Saturday, August 22, 2009


I have always been proud of Scotland and all that she stands for - until now.

The release of “former” Libyan intelligence officer and son of a dog Abdel Basset al-Megrahi who was serving a life sentence for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland which killed 270 people - 189 of them American, was heinous. What in God’s name (all of them) was the Scottish government thinking when they released him? What greater good could have been served by this incredibly insensitive act? Megrahi is a convicted murderer who should have served out his time in his jail cell and if need be - alone and in great pain, screaming in ultimate anguish as he drew his last breath.

The excuse for the “diplomacy” (that’s what it was) was that Megrahi had terminal cancer and showing compassion and releasing him to his home country to live out the rest of his days ostensibly surrounded by Friends and Family represented “Scottish Values” and was the right thing to do. As Scotland’s Justice Secretary Kenny “soft touch” MacAskill stated, Scottish law required that, "justice be served but mercy be shown." What a bunch of scat! In a show of false bravado and pseudo naïveté MacAskill rejected Megrahi’s release per the negotiated prisoner transfer agreement with Lybia and then released him (paradoxically) on “compassionate” grounds.

Well, that’s the gist of the official reasoning for this appalling lapse in logic though we know that this was one of the topics discussed a July 2009 meeting in Italy between Libyan “President” Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Following that meeting the Libyan government formally asked Scotland for Megrahi’s compassionate release. There were significant legal maneuverings prior to the decision. Sir Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Libya, warned that relations would be damaged if Megrahi were allowed to die in prison.

Yes, we do know that Great Britain and Libya are in bed together as relates to oil and trade agreements and that Great Britain is eager to engage “wider bilateral relations with Libya” and facilitate Libya’s ultimate return to the table of nations. Indeed, Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi has unashamedly stated in an interview with Libyan channel Al Mutawassit, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP) that "All British interests were linked to the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi."

AFP also reported that Islam Gadhafi stated further that, "In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (al-Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table," adding that then Prime Minister Tony Blair raised al Megrahi's case each time he visited Libya. Despite denials by the British government there sure is a smell coming from 10 Downing Street.

There are suggestions that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (a Scot) and his ilk choreographed this whole deal and in an ultimate good guy – bad guy Pontius Pilate scenario allowed Scotland to do the deed and then take the international heat. For the English there is a definitely a positive side to devolution.

Methinks it helps to put this all in perspective and I direct you to a great article by Iain Lundy at which defines the Lockerbie terror.

Fast forward to the video of Megrahi stepping down from Gaddafi’s private jet to a hero's welcome in Libya. Gadhafi’s son Islam who was on the flight escorting him home, raised Megrahi's hand in victory at the aircraft door. I found the image of Libyan and Scottish National Flags flying in the crowd absolutely sickening, eliciting incredible feelings of revulsion. The thousands of young men readied to welcome Megrahi were pared to about 300 by officials who were apparently trying (halfheartedly) to comply with the British and American requests for a low key return. Many of those that remained showered Megrahi with flower petals. The audio that accompanied the video chanted, “Victory to Al-Megrahi, Victory to the Libyan struggle, victory to all of Libya” These sentiments are far from a crowd celebrating the return of an innocent man.
Would be nice to know all the truth, ya ken?

Believe it or not I’ve been told that some Scottish folks have actually expressed support for this international faux pas and miscarriage of justice though I haven’t been able to find many of them yet – well some liberal newspapers, MacAskill, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and a few relatives of the Lockerbie residents killed when the Pan Am plane crashed into their town. Seems some remain unconvinced of his guilt?

Many others - seemingly a great majority - have expressed their horror and dismay over the release including Russell Brown a member of Scottish Parliament who told
The Scotsman. "I have never been ashamed to see my country's flag waved before, but to see it misused to celebrate mass murder is outrageous. This man is convicted of murdering 270 people in my part of Scotland and that conviction stands.”

Most residents of Locherbie were adamantly opposed to the release and David Mundell, member of the Scottish Parliament whose constituency includes Lockerbie stated, “The government has made a mistake of international proportions, These reports (of the flag being waved) are sickening."

Well the leopard has again shown his spots and now Gaddafi stands once again revealed. I think it appropriate to quote Montana Cowboy Poet Wally McRae, “You ain't changed, all that much.” Unfortunately he dragged down Scotland into his cesspool and calls the question whether Scotland is ready and worthy to become an independent nation. While some say this proves that Scotland has come of age, many more now think them unfit. The ramifications of this insensitive act have just started.

Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister answering the tumultuous roar of protests from the United States including President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, scores of US Senators and many more now insists that relations with the US will not be affected.

In a poignantly inarticulate moment Salmond said "The relationship between Scotland and the United States is deep and enduring and will continue to be deep and enduring.”

"We can't have a relationship based on always agreeing with each other. We have to have the ability to disagree where our system takes us in a different direction.”

Their system? Seems that this decision was made by Salmond and MacAskill with a little prodding from 10 Downing Street.

I am ashamed…


Ned Buxton

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