"To Support Justice" - The Congressional Consensus

A Tough Sell on Capitol Hill, part one
May 18 2010

Compared to This...
Following the destruction of the American airliner Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, there were quite a few voices in the United Kingdom’s house of Commons, and even Lords, and regional assemblies, who both supported victims' search for truth, and questioned or even rejected the official story of the bombing.

Some have championed this nuanced stance with great and vocal conviction; Tam Dalyell, a long-serving Scottish MP (Labor), staunchly anti-war and anti-Imperialism, has called 17 “adjournment debates” on Lockerbie down the years. [1] He's floated some seriously heavy notions, like a "Faustian pact" where the U.S. sacrificed one plane to prevent multiple attacks. [2] His views are not widely held, but intelligently put, generally spot-on, and heard regularly.

More recently Member of Scottish Parliament Christine Grahame (SNP, South of Scotland) in 2009 visited convicted “bomber” al Megrahi in prison, spoke up of belief in his his innocence, called for a new investigation, [3] questioned key evidence in the old one, [4] and gave the current name of the possible true bomber, protected in the United States. [5] The last was within the parliament chamber of Scotland.

...the American Mainstream
Across the pond, within just a few miles of that person and of Arlington National Cemetery and its monument for the 189 American killed in the bombing, we have the gathered US congress. Over the decades, many senators and representatives have done their bit publicly lobbying for the bereaved families of 103, predictably earning approval points on the way. Congressional support included urging an investigation, calling hearings, pushing related bills, and saying the right things at the right times.

Alan Gerson and Jerry Adler’s 2000 book The Price of Terror lists Congressional players from both houses and both sides of the aisle (alphabetically here): Al D’Amato, Bob Dole, Dante Fascell, Benjamin Gilman, Orrin Hatch, Henry Hyde, Edward Kennedy, Frank Lautenberg, George Mitchell, Frank Murkowski, and Arlen Specter. [6 p 307] Kennedy was “the senator who probably worked the hardest and longest on Pan Am 103” [6 p 60] Lautenberg also stands out, and both he and D’Amato served on President Bush’s 1989-90 President's Commission on Airline Security and Terrorism, (PCAST) to partially investigate the attack (mostly Pan Am's alleged failures at Frankfurt). [6 p 64]

“[W]hat pressure there was” to broaden and tighten sanctions enforcement on Libya, Gerson and Adler wrote, “came from Congress, especially from Kennedy and Lautenberg,” [6 p 258] Others like Phil Gramm (R-TX) took their turn with the tough stick, championing the families as they went. [6 p 293] Holding then and continuing on to many lofty positions, these folks all have stayed in the comfortable norms – to seek justice and truth is, to them, synonymous with prosecuting the Libyans as was done.

When it came time for an actual trial, they were less involved – and besides, sanctions over the impasse had always served U.S. interests better. But after the trial and al Megrahi’s conviction, the congressional fostering of the politically correct justice continued quietly with the status quo, until talk started of the "bomber" being released from prison. In August 2009 Seven senators (Gillibrand, Kerry, Kennedy, Lautenberg, Leahy, Menendez, and Schumer), alarmed at the possibility of compassionate release, urged the Scots to keep Megrahi in jail ‘til he was dead, in part “to support justice.” [7] They apparently failed to realize this would violate normal Scottish standards and would be arguably illegal.

And apparently none of them harbors even the faintest doubt about the man’s guilt, as continuing to hold him would clearly show that Scotland “oppose[d] acts of terrorism.” [7] We now know just how dubious the official findings are at their factual core, but that was always encased in an elaborate façade of procedural verification. Investigation, trial, and conviction is all the Senators needed to see, and that’s usually a sound approach. Further, the official story remains a safely non-partisan issue – the whole system wants to help the families and believes in the case heading to Zeist.

So clearly this kind of widespread acceptance of a “Big Lie” doesn’t require any systemic conspiracy. It does, however, indicate at the least a lack of truly rigorous independent thought. And those very few on Capitol Hill who have dared speak up in question of that process somehow wind up being less than convincing and wind up in deep trouble of someone’s making.
next: part two - Trafficant’s Transporter Override
[1] Wikipedia. Tam Dalyell. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tam_Dalyell
[2] http://news.scotsman.com/comment/Tam-Dalyell-Lockerbie-papers-may.5575560.jp
[3] Wikipedia. Christine Grahame. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Grahame
[4] http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/2009/10/key-lockerbie-evidence-unsafe-claims.html
[5] http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/2010/03/where-in-world-is-abu-elias.html
[6] Gerson, Allan and Jerry Adler. The Price of Terror: Lessons of Lockerbie for a World on the Brink. New York, Harper Collins, 2001. First edition. 302 pages.
[7] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/8206458.stm