Archive for September, 2009

Air accidents and the MoD

Much more interesting than the al-Megrahi news story, today the BBC’s Today programme reports that the military top brass have known about weaknesses in the processes for investigating air accidents.  A report identified these problems in 1986 – junior staff undertook investigations and senior officers interfered with the findings.  This lack of independence remains a problem, it is suggested.  It is described as ‘introverted, parochial and lacking objectivity’.  But senior RAF officers ignored the recommendations and the report was filed away.

In recent years, over 30 lives have been lost in accidents in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which might have been prevented if proper air accident investigations had taken place, it is suggested.  So what are we to make of the senior military figures who have claimed to be so concerned about the quality of military equipment and the lives of serving officers and men?  They can’t always blame politicians and, in this case, appear to have questions to answer themselves.

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Politics and prisoners

Why all the excitement in the news about the release of al-Megrahi?  He was only tried because of a political deal.  He was handed over by Libya in order to begin the process of normalising its relations with the UK and US.  The Libyan government was overt about its motives and always said al-Megrahi was innocent.  His trial was conducted under Scottish law but in the Netherlands (and EU observers criticised the conviction as unsafe).  So why should we be surprised if politics has intervened again?