Bolo BoffinBolo Boffin's Journal
I had an interesting conversation on Pan Am 103 and Libya's culpability with a few good DU members out in General Discussion. Lots of supposed evidence was bandied about, all with its damning MSM source, all convicting the CIA of framing Libya of the Lockerbie bombing. There was a retired police sergeant who swore a timer fragment was planted. There was another witness, Eric Bollier, an official of the company who built the timer, who had lots of claims, indeed, one that the CIA had offered him money to lie, and another that the timer fragment couldn't be the ones that he brought to Libya as a sample, etc.
Well, after reading "the Scottish review board" a few too many times used as permission to speculate hither and yon on the topic, I decided to look for the actual reasons Megrahi was given an appeal. And I found the Scottish review board's summary of those reasons, a nice PDF file:
The Scottish review board, or the SCCRC for short, said there were six grounds of referral, and they summarized them in four paragraphs. The first two talked about evidence that Megrahi did or did not buy some of the materials in Malta. The board found that the evidence pointed toward the materials being purchased on December 6, and no evidence was given that Megrahi was in Malta on the 6th. The last two focused on the key witness Tony Gauci. Number one, Gauci's lineup identification of Megrahi appears to have been tainted by seeing Megrahi in a magazine article a few days before. Number two is not spelled out, but it was further information that seemed to undermine Gauci as a witness. I speculated that this might be the reports that Gauci and his brother were offered $2 million for his testimony by the CIA, but there's no confirmation of that.
I say that because of the things being used to propel the "Libya-didn't-do-it" conspiracy theory, the CIA offer to the Gaucis was the only item not specifically disavowed by the SCCRC. They went as far as to state this categorically at the end of the news release.
The retired police officer, called The Golfer in the release? Discredited because of multiple contradictions within his testimony. The timer fragment questions? Settled and dispensed with. Even some things you may not have heard about were considered and left be by the SCCRC.
So the questions that recommended an appeal for Megrahi are not in the realm of "Did Libya actually do this?", but rather, "Did Megrahi have the opportunity to fulfill a certain part of the plot he has been convicted of?" and questions about the veracity of Tony Gauci, the key witness against him. If Megrahi was made to fit into the plot past the ability of the prosecution to prove, then he definitely had an appeal coming. But there is no question about the culpability of Libya in the Pan Am 103 bombing in the mind of the SCCRC. Using its grant of appeal as evidence to the contrary is a misapplication of what it has done.
ETA: As On The Other Hand points out, it's more accurate to say the prosecution needed to provide evidence that Megrahi was in Malta before December 6, since that's the point when the Christmas lights were turned on. Alternately, someone could have purchased the items and then passed them on to Megrahi when he got to Malta. Evidence would need to be presented to support that hypothesis as well. At any rate, this was the arena deemed worthy enough to grant Megrahi an appeal, not a possible exoneration of Libya in the plot.
And it's also worth nothing that Megrahi himself dropped this hard-won appeal (possibly as long as a 12-month process) in hopes it would accelerate his claims to be exchanged to a Libyan prison or released on compassionate grounds.
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