Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Full Tilt in the Devil's Arcade

One wonders whether Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, given unfettered access to Professor Peabody's crown jewel, would opt to travel back in time to the moment immediately prior to the one in which he decided that Scotland would release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi "on compassionate grounds". The moment before MacAskill made the decision to allow al-Megrahi, the now terminally ill terrorist who was convicted of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, in which he murdered 270 innocents, including 259 on board a transatlantic flight that ended in tragedy in the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland, to be released home to Libya to die as opposed to living out his remaining days in a Scottish prison. Of the 259 passengers on board Flight 103 on December 21, 1988, 189 of them were Americans.

While that moment might seem to be the obvious choice, it may not in fact be the one that MacAskill opts to stop the WABAC at - or at the very least it may not be the first one. Instead he may opt for this one: Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the warm homecoming welcome for al-Megrahi breached assurances from Libyan authorities that "any return would be dealt with in a low-key and sensitive fashion." "It is a matter of great regret that Mr. (al-) Megrahi was received in such an inappropriate manner," MacAskill told the Scottish parliament. "It showed no compassion or sensitivity to the families of the 270 victims of Lockerbie."

Allow that declaration to wash over your skull cap for a moment - MacAskill is genuinely surprised that the Libyans lied to him. Really? Who ever would have expected such unscrupulous behavior from Moammar Gadhafi and his gang. The obvious answer to that question is the Justice Minister of Scotland.

Forgive the lack of compassion in this corner for al-Megrahi. Apparently British doctors had estimated that al-Megrahi has but a few months to live as he is said to be terminally ill with cancer. Apparently, under the Scottish justice system "compassionate release" is utilized on a regular basis when a prisoner is near death and, according to MacAskill, he made the sole determination that al-Megrahi qualified for such treatment.

There is apparently a suspicion afoot (which may have as much basis in fact as all of the inane discussion about President Obama's citizenship) that in spite of the British government's statements to the contrary and Minister MacAskill's willingness to fall upon his William Wallace-sized broadsword that perhaps the Brits were motivated to "help" the Scots reach the decision they did by the lure of Texas Tea.

Whether MacAskill was the fool beforehand that he has been revealed to be in retrospect is an open question. One hopes that he did not condition his decision to exercise compassion for a monster in whole or in part upon a promise not to "make too big a deal over it". Given the number of American lives lost on Flight 103 one would have thought that perhaps MacAskill would have consulted someone on this side of the Atlantic before exercising compassion for this particular prisoner.

By placing compassion for one ahead of compassion for two hundred and seventy, MacAskill opted to make a deal with the devil. When one shakes hands with Lucifer to consecrate the pact he cannot be heard to complain about burning his fingers. It is, after all, to be expected is it not?


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