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Friday, August 21, 2009

Color me less than surprised

 [A guest post rant by Zahava]

Having just returned from a well-deserved vacation up north with my family, I have been catching up on non-urgent email, blogs and... yes, the news

[commence: rant]

Seems that while we were up north, Scotland caved and decided to release the only person convicted in connection with the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing

That would have been bad enough.  But it seems that even though Scotland said 'pretty please', Libya chose to ignore the request to keep the mass murderer's return to his native land a solemn and toned-down affair to respect the 270 victims’ families’ on-going grief.

I for one am shocked! Shocked, I say!

What is more disturbing to me than the hero’s welcome this monster is receiving, is the naive global response to it.  I mean really... did Scotland (and the rest of the civilized world) really not see this coming? Because, ya know, there have been signs – lots of ‘em -- that the Islamic world (the one you insist Israel should be able to make peace with), doesn't exactly play by the same set of rules as the rest of us. 

Oh, I know... this release was intended to show compassion for a man who is terminally ill with an estimated 3 months left to live.  Well, I say that's tough for him.  Where was his compassion for almost 300 innocent people he erased from the world? 

Just in case there are any readers who still think Scotland did the right thing, please read a small section of the information revealed in the crash investigation:

All 243 passengers and 16 crew members were killed.  Eleven residents of Lockerbie also died. Most of the passengers were from the United States.  A Scottish Fatal Accident Inquiry, which opened on 1 October 1990, heard that, when the cockpit broke off, tornado-force winds tore through the fuselage, tearing clothes off passengers and turning insecurely-fixed items like food and drink trolleys into lethal objects. Because of the sudden change in air pressure, the gases inside the passengers' bodies would have expanded to four times their normal volume, causing their lungs to swell and then collapse. People and objects not fixed down would have been blown out of the aircraft into the −46 °C (−50.8 °F) outside air, their 31,000-foot (9,400 m) fall lasting about two minutes.[12][page needed] Some passengers remained attached to the fuselage by their seat belts, crashing in Lockerbie strapped to their seats.
Although the passengers would have lost consciousness through lack of oxygen, forensic examiners believe some of them might have regained consciousness as they fell toward oxygen-rich lower altitudes. Forensic pathologist Dr William G. Eckert, director of the Milton Helpern International Center of Forensic Sciences at Wichita State University, who examined the autopsy evidence, told Scottish police he believed the flight crew, some of the flight attendants, and 147 other passengers survived the bomb blast and depressurization of the aircraft, and may have been alive on impact. None of these passengers showed signs of injury from the explosion itself, or from the decompression and disintegration of the aircraft.

And even more disturbing to me is that, by the time the next news cycle rolls around, any of you who had the decency to be outraged by the release of this mass murderer will have calmed down and 'moved on' 

Color me less than surprised.

 [/ rant]

Posted by David Bogner on August 21, 2009 | Permalink

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Couldn't have said it better myself.

Posted by: Noa | Aug 21, 2009 9:06:46 PM

Yes, you are totally right to condemn the Lockerbie Bombing as cruel and inhuman. But isn't it a sign of humanity to show compassion even to a mass-murder? What me really shocked (but not surprised) was the reaction of the hailing and reveling masses in the islamic world; and what me really made angry was not the fact of letting him pass away at home, but the fact that there is obviously no condition to hold him under house arrest, what – in my eyes – had to be the minimum of punishment!

(sorry for my bad English ;) )

Greets from Hamburg, Germany,
Peter

Posted by: Peter | Aug 21, 2009 9:39:09 PM

But isn't it a sign of humanity to show compassion even to a mass-murder?

He received decades of compassion by not being executed for his role in this.

Posted by: Jack | Aug 21, 2009 10:34:35 PM

a wise woman here in the states often says that we do not show value for life by showing compassion to people who do not value life. I tend to agree with her.

As for Scotland (one of the lands of my ancestors) I can only say, if they've lost nerve, then I can't think of any other European country that remains with any nerve, save maybe the Irish.

And here I thought a "life" sentence meant "life" sentence. Urgh. ;o/

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Aug 21, 2009 11:07:55 PM

I would be much less upset if I had any reason to believe that part of the deal was his full and detailed confession.

Posted by: Sona | Aug 22, 2009 12:34:45 AM

my primary rage lies with the every man woman and child of Libya. Here is to reinforcing global stereotypes! *lifts glass*

"Oh no its the Libyans! Quick Marty to the Dolorian!"
lol back to the future references work in all situations

but what are your thoughts it may have something to do with trade?

Posted by: Austin | Aug 22, 2009 5:53:22 PM

Noa: Thank you.

Peter: Thanks for taking the time to comment! And as to your English -- I can only hope that one day my Hebrew will be as strong as your English! :-) You have nothing which begs apology!

With regards to it being a sign of compassion to release a mass-murderer, I hope that the following helps explain my perspective better: Maimonides in his book The Guide of the Perplexed (In reference to the verse (Exodus 21:14), “If a person willfully schemes to kill his neighbor – he shall be (even) taken from my altar and put to death”), writes that "the wicked and calculating person (who killed intentionally and was sentenced to death) – if he seeks sanctuary among us, we must not provide him with asylum and not have mercy upon him...because compassion towards the wicked – is cruelty to all beings."

The victims of this man's crimes were shown no shred of compassion. They were literally ripped from the sky leaving their loved ones to agonize in their senseless execution. Now, these families again must have salt rubbed in their wounds -- first in the fact that this monster is being released, and second in the manner in which he was received in Libya. How is this compassionate?

Jack: I am not sure I agree. But then again, I don't think it is proper to show compassion to this human incarnation of pure evil.

Wry Mouth: This wise woman is wise indeed!

Sona: May I assume that the "satisfaction" in receiving a confession would be the detailed implication of the other collaborators and a second chance at justice?

Austin: I have no idea if the release is linked to trade. The thought alone, however, is revolting.


Posted by: zahava | Aug 22, 2009 9:28:35 PM

As a recent ole chadash from Scotland with a legal background, I offer you the following:

The mainstream media has largely ignored some crucial details about Megrahi's culpability and conviction. If you want to read something worthwhile about the Lockerbie bombers' trial and legal process, I recommend the 2001 report published by Private Eye magazine in the UK in 2001 and written, I believe, by the late Paul Foot. You can buy it online here for £5.

During my time as a lawyer in Scotland, I was fortunate enough to meet Professor Robert Black (before Lockerbie) and was very impressed by his legal skills, knowledge and passion for fairness. He is, so far as I can tell, a mensch. So, I am greatly influenced by his views on the Lockerbie saga - that justice was not done - and these views appear to be reasonably well summarised here.

It looks as if Megrahi was framed or, at least, badly done to. In short, it would also appear a deal was done to get him to drop the appeal so as to avoid some very embarrassing evidence about the weaknesses in the prosecution case. I don't have the expertise or the knowledge, however, to say if this set of circumstances was a cock up or conspiracy. I don't believe Megrahi's conviction was sustainable because, in brief, there was no real evidence against him. From memory, Paul Foot suggested the USA and Brits knew who planted the bomb and it was not the Libyans. Of course it's possible, despite the woeful lack of evidence, that Megrahi was involved, but I wonder if we will ever really know.

None of this is any comfort for the families of the bereaved and they are the people I truly feel sorry for. Given what I have said above, the worst aspect may be that they may never get real justice for their loved ones.

Separately, I feel some sympathy for the Scottish Government and the position they were put in. No matter the public declarations about the release decision being one for the Scots, I would be astonished if they were not leaned on in a big way by the Westminster Crew (and maybe even the USA?) to release Megrahi and avoid the unknown consequences of - and fallout from - the appeal. Oh, and the juicy oil deals available to big business will have added to the pressure. There will have been a collective sigh of relief in the offices of several secret service agencies as Megrahi flew out of Scotland.

Posted by: Ellis | Aug 22, 2009 10:50:54 PM

Zahava-
unfortunately those were some of the first headlines I read this morning. Denials on British side and most likely continued efforts by Ghaddafi to [insert obvious]. As a lower-end-20-something American I guess I do still have my bouts with naivete but...how disturbing this whole ordeal has been. Despite Megrahis illness and actual involvement and guilt...the guilt of the Libyan peoples evil response should be shared by the Scottish courts.

Posted by: Austin | Aug 23, 2009 12:21:34 AM

Zahava-
unfortunately those were some of the first headlines I read this morning. Denials on British side and most likely continued efforts by Ghaddafi to [insert obvious]. As a lower-end-20-something American I guess I do still have my bouts with naivete but...how disturbing this whole ordeal has been. Despite Megrahis illness and actual involvement and guilt...the guilt of the Libyan peoples evil response should be shared by the Scottish courts.

Posted by: Austin | Aug 23, 2009 12:21:36 AM

In the Arab world, there is no bottom below which they cannot sink.

I hope his disease affords him little rest, even at home as a hero.
May G-d avenge the blood of those killed in the bombing, as obviously, humanity is not up to the task.

Posted by: LeahGG | Aug 23, 2009 1:02:24 AM

I was of the opinion at the time that the Syrians and Iranians were just as involved in the planning and execution of the bombing as Libya. Imagine if a Jew or Israeli was involved in a similar bombing and was released to his Israeli relatives. What would be the world reaction? What is world reaction to the new Iranian Defense Minister,implicated in the Argentinian bombing?

Posted by: ED | Aug 23, 2009 6:04:14 AM

Terrorists Go Scot Free
The release of the Lockerbie terrorist is exactly what we should have expected.

By Andrew C. McCarthy


There was precious outrage in some mainstream media quarters Friday over the Obama administration’s pusillanimous reaction to Scotland’s release of PanAm 103 bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. But what were they expecting?

Megrahi has been transferred home to Libya. The release of the Lockerbie terrorist was said to be on humanitarian grounds, because Megrahi is said to be terminally ill. The action, though, was totally discretionary on Scotland’s part and could have been stopped by Britain. The Obama administration did nothing meaningful to stop it from happening. Perhaps the White House and the State Department were too embarrassed to try. In June, when they made arrangements with Bermuda’s prime-minister to transfer four of the Uighur detainees (trained jihadists) from Guantanamo Bay to the tiny island, they cut the British government out of the secret negotiations — even though Britain, aside from being our closest ally, is responsible for the foreign policy and national security of Bermuda, its protectorate.

Laughably, the president is reported to have called for the terrorist to be placed under house arrest and to have “warned” Colonel Gadhafi “not to give him a hero’s welcome.” Here’s AP’s report of what happened next:

Despite the warning, thousands of young men were on hand at a Tripoli airport where al-Megrahi’s plane touched down. Some threw flower petals as he stepped from the plane. . . . He was accompanied by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who was dressed in a traditional white robe and golden embroidered vest. The son pledged last year to bring al-Megrahi home and raised his hand victoriously to the crowd as he exited the plane. . . .

At home, al-Megrahi, 57, is seen as an innocent scapegoat the West used to turn this African nation into a pariah. At the airport, some wore T-shirts with his picture and waved Libyan and miniature blue-and-white Scottish flags. Libyan songs blared in the background. “It’s a great day for us,” 24-year-old Abdel-Aal Mansour said. “He belongs here, at home.” Moammar Gadhafi lobbied hard for the return of al-Megrahi.

Megrahi, who was convicted and sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment, served eight years in prison.

By contrast, Binyam Mohammed, the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla who plotted a post-9/11 second wave of mass-murder attacks targeting American cities, is now living free (and on public assistance) in England after President Obama released him outright, without prosecution. Mohammed had previously been detained as an enemy combatant by Pres. George W. Bush.

Obama’s Justice Department, meanwhile, gave a lesser-charges plea deal to Ali Saleh Kallah al-Marri, another member of al-Qaeda’s second-wave plot. The deal caps Marri’s potential sentence at 15 years and permits the judge to impose as little as the time Marri has already served, meaning about six years.

Consider the human context in which those decisions were made: Several high officials in the Obama Justice Department, including Attorney General Eric Holder, must be recused from participation in various terrorism matters on conflict-of-interest grounds. This is because they or their firms represented numerous terrorists in litigation against the United States over the past eight years. And the Justice Department recently hired Jennifer Daskal, a left-wing activist from Human Rights Watch, to help shape its detainee policies. She has worked in behalf of terrorist prisoners for years. To give just a thumbnail sketch, Daskal has expressed doubt about the guilt of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (arguing that we may have tortured him into admitting to the atrocities he has repeatedly bragged about committing); has lamented that one detainee, “a self-styled poet,” suffered abuse in U.S. custody when he “found it was nearly impossible to write poetry anymore because the prison guards would only allow him to keep a pen or pencil in his cell for short periods of time”; and has argued on behalf of terrorist detainee Omar Khadr, who was 15 when he allegedly launched the grenade that killed U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer, because a prosecution of Khadr would violate his “rights as a child.” (Next month, Khadr will be 23.)

President Obama’s circle of friends includes Rashid Khalidi, a cohort of and flak for Yasser Arafat, the master terrorist responsible for two intifadas and the murder of U.S. diplomats in Sudan. It also includes the unrepentant former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

The Los Angeles Times observes that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered only muted criticism of the Megrahi release (she found it “deeply disappointing”). Mrs. Clinton was first lady when President Clinton pardoned (i.e., commuted the sentences of) 16 Puerto Rican terrorists whose organizations, including the FALN, had carried out numerous bombings in the United States. The pardons were transparently an effort to appeal to Hispanic voters in New York, where Mrs. Clinton was a candidate for the U.S. Senate. On his last day in office, moreover, Clinton also released Weather Underground terrorists Susan Rosenberg (whose 58-year sentence was thus commuted to 16 years) and Linda Sue Evans (whose 40-year sentence was thus commuted to 15 years).

In the Justice Department, pardon issues are overseen by the deputy attorney general. The DAG at the time of these Clinton commutations was Eric Holder. The Los Angeles Times adds that Holder meekly expressed regret that the interests of justice “have not been served by” Scotland’s release of Megrahi.

Obviously, the fecklessness of the Obama administration in response to Scotland’s release and Libya’s celebration of a terrorist who murdered 270 people, including 189 Americans, is outrageous. But the Obama administration is staffed with appeasers who all but ensure outcomes of this sort. What did we think the attitude of other countries was going to be when we put these folks in charge?

Posted by: mal | Aug 23, 2009 8:26:58 AM

Ellis: Thanks for taking the time to add valuable information to the discussion. Over Shabbat I read David Horovitz's editorial in Friday's Jerusalem Post, which also discusses these exact issues -- I had been previously unaware of them. To be clear: my rant was not so much directed at Scotland for releasing Megrahi as much as it was to express my bewilderment over the reaction to Libya's welcome! Surely this couldn't have been a surprise to anyone There was plenty of precedent. Surely the world hasn't forgotten the footage of Arabs celebrating after 9/11?!

LeahGG: Sadly, it would seem, humanity is falling far short of the task....

ED: What can I say? The world seems to be in categorical denial....

mal: I so wish I hadn't already eaten breakfast before reading your comment....

Posted by: zahava | Aug 23, 2009 9:36:53 AM

To be fair, the Us apparently saw it coming. Check out the date and first line of this NYT article:
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/08/20/us/politics/AP-US-US-Lockerbie.html

Posted by: Noah Roth | Aug 23, 2009 11:37:37 AM

...and everybody hates the Jews...

"ain chadash m'tachat l'shemesh."

Posted by: Batya | Aug 23, 2009 11:53:04 AM

The reaction of the people in Lybia was extremely shocking and disgraceful. So was the reception Ghaddafi got in France and Italy (by right-wing leaders who claim they reject terrorism) when he visited those two countries. Not to mention the fact that only one person got persecuted and sentenced for the crash; nobody in their right mind believes that this guy carried out the whole thing just by himself.
The whole thing is very depressing altogether and makes me wonder at the world's wisdom.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Aug 23, 2009 11:57:42 AM

mal is a bit too conspiracy theory for my blood

Posted by: Austin | Aug 23, 2009 1:51:47 PM

Austin: Apologies -- I missed your first comment from today. Yes, as I said to Ellis, after reading the paper over Shabbat I became aware that the release itself has some complicated back-stories of which I was unaware when penning this rant. But as I have also said -- my rant is specific to the naive global expectation that the Libyans would have acted any differently than they did.

Noah: Yep... so it would seem....

Batya: Cynical, but these days sadly on target.....

Ilana-Davita: My point is that the behavior was disgraceful, but hardly shocking. To people willing to believe that the fundamentalists say exactly what they mean with regards to us Joos and others who they (the fundamentalists) find objectionable, the behavior was sadly anticipated. Only those who are either a) incapable of accepting that fundamental/radical Islam calls for the destruction and/or complete dominion of infidels, or b) have an incredible ability to willing suspend their disbelief could have possibly not considered this as a plausible and/or likely result.

Posted by: zahava | Aug 23, 2009 8:40:21 PM

This was not really the work of Scotland. They are just a little provincial administration with not much more powers than an Iriya. They are just loving playing to the gallery as a Nation on the March Putting Up the Finger to the Mighty US.

The Treaty that let Megrahi go back was actually tailor made for him. And it was made, agreed, ratified by Gordon Brown's UK govt. It was in return for huge oil & gas contracts. A clause in the Treaty specifically said the UK had to agree any prisoner transfer. Gordon Brown could have stopped the release even if you're gullible enough to believe this decision was taken by Scotland independently of the UK.

Obama & his administration know this very well & have played up to Scotland's grandstanding in an utterly hypocritical way. They raved about the disgusting welcome Megrahi got on his return to Libya, but had nothing at all to say about the real murderer in chief, Gaddafi, who planned, commissioned, financed and sent Megrahi (distantly related) to do the legwork of setting in motion the murder of 270 people ordered by Gaddafi. Then spent years working on springing Megrahi by getting blood money paid to relatives and oil & gas contracts to the Brits. Easy when you are an unchallenged dictator and have all that oil.

Obloquy where obloquy is due.

Posted by: Judy | Aug 25, 2009 4:21:28 AM

A PLEA FOR COMPASSION :
SUPPORTING SCOTLAND’S HUMANITARIAN PENAL POLICY


WHY SCOTLAND’S Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, was right to release Locherbie bomber and allow him to return to Libya, and why Mr Mueller, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Lib Dems in Scotland and Gordan Brown in England are perfectly wrong.
Frankly, I am not concerned as to how Libya or Gadaffi receive the reprieved victim of Scottish commiseration. I believe such matters to be anterior the concern to hand and , to my mind should not concern anyone else unduly either. If there have been financial or commercial inducements involved, then such features would not doubt be unsavory, but in the public domain, I hardly think they can be denied. And in any event future cases -- not unlike the shenanigans and delays of Jack Straw -- may be avoided.
If I had any regrets or misgivings in supporting Mr Kenny MacAskill in his very ordinary response to a dying man, it is because he takes refuge behind what he considers are the concerns of what he regards the support of the Christian churches. This , of course, is not to say that his decision is not inspired by a secular view of history, rather than an appeal to any false notions of Christian propaganda. For far too long the Christian Churches have had no problem burning suspects or having them hanged, drawn and quartered when appropriate, or passing them over to the secular authorities to execute people on their behalf, as well as by supporting the secular state in hanging people for the past fifteen hundred years, but particularly throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. Indeed, if the Catholic Church and the Papacy was half as inclined to campaign against the death penalty as it is against abortion, the US would be rid of it. At which stage, they might well realise that they need not kill people to deter criminals, or to feel secure in their Christianity.
That said, let me say that I support the Justice Secretary’s decision entirely, and on the following grounds.
China and the US are the primary people who still execute people. Year in , year out, their is no recourse to such a concept as compassion. One feels that this is probably due -- especially in America -- to the fact that they have missed out on an entire span of the religious wars, which, when conducted in Europe, invariably led to the hanging , drawing and quartering of Christians by Christians.
Before that the same Christians -- invariably Catholics -- burned Witches, Heretics and Dissidents, including millions of Pagans, Huguenots, and Albigensian,and who have conducted their hateful campaign against socialists, anarchists, communists, freemasons, homosexuals, and other minorities too numerous across the world to mention.
Unfortunately, it was at this stage of the colonial spread of Catholic missionary hate that the US and South America was introduced to European Christianity. And without recourse to the former centuries of butchery, are not, perhaps, quite aware on Death Row that people who have deep beliefs are apt to die with those beliefs, without changing their minds in the slightest. Perhaps they are inurred to such historical insights. In any event, it is part -- not of Christian history, which is invariable -- but of European secular history ; to concede the impossibility and , indeed, the implausibility, and , indeed, the undesirability, of changing another’s religiously held beliefs by a death threat is rather obtuse. Such behavior, though perfectly Christian, is considered by some as barbarous, futile and perfectly redundant. Convince a man without his will, he’s of the same opinion still!
Given that a person is going to die, then the civilized attitude is to allow them to die in a dignity peculiar to themselves. What does it matter how the Prodigal Son is treated by his own? No matter how much you disapprove of it, it is only for a short time and it is, after all, another humans most deeply held belief. What I hope Europe has learned from its endless saints and martyrs is precisely what the US has not learned from its past, including its recent past in Guantanimo Bay. One likes to think that Europe has learned the simple fact, that the most human society can extract from any man by way of punitive retaliation is his life -- which is his liberty entire. That being the case, the purpose of punishment is over when a man is in imminent danger of extinction. Nothing remains for a punitive society but to look to itself and to its own probity; for it is a peculiar truth that every creature’s extinction summons us all to a self-consciousness and a self-judgment. We have to account to ourselves for our own being. Obviously, those who are practice torture and the like have no compunction about the death of others, or of bearing witness to the death of others, however undignified that death may be.
And that is why Scotland of the Tribes. of Scotia, of the Bruces, the Wallaces, the Walter Scots, the Robbie Burns, the McAlpines, the Macbeths and the Campbells, of the Enlightenment thinkers, and of the secular sciences of our own day -- that is why we should support their Justice Secretary and say ‘no’ to American interference, to Libyan triumphalism, Gordon Brown’s Sassanach indifference, and affirm the Scottish principle of compassion and mercy under instant circumstances.
When Kenny MacAskill knew that his captive was dying, he knew what he had to do; for at that moment the entire Criminal Justice System and the values it purports to maintain for and on behalf of every Scot were in his hands. To go the way of the Americans is to personalise the entire process of our civilization, just as Mr Jack Straw has done recently in delaying the release of Ronnie Biggs, the great train robber, under similar conditions, is to toy personally with torture and cruelty. Such a tyranny is --- and should be -- no mans, at least no servant of either the Crown or the people.
That Ronnie Biggs was not repentant has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the decision Jack Straw was empowered to make; by adverting to repentance as a condition precedent for Biggs’ release, Mr Straw went the way of all tyrants and imagined that the power of the English people reposed in his personal preferences. To let Biggs die in prison simply because he would not express some formulaic confessional repentance is to take the penal system back to the middle ages, when Regicides, Judaizers, Witches and Heretics were forced to opt for the ‘one-true-church’ or die on the rack of the Dominican and Franciscan inquisitors. Secular penal history has withstood the awful tide of these religious bigots -- Mr Jack Straw and American Presidents notwithstanding...
Let us therefore ignore the strong persuasive values of all these public Judaea Christians, who merely act out the awful logic of their internalized belief-systems -- and, instead, let us rejoice in the singular secular voice of Scotland.
Perhaps it should be remembered by those of us who claim to teach our children the virtue of mercy, that it is two-edged. When the State kills or executes someone it diminishes itself, and when America and China executes their prisoners they diminish every human on the entire planet.
In reminding us of the grace of mercy , Scotland is at this moment our real criminological Alter Ego. As the bard put it long ago:
The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
The Merchant Of Venice Act 4, scene 1, 180–187
It is disappointing to realise that these considerations form little or nothing of the penological repertoire of the US, even under the new sway of Black Caesar, whose clement is to date more in seeming than in doing. Perhaps he is being misled by the residual exigencies of war-minded America.
Indeed, if there was less penetration of American society by an outdated notion of the Christian and avaricious churches, by the doctrines of ‘an-eye-for-an-eye’, a bodybag for a body bag, several of theirs for one of ours -- perhaps a little more reflection upon European and Darwinian themes and , indeed, upon American history, they ,too, might see the wisdom of refusing to pursue every person, whether native Indian, Afrio-American or white settler, who receives a capital sentence to death.
Moreover, when one considers those persons released as part of the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement -- as well as the role of those who played a part in having terrorists released, including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and the responsive opposition parties -- how can the present American lobby sustain such a black press against Scotland? How can Minister Gordon Brown remain silent on the current issue?
Scotland’s decision to release men in state of imminent death is to be supported, and one can only hope that it is supported by every sensible and humane person on earth as well as every criminological body in Scotland and the US.
Well done, Scotland! We want more of the same, not less!

Seamus Breathnach
www.irish-criminology.com

Posted by: seamus breathnach | Aug 25, 2009 9:26:22 PM

Seamus: Were it that Megrahi had been incarcerated on the grounds of his belief system rather than the calculated murder of nearly 300 people, your argument might be relevant. However, unlike those put to death during the middle ages, this man was not guilty of failing to conform to the ruling belief system. He was not persecuted for his theological beliefs -- in fact, he was not persecuted. He was found guilty of a terrific criminal act against humanity.

Further, the purpose of state enforced punishment does not just involve the guilty party.

Your argument that this release is a victory for secular society against the members who still subscribe to theological doctrine is absurd. Unless, of course, you are suggesting that secular society completely surrenders itself to the forces of evil.

Posted by: zahava | Aug 26, 2009 10:20:27 AM

In today’s newspaper I had to read that Gordon Brown lied: As the Justice Secretary admitted, the freeing of al-Megrahi was part of a billion-$-deal (english in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/6143073/Revealed-Libya-paid-for-medical-advice-that-helped-Lockerbie-bombers-release.html) and had nothing to do with ethical questions. So I have to reveal I was wrong: Al-Megrahi should still be in jail, nothing else. I bag your pardon for my earlier posting, Zahava.

To be honest: I guess we won’t see any European or American „no blood for oil“-demos. It’s a shame…

Posted by: Peter | Sep 6, 2009 5:09:54 PM

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