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Thu Jan 12, 2012, 10:35 PM

On the Scottish Review Board's referral of Megrahi's appeal (Pan Am 103)

I had an interesting conversation on Pan Am 103 and Libya's culpability with a few good DU members out in General Discussion. Lots of supposed evidence was bandied about, all with its damning MSM source, all convicting the CIA of framing Libya of the Lockerbie bombing. There was a retired police sergeant who swore a timer fragment was planted. There was another witness, Eric Bollier, an official of the company who built the timer, who had lots of claims, indeed, one that the CIA had offered him money to lie, and another that the timer fragment couldn't be the ones that he brought to Libya as a sample, etc.

Well, after reading "the Scottish review board" a few too many times used as permission to speculate hither and yon on the topic, I decided to look for the actual reasons Megrahi was given an appeal. And I found the Scottish review board's summary of those reasons, a nice PDF file:

http://www.sccrc.org.uk/ViewFile.aspx?id=293

The Scottish review board, or the SCCRC for short, said there were six grounds of referral, and they summarized them in four paragraphs. The first two talked about evidence that Megrahi did or did not buy some of the materials in Malta. The board found that the evidence pointed toward the materials being purchased on December 6, and no evidence was given that Megrahi was in Malta on the 6th. The last two focused on the key witness Tony Gauci. Number one, Gauci's lineup identification of Megrahi appears to have been tainted by seeing Megrahi in a magazine article a few days before. Number two is not spelled out, but it was further information that seemed to undermine Gauci as a witness. I speculated that this might be the reports that Gauci and his brother were offered $2 million for his testimony by the CIA, but there's no confirmation of that.

I say that because of the things being used to propel the "Libya-didn't-do-it" conspiracy theory, the CIA offer to the Gaucis was the only item not specifically disavowed by the SCCRC. They went as far as to state this categorically at the end of the news release.

As recently as within the last week there has been a great deal of media speculation about what is contained within the Commission’s statement of reasons, and the reasons for a referral. The Commission is satisfied that the confidentiality of both its enquiries, and the content of its statement of reasons have remained entirely secure during the whole of the review period, and that there has been no leakage of information from within the organisation. Many of the press reports published during the review have simply involved a repetition of certain of the original defence submissions received by the Commission at the beginning of its review, and which have formed the basis of a large part of the Commission’s investigation. As indicated in this release, the Commission has concluded after full and proper investigation that these submissions are unsubstantiated and without merit. In particular the Commission has found no basis for concluding that evidence in the case was fabricated by the police, the Crown, forensic scientists or any other representatives of official bodies or government agencies.


The retired police officer, called The Golfer in the release? Discredited because of multiple contradictions within his testimony. The timer fragment questions? Settled and dispensed with. Even some things you may not have heard about were considered and left be by the SCCRC.

So the questions that recommended an appeal for Megrahi are not in the realm of "Did Libya actually do this?", but rather, "Did Megrahi have the opportunity to fulfill a certain part of the plot he has been convicted of?" and questions about the veracity of Tony Gauci, the key witness against him. If Megrahi was made to fit into the plot past the ability of the prosecution to prove, then he definitely had an appeal coming. But there is no question about the culpability of Libya in the Pan Am 103 bombing in the mind of the SCCRC. Using its grant of appeal as evidence to the contrary is a misapplication of what it has done.

ETA: As On The Other Hand points out, it's more accurate to say the prosecution needed to provide evidence that Megrahi was in Malta before December 6, since that's the point when the Christmas lights were turned on. Alternately, someone could have purchased the items and then passed them on to Megrahi when he got to Malta. Evidence would need to be presented to support that hypothesis as well. At any rate, this was the arena deemed worthy enough to grant Megrahi an appeal, not a possible exoneration of Libya in the plot.

And it's also worth nothing that Megrahi himself dropped this hard-won appeal (possibly as long as a 12-month process) in hopes it would accelerate his claims to be exchanged to a Libyan prison or released on compassionate grounds.

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Reply On the Scottish Review Board's referral of Megrahi's appeal (Pan Am 103) (Original post)
Bolo Boffin Jan 2012 OP
OnTheOtherHand Jan 2012 #1
Bolo Boffin Jan 2012 #2
Charles Norrie Jan 2012 #3
Bolo Boffin Jan 2012 #4
OnTheOtherHand Jan 2012 #5

Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2012, 07:59 AM

1. interesting

I don't know much about this case. As you say, the SCCRC's grant of appeal doesn't seem to offer any support for the premise that Libya was framed -- and, indeed, it explicitly rejects some common arguments to that effect.

One correction: you wrote, "The board found that the evidence pointed toward the materials being purchased on December 6...." Actually, they say "prior to 6 December 1988." Apparently that is when the Christmas lights were turned on; the prosecution witness must have said that the sale occurred before the lights were turned on.

And a nitpick: I don't think the SCCRC addresses Libyan culpability directly except to note the 2003 letter in which Libya "accepted 'responsibility for the actions of its officials' in the 'Lockerbie incident.'" The SCCRC reasonably notes that this letter doesn't confirm that Megrahi is guilty. I think you're probably right that there is "no question... in the mind of the SCCRC" that Libya is culpable, but it may be safer to say that the SCCRC doesn't raise any doubts about it.

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Response to OnTheOtherHand (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 13, 2012, 08:18 AM

2. Thanks for that. I've amended the OP. n/t

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Response to Bolo Boffin (Original post)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 12:16 AM

3. SCCRC

The SCCRC , which by the way is not a Review Board, it's a Review Commission, produced a dreaduful whitewash of a report when it returned Mr Magrahi case to the SAC, and did not publish it is full. There's dynamite there.

I have a particular view that Lockerbie was carried out by the US and Iran together a sort of late Iran-Contra affair to give Iran it's one and one only revenge for the deliberate shooting down of IR655, designed to try to kill off the head of the Iran end of the operation and get HWB into the White House. I have a well worked out scenario as to how the plot was worked.

No one has ever runbbished the Golfer's views, and he was a very prominent Scottish policeman who may have headed up the Lockerbie inquiry, who head change during the investigation. Try B or O.

The deal was when he resigned that if he stay silent, his career would not be impeded and it was not.

So Henderson was put in charge and came up with his dreadful conclusions and has threatened to kill anyone who disbelieves with him.

I don't know why DU does not look at Scottish opinion which considers by and large Magrahi was framed, even if they do not go as far as my theory, which I can vigorously defend.

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Response to Charles Norrie (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 12:30 AM

4. Calling the SCCRC the "Scottish review board" is something another Lockerbie CTer does.

I'm just using his terminology so people here are on the same page, realize what we are talking about (the term has been used several times here), and start perhaps using SCCRC, which is actually correct.

You think the United States and Iran blew up Pan Am 103 over Scotland jointly? OK, that's a new one. No, that's not a request to hear your scenario. No doubt you can vigorously defend it.

But attacking the SCCRC report on Megrahi's appeal is about the only place you do have to go if you want to preserve the notion of anyone but Libya bombing the plane. By affirming all the basic evidence there and kneecapping any evidence to the contrary, including, what did you call it? "Runbbishing" the Golfer? Well, the news release I've linked to certainly does claim his story to be a mess of contradictions, not only between the different times he told it to them, but even during single tellings of the tale. Anyway, by affirming all of the evidence this was a Libyan plot, the SCCRC's report could be said to support the basic outline of the plot as we've come to understand it.

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Response to Charles Norrie (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 15, 2012, 09:53 AM

5. well, we can try looking at Scottish opinion


http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2220

21 Aug 2009

...the Sunday Times last weekend reported a Cello mruk poll of Scottish opinion on Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi last weekend. The poll was actually carried out way back in June, but “could not be reported for legal reasons” (presumably in case it influenced his appeal or any future retrial).

Firstly, 60% of people in Scotland said they thought that Megrahi was guilty, with 9% saying he was innocent and 31% unsure. 51% thought he received a fair trial, 10% thought he didn’t.

Asked what should be done with him, of those who expressed an opinion (meaning we don’t know how many people said they didn’t know), 49% said he should remain in gaol, 40% that he should be transferred to a Libyan gaol and 11% that he should be freed on compassionate grounds. So, releasing him was the preferred option for only a tiny minority of Scots…though a majority of those with an opinion did want him sent back to Libya one way or another.


I found several other Scottish polls on Megrahi's release, which were not favorable.

I find it hard to reconcile these results with the assertion that "Scottish opinion... considers by and large Magrahi was framed" -- although "opinion" is notoriously elastic. You may feel that people who actually followed the case overwhelmingly think that Megrahi was framed. Logically, you might even be right. But as things stand, we would have to follow Charles Norrie's opinion on that, not "Scottish opinion."

In arguable partial contrast:


http://www.politicshome.com/uk/public_disapprove_of_lockerbie_decision.html

24th August 2009 (emphasis added)

A new UK-wide PoliticsHome poll suggests 53% of the public disapprove of the decision to release the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing on compassionate grounds. Overall, 35% of voters approved of the decision....

The public were split in their opinion as to whether Mr al-Megrahi’s original conviction was sound or suspect. 37% of voters think that the original conviction was suspect, while 34% believe it was sound. 29% of the public have no opinion on al-Megrahi’s original conviction.


The numbers for Scottish respondents would be somewhat different. However, considering that the SCCRC itself considered the original conviction suspect -- yet explicitly dismissed the theory that Megrahi was framed -- I would expect that latter opinion to be very much a minority opinion, consistent with the small proportion of Scottish people who thought Megrahi should be freed (even on compassionate grounds).

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