Last week Al Jazeera broadcast an intriguing film (thanks, ejh) on the Pan Am bombings, and the weakness of the case against Al Megrahi. The man at its centre, an investigator, George Thompson, made clear that he couldn’t say the man was innocent but he was sure the verdict, as it stood, was unjustified. Not merely unjustified but premised on the findings of a biased investigation.
The most telling case, which I’ve explored here before, is that of Tony Gauci – a Maltese shopkeeper who’s claimed to have sold the Libyan clothes the Pan Am bomb was swaddled in. There’s a good analysis of his “evidence” here but, in brief, the process by which he identified Megrahi was “unfair” and “biased” according to experts; the photo he picked out was old, grainy and, in fact, a poor resemblance; his memories suggested that the purchase took place on a date where Megrahi was far away; he changed his mind, equivocated and, we have good reason to believe, asked for and received a big, fat payoff for his troubles. A reliable witness? I think that’s up for debate. Actually, never mind debate, I think it calls for an inquiry.
If [the allegations] are true, these would be completely dynamite revelations. Of course, they would have come out in the appeal that Megrahi’s release prevented happening. It is inconceivable that this Scottish Review Commission’s report would not have surfaced at such an appeal. Does this perhaps explain why he was eventually bundled so speedily out of the country?
But the other question remains… why was it left to Al Jazeera to make these allegations?
Good question, John. Why was it left to Al Jazeera? Of the media investigations into Lockerbie – since the 90s, anyway, and the redoubtable Paul Foot – one was for Dutch television and the other – as yet unreleased – seems to have drawn the conclusion that the sceptics are the bad guys in the tale. The most charitable interpretation is that British journalists are simply unaware of the questions…
The fact that the Gauci brothers received at least $3 million between them, with all the detail from Harry Bell’s diaries, has been in the public domain for nearly two years. It’s an open secret that has often been referred to. So why is this suddenly an “explosive revelation”?
Jon, have you been under a rock or something?
The Aljazeera documentary was good, but it should have been made by the BBC or Channel 4…
I guess I can’t talk – I’m always missing or confusing things. Then again, I’m not a journalist. Never mind the Sun and its obsession with young ladies’ thighs; what about the Guardian‘s fixation on a woman’s emails? More of them should be asking, and pursuing, these questions.