August 1 2010
update Aug 3
A small vanguard of US Senators have been pursuing/demanding an investigation into the early release nearly one year ago of "Lockerbie bomber" Abdelbaset ali al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison. At first the probe was to be into the role of vilified oil company BP in the release. But after no one agreed to show up, and the Senators realized that limited scope wouldn't take them far at all, they decided on a wider probe into the full body of little-understood circumstances surrounding the release. (Except for Megrahi's appeal - see below)
The details of any inquiry or discussion are still being discussed, but in the meantime, anyone who has an interest in this much derided decision might want to look at the classified Scottish Government documents:
The highly revealing reports were leaked by the Scottish government to the Scottish government website nearly one year ago. They reveal the shadowy machinations that led to what might just be a miscarriage of justice surrounding the release of this legally guilty, schedule one terrorist.
This amazing resource has some lines of blue lettering in the middle area, which are actually links to whole subsets of the unnecessarily convoluted decision. Much of it is in PDF format - raw government reports with few redactions. Most of what's blacked out is certain names that weren't agreed, and things the U.S. government said in the run-up to Megrahi's release.
The compassionate release decision is explained, including a medical report (overview - no scientific stuff). The history, legality, and philosophy of compassionate release is explained - it wasn't invented for Megrahi. There's the PTA track (Prisoner Transfer Agreement), as lodged by Libya, lobbied by BP, green-lighted by the UK, opposed in Scotland, and finally - at the very last minute after it had apparently slain an appeal - rejected by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Both of the possible release/repatriation schemes are explained in detailed documents of the advice rendered to the secretary.
"Representations" to Mr. MacAskill, connected to the PTA process, are collected in another document. Families of Pan Am 103 victims weighed in against the transfer idea, Libyans and UK for. Mr. Megrahi's misunderstood meeting with MacAskill on August 6 is recorded in abstract, and the prisoner's 3-page note is included, ptotesting his innocence and dismay at his stalled appeal process and impending (ish) death. He was told if the PTA went ahead, which it couldn't and wouldn't, but which he implied it might, Megrahi's appeal would have to be surrendered.
If a new meeting to understand all of this is to go ahead, the Senators (who have their own brains plus research staffs) could first establish which questions have already been answered, narrow down the rest, and clarify all accordingly. Instead, we've seen insistent calls to 'get over here and explain this.' Much information was already sent to the Senators and only just yesterday did they finally say:
"Mr Menendez and Mr Lautenberg have pledged to carry out a thorough review of all documents already made public by the UK and Scottish governments..." link
That is soon they'll see if any of their questions were already answered in the informative documents they were sent a while back.
If the Senators are just alittle slow and not downright impaired, once it's all clear enough they will come around to the Scottish view. Then they can hopefully finally explain this to the American public, and much of the anger and confusion will dissipate. But even in this best-case scenario, I predict any such hearing will prove a farce. Both sides in this (Scottish and American, as it will come down) agree on concealing the biggest pachyderm in the living room - Megrahi's dropped appeal, the explosive information contained within it, and the deliberate framing of Libya suggested by that information.
But whatever the outcome, I suggest to all relevant parties on Great Britain that it might be best to go to the angry Americans, let them come to you, whatever works, and talk it out. Answer all their questions, be sure to explain everything relevant at one point or another. Be thorough, take time of your own to make sure they've heard allyou have to say. In fact, be chatty - have some coffee. Show respect of course, but some gentle dersision is in order here, and holding it back would be awkward.
And then just MAYBE they won't come a-knocking again a few weeks off, eight days after some quack reports that Megrahi will be "dead within a week." Best of luck.