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Oh, what a tangled web we weave...
The big news this week. We all hate Scotland.
Or do we?
I am not going to provide commentary on the actual case for I am not in possession of all of the facts. One thing that does seem to be coming clearer and clearer is that there were many reasons to delay and otherwise avoid any form of retrial. It is just all good and proper to simply say "Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi is the Lockerbie Bomber". Whether or not this is true is of little concern, for he was convicted of this crime. In Holland. Apparently on a US air base which was temporarily declared to under Scottish jurisdiction (!). With evidence that by the day is looking less viable. Oh, no, no, I'm not trying to tell you the guy is innocent. Just consider two things - firstly the judicial system is not infallible. Some horrendous miscarriages have taken place. This could be, perhaps, expedited by the requirement to satisfy an international witch-hunt baying for blood in the time after the PAN-AM flight went down. Secondly, it seems to me that when there are enough people ruminating about somebody being innocent, it may well be true. Oh, and consider a third thing. Megrahi actual trial began in 1998, which is a whole ten years after the Lockerbie disaster. His second attempt at justice still has not passed the judicial system. This being an astonishing 21 years later.
This has rightly caused turmoil around the world, and thanks to the internet we can not only read loads of different opinions, but we can see how many clueless pricks there are. So many people ranting over Megrahi's failing to show remorse. Well, either he is a cold-hearted killer in which case there may not be any remorse, or he is innocent in whch case what 'remorse' would you like to see. Oh, perhaps you're all busy bitching because remorse equals guilt and guilt means you can sleep a little better at night knowing the bad guy is behind bars, and preferably having the shit kicked out of him by a prison service warden when nobody is looking. You can think that with a smile on your faces. It's all a lot easier than whoa, dude, what if we got this totally wrong?
There are some people that should shut the ---- up and keep their noses out of this matter.
- Gordon Brown. Ruler and High Commander of New Labour. A morally bankrupt government that has shown appalling corruption time and again, and further confounds this by time and again police investigations failing to find "sufficient evidence". A man who has instigated, following the Blair premise, the idea of wanting to know every tiny detail of what every citizen does, but God help the citizen that watches anything they're up to. Why? Because Westminster is not Holyrood. And if you need any other excuse - Lord Mandelson.
- Barrack Obama. I really want to like him for he represents a Brave New World feeling for the United States, following in the years of depravity that was the Bush term (either Bush, though the more recent hits a new low).
Who is Obama to complain about Scotland letting a terrorist free, when the US routinely abducted suspect people and detained them in largely unknown (and from what little we know, seemingly hostile) conditions with no recourse to legal rights and bare scant contact with their lives. Okay, Guantanamo is a rope choking Obama, but the fact is you cannot just pillory suspect looking Islamic people. You need actual hard evidence. Not bollocks wrapped up in "we can't disclose as it is a matter of national security". You could say that with the best evidence in the world, and you could say it with no evidence whatsoever. Who's to know the difference?
- Various vociferous Americans - Who are the Americans to complain about the huge insult that is releasing Megrahi, after all, his lack of remorse and the fact that loads of Americans in that plane died. In all, plus on the ground, 270 fatalities.
Before the Americans pass comment, they are advised to go look up Iran Air Flight 655. In fact, don't bother, I will quote you a bit from Wiki: In 1996, the United States and Iran reached "an agreement in full and final settlement of all disputes, differences, claims, counterclaims" relating to the incident at the International Court of Justice. As part of the settlement, the United States agreed to pay US$61.8 million in compensation for the Iranians killed. The United States did not admit responsibility or apologize to the Iranian government.
In other words, America settled for a monetary sum and never assumed any sort of liability for the incident. Or, perhaps more importantly, not assuming responsibility.
For IR655, America paid Iran $150,000 per person if they were not employed, and $300,000 per person if they were. As part of the compensation settlement for Pan-Am 103, Libya paid about $5,500,000 per person ($8M minus ~$2.5M legal fees). [source, Wiki]
It's a damn cheap shot, but I'll throw it in anyway. There is only one nation on the planet as of the date of posting, that has ever used a weapon of mass destruction on a foreign populace, on Japan, twice. Not only that, but in previous conflicts numerous civilians died mostly due to being caught in the crossfire. For Hiroshima and Nagasaki (ait was supposed to be Kokura, Nagasaki was the second choice target) the locations were chosen for both their military importance and their being large urban areas. This is the first time that civilians were directly and intentionally slaughtered en masse. There is no other way to describe it except as the largest act of terrorism on the face of humankind's existence. Okay, you might say it was a speedy way to bring a close to WW2. That would be seeing it from the American point of view, and as America was conducting this act of terrorism, it is not capable of thinking of it as such. Consider the Japanese view, where tens of thousands of people and huge swathes of entire cities were annihilated in a matter of seconds. Consider that the political landscape changed through the course of two days in August, where the country no longer had to worry about defeat. Instead, there was now the very real threat, that nobody could doubt thanks to America's use of two such weapons already, that Japan would not be defeated. No, something much worse. It's culture, lifestyle, heritage, and history could all be erased from the planet. The decision whether or not to surrender was no longer a matter of Japanese pride, it was a matter of survival - do so or face terrible destruction. The ultimate terrorist act.
Go look up all the things America has meddled with in the past, all the minor conflicts it had no business being a part of (either joining in or supplying munitions to). Look at its use of power and politic to influence the decisions of the political process of foreign countries.
Oh, and look also at how mismanaged the Pan-Am security arrangements were. Proper training and vigilance would most likely have prevented this tragedy in the first place. Baying for the blood of a guy with a really long name is only a part of the entire equation.
Please don't get me wrong, this is not intended to be an anti-American speech. It is intended purely to demonstrate that it is tragic for everybody concerned. Blowing up a plane full of civilians is a stupid cowardly act. I'm just pointing out that before we all go on a "hate Scotland" campaign, it would be wise to look for the obvious skeletons in our own closets first. He who casts the first stone and all that...
- Robert Mueller, FBI head honcho who sent an extremely strongly worded letter to Scotland.
You can read the text of it at http://hatefighter.blogspot.com/2009/08/fbi-director-muellers-statement-to.html.
Pay careful attention to the wording, "the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process". If the director of the FBI makes a mistake that big, how reliable can we assume to be anything that he says? We can argue long and hard about whether he really was given all due process, however what is inarguable is that he was tried by judges not a jury. There is a difference.
It is particularly interesting to see the theories, was this an American and/or power squeeze to suck up to Libya for their oil reserves? I doubt it. While it would make some sort of sense for a British deal to have taken place and for New Labour to have put the squeeze on Holyrood, the SNP ruling party has said that a referendum for independence is on the way, they wish to prove themselves as a viable party and not a bunch of pro-nationalistic hotheads that would be no good in power. What a marvellous opportunity it would be if this could be shown to have been a power play. The slogan would be so simple - vote for your freedom or vote for that.
What do I think? I think that Scots law provides a means for early releasal on compassionate grounds, and that Kenny MacAskill's (Scots Justice Secretary) saying "Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown." is not a dark period in Scots law, but a shining beacon of a country whose legal system is sufficiently advanced so as to be able to consider the release of a convicted terrorist to spend his remaining days in his home country with his family.
On Wiki it says, "In the United States, where 180 of the 270 victims came from, the decision met with overwhelming hostility. Most families of the victims were "outraged and dismayed" by the decision, calling it "despicable," "ludicrous," "appalling," "heartbreaking," an "absolutely horrible decision," and "an absolutely disgusting disgrace.".
The problem is... reading up on the case, there are numerous evident inconsistencies and illogical decisions. The courts may have found him guilty, but I am afraid there is more than reasonable doubt to warrant a full investigation of the bombing. To the families (except one), they lost a relative but appear to have profitted fairly well financially, so to vent this amount of vitriol at this stage with so many unanswered questions is unforgivable, and it completely flies in the face of the general American ethic. Sure, the original terrorist act was a very bad thing. But is it not in our abilities to show compassion after this time? If we cannot do that, if we stick to the ideas of an eye for an eye, then how can we claim any form of superiority, to say we are better, more balanced, more democratic, etc etc.
The final thing to consider - he was indicted (by judges, not a jury!), but there are doubts. What sort of justice is it when there is the possibility of seeing the wrong man die.
There is a website http://www.boycottscotland.com/ which asks in an impassionate way that we all boycott the country. Don't go there on holidays, don't buy Scottish products...
Let me quote for you the final paragraph:
Is it because we are Americans? Is it because America has so frequently been attacked and vilified in the United Kingdom and Europe and the Middle East? Is that what this all comes down to, the fact that we have not been shown compassion precisely because we are Americans? Compassion for terrorists, but not for the victims.
Funny. Not one mention of Iran Air Flight 655. Not even a mention of the fact that not only was nobody jailed for the crime, those responsible eventually received various medals for their service - a service which included the massacre of 290 people.
And they dare call this justice?
The invasion of Iraq. Not legal, not wanted, and ultimately not justified as no WOMDs were ever found. This was not much of a surprise to Europe, but the American administration was happy to march in and bring Saddam to his knees. They eventually found him and hung him, but was that it? Or is Iraq still a mess? Civilians die regularly. Army personnel die regularly. US soldiers killed in the line of duty for a conflict that ultimately was not necessary.
Want to know why Americans tend to be vilified in Europe? It's because the concept of NATO was intended so that one country did not have to stand alone in an invasion. Friends help each other, and NATO embodies this. The principle wasn't intended to be hijacked by the Americans as a way of getting extra troops in their various incursions.
But the ultimate - why America is disliked in the middle east. Well sheeee-it, are you really that stupid?
The worst thing of all, though, is idiotic campaigns such as "boycott Scotland" could lead to job losses and the closure of industries of people who had no specific feeling either way about the release of Megrahi, and certainly no influence in the decision. In all that I have written above, when I say "America", I am referring mainly to the image of the country as a whole. Usually to the administration and its foreign policy. There are many good American people. Shall we hate them and try to ruin their lives with pointless boycotts based upon things to which they have no control? The invasion of Iraq has tied the world up in a terrible mess, so I will no longer buy another Hewlett-Packard printer ever... do you see how nonsensical this is.
If you don't, then to keep all things even - http://www.boycottamerica.org/
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Last read at 21:34 on 2020/07/03.
© 2009 Rick Murray
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