Debate Call: Suliman

February 7 2011

This challenge is inspired by a recent string of comments at The Lockerbie Case by “Frank” (Duggan, it seems) and others. The first smears were against the blog’s administrator, Lockerbie trial “architect” Professor Robert Black. Few specifics weregiven, but it seems they were suggesting he was paid by Libya to tell lies. No proof or evidence, no lies identified.

And then smearing Dr. Jim Swire, Justice for Megrahi, and Robert Forrester, veteran anti-Gaddafi propagandist “Suliman” made a notable appearance. “Swire, Forrester and Co. should be treated as undeclared agents of a foreign terrorist syndicate, until proven otherwise.” I’ve left that issue, his "evidence", and my response, for the buried comments there. I look forward to Suliman’s speculation as to what further sinister designs this decision proves.

I'll start with the comment he started out responding to, edited slightly:
Caustic Logic said...
By omission, Suliman and the other Dugganista-types out there acknowledge these points raised by Swire, Black, et al. are darn good ones.
- Gauci's buyer was clearly not Megrahi, but he was paid at least $2 million just to let it be fudged to seem that way.
- The crucial witness Giaka was thoroughly discredited.
- The third important witness was Edwin Bollier.
- There's no normal evidence for an unaccompanied bag from Malta, strong contradictory evidence, and no known accomplice to smuggle it aboard.
- An even more rational alternative theory, apparently hushed-up and obscured by the case that did emerge.

All they can complain about is that the people raising these extremely valid points might have been paid by Libya to tell the truth. Or are perhaps compelled by some moral failings (of the type evidenced by taking Libya's settlement, which is only to reward those who toe the line, not to subsidize free thought) to probe for more accurate answers and deeper truth.

Unless there's some important unstated middle part there where the actions so inspired are themselves somehow erred or unethical.

Select responses from Suliman (in block-quotes) and my responses:
You are attempting to paint me in a certain corner, and your rationale is not anything I said but things I did not say!
Yes indeed. Any of the above. And I predict that he will continue working on the legal technicality side of this, avoiding like a plague facts of the 3-D world in which Flight 103 was physically blown up and people physically died. Of course his and others' refusal to address the facts doesn’t actually prove they know they go against established beliefs. However, the endless dodging is consistent with that, and I suspect such a fear motivates Suliman's avoidance.
What Mr. Larson and others will not touch of course is my explicit challenge to them to justify--by any means--their claims about the personal dignity of those rejecting a court ruling while accepting--voluntarily and enjoying--the financial loot that flowed from it. Go ahead, Mr. Larson, call me whatever makes you feel safe and comfortable in your escape from defending your partner Swire's dignity.
I’ll show him wrong and touch it. In itself, on a sliding scale of human "dignity," as he seems to mean it here, accepting the settlement money from people you don't believe guilty is not at the very top. Marina De Larrocochea refused it. Martin Cadman refused it. But I don't know enough of the circumstances surrounding this to judge him over it. Didn't he try to give it back but wasn't allowed?

What I see coming from Dr. Swire is generally correct, honest, and insightful. By his actions he seems sincere is his desire, despite setbacks and persistent criticism and smears, to find the truth of who killed his daughter Flora all those years ago. So I see no reason to suspect the kind of dishonesty or whatever exactly it is Suliman is suggesting lies at the heart of Swire's unpopular work. Rather, I'm half-suspecting about the opposite.

Another little-noted problem with accepting this money, if it's joined to the dichotomy Suliman proposes, is that it might bias one's public and even private view on Libya's guilt. Of the hundreds of American relatives who took the settlement, none raises a public voice about the valid questions that proliferate. Coincidence? Or has the money somehow hushed them up?

To Suliman, it seems, the epic $2.7 billion settlement is only a reward for those who toe the line, and not meant to subsidize free-thinking.
Tell me: How dignified is it to reject the court ruling and pocket the money?
How dignified is it to convince yourself (or have someone else do it?) that you’d better keep quiet about the huge lie you can faintly sense around your loved one's death? Because, after all, you profited from this version being true in the court sense. If you come to rely on that money, and accept the kind of moral dictate Suliman personifies, you'll be locked into silence. And if you break the unwritten gag order, as we can see, you’ll be smeared as a morally corrupt, money-grubbing, terrorist supporter. Mass complicity is thus purchased and enforced, intentionally or not, and the alternate reality first planned by the CIA in early 1989 remains in place.

So, Suliman, to conclude:
But at the end of your contrivances, you need to address the things I do say, not the things I don't say.
Says you, trying still to avoid being forced into the actual evidence that your villains didn’t really have anything to do with that bombing. It's a lie of admirable size, but the world is waking up to it. You just keep hitting the snooze button. Time to stop.

Count the specific facts of Megrahi's guilt you cited in that three-post screed: Gauci, Giaka, Bollier, timer fragment, 1986 bombing study, … zero. All that was a formality to get to the finish line of a guilty verdict, forever after to be the only point of reference to ever be cited. And you surely know this consciously as you do just that.

I have no gripe with your overall gripe with Libya. I don't mean to apologize for them in general on things I don't know. But on what I do know, the Lockerbie case, you've got nothing real behind the legal technicalities.

The challenge: Of the many facts that must be true for al-Megrahi to be guilty, one crucial point is the date of the clothing purchase, which can only be established from the account of the witness to the sale, Tony Gauci, compared to other reliable and accepted records. You know this, Suliman. What relevant evidence was ever adduced to support December 7 as the date?

I believe I've now addressed all of your points the best I can. What will be your excuse this time to fail in returning the favor?


FullInquiry said...

Any person debating compensation paid with respect to Lockerbie must keep in mind the following:

UN Security Council Resolution 731 (1992) issued on January 21, 1992, by way of two documents cited in the Resolution and included in Appendix 2 (documents S/23307 and S/23308), called on Libya to pay compensation for the PA 103 / Lockerbie disaster. Resolution 731 was non-binding on UN member states; however, the next UN Security Council Resolution, No. 748 (1992) issued on March 31, 1992 changed that – Resolution 731 became binding. Sanctions were thus imposed in part to force Libya to pay compensation on March 31, 1992.

A third UN Security Council Resolution, No 883 (1993), imposed additional sanctions on Libya until it complied with the various demands made by the UK (in S/23307) sand by the USA ( in S/23308), which included Libya paying compensation (presumably to the families of the victims of PA-103).

Perhaps this is the first time in human history that a country has been forced to pay compensation for the alleged actions of two of its citizens before the accused were granted a trial or convicted? I don’t know the answer to that question. Whether there was precedent or not, calling for compensation and imposing sanctions to force the issue prior to any trial taking place seems to go against all accepted principles of law and human rights.

Apparently the UN Security Council was not going to lift the sanctions it imposed on Libya until Libya paid compensation, presumably whether the accused were guilty or not. Indeed, in the end, Libya had to pay compensation before the UN Security Council sanctions were lifted.


FullInquiry said...

Suliman chastised certain recipients of PA-103 compensation stating that they should not criticize a court ruling while accepting benefit that flowed from such court ruling. Suliman is greatly mistaken in that the compensation primarily if not completely flowed from the UN Sanctions imposed on January 21, 1992 many years before the Zeist Trial. Moreover, Libya made it crystal clear that it was not paying such compensation due to the guilty verdict of Megrahi; rather it simply paid such compensation to have the UN sanctions lifted.

As such, not one dollar of compensation paid by Libya related to PA-103 is as a direct result of the Camp Zeist trial verdict. No recipient is obligated in any way whatsoever to maintain or even feel Megrahi is guilty to accept such compensation. Such compensation was essentially a free gift from Libya which Libya was forced to pay by the US and UK governments with help from the UN Security Council.

So is it dignified to accept a free gift of money? Is anyone obligated by way of accepting a free gift? The compensation was not blood money as some say.

If there is to be debate on this issue most debate should be focused on whether the UN Security Council has the right to use sanctions to force a country to pay free gifts to certain individuals in the form of compensation. From that flows the entire subject of whether the UN Security Council votes with respect to Resolutions 731, 748 and 883 were properly passed. If there is a dispute, and any UN Security Council members are party to such dispute, the UN Charter calls on that member state to decline from voting. Yet the USA, Great Britain and France (France by way of the included UTA issues), all permanent members of the UN Security Council, and all initiators of the subject UN Resolutions, all voted for such resolutions.

Other Security Council member countries at that time abstained from voting. Had the UK, USA and France abstained such Resolutions would not have passed. As such, these three countries effectively imposed the sanctions on Libya and essentially forced the payment of compensation.

When Suliman spouts off about human dignity, I suggest by way of the facts and opinions stated above that he is pointing his finger in entirely the wrong direction.

A side note is that a certain American law firm (later voted law firm of the year in America or something along these lines) was key to the outcome of the compensation negotiations and earned a huge fee in the form of a percentage for such negotiations. I suggest the law firm of the year award was propertly awarded - it's pretty unusual to negotiate such a large free gift and such a huge fee.

Caustic Logic: Why give Suliman a platform? Let him start his own website. He is obviously not concerned with facts or truth.

FullInquiry said...

As an afterthought I will add a few more qualifying comments since Suliman could acuse me of having all manner of objectives:

I have not received any compensation nor am I an agent for Libya in any way.

I did suffer considerable losses as a result of the UN sanctions against Libya for which I have never been compensated. Those losses began in about 1994 and I have followed the matter closely since then.

Only a fraction of people affected by PA-103 have every been compensated.

I have one goal for following sites like this one and commenting: I desire the truth to emerge.

Caustic Logic said...

I also have never met a Libyan. only so many Arabs, no terrorists I know of, and get very little money from anyone, none from the aforementioned.

Full I brings up some very good points. As he says,
"No recipient is obligated in any way whatsoever to maintain or even feel Megrahi is guilty to accept such compensation."
May be I gave Suliman a little too much credit here, and his use of "dignity." But to remove all moral considerations from the "free gift," or "stolen money" as Suli phrases the same stuff, would be to weaken the dignified gesture of Cadman and De Larrocochea.

I think they had in mind about what Suliman thinks Dr. Swire should have had more of, and he himself may have none of. I half-suspect Suliman is getting paid pretty well for this campaign of strategic lies. He's for some reason intent on hurling acid and poison against an earnest and heart-sick petitioner who is already pitted against multiple state powers arrayed against truth including, it seems, Libya now.

As for the broader issue of just how that money was made available to the family members in the first place, under pretenses only legally true, is a whole other story. It is unprecedented, and very interesting. I'm sure Suliman has not considered it honestly.

Caustic Logic: Why give Suliman a platform? Let him start his own website. He is obviously not concerned with facts or truth.

The platform is to fail on. The only success will be his addressing to core facts, and then of course a different failure would appear. And I've covered his "what I did say" in the interest of showing my own lack of fear and highlighting how lame it'll be when he can't even defend one basic tenet of the ruling against his villains.

FullInquiry said...

CL you make a very good point about the "dignified gesture of Cadman and De Larrocochea". I did not consider them at the time of my posts above.

But now having done so I think it was their personal choice, which they were free to make, as were others that accepted. Unlike Suliman I'm not about to judge anyone for accepting or declining the compensation.

It simply occured to me that readers that were not following the matter pre-trial may not be aware of the factors at play, and the UN Sanctions were THE major factor in compensation being paid in my opinion, and I believe the facts (which anyone can verify by reading the various UN resultions) support that conclusion.

Caustic Logic said...

Seeing no response, I feel it's appropriate to drop the "man." It's just "Suli" now.

If we continue taking Suli's scale in consideration, we could say Martin and Marina are at the top. They feel the investigation and conviction were bogus, and turned down the money that flowed from them. Dr. Swire, for whatever reason, didn't make that choice despite a similar belief, and so winds up considerably lower (there is no gradation here, BTW, it's either accept or decline). Otherwise, he's exemplary, has done nothing dishonest and thief-like that Suli or anyone can cite. And if this scale is of any value, he still rates quite high in dignity.

Myself, I'm too poor to probably rate any higher. If I had a couple million dollars offered for a loved one killed, I believe by party A - and the money was already extracted from an innocent party B - and it would go to the state or to lawyers if I didn't take it - and I had bills to pay and a job anything short of amazingly lucrative ...

I'd likely take it and subsidize a reasonably comfy life dedicated to finding the truth for myself, and lobbying to bring state power back in line with that truth, if possible. Then I'd probably blow some of it on selfishness anyway, and wind up a ways below Dr. Swire.

Suli thought we were afraid to touch his scale, but I'm starting to have fun with it. Where do you think you'd score, Full I?

Caustic Logic said...

As for the connection of the verdict with the demand for compensation, an area I'm hazy on:
As such, not one dollar of compensation paid by Libya related to PA-103 is as a direct result of the Camp Zeist trial verdict.
Well, clearly it's not a coincidence Libya only agreed to pay after the verdict. They weren't beating the charges. Sanctions forever were a no-go. So they folded, paid up, and issues their admission of responsibility (for anything their agents actually do or did).

As I said, the history behind the sanctions and all of the 1990s is an area I'm still fuzzy on. It seems insane to demand damages already in 1992 based on the indictments. For God's sake, the grand jury couldn't even see through Giaka. The Zeist judges in all their knuckle-headedness tossed him out like a sucked orange, but in New York, his fantasies formed the skeleton of the plot enshrined in a legal document that formed the whole basis to demand a damn thing from anyone.

I just noticed that this contribution of yours is about worthy of a post. Not in major posting mode, but it's on my to-do list. Alert to me to any revisions or anything before the deadline or else it goes up almost as-is.

FullInquiry said...

As I said I am not about to judge anyone for accepting or refusing compensation from Libya. It is impossible to know what I would have done had I been entitled to receive compensation and therefore in my view it is pointless to speculate on such matters.

I do believe the entire compensation issue is a barrier to determining the truth about Lockerbie. Libya was prepared to pay compensation simply to have sanctions lifted but presumably no government wants to reimburse Libya if it eventually is (officially) determined Megrahi is innocent.

President Clinton and Libya made some sort of deal, which was kept secret, and payment of compensation and lifting of sanctions followed. Who knows how such deal addressed compensation matters?

For the most part I shall leave speculation to others. I'm interested in facts and truth and more of both of these are needed to absolutely determine the truth about Lockerbie.

This thread is ultimately about Dr. Swire and his level of dignity in Suliman's eyes. Everything I know about the man shows that he simply seeks the truth. In my view nothing could be more dignified and in my book his having accepted compensation is fine with me particularly given his continued quest to find the truth and his taking the high ground in such quest.

Compared with many others that accepted compensation and do not appear to be interested in the truth... well I am not going to judge but the facts speak for themselves don't they?

FullInquiry said...

In my view the payment of compensation and the trial verdict are not connected in any direct way:

1. It has never been proven that Megrahi acted for the state of Libya;

2. Libya clearly stated it was paying the compensation but that such payment was not as a result of the trial verdict; and,

3. Those blaming Libya were in control of the sanctions - once the sanctions were imposed, right or wrong, legal or illegal, they were not going to be lifted until Libya paid.

Caustic Logic said...

1. It has never been proven that Megrahi acted, of course.

2. Libya did say that but of course not prior to January 31 2001.

3. Bingo. I'd add that they had one last chance in their western system to change their collective minds, and that was Zeist. It failed, and the blame became more permanent. But it was a political, economic, and in some cases life-and-death reality long before that.

On the post before that, this whole thread left me feeling a bit slimy. It's only natural dealing with slime like Suli's been spreading any other way than ignore it. Should I have just sloughed it off? To channel George W. Bush, I'm the decider, I decided to do this post, and I did it decisively, and that's all that matters.

Sorry to drag you through it to some extent, but thanks for the comments.

Oh, and I decided against making a post on the sanctions yet. I'm waiting for a proper essay one of these days.

FullInquiry said...

Your blog your call.

I'm happy just to have a platform to complain about the unfairness of the sanctions (I may be a bit biased on that topic I admit).

An essay is a bit harder - takes accurate research on facts and time, the latter is something I have very little of. I'm no lawyer either. Haven't forgotten though.

I see Suli didn't bother to respond so I guess you made your points unchallenged.

Caustic Logic said...

Hey, an essay, an editorial, a rant, so long as it's got enough educational value on a perspective of the case few consider. May not be a hugely-viewed one, but another phrase to turn into a link, like
"...these sanctions caused thousands of preventable deaths among the Libyan population, (etc, etc.) and other preventable difficulties for people and communities worldwide." with the last part a link to your thing you'll have time for eventually. No rush of course and no real need in fact, but you know you want do do it. :)