Friday, July 30, 2010

US Senate Lockerbie bomber inquiry 'may visit UK'.

Having been told that UK politicians will not attend the US's congressional inquiry into the Lockerbie bomber release in the United States, the US Senator in charge of the inquiry has now said that he might send investigators to the UK.

Scots Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and former UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw refused to testify in the US.

BP's outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward also declined to appear.

Mr Menendez has rescheduled the hearing for September and issued fresh invitations to all potential witnesses.

The senator told Newsnight: "In addition to making a request for them to come to the hearings, we will be sending individuals... to Great Britain and Scotland to interview the individuals and to ask questions and get a thorough understanding of how they came to their decisions."

I find this simply outrageous. Having been told that they refused to come to the United States to answer his inquiry's questions, Senator Robert Menendez appears to be under the notion that it was the inconvenience of crossing the Atlantic which brought about the refusal of so many Brits to testify, rather than the fact that they don't feel the need to justify their decisions before any American hearing.

And the Scottish First Minister summed up the feelings of people over here rather succinctly.

Also speaking on the programme, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said he was happy to offer a visiting US senator "the courtesy of a meeting".

But he said there was "no way on Earth" Scottish ministers would formally give evidence to a committee hearing of a foreign legislature, even if it was held in the UK.

"It's a point of principle that you're not responsible to the committee of another parliament," he said.

"I don't think there is a recorded case in history of a serving American secretary going to another jurisdiction to give evidence to a committee of another parliament. That applies to the Chilcot Committee, it applies to coroners' inquests in England, it applies to extraordinary rendition and all the other controversies the US has been involved in.

"You shouldn't ask other people to do things that your own government would never dream of," he said.

No matter how offended Americans are by this decision, it was a decision made by another parliament, and that parliament does not have to explain to the Americans how it came to that decision.

Salmond is being very kind in offering the courtesy of a meeting, my instinct would be to offer nothing.

We are not living in the days of the Roman Empire, and neither the British nor the Scottish executives are answerable to a foreign power.

Click here for full article.

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