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

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Old 31st January 2015, 05:19 PM   #81
marplots
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
So, you think the families of the Lockerbie victims, who were paid a great deal of money many years ago, should personally return this money. I think you should take that up with them, in that case.
What's their user name on the forum, I'll shoot them a PM.

The meta question revolves around digging for the truth. I like to think the truth is worth knowing, for its own sake. But changing the narrative has consequences. If we are unwilling to face those consequences, then we are arguing for a "let sleeping dogs lie" position, and the truth isn't as attractive as it otherwise might be. Considering both Gaddafi and al-Megrahi are dead, all the passengers (even the ones who survived the accident) are dead, and the compensation is spent - fiction may serve as well as fact here.
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Old 31st January 2015, 05:28 PM   #82
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I wish you'd be a little less defensive here. I am not "making things up". I am asking you whether the evidence in the Al Jaseera programme is, in your opinion, accurate or reliable. You appear to be saying that it's not. Fine. That's what I wanted to know (though it would perhaps be interesting to delve a little more into their alleged documentation evidence and why it's false). I also asked whether - if this meeting did take place - Megrahi (and/or Fhimah) might have been the Libyan representatives. Again, I'm not "making things up" - it looks like a reasonable question to me. But if you say that in your opinion there's actually no evidence that such a meeting ever even took place (and that the Al Jazeera source info is wrong or even Al Jazeera just made it up themselves), then the question of who the Libyan representatives might have been is moot, isn't it?

It was, by the way, also out of line for you to create the straw man argument that because you appeared in that documentary, you "endorsed all its material and can indeed vouch for its veracity". I never made any such claim, either directly or indirectly. Rather, I was pointing out that you were obviously aware of the documentary, having appeared in it, and that therefore you would presumably have been aware of the claim made in it about the March 1988 bakery meeting (having previously asked me rather abruptly for "evidence" about that meeting). In no way did I imply that you must endorse the claim made about the meeting.
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Old 31st January 2015, 05:32 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
What's their user name on the forum, I'll shoot them a PM.

Bunntamas. She was banned for making legal threats against JREF in a PM.

Originally Posted by marplots View Post
The meta question revolves around digging for the truth. I like to think the truth is worth knowing, for its own sake. But changing the narrative has consequences. If we are unwilling to face those consequences, then we are arguing for a "let sleeping dogs lie" position, and the truth isn't as attractive as it otherwise might be. Considering both Gaddafi and al-Megrahi are dead, all the passengers (even the ones who survived the accident) are dead, and the compensation is spent - fiction may serve as well as fact here.

It's a side issue. It's not for me to decide what happens about the compensation money. I'm not prepared to ignore the fact that my country's justice system fouled up its biggest criminal investigation in history on a galactic scale, and is currently lying its collective heads off in a desperate bid to avoid having to acknowledge that, simply because success might lead to some unseemly wrangling about money.
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Old 31st January 2015, 05:45 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
I wish you'd be a little less defensive here. I am not "making things up". I am asking you whether the evidence in the Al Jaseera programme is, in your opinion, accurate or reliable. You appear to be saying that it's not. Fine. That's what I wanted to know (though it would perhaps be interesting to delve a little more into their alleged documentation evidence and why it's false). I also asked whether - if this meeting did take place - Megrahi (and/or Fhimah) might have been the Libyan representatives. Again, I'm not "making things up" - it looks like a reasonable question to me. But if you say that in your opinion there's actually no evidence that such a meeting ever even took place (and that the Al Jazeera source info is wrong or even Al Jazeera just made it up themselves), then the question of who the Libyan representatives might have been is moot, isn't it?

You misinterpret "irritated" as "defensive". If you want to know anything about the murky world of middle-eastern terrorism and how it impacts (or doesn't impact) on this case, you need to talk to John Ashton, not me. I'm interested in the hard evidence of how that bomb got on the plane, and then as a secondary exercise, how the investigation was so comprehensively misled.

And I think you were making things up. You arrived in the thread stating, "I believe there's decent evidence that there was a "grand meeting" of like-minded parties in Malta in 1988, at which Mehrahi and Fhimah may have been present alongside representatives of PFLP-GC, the Syrians and the Iranians." The bolded part appears to be your own invention.

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
It was, by the way, also out of line for you to create the straw man argument that because you appeared in that documentary, you "endorsed all its material and can indeed vouch for its veracity". I never made any such claim, either directly or indirectly. Rather, I was pointing out that you were obviously aware of the documentary, having appeared in it, and that therefore you would presumably have been aware of the claim made in it about the March 1988 bakery meeting (having previously asked me rather abruptly for "evidence" about that meeting). In no way did I imply that you must endorse the claim made about the meeting.

Actually, no not really. The film was never shown in Britain as far as I'm aware. I did watch it once online, on the Aljazeera web site, but was vastly disappointed. It was, as John Ashton had warned me in advance, a bunch of stuff that was so tenuous and discredited that other Lockerbie investigators had given up on it many years ago.

I didn't remember that it included a claim of a meeting involving the Miska Bakery people early in 1988. Why would I? The claim that Megrahi and Fhimah were there is entirely your own invention.
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Old 31st January 2015, 06:00 PM   #85
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1) Note my use of the terms "may" and "I believe....". I wasn't stating anything as fact, and I wasn't "making things up".

2) You watched the documentary, so it was not unreasonable (or was it) to suppose that you were aware of the claim made in that documentary about that meeting. And regardless, I was expressing disappointment about your out-of-order strawman that I was suggesting you endorsed everything within that documentary purely on the strength of you having appeared in it.

I realise that you're passionate about this topic, and I truly (and sincerely) commend your work, particularly on the baggage issue. I also realise that you're something of an authority round here on the wider context of the case. That's why I wanted your view on whether it was possible that Megrahi might have been involved in planning etc - even though I share your view that there's now clearly no safe grounds upon which to convict him of the execution. All you needed to do was explain why you felt the Al Jazeera evidence was wrong, and/or why even if it was broadly right, it would have been improbable for Megrahi to have been at that meeting. That was all. I should have known better, I guess.....
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Old 31st January 2015, 06:04 PM   #86
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I'm trying to remember who it was who asked a group of JFM members solemnly what their reaction would be if Megrahi were proved to have had something to do with it after all. The answer was mostly, so what?

If you listen to Bob Black's interview on Independence Live, he explains it very well. The main concern of the Scots in the group is for the basket-case that is our criminal justice system. One member joined specifically because his daughter had been a victim in an unrelated case of forensic malpractice and subsequent cover-up.

The crime was not committed in the way the investigators said it had been committed, and the way the court decided it had been committed. This involved an absolutely egregious series of "mistakes", where clear-cut evidence was ignored in favour of fuzzy speculation that led somewhere else. It then involved a dishonest prosecution, as exculpatory material was withheld from the defence on an industrial scale. In addition, the prosecution dumped the original reasoning for the route of the bomb suitcase, when it realised that according to that original reasoning, the suitcase seen at Heathrow actually reconciled as the bomb. They ran a different scenario they must have known was false, rather than abandon the case.

Now, we have the country's most senior law officer behaving in a grossly improper and unprofessional manner in order to try to bury the bad news that this has all been figured out, and discredit the people who have figured it out. I am not a happy bunny about any of this.

As far as Megrahi goes, I know of no evidence at all that implicates him in any stage of the atrocity. I therefore feel sorry for him, as I feel sorry for anyone who has been wrongly convicted and jailed, especially in a strange foreign country far from friends and family. If some evidence did emerge to suggest he was involved, first I'd be very surprised as there isn't even any credible evidence that Libya was involved, and secondly, that wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference to my crusade against our incompetent and self-serving Crown Office.
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Old 31st January 2015, 06:14 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
1) Note my use of the terms "may" and "I believe....". I wasn't stating anything as fact, and I wasn't "making things up".

That's sophistry. Nobody even suggested Megrahi and/or Fhimah were involved in that hypothetical meeting but you. Therefore, you made it up.

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
2) You watched the documentary, so it was not unreasonable (or was it) to suppose that you were aware of the claim made in that documentary about that meeting. And regardless, I was expressing disappointment about your out-of-order strawman that I was suggesting you endorsed everything within that documentary purely on the strength of you having appeared in it.

Yes, it was unreasonable. I don't remember every extraneous detail in every crappy documentary I watch about Lockerbie. And believe me I have watched plenty, so many that it's virtually impossible to keep them straight. That was one of the crappiest. (It was fun realising that Khreesat had a Facebook page, mind you. I do remember that bit!)

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
I realise that you're passionate about this topic, and I truly (and sincerely) commend your work, particularly on the baggage issue. I also realise that you're something of an authority round here on the wider context of the case. That's why I wanted your view on whether it was possible that Megrahi might have been involved in planning etc - even though I share your view that there's now clearly no safe grounds upon which to convict him of the execution. All you needed to do was explain why you felt the Al Jazeera evidence was wrong, and/or why even if it was broadly right, it would have been improbable for Megrahi to have been at that meeting. That was all. I should have known better, I guess.....

You didn't say anything about the Aljazeera documentary in your original post. If you're going to insist that your baseless speculations are refuted, then you probably need to show some working.
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Old 31st January 2015, 11:34 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm trying to remember who it was who asked a group of JFM members solemnly what their reaction would be if Megrahi were proved to have had something to do with it after all. The answer was mostly, so what?

If you listen to Bob Black's interview on Independence Live, he explains it very well. The main concern of the Scots in the group is for the basket-case that is our criminal justice system. One member joined specifically because his daughter had been a victim in an unrelated case of forensic malpractice and subsequent cover-up.

The crime was not committed in the way the investigators said it had been committed, and the way the court decided it had been committed. This involved an absolutely egregious series of "mistakes", where clear-cut evidence was ignored in favour of fuzzy speculation that led somewhere else. It then involved a dishonest prosecution, as exculpatory material was withheld from the defence on an industrial scale. In addition, the prosecution dumped the original reasoning for the route of the bomb suitcase, when it realised that according to that original reasoning, the suitcase seen at Heathrow actually reconciled as the bomb. They ran a different scenario they must have known was false, rather than abandon the case.

Now, we have the country's most senior law officer behaving in a grossly improper and unprofessional manner in order to try to bury the bad news that this has all been figured out, and discredit the people who have figured it out. I am not a happy bunny about any of this.

As far as Megrahi goes, I know of no evidence at all that implicates him in any stage of the atrocity. I therefore feel sorry for him, as I feel sorry for anyone who has been wrongly convicted and jailed, especially in a strange foreign country far from friends and family. If some evidence did emerge to suggest he was involved, first I'd be very surprised as there isn't even any credible evidence that Libya was involved, and secondly, that wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference to my crusade against our incompetent and self-serving Crown Office.
Lack of empty space in my life prevents me from forming my own opinion on whether Megrahi done it so I am saving time by trusting you and focusing on the highlighted bit. Powerful people who abuse their office should meet an unpleasant fate (cough - Blair, Bush - cough) but they rarely experience anything worse than being relieved of it. It's a phenomenon. Example: the refusal of the legal and political establishment to acknowledge that they hanged the wrong man when they strung up Timothy Evans (instead of John Christie). The only person to sustain any detriment in that business was Evans.

ETA are you being discredited, Rolfe? If so, please tell us more.

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Old 1st February 2015, 01:57 AM   #89
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If Nicola would simply reshuffle Mulholland out of harm's way and appoint someone with integrity, I'd be happy enough. Bob Black has written about this on his blog, how the wrong people, the people with the wrong background, are being appointed to that job.

It's a political appointment. Normally, an incoming government would sack the previous appointee and put their own man in. In 2007 the SNP won the election by a whisker, and didn't do that. They kept Elish Angiolini, who was a Labour appointment, as a gesture of magnanimity and continuity. She was in post during the time of Megrahi's release. I think she was behind some of the more questionable decisions at that time.

Then she went and Mulholland was appointed. He's worse. I don't know what anyone was thinking of. We need someone who isn't a Crown Office insider, someone with integrity who can see beyond the short term aim of not losing face. Nicola took over in October and Kenny MacAskill went but Mulholland stayed. Sigh.

They never mention me as such. Mulholland has never acknowledged my existence or that I've put forward any analysis. The technique is merely to repeatedly castigate "Megrahi's supporters" as conspiracy theorists whose assertions are being patiently refuted by the diligent law enforcement officers. A bit like this forum (was), in a way. Don't engage, just shout "CT is thataway" until everyone loses interest.
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Old 1st February 2015, 02:38 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
If Nicola would simply reshuffle Mulholland out of harm's way and appoint someone with integrity, I'd be happy enough. Bob Black has written about this on his blog, how the wrong people, the people with the wrong background, are being appointed to that job.

It's a political appointment. Normally, an incoming government would sack the previous appointee and put their own man in. In 2007 the SNP won the election by a whisker, and didn't do that. They kept Elish Angiolini, who was a Labour appointment, as a gesture of magnanimity and continuity. She was in post during the time of Megrahi's release. I think she was behind some of the more questionable decisions at that time.

Then she went and Mulholland was appointed. He's worse. I don't know what anyone was thinking of. We need someone who isn't a Crown Office insider, someone with integrity who can see beyond the short term aim of not losing face. Nicola took over in October and Kenny MacAskill went but Mulholland stayed. Sigh.

They never mention me as such. Mulholland has never acknowledged my existence or that I've put forward any analysis. The technique is merely to repeatedly castigate "Megrahi's supporters" as conspiracy theorists whose assertions are being patiently refuted by the diligent law enforcement officers. A bit like this forum (was), in a way. Don't engage, just shout "CT is thataway" until everyone loses interest.
Well, I remember your book was airily dismissed, as Private Eye reported.
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Old 1st February 2015, 03:17 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
That's sophistry. Nobody even suggested Megrahi and/or Fhimah were involved in that hypothetical meeting but you. Therefore, you made it up.

What I in fact did was speculate that if such a meeting had taken place, and if Libya had one or more representatives at that meeting, might it be possible that Megrahi (or Fhimah) had been there representing Libya. For the last time, I didn't "make it up", and I resent the accusation and your tone.



Quote:
Yes, it was unreasonable. I don't remember every extraneous detail in every crappy documentary I watch about Lockerbie. And believe me I have watched plenty, so many that it's virtually impossible to keep them straight. That was one of the crappiest. (It was fun realising that Khreesat had a Facebook page, mind you. I do remember that bit!)

Well I don't think it was unreasonable. But I DO think it was unreasonable for you to accuse me of "labouring under the impression that because (you) took part in the Aljazeera film, (you) endorsed all its material and can indeed vouch for its veracity". Haven't seen a hint of an apology for that one though......



Quote:
You didn't say anything about the Aljazeera documentary in your original post. If you're going to insist that your baseless speculations are refuted, then you probably need to show some working.

No, I said there appeared to be evidence. I was then asked what that evidence might be. I replied by referring to the Al Jazeera documentary. If you're calling the claims in the Al Jazeera documentary about that meeting "baseless speculations", then that's another thing altogether.

I'd hoped that such an antagonistic, angry atmosphere might have dissipated over time. I was clearly wrong. And if you can't differentiate sincere questions and suggestions from what you apparently perceive as deliberate attempts to wind up or bait, then there's nothing more to be gained. It's a shame. Good luck with your ongoing work, and your interactions with others.

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Old 1st February 2015, 03:28 AM   #92
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Suit yourself.

You could have entered the thread by referring to the Aljazeera documentary, noting that there was a claim of a meeting involving Libyan interests, and asking whether Megrahi and/or Fhimah might have been those interests. Then I might at least have understood what you were talking about.

You chose to make cryptic assertions, then to blame me for not being psychic enough to figure out where you were getting your fanciful allegations from. If it's making you angry, don't blame me.
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Old 1st February 2015, 04:26 AM   #93
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Yesterday seems to have been the 14th anniversary of the original Camp Zeist verdict, and today Bob Black has republished a short summary he wrote the following day about why he believed the verdict was unsafe and unsatisfactory.

http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/...isfactory.html

The main points he makes are about the clothes purchase, which was always the easiest aspect of the court's reasoning to rubbish.

Quote:
i. Who was the purchaser of the clothing and when did he do it?

The judges held it proved (a) that it was Megrahi who bought from Mary’s House in Malta the clothes and umbrella which were in the suitcase with the bomb and (b) that the date of purchase was 7 December 1988 (when Megrahi was on Malta) and not 23 November 1988 (when he was not).

As regards (a), the most that the Maltese shopkeeper, Tony Gauci, would say (either in his evidence in court or in a series of police statements) was that Megrahi “resembled a lot” the purchaser, a phrase which he equally used with reference to Abu Talb, one of those named in the special defence of incrimination lodged on behalf of Megrahi. Gauci had also described the purchaser to the police as being six feet tall and over 50 years of age. The evidence at the trial established (i) that Megrahi is 5 feet 8 inches tall and (ii) that in late 1988 he was 36 years of age. On this material the judges found in fact that Megrahi was the purchaser.

As regards (b), the evidence of Tony Gauci was that when the purchaser left his shop it was raining (or at least drizzling) to such an extent that his customer thought it advisable to buy an umbrella to protect himself while he went in search of a taxi. The unchallenged meteorological evidence established that while it had rained on 23 November at the relevant time, it was unlikely that it had rained at all on 7 December, and if it had it would have been only a few drops, insufficient to wet the street. On this material, the judges found in fact that the clothes were purchased on 7 December.

That just highlights the most blatant problems with that identification evidence, and of course more were identified by the later SCCRC investigation. In particular, they discovered that whereas Gauci had said in his early statements that the Christmas lights were not yet up in the street outside his shop when all this happened, the ceremony of the switching on of the lights in that part of town was condicted by the Minister for Tourism on 6th December 1988.

This is so well-known and well-understood that it astonishes me that anyone can come into the discussion at this late date and casually remark that he thinks Megrahi was indeed the man who bought the clothes. In certain contexts, it could be interpreted as trolling.

What I don't think has been sufficiently understood by practically any of the commentators is that once the identification of Megrahi as the man who bought the clothes falls, then the Malta origin of the bomb falls also, by the court's own logic.

The decision by the bench that the purchase took place on 7th December was arbitrary and perverse. The suspicion has to be that the date was chosen precisely because that was the day Megrahi was on the island. If they hadn't chosen that date, they would have had to acquit. It was that important, and it was completely arbitrary, and no explanation or reasoning was given.

It was the peg on which the entire daisy-chain of circular reasoning that convicted Megrahi was hung. The clothes purchase happened on 7th December. (Why?) Therefore although Gauci's identification of Megrahi as the purchaser was "incomplete" (understatement of the second millennium, setting the bar high), he can be concluded to have been the purchaser because he was on the island at that time, and he was also present at the airport when the bomb was smuggled on to the plane.

But hold on a minute, the evidence that the bomb was introduced at Malta was highly questionable. The evidence from Malta itself, which had exemplary security, and from the passengers on the flight, was that there was no extra, illegitimate item on KM180. All there was, was a printout of a single dataset from the lost computer records at Frankfurt, which defied complete analysis. There was an entry which seemed to point to an item having been transferred from KM180 to PA103, but the whole thing was so confused with multiple other entries also not being attributable to known legitimate luggage that it scarcely proved anything. The strength of that evidence was nowhere near sufficient to over-ride the evidence from Malta that said there was no such suitcase.

The judges ruled that in the context of the records at Frankfurt being ordinary records kept in the course of an ordinary day, and since the ordinary interpretation of this would be that there had been an item transferred from KM180 to PA103, then that was what had happened. They declined to take into consideration that the (complete and internally consistent) Malta records flatly contradicted that conclusion. They then decided that since the man who bought the clothes was at the airport when KM180 departed, then whatever was in that hypothetical suitcase was in fact the bomb.

Everything hinges on the assumption that Megrahi bought the clothes. Once it is accepted that he didn't, there is no justification for the conclusion that the bomb came from Malta in the first place.
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Old 1st February 2015, 05:00 AM   #94
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Of course the Crown Office was setting itself up to ignore this completely. If Megrahi's second appeal had gone the distance, and Megrahi had been acquitted on the grounds of not having been proved to have been the clothes purchaser, they were clearly preparing the ground that well, he was still at the airport when the bomb was smuggled on to KM180, so (although he didn't have an airside pass and didn't go airside), he must have done it anyway.

I suppose none of this is surprising in the context of the major national and international consequences that flow from the general recognition that the entire investgation was entirely misdirected from the earliest days and the US pet bogeyman wasn't responsible after all. It's still pretty shocking to anyone who believes that the law should be about truth and justice.
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Old 1st February 2015, 07:02 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Of course the Crown Office was setting itself up to ignore this completely. If Megrahi's second appeal had gone the distance, and Megrahi had been acquitted on the grounds of not having been proved to have been the clothes purchaser, they were clearly preparing the ground that well, he was still at the airport when the bomb was smuggled on to KM180, so (although he didn't have an airside pass and didn't go airside), he must have done it anyway.

I suppose none of this is surprising in the context of the major national and international consequences that flow from the general recognition that the entire investgation was entirely misdirected from the earliest days and the US pet bogeyman wasn't responsible after all. It's still pretty shocking to anyone who believes that the law should be about truth and justice.
What consequences do you think there would be?
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Old 1st February 2015, 07:12 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
all the passengers (even the ones who survived the accident) are dead, ....
I just noticed this. What a weird statement. First, it wasn't an accident. Second, none of the passengers survived. Nobody survives a plane breaking up at 31,000 feet. Third, it happened in 1988. If anyone had survived, theoretically, why might it be assumed they would all be dead by now? Young people who died in the crash still have parents who are alive.

Are we actually talking about the same incident?
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Old 1st February 2015, 07:30 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
What consequences do you think there would be?

Nationally, we will have to reopen the investigation from scratch, and go back to a cold case of 270 murders that happened over 26 years ago. That's going to be expensive in both manpower and time. In addition there is the embarrassment of acknowledging that the original inquiry which was widely lauded for its alleged success was a miserable failure and a waste of a great deal of money.

We will also have to acknowledge that the extremely high-profile trial at Camp Zeist was a travesty of justice. Again, that trial cost several million. It involved the Crown concealing exculpatory evidence from the defence on an industrial scale, spiced with a wee bit of perjury on the part of forensics officers and others. It also involved a judicial bench decision that could serve as a textbook example of circular reasoning. This is not high on the Crown Office's to-do list.

Internationally, the whole business of the US pinning Gaddafi with the blame for incidents he didn't actually have a hand in may be reopened. Though that may not get much traction now. However a bigger problem is likely to be the reaction of many of the US relatives, who firmly believe the trial convicted the right guy because of the way they have been groomed by the Us Department of Justice. I don't know whether they'll catch on and turn on their own people for misleading them, or simply turn on Scotland for quashing the conviction, but either way it won't be pretty.

There's also the issue of the behaviour of many politicians and others at the time of Megrahi's release. I don't know how these people will react to the information that he wasn't guilty. Maybe they'll just ignore it.

Marplots mentioned the compensation money. I suspect it's water under the bridge, but the current Libyan "government" might choose to make an issue of it. I recall that last year some people said that Scotland couldn't afford to be independent because the country would be forced under international law to pay back $26 billion to Libya when the Lockerbie conviction is finally quashed. That's nonsense of course but it's an example of the mad rhetoric that flies about.

Maybe the most worrying aspect is the question of Iran. It's widely believed that Iran (and Syria) were really behind the atrocity. It may not be possible to prove that at this late date, and even if it is, an investigation may be blocked for political reasons. But even so, people are still going to believe it. It's one more match in the powder-keg which is 21st century middle eastern politics.

I'm no diplomat. I suspect various vested interests will simply ignore what they find inconvenient and spin what they find convenient to their own ends. The fact of a new investigation which might well implicate Iran and Syria if left to get on with it in a competent manner could be tricky though.
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Old 1st February 2015, 08:26 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Nationally, we will have to reopen the investigation from scratch, and go back to a cold case of 270 murders that happened over 26 years ago. That's going to be expensive in both manpower and time. In addition there is the embarrassment of acknowledging that the original inquiry which was widely lauded for its alleged success was a miserable failure and a waste of a great deal of money.

We will also have to acknowledge that the extremely high-profile trial at Camp Zeist was a travesty of justice. Again, that trial cost several million. It involved the Crown concealing exculpatory evidence from the defence on an industrial scale, spiced with a wee bit of perjury on the part of forensics officers and others. It also involved a judicial bench decision that could serve as a textbook example of circular reasoning. This is not high on the Crown Office's to-do list.

Internationally, the whole business of the US pinning Gaddafi with the blame for incidents he didn't actually have a hand in may be reopened. Though that may not get much traction now. However a bigger problem is likely to be the reaction of many of the US relatives, who firmly believe the trial convicted the right guy because of the way they have been groomed by the Us Department of Justice. I don't know whether they'll catch on and turn on their own people for misleading them, or simply turn on Scotland for quashing the conviction, but either way it won't be pretty.

There's also the issue of the behaviour of many politicians and others at the time of Megrahi's release. I don't know how these people will react to the information that he wasn't guilty. Maybe they'll just ignore it.

Marplots mentioned the compensation money. I suspect it's water under the bridge, but the current Libyan "government" might choose to make an issue of it. I recall that last year some people said that Scotland couldn't afford to be independent because the country would be forced under international law to pay back $26 billion to Libya when the Lockerbie conviction is finally quashed. That's nonsense of course but it's an example of the mad rhetoric that flies about.

Maybe the most worrying aspect is the question of Iran. It's widely believed that Iran (and Syria) were really behind the atrocity. It may not be possible to prove that at this late date, and even if it is, an investigation may be blocked for political reasons. But even so, people are still going to believe it. It's one more match in the powder-keg which is 21st century middle eastern politics.

I'm no diplomat. I suspect various vested interests will simply ignore what they find inconvenient and spin what they find convenient to their own ends. The fact of a new investigation which might well implicate Iran and Syria if left to get on with it in a competent manner could be tricky though.
That is a nice collection of consequences. And all for justice's sake.
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Old 1st February 2015, 04:13 PM   #99
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After Stefan Kiszko was acquitted on appeal, they reopened the murder case. The real murderer of Lesley Moleseed was caught, and convicted, 30 years after the crime. He is now in jail and hopefully will never come out. It can be done.

This case is different of course. However, many people in Scotland today regard it as a running sore on the reputation of the country's criminal justice system. If it's all hushed up now, perhaps by ruling that the relatives of the victims are not "interested parties" within the meaning of the legislation, the effect will be truly corrosive.

Tell the truth and shame the devil, they used to say. Tell the truth and sort out the consequences. A new investigation doesn't have to be that expensive. The evidence-gathering was done at the time and it was done well. All that may be needed is a revisiting of old leads to try to link the original suspects with Heathrow airport rather than Malta. They can use the money they'll save on not sending detectives and lawyers to Libya to find Megrahi's accomplices, which is what they've been doing up till now.

And it's about time the Crown Office learned how to deal with egg on its face, and realises that it's not such a serious ailment that it needs innocent people to be persecuted to prevent it happening.
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Old 1st February 2015, 04:59 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
(Much good and useful stuff snipped)

What I don't think has been sufficiently understood by practically any of the commentators is that once the identification of Megrahi as the man who bought the clothes falls, then the Malta origin of the bomb falls also, by the court's own logic.

The decision by the bench that the purchase took place on 7th December was arbitrary and perverse. The suspicion has to be that the date was chosen precisely because that was the day Megrahi was on the island. If they hadn't chosen that date, they would have had to acquit. It was that important, and it was completely arbitrary, and no explanation or reasoning was given.

It was the peg on which the entire daisy-chain of circular reasoning that convicted Megrahi was hung. The clothes purchase happened on 7th December. (Why?) Therefore although Gauci's identification of Megrahi as the purchaser was "incomplete" (understatement of the second millennium, setting the bar high), he can be concluded to have been the purchaser because he was on the island at that time, and he was also present at the airport when the bomb was smuggled on to the plane.
Can I play devil's advocate (and conspiracy theorist) for a bit?

Instead of Megrahi buying the clothes himself, he goes to Malta and hires an agent to do it for him. "I want you to go into a shop and purchase a few items of clothing. Here's 200; purchase a few things and keep the rest for yourself. You'll get another 50 when you deliver the items to me." Since the Libyan intelligence apparatus is ultimately footing the bill, Megrahi does't have to worry about being out a bit of cash.

This way the ones who believe he's guilty can have Megrahi be responsible for the bombing and not be the one who purchased the clothes.

[My mobile just rang; caller ID says WILLIAM OF OCKHAM. I think he wants a word with me.]
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Old 1st February 2015, 05:12 PM   #101
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Sure, and it's a fun game for all the family!

Your wee scenario isn't a million miles from what I think the Crown Office was planning to imply if the second appeal had succeeded. If indeed it had been upheld on the matter of the clothes purchase but hadn't challenged the Malta origin of the bomb, then they would have had a shot at making that stick.

What I was trying to point out in my cack-handed manner, is that by the logic and reasoning of the original trial court, the supposition that the man who bought the clothes was at the airport when KM180 departed was essential to the finding that the bomb was carried on KM180. If Megrahi didn't buy the clothes, then the man who bought the clothes is no longer known to be at the airport at the crucial time, and the conclusion that the bomb was on board KM180 is no longer supported.

I don't think it would have been possible to get that through to the journalists and commentators though, so that's one good thing about another shot at an appeal if it comes off. We get to disprove the Malta ingestion by a completely independent argument.

There were only two things linking Megrahi to the atrocity. One was the clothes purchase. He didn't buy the clothes, that's pretty much a given. The other was being at the airport (doing nothing but minding his own business as far as anyone was able to prove but don't let that stop you) at the time KM180 was boarding.

My little contribution to all this has been to show that the bomb could not possibly have been on KM180. It's been placed at Heathrow airport, an hour earlier than the item that was alleged to have been on KM180 could possibly have got there. So the second point against Megrahi falls quite independently.

It's all about Malta. When you realise that the scene of the crime was actually Middlesex, the entire framework of the debate changes.
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Old 1st February 2015, 06:04 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
My little contribution to all this has been to show that the bomb could not possibly have been on KM180. It's been placed at Heathrow airport, an hour earlier than the item that was alleged to have been on KM180 could possibly have got there. So the second point against Megrahi falls quite independently.

It's all about Malta. When you realise that the scene of the crime was actually Middlesex, the entire framework of the debate changes.
Very much this. If it's accepted the bomb was introduced at Heathrow, or even Frankfurt for that matter, Megrahi simply vanishes from the list of suspects.
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Old 2nd February 2015, 02:44 AM   #103
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Yeah. Which is why Frank Mulholland and his minions are desperately trying to pretend that evidence doesn't exist.
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Old 2nd February 2015, 06:29 AM   #104
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Old 3rd February 2015, 05:20 AM   #105
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The Justice for Megrahi petition was up for reconsideration in front of the Justice Committee this morning.

http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/...d-megrahi.html

I haven't yet heard of it was continued or not. I hope it was. I also hope the committee resolved to censure the Lord Advocate for what he said to the papers in December, but that's probably crying for the moon.

http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/...committee.html

Quote:
You will recollect JFM’s earlier submissions where we voiced our serious concerns in relation to the Crown Office/Lord Advocate‘s public rejection of our criminal allegations in 2012 before the police investigation had even started.

It is quite clear that yet again these authorities, despite being aware of the ongoing police enquiry, are publicly stating that they have no doubts about the guilt of Mr Megrahi and that any who do not share that view are conspiracy theorists.

In making these statements it seems to JFM that the Crown Office and Lord Advocate have effectively prejudged the police enquiry, dismissed the criminal investigation as irrelevant and severely compromised that investigation.

Given that this is the Crown’s second public rejection of our allegations we cannot see how we, the Justice Committee or public can have any confidence that when the police report is delivered to the Crown Office and Lord Advocate it will be dealt with in a fair and objective manner.

The Lord Advocate, as Scotland’s independent prosecutor in the public interest and a member of the Scottish Government, has severely compromised his constitutional position by making these comments when the enquiry is going on.
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Old 3rd February 2015, 05:22 AM   #106
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'Continued' = 'adjourned'?
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Old 3rd February 2015, 05:24 AM   #107
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Sort of. It means the petition is still before the committee and will be considered again at a later date. We've kept it alive like that for several years now.
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Old 3rd February 2015, 05:34 AM   #108
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I just found and read this via your link. Oh dear.
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Old 3rd February 2015, 06:56 AM   #109
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A result!

Justice Committee keeps open Megrahi petition.

Quote:
The Committee’s proceedings can be viewed here. The speech by John Finnie MSP (and especially his critical remarks about recent statements by the Lord Advocate) merits particular attention.

Go to the link for the links. I can't paste the links without pasting stupid formatting as well. I haven't read it myself yet but it sounds like it's good stuff.
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Old 3rd February 2015, 08:42 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
A result!

Justice Committee keeps open Megrahi petition.




Go to the link for the links. I can't paste the links without pasting stupid formatting as well. I haven't read it myself yet but it sounds like it's good stuff.
OK, this is now obviously a conspiracy that takes in the whole of the Scottish Parliament. This thread should be banished accordingly.
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Old 3rd February 2015, 08:45 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
A result!

Justice Committee keeps open Megrahi petition.




Go to the link for the links. I can't paste the links without pasting stupid formatting as well. I haven't read it myself yet but it sounds like it's good stuff.
Depending on your browser, you should be able to right-click the links and select "Copy Shortcut", "Copy Link", or something similar.

Here's the committee proceedings: http://www.scottishparliament.tv/cat...vid=0_mhmf1cpt

And recent statements by the Lord Advocate: http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/...-advocate.html which are addressed by John Finnie MSP

That help?
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Old 3rd February 2015, 09:04 AM   #112
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Thanks. Your link to "the speech by John Finnie" is actually just to his bio page on the parliament web site. The link to the proceedings is to a video of the session, not a transcript. I imagine the transcript hasn't been prepared yet.
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Old 3rd February 2015, 09:22 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Thanks. Your link to "the speech by John Finnie" is actually just to his bio page on the parliament web site. The link to the proceedings is to a video of the session, not a transcript. I imagine the transcript hasn't been prepared yet.
Ah, sorry. I was just copying the links from the article you posted to try and get those out there. Didn't quite read carefully enough

Made some changes to the earlier post, hope that's better
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Old 3rd February 2015, 09:29 AM   #114
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Thanks again. I just listened to the recording. It's near the beginning and it's not long. Christine seems to be in a hurry. Finnie makes good points. Someone else dutifully points out that the Crown Office naturally treats a convicted person as being guilty, and then Finnie comes back with a blistering criticism of the LA for calling Scottish citizens who are acting in good faith "conspiracy theorists" and describing their allegations as "deliberately false and malicious", which goes a lot further than simply saying that he stands by the conviction.
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Old 3rd February 2015, 10:39 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
I just found and read this via your link. Oh dear.

And that's from 2007. A lot more has emerged since. And a lot worse.

Have you read the Opinion of the Court, itself? I'd like your lawyerly opinion on the opinion, as it were.

Other useful material is the two reports by the official UN observer to the trial, Hans Kochler. One report on the trial itself, and one on the (first) appeal.

The first appeal judgement is a tedious document, repeatedly declaring that since the trial court explicitly said that it gave due consideration to the points raised by the defence, then it was not open to the defence to complain that the points hadn't been considered, simply because they disagreed with the conclusions.

The one piece of new evidence, Manly's report about the break-in into the Heathrow airside the night before the disaster, was dismissed on the grounds that since the original verdict had not relied on security at Heathrow being impenetrable, and in fact evidence had been given that the place leaked like a sieve, then showing that security actually had been penetrated was neither here nor there.

But yeah, read the judgement of the trial court, and Kochler's blistering criticisms.
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Old 3rd February 2015, 04:34 PM   #116
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I will try to find the time to do so. Thanks for the links.
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Old 4th February 2015, 03:31 AM   #117
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Bob Black has done something unusual for him. He's written an article for his blog himself. (He usually posts articles published elsewhere, or short news bites.)

Lockerbie, the Lord Advocate and conflict of interest

Originally Posted by Professor Robert Black
Given that any charges would be against (i) police officers acting under the oversight of, and subject to direction by, the Crown Office; (ii) forensic scientists instructed and called as witnesses by the Crown Office; and (iii) members of the Crown Office’s prosecution team at the Lockerbie trial, there is an obvious conflict of interest involved in the current head of the Crown Office being the person to decide whether prosecutions should be commenced. This is all the more so when one considers recent statements dismissive of concerns about the Lockerbie investigation, prosecution and conviction made by the present Lord Advocate while Police Scotland’s investigation was still live and ongoing (not to mention older such statements).

In these circumstances it is submitted that now, before Police Scotland’s report is ready for submission, the necessary steps should be taken to avoid the Lord Advocate finding himself in the embarrassing position regarding conflict of interest that the report’s landing on his desk would place him and the Crown Office in. The police report should be handed to, and the decision whether prosecutions ought to follow should be devolved to, an independent lawyer outwith the Crown Office. Our American cousins in analogous situations make use of a special prosecutor or independent counsel. This is one area in which we can learn from them. Why not start putting the mechanism in place now?

It remains to be seen whether anyone will pay any attention to him. As the Lord Advocate is at the top of the heap, I don't know who could force him to behave properly. Apart from Nicola, who could sack him I suppose.
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Old 4th February 2015, 03:36 AM   #118
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What are these prosecutions all about? I thought we were only concerned with getting Megrahi off.
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Old 4th February 2015, 04:23 AM   #119
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Breaking the log-jam.

We started that initiative in the autumn of 2012, when it looked as if there might be no application for a third appeal. We were in a Mexican stand-off, where the authorities couldn't shut us up but they could just keep stonewalling. Iain McKie suggested the tactic. He said it had worked in Shirley's case. They lodged formal allegations of criminality against people involved in her case, which meant the police had to investigate them. I think in that case it was fingerprint experts, and police officers who had behaved improperly. Nobody was ever charged as a result, but it got the case moving again.We discussed places in the Lockerbie affair where there was a reasonable case to make that someone had broken the law. We came up with four broad areas.
  1. A point in the trial where the Lord Advocate assured the bench that there was nothing in the redacted parts of certain CIA cables which had any bearing on the credibility of a witness. The bench ordered the unredacted cables to be disclosed to the defence anyway, and the contents utterly destroyed the credibility of the witness.
  2. The Heathrow stuff, both the ignoring of the evidence in the first place, and the repackaging of the scenario at the trial. In the former case the allegation is either of improper ignoring of evidence in order to shield Heathrow airport, or criminal incompetence. In the latter case I can't quite remember the legalities but it's something about failing in one's duty to the court. It also includes the withholding of evidence from the defence team.
  3. The timer fragment, with respect to the metallurgical analysis. It is alleged that a forensics officer made a statement to the court he knew to be false, and that much exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defence. In fact the investigators knew that fragment of PCB had never been part of one of the timer instruments supplied to Libya, and concealed that vital information.
  4. The grooming of Tony Gauci. Police officers, and one in particular, were intent not on finding out who had really bought the clothes, but in getting statements out of Gauci that could be represented as his having identified Megrahi as the purchaser. Photo-identification parades were improperly conducted, and the witness was offered treats and hints of lots of money to come if he came up with the right statements.
This got off to a bad start in 2013, when the senior police officer originally charged with investigating the allegations proved to be intent on dismissing them rather than investigating them. However he retired, having been unable to put the whole thing to bed before his retirement date (which was obviously what had been planned).

A new team took over in 2014, and I have to say I have found these people to be a breath of fresh air. The cart is before the horse, obviously, in my particular area. Rationally, it should be recognised first that the bomb went on at Heathrow, and then there should be an inquiry into how the hell the red herring to Malta happened. Instead, they are being asked to look at possible criminal acts in relation to a red herring that has not (yet) been recognised as a red herring!

They know that they could dispose of all the allegations under point 2 simply by proving that my contention that the forensic evidence shows the bomb went on at Heathrow is flawed. They have been unable to do this. You kind of see where this is going.

I would be quite surprised if anyone was actually charged with an offence as a result of this. Not that I don't believe offences were committed, but things don't generally work that way. What it has done and is doing though is forcing the police to look seriously at all the gaping holes in the prosecution case.

Hopefully the appeal application will progress, and the two investigations can run in parallel and inform each other.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 4th February 2015 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 4th February 2015, 09:03 AM   #120
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