Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lockerbie letter to all 129 MSP's

A letter, sent to all 129 MSP's from solicitor Anthony Robson, has been published on the website of The Firm Magazine.

Dear all

This email is being sent to every MSP simply to express my disquiet at the reaction amongst many of you to the decision to release Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

What troubles me most is the censure of Kenny MacAskill. I am not an SNP supporter, but the vitriol poured Mr MacAskill's way seems somewhat misdirected. The simple fact of the matter is that the focus seems to have been placed on the release itself, of a man which we hear referred to often as 'a man CONVICTED of a terrible crime', rather than a man who IS guilty.

I'm well aware that a small number of you may know the real truth and are clearly therefore quite happy to lie to the general public.

But the questions being asked seem couched in nothing other than self- interest, appeasement of political alignment, and a strange feeling that you're trying to keep the Americans happy. What you're not asking (and this is directed towards Mr MacAskill as well who avoided the issue entirely) is this, "Was al-Megrahi actually guilty?" How many of you have read the report from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission? I would recommend you also acquaint yourself with writing on the matter by Dr Jim Swire (whose daughter died on the Pan Am flight).

I'm sure each and every one of you went into politics thinking you could help people and make a difference (at least, I certainly hope you did). When the Scottish parliament came into being we were promised a new sort of politics, but I hate to have to tell you, all too often Holyrood descends into mini-Westminster. The unthinking way in which many of you have responded to the release of Mr al-Megrahi; the willingness to condemn an act of compassion, something sadly lacking in our world today; the political interference in what is, after all, a legal situation (separation of the judiciary and legislature anyone?); the rote repetition of words coming from across the water and from the head of the FBI (now if ever there was someone who would know the actual truth).

Not one of you appears to have asked the question. And if the television pictures or newspaper columnists didn't pick you up asking the question then you have not been asking loudly enough and I would urge you not just to ask, but to shout. Regain some integrity, show us that you are actually endowed with the intelligence that we like to think those in power actually have. As Joe Public we have little chance to get the message across, or ask the questions in ways in which they might be answered, or cause the truth to leak out. YOU DO.

So stop being a simpering coward (for, I am afraid, this IS simple cowardice). Forget about the safety of your seat or the disapproval of your peers, and remember why you got involved in politics in the first place.

I implore you to search your conscience, and to apply some rational thought, read the information which is out there, and instead of indulging in childish playground name-calling breathe some fresh air into the Scottish political scene and be HONEST, to us and to yourselves.

I have no idea if any of you will read this far, or if you will be happy for your staff filtering this out for you. If you have read this far then I can credit you with independent thought. Back that up now by looking at the facts, the evidence which was placed before the court which should not have been (having already been wholly discredited), the evidence that was NOT placed before the court that was made available but ignored, and wake up to the fact that covering up is simply papering over the cracks.

It does no credit to Scotland as a country; no credit to the judicial system; and no credit to you as a body. At present the hatred of many of the families MAY be directed at an innocent man (only a thorough, and open, investigation of the facts could show that either way), and I have no pride in being part of a system that effectively colludes to mask the reality from those who are still grieving. Whatever reason you have for either hiding the truth, or ignoring the holes in the case that stare up so clearly, that reason can never be as strong as the reason the relatives of those who died have for wanting, and deserving, the truth.

YOU are stopping that happening. Do something about it instead of grandstanding. Because at the moment you are complicit, and I for one could not look at myself in the mirror if I knew I was capable of raising merry hell about this in the way you can, but appear to be content not to.

STOP asking the wrong questions; STOP clouding the issue by diverting attention to Mr MacAskill; START acting like grown-up, intelligent, querying, adults.

Yours sincerely
Anthony Robson,_Parliament!_.html


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Libyan Takeaway

This weeks Private Eye magazine, who have long followed the Lockerbie case and Megrahi's conviction, carries a report on this weeks events.

Earlier this year the Eye predicted that the Scottish courts would hear only a small part of the appeal of Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi before it would be abandoned and he would return to Libya to die with his family. Meghari’s release was on the cards for some time.

That was ensured by Jack Straw, the justice minister, sticking up two fingers at parliament’s human rights committee and rushing through the prisoner transfer deal with our new best friend, Muammar Gaddafi.

After all, the deal suited all the main players, cementing relations with Libya as well as halting an appeal that threatened to prove a major embarrassment to both the UK and US governments.

News last week that Megrahi was to be returned on ‘compassionate grounds’, because he was dying of cancer, briefly raised hopes that his appeal could continue in his absence. But that was never going to be allowed to happen, and Megrahi, who had always said he would never return to Libya until his name was cleared, duly dropped his appeal.

The casualty is justice and the truth about the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, which claimed 270 victims. For as readers of the Eye’s special report by Paul Foot in 2001 are well aware, Megrahi’s trial was a travesty.

continued here -

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lockerbie : Abandonment of Appeal Granted

The only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, today had his application to drop his appeal granted by the Judges at Edinburgh's High Court.

It brings to an end a nineteen year claim of innocence by Megrahi. He is suffering from terminal cancer which his representative, Maggie Scott QC stated in court today, had deteriorated significantly recently and Mr Megrahi "has now reached the terminal stage and my client's condition has recently worsened very considerably." The court however, was astonished to learn that the Lord Advocate, despite being aware of the intention of abandonment since August 12th, is still to advise with regards to the Crowns appeal against sentence. A date was set for 3 weeks time to determine the decision. This is nothing short of scandalous, and in keeping with the whole judicial process and the crowns exploits during the appeal, does not surprise many observers.

After nearly 21 years, time and the truth, have finally ran out on justice for the Lockerbie victims.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Lockerbie and The Maltese Double Cross

Lesley Riddoch recalls the first attempts to show THE MALTESE DOUBLE CROSS. The film, derided by many and wholly rejected by the governments involved, suggests what many feel is a more plausible sequence of events and lays the blame for the Pan Am bombing at the door of the PFLP-GC.

First public showing in the UK, the Glasgow Film Theatre, 17.11.94

In 1994 the London Film Festival dropped its planned screening of the Maltese Double Cross – a documentary blaming Iran not Libya. I wondered why. And as Assistant Editor of the 'Scotsman' (newspaper) at the time, I felt an obligation to DO something. After all, Lockerbie, still fresh in Scottish minds six years after the bombing -- was the biggest ever terrorist atrocity on British soil. And back then, there was still no agreement about who was to blame.

So I suggested to the then Scotsman editor Andrew Jaspan that we should arrange to show it instead – and he agreed. That was just the start of the hard work to make it legally possible!

I sat with a reporter for a full week checking claims made by the controversial American film-maker Allan Frankovich.

Scotsman lawyers needed sight of relevant documents and sworn affidavits from interviewees – including one that was finally faxed through by a witness living in hiding in Sweden. After three small edits, the film was "legalled" and ready but our booked venue in Edinburgh had suddenly discovered a double-booking. The Glasgow Film Theatre stepped in -- though they too received phone calls threatening legal action from men purporting to be lawyers for one of the American Drug Enforcement Agency officials named in the film.

Continued here -


Recall of Scottish Parliament Over Lockerbie Rejected

Today's Guardian newspaper in the UK reports that "opposition politicians round on justice minister Kenny MacAskill as he prepares to decide whether to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi".

Full story here -

It comes as little surprise that this demand for a parliament recall, has been rejected.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Scottish Justice and Reputation Lies in Tatters

There are winners in this game of judicial manipulation, international power brokering, backroom deals and media management.

It is not the victims of Pan Am 103.

It's not the relatives of those who died, whom have persued the truth with integrity and honesty.

It is not Al-Megrahi who will forever be deemed the 'convicted Lockerbie bomber'.

And it is most certainly not the Scottish justice system, which, after being viewed by the outside world as weak and subservient, is now irreparably plunged into the shadows of corruption, devoid of all morals and functioning solely at the behest of realpolitik.

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The Price Scotland Will Pay For Lockerbie

If the rumours circulating that the only man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am 103 will eventually drop his appeal in return for his repatriation home under 'compassionate release', Scotland's judicial system will be stained forever. We have been assured by the Scottish Justice Department that Megrahi has not been pressured into making the decision to drop his appeal in exchange for 'compassionate release.' However, the rule of law has long been abandoned in this case.

History will judge the whole investigation, the court case and the resulting inexplicable judgement with disbelief and shame. Those empowered within the judicial and political system, will be for the most part, viewed as party to the most monumentally unjust criminal trials and one of the most disgraceful legal episodes in all of Scotland's history. When truth, justice for all the victims and the fundamental democratic structures in society were suppressed in favour of political expedience.

Over 20 years later, the truth, and hope that the true perpetrators will ever be held responsible, has been vanquished. From this forlorn position we can only hope future generations will ensure the police, political and judicial processes are reformed and strengthened to never again allow external influences, no matter how powerful or manipulative, to deviate the due process of law and social democracy.

A Public Enquiry, which may be the final bastion, and something that many have called for since the tragedy in 1988, would be the first small step to remedy Scotland's deficient political and justice system.

Those responsible, if not accountable, for the improper conduct in the initial investigation and court proceedings would be exposed, while pathing the way for what truths can still be discovered in who was responsible for ordering the bombing of Pan Am 103.

If this is not for the immediate benefit of all in Scotland, as is likely given the wrongdoing it will reveal, then at the very least for the victims and their tolerent families who have undergone the greatest of heartache and frustration throughout this whole debacle.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Non-Disclosure of Evidence.

The Firm Magazine has recently carried reports indicating that Lothian and Borders Police Criminal Investigation Department are examining claims by MSP Christine Grahame relating to the conduct of Crown Agent Norman McFadyen in the Lockerbie case. Whether this relates to Mr McFadyen's conduct during the first trial at Zeist or specifically to the current long running appeal of the 'convicted' Lockerbie bomber Al-Megrahi, or indeed both, is unclear.

It has been reported by the Herald newspaper in Scotland that during the trial at Zeist one of the leading members of the prosecution team and now Crown Agent, Mr McFadyen, had viewed evidence in the possession of the US government and the CIA, and had signed a non-disclosure agreement on June 1, 2000, thus withholding known evidence from the court or the defence team. This was not the first occasion that the representative to the Crown had been accused of such impropriety.

In 2005, the political commentator and activist Mark Thomas wrote, "On 12 October 2005, a court began hearing the appeals of two Scottish men, Billy Allison and Steven Johnston, who were convicted of the murder of Andrew Forsyth in a frenzied attack in November 1995. During the trial the jury was told that "to bring home a conviction against Steven Johnston, the deceased would require to have died on Friday 3 November".

Forsyth's body was found on 9 November, and in 1996 Johnston was banged up for life for the killing. So was Allison.

However, evidence has come to light that Forsyth did not die on 3 November 1995. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission found four witness statements by people who claimed they had seen Forsyth alive days after the date police said he had died. This is crucial. If Forsyth was alive after that date, why did the court convict Johnston of killing him?"

The eyewitnesses who gave statements included a newsagent, who claimed Forsyth came into his shop for a paper on 4 November. Another man saw Forsyth drinking in a bar on 8 November, five days after he is supposed to have died."

Crucially, the police did not disclose these statements to the defence team. Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, the former Lord Advocate, said that "at best this is unacceptable bumbling incompetence, and at its worst . . . it may be criminal".

Equally alarming is that the Scottish Crown Office knew the police had withheld the crucial witness statements back in February 1997.

Having previously claimed that "all statements taken by the police in this case" had been handed to the Procurator Fiscal, Deputy Crown Agent Norman McFadyen wrote on 3 February 1997: "It is now clear that the information which I had previously conveyed to you in my letter . . . was inaccurate and misleading in relation to the retention of the results of the enquiries of the police and the taking of statements."

If the authorities knew of the missing witness statements in 1997 why have these men waited until 2005 to get an appeal? This is not the first time police have withheld or "lost" evidence in criminal trials.

Perhaps the most notorious case was that of John Kamara, wrongly jailed for the murder of a Liverpool bookmaker. Kamara served 19 years in prison before being freed on appeal, when the police found a flabbergasting 201 witness statements proving that he could not have committed the murder. These 201 statements had not been released to the court."

It would seem that together with many of the prosecution teams discredited and contradictory witnesses presented at Zeist and Lord Frasers's comments regarding the previous conduct of the deputy crown agent were taken so seriously that promotion was the reward for such actions. It is little wonder that The Firm magazine now reports that a 'veil of secrecy' has been thrown over the current investigation into the allegation made by Ms Grahame's on the Crown agents conduct in the Lockerbie case.

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