Sound and fury deferred

The US Senate hearings on the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from Greenock Prison in August 2009, due to be held on 29 July 2010, have been "postponed" as a result of inability to compel the attendance of any of the witnesses originally called.

The declining witnesses included Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, Dr Andrew Fraser of the Scottish Prisons Health Service, Tony Hayward (Chief Executive of BP and Edinburgh University geology graduate) and Jack Straw (UK Foreign Secretary at the time of the UK-Libya "deal in the desert" in 2007).  Perhaps surprisingly the British Prime Minister (Tony Blair) who actually signed the Libya deal was not called.

Perhaps (a big perhaps) the US Senators may now proceed through  less public channels if they seriously want to talk any of those mentioned in the previous paragraph.  They might also care to read the already extensive material publicly available and focus their questions a bit more sharply.  There are questions to be asked and answered.

Postscript: It now appears from media reports that members of the US Senate committee wish to visit Britain in September and speak then to the reluctant witnesses.  This still doesn't seem to be the right approach, save perhaps for the audience back home; why should the witnesses speak to the Senators here any more than they would in the USA?  A little less public posturing and finger-pointing, and something useful might still emerge.  But somehow we doubt it.  (2 August 2010)