AS THE days towards the shortest day of winter approach it is perhaps appropriate to remember one of Scotland’s darkest days, on 21 December, 1988, when a passenger jet was blasted from the sky above the Dumfriesshire village of Lockerbie, and 243 passengers, 16 crew, and 11 people on the ground lost their lives.
It will also be appropriate, coinciding with the current official admission that US intelligence services have engaged in unwholesome practices against perceived enemies, to point, again, to the part taken by the same intelligence services in the prosecution of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the destruction of the passenger jet over Lockerbie.
Excellent painstaking documentaries of investigations into the Lockerbie prosecution, shown on al-Jazeera TV regularly over the past year, support the widely held view that US intelligence agencies were the main participants in constructing a case against al-Megrahi, and that much, if not all of the prosecution that led to his Camp Zeist, Netherlands, conviction was borne out of evidence-tampering and other manipulations of people and material aimed at the verdict that duly arrived.
The machinations integral to what has become a saga as much as a dreadful event demand the same kind of admission as the current one of torture treatment of prisoners.
Professor Robert Black, Professor Emeritus of Scots Law at Edinburgh University, who organised setting up the non-jury trial of the two Libyan Lockerbie bombing suspects in 2000, is on record as describing the murder verdict against al-Megrahi as “the most disgraceful miscarriage of justice in Scotland for 100 years”.
Maybe it’s time, as another anniversary nears, to let air in about this sorry, awful matter.
Ian Johnstone, Peterhead