any notice of that.

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Provide the evidence that shows or even indicates that the Scottish government has been lying and I'll take some interest in your conspiracy theory.

You do seem absolutely desperation to spread some muck. This is a very simple matter unless the Scottish government has been lying the UK government had nowt to do with his release.

I don't know what "muck" you think I'm spreading, or what conspiracy theory either.

It's a matter of fact that BP lobbied Tony Blair and Jack Straw in 2007 to get the PTA approved, that Libya was very keen it should be approved before oil deals were concluded, and as far as they were concerned this was all about Megrahi (which was understandable, as there were no other Libyans in prison in Britain at the time).

It's also a matter of fact that this had absolutely bugger-all to do with the eventual decision on compassionate release.

The only possible connection that might be inferred, is that the UK government didn't go all-out to prevent the compassionate release happening, because it was generally in favour of it happening. And that this was because for practical purposes, it would do the job just as well as a PTA would have done.

I'm not saying that happened, I'm saying that this is the only possible connection between the compassionate release and BP, and as that's what the senators are so aerated about, then that's what they should be asking about.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:59 AM   #372
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
So no, I can't prove Megrahi had nothing to do with it. I simply see no credible evidence that he had. At the same time I see considerably more evidence that a group of Palestinian terrorists had the means, motive and opportunity to attack that airliner, and considerably more evidence indicating that the route by which the bomb was introduced was via Heathrow airport. Hence, I think Caustic Logic's statement is bang on the nail.

Rolfe.
Hi Rolfe, can you expand on this, I mean the Palestinian terrorists. This is the first time I've heard this theory.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 07:01 AM   #373
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Maybe I could clarify a litle here. The Americans seem to suspect that BP directly lobbied for Megrahi to be released, and that as a result the compassionate release guidelines were stretched to accommodate a medical opinion paid for by Libya which understated Megrahi's actual 10 to 20-year life expectancy to 3 months.

This is wrong in more ways than it's possible to say. BP only lobbied the UK government to put the PTA in place, not the Scottish government for the compassionate release. Although Libya did employ a consultant who is an absolute idiot to give a 3-month life expectancy prognosis, this was not one of the things taken into account in making the decision, in fact it would never have been as it was a matter for the prison medical officer and it wasn't even submitted in time. The actual 3-month prognosis taken into account came from the normal internal NHS channels.

The Americans have been told all this, and seem slowly to be getting it. They have now changed their ground to attacking BP for attempting to secure Megrahi's release under the PTA. This has nothing to do with the Scottish government at all.

The other ground they are apparently still pursuing, is whether the UK government did anything to encourage the compassionate release. The Scottish government has never said yes or no to this question, so they can't be lying about it either way. The people to ask about that would again be the UK government, of course.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 07:24 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
Hi Rolfe, can you expand on this, I mean the Palestinian terrorists. This is the first time I've heard this theory.

It has very wide currency indeed. It was the favoured theory in the official Lockerbie investigation for almost two years. I won't go into why the course of the investigation changed in late 1990, because that isn't as simple as is sometimes alleged. However the Palestinian theory was always very strong - the main problem is the investigation never found any evidence of one of the Palestinian group putting the bomb on the plane.

In July 1988, the USS Vincennes patrolling the Straits of Hormuz accidentally shot down an Iran Air flight from Bandar Abbas to Mecca, full of pilgrims, many of them children. Iran was incandescent about this, and about the lack of an apology, and the subsequent awarding of a medal to the captain of the ship. Iran vowed to take revenge for this incident, which it said was a deliberate attack. There is an allegation that Iran offered a reward of $10 million to any terrorist group who would do unto the USA what was done to the Iranians.

In October 1988, German police busted a cell of a militant Palestinian group called the PFLP-GC, in Frankfurt. These terrorists were constructing bombs intended to take down aircraft, which worked on an altimeter trigger - they would be safe at ground level, but detonate about half an hour after the plane reached its cruising altitude.

About 17 terrorists were arrested, and one device recovered. However, all but two were released a couple of days later, for "lack of evidence" - including the bomb-maker, Marwan Khreesat. This leads on to a CT I don't want to get into right now, but basically most of them were at large in December. More devices were actually found the following April, and a German bomb disposal operator was killed trying to defuse one of them.

Pan Am 103 exploded very neatly in the time window for a PFLP-GC device, after taking off from Heathrow. The device that was pieced together from the debris was strikingly similar to the devices recovered from the PFLP-GC, apart from one specific difference which is the subject of much debate. A few days after the disaster, about $10 million was transferred from Iran to a Warsaw bank account allegedly controlled by the PFLP-GC.

There's more to it, including one of the Palestinians (Abu Talb) in Malta buying clothes, but it isn't as neat as all that. The Scottish cops spent months trying to coach Tony Gauci to identify Abu Talb though, and they succeeded, in the same vague way as they later did with Megrahi - "Yes that man resembles the man I saw in my shop". It appears that when Gauci first picked out a picture of Megrahi, he thought he was identifying Abu Talb, whom he already had pictures of because he was being openly discussed in the press as the prime Lockerbie suspect at the time. Great way to conduct an identity parade!

The change of track of the investigation from the PFLP-GC to Libya is something books could be written about. It's certainly the centre of a number of CTs. However, whether or not you subscribe to any of the CTs, when you lay out all the facts, the theory that this was a PFLP-GC operation but the precise modus operandi of getting the bomb on the plane was never discovered, has an awful lot more going for it than this bizarre tale of the impenetrable Malta security records and the anomalous computer record at Frankfurt.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 07:50 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why should they invite Tony Blair? He had nothing to do with the release, according to the Scottish minister anyway, also you seem a tad confused about the highlighted part, Obama has nothing to do with the invites.
Why did they invite Jack Straw?
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Old 23rd July 2010, 08:02 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by funk de fino View Post
Why did they invite Jack Straw?
Because they are daft.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 08:10 AM   #377
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Because they are daft.

That actually says it all, as far as I can see. They apparently had a letter all written to invite Tony Blair, and then it was suddenly decided not to send it.

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Old 23rd July 2010, 10:29 AM   #378
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
Hi Rolfe, can you expand on this, I mean the Palestinian terrorists. This is the first time I've heard this theory.

Could I give a precis of how the plot was supposed to have worked, compared to how it would have worked with the Palestinian theory?

The Official Version says that the bomb was put on board flight KM180 from Luqa airport in Malta to Frankfurt, West Germany, on the morning of 21st December. It was introduced as unaccompanied baggage, in a suitcase containing clothes purchased nearby, and tagged for New York via PA103 from Heathrow.

From there it was flown to Frankfurt, where there was a 4-hour layover and a change of planes. It was then flown to Heathrow, where there was another change of planes to the transatlantic 747 Maid of the Seas. That flight left the gate on time just after 6pm GMT, was delayed a little while on the tarmac, and took off at 6.25. At 7.03 it disintegrated over Lockerbie. According to this theory, the explosion was triggered by a simple electronic timer, and would have happened at 7.03pm GMT irrespective of where the device was at the time.

As a plan, this actually had quite a few serious flaws, both as regards succeeding in general, and as regards the perpetrators not being caught.
  • The route is complicated, and the possibility of a suitcase tagged for two changes of plane simply getting lost is hardly negligible.
  • It was the middle of winter in northern Europe, and any sort of bad weather (fog, storms, ice) disrupting flights could have scuppered the entire itinerary.
  • Buying brand new, locally-manufactured clothes only 2 weeks before your mission, in a very conspicuous manner, in a shop only 3 miles from where you intend to get the bomb invisibly past security, is not very bright.
  • Frankfurt airport has that automated, computerised baggage system, and if all else had been normal, the passage of an unaccompanied suitcase from Malta should have stuck out like a sore thumb to investigators. That it didn't was only because of the vanishing Frankfurt baggage records.
  • The luggage going on the Frankfurt-Heathrow leg was all x-rayed by an operator who was alert for Semtex bombs disguised as radio-cassette players (such as had been seized from the Palestinians in that city group only 2 months before), which is exactly what this device was. Frankfurt baggage handling was further on the alert as regards Pan Am flights to New York because that route had been specifically targeted by a different warning earlier in the month.
  • Once the bomb got to Heathrow, it was imperative it be loaded in pretty much exactly the right place in the baggage container which was transferred to Maid of the Seas. The amount of Semtex was small, and destruction of the plane required the explosion to happen very close to the hull. Only a minority of cases in that baggage container were in a position for that to happen.
  • Finally, the transatlantic leg of the flight was due to last almost eight hours, landing at 1.40am GMT (8.40pm US time). The timer was set for 7pm, only an hour after the plane was due to leave the gate, so about 45 minutes after take-off. Winter, northern Atlantic, Christmas-period delays - the possibility of that plane still being on the tarmac at 7pm was not negligible.
It could have worked. The airline timetables for all three flights, and the baggage transfers could all have gone to plan, with nothing delayed or lost. The brand-new clothes might have been incinerated beyond tracing. The baggage records at Frankfurt might have mysteriously disappeared from right under the noses of the police (this actually happened). The x-ray operator at Frankfurt might have been asleep at the wheel. And the Heathrow baggage handlers might just by chance put the case in the right position for the explosion to penetrate the skin of the aircraft.

That's what's said to have happened, after the fact. However, if you were a terrorist, would you be happy with that plan?

The alternative is that one of the Palestinians got a bomb to London with an altimeter trigger, either disassembled or overland. Once armed, such a bomb would be safe indefinitely at ground level, but would explode about 40 minutes into a flight. Security at Heathrow was abysmal at the time. There was a break-in involving the Pan Am departure area overnight, the night before the disaster. Airside passes were ten-a-penny, and anyone with such a pass and a uniform could go where they liked.

The baggage container to take the luggage from the feeder flight was labelled and ready for some hours before the flight, because a few suitcases from other feeder flights were added to it piecemeal. This was regular practice. While it wasn't necessarily possible to control the positioning of any suitcase added to it exactly (the loaders might shift anything when loading the Frankfurt luggage), it's the only opportunity to try to get it in the right place.

And a brown-ish Samsonite-type suitcase was indeed seen by the loading supervisor in pretty much exactly the position of the later explosion, which he hadn't placed there. No such suitcase was recovered at Lockerbie, either intact or damaged. The bomb suitcase was however found to be a bronze Samsonite hardshell, from the few fragments that were picked up.

And the explosion happened 38 minutes after Maid of the Seas took off.

Given that the evidence for the Malta introduction actually sucks asteriods, as already discussed, which scenario sounds like a better explanation for what happened?

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 11:30 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Because they are daft.
Somewhat splendidly Scottish Labour were in full flow on the calumny of the SNP Government not going when Jack declined too.

I'm sure they said "Oh bloody great"!

To be honest I am sick to the back teeth regarding the politicking on this. If Megrahi did have an involvement then he was a bit player as a Libyan Government employee.

He is sick we let him go home. We do that - we may be a bit mental, but we do that. If the Senate want to pursue oil deals then they should speak to Blair, Gadaffi, BP or perhaps John McCain who was in Libya conducting a trade deal just as Scotland was releasing Megrahi. It doesn't require members of the Scottish Government.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 12:41 PM   #380
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Originally Posted by Nogbad View Post
Somewhat splendidly Scottish Labour were in full flow on the calumny of the SNP Government not going when Jack declined too.

I'm sure they said "Oh bloody great"!

I was going to say, surely they could have seen that coming, but then that lot don't have much form in the intellectual capacity stakes. For goodness sake, these Americans only want to shout at some politicians and make them look stupid, the way they did with the BP guy. Who is going to voluntarily turn themselves in for that?

Originally Posted by Nogbad View Post
To be honest I am sick to the back teeth regarding the politicking on this. If Megrahi did have an involvement then he was a bit player as a Libyan Government employee.

Likewise. I'm absolutely rivited by the actual Lockerbie affair and the extent of the resulting cover-up, but this is a sideshow.

As you say, even if he did it (which I've pretty much given up regarding as remotely plausible), he wasn't even close to the sort of Muslim suicide bomber that has emerged over the past ten years or so. He was a senior security officer doing his job, under orders from his employer. He was never accused of having personally put the bomb on the plane, just of buying the clothes (right, you send the Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies out to do an errand-boy's job, and you don't even make sure he's well away from the action on D-day after having potentially been recognised), and thus somehow having a hand in it.

Now everybody and his butler is cosying up to that employer, and "normalising" relations, and striking lucrative oil deals, and Megrahi is being reviled as if he was some sort of fanatical Mohammed Atta figure engaged in Holy Jihad.

Someone on the news just remarked that "fate has been kind to Megrahi". Er, really? Convicted in a show trial and on risible evidence of an atrocity he almost certainly had nothing to do with, banged up in jail 1800 miles from home in a cold climate for 8 years, unable to get an appeal into court for five years, stricken with aggressive metastatic prostate cancer at 56, and now possibly the most hated individual in the western world. I'm sure he marvels daily at his good fortune!

Originally Posted by Nogbad View Post
He is sick we let him go home. We do that - we may be a bit mental, but we do that. If the Senate want to pursue oil deals then they should speak to Blair, Gadaffi, BP or perhaps John McCain who was in Libya conducting a trade deal just as Scotland was releasing Megrahi. It doesn't require members of the Scottish Government.

Tee hee.

Originally Posted by A Scottish government spokesman
The Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee has already undertaken a full inquiry into the decision on compassionate release, and the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee has also examined the issue in terms of the formal inter-governmental relations that exist within the UK. That is right and proper.

The focus of the Senators' concern has been any role played by BP in decisions on Al-Megrahi, and we have stated categorically to Senator Kerry that there was no contact of any kind between the Scottish Government and BP.

In addition to the extensive information already provided, we have written to Senator Kerry again today and offered to answer any additional questions in advance of the hearing, and we would also be very happy to answer formally and in writing any more questions that may arise from the hearing itself.

Originally Posted by Jack Straw
It is, in my experience, highly unusual for the legislature of one sovereign state to conduct an inquiry into decisions of another sovereign state, including, as in this case, decisions by a devolved administration on the release of a prisoner. [....]

I had absolutely nothing to do with [the] decision. Indeed I was on holiday at the time and only learned about it from an item on the BBC News website. It follows that I do not see how I could help your committee 'understand several questions still lingering from this decision' You will therefore excuse me if I do not accept your kind invitation.

They'll start bleating about stonewalling and covering up and evasions and so on, when the truth is we're all sick to the back teeth of their grandstanding and arrogance. They've achieved something hitherto believed impossible though - the UK Labour party and the SNP Scottish government are in complete agreement about something!

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 01:42 PM   #381
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Oh my goodness!

I was just heading home in the car and as usual tuned in to Any Questions on BBC Radio 4, which was coming from Lochinver this week, and as luck would have it, the first point made on the programme was on the matter of Megrahi.

The panel included Magnus Linklater who was the editor of The Scotsman covering the period of the Lockerbie disaster and during the formative years of the investigation. On the question of MacAskill's refusal to kowtow to the US senators demands, and on the subject of Compassionate release, the discussion turned to MacAskill's visit to Greenock to see Megrahi just before he dropped his appeal.

Linklater then went on to make a very serious allegation, although one which many had suspected, about the exact purpose of the visit by MacAskill and, most astonishingly, claimed he had read a transcript of the meeting. I'm paraphrasing from memory, and the show is not yet available on the BBC iPlayer, but he categorically stated that MacAskill made it known to Megrahi in no uncertain terms during the meeting that his 'release' would not be considered whatsoever unless Megrahi drop his appeal.

Now, there was hardly uproar in the studio, but Linklater was quite obviously incensed, not just at the somewhat improper nature of the visit, the gist of the demand and ultimatum placed before Megrahi, but also the release itself. There was a subdued reaction from the other panel members (I'm not actually sure if the significance of Linklater's claim was fully appreciated) as Dimbleby suggested they move on to the next question.

The programme is repeated on Radio 4 tomorrow at 13.10, at which point on it's conclusion will then become available on the iPlayer. So, listen out folks.

ETA: Sorry, it is available now, here it is - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t2y8r

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Old 23rd July 2010, 01:52 PM   #382
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You're joking! I thought that was the reason MacAskill went to Greenock right from the start of course, but I'm still shocked. Maybe just shocked that someone was keeping minutes, because I thought he went in person so that there would be no record.

I do hope this gets out, and gets out proper. So many of the UK relatives were pinning their hopes on the appeal. Jim Swire said he would try to continue it after Megrahi died, if possible, and if Megrahi's eldest son didn't want to. I don't care if it bloody embarrasses Kenny, it bloody well should. He should be ashamed of himself. Spawn of Sillars all along, I know that.

And that blue-pencilled bastard has been saying ever since that Megrahi withdrew the appeal of his own free will, nothing to do with me mate. And Nicola was saying the same thing. I hope this spoils her bloody honeymoon too.

Now, was this just because a Scots lawyer didn't want to take the justified flak for that farce in Holland, or is he involved in the wider cover-up? Dark alleys and thumbscrews are looking more and more appealling.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 01:57 PM   #383
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It's on iPlayer now Rolfe.

I'm certain he made that allegation.

I nearly crashed the car in stunned shock!!
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Old 23rd July 2010, 01:59 PM   #384
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Any idea of the time stamp?

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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:00 PM   #385
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I want to believe that the Scotsman has a transcript, but I don't. If they did they would have run it before now. No journalist in the world would throw away an exclusive like that by just dropping it in to conversation.

I suspect he is right and that Megrahi was not getting out unless he dropped the appeal, but I think only two people know for sure.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:01 PM   #386
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Linklater then went on to make a very serious allegation, although one which many had suspected, about the exact purpose of the visit by MacAskill and, most astonishingly, claimed he had read a transcript of the meeting. I'm paraphrasing from memory, and the show is not yet available on the BBC iPlayer, but he categorically stated that MacAskill made it known to Megrahi in no uncertain terms during the meeting that his 'release' would not be considered whatsoever unless Megrahi drop his appeal.
If that conversation took place thats pretty much game set and match that the whole conviction was a farce and unsafe, I've read up on the case through yours, Rolfes and Caustic Logic's posts and the evidence against Megrahi is, well how should I put it, crap - but this takes the biscuit.

Rolfe what is the mood within the SNP over this?
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:02 PM   #387
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Originally Posted by Jaggy Bunnet View Post
I want to believe that the Scotsman has a transcript, but I don't. If they did they would have run it before now. No journalist in the world would throw away an exclusive like that by just dropping it in to conversation.

That's a point, I suppose. Unless they were keeping it for the right moment. Linklater is a black-hearted unionist bastard, but he's a reputable journalist.

Rolfe.

ETA: It's the first item.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:05 PM   #388
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The exact quote he attributes to MacAskill is, "There is no question of you being released while there is still an appeal outstanding. The decsion as to whether you pursue that appeal is for you and your legal team".
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:07 PM   #389
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
The exact quote he attributes to MacAskill is, "There is no question of you being released while there is still an appeal outstanding. The decsion as to whether you pursue that appeal is for you and your legal team".

Could he not have just been talking about the possibility of release under the PTA as regards that? But why even talk about that?

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:11 PM   #390
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Originally Posted by Jaggy Bunnet View Post
I want to believe that the Scotsman has a transcript, but I don't. If they did they would have run it before now. No journalist in the world would throw away an exclusive like that by just dropping it in to conversation.

I suspect he is right and that Megrahi was not getting out unless he dropped the appeal, but I think only two people know for sure.
Linklater says that Megrahi's lawyer was also present throughout the meeting! I'd always thought that this kind of meeting was exclusively between the two men. I suppose an unprecedented visit perhaps also allowed for an unprecedented format of the meeting.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:17 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Could he not have just been talking about the possibility of release under the PTA as regards that? But why even talk about that?

Rolfe.
I had considered that. However, was it not that the appeal must be dropped first, then an application for PTA is made? Hence, Megrahi made his application for both, PTA and Compassionate release, when his QC Maggie Smith applied to the court to end the appeal procedures. I'd always thought the whole PTA was the excuse used to see Megrahi, to seek his 'representation', but surely that could only be sought, once the appeal was dropped and PTA had been applied for? I mean, the PTA had been available for 2 years, but MacAskill chose to take 'representation' now? After he'd received the medical report which suggested a prognosis of 3 months??

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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:19 PM   #392
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Linklater says that Megrahi's lawyer was also present throughout the meeting! I'd always thought that this kind of meeting was exclusively between the two men. I suppose an unprecedented visit perhaps also allowed for an unprecedented format of the meeting.
OK, three people.

So who leaked it? The lawyer in breach of client confidentiality, ending his career?

Megrahi? Makes no sense. If he wanted it in the public domain, why now and why Linklater?

Kenny? Makes even less sense.

If Linklater has a transcript, then let him publish it. Until then, I remain skeptical.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:20 PM   #393
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I'll believe it when he ponies it up. Till then, it's a claim.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:20 PM   #394
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Any idea of the time stamp?

Rolfe.
Sorry Rolfe, cross posting. About 14mins in.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:23 PM   #395
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No, it was Fergus who said the lawyer was present. Scottish accent - Fergus; English accent - Magnus.

Fergus said categorically that the meeting had nothing to do with the compassionate release but was only in connection with the prisoner transfer agreement. That under that agreement prisoners were entitled to make representation to the Justice Minister.

Magnus is clearly incensed for the same reasons we are, even though he thinks Megrahi should have been kept in jail and Kenny should have gone to the USA to be some sort of Aunt Sally target for the senators.

It all depends on the context. It's possible Kenny said something like that purely in the context of the application for PTA release. However, it depends on the wording. You'd have to know Magnus remembered the exact words, and whether or not Kenny was clear that his statement did not apply to compassionate release.

Wait till we see what Robert Black thinks about that. In fact I'll email him right now.

Rolfe.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:24 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
I had considered that. However, was it not that the appeal must be dropped first, then an application for PTA is made? Hence, Megrahi made his application for both, PTA and Compassionate release, when his QC Maggie Smith applied to the court to end the appeal procedures. I'd always thought the whole PTA was the excuse used to see Megrahi, to seek his 'representation', but surely that could only be sought, once the appeal was dropped and PTA had been applied for? I mean, the PTA had been available for 2 years, but MacAskill chose to take 'representation' now? After he'd received the medical report which suggested a prognosis of 3 months??
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...on-appeal.html

"The Libyan government applied in May for him to be transferred to Libya to serve the rest of his sentence.

Britain has a prisoner transfer treaty with that country but no transfer can be made if there are outstanding legal proceedings.

Dropping the appeal would remove this potential block.

Last month Megrahi put in a separate request to the Scottish Government to be released on compassionate grounds.

This can be granted even if an appeal is still under way."

So it appears an application can be made while the appeal remains, but no transfer can take place.

Whereas there was no need to drop the appeal to secure release on compassionate grounds.

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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:24 PM   #397
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Originally Posted by Jaggy Bunnet View Post
OK, three people.

So who leaked it? The lawyer in breach of client confidentiality, ending his career?

Megrahi? Makes no sense. If he wanted it in the public domain, why now and why Linklater?

Kenny? Makes even less sense.

If Linklater has a transcript, then let him publish it. Until then, I remain skeptical.
I agree. However, it seems that it wasn't just the two men as we all presumed. Three at least, perhaps more? I really don't know, and yes it does seem odd that Linklater wouldn't publish something of that importance.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:31 PM   #398
Buncrana
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Originally Posted by Jaggy Bunnet View Post
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...on-appeal.html

"The Libyan government applied in May for him to be transferred to Libya to serve the rest of his sentence.

Britain has a prisoner transfer treaty with that country but no transfer can be made if there are outstanding legal proceedings.

Dropping the appeal would remove this potential block.

Last month Megrahi put in a separate request to the Scottish Government to be released on compassionate grounds.

This can be granted even if an appeal is still under way."
So, the PTA couldn't be considered while there are outstanding legal procedures.

Well, I suppose the question still stands. Why did Kenny go to seek Megrahi's representations when his legal proceedings were still ongoing?

Megrahi must drop the appeal, while simultaneously makes an application on the PTA, then representations are taken from him, no?

I suppose it is somewhat ambiguous.

Last edited by Buncrana; 23rd July 2010 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:32 PM   #399
Jaggy Bunnet
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
So, the PTA couldn't be considered while there are outstanding legal procedures.

Well, I suppose the question still stands. Why did Kenny go to seek Megrahi's representations when his legal proceedings were still ongoing?

Megrahi must drop the appeal, he also makes an application on the PTA, then representations are taken from him regarding the PTA, no?

I suppose it is somewhat ambiguous.
No, I think the transfer can't happen while proceedings are ongoing, but the application can be considered.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 02:34 PM   #400
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I wonder if it's possible to find out more. It would be correct to say that Megrahi was going nowhere under the PTA unless the appeal was withdrawn, and Kenny would be correct to say that. However if he said or implied that this was the whole story, or that compassionate release would not be considered unless the appeal was withdrawn, that's a different matter. I suspect he may have managed to put that message across.

Why do it this way anyway? Why keep the man hanging on like that? Why not give a decision on the compassionate release, and THEN leave it up to Megrahi to decide if he wants to drop the appeal to go the PTA route? Having them both dangling at once seems unnecessarily ambiguous, not to mention a bit cruel.

And the other oddity is that Megrahi had access to the BBC and the Herald as far as I know. Surely he knew the Scottish government would rather pull its own toenails out one at a time than grant that prisoner transfer? Surely Mr. Kelly knew? The obvious advice would have been to hold tight and wait for the decision on compassionate release, before doing anything irrevocable.

And it was Mr. Kelly who first said, in a statement to the BBC, that Megrahi had been pressurised to drop the appeal. He said that about the time the LAA plane was on the way. So we know he was actually at the meeting too.

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