The trial of two Libyans in Zeist in 2000 over the Lockerbie atrocity first convinced some UK relatives and experts in criminal law that we were not seeing a fair trial, but a cynical intelligence-led perversion of the Scottish criminal justice system.
For instance, the prosecution alleged that the bomb had been placed aboard a plane in Malta, and transferred at Frankfurt and Heathrow to the target plane on which our families died.
This clearly would have required a long-running timer, and a fragment of circuit board allegedly from such a timer was duly led in evidence in court.
However, post-trial, we now know, and have independent scientific proof, that the technology used to create that fragment was fundamentally different from that used in the Libyan timers allegedly powering the Lockerbie bomb, and simply could not have come from one of them.
The fragment was claimed to have been found by UK forensic “experts” within a Scottish police evidence bag.
The crash site had been overrun by CIA agents immediately after the crash and potentially evidential material visibly tampered with. The Scottish police were working in close contact with the CIA throughout the investigation.
Neither the UK nor the Scottish Governments have been prepared to listen to our constant pleas since the trial for an inquiry into the whole case.
Now that it seems clear that at least some sections of the CIA using a remarkable degree of autonomy from their executive had long cast any moral restraint aside, is it not high time that their management of the Lockerbie evidence also be re-examined?
It is not simply that we relatives have a right to know the whole truth; the verdict of that court must have been a powerful factor in “justifying” the Nato bombing of Libya, which has resulted in such misery to that unfortunate country, to the rise of Isis training camps round Bengazi and the redistribution of Libyan arms to terrorists throughout much of the Sahel region.
I do not believe that the UK and US Governments would want to try to conceal such wicked actions by their own intelligence services and police if the leaders only knew of them.
To take positive action to objectively review their intelligence management of the Lockerbie atrocity might alleviate a great deal of unnecessary ongoing suffering for us even now.
It might also offer a golden opportunity to lay blame, if blame there truly be, where it is properly due.
That could then underpin improvements in the behaviour and status of our nations in the future.
We are not going to abandon our search for the truth, – far better to lance the boil now rather than let more hostile agencies do it later.
I believe that if he knew about this further intelligence scandal, then in the spirit of his great Cairo speech following his election, President Obama would not want this concealed one moment longer.
(Dr) Jim Swire
The CIA’s actions in promoting torture as a method to gain information is at the same time horrendous and understandable.
Faced with the belief that you could extract information from another human being that would save innocent as well as not so innocent lives, the temptation to “do whatever it takes” has always and will always be present.
Having said that, how often do we consider the lasting and devastating damage that is done to the perpetrators, their families and society at large?
The late Professor Anthony Clare, of In the Psychiatrist’s Chair fame, maintained that those who are trained in such techniques or engage from their own free will become dehumanised.
An essential part of living a fulfilled life is removed.
The same could be said for those who undertake “punishment beatings” in trouble spots throughout the world, including our own country.
Using Northern Ireland as an example, some are pre-pared to turn a blind eye to the pain inflicted on suspected paedophiles or drug dealers as they believe “they deserve it” or out of a belief that such action is a deterrent.
Condoning such actions also removes part of our humanity, as it dilutes or removes the essential part of our living, namely, compassion.
For those who say “the ends justifies the means”, I recall Martin Luther King’s response that “the means are always pre-existant in the ends”. To those perpetrators who recognise what they have lost I also believe that there can be a healing. For many, the answer just might be discovered in the person, often concealed, within the Christmas message.
In 2002 in Germany, a child abductor was arrested. He refused to divulge the location of the 11-year-old boy he had kidnapped. Police believed he was still alive but imprisoned in a secret location.
Fearing that the boy would die if not found, police threatened the abductor with torture. This threat was enough to prompt him to give the location of the boy.
Sadly, the boy was already dead when found. The child murderer was later compensated because he was threatened with pain.
Anyone wishing to uphold an absolute prohibition on torture must take this sort of situation into account.