Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some facts are not allowed

The news that the Lockerbie investigation is to be reopened is clearly worthy of a guarded welcome, but I'm sure one key question will be forming in the minds of many people today. Given that the new investigation will concern itself solely with the search for "Megrahi's accomplices", and given that the forensic evidence will be re-examined with the aid of recent technological advances in a search for new leads, what happens if (as seems rather likely) the forensic evidence now points decisively towards a culprit other than the Libyan state, and demonstrates that Megrahi could not have been guilty in the first place? Do the police simply say to themselves - in Orwellian fashion - "these facts are not permissible"?

Also more than a touch cynical of David Miliband to switch his line on a public inquiry from "there is no need for one" to "this is a matter for the Scottish authorities". If I was the Scottish government, I'd be sorely tempted to call his bluff, and just seek some clarification from him as to whether all relevant British officials would be made available to give evidence to a Scottish-sponsored public inquiry under oath. If the answer to that question happened to be no, it would become abundantly clear to everyone why an inquiry cannot primarily be a matter for the Scottish authorities.

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