"Why do the victims of muggings hand over their billfold?
It was extortion, pure and simple. The people of Libya had already endured collective punishment which had cost them something of the order of $100Bn and had cost several hundred lives. Handing over $6Bn to the extortionists becomes morally defensible when the alternative is another decade of the loss of hundreds of lives and another $100Bn through the then ongoing economic warfare against the people and State of Libya.
Succumbing to extortion does not make the victim the criminal, you know."
Many others say
"For more than a decade, Libya's 6 million people felt the crush of sanctions enacted because of a litany of their government's transgressions as long as it is varied.
These include the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco, the bombing of a French UTA airliner three years later, as well as the reported assassinations of dissidents, including a former Libyan foreign minister allegedly snatched in Egypt and thrown into a steel plant smelter.
In less civilised societies they might have slaughtered the guy, just as less civilised societes might have slaughtered the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four
Yes, in countries such as, er, Libya.
Prospector - fair point - Libya are far from saints, lets no forget that. Its just they may well be innocent of this particular crime.
Incidently I do question how much Libya's leader has really changed since being welcomed back into the international fold. Gaddafi has recently called for a jihad against Switzerland, of all places, for the temerity of arresting his youngest son in a hotel for allegedly assaulting a member of staff. The old barsteward is still prone to erratic and extreme behaviour, especially where members of his family are involved.
Exactly, Tony Gauci who was interviewed 17 times, never once gave a consistent account, was understood to have received $2 million in return for his testimony from the US authorities and remains the one and only witness to implicate Al Megrahi in the whole affair. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. Just my opinion you understand.
$2m for his testimony? Jeez, I'd have testified for that - what would you like me to say?
Uncanny! It's almost as if those words had been spoken by Tony Gauci's brother Paul.
The sum was actually $2M for Tony plus $1M for brother Paul.
This came out in Court comparatively recently when previously unknown documents were presented at the High Court in Edinburgh showing that it was actually the Scottish police who had recommended the extra $1M for Paul. They suggested to at least one of the Gaucis a cover story for them to use might be that they had won a major lottery prize.
The record shows that one of the Scottish police officers noted that "it was apparent when speaking to him [Paul Gauci] he has a clear desire to gain financial compensation".
Dark dealings indeed. Call me naive but I assume Al-Megrahi's defence team informed about the payments made to the prosecution's star witness at the trial? Or maybe they weren't.
I wonder whether the purpose of these payments been ever been stated by the Scottish authorities. Were they being compensated for their loss of anonymity or not being given any protection post the trial? Or were they simply a bribe. I mean, its not normal to pay witnesses to testify.
One would have thought even some low-life Maltese shop-owner wouldn't have grubbed so low as to profit from this tragedy.
Or perhaps more pertinently a governement would have offered it in order to secure a conviction.
Governments have form for this kind of thing going back to the year dot. Us, the Americans, everyone. I find it amazing that people still express a degree of faith in governments doing the right thing when a large scale outrage occurs. Very rarely does anyone come out of these things well, not the victims, the police, the politicians & especially the convicted.
I assume Al-Megrahi's defence team informed about the payments made to the prosecution's star witness at the trial? Or maybe they weren't.
Not at the time of the trial.
In fact I don't believe the reward payments were made in advance. There exists a police document which urges the US Justice Department to pony up the $3m payments to the Gaucis for their "exceptional contribution", but that is dated April 2002, ie after the wrongful conviction had been obtained.
The Defence side was unaware, at the time of the trial, that the Scottish police had feted and wined and dined Tony Gauci on an all expenses paid tour of Scotland, including a highly detailed tour of the various impact locations in and around Lockerbie and Tundergarth. Some wag asked whether he'd been coached or driven. That tour had been way back in 1991.
In February of last year the Defence was still trying to persuade the Crown, during a High Court hearing, to make available all documentation relating to inducements made or offered to the Gaucis. The Crown refused, saying that the disclosures sought should only come after grounds of appeal were established as supporting documents and not to help form the basis of grounds for appeal.
It was classic Catch 22 trick. The defence could not obtain the documents until they already had those documents and had incorporated them into an Appeal submission.
The Crown have played dirty all the way through this thing.
As a pov, 103 is one of dozens of polarizing political gambits. One notices the line drawn, and why? Insufficient data to convince either side. Hence the defensiveness of the supporters of the "Official line", and the vehemence of the detractors; both sides populated by learned and articulate men and women, infected temporally with a bias created by doubt.
The Truth is in the middle, but at least a move of some distance off the fossilized arguments put forth. The Truth comforts, the Lie is as a flea in one's drawers.
I don't need to know the Truth, it is unlikely ever to be shared in any case by those who still practice a military fundamental: "Divide and Conquer".
Who's the villain? In the eighties the Texas collider was cancelled, and three thousand mathematicians went looking for work. Having conquered the casinos by a ploy created at MIT, they found Wall Street, and derivatives allowed unknown thousands to heist trillions of dollars.
When the "Cold War" ended, thousands of operatives went looking for work, and out of the frustration of having nothing to do, well, there were losses, explosions mainly. What passes for reality in politics is nothing of the sort. A separate reality of outrageous dimensions plays out in front of almost everyone. Watch Putin.
I find it amazing that people still express a degree of faith in governments doing the right thing
I find it equally amazing the bovine passivity of the population in the face of some outrageous abuses of power by our governments. In the last decade we've attacked a sovereign state for no valid reason, become entrenched in a war without apparent end in another, suffered a near melt-down of the financial system, discovered our elected representatives have been filling their boots with dodgy expense claims and, even when caught, attempt to cover-up what they'd been up to. Those few individuals which do protest are mocked by the media and, on occasion, assaulted (and worse) by the police. Yet here we sit, moaning about house prices and the duty on wine and spirits. Meanwhile, a fifth of males of working age sit idly at home every day twiddling their thumbs dreaming up some new crime to make ends meet. Watch Putin? Watch your front door more like.
SASless, if you move on from the mind-numbing repetition of conspiracy conspiracy conspiracyconspiracy you be able to see the picture more clearly.
The "conspiracy theory" failed. Megrahi and F'hima were alleged to have conspired together to cause the explosion. One was acquitted, ie NOT guilty, of conspiring with Megrahi but Megrahi was found guilty of conspiring with the other guy. That's nuts, even if the illusion is created by three men in frocks and foot-long wigs.
So much for "conspiracy" theories. Let's leave that silly word out of the equation and we'll see things much more clearly.
You ask whom you should lobby. If you live in a country which is a democracy or in one which isn't a democracy but claims to be a democracy, then the obvious person or persons for you to petition would be your elected representatives). Alternatively the Fourth Estate can lobbied, if only so that they can't claim that they 'didn't know' that the government lies they parrot are just lies. There's just such a petition going on right now in Scotland and is drawing some quite knowledgable people to join and sign the petition.
Slapping labels on countries such as "Syria - state sponsor of terrorism" doesn't do any good. People who live in glass houses, and all that. The US sponsored the Peshmurga terrorists for years and are currently sponsoring the Jundullah terrorists to act against Iran. Britain sponsored a terrorist attack against Gadaffi in the 1990s. Let's move on from that language too. The perpetual war-war mindset has done too much damage already.
Prospector, the $6Bn which was extorted from Libya was a drop in the bucket compared to the enormous human and financial losses which were being incurred by the Libyan people with each passing year. As with any mugging, it's best just to pay the mugger and be on your way than to stand and fight an unwinnable battle.
As for the death penalty thing in the case of serious miscarriages of Justice in terrorist trials such as the Birmingham Six (aka Maguire Seven, one of whom died in prison) and the Guildford Four and the Libyan guy, it is noteworthy that the judge in the Birmingham case actually stated when sentencing the victims of the perverse verdict that he wished that he had the ability to apply the death penalty.
Fifteen years later the Six were finally freed when the conviction was overturned on appeal. The absence of the death penalty is therefore highly relevant. Leaving aide his terminal cancer for a moment, Megrahi would have been killed and with him any chance of an Appeal would have perished. Incidentally, and probably highly relevantly, the same sort false forensic "science" was used to wrongly convict Megrahi as had been used to wrongly convict the Birmingham Six. It even involved some of the same, now comprehensively discredited and former, forensic scientists.
If you have time to spare, read the article on PA103 by Gareth Peirce. It is necessarily a lengthy read as it has not been truncated for the benefit of the sound-bite generation.
On target Sir. Why do Public officials steal and embezzle? Because they can. I was in Politics for a time, and am not proud of what I found myself becoming. I left in a fear of falling prey to instincts that are after all, human. Were we wise, as a people, we would not allow Politics or office holding to become a career.
Putin? His name a device of the author. The problem is largely not seen, mostly the things the public will not pursue. What catches our collective eye are those things performed by the lesser of a species of Thief unimaginable to reasonable people.
Michael: My Father wanted me to be a Senator, or Governor.
Kay: Noble, and not much like your family, thieves and gangsters. At least Senators and Governors don't have people killed.
Michael: Don't be naive.
(from Puzo, "The Godfather")
As a current exemplar, I present Charles Rangel, D NY. The lowest of "pezzonovantes", entry level hoodlum who had too little ambition to join the people of whom we do not speak.
cheers Mr. Pan, bear
If one doesn't Stand for something, one will fall for anything.
Lockerbie bombing 'should be investigated by independent inquiry'
To my great surprise, a very distinguished human rights lawyer has joined the call for a full Inquiry. He's no less a personage than the head of the Scottish Human Rights Commission.
The Guardian carries the story in Friday's edition.
Here's a partial extract of what the article says:
A senior human rights lawyer has called for an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing as controversy intensifies over the convicted bomber's early release on medical grounds.
Professor Alan Miller, the head of the Scottish human rights commission, said there were still significant doubts about the guilt of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi after an independent investigation uncovered new evidence that undermined the conviction.
Miller told the Guardian that the UK government should release a secret intelligence report that the Scottish criminal cases review commission said could – on its own – have been enough to have freed Megrahi on appeal. It was withheld at his trial.
The document is believed to cast serious doubts on prosecution claims that Megrahi used a specific Swiss timer for the bomb. The release of the document was banned in 2008 by David Miliband, the then foreign secretary, leading to a lengthy legal battle by Megrahi's lawyers which ended when the Libyan abandoned his appeal because of his terminal cancer.