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

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Old 11th March 2020, 07:08 AM   #601
Rolfe
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They're only going with unreasonable verdict and non-disclosure. They seem to think Sandwood found something that rendered the Heathrow ingestion "not certain" and had other quibbled about other points, but we've got what we want.

Next phase, how to get the appeal to blow the case wide open. I leave that to the lawyers.

One important point is that it seems inevitable that the defence will have to be given access to the Sandwood report, so we can find out whether they really did discover something about the Heathrow ingestion that we didn't know, plus a lot of other juicy points.
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Old 11th March 2020, 12:34 PM   #602
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Excellent news.

Do the findings of the SCCRC have any impact on what arguments are used in the appeal itself?
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Old 11th March 2020, 01:01 PM   #603
Matthew Best
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
They're only going with unreasonable verdict and non-disclosure. They seem to think Sandwood found something that rendered the Heathrow ingestion "not certain" and had other quibbled about other points, but we've got what we want.

Next phase, how to get the appeal to blow the case wide open. I leave that to the lawyers.

One important point is that it seems inevitable that the defence will have to be given access to the Sandwood report, so we can find out whether they really did discover something about the Heathrow ingestion that we didn't know, plus a lot of other juicy points.
What they say about the theory that the suitcase was put on the plane at Heathrow:

The Commission concentrated on what it considered to be the most important aspect of the submissions. The theory lacked certain important information, which the Sandwood report had highlighted. In light of this, it was not arguable that the Justice for Megrahi theory could show conclusively that the bomb had entered the airline luggage in Heathrow.

Do you have any idea what they are talking about, Rolfe?

I presume, from the above, that you don't, but look forward to finding out.

Are the Megrahi family lawyers allowed to show anyone (such as yourself?) the full 419 page Statement of Reasons, or are they forbidden to do so?
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Old 11th March 2020, 02:43 PM   #604
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The appeal is supposed to deal only with the grounds the SCCRC have allowed, unlike last time. They changed the law, probably with the specific purpose of limiting another appeal. However I've had an idea as to how the suitcase evidence might be brought in under the "unreasonable verdict" ground and I need to bounce it off the lawyers.

I have no idea what they are talking about as regards "certain important information". Hopefully we will find out. This depends on the defence getting hold of the Sandwood report, and we don't know yet if that will happen. Notably they didn't say the suitcase didn't go on at Heathrow, just that they didn't think we'd proved it conclusively. I think their "certain important information" may well be spurious but since nobody ever came back and said "we've discovered this, what do you think" then I don't know.

There was a huge fuss about the disclosure of the previous SCCRC report in 2007, because it was said that there were confidentiality issues. In the end, in 2012, one of the people who had a copy in relation to work with the defence team showed it to a newspaper to substantiate something he had written in an article, not with any intention that it should be made public, and the paper promptly published it. So anything can happen.
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Old 11th March 2020, 04:26 PM   #605
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It appears that the suitcase-ingestion ground was rejected by the Commission on the combination of two factors:

1) The Commission did not believe that Justice For Megrahi had proven conclusively that the suitcase was ingested at Heathrow (but that is not to say that JFM did not provide a compelling argument pointing to that possibility); and

2) The Commission believed that Megrahi's original defence could have argued this ground at trial, but did not do so (even though, importantly, all the underlying evidence was at least theoretically available to Megrahi's trial defence team), and the Commission believes that Megrahi's original trial defence was competently conducted.

So the Commission is in essence saying this: you (the appellant) have provided a compelling argument pointing towards the suitcase having been ingested at LHR, but (importantly) not actual proof. However we can disregard the strength (or otherwise) of your argument since Megrahi's defence team would have had the possibility to put the self-same argument to the court in his original trial, had they chosen to do so. They did not choose to do so, for which reason we do not know - but we judge his trial defence team to have been sufficiently competent, and operating sufficiently under Megrahi's instruction, to adjudicate that this cannot therefore constitute grounds for a later appeal.
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Old 11th March 2020, 04:32 PM   #606
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The SCCRC press release also contains another intriguing passage:

The Commission, as part of the current review, obtained new information which,if believed, points at Libya, and Mr Megrahi as an operative in 1988 for that state, as being the culprits in the bombing of PA 103.

The SCCRC then goes on to say that since this "new information" does not, in its view, in itself constitute cast-iron proof of Megrahi's guilt, and it has not been able to establish its level credibility or reliability, it should not stand in the way of granting leave to appeal Megrahi's guilty verdict. Presumably though (and the SCCRC alludes to this), this "new information" will be properly investigated (by Police Scotland?) and presented to the court at Megrahi's appeal hearing.
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Old 12th March 2020, 03:44 AM   #607
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The appeal is supposed to deal only with the grounds the SCCRC have allowed, unlike last time. They changed the law, probably with the specific purpose of limiting another appeal. However I've had an idea as to how the suitcase evidence might be brought in under the "unreasonable verdict" ground and I need to bounce it off the lawyers.

I have no idea what they are talking about as regards "certain important information". Hopefully we will find out. This depends on the defence getting hold of the Sandwood report, and we don't know yet if that will happen. Notably they didn't say the suitcase didn't go on at Heathrow, just that they didn't think we'd proved it conclusively. I think their "certain important information" may well be spurious but since nobody ever came back and said "we've discovered this, what do you think" then I don't know.

There was a huge fuss about the disclosure of the previous SCCRC report in 2007, because it was said that there were confidentiality issues. In the end, in 2012, one of the people who had a copy in relation to work with the defence team showed it to a newspaper to substantiate something he had written in an article, not with any intention that it should be made public, and the paper promptly published it. So anything can happen.
I was curious because I would have assumed that the review and the appeal were independent processes; however the way the report is worded comes across as limiting the grounds for appeal.

Since the Sandwood report is only mentioned in relation to the suitcase ingestion and that has been ruled out as grounds for appeal, I wonder if that will be used to justify not providing the report?
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Old 12th March 2020, 05:16 AM   #608
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Not sure about that yet. Sandwood did consider the clothes purchase as well.

Right now, my honest opinion is that Sandwood has been in some way got at to accept some spurious piece of information as casting doubt on my analysis of the baggage transfer evidence. (Note that they didn't say the analysis was wrong, just that they didn't think it was 100% certain.) It's noteworthy that they didn't see fit to tell me what this information was or ask me what I thought about it. It's also noteworthy that while the SCCRC at one point asked to speak to me, after I gave my contact details over I waited in vain for that contact to come.

I think we have to wait and see how the defence team chooses to play this. Amaar Anwar can get quite pushy in defence of his clients, so it will be interesting to see what line he takes.
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Old 20th November 2020, 01:30 PM   #609
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Nearly six and a half years since this thread was started, the third appeal in the Lockerbie case comes to court next week.

Please cross your fingers everyone.
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Old 20th November 2020, 05:09 PM   #610
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Nearly six and a half years since this thread was started, the third appeal in the Lockerbie case comes to court next week.

Please cross your fingers everyone.
Fingers crossed. Did I read somewhere that additional grounds for appeal had been allowed?

Happy birthday btw.
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Old 21st November 2020, 04:15 PM   #611
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Here's an article explaining it.

The forthcoming Megrahi appeal

To be quite honest the last ten years have made me so cynical about the Scottish criminal justice system (not just this case) that I more than half expect the appeal court to bend over backwards to find some spurious reason to deny the appeal again.

It seems to be the way things are.

Thanks for the birthday wishes. We're on light restrictions here, few cases in the local authority area and none at all in our ward (an area about 35 miles by 15 miles with just over 6,000 people) since 8th November, so restaurants are open and a couple of friendly neighbours took me out for lunch.
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Old 22nd November 2020, 03:34 AM   #612
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Judges rule that secret docs implicating PFLP-GC must remain secret.

So there are a tranche of documents written by Jordanian intelligence, sent to the UK govt, by King Hussein, that lay out the case that we basically put together in the Lockerbie threads many moons ago.

The bomb was made by Khreesat (A Jordanian asset) the plot was a PFLP-GC one and a revenge attack for the Vincennes. Consequently Megrahi had bugger all to do with it.

I'm torn on this ruling. On one hand if releasing this information would indeed damage the capacity to share information between intelligence agencies and then hamper efforts to stop other attacks, then they should stay sealed.

On the other this was long ago, and how much damage can 30+ year old intel documents cause to intelligence sharing?

I get the impression that this would have opened up such a can of worms about what was covered up, why and by who that they just decided to keep a lid on it all. I am reminded of the article by Paul Foot all those years ago that got me interested in Lockerbie in the first place.

It's closing paragraph struck a chord.

Quote:
In February 1990, a group of British
relatives went to the American embassy
in London for a meeting with the seven
members of the President’s commission
on aviation security and terrorism.
Martin Cadman remembers: “After we’d
had our say, the meeting broke up and
we moved towards the door. As we got
there, I found myself talking to two
members of the Commission – I think
they were senators. One of them said:
‘Your government and our government
know exactly what happened at
Lockerbie. But they are not going to tell
you.’ ”
Eleven years later, after a prolific
waste of many millions of pounds and
words, that is still the position.
Almost 32 years later, that still remains the position.

I have everything crossed that the evidence that's already in the public domain is more than enough to clear Megrahi at his appeal.
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Old 22nd November 2020, 05:17 AM   #613
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In any just society the evidence that is in the public domain would at the very least introduce such strong reasonable doubt that the conviction would have to be vacated. I have no confidence whatsoever that I am living in such a just society. And the ruling that these documents cannot be disclosed merely serves to reinforce that opinion.
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Old 22nd November 2020, 11:02 PM   #614
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
In any just society the evidence that is in the public domain would at the very least introduce such strong reasonable doubt that the conviction would have to be vacated. I have no confidence whatsoever that I am living in such a just society. And the ruling that these documents cannot be disclosed merely serves to reinforce that opinion.
Yes happy birthday Rolfe!

New Zealand looks no better, a number of cases one of which is beyond disgusting and very live with our newly minted CCRC. I hope we are not in a race to the bottom, but Lockerbie looks tracking the way you fear.
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Old 23rd November 2020, 05:16 AM   #615
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Judges rule that secret docs implicating PFLP-GC must remain secret.

So there are a tranche of documents written by Jordanian intelligence, sent to the UK govt, by King Hussein, that lay out the case that we basically put together in the Lockerbie threads many moons ago.

The bomb was made by Khreesat (A Jordanian asset) the plot was a PFLP-GC one and a revenge attack for the Vincennes. Consequently Megrahi had bugger all to do with it.

I'm torn on this ruling. On one hand if releasing this information would indeed damage the capacity to share information between intelligence agencies and then hamper efforts to stop other attacks, then they should stay sealed.

On the other this was long ago, and how much damage can 30+ year old intel documents cause to intelligence sharing?

I get the impression that this would have opened up such a can of worms about what was covered up, why and by who that they just decided to keep a lid on it all. I am reminded of the article by Paul Foot all those years ago that got me interested in Lockerbie in the first place.

It's closing paragraph struck a chord.



Almost 32 years later, that still remains the position.

I have everything crossed that the evidence that's already in the public domain is more than enough to clear Megrahi at his appeal.
Apologies if I am asking something that everyone here knows but what does (and who is - I feel I am in Life of Brian) PFLJ GC have to do with shooting down an Iranian airliner? I thought PFLP were a secularist resistance organisation with ties to Libya, Saddam's Iraq, USSR.
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Old 23rd November 2020, 06:36 AM   #616
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putting my Foot down

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I get the impression that this would have opened up such a can of worms about what was covered up, why and by who that they just decided to keep a lid on it all. I am reminded of the article by Paul Foot all those years ago that got me interested in Lockerbie in the first place.
I have been reviewing the cases of the Birmingham Six, The Maguire Seven, and related cases, and by coincidence, I found two articles by Paul Foot as well. With respect to the Scottish system of justice, the case of Luke Mitchell, which is the subject of a thread here, alone is enough to make one cynical. Although I am reluctant to push this idea very hard, a common thread that runs through many wrongful convictions is that when there is a high profile case that generates much public outrage, the authorities want to convict someone but are not always fussy about whom.
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Old 23rd November 2020, 03:02 PM   #617
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Planigale, there is a lot of evidence pointing to the likelihood that the PFLP-GC under the leadership of Ahmed Jibril accepted a paid commission from the Iranian government to carry out their retaliatory attack in revenge for the US shooting down of the airliner IR655 over the Persian Gulf only six months previously.

While the PFLP-GC were primarily engaged in a terrorist campaign against Israel, their experience in downing airliners in flight in the early 1970s made them potentially the go-to experts in this area. If they were responsible for Lockerbie, as I believe they were, it would have been in the role of paid mercenaries.
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Old 23rd November 2020, 03:10 PM   #618
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Chris, one alarming point of relevance is that while England has had a fair number of high-profile miscarriages of justice acknowledged and the convictions overturned (Judith Ward, the Birmingham Six, the Maguire Seven, the Guildford Four, Sion Jenkins, Stefan Kiszko, Barry George, Paul Esslemont, Sally Clark, Angela Cannings, Donna Anthony and that's just off the top of my head), Scotland has no such list. The only name that springs to mind is David Asbury, and the circumstances of that acquittal (look up the Shirley McKie affair) do not inspire confidence.

Yes indeed there are other scandalous cases in England where innocent people appear still to be languishing in jail, but the sheer dearth of convictions being overturned in Scotland does not to me suggest a system that habitually gets it right, it suggests a system constitutionally incapable of admitting error.
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Old 24th November 2020, 11:52 AM   #619
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Planigale, there is a lot of evidence pointing to the likelihood that the PFLP-GC under the leadership of Ahmed Jibril accepted a paid commission from the Iranian government to carry out their retaliatory attack in revenge for the US shooting down of the airliner IR655 over the Persian Gulf only six months previously.

While the PFLP-GC were primarily engaged in a terrorist campaign against Israel, their experience in downing airliners in flight in the early 1970s made them potentially the go-to experts in this area. If they were responsible for Lockerbie, as I believe they were, it would have been in the role of paid mercenaries.
Thank you for your courtesy in replying to what I know to you is obvious. My understanding of the issue is a little better now.
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Old 24th November 2020, 05:18 PM   #620
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De nada.
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Old 24th November 2020, 06:36 PM   #621
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Planigale, there is a lot of evidence pointing to the likelihood that the PFLP-GC under the leadership of Ahmed Jibril accepted a paid commission from the Iranian government to carry out their retaliatory attack in revenge for the US shooting down of the airliner IR655 over the Persian Gulf only six months previously.

While the PFLP-GC were primarily engaged in a terrorist campaign against Israel, their experience in downing airliners in flight in the early 1970s made them potentially the go-to experts in this area. If they were responsible for Lockerbie, as I believe they were, it would have been in the role of paid mercenaries.
I believed this after reading about the cassette players seized in Frankfurt months before. Seems like quite a coincidence. But I don't know the story in detail.
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Old 25th November 2020, 06:59 AM   #622
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There's a lot of evidence that the modus operandi as found by the court was not what happened, and that Megrahi had nothing to do with it. We know that in October 1988 the PFLP-GC cell in Frankfurt was preparing to bring down an airliner in pretty much exactly the way PA103 was brought down.

So if the PFLP-GC also had nothing to do with it we have to postulate yet another group, another set of suspects of whom we know nothing at all, who were also planning to do exactly that at that time, and who succeeded. I don't think so, do you?
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