The discussion and Q&A session of Saturday 11th August at Saturday's Edinburgh International Book Festival was highly successful. It seemed that the RBS hall could have been filled several times over. Time restrictions prevented a full presentation and questions were unfortunately restricted.
Only one hostile question was asked. Magnus Linklater is the The Times Editor for Scotland. Having read the John Ashton book, he felt that it pointed to a vast conspiracy spanning several continents and many organisations. Such a conspiracy was neither feasible nor credible.
Having received a full and honest explanation by John Ashton that he was making no such an allegation, but merely dealing in facts, Mr Linklater then went to his office and denounced all who had, in his words, swallowed this "crazy theory".
In other words, he had created then answered his own question.
Space will not allow a full listing of all the facts - not theories - contained in the miscarriage of justice enacted against Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. Suffice to list a few. Mr Linklater is cordially invited to tell us, and you, which of these facts is incorrect.
1. The CIA's principal witness, Majid Giaka, was discounted by the trial judges on the grounds that his motives in giving evidence were based on fear, self-preservation, and salary for his presence in the courtroom. The judges were, however, unaware that Giaka had been promised a reward of $2m by the US Department of Justice.
2. The Scottish Crown Office's principal identification witness, Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, was in discussion within days of his first contact with Scottish police regarding "unlimited monies with $10,000 available immediately" on offer through the US Department of Justice. Gauci would in time be paid $2m and his brother Tony $1m for their evidence.
And yet the trial and appeal judges were not informed of this fact by anyone, notably the chief Scottish police investigator Harry Bell.
For Mr Linklater to claim therefore that we are alleging that the judges "presided" over this matter is untrue. The judges and defence team were not informed of the fact.
3. The fragment of timer circuit board said to have been found in the hills around Lockerbie is now proved to have false provenance.
During the trial the defence team and the judges accepted its provenance, since no contrary information was available from the prosecution team and the chief forensic scientist Alan Feraday.
And yet Feraday was aware of a strange anomaly between the fragment found at Lockerbie, and the timer boards supplied by Swiss manufacturersThuring as control samples. It was said that the Lockerbie fragment had been part of a timer board made by Thuring and supplied to Libya in 1985. But Feraday had noted in his own handwriting that that the Lockerbie fragment was coated with "100% tin", and the control sample board with "70/30% tin-lead alloy".
The judges were unaware of this difference. For Mr Linklater again to claim that John Ashton and Jim Swire are alleging that the judges "presided" over a miscarriage is a false claim. The judges simply did not know.
The Feraday notations were investigated by the defence team with the assistance of two independent reputable and highly experience scientists. There is now indisputable scientific proof that the Lockerbie fragment did not originate from the batch sold to Libya, and therefore was quite unconnected to Mr al-Megrahi.
Jim Swire and Peter Biddulph
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