Professor Black reminds us on The Lockerbie Case that on this day seven years ago, we learned from the Herald that the Lockerbie “Prosecutors will next week attempt to throw an unprecedented veil of secrecy over the appeal of the Lockerbie bomber.”
“The Crown Office will ask judges to bypass the defence team of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and appoint special security-vetted advocates to represent him in a court hearing to decide whether a previously confidential document should be made public.
The paperwork, which originated in an unknown foreign country, is thought to contain vital information about the electronic timer which detonated the bomb that killed 270 people in the skies over Lockerbie.
It was uncovered during the three-year investigation of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which resulted in the case being referred back to the courts for a new appeal last summer. The commission concluded the failure during the original trial to disclose the document could constitute a miscarriage of justice. Although the Crown allowed the commission to see the material, it has refused to disclose it to Megrahi’s defence team.”
Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who has signed the Public Interest Immunity certificate, has told the Judges that he believes releasing the secret document would cause “REAL HARM” to the national interest.
Here is what I wrote a few days later:
Very little is known about this document. We know that it was obtained from a foreign country, which is not the United States or one of its agencies. The document is rumored to obliterate the thesis of the bomb being activated by a MST-13 timer and the Thurman fragment. The government argues that the PII is needed, surprisingly not for National Security reasons, but to safeguard the good relation of the UK with the country that provided the document. Lastly, the document was passed to the UK in 1996.
Yesterday, I was informed that the document was delivered on Sept. 13, 1996. The date leaves me with little doubt that the document is the testimony of Iranian defector Abolghasem Mesbahi who alleged that Tehran, not Tripoli, had ordered the bombing of Pan Am 103.
On June 1 2008, Marcello Mega, writing for The Scotsman, confirmed both the content of the document and its country of origin.
“The document also gives considerable detail on how the use of a small bomb concealed inside a radio-cassette recorder was consistent with Palestinian terrorists, rather than Libyans according to a prominent legal source who has seen the paper,” Mega wrote.
Mega learned from another well-placed source that there were “new and compelling indications that it may have been provided by Germany and contained information from an Iranian defector, Abolghasem Mesbahi.”
“On 23 August 2009, ex-CIA analyst, Robert Baer, claimed that the CIA had known throughout that the bombing of Flight 103 had been orchestrated by Iran, and that a secret dossier was to be presented as evidence in Megrahi’s final appeal which was to prove this, suggesting that the withdrawal of the appeal to allow release on compassionate grounds was encouraged to prevent this information from being presented in court.” Wikipedia
By the way… Here is my conclusion of the 30/05/2008 piece:
I expect Megrahi to be home by Christmas. The document will never reach the public domain. The US will blame the Scots for “the incompetence of their legal system.” There will be no independent inquiry of this tragedy. The truth will never be known.
I was wrong about Christmas. It took a few more months. All other predictions turned out to be correct.
“As international observer, appointed by the United Nations, at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands I am also concerned about the Public Interest Immunity (PII) certificate which has been issued by you in connection with the new Appeal of the convicted Libyan national. Withholding of evidence from the Defence was one of the reasons why the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has referred Mr. Al-Megrahi’s case back to the High Court of Justiciary. The Appeal cannot go ahead if the Government of the United Kingdom, through the PII certificate issued by you, denies the Defence the right (also guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights) to have access to a document which is in the possession of the Prosecution. How can there be equality of arms in such a situation? How can the independence of the judiciary be upheld if the executive power interferes into the appeal process in such a way?”
Well said Professor. Well said.
Lockerbie case interference claim 20/02/2008
Truth revealed on Lockerbie bomb timer 01/06/2008
Lockerbie Secret Document Confirmed 03/06/2008
“Alex Salmond defends release of Lockerbie bomber”. The Daily Telegraph (UK). 23 August 2009.