The Lockerbie Bombing (Pan Am Flight 103; December 1988)

rynner2

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Police review Lockerbie bomb case

Detectives in Scotland are pursuing several lines of inquiry as they renew the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing case.

Prosecutors say Libyan Abdelbasset Ali al-Megrahi - who was convicted in 2001 of the murder of 270 people but freed in August - was not working alone.

The fresh investigation is now possible because Megrahi dropped his second appeal before being returned to Libya.

Victims' relatives welcomed the move but renewed calls for a public inquiry.

Families of British victims were told police were following several new lines of inquiry, including a review of forensic evidence into the 1988 bombing.

The Crown Office in Scotland stressed there was "no question" of re-opening the case against Megrahi.

The Libyan, who remains the only person convicted for the atrocity, has terminal prostate cancer and was released from jail on compassionate grounds this summer.

But victims' families are keen to bring to light evidence that was likely to emerge in Megrahi's now abandoned appeal case. They have urged investigators to make the renewed probe "meaningful".

Some 259 people on board Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York were killed in the bombing on 21 December 1988, along with 11 people on the ground.

Members of campaign group UK Families Flight 103 have delivered a letter to the UK prime minister asking for a full independent inquiry, and requesting a meeting with him.

In it they write: "We have waited patiently for almost 21 years to learn the full truth of what happened.

"Now we await Prime Minister Gordon Brown's response to our renewed calls for a full inquiry into all the circumstances of the bombing."

A spokeswoman said that since 1989 a succession of senior political figures had agreed in principle to an inquiry, but said it could not take place while a criminal investigation was ongoing.

"With the abandonment of Mr Megrahi's appeal against his conviction, there has been no resolution to any aspect of responsibility for the bombing," they said.

Meanwhile relatives were told in e-mails from the Crown Office - Scotland's prosecuting authority - that a police review of the case had started.

Lindsey Miller, a senior Procurator Fiscal, wrote: "Throughout the investigation we have, at various times, taken stock of the evidence as a whole with a view to identifying further lines of inquiry that can be pursued.

"Now that the appeal proceedings are at an end a further review of the case is under way and several potential lines of inquiry... are being considered."

She added that it "would not be appropriate" to elaborate.

Pamela Dix, whose brother Peter was killed in the bombing, said the announcement should be interpreted as a "good thing" but should not be used to replace a full public inquiry.

"Expectations around Megrahi's appeal were really quite high but hopes were profoundly dashed when the appeal was abandoned. The situation is unresolved and it is unfinished business," she said.

She added: "We do not know what the motivation for the bombing was, who ordered it, why was it carried out, how was it allowed to happen with the amount of information that the intelligence services had... concerning threats against American aviation.

"So not only do we not know what was the ultimate motivation for the bombing... but we know really very little about what was actively done to try and prevent [it]."

Dr Jim Swire, who has campaigned for a full inquiry into the bombing since his daughter Flora died in the atrocity, said: "I think that if they are really going to a meaningful investigation then that is all well and good and long overdue.

"But if it is just a dodge to prevent an investigation into why the lives of those killed were not protected then I would be livid."

UK Families Flight 103 said they were seeking access to previously withheld documents referred to in Megrahi's trial, which suggested they contained "significant information" from a foreign power.

They argue that under the European Convention on Human Rights they had the right to an inquiry that conformed to "certain minimum standards where it has occurred at the hands of a state or at the hands of agents of a state".

Megrahi, who served eight years before the Scottish Government made the decision to release him, has always protested his innocence.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "There is no question of re-opening the case against Megrahi. The open case concerns only the involvement of others with Megrahi in the murder of 270 people."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8324512.stm
 

rynner2

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Lockerbie: was Anthony Gauci's memory reliable?
A key witness who identified al-Megrahi shows the classic signs of having come to believe in something that never happened
David Canter

The problem with the key evidence in the Lockerbie case is that it ignored discoveries made by psychologists more than 100 years ago. When the Scottish police resume their inquiries into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, they will be reminded that the evidence that condemned Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi was probably based on a vague memory that somehow became convincing enough for the court to convict.

By dropping his appeal so that he could die at peace at home in Libya, al-Megrahi removed the opportunity of having the challenges to the evidence against him revealed in court for all to see. The furore over his release masked the debate about whether he really was the man who planted the bomb on Flight 103 and has drawn attention away from the significance of the eyewitness testimony provided by Anthony Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper.

It was Mr Gauci’s claim that the man who bought clothes resembling those found in the suitcase with the bomb was indeed al-Megrahi, which was the foundation of the evidence against him. Yet many studies since those of the late 19th century of the psychology of memory have raised doubts about witness testimony. They raise important questions about the validity of what Gauci eventually claimed in court he thought he had remembered. This was the conclusion I came to when I was instructed by al-Megrahi’s solicitor to review Mr Gauci’s testimony. With the assistance of two colleagues, I produced a 102-page report that examined 96 statements surrounding Mr Gauci’s claim that al-Megrahi had bought the clothes in his shop before December 21, 1988.

There were a number of problems with Mr Gauci’s memories, not least in his identification in court, 13 years after the bomb exploded, that the man standing in the dock, al-Megrahi, had bought the clothes. Police had asked Mr Gauci more than ten times to pinpoint the person who came to his shop: at various times he identified various different people.

Many experts have pointed out how unreliable dock identifications are. They are a form of leading question which suggests that the person who has been brought to justice is very likely to be guilty.

On February 15, 1991, two and a half years after a man possibly had visited his shop, Mr Gauci was shown 12 photographs and asked if he recognised the purchaser. At that stage in the investigation the police were focusing on al-Megrahi as the likely culprit. They, therefore, had a lot invested in Mr Gauci choosing al-Megrahi from the photographs. There is a considerable psychological research to show that people can be influenced in their judgments by subtle cues from others around them. So it seems very likely that inadvertently Mr Gauci could have been influenced to choose the photograph the police wanted.

We tested this possibility by running an experiment with two interviewers. Both were told to ask a random selection of people which of the people in the 12 photographs the police had used was likely to be the Lockerbie bomber. They were told to be careful not to indicate who they thought the culprit might be. Interviewer A was told that picture 8 was the culprit and interviewer B was not told anything. Of the 20 people interviewed by B none selected picture 8. Of the 36 interviewed by A, 15 chose picture 8. This small study, with the actual material used by the police, accords with many other explorations of these issues and many cases in which confident eyewitness identification has later proven false.

etc...

David Canter is Professor of Psychology at the University of Huddersfield and the author of Investigative Psychology: Offender Profiling and the Analysis of Criminal Action

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/posting.php
 

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Eight Lockerbie suspects were never interviewed, says former police chief
Lorraine Davidson and Anil Dawar

A detective who headed the original Lockerbie investigation has revealed that eight other potential suspects in the bombing were identified at the time but they were never interviewed.

Stuart Henderson, a former detective chief superintendent with Lothian and Borders Police, led the Lockerbie Incident Control Centre from 1988 until 1992. He told The Scotsman newspaper: “We submitted eight other names of people that we wished to interview that were strong suspects. Unfortunately, we never got that opportunity. I am delighted they are making moves to see if there is anything further, because no matter what anybody says, we did not ever say it was just Megrahi we were after. We never said that. We were after his bosses.”

It is thought that the “high level” suspects were all male and have never been ruled out of the investigation into the explosion onboard Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 on December 21, 1988.

News of the new suspects comes as relatives of those who died in the disaster said they feared the police investigation was being stepped up in an attempt to scupper demands for a full public inquiry.

etc...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 890191.ece
 

rynner2

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Malta to investigate evidence of key Lockerbie witness
Malta is preparing to launch an investigation into the evidence one of the key trial witnesses who helped convict Abdelbasset al-Megrahi over the Lockerbie bombing.
by Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Published: 7:00AM GMT 31 Oct 2009

Government officials want to look at the claims of Tony Gauci, the shopkeeper who identified the Libyan as the man responsible for placing explosives on Pan Am Flight 103.

Mr Gauci ran a clothes shop, in Swieqi, Malta in 1988, and claimed Megrahi purchased an incriminating piece of clothing found among the debris of the aircraft.

But he has long been dogged by accusations that he concocted the story to receive a multi-million payout from the US.

Megrahi, who was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds in August, is running an internet campaign to prove his innocence.

The former Libyan secret agent has accused America of "buying evidence" by paying Mr Gauci $2 million (£1.2m) under the Rewards for Justice programme.

The international outcry over Megrahi's release has finally persuaded the Maltese authorities to consider an inquiry.

A Maltese legal official told The Daily Telegraph: "Tony Gauci is an area where we have to investigate more thoroughly and we are preparing for this.

"There was never enough proof, to be frank, on the circumstances of his evidence and there is pressure coming from many quarters on Malta to move to resolve the issue."

Question marks over Mr Gauci have plagued the conviction of Megrahi.

He was initially identified as a witness after US investigators discovered a Libyan defector in Malta, who claimed Megrahi was responsible for carrying out the attack.

According to these claims the bomb was loaded on flight to Germany in Malta and then transferred to the Pan Am flight in London. Subsequent inquiries pointed to the link between Megrahi and the clothes shop.

But after Mr Guachi gave evidence at the trial, legal experts condemned him as an unreliable witness and Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, the former Lord Advocate who oversaw the prosecution, described him as an "apple short of a picnic".

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... tness.html
 

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Revealed: Lockerbie bomber defies doctors' prediction of death
The health of the Lockerbie bomber has "not deteriorated" since his release from prison three months ago – despite doctors' assessments that he would have died by now, a senior source has told The Sunday Telegraph.
By Robert Mendick
Published: 9:50PM GMT 31 Oct 2009

The disclosure will reignite the row over the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds despite his conviction for the murder of 270 people when Pan Am flight 103 exploded in mid-air over Lockerbie in 1988.

Megrahi, who is suffering terminal prostate cancer, was sent home to Libya to die after medical experts concluded in a report on July 30 he had just three months left to live. The time span was crucial because only prisoners with three months or less to survive are eligible for release on compassionate grounds.

Within three weeks of the medical examination by Professor Karol Sikora, one of Britain's leading cancer specialists, Megrahi was put on a plane and sent home to Tripoli to die.

But three months on from Prof Sikora's diagnosis, Megrahi is well enough to "walk and talk" and shows no sign of deterioration, according to a senior source involved in his release.

The source told The Sunday Telegraph: "His condition has not deteriorated in three months. He is pretty much in the same way as he was when this all started. He is just as he was. There is nothing that leads anyone to believe he is in any different condition to when he left Scotland."

A frail-looking Megrahi was able to walk with the aid of a stick when he arrived back in Tripoli, amid jubilant scenes in the Libyan capital that caused widespread anger in the US and elsewhere.

The source told The Sunday Telegraph that Megrahi, 57, is still able to talk and walk with a stick, contradicting claims from his family that he is bedridden, unable to speak and near to death.

"He can still walk and he can still talk," said the source.

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... death.html

Why am I not surprised by this? :roll:
 

rynner2

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I thought of putting this in the Mandelson thread, but the conspiracy angle is played up here:

Outrage as Mandy goes on a country shoot with Gaddafi son (And, surprise, Cherie came too)
By Tim Shipman
Last updated at 11:48 PM on 25th November 2009

Lord Mandelson has infuriated families of the Lockerbie bombing victims by attending a shooting party with Colonel Gaddafi's son.
The Business Secretary and Saif Gaddafi were guests of billionaire financier Lord Rothschild and his son Nat at the family mansion in Buckinghamshire.
In a bizarre confirmation of Labour's close links to the Libyan regime, Cherie Blair was also present.

The gathering came after the controversial release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi, who was flown home by Saif Gaddafi to a hero's welcome in August.
Megrahi, who has prostate cancer, was released from a Scottish jail after being given just three months to live.
His continued survival, however, more than three months later has renewed claims that his release was cynically engineered to placate the Gaddafi regime and protect lucrative oil contracts with Tripoli.

Details of the shooting party at Lord Rothschild's French chateau-style Waddesdon Manor estate, near Aylesbury, are revealed today by Spectator magazine columnist Charles Moore.

He writes: 'A shoot was taking place, though not all the party were shooting. As well as Lord Rothschild and his son Nat, the unofficial deputy prime minister, Lord Mandelson, was there, and also Lord Rothschild's country neighbour, Cherie Blair.
'Neither of them picked up a gun.

'Various young friends of Nat with double-barrelled or European princely names were shooting. But the keenest shot was Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the Libyan dictator.'

The revelations raised new questions over Lord Mandelson's judgment, three months after he dined with Saif Gaddafi at Lord Rothschild's estate in Corfu just days before Megrahi's release was announced.

Frank Duggan, president of Victims of Pan Am 103 said: 'I don't think it's appropriate at all but I can't say I am very surprised.

'The release of Megrahi was an incredible victory for Libya and Saif Gaddafi engineered the whole thing to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Libyan revolution.

'The British government and the Scottish government fell into that trap.'
He accused senior ministers of feathering the nests of British businesses. Lord Mandelson was an outspoken supporter of closer trade links with Libya during his time as EU Trade Commissioner.

etc...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z0Xxk4UaJt
 

rynner2

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'Flaws' in key Lockerbie evidence

An investigation by BBC's Newsnight has cast doubts on the key piece of evidence which convicted the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

Tests aimed at reproducing the blast appear to undermine the case's central forensic link, based on a tiny fragment identified as part of a bomb timer.

The tests suggest the fragment, which linked the attack to Megrahi, would not have survived the mid-air explosion.

Two hundred and seventy people died in the 1988 attack on Pan Am flight 103.

Megrahi was jailed for the attack in 2001, but he was controversially released from prison in Scotland by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in August 2009 on compassionate grounds.

Megrahi is said to be dying from terminal cancer and, according to reports from Libya, his condition continues to deteriorate.

But his release also scuppered Megrahi's planned appeal and any hopes of challenging the evidence on which he had been jailed.

Newsnight has been reviewing that evidence, and has exposed serious doubts about the forensics used to identify the fragment as being part of a trigger circuit board.

The fragment was found three weeks after the attack. For months it remained unnoticed and unremarked, but eventually it was to shape the entire investigation.

The fragment was embedded in a charred piece of clothing, which was marked with a label saying it was made in Malta.

So the focus turned to Malta and the question of who had bought the clothes.

A shopkeeper on the island identified Megrahi, but this came only years later after he saw him pictured in a magazine as a Lockerbie suspect.

Newsnight has discovered that the fragment - crucial to the conviction - was never subjected to chemical analysis or swabbing to establish whether it had in fact been involved in any explosion.

And the UN's European consultant on explosives, John Wyatt, has told Newsnight that there are further doubts over the whether the fragment could have come from the trigger of the Lockerbie bomb.

He has recreated the suitcase bomb which it is said destroyed Pan Am 103, using the type of radio in which the explosive and the timer circuit board were supposedly placed, and the same kind of clothes on which the fragment was found.

In each test the timer and its circuit board were obliterated, prompting Mr Wyatt to question whether such a fragment could have survived the mid-air explosion.

He told Newsnight: "I do find it quite it extraordinary and I think highly improbable and most unlikely that you would find a fragment like that - it is unbelievable.

"We carried out 20 tests, we didn't carry out 100 or 1,000, but in those 20 tests we found absolutely nothing at all - so I found it highly improbable that you would find anything like that, particularly at 10,000 feet when bits are dropping into long wet grass over hundreds of miles.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8441796.stm
 

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Hillary Clinton looks into BP's Libya deals

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, has pledged to look into BP's involvement in the release of the Lockerbie bomber ahead of the oil giant's planned new drilling in Libya.

It follows a letter from four US senators calling for an investigation into whether BP had a hand in the release of Abdelbasset al-Megrahi last year on "health grounds".

The extra political pressure on BP came as it was forced to delay testing on a new cap aimed at completely sealing its leaking Gulf of Mexico well. It said there were worries that the test could damage the wellbore.

continues

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... deals.html
 

Yithian

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Saw a headline: "BP denies Lockerbie Bomber's claim".

I was rather shocked that he's still alive to be making claims. Wasn't he released with 'less than three months to live' in Aug 200?
 

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theyithian said:
Saw a headline: "BP denies Lockerbie Bomber's claim".

I was rather shocked that he's still alive to be making claims. Wasn't he released with 'less than three months to live' in Aug 200?
If he's over eighteen hundred years old he probably should be dead by now, yes.
 

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Peripart

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theyithian said:
I was rather shocked that he's still alive to be making claims. Wasn't he released with 'less than three months to live' in Aug 2009?
I've added the "9" for clarity. Yes, you're right, but I quote from the wise pages of Wikipedia:
More than seven months after his release he was reported by an anonymous source to have made a remarkable recovery and was enjoying a comfortable lifestyle in Libya under the stewardship of Muammar Gaddafi.

Dr Karol Sikora, who assessed Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the Libyan authorities stated that Megrahi could survive for 10 years or longer.
Great news, I'm sure we all agree...
 

Kondoru

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But we dont know if hes guilty, do we?

Evidently he has a very good doctor.....
 

Peripart

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It's a tricky one. If he'd been released on the gorunds of an unsafe conviction, then I'd be as happy as almost anyone that he was recovering nicely. However - and notwithstanding that judicial errors can occur - he was convicted, and was released on compassionate grounds, after evidence was given that he didn't have long to live. President Obama, amongst others, was not very happy with this, and the current good health of al-Megrahi must be a continuing irritation to the US. If the Scottish authorities thought that al-Megrahi was innocent, then thay should have said so outright.
 

rynner2

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To avoid the dangers of cross-threading (very problematical, as engineers will agree) please note we already have a 'Lockerbie bomber is innocent' thread...
http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18493

And you definitely don't want to get a new BOP cross-threaded... ;)

I don't know why I bother - don't the Mods ever go out on patrol anymore, and sort this stuff out?
 

GNC

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Funnily enough there was an article in The Herald this week that said the "bomber" was extremely weak and the common cold could kill him. So which is it?
 

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gncxx said:
Funnily enough there was an article in The Herald this week that said the "bomber" was extremely weak and the common cold could kill him. So which is it?
Depends who's asking...
 

GNC

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theyithian said:
gncxx said:
Funnily enough there was an article in The Herald this week that said the "bomber" was extremely weak and the common cold could kill him. So which is it?
Depends who's asking...
Seems to be the case, doesn't it? I suspect the next conspiracy theory will be that he's already dead.
 

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heard on the radio hillary clinton asking for the english/scottish government to explain the link between bp and this guy


found it quite funny that a representative of america should claim there government has never helped an american company in its over seas buisness


lol

he who has never sinned cast the first stone me thinks
 

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what puzzles me is why a person who was getting free healthcare should move to a country where you have to pay for it?
 

Zilch5

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Kondoru said:
what puzzles me is why a person who was getting free healthcare should move to a country where you have to pay for it?
God one! :lol:

I think he's innocent as he was convicted on the "strength" of one person's testimony on if he had purchased a sweater ages ago in a shop in Malta.

Come on - there is no way in the world that would stand up in any other trial. It's all been a political football. Gaddafi BAD - her marches to jail.

Now Gaddafi GOOD - he walks. How convenient.
 

rynner2

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UN observer: Lockerbie truth 'may not be uncovered'

The UN's observer at the trial of the Lockerbie bomber has said the circumstances surrounding the case may never be fully uncovered.

Dr Hans Kochler, who saw Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi convicted at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001, said he was not convinced of the Libyan's guilt.

The 58-year-old was jailed for life for the 1988 bombing which killed 270 people, most of them Americans.

US senators want his release in 2009 on compassionate grounds to be examined.

The former international observer agreed there should be an investigation, not only into the release but also the wider issues of the Lockerbie inquiry, trial and appeal.

He told BBC's Newsnight Scotland: "Why, for instance, has the appeal - which was ongoing last year - been dropped by Mr Megrahi?


"Another question would be why did the secretary of state for justice take that unprecedented step and visit the Libyan prisoner in a Scottish jail for a private meeting, after that prisoner had applied for compassionate release?"

Dr Kochler said there was never any question of Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill believing there had been a miscarriage of justice in the case, but questioned what was discussed at the meeting between the two at Greenock Prison on 4 August last year.

He pointed out that Megrahi dropped his appeal against his conviction on 12 August.

"The issue is not one of innocence or guilt," he said.

"The minister has repeatedly made clear that he fully trusts the judgement of the Scottish courts.
"He has certainly discussed matters which he did not disclose in public. He must have had a very compelling reason to meet that prisoner in private."

When asked if the truth of the circumstances would ever be uncovered, Dr Kochler said: "I'm very sceptical.
"We do not know the truth about the Lockerbie tragedy.

"The question that still remains is what the second appeal would have resulted in, what decision would the second appeal court have finally made if the proceedings were not aborted."

In 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission [SCCRC] - which examines possible miscarriages of justice - granted Megrahi a second appeal.
It subsequently emerged he was suffering from terminal cancer.

His second appeal got under way last year but shortly afterwards applications were made for both his transfer to a Libyan jail and release on compassionate grounds.
Megrahi did not have to drop his appeal in order to be released compassionately.

The SCCRC has spent the past six months trying to get details of the abandoned appeal made public, but none of the people and organisations involved - the Crown Office, Foreign Office, police authorities, Megrahi and his legal team - have given unqualified consent to the release of the documents.

Mr Kochler told Newsnight Scotland: "I am not convinced that the Libyan convict, the only person who was convicted in this case, is guilty as charged.

"For that reason I would have hoped that the SCCRC's report would have been taken more seriously and that the appeal would have been allowed to continue in the interests of justice."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-s ... d-10727266
 

Peripart

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"Why, for instance, has the appeal - which was ongoing last year - been dropped by Mr Megrahi?
I thought this was part of the deal to agree his early release? I assumed that the Scottish felt that any negative publicity arising from his compassionate release would still be be better than the embarrassment of a lengthy (and, who knows, possibly successful) appeals process.
 

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Peripart said:
"Why, for instance, has the appeal - which was ongoing last year - been dropped by Mr Megrahi?
I thought this was part of the deal to agree his early release? I assumed that the Scottish felt that any negative publicity arising from his compassionate release would still be be better than the embarrassment of a lengthy (and, who knows, possibly successful) appeals process.
Spot on. But it might have more to do with the Americans (and Tony Blair) than the Scottish. There's a very informative blog post here http://heresycorner.blogspot.com/2010/07/was-it-wrong-to-release-megrahi.html which questions why the media are not concentrating on the dropped appeal and the very real possibility that Megrahi is completely innocent. Well worth a read.
 

Zilch5

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Peripart said:
"Why, for instance, has the appeal - which was ongoing last year - been dropped by Mr Megrahi?
I thought this was part of the deal to agree his early release? I assumed that the Scottish felt that any negative publicity arising from his compassionate release would still be be better than the embarrassment of a lengthy (and, who knows, possibly successful) appeals process.
Not officially though - as far as I understand it, he "happened" to drop the appeal a few days before his release on "compassionate" grounds.

Pure coincidence, I'm sure. :roll:
 

rynner2

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Zilch5 said:
..he "happened" to drop the appeal a few days before his release on "compassionate" grounds.

Pure coincidence, I'm sure. :roll:
My impression is that he was going to win the appeal anyway (crap evidence, paid for by CIA, etc), which would put a lot of peoples noses out of joint, so it was less embarassing all round to release him on compassionate grounds but leaving him technically 'guilty'.
 

rynner2

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Hard hitting article here:

Johann Hari: Oil, blood money, and Blair's last scandal
There is no question there was a plot. The question is whether the plot worked,or whether it got what it wanted by a remarkable coincidence
Friday, 23 July 2010

Is your life worth more to your government than a few pence added to BP's share price? At first, this will sound like a strange question. But sometimes there is a news story that lays out the priorities that drive our governments once the doors are closed and the cameras are switched off. The story of the attempt to trade the Lockerbie bomber for oil is one of those moments.

Let's start in the deserts of Iraq – because the Lockerbie deal might just reveal what really happened there. Many people were perplexed by Tony Blair's decision to back George W Bush's invasion, which has led to the deaths of 1.2 million people. Blair said he was motivated by opposition to two things – terrorism and tyranny. First off, he said Saddam Hussein might give weapons of mass destruction to jihadis. When it was proven in the rubble after the invasion that Saddam had no WMD and no links to jihadis – as many critics of the war had said all along – Blair declared he would do it all again anyway, because Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, and all tyrants should be opposed.

Most critics of the war said the real reason was a desire for Western access to Iraq's vast supplies of oil. This debate has gone on for years. Now it has emerged that Tony Blair plotted to hand a convicted terrorist – the worst in modern British history – to a vicious tyrant in exchange for access to oil for British corporations. It seems to settle the argument about his priorities in the darkest possible way.

Here's how it happened. Just before Christmas in 1988, a flight from London to New York City was blasted out of the sky above Scotland by a bomb in the cargo. All 259 people on board were killed, along with 11 on the ground. One man was convicted for the mass murder at a Scottish trial in 2000: Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer. Following the bombing, most Western governments imposed sanctions on Libya that forbade companies from investing there. If you are opposed to terrorism and tyranny, it was a happy ending: an alleged terrorist was tried in open court and convicted, and a tyrant was shunned.

But, within a few short years, Tony Blair was not happy. Why? The oil company BP wanted to be able to drill down into Libya's oil, and tap the profits that would gush forth. Their then-CEO, John Browne, flew to Tripoli in the company of MI6 agents to find out what the dictatorship wanted in return for opening the country's wells. It was, of course, clear that they wanted Megrahi back.

BP has admitted it lobbied Tony Blair to exchange prisoners with Libya. They say they didn't specifically mention Megrahi – but there was no need to: there were no other Libyan prisoners of particular note in Britain. :twisted:

Blair's administration was so intertwined with the oil company by this point that it was often dubbed "Blair's Petroleum". There was a revolving door between BP and Downing Street: BP execs sat on more government taskforces than all other oil companies combined, while many of Blair's closest confidantes went to work for the corporation. He gave two of its CEOs peerages, and slashed taxes on North Sea oil production. By 2005, he was talking to Lord Browne at Downing Street dinners about what he would do after he left office, with rumours circulating of a move to BP.

Blair responded to BP's lobbying with apparent pleasure. His Foreign Office Minister, Bill Rammell, assured Libyan officials that Blair did not "want Megrahi to pass away in prison". His Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said a desire for Libya's oil was "an essential part" of this decision. So Straw began negotiating a prisoner swap agreement, and urged the Scottish authorities to release the convict. He told the Scottish Government in a leaked letter that it was "in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom" to let Megrahi go.

etc...

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/co ... 33114.html
 

Zilch5

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Couldn't agree more - the whole story reeks.
 

rynner2

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It would have been nice to see Blair's nuts in the mangle, but

Blair escapes U.S. Senate grilling over release of Lockerbie bomber
By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 10:13 AM on 23rd July 2010

Tony Blair will escape a grilling in the U.S. over the controversial release of the Lockerbie bomber, senators said today.
A Senate Foreign Relations Committee had apparently drafted a letter calling on the former prime minister to appear for an unprecedented showdown.

Mr Blair would have faced questions over suspicions in the U.S. that oil giant BP might have played a role in the release of Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi.

But the draft was never sent - and now the committee insists he will never be summoned.
Spokesman Frederick Jones said: 'Mr Blair was not and will not be an invitee. I deeply regret any confusion this may have caused. We still have to get to the bottom of this.'
It is unclear whether the draft was written in error and there was never any intention to summon the former leader or if the request was abandoned as too controversial.

Former justice secretary Jack Straw has received a formal letter asking him to attend the hearing in Washington on July 29.
Mr Straw is the most senior politician to be dragged into the row. The body's request has no legal clout - but thanks him in advance for his cooperation.

The request for Mr Blair to appear was contained in an 'unauthorised draft letter' leaked to the media, forcing the committee to scramble to retract its contents.
Staff director Frank Lowenstein said: 'Let me state unequivocally that Prime Minister Blair will not be asked to testify before the Foreign Relations Committee at the upcoming hearing on the Megrahi affair, and the Committee has no intention of ever asking him to testify on this issue.'
Another spokesman, Fred Jones, added: 'Tony Blair has not been invited to testify. Any such indication was made in error.'
Mr Blair's spokesman said: 'We have received absolutely no invitation whatsoever.'

The Scottish government has already snubbed a similar plea to explain why it allowed Megrahi to go free.
First Minister Alex Salmond and his justice secretary Kenny MacAskill both rejected formal requests to allow senators to question them.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward has also been asked to attend.
Announcing plans for the hearing last week, committee chairman Senator John kerry said it needed to establish what led to the 'mistaken' release of Megrahi, the only person convicted of the 1988 atrocity in which 270 died, in August last year.

Westminster MPs were angered by the Senate Committee request, with one politician accusing Capitol Hill of a ‘witch-hunt’.
And Mr Straw described the request for him to testify as ‘highly unusual’.

Last night he said he would agree to nothing until he has discussed it with Gordon Brown and the Foreign Office.
The politician finds himself at the heart of the affair because of the role he played in securing a prisoner transfer agreement with Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi in 2008.

etc...

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z0uUsxbGEr
 

rynner2

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Jack Straw on TV at the moment. He knows nothing about why Scotland released the 'bomber', so there's no point to him meeting the senators - and, anyway, he's too busy with his constituents in Blackburn... :roll:
 
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