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Should UK politicians attend US Lockerbie hearing?

00:53 UK time, Friday, 23 July 2010

Former British Justice Secretary Jack Straw has declined to appear before a US Senate hearing on the Lockerbie controversy. Is this the right decision?

Libyan Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was convicted of bombing a US-bound jumbo jet over Lockerbie in 1988. He was released from a Scottish prison last August after doctors said he only had three months to live.

US senators want to investigate suspicions that BP may have pressed for Megrahi's release in order to help secure an offshore deal with Libya.

The Scottish government has declined an invitation to attend the hearing and oil giant BP is considering its course of action after also receiving an invitation to give evidence to the committee.

Should the US Senate look into the release of Megrahi? When is it acceptable for firms to lobby governments? Is the Scottish government solely accountable for the release? Should UK politicians attend the hearing?

This debate has now been closed. Thank you for your comments.


Page 1 of 12

  • Comment number 1.

    No our US Senate should get to work solving the problems of its own nation! We may be upset, but, this is stupid.

  • Comment number 2.


    If Jack Straw & Hayward attend this kangaroo court they deserve to all the political posturing and point scoring the US politicians are waiting to dish out.

    If ever there was a more convincing argument for the UK to distance itself politically from the US. I'm more and more convinced the US is the UK's enemy. Why are British girls & boys dying for that country?

    I wonder what is next on the US witch hunt agenda? Hurry up China, the world needs someone to counter balance this spiteful, hypocritical country!

  • Comment number 3.

    Four words for yanks with short memories.


  • Comment number 4.

    Well, I don't think they should be made to attend, tbh.

    However, rather than taking the whole matter into our own hands we should have perhaps released him to the Americans and let them decide whether to let him go home to die. It would have got him out of our prison and given them responsibility for his incarceration.

    Personally, I don't think he deserved any consideration for his ill-health. If he was to die in prison, then that would have been fair enough, all things considered.

  • Comment number 5.

    Jack Straw should not go to the USA to answer any questions, it is not a US issue. The Scottish have decide to release this man, and the English do not agree, but we, the people of the UK have no choice. It is a Scottish decision, not England, Ireland or Wales or even a British decision.
    Now if the rest of the UK has no say in the decision, why on earth let the Yanks have a say............... Ever heard of the Yanks listening to what another country thinks? Of course not.... we know they have never been wrong.
    Personally the release of this man on any grounds whatsoever is wrong.

  • Comment number 6.

    In a word, no. This has nothing to do with the US government and they should realise that they aren't the world's police force. This was handled by the Scottish government (not even the UK government) so why these American politicians seem to be broadcasting an "anti-British" message is beyond me. I hate to say it, but this whole episode is makinng me increasingly anti-American.

  • Comment number 7.

    Absolutely not. Rightly or wrongly, this was a Scottish decision under their legislature. Nothing to do with the Americans. Can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot? If Jack Straw goes he is a fool. Is the word devolution not in the American vocabulary?

  • Comment number 8.

    Should the US Senate look into the release of Megrahi? When is it acceptable for firms to lobby governments? Is the Scottish government solely accountable for the release? Should UK politicians attend the hearing?

    1.Who cares?
    2.Anytime; the real question is: should governments succumb to firms' blandishments.
    3.The Scottish Government apparently proceeded by fait accompli.
    4.Certainly not.

  • Comment number 9.

    No, no 1,000 times no.

    In asserting that BP illegally influenced this decision the US Senate is also asserting that the Scottish Justice Secretary was illegally influenced. This is a significant insult to the Scottish Justice system, Judicial Officers and the Scottish people.

  • Comment number 10.

    The Scottish government should tell the families of those who died on that day because of this terrorist act why exactly they released him.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think that the U.K. politicans should be encourage to attend the U.S. Lockerbie hearings...Because, they have to explain their rationale behind the release of the Lockerbie Bomber...

    Yes, the United States in theory should be investigating the released on many grounds....


  • Comment number 12.

    Frankly, they've got a bit of nerve! I listened to New York senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, stating "...we cannot tolerate a convicted terrorist going free on the basis of evidence that MAY well have been fraudulent." and thought. You, dear lady, MAY well be talking rubbish! Kenny MacAskill did a very brave thing, in my view. There was NO good decision that could be made, in my view. David Cameron was right, in my view, to reject US requests for an inquiry; however I think he was wrong to state that he "doesn't need an inquiry to know when a bad decision was made". He does, though, have a very difficult path to tread.
    Of course, the US has never done anything questionable, ever. As if!

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    The Answer is no. The americans are treating the "Relationship" with Britain as a one way street. We are an indipendent state not an American state. Where were the American politicians for the Iraq Enquiry? This request has nothing to do with Lockerbie it is more to do with dragging BP through the mud. Mayby the question should be what oil industury company is behind these senators?

  • Comment number 15.

    he definately should be going, daniel zane hertfordshire

  • Comment number 16.

    Q1: No, the primary intent is to denigrate BP, nothing more.
    Q2: It's acceptable for firms to lobby governments when governments have the power to regulate and impose mandates upon them.
    Q3: Whoever exercised the authority based upon the facts (right or wrong) would be the one accountable.
    Q4: Are UK politicians held accountable to US politicians? The reasoning, like it or not, for the release was passed on to the US. End of story.

    Now, are we ready for one world governance?

  • Comment number 17.

    No we're not that junior. Jack Straw should stay at home and tell these senators to whistle in the wind. This determination to break and bankrupt BP is disturbing I can imagine the American oil companies rubbing their hands with glee. The extraordinary witch-hunt that follows Tony Heywood is a mirror of the McCarthy era. The bullying of an individual is sick.

  • Comment number 18.

    Why on earth is the US now having a Lockerbie hearing? I thought that was all dealt with over (far too many) years.
    Could it be that they can only rely on their own legal system to provide the answer they want?

  • Comment number 19.

    No they should not! The crime was committed over Sottish airspace, he was convicted and held in a Scottish prison and the decision was made by the Scottish Parliament.

    The ignorance of the US is stunning demanding British politicians do this and that. The decision was made by the Scottish Parliament and not the British Government.

    If the shoe was on the other foot, then the US would not be handing over it's accountability.

    The US is slowly alienating itself from the rest of the world, if I was PM I would not be as diplomatic as David Cameron, after all with 'friends' like these who needs enemies.

  • Comment number 20.

    The US (The land of the free?)Dion't make me laugh!

    They have the worst record in the world for fairness and justice and love and peace on earth to all men!

    They are the most corrupt country on planet earth.
    The are the biggest energy consumers on planet earth
    They are the worst polluters on planet earth.
    They have the worst Social history on planet earth.
    They have the worst Racial issues on planet earth.
    They have the worst crime figures on planet earth.
    They have the worst gun laws on planet earth.
    They have the worst gun crimes and murders on planet earth.
    They have the worst Foreign Policy on planet earth.
    They have the biggest spy ring on planet earth.
    They have the worst drug, alcohol, gambling, prostitution and addiction problems on planet earth.
    THEY HAVE THE WORST BANKING SYSTEM ON PLANET EARTH. (They are the country that brought planet earth to near financial meltdown)
    They have the worst record for genocide on planet earth (the annihilation of the native American Indian Tribes)
    Et al...

    Is anyone surprised that they should claim their innocence in the world by exaggerating or EVEN MANUFACTURING the sins of others?
    They have no past, present or future right to criticise anyone on planet earth untill they get their own house in order.

    How dare they demand an explanation from an independant Scottish Court of Law to justify their own earthly failings

    The tail wagging the dog

    No British Politician should attend this hearing. If they do they should be castrated as puppy whelps.

  • Comment number 21.

    To Panchopablo who wrote "The Scottish government should tell the families of those who died on that day because of this terrorist act why exactly they released him."
    The Scottish government has made it clear why he was released, do some research.
    Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, all decisions can be looked in a different light. I believed at the time we were naive to release him but accept the reasons of our government in so doing.
    But what's done is done, deciding to conduct a witch-hunt (which is basically against BP and nothing to do with al-Magrahi) is demeaning of a country of the perceived world stature of the USA. To demand that various UK (both UK & Scottish) politicians attend US senate hearings is beyond belief.
    The criminal case was conducted under the Scottish judicial system as have all appeals and decisions since. I'm pleased to see that our Scottish politicians have refused to attend and give some credibility to this publicity stunt.

  • Comment number 22.

    Certainly I thought the Scottish Government had scored a classic own goal, and I told them directly! One other HM resident currently in the news a nasty one aka TOBIN refused to attend court on the grounds of ill health, is he trying to pull the same stunt as Mr A'Magri! Will the same Scottish Minister let precedence prevail, NO I THINK NOT! Why? both individuals were convicted by Scottish Courts albeit with huge cost diffrentials will clemency be given to Tobin if his ill health declines! Quite simply the fate of both these prisoners should be to die in prison, otherwise you make the whole judicery look like a joke to the rest of the world. No new great startling evidence could be provided in Mr A Magri defence, so the conviction should have stood until his death! If these Scottish Ministers could not make that decision then an ordinary member of the public like myself can. Yes any UK / Scot gov't minister remotely connected with debacle should go cap in hand to the US.

  • Comment number 23.

    PS. Meant to say, go take a look at the rememberence garden in Lockerbie! If these lost souls could speak what would they say?

  • Comment number 24.

    Whether BP is involved or not, whatever you feel about Al-Megrahi, what pedestal has the US senate placed itself on? The US must get its own house in order and deal with others equally and honestly before staging any more of these reality shows from on high.

  • Comment number 25.

    How DARE the Americans summon our government like naughty children ? Can you imagine them letting us do the same to them ? When is George W Bush going to come before our government and explain why he lied to us to get us to support his war ?

    I'm sure weak Cameron will give in and make Jack Straw attend the meeting. Cameron is Obama's poodle.

    This is yet ANOTHER example of the one sided "special relationship". It's time for us to stand up to the Americans and say NO.

  • Comment number 26.

    The US did not send the pilots that carried out a blue on blue attack on the Scots Regiment for a hearing. Hell mend them.

    This is all a diversion circus to get the US citizens to stop asking about how bad the economy is. China holds more US dollars than there is in circulation the US. I would propose that the Scottish Goverment lobby the Chinese to call in thier US debts and enjoy watching them turn to a bannana state. Hopefully it curtail thier playground bully boy tactics.....

  • Comment number 27.

    So it's official then ? America now owns the UK government. It seems a vote for the Liberals was not only a vote for the Tories but also a vote for the Tories so sell us to the Americans. It was only a matter of time - the Tories have already sold all our businesses to them and also given them full access to all of our bank accounts.

    Cameron and Clegg are the best clown duo in British politics !

  • Comment number 28.

    For the U.S. to accuse anyone of making underhand decisions over Oil deals after the last 20 years of their history is the worst kind of hypocrisy.

    No British Politician should attend these hearings. They are an insult to the British and Scottish people and show exactly how little regard the United States has for us.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think the most brilliant comment was made by TILLY, who wrote on 23Jul 2010

    "we should have perhaps released him to the Americans and let them decide whether to let him go home to die. It would have got him out of our prison and given them responsibility for his incarceration"

    This would have given the Americans the headache to resolve 'politically' what they are condemning the Scots for resolving "Humanely" (have the Americans ever resolved anything 'humanely')

    USA - mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

  • Comment number 30.

    Here we go again pandering to the Americans. Its a downright cheek that the US thinks it has the right to cross question the integrity of British ministers but when it comes to the US dirty dealings around the world nobody can question their actions,its the same old saying dont do as I do-do as I say.Its a cynical ploy by those Senators up for election to get public approval before any vote and we all know how corrupt American politics can be.The overspill of hatred for BP which started this latest outburst will come back to bite them big time when BP pulls out of exploration in the US altogether,sacks the American workforce and warns off other potential oil companies what awaits them if they are tempted to drill off the coast of the US.

  • Comment number 31.

    Invite is not a noun

  • Comment number 32.

    If the Scottish government has declined the invitation, what is the point in Jack Straw going? I cannot remember his views on the matter, but it was the Scottish government's decision, if I understand correctly.

    Why should companies not lobby - it is up to governments to stand firm, surely? Despite the conviction, I thought there had always been doubt that the right person went to jail.

    But I cannot see the point, apart from wasting a lot of public money (in this case American money). Oh, and being able to rant about BRITISH Petroleum.

  • Comment number 33.

    No. Why does it seem that America's thing they can treat the UK like some way wood state. I never agreed with what the Scots did regardless of whether the man was ill or not he should have served his sentence in prison hospital bed. But it was a Scottish decision which Parliament had no control.

    I would like to see American politican's attitudes if they where called to the UK in the same manner. And how dare they take the moral high ground when they have done deals with right wing dictators across the world whose human rights record as hardly been goo.

    So I say give them the "finger"!

    Before you American's get on your high horse and want to black list me for anti American feels - I state for the record that I'm not anti - American I just don't expect to feel bullied by a friend.

    Its not right NOW stop it.

  • Comment number 34.

    Lets make a deal.

    The US makes a full public realease of all its classified documents pertaining to Lockerbie.

    Then we'll have a full enquiry.

    Possibly after they've apologised to Libya for bombing the wrong country if the rumours are correct.

  • Comment number 35.

    Should UK politicians attend the hearing?

    No, certainly not. The US Senate has no jurisdiction over UK citizens.

    Maybe, if the one-sided extradition treaty between us and the US is ratified by Congress, so we can get their citizens here to stand trial on outrageous charges based on the flimsiest of evidence.

  • Comment number 36.

    The only person who needs to attend is Alex Salmond. He's been strangely quiet hasn't he? Is that the only thing he can do is blame the English for all Scotland's problems? When he makes a really dreadful escape he vanishes.

  • Comment number 37.

    The release of the Lockerbie bomber was at approximately the same time it was revealed the US were using UK military airports for 'special rendition' flights. The release of the bomber was, at worst, a mistake. The use of UK airbases for torture flights was offensive and showed contempt for the UK people. I agree the UK Government should release documents explaining the bomber's release but there should also be an apology from the US on 'special rendition' and Gary McKinnon's extradition proceedings should be stopped immediately. As it stands, the UK is still America's 'poodle' and that isn't the fault of the US this time - it's because David Cameron has no backbone.

  • Comment number 38.

    I don't know what is more frightening! American arrogance or our politician's inability to grasp the implications of them attending such inquiries in some other country!

    Regardless of why they are "summoning" our elected representatives in THEIR representative committees, How hard it is to comprehend that THEIR representatives have no AUTHORITY to summon any elected representative of ANY country.

    Of course they can summon Obama or any other American president, because they are part of same electoral. He IS accountable to them. We have no obligation or legal reason to accommodate their such "requests".

    Scottish government did the right thing by declining the request. Imagine a future democratic Iraqi government or parliament committee summoning Jack Straw or Alister Campbell for their role in doggy dossier, and subsequent deaths of countless innocent Iraqi civilians. Will Jack Straw attend such inquiry? -- I doubt it.

    The point is, their mandate/authority is in USA ONLY.

  • Comment number 39.

    I feel we should ask the US to come over to the UK and tell us how much their country gave the IRA in the 70s 80s and 90s when the IRA where killing people all over the UK

  • Comment number 40.

    Surely if McAskill has got nothing to hide then go along and give the Americans a chance to ask him some questions becasue there is no doubt he has some to answer. The opposition parties we have in Scotland are to weak to have given him the grilling he deserved. He should never have been able to stay in his position once that Saltire was seen waving at Tripoli airport. Also this was a terrorist atrocity against america and not Scotland, it was by sheer misfortune that it became our problem. Had the flight left on time it would have been over the Atlantic and not had anything to do with us.

    This idea that McAskill refused to release him as part of the PTA but did on compassionate grounds, does he really think anyone is buying that? I would like to know of all the life sentenced prisoners in Scotland who have asked McAskill for release on compassionate grounds,
    a) how many were refused and why? If I remember at the time it was less than half granted release, what made their so much more heinous
    b) how many did he go and visit in prison
    c) Why is it ok to die of old age in prison but not cancer?

    And finally if in 10 years time Peter Tobin get diagnosed with a terminal illness will Kenny McAskill be letting him out?

  • Comment number 41.

    #10 - the information you request is publicly available; perhaps you should look for it before posting?

    #11 - as above and the Scottish Government has conducted an inquiry and is providing written evidence.

    #15 - why? Jack Straw is not a Scottish minister; any decision made was outwith his remit.

    If the boot was on the other foot, can anyone see US Senators or Congressmen/women coming over here - of course not. By this action, the US' Senate has shown itself to be ignorant of other independent countries' laws and arrogant and is not doing itself or its' people any favours (and I've found the majority of Americans friendly and pleasant).

    Jack Straw and any other British politician should say no, emphatically.

    IMHO, this is not about justice for the bereaved families but a witchhunt by the American administration (President Obama being openly anti-British) to divert the attention of the American people at a time when its popularity is low. It may also be about damaging BP so much it can be snapped up cheap by American business, although that seems like shooting oneself in the foot when the actual ownership of BP is more American than British!

  • Comment number 42.

    Jack - call their bluff, go and admit he was released on the flimsy basis that HE DIDN'T DO IT, and then throw a shoe at them.

  • Comment number 43.

    We are now seeing what bullies the Americans are and how small minded they can be. This is just a shameless attempt to divert attention from their own domestic problems and lame duck presidency. Perhaps we can now better understand the way they have been bullying people around the world for more than 100 years. With friends like these...

  • Comment number 44.

    Yes, let's do a prisoner swap.

    America can have Blair, Straw, etc for the US Lockerbie Enquiry.

    We get Bush, Chaney, etc for the UK Rendition & Torture Enquiry.

    This is about oil, this is about get BP and their interests. This is about not challenging Libya directly because of oil interests.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    Former British Justice Secretary Jack Straw has been asked to appear before a US Senate hearing on the Lockerbie controversy, alongside BP chief executive Tony Hayward. Should he go? NO and NO

    Should the US Senate look into the release of Megrahi? NO

    Is the Scottish government solely accountable for the release? YES

    Should UK politicians attend the hearing? NO

  • Comment number 47.

    Long live the speacial relationship! Should the British politicians attend the US courts, let Mr George W and his co-horts attend the Iraq war inquiry in Britain. They should also be extradited to Iraq for the war crimes committed in Iraq for causing birth defects and cancer among children in Falluja, Iraq!
    The Yanks always feel that they have super-sovereign rights over other nations and the arrogance of conducting opinion polls at home to decide something like who should be the president of Venezuala. If possible they send their military to capture and kidnap the leader of a weaker nation like Panama and send them to prison for drug smuggling!

  • Comment number 48.

    12. At 05:51am on 23 Jul 2010, CGH wrote:

    Frankly, they've got a bit of nerve! I listened to New York senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, stating "...we cannot tolerate a convicted terrorist going free on the basis of evidence that MAY well have been fraudulent.

    This woman is a peace of work,Gillibrand represented the world's largest cigarette company, Philip Morris (now Philip Morris USA including aiding Philip Morris's controversial efforts to suppress information on the health effects of cigarette smoking collected by its German lab.

    She got her 15 minutes of fame like most U.S. senators.

    I beleave her nick name is bulls eye,I think the british equivalent is dart board what ever that means.?

    NO, the answer.

  • Comment number 49.

    No our politician's should not attend the Senat. What Obama forgets is our politician's work for us not him.

    The USA as usuall are trying to bully every one. Thank goodness this is the UK and the case was dealt with under our laws, would there have been such an uproar if it was Scottish people that had been killed in the USA or under USA control, somehow I do not think so.
    Clean up your own back yarn America before you preach to the rest of us.

  • Comment number 50.

    Chris Mather @ 35

    It's not just about UK citizens. They are SUMMONING our ELECTED government/ex-government (Doesn't matter if it is Scottish because on world stage they are still part of UK and 10 downing street still represent them in UN and on every international platform) officials. They CAN NOT summon even an elected councilor for what he does in his councilor capacity.

  • Comment number 51.

    Alex salmond's letter says all that can be said, though it's a great pity that much of the MSM seem loath to publish it. Until such time as the UK and US governments authorise the relases of the papers they have been barring the Scottish government from making public, then there is nothing else to be said.

    Perhaps those papers may question Blair's deal, or BP's pressure, perhaps not, but why are they being witheld. The US may have questions to ask, but they need to address them to the right people.

  • Comment number 52.

    If it helps to get to the real reasons why this guy was released then Straw should be made to go.

    The dirty business of politics is behind this and the people have the right to know what goes on in their sordid world.

  • Comment number 53.

    No British politician should " appear before the USA senate " The USA has no jurisdiction over UK politicians. The USA is getting above itself. Time to strengthen our ties with Europe and lay to rest the idea of a
    "special relationship " with USA. Our relationship with USA has dragged us into war in the Middle East,
    costing the lives of many of our young men and women: it has also ruined our economy through
    Wall Street greed. Enough is enough. The latest insult - calling for one of our politicians to appear before the Senate caps the lot.

  • Comment number 54.

    One good thing has come out of this whole mess. We now know how Alex Salmond behaves when the pressure is on. The Scottish Parliament made this decision yet Alex has written to the Americans blaming the English.

    Alex has shown his true yellow colours. Weak, weak, weak. He's just a child out of his depth in real politics. Time for the weasel to retire and keep his mouth shut.

  • Comment number 55.

    Jack Straw?? What has it got to do with him?

    This was a Scottish decision based on our own constituional Scots Law. Jack doesn't have a look in.

    Kenny MacAskill has been asked to go along to the Senate to "explain" himself and quite rightly he told the Senate where to go.

    The ignorance of the American Senate knows no bounds.

    If you want to know the depth of feelings, per head of population, Scotland lost 3 times as many countrymen as America. Yet we have a provision in our law that allows the release of dying prisoners on compassionate grounds. America could learn a thing or two about human compassion from us....

  • Comment number 56.

    The real question should not be why was he released, but did he even do it? Was he released ("on humanitarian grounds") on condition that he drop his appeal (because this would most likely have shown that he had been stitched up)? That's the question that the US senators and everyone else should be asking.
    Look down memory hole and you will see that 6 months earlier an Iranian airliner was shot down by a US warship in Iranian territorial waters. Among the 290 dead were 66 children. This is most likely the real reason for Lockerbie, but Iran Air Flight 655, although an act of terrorism equal to Lockerbie, is conveniently forgotten because "we" did it.

  • Comment number 57.

    This is all about the Mid Term elections. Tell them that we don't interfere in sovereign politics.

  • Comment number 58.

    No, The Americans should look after their own affairs. They agreed, at the beginning oif this affair, to leave it to the Scottish Courts; they should stick to that agreement.

  • Comment number 59.

    ...and I bet the idiot British government will pay for Jack Straw's plane ticket and hotel out of taxpayer's money when they make him go. Weak, weak, weak British politicians. No wonder people laugh at how soft and cowardly our country has become.

  • Comment number 60.

    It is about time the Americans learnt what the word "NO" means.

    The Scottish government have released all the information they have on this issue.

    Both the Scottish parliament and the UK parliament have investigated this matter and both have concluded that the Scottish government have followed due legal process and have have acted in good faith

    The same cannot be said about the US government.

    The Americans have not released all the information they have on the Lockerbie bombing nor has the US Senate investigated the matter.

    This US Senate hearing is simply a kangeroo court. The Scottish government have acted properly in refusing to attend such a partisan hearing. Jack Straw and BP would be mad to attend.

    Just say to the Yanks, "Thanks, but NO thanks"

  • Comment number 61.

    These flamin' American politicians. They really are like a bunch of sheep jumping on whatever self-promoting bandwagon they can find. If they were that bothered, why didn't they call for this investigation when the guy was released?

    They just want the chance to grandstand in front of the cameras. I saw some of the coverage of the Hayward interrogation and it was a disgrace. The Americans senators all believe they’re in some sort of Hollywood movie and can behave in any way they see fit. I hope they look back in shame at their behaviour, but they're probably too arrogant to do that.

  • Comment number 62.

    What can the senate hope to acheive? All it wants to do is berate Britain. Why would scottish accept an invitation to be berated?

  • Comment number 63.

    I wish to register my strong support for the action taken by the Scottish Government in releasing the convicted bomber on compassionate grounds. I also strongly support Mr MacAskill and the First Minister's stance in refusing to accede to the request to be interrogated by the representatives of the US Government.

  • Comment number 64.

    NO, NO, NO!!!!


  • Comment number 65.

    The Scottish government has decided correctly. They are the law in Scotland. They want no part of a circus.
    The whole matter appears to be bordering on obsession. Obsessives make dangerous friends. It is out of such attitudes that wars are begun.
    If USA legislators wish to continue arguing the toss, so be it. USA citizens will have their say at the appropriate time.
    Our politicians should be dealing with our existing problems . In the UK.

  • Comment number 66.

    "Should UK politicians attend the hearing?" (HYS):

    Yes... In my opinion, there are many people who believe that UK Government Ministers would have had SOME discussions with the Scottish Government on this issue. What needs to be ascertained, is the 'for' and 'against' the release - of those UK Ministers concerned.

    A period of 3 months is being bandied-about, with respect to the life-expectancy of Megrahi. I feel sure that INITIALLY, this period was quoted as 6 weeks in ours News at the time...

    Of course the USA is keen to have this matter openly and fairly investigated - most of the people on that Flight were Americans - as I recall. That's the reason the Plane was blown-up.
    If UK citizens were attacked in this way - wouldn't we insist on the same openness and scrutiny?

    In my OWN honest OPINION:
    I do believe there would have been quite a lot of dialogue between the UK & Scottish Governments on this matter - before Megrahi would be released. If this IS the case, any UK Ministers or members of the Civil-service that have any knowledge of any such dialogues, should come forward. The longer the apparent 'silence' goes on - the worse it will be for those who possibly DID know the answer.
    The truth WILL come out - in the end...

  • Comment number 67.

    Oh, and another thing - after the extremely rude and unprofessional manner with which Tony Hayward was treated - who on earth would accept such an offer from the American Senate?

    A lot of inane questions repeated again and again. What day is it?

    Good for the Scots.

  • Comment number 68.

    Personally I'm more concerned with a UK Doctor stating that Mr Ali al-Megrahi had 3 months to live and we later find out he could live for upto 10 years.

    UK politicians should not attend the hearings, why should we appear to be at the American command all the time especially as they have recently waged a 'lets bash Britain' campaign against BP, forgetting that the rig operator and valve manufacturer were American, I say to the US Senate, as look inward and put your own house in order first. Just another example of the USA meddling in another countries foreign policy, and look at the issues their foreign policies have caused in the past which the world is now paying the price for.

  • Comment number 69.

    Jack Straw was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and answerable to the UK Westminster Parliament for any decisions he may have made during his tenure regarding Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya or indeed any other matter falling within his remit during his tenure of that Office of State.

    If there was anything wrong with the PTA or Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi's release then it is for the UK Parliament to interrogate the main players and determine the legality and probity of the decsision process and whether the decision was right and proper in ALL of the circumstances not just whether Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has lived longer than medically expected.

  • Comment number 70.

    2. At 02:18am on 23 Jul 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    If Jack Straw & Hayward attend this kangaroo court they deserve to all the political posturing and point scoring the US politicians are waiting to dish out.

    If ever there was a more convincing argument for the UK to distance itself politically from the US. I'm more and more convinced the US is the UK's enemy. Why are British girls & boys dying for that country?
    Agree totally!

    We complain (well I do) about our sound-bite-lite, obsessed with spin politicians but the policos in the USA leave us standing.

    When Jerry Springer can chair 'Have I Got News For You' and proudly announce that four of the recent goveners of his home state have been imprisoned for corruption it shows what amateurs we have.

    When american pilots can carelessly kill our soldiers (and their own) on the ground in Iraq and then refuse to take part in any enquiry, why should we respond to them.

    When two american pilots caused an accident on a mountain passenger chair lift in Italy and then refuse to take part in an enquiry, why should we respond to them.

    When american pilots shot down a NATO helicopter in northern Iraq shortly after the first gulf war and then refuse to take part in an enquiry, why should we respond to them.

    The only response (and I find it very difficult to say this as I loathe the man) is to follow George Galloways appearance and accuse the americans of all the nefarious activities that are reported around the world (but not in the USA?).

  • Comment number 71.

    Hook or by crook, the US will do whatever is necessary to secure the greatest possible ownership of oil - the wells, the refineraries, the businesses, the operations, and the profits.

    The US oil companies are using US government and pressure to ensure that only US oil businesses control the global supply and distribution of oil. From this they will regulate global supply of oil for their own interests, and ensure that when it eventually runs out, it will affect every other nation first.

    They are trying to damage BP sufficiently to be able to buy it on the cheap - either whole or in parts!

  • Comment number 72.

    Here is a thought. The guy is in Libya now. Why not Americans present all evidence they have in UN or International court for justice and force Libya to hand him and all others over to USA for their crimes against state and humanity?

  • Comment number 73.

    What would the reaction be if we asked an American to attend a UK enquiry? This is a typical example of the American attitude they rule the world,think back when their troops have caused problems their immediately sent back to the USA & protected,remember the case in Italy a few years ago when a USAF pilot caused a cable car to crash through stupid flying? He was back in the USA within hours & Italian requests for him to be sent back to Italy were denied

  • Comment number 74.

    66. At 09:24am on 23 Jul 2010, Tez wrote:
    "Of course the USA is keen to have this matter openly and fairly investigated"

    Tez, if that were true they'd release the documentation the Scottish Government has requested. The last thing they want is an open investigation.

  • Comment number 75.

    There is an important principle at stake that the elected leaders of one state are not answerable to those of another state. Purely on this basis they should not go. However, there is also an issue of hypocrisy by the USA. They have constantly refused to allow their representatives and servicemen to testify at the inquests of victims of friendly fire. This does not even carry the same principle as a Senate hearing since it is a judicial rather than political process and is designed to give closure to the families. Yet the USA does not even have the decency to cooperate with that process. Any British politician or civil servant who agrees to go to the Senate hearings is abandoning these families.

  • Comment number 76.

    It transpires that Obama put pressure on the US Senate un-invite Tony Blair to appear at this committee hearing.

    So Teflon Tony, the serial liar, America's best friend, the guy who shook hands with Gadaffi and signed the Prisoner Transfer Agreement is now being protected by the Whitehouse.

    So what does Blair and Obama have to hide???????????????

    What does this say about the US senators???????????????

    The Americans are not interested in the truth and the facts surrounding the Lockerbie bombing, they simply want to crush BP and are using the Lockerbie dead to do so.

  • Comment number 77.

    Well done Kenny Macaskill and the Scottish Officials who have very politely refused the " invitation" to the US. Why would anybody submit themselves to travel to a Foreign Government Court and subject themselves to the paranoia of these four Senatorial clowns? The information they want is available for the asking, or they can simply come to Scotland and meet The Justice Minister.
    The Scottish Opposition should be ashamed in trying to score political points when a FOREIGN Government demands the attendance of our elected representatives to a court to answer to the Paranoia and Conspiracy Theories of people, who just happen to be a few months away from re-election. The Senatorial Enquiry is about the deal in the desert, BP Oil Deals and Megrahi' Release and the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, which was rejected by the Scottish Government as having a very bad smell about it. If anybody should be going it should be Tony Blair, and his draft invitation was cancelled. Maybe they already know that it is pointless calling someone who already has a problem with knowing what the Truth is. Maybe the Labour Party in Scotland could lobby for Jack Straw and his former boss to attend, instead of mouthing off about Kenny Macaskill.

  • Comment number 78.

    Yes perhaps they will keep him...
    In reality we should politely decline and (like the Scots Parliament) tell them we don't yet answer to the US legislature. Not being a Scot or particularly fond but I do wish the Yanks would stop insulting those north of the border by calling them Scotch......please someone tell them thats a drink. The people are Scots !

  • Comment number 79.

    Yes the day after Clinton comes over here to answer questions about his tolerance of American funding of the IRA directly and in conjunction with Libya.

  • Comment number 80.

    Why should Scottish politicians appear before the American Senate ? If America isn't happy too bad. We have our own justice system and our own parliament, Kenny MacKaskill weather you AGREED OR NOT with his decision is answerable to the Scottish parliament and Scottish people - NO ONE ELSE.
    David Cameron has said that he disagreed with the decision to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, that is his opinion which he is entitled to. Jack Straw SHOULD not appear in front of any senate - why should he - he did not make the decision. Why are there comments trying make it into a England V Scotland issue ? SCOTLAND OR THE UK SHOULD NEVER GO INFRONT OF THE AMERICAN SENATE NO EXPLAIN OUR SOVEREIGN DECISIONS. "Special Relationship" COMPLETE RUBBISH. America is not the world's judge n jury.

  • Comment number 81.

    The key question is - Why are the Americans proecting Tony Blair?

  • Comment number 82.

    5. At 02:27am on 23 Jul 2010, Davewaybe wrote:
    Jack Straw should not go to the USA to answer any questions, it is not a US issue.

    Perhaps you would feel differently were it one of your relatives killed in such an incident.

    Of course Jack Straw should attend! We have been told that there were no duplicitous dealings concerning the release of the Lockerbie bomber, so what is all this fuss about him not going?

    As for this being a Scottish affair and that America has nothing to do with it and thus have no right to investigate or hold any form of inquiry; 190 Americans were killed in what was a terrorist atrocity and like any nation on earth, irrespective of where this took place, they have a right to ask questions surrounding this issue and the (questionable) release of those involved.

    I am truly astounded by anyone and any comments that would suggest differently.

  • Comment number 83.

    1) The Scottish Government took the decision so it's pointless inviting British ex-ministers. They had no part in the decision, and if the UK press are correct they advised against the release.

    2) Doctors advised that Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi had 3 months to live - this advice now appears to be questionable, since (according to Wikipedia) "he was reported by an anonymous source to have made a remarkable recovery following chemotherapy in Libya and was enjoying a comfortable lifestyle in Tripoli".

    3) The non-attendance of the Scottish ministers suggests they have something to hide. For us to trust politicians they have to make themselves accountable.

  • Comment number 84.

    Not enough comments about Iran Air 655 -- the perfect "turnabout is fair play" argument.

    The commander (William C Rogers III) and crew of the USS Vincennes were rewarded (!) for shooting down a civilian Iranian airliner (290 lives lost) while on duty protecting shipping in the Strait of Hormuz from both sides of the Iran-Iraq war. This was on 3 July 1988.

    I propose that President Obama attend a hearing in Tehran as to why his government and the four previous ones have allowed the perpetrators of this crime to go free.

    You well might wonder why this was raised in the investigation and then suddenly dropped as a source of the Lockerbie attack. I couldn't possibly comment -- but Paul Foot did in his Private Eye special report.

  • Comment number 85.

    66. At 09:24am on 23 Jul 2010, Tez wrote

    Of course the USA is keen to have this matter openly and fairly investigated


    But they don't.

    Before his release, Megrahi was organising an appeal against his conviction.

    The US government fought tooth & nail to prevent any of their own classified files on Lockerbie coming to light during that appeal.

    Its widely speculated that Iran was behind the bombing, in retaliation for one of their own passenger aircraft shot down by the uS months before.

    It is further speculated that if Megrahi was involved at all, he was working for the Iranians, not the Libyans.

    Which means tha tnot only did the US bomb the wrong country and kill the wrong leaders daughter in the process,

    They also recentley extorted a multi-million pound payout (which incidently specifically excludes non-US victims of the bombing - cheers pals) from a country which was not involved.

    All the above is speculation at the moment, but it is widely believed, even in some quite credible intelligence circles if the report I saw is accurate.

  • Comment number 86.

    39. At 08:31am on 23 Jul 2010, Blue1505 wrote:
    I feel we should ask the US to come over to the UK and tell us how much their country gave the IRA in the 70s 80s and 90s when the IRA where killing people all over the UK

    Perhaps you could offer up a few English and British politicians and figures for when the Irish decide to hold some form of inquiry into the hundreds of years of occupation and the murder and subjugation of the Irish....

    Your comment is the most distastful form of hypocracy....

  • Comment number 87.

    British politicians should absolutely not go to these hearings.

    I agree with all those people who have posted that the US has no authority - moral, legal or otherwise - over UK politicians or officials (bearing in mind that one of the people "invited" is not a politician at either Westminster or Holyrood).

    Cut the cord and end the so-called special relationship now.

  • Comment number 88.

    In PR terms, this is surely a consequence of Mr. Cameron announcing to the US and the world that the UK is the USAs junior partner. The bosses want to meet their new employees to tell them they messed up!

  • Comment number 89.

    How many Yanks went to Iran to explain to the Iranian Government why & how they came to shoot down with the loss of all on board a civilian airliner Flight 655 which was flying in its own neck of the woods no where near the US? You could argue double standards here. No wonder the USA put folks backs up.

  • Comment number 90.

    You know I came on here to take a swipe at the arrogance of the US senate, the cowardice of David Cameron and the stupidity of Tony Blair. The US Senators are using bully-boy tacktics in a dsperate attempt to strike a blow against these foreigners who messd up our coastline. They know well there wer local companies involved, in running and operating that operation. They're just playing politics. Cameron should have nipped that in the bud, in not acting decicively it looks like the UK system of government could be corrupt. They should also be told that Scots and English law is different, and in Scots law unlike in the US the punishment is not punitive. I think Alex Salmond should hold a public inquiry into why the lockerbie bombing took place and invite some ex US Presidents, and heads of the CIA and FBI to provide evidence in Edinburgh.

  • Comment number 91.

    Much as I agree with the American's anger, UK politicians should not go because the UK - with Scotland as a constituent part - is, as yet despite efforts by the EU, a sovereign country.

    That is not to say that the decision to release al-Megrahi was anything but morally wrong, loathsome and cowardly.

    We should all be ashamed of our supine politicians.

  • Comment number 92.

    To be fair the US Senate they have invited these individuals rather than summoned as some here have said. That said these Senators do indeed seem to be on a pre-election image boosting session. Declining politely and asking them to find some other way to increase their chances on election day would be appreciated.

    They could also send a small reminder that certain important assets in the US may not end up in US company hands if BP feel the need to sell. China's oil industry is showing more than a little interest and has a lot of money to play with. That would you make you popular come polling day.

  • Comment number 93.

    Megrahi is told he has terminal cancer, he is advised he can go home if he drops his appeal. bells ringing anyone.

  • Comment number 94.

    Why are they being "invited"? I thought Congressional Committees normally summoned attendees, or even subpoenaed them?

  • Comment number 95.

    Lets remember the word senate is derived from the Latin word senātus (senate), which comes from senex, "old man", members or legislators of a senate are called senators.

    To me, this just looks like an inquiry, so that they can pass the book on with someone to blame. Knowing the government 'that was' I wouldn't be surprised if Straw & Co. had more to say than they've let on, blaming Scotland is the easiest way out and adding confusion in the process - this stinks of New Labours tricks! The Senate will be more confused than Jack Straw with his intervention.

    So let's confuse the 'old man', he should never have been released even that whiffs!

  • Comment number 96.

    I guess I feel torn between two solutions.

    The first is that we explain to the US senate as gently as possible that they don't run the UK and their opinions about the original crime and events subsequent to that are totally irrelevent. So by all means have an enquiry on your own if you haven't anything better to occupy your time but don't expect anyone from over here round the table or anyone too interested in your conclusions.

    The second is to compel the fool who made the decision to release the bomber to attend and explain himself- whether he wants to go or not. This guy hasn't as far as i'm aware had the decency to stand up and admit that he was wrong, taken in by evidence that few others believed and driven by a compassion for criminals motive that few others share. A couple of days in front of the senate might well do him good, and persuade him that getting things right is important. Its about time that he faced some cosequences of his inadequacy.

    As I say, can't decide. Pity we can't have both really. No point Straw going. All he can do is to explain the pathetic way in which the UK parliament can't control what goes on in part of the UK. Its bad enough to be thought stupid without opening our mouths and confirming it.

  • Comment number 97.

    Very conspicuous by it's absence in the general media debate is the previously aired "safety of the bomber conviction" and the alleged "very flimsy evidence" and the likely hood "Megrahi" might have won his appeal.

    What appeared to be a possible exercise to avoid the potential appeal win is now being turned into a conspiracy claim against BP.

    We need to examine this whole matter much deeper.

  • Comment number 98.

    No, Jack Straw should not attend the hearing or whatever. I always thought, as a Christian country, that showing 'mercy' on a dying man (and he is dying, however long it takes), is what makes us who we are. This is a Scottish matter, it was nothing to do with England, or BP, - we decided to release this man. We don't have to answer to England never mind America. This is what we do, as it is our Parliament and I was damned proud of Kenny MacAskill when he released Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi as it showed guts and courage.

  • Comment number 99.

    Getting to the heart of the matter is what this investigation is all about. Jack Straw will shed a lot of light and his presence is an absolute must. There are are no two ways about that. Ministerial accountability is absolute must.

  • Comment number 100.

    The Scottish Executive has been left responsible to seee to three things:
    1. The Building of a Parliament Building in edinburgh for £40M
    2. Keep Al-Megrahi in prison.
    3. Build a tram system in Edinburgh.


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