Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




The Case Of The Dying Bomber: Megrahi and Lockerbie

There has been a lot of sturm und drang about the Scottish government’s decision to release on compassionate grounds Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, the man convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, which resulted in 270 fatalities. Cries of outrage have been heard on both sides of the Atlantic, although most vociferously from the USA. That said, a recent poll revealed that 43% of Scots thought that releasing Megrahi was the correct decision, with 51% opposing. The gap between these two camps of opinion widens the further away from Scotland that you go, funnily enough.

I have my own very definite stance on this matter, but instead of going into a song and dance about it, I’d rather pose a couple of questions about why these opinions exist.

First, why do so many people think that Megrahi is guilty? – a simple enough question.

Another is, why do so many people know nothing about the background of the case, and the investigations leading up to the trial in the Hague? This is incontrovertibly true – a great many people seem eager to believe this verdict, handed down not by a jury but 3 judges, an odd situation given the incidence of miscarriages of justice in recent history (the Birmingham  6 etc).

And, how many people have actually read ANY excerpts from the trial or the documents or the prior investigations? If these areas of information had been more widely disseminated, I think we’d be seeing a rather different landscape of opinion.

For further reading I strongly recommend the Private Eye special report ‘Flight From Justice’, written by Paul Foot and still available from the magazine for £5. See the Private Eye shop link below.


My view is that before anyone opens their big bazoo and starts yawping on about Megrahi deserving death etc, they should actually read (if they can read) up on the factual foundations of the case. Then see how convinced they remain afterwards.

I feel I should also point out that I’m not being biased against the possibility of Megrahi being guilty – I would just need to see convincing evidence that this is so, and thus far there has been nada, zip, nyet.

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  1. jimsteel Says:

    September 30th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    The current issue of the London Review of Books (24th September) has an article on this subject by Gareth Peirce which, luckily, is also on their website. I recommend it. The online article also links to a letter by Benedict Birnberg in the forthcoming issue which looks at the appeal amongst other things.


  2. rockitboy Says:

    September 30th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks for that, Jim. Yup, I knew about it. And I believe that Megrahi has his own websit as well, somewhere.

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