Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A day of shame for Scotland

The justice secretary in Scotland's devolved government, one Kenny MacAskill, approved the release and return to Libya of a man convicted of taking part in the 21 December 1988 Lockerbie bombing, in which 270 people were murdered aboard a PanAm Boeing 747 and on the ground in and around the Scottish border village of Lockerbie.

MacAskill said he had made the decision on 'compassionate grounds', and had been assured that the arrival in Libya of the convicted terrorist Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi would be handled in a 'low-key and sensitive fashion.'

What?

The compassionate grounds are that the terrorist is dying of prostate cancer and has only a few months to live. Both Scottish and, let it be remembered, US federal law have provisions enabling the release of convicted prisoners on these grounds. But surely the decision ought to take into account the compassion this terrorist showed to the 270 innocents who died a sudden and terrible death aboard PanAm Flght 103 and in Lockerbie as a result of his actions.

As for the promise of a 'low-key and sensitive' return home ceremony - this (broken) agreement, and recent revelations in the UK media suggest that the release of this terrorist was part of a complex and squalid deal between Libya and the British government (quite possibly with the knowledge and tacit blessing of the US government) to bring Libya back into the civilised community of nations, and within reach of UK and US oil companies eager to get their hands on Libya's petroleum reserves.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has maintained an eloquent and damning silence. This in turn suggests that he knew of and smiled upon the proposal to release the terrorist, and that he is happy to allow MacAskill to carry the blame for it.

Not only is this decision an insult to the Lockerbie victims, it is an insult to coalition troops currently fighting terrorism of a different flavour in Afghanistan. It offers no comfort to the families of the victims, it offers no reassurance to British soldiers that they are doing a worthwhile job, and it proclaims to terrorists and rogue states that in Britain principle and conscience have no value - only a price, which can be negotiated if necessary.

I am sickened by what the Holyrood government in Edinburgh has done, with the (to me) clear collusion of a Scottish prime minister of Britain, Gordon Brown.

I am a proud Scot and I grieve for my country.

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