Thursday, August 27, 2009


The recent release of the convicted Lockerbie mass murder Al-Megrahi has prompted some heated rhetoric that has flooded the world media and the Internet. The overall reaction appears overwhelmingly against the decision by the Scottish Justice Secretary. This appears to many as the transparent attempt by the British government with the Scots acting as their agents to further cement economic relations with Libya. This reaction has prompted some aggressively defensive Scots folk to engage invectives that make them look more like a cornered, last gasp critter looking to do and say anything to mount a defense of their government’s actions. The responses of what appears to be a very vocal minority can be seen in many threads and forums from overseas to include the reaction to The Scotsman’s Sunday editorial denouncing Scottish Justice Secretary MacAskill’s decision. These responses have been laughable and the heated, rabid mentalities that generated them propose that if you disagree with the decision then you are part of the problem.

Seems that some folks can’t focus on the reality of their own situation deflecting legitimate criticism by bashing us on the other side of the pond. Americans are being characterized as a merciless lot, engaging yet another attempt to make the Scots subservient (?) and that we are the real bad guys now with one fella pounding me because I live in Texas and we have the death penalty? Like I said, it is mostly laughable and again I say, “I am ashamed.”

Many of these threads appear to be dominated by a relatively few individuals who are hopping around various forums and blogs inserting their negative “supportive” comments whenever they can. The ramblings of some of these more inane defensive (presumably) Scots prompted the following contribution to The Scotsman forum by yours truly.

“I have always appreciated, respected and sought out differing opinions in my quest for the truth. I try to carefully weigh all opinions and the evidence at hand. Some of the responses that disagree with last Sunday’s editorial in The Scotsman don’t jive with what appears to many Scots and Americans as the carefully choreographed machinations of the British Government (not the US) facilitating Al-Megrahi’s release in a quid pro quo for oil and trade concessions. The reports of negotiations, the coincidental withdrawal of Al-Megrahi’s appeal and his almost immediate release give reason to question the motivation of this decision. I haven’t heard from anyone in the United States who agrees with this obviously staged and politically motivated release of a man convicted of terrorism and mass murder. Obviously reasons other than compassion were at play.

As for insinuating that Scotland’s “servitude of 300 years” is due to foreign countries including America who disagree with the release is absolutely absurd. Just take a trip to Drummossie Moor to understand that the English fomented that and one of the reasons why so many of you are over here…

The Scotsman was spot on and it took courage to stand up for the truth. I have far from a “weak mind and faint heart” and last I remember it was mostly Americans that were killed on Pan Am Flight 103. Yes, I think that foreign opinion (individual or collective) does ultimately count though agree that each sovereign nation (or aspirant like Scotland) has to responsibly govern and as in this case, enforce their own laws. However, to invalidate or diminish the significance of other opinions is pure insensitive and na├»ve arrogance or someone with a different agenda. The United States would probably have engaged a different legal tact had they been aware Al-Megrahi was even a potential candidate for release. Looks like the Libyans (premeditated or not) have driven a wedge between two old Friends.

In my opinion MacAskill was terribly wrong with many members of the Scots Parliament adamant in their condemnation of his actions and are bringing him before their august body to explain his actions. The Prisoner and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act of 1993 appears to be the law MacAskill has invoked though it is not applied in every case. It appears to be an option and not as we would say in the US, a slam dunk, especially as other petitions have been rejected because the prisoner was, like Al-Megrahi, “unrepentant” or their medical conditions did not warrant consideration. In England and Wales the law stipulates that prisoners to be so considered should be "bedridden or severely incapacitated".

Foreign bullying? Not from this American of Scots origin. Scotland has the right to administer their laws as they see fit. The deed is done and I certainly think the America bashing is as absurd as any attempt to boycott Scotland and her products. It appears that a very vocal minority are pleading support for the decision, bashing “vengeful” Americans along the way while triumphantly proclaiming great compassionate Scottish ideals? By the way, the “American Judicial System” also allows for compassionate release under “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances similar to the Scots law.

I think that most would have preferred the continuing pursuit of justice by granting Al-Megrahi’s appeal and going from there.

By the way I would like to see a Free and independent Scotland though after whatever happened here, it’s time to pay the piper… No matter, ashamed or not, I will always be a Friend of Scotland through thick and thin.”

MacAskill’s so called independent and solitary deliberations appear a farce of the first order when one looks at the preliminary meetings between Libyan and British representatives, the communication between the British and Scottish authorities and the convincing representations of the Libyans even to the timing of the arrival of the plane to take Al-Megrahi home.

The Dallas Morning News in one of their more sterling
editorials labeled the whole affair as, “Poppycock” and notes that we are dealing with two issues. One, the questionable release of a convicted mass murderer and two, the issue of Al Megrahi’s guilt. For me the release without the continuing pursuit of justice is a travesty.

The angst, foaming defenders of MacAskill will soon form a band of brothers, those happy few who can gather round the fire and hum a few bars of Kum By Ya whilst pondering the real Scottish injustice – the failure to allow Al-Megrahi his appeal in an ultimate quest for the truth.


Ned Buxton

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