Incoming Invitation

The Scottish Government, in the spirit of the original American invitation, is about to summon members of the US Senate’s foreign relations committee to Scotland for an inquisitorial hearing on troubling aspects of the Lockerbie case.

First, there is the enduring mystery of why, in December 1988, with Americans in Europe clamoring to be home for Christmas, a flight to the United States reportedly fully booked suddenly had seats to spare. For some unexplained reason, a significant number of important American state employees decided to travel on another flight. The records of these state employees are to be checked and the employees in question invited to Scotland to explain why they changed their travel arrangements at the last minute.

Second, there is the question of Tony Gauci, the chief prosecution witness, without whose evidence there would have been absolutely no case whatsoever against Megrahi. The unreliability of Gauci’s identification is a matter of record but this once impoverished Maltese shopkeeper now lives in the lap of luxury in Australia. The hearing in Scotland would like to be given the opinions of members of the Senate’s foreign relations committee on the probity of the CIA being so generous as to give the chief prosecution witness a large cheque.

It is, of course, possible that, when Senator Robert Menendez and his colleagues receive this invitation to attend the hearing in Scotland, and are made aware of these and other questions that may face them, they will decide they have better things to do that week. I wonder if the press will then demand to know what on earth they have to hide.


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