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Monday, August 24, 2009 

The Maltese double cross part 3.

If there's one thing that's worse than releasing a convicted mass murderer on cynical grounds, to help with trade between two countries, it must be to play politics on a decision that was in fact made in good faith on purely humanitarian grounds. The nauseating sight of seeing all three other main parties in Scotland, Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems, all opposing the decision made by Kenny MacAskill, must almost certainly be the Scottish parliament's lowest point since it came into existence. The Tories and Labour may well have opposed the decision if it was theirs to make - their playing to the gallery can never be doubted - but for the Lib Dems to do the same is pure political calculation.

Of course, whether the decision was purely MacAskill's, and how much Westminster knew about what was going on is now being questioned. Ivan Lewis seems to have sent a letter which openly encouraged sending al-Megrahi home, although through the prisoner exchange deal rather than on compassionate grounds, while the dealings between Brown and Mandelson with Gaddafi's both junior and senior now seem to have been far more significant than either first claimed. Further evidence that suggests that Westminster was just as complicit as the SNP is that David Miliband refused to be drawn on what he really thought about al-Megrahi's release, while Gordon Brown has said absolutely nothing on the subject so far. Partially this might well be because they know full well that the SNP would like nothing better to be able to put some of the blame on Labour, but it also seems to reflect the fact that despite all the cant, no one seems to have really wanted al-Megrahi to stay. Dave Osler sums this theory in general up:

In sum, we are faced with a straightforward case of New Labour setting aside any other consideration than what works for major UK companies, building its foreign policy in that light alone, and then passing the buck north of the border. That - this once - its actions were consonant with the correct course is simply felicitous coincidence.

This would be fully in line with New Labour's foreign policy both past and present, yet it still hasn't personally passed the buck north, just rather letting the SNP take the blame whether it is entirely theirs or not.

The continuing outrage from the US however continues to amuse, most hilarious being Robert Mueller and others comment that al-Megrahi's release gives comfort to "terrorists worldwide". Only someone so up themselves and so crimson with unjustified rage could believe that anyone would take comfort from the fact that if they happened to find themselves in Scottish custody and with just three months to live they might just be released. It's instructive to wonder however just how al-Megrahi might have been treated had he found himself in US custody - would he have been threatened with having his children killed, or having his mother sexually assaulted in front of him? Would he have been waterboarded, threatened with a gun, and told that a fellow prisoner had been summarily executed in order to get him to talk? Perhaps just the sheer inhumanity of so-called American justice can be encapsulated by the 7 years that a 12 year old Afghani spent in Guantanamo, having finally been released. It says something about the imperial arrogance of the United States, even under Obama, that it feels it can lecture anyone on how to treat terrorists, although when everyone except the very lowest of the low have been prosecuted for the rendition programme and all the according prison abuses, it perhaps still believes itself to be above the law.

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"...although when everyone except the very lowest of the low have been prosecuted for the rendition programme..."

Think that should be Nobody.

Agree the nausea over the other three parties. Not so sure about the decision being "in fact made on compassionate grounds" though. Sure that was the the legal basis but the whole sorry saga is so murky as to pretty much guarantee that 'for public consumption' reasons for decisions has trumped real hidden reasons for many years now.

As for Mueller. He was IC US investigation activities at the time and their place man at the phony trial. Unless he is an innocent abroad (ie pigs can fly) he was deeply involved in the framing of Megragi which makes his pronouncements all the more sickeningly Machiavellian.

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