President's Report

When I was pressed into service by the board with severe arm twisting from the previous President, Kara Weipz, someone said it should not be a big effort since “everything had been done” – the compensation was paid, Megrahi was found guilty and in jail for life in scotland, and the press had pretty much forgotten about a two-decade-old story.

Not quite. The release of Megrahi put the story back on the front pages, where we have done our best to keep it. Even after the deaths of Gadhafi and Megrahi, we face a constant stream of “news” stories, mostly from the British and Scottish newspapers, not just the tabloids, that the trial was a farce, the Syrians and Iranians did it, that witnesses were bribed, that evidence was planted, that information was withheld from the defense, and that this poor man, Megrahi, died before he could prove his innocence. With the help of Richard Marquise, Buck Revell, Brian Murtagh, and others who were involved in the investigation, trial and appeals, we try to answer this rubbish. Whenever i get annoyed with u.s. newspapers, i think how misinformed the people of England and Scotland are from their media. To read all this, you can subscribe to google alert, and list the subjects Pan am 103, Lockerbie, or libya. It is a free service and you will get more than you need, every day. The British and Scottish media would rather hear from Dr. Swire than us, but we keep trying to get our views in print or aired.

As for our own press, The New York Times, often called the “Paper of Record”, has been equally irresponsible, especially a recent “obituary” for the death of Megrahi which added to the misinformation. Granted, the journalists who are assigned to writing such obituaries are like the cops on the “rubber bullet squad” who are assigned to drive the tow trucks, or the news writers who have to cover what is happening at the zoo. Nevertheless, when they are clearly wrong, they have an obligation to correct the record, which The New York Times is loathe to do. both Richard Marquise and Brian Murtagh wrote letters to the Times to correct these errors, which were not printed. Likewise for two professors, Dirk Vanderwalle of Dartmouth and Michael Scharf, law professor and former state Department terrorism counsel, who claim to have been misquoted by Times authors concerning the Megrahi trial. Their comments on the trial are often cited in other publications and blogs, not just the usual fanatical nutcases and heavy breathing conspiracy mavens. The New York Times obituary writer no doubt came across this in his research. We are grateful to Dick and Brian and very disappointed in the The New York Times. Since the Times refuses to correct the record, we will put their responses on our facebook.

Frank Duggan
President, Victims of Pan am flight 103

Note from the TQ Editor: Frank Duggan recently sent an e-mail reminding us that the Libyan people were able to hold their first democratic elections this month. He noted that many Libyans gave their lives to bring about these elections.