Cameron’s refusal to hold a proper UK inquiry into the conviction of al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie atrocity on the grounds that “there was a proper process, a proper court proceeding” simply doesn’t stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. The most crucial evidence concerns the metal coatings and the circuit board of the timer fragment used in the bombing which was different from the timer which the Libyans believed was made exclusively for them. Then there was the extreme unreliability of the only witness who claimed to identify Megrahi, the Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gucci, whose evidence was profoundly compromised by the fact that the US offered him a reward of $2 million and that he changed his story many times. Then there was the security guard at Heathrow who challenged the court’s conclusion that the bomb was transferred from a flight from Frankfurt by revealing that there had been a break-in to Pan Am’s baggage 17 hours before the bombing. Hardly any of this has been tested in court, so Cameron’s sweeping aside a full inquiry is either naive or is concealing information he would rather not see exposed. But there are still more questions which need to be answered.
Some of these were raised by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Board which in an 800-page report set out in detail the grounds for believing that there could well have been a miscarriage of justice. If Megrahi was the murderer, it seems extraordinary that, as alleged at the trial, he carried out the crime using his own passport, stayed in the hotel he regularly used, and used normal flights to and from Malta.
It has also never been answered why Megrahi abandoned his second appeal, which he strongly asserted would confirm his innocence, just before his release was announced. To say the least, that suggests that the new evidence he was bringing forward could have been extremely embarrassing to Western security agencies and why his release might have been quickly arranged on condition he withdrew his appeal. That would certainly explain why a man predicted to be at death’s door as the reason for his release in the event took nearly 3 years to die.
The suspicion that Cameron may well have reasons to want to sweep all this under the carpet is precisely why it is important that those with powerful interests to protect should not be allowed to get away with it. Conspiracy theories abound – that the release of Megrahi was the condition for securing Western access to Libyan oil, or that the US wanted to switch the blame from the most obvious suspects (the Iranians, following the shooting down of an Iranian civil aircraft with the loss of 280 lives by a US warship, the USS Vincennes, just beforehand) in order not to antagonise Arab opinion in the run-up to the first Iraq war – and that is why it’s important that even at this stage the truth should finally be known and that the perpetrators should be fully held to account.