As we approach the 25th anniversary of Willie's death (April 6 1985) it is only right that we keep this in the public domain. Our former colleague Dave Leadbetter was always campaigning for the truth, his articles from our publication SWR are printed below, and are a good source for a point of reference. Unfortunately Dave Leadbetter has passed away, and never got to see the documents that were released by the Northern Constabulary in 2007. On the release of these documents, STV made a documentary, but still to many questions go unanswered after all this time.
Dave was a member of the Willie MacRae Society, which included Journalists, lawyers, Civil Servant and others with valuable skills, including a retired scene of the crimes officer from Cornwall. His professional examination proved, to those who would listen, that the official whitewash was just logistically impossible. The Inquiry, headed by former Tory MP, Lord Carmyllie posed more questions than answers and he managed to con Winnie Ewing and Billy Wolfe, etc into foregoing a proper Inquiry, which they both regret. He was aided by another right wing Tory Unionist, Brian "Scotland Is British" Wilson, of the Labour Party's rigged referendum of 1979. Brian is also in the company of other right wing Labour Unionists, such as John Reid, former MoD, Former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, etc. on the Glasgow Celtic Board of Directors, keeping sectarianism alive and well for the "Forces of the Crown". A Labour delegation, not for the first time, recently met with the Orange Order to ensure Unionist support against Scottish Independence and the SNP. We also have a formal Unionist Alliance in Scotland of Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems. Spot the difference, if you will.
There was one Lib Dem MSP (Ross Finnie) supportive of Willie MacRae and was on the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee and worth approaching. A Gaelic speaker and local he was instrumental in ensuring the there was a Cairn to mark the spot, several miles past Invergarry.
There was a dispute as to where the car left the spot. Dave Coutts was on the scene shortly after and helped start a Cairn. This was disputed by other supporters, who built a cairn further up the road. Dave supported the cairns against Coutts, but in the last few months of his life came round to supporting Coutt's claim. It is not a question right and wrong, he merely wished to establish the facts ad had no the situation in admitting his mistake all those years.
The TV whitewash concentrated too much on Willie's brother, who did not share Willie's politics and less on the actual incident and politics of the situation. Dave amassed a couple of boxes of background investigations, now in the possession of his former care, who hopes to produce a proper book on the subject. Try as they may, the Establishment will never wipe out the achievements of Willie MacRae in winning the Mulwacher Inquiry, preventing Nuclear dumping in Ayrshire and his legacy of opposing nuclear dumping in Glen Etive and elsewhere. Willie also helped frame the constitution of India and would no doubt have been active in framing a constitution of a Free Scotland.
Glasgow Solicitor, Willie MacRae, was regarded by many discerning Nationalists as uniquely well qualified to lead Scotland into Independence. His combination of total dedication, uncompromising integrity, outstanding oratical ability, charisma and sheer intellect endeared him to all. Although not a Repubican or a Socialist we have much cause to honour him: not least for his magnificent fight against Nuclear Waste dumping. The victor of the Mullwhacher Enquiry, against nuclear dumping there, and joint founder of the "Oystercatcher Movement", against dumping in Glen Etive, was the nuclear lobby's most formidable and feared antagonist in Scotland.
A life long SNP member, Willie was at various times legal adviser to, Vice Chair of and Parliamentary Candidate for the Party. No "narrow nationalist", he was simultaneously a captain in the Royal Indian Navy and a true friend of Indian Independence. The author of Israel's Maritime Law Code and emeritus Professor in the University of Haifa. After his death Israel planted a 3,000 tree forest in his memory. Yet Willie could and did make a busy commercial practice take second place to the problems of an Asian client in Glasgow, a neighbour in Kintail, or someone whose Civil Rights seemed endangered anywhere.
April 6, anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath was regarded by Willie - and many others - as Scotlands's Independence Day. Many Scots gather at Willie's cairn each year on the Anniversary of his murder. In the early evening of Good Friday, April 5, Willie MacRae drove out of Glasgow towards his native Highland home in Wester Ross. He seems never to have arrived there. About the middle of the next morning, Willie was found (initially it is said by a Holidaying Australian Air Pilot) unconscious in his car which had gone off the road, close to where his Memorial Cairn and Flag post now stand.
Subsequently - just how subsequently is a point very much at issue - he was discovered to be suffering from injuries caused by a gunshot wound without ever having regained consciousness.
Later a handgun (alleged to have belonged to the deceased and to have been fired TWICE) was found, but too far from the car to have fallen from the hand of a suicide or have been thrown by someone who had shot himself. Until now the (non-partisan) MacRae Society with help from friends in the media and the law ; the London based 'Inquest', the odd MP, such as the late Bob McTaggart of Glasgow Central, has battled unremittingly to establish the truth only to see it's efforts thwarted by official obstruction. In a situation where every circumstance reeked of suspicion, the Government response has ever been: no suspicious circumstances, no prosecution, no fatal accident enquiry. NO, NO, NO !
A NOVEL DOCTERINE
One particularly choice example deserves especial mention. A Dean of the Crown Office, who should know better, wrote to the Society about the 'impropriety' of the "Crown" appearing to interfere in 'The affairs of another political party' by holding a Fatal Accident Inquiry into his death. This letter takes the prize for constitutional illiteracy. The supposed advantage of having a 'Crown' at all is that it is not supposed to be a political party (otherwise WE would have to pay for it's lost deposits) but also the hypocrisy prize. The crown interferes all right, not to institute enquiry, but to suppress it.
The mysterious death of a top SNP man is to be referred to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Given the Lord Advocate's dependence upon the Fiscal and the Fiscal's upon the police and given too that the Northern Constabulary were in John Conway's words 'prevented from doing their duty to the public' then the whole pyramid is sabotaged at the base. Starved of information the conclusion of be-wigged lawyers solemnly deciding that there is 'no evidence to warrant prosecution' can be no more than solemn fraud upon the public. Of course there can be no evidence if you will accept it only from the police and the police are forbidden to look for it.
What Mr. Conway says can be either true or false. Readers of the report must form their own judgement about that. They may well be unable to think of a reason why a distinguished detective would imperil his pension by fantasising in this fashion - or why an obviously disgruntled Northern Constabulary should so grotesquely mislead him.
If Mr. Conway is right there has been a truly evil cover up. What is being covered up ? Not an accident. Nor is it suicide which is being concealed. HMG are not hiding Willie's "suicide" - they are proclaiming it (at the top of their voices with no evidence.) That is what the phrase 'no suspicious circumstances means. Had Willie's death taken place in England, where there are mandatory Coroner's Inquests, a verdict of suicide can only be returned if the court finds it so 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. You may think that a grand total of no evidence whatsoever falls rather a long way short of that standard of proof.
Murder then ? Well - yes, but there are murders and murders. Not all would be covered up. Had Willie been killed by someone who was an enemy of both himself and the State ( a drug dealer say) then surely it would be a heaven sent opportunity to clobber the illicit drug industry against which Willie campaigned. Where would the percentage be in covering up such a death ?
Similar considerations would surely apply if the killer were the agent or member of an organisation actively hostile to the British State. Why the cover up such a killing when great political advantage may be gained? While the cover up persists the suspicion that Willie's killing was permitted, encouraged or carried out by the State itself or some interest deemed friendly there to ?
Whatever the justification for that suspicion the Conway Report raises another issue of transcendent importance which goes to the very root of Scotland's relationship to the UK and the UK's famously and fatuously unwritten constitution. If Conway is right nothing could more perfectly illustrate the subordination of Scotland than that the Scottish Police Force can be prevented by a gentleman in Whitehall from doing its duty to the public, to investigate the mysterious death of a prominent citizen and Nationalist whilst the Law Officers and Ministry of the Crown are reduced to the shabby status of accomplices.
And the remedy ? Take axe to the root. End the cursed Union. Saor Alba a Nis !
The situation has now been transformed by the Conway report. John Conway is a lay member of the 'justice' organisation, which has righted so many wrongs, and a former CID officer, who has perused his own 'Independent Enquiry' - and forwarded the results to, among others, the MacRae family, the MacRae Society and the UK Prime Minister. Only The Sunday Post and The Morning Star (which consistently raised the issues arising from Willie's death) and the SWR have so far published the report. Others, though, have expressed interest.
"SEVEN PAGES OF DYNAMITE"
Mr. Conway has discovered much new and interesting material. That Willie's briefcase was ransacked was already suspected by us, but that his pockets were also gone through and valuable items removed there from by persons unknown we did not know.
The chief value of the report lies in Mr. Conway's findings about the fate of the official investigation into Willie's death.
Mr. Conway alleges ;
1) That MI5 had an interest in Willie dating back to his wartime service in India, where he acquired the MI5 label of a 'character likely to engage in subversive activities'.
2) That in his own political campaigning his outspoken criticism...and...ardent Nationalism inevitably brought him under the eye of the police Special Branch who regularly attended his meetings, and with whom he was on first name terms.
3) That 'the North of Scotland being a NATO sensitive area Willie's views on all things nuclear were particularly unwelcome as were his views on dumping of toxic waste'.
4) That it can be said without any doubt Willie MacRae both as a politician and a lawyer had made enemies and also incurred the displeasure of people in high places. Of this he was well aware, but disregarded warnings of possible reprisals and persisted in going his own way.
5) That because of who and what he was, Willie MacRae had been a known person to not only the security service MI5 but also the Special Branch officers of Strathclyde Police and the Northern Constabulary.
6) That this was a suspicious death and the man was of interest to the security services it was necessary to refer the matter through the Special Branch Regional Co-ordinator to the security services and police liaison officer...at the Home Office'.
7) That government policy in these matters is to sweep it under the carpet 'and so it was that within a few hours of its commencement the police investigation comes to an abrupt halt'.
It seemed that it was the abruptness of this halt which first made the experienced Mr. Conway realise that something was amiss. Even open and shut police enquiries are rarely wrapped up so precipitately. The authorities too, he says, realised that they had dropped something of a clanger. The Northern Constabulary were held to be "in error" - not, of course, for terminating the enquiry but for making it too apparent that they had done so. The Procurator Fiscal's 2nd. report of July 1985 was the predictable cosmetic result.