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Today the MSM is using Tuesday's release of a U.S. Senate report on the humanitarian release from a Scottish jail of Abdelbesset al Megrahi, also widely known as the Lockerbie Bomber, to stoke the fears of terrorism, further support for Homeland Security and many other things besides. It is a propaganda campaign that is worthy of 1984, the book not the year.

This whole propaganda campaign is based on the solid assumption that Megrahi is definitely the Lockerbie Bomber. This is a very shaky assumption. All the best available evidence points to his innocence. He was the victim of a frame up. The MSM has been united in leaving out a few details that might trouble their narrative.

On June 28, 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission allowed Megrahi's appeal and granted him a new trial. It's 800 page report on the case determined that "a miscarriage of justice may have occurred". This new trial began on April 28, 2009 and was plagued by so many delays that Megrahi's lawyer Maggie Scott complained "There is a very serious danger that my client will die before the case is determined." In August of 2009 Megrahi dropped his appeal and was granted a compassionate release because he was expected to die within three months, if he remained in a Scottish jail. Outside of jail, his prospects were much better.

I won't bore you with all the minutia starting with Megrahi's first trial in 2000, in which his co-defendant was found not-guilty, and so on. You can read the 800 page report for yourself, or if you want to go the Cliff's Notes approach, I recommend this Wikipedia article. Let's just say there is a lot to point to Megrahi's innocence, and these facts are beyond dispute: Megrahi has been granted an appeal. That appeal had not yet been resolved.

So one narrative about the Lockerbie Bomber's release might be that the Scottish Courts used Megrahi's illiness as an excuse for granting compassionate release because in doing so they could cancel the appeal and avoid the embarrassment of having to admit that they had convicted an innocent man. But these inconvenient truths get in the way of the narrative that is being spun for our consumption and so they play no role in it. They have been completely excluded from the story as it is being told by the American Media today.

This diary has been prompted by today's Morning Joe on MSNBC on which I watched four supposedly knowledgeable individuals, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle and Richard Hass discussed yesterday's report on the Lockerbie Bomber. There was plenty of outrage to go around but nobody mentioned the appeal or even hinted that some people thought he might not be the Lockerbie Bomber after all. Since I find it very hard to believe that whoever wrote that segment is that ignorant about the facts of the case, I would call it a conspiracy of silence, but then some would accuse me of having a theory.

The Telegraph thinks that "conspiracy theories" are at work. This is how they characterized the Senate report:

the senators produced a very poor piece of work that demonstrates the incredible ignorance evinced by these four conspiracy-theorists

The MSM really started pushing this story anew in the middle of the Gulf Oil spill. At the time, the "breaking news" was that BP had used it's influence to gain the terrorist's early release in return for business opportunities with Libya. BP was made the centerpiece of the story, and since everybody was already in hate BP mode, that made it easy to swallow. The outrage was directed at BP. They had helped a terrorist go free to better their profits. There was no reason to look for other motives behind the Scottish Court's actions, let alone the actual guilt or innocence of the man at the center of the controversy.

Now Senator Robert Menendez's (D-NJ) report on the 22nd anniversary of the bombing gives a new cause for propaganda making around this issue. This time the issue of BP is pushed more to the background and we are left with the outrage against a terrorist and the Big Lie that Abdelbesset sl Megrahi is the Lockerbie Bomber.

In my travels this morning I was most disappointed to see that the Huffington Post has also omitted these important facts from their story. In today's story Lockerbie Bomber Release Not Medically Justified, Says Report, Dean Praetorius mentions nothing at all about Megrahi's appeal, saying "The Lockerbie Bomber, as Megrahi has come to be known, was responsible for the deaths of 259 people aboard the Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and 11 others on the ground."

So now I must ask Dean Praetorius of the Huffington Post just what he means by the phrase "has come to be known [as]"? Is this suppose to stand in for the fact that some very serious questions have been raised about his guilt? Is this in lien of mentioning the SCCRC review or the new trial? Is it because the Huffington Post doesn't want to trouble it's readers with too many facts? Or is it that the Huffington Post is just part of the herd?  

Originally posted to Linux Beach on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:28 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  there's your trouble: you have (0+ / 0-)

      untrustworthy sources!

      four supposedly knowledgeable individuals, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle and Richard Hass

      LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:02:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I believe Megrahi never was going to get a (0+ / 0-)

    fair shake in the courts because he's a Muslim, and we know how the West feels about Islam these days.

    Him being released to go home was justice being served, I believe.

    Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you what you are.

    by Musket Man on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:37:37 PM PST

    •  And then the system gets them out on appeal. (0+ / 0-)

      Stops extensive communal violence from occuring. Which is the main worry of Whitehall.

      A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

      by Salo on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:43:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When the bombs went off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevej

    In Birmingham and Guildford they rounded up innocent people, so I'm not surprised they might have just nabbed an Arab to scapegoat too.

    Someone always goes on trial and gets convicted for these crimes in the UK. Seems to keep the population quiet.

    A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

    by Salo on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:41:29 PM PST

    •  IIRC (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Salo

      the whole PACE system came about due to the mishandling and rushing through of the Birmingham cases.

      (PACE is the bible in the UK for how suspects are treated during the process).

      Sanctimonious, Self Satisfied, Liberal and Proud.

      by stevej on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:03:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What's your personal theory ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo, jrooth, milkbone

    ...about who carried out the bombing?

    Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 01:53:50 PM PST

    •  It was probably (0+ / 0-)

      Gadafi having a bit of revenge for raid on Tripoli.

      Which was revenge for the Disco bomb in Germany...

      So a Libyan intel officer agreed to spent X years in a British jail.

      Simples.

      A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

      by Salo on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:06:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  bleedin' obvious ain't it n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Sanctimonious, Self Satisfied, Liberal and Proud.

        by stevej on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:09:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It looks like a very elaborate (0+ / 0-)

          Series of dark ages/ medieval hostage agreements. Gadafi could have just as easily sent his youngest son to sit in jail for 7 years and some sort of justice would have been served. Given the events that constituted the escalating attacks it looked like a fairly reasonable solution.  

          A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

          by Salo on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:17:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  A Libyan intelligence officer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annetteboardman

        who was actively involved in the bombing. If you followed this kind of logic, you would have to ask why SS officers were sentenced to prison when they were only acting at the behest of Hitler. The man in question was found guilty of a crime. The fact that he was ordered to commit the crime by the Libyan dictator does not absolve him.

        Sometimes, I have to wonder at the thinking that goes on here. The canard that no muslim can ever get a fair trial in a western court is just wrong. In fact, the west is practically the only place where a muslim CAN get a fair trial.

        •  This muslim didn't get a fair trial in Scotland! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler, Salo

          That is not my judgment. That is the judgment of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. You are going to tell them they are wrong? They spent over a million pounds on the investigation. You have a rebuttal to their 800 page report calling for a new trial or are you just blowing smoke?

          •  Well, if he didn't and indeed couldn't (0+ / 0-)

            get a fair trial, how do we end up with a painstaking, expensive legal review? I am not saying anyone was wrong or right. But if you are saying that a muslim couldn't get a fair tria,l that is, by your own words, patently false.

            •  Please don't put words in my mouth (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              truong son traveler

              I know it's very satisfying to built straw men and then burn them down. Don't.

              I said

              This muslim didn't get a fair trial in Scotland!

              I said a very specific trial was found by the SCCRC not to be fair. I didn't even say that was my opinion. I said that was their opinion.

              So where do you have me "saying that a muslim couldn't get a fair tria,l"?

              You think you can tarnspose my 'didn't' into a universal 'couldn't' and I'm suppose to say 'okay'?

        •  Gae haime lassie. (0+ / 0-)

          A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

          by Salo on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 04:23:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The US was training Binladen in Libiya (0+ / 0-)

        using the UK as a funds cut out.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 05:06:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The logic of hostages (0+ / 0-)

        Has bugger all to do with justice as moderns understand justice.

        A Catholic, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist walk into Al Aqsa Mosque. Buddhist immediately exclaims: "excuse me I appear to be in the wrong joke."

        by Salo on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 05:52:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Outside the US (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler

      there is a big questionmark over this whole case - This side of the story has not received the attention here that it should have done.

      I don't think it is a question of alternative theories as much as one of due process.

      Personally I have no clue as to whether he is guilty or not but I have seen enough to persuade me that the process was flawed. That is the pertinent point here.

      Sanctimonious, Self Satisfied, Liberal and Proud.

      by stevej on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:08:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't have one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      truong son traveler
  •  The claim that his release (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    icemilkcoffee

    was medically unjustified seems hinky to me, as well. The medical judgment was that he had 6 months to live. He actually lived about 14 months.

    It really isn't uncommon for people to live a  longer or shorter time than doctors think they will. How much time you've got left is a prediction, not a guarantee. Given that Megrahi went from prison to freedom, I'd consider that reduced stress, easier access to care, etc. could have salutary effects on his survival time.

    Even a significant difference is not necessarily a sign of incompetence or skulduggery. It's not as if we're 5 years out and the Megrahi is still alive.

    Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

    by susanala on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 02:43:29 PM PST

  •  The guy got a trial with actual evidence in it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo

    I think I will take that as a pretty strong sign that he was actively involved in blowing up an airliner at the behest of the Libyan State. The onus is on the convicted man to present evidence that would overthrow that verdict. Somehow I don't think that will be coming any time soon.

    •  What do you think the fact that (0+ / 0-)

      the Scots gave him a new trial seven years later means? The evidence that would overthrow his conviction has already been present in the 800 page SCCRC review. But you are right that since the appeal has been made mute nothing formal will be coming anytime soon. From the June 28, 2007 SCCRC news release:

      As the full statement of reasons extends to over 800 pages and is accompanied by a further thirteen volumes of appendices it is not possible to reflect the detail or complexity of the issues that have been addressed by the Commission. This news release is intended therefore merely to assist in an understanding of the nature of the Commission’s main investigations and findings and does not form part of its decision in the case.
      ...
      This has been a difficult case to deal with. The Commission’s enquiry team have worked tirelessly for over three years. Some of what we have discovered may imply innocence; some of what we have discovered may imply guilt. However, such matters are for a court to decide. The Commission is of the view, based upon our lengthy investigations, the new evidence we have found and other evidence which was not before the trial court that the applicant may have suffered a miscarriage of justice. The place for that matter to be determined is in the appeal court, to which we now refer the case."

      •  "May have suffered" (0+ / 0-)

        not "did suffer". Their own words kindly provided by you:

        Some of what we have discovered may imply innocence; some of what we have discovered may imply guilt.

        If ever there was a case of blowing smoke it is to be found in this language. What it seems to mean is that they really didn't discover anything very much but were under pressure to provide some kind of mechanism to let him go, hardly a ringing endorsement of his innocence.

        •  Please remember that my point is not (0+ / 0-)
          that he is innocent. I don't know. I haven't read the 800 page report and the 13 volumes of supporting documents and neither have you.

          My point is that a new trial had been ordered and was under way at the time of his release. This information is highly relevant to any discussion of his release and this information is redacted from the U.S. MSM discussion of the case. My point does not depend on his guilt or innocence, and it doesn't matter why they ordered a new trial. My point is that his quilt was not a settled question at the time of his release, i.e. he was being retried, and the Huffington Post, among others, failed to mention that.

          Your point seems to be you know he's guilty so that's okay.  

    •  Wasnt Bin Laden training in Libiya (0+ / 0-)

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 05:04:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  commeent from HuffPost (0+ / 0-)

      someone posted this informative comment, which I am reposting here:

      Pilger's article in the New Statesman pretty much sums it up, apart from some details. Don't forget the German police raid in Frankfurt and Neuss just weeks before, where they found precisely the same types of bmbs being constructe­d in precisely the same types of cassette recorders, or the affidavit from the CEO of the circuit board manufactur­er stating that he had handed over the "evidence" six months after the event, or the Heathrow baggage handlers who were due to testify about a break-in or the payments made to the "key witness" or the doubts expressed by the individual responsibl­e for negotiatin­g Megrahi's handover in the first place. All of these aspects and more besided were to be considered in the appeal and were widely reported in the press in the run-up to the appeal. No wonder they wanted rid of him. Fast.

  •  long time ago (0+ / 0-)

    I read something like, UK money was used to set up some Binladen Folks with training facilities as a run around to US law. When the UK kicked Bin Laden to the Curb, he retaliated with the Lockerbie bombing. Anyway the story has faded in my mind at this point.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Wed Dec 22, 2010 at 04:57:52 PM PST

  •  The US Senate did a study of (0+ / 0-)

    four conspiracies?

    the senators produced a very poor piece of work that demonstrates the incredible ignorance evinced by these four conspiracy-theorists

    Having alluded to them the diarist might as well flesh out the story by ennumerting and summarizing these conspiracy ideas, and what the Senate did, or does, to debunk, or to create, conpiracy ideas.

    In my understanding of the US Constitution I cannot recollect the process by which the US government concludes which conspiracy idea is to be the official one. Is it by majority vote in both chambers of Congress, with a Presidential signature? Or is a two-thirds majority voted required in the Senate?

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