Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Few More Thoughts On Lockerbie

The idea of Hillary Clinton telephoning Kenny MacAskill in order to, and I suppose the correct verb is order, him not to release Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi produces the wonderful image of two people with deeply unpleasant public images fighting over a third.
One can only imagine The Copfighter-General's reaction when he heard that the USA's Secretary of State, a former First Lady, was on the phone - and wanted to talk to him. As they might still say in Edinburgh - 'Gardyloo!'
It will be interesting to see just how the soi-dissant, ersatz 'Scottish Government' reacts to this unwarranted intervention is what is now solely an internal Scottish matter. Did The Copfighter-General enquire of the Secretary of State just where and when she obtained credentials in Scottish law of sufficient calibre to enable her to hold forth on Scottish penal policy? Did he mention the Clinton Administration's policy of solving the crime problem through the construction of 'Supermax' prisons, or as reasonable people could describe it, shovelling people into warehouses and throwing away the keys? Did he enquire just why American black men are still very much more likely to be incarcerated than whites?
Did he venture the suggestion that the USA has circumvented the kind of difficulties that Scotland encountered with the Lockerbie case through the use of 'extraordinary rendition', otherwise known as kidnapping? Meanings that people who live in glass White Houses shouldn't really throw stones?
Did he take the chance to put in a good word for his fellow Scot Gary McKinnon?
Did he send her homeward, tae think again?
Or was he thinking of just how badly an ill word from Hillary Clinton could affect next year's 'Tartan Week', which his boss The Tartanissimo loves so very much? Or just how badly another ill word could affect his devolved executive's flagship 'Homecoming 2009' tourism drive? Just one little ill word from the Secretary of State, and the only person who'll be going home in 2009 is a Libyan.
However, one is glad to see that somebody is at last standing up for Scottish law. Paul McBride QC has very rightly criticised MacAskill's decision to visit Megrahi in prison, particularly when he still has a role to play in determining whether the prisoner will be released; an entirely exceptional and unwarranted happening.
According to the 'Sunday Times' Scotland', Dr. Jim Swire is thinking of suing the Crown Office in relation to its conduct of the case. As Dr. Swire might be thinking of putting the taxpayers to the time and expense of having to defend themselves, the taxpayer are entitled to remind Dr. Swire that they will have the right to seek their expenses from him should he lose. In Scotland, these can be prohibitive.


Blogger ScotsToryB said...

Yes Martin but is he guilty or what?

There are setups and international diplomacies. If he is guilty then I'm your uncles' uncle.


19 August, 2009 19:15  
Blogger Martin said...


I believe that he is guilty; for three reasons.

Firstly, in order for him to be guilty the Scottish judiciary would require to be complicit in a conspiracy to bang him up in a manner entirely without precedent in its history. They are not perfect, but that sort of thing is just not what the Men in Wigs on the Royal Mile do.

Secondly, although the res gestae of the case was horribly complicated, largely centering on the recollections of a Maltese shopkeeper, the alternatives are even more so horribly complicated that whatever merits they might have do not jump up from the page and mug you.

The said Maltese shopkeeper's integrity has been impugned left, right and centre by people suggesting he took some kind of reward, to which one replies 'And?'. I posit an alternative scenario. What happens if an American mass-murders other Americans with a bomb which explodes over America, and is witnessed in part of the deed by a fellow American? The witness gets whipped in to the FBI's Witness Protection Program and relocated to another life.

What Witness Protection scheme is there for a Maltese who witnesses a Libyan in the act of preparing a mass murder which is ultimately perpetrated in Scotland? None. Who's going to look after him when the goons come knocking at his door? Where can he relocate to?

By the same token, the said Maltese shopkeeper has also had his sanity questioned by
the fat Scottish Tory who issued the arrest warrant. Well, I would be inclined to be more charitable. I imagine that if I were plucked from obscurity, just trying to earn a living, and thrust into the centre of one of the world's most notorious criminal investigations through no fault of my own, my own equilibrium might be upset. He didn't ask for trouble to come to his door - but it did, and his response was civic to the point of being heroic.

Ah, but he told several different versions of events! Which suggests to me that instead of being a fraud and paid liar, he is absolutely no different to the overwhelming majority of civilian witnesses in every Scottish prosecution I was ever involved with. He was trying to tell the truth as honestly as he could to the person who was asking him at the time. In a small way, I know precisely what this is like. You will be aware of my illness. This illness has led to me having a number of consultations with a number of different doctors. Although the gist of the medical history one recounts is the same, the precise facts always vary a little. That's not conspiracy or desire to deceive. That's the function of human memory. The credibilty and reliability of Tony Gauci's evidence has satisfied a ridiculously high number of Scottish judges. Good enough for me.

Tony Gauci's real 'crime' has been being an honest Maltese who co-operated with the Americans; for this, he has been given a hell of a raw deal by a gaggle of aristocrats with better bully pulpits.

Thirdly, Megrahi has dropped his appeal - not the actions of an innocent man, even a tired and dying one.

20 August, 2009 06:58  

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