Al-Megrahi; international power politics at its worst…

Foreign policy is one of the areas where politics being the ‘art of the possible’ really hits home; it is an area where whether you like it or not you have to deal with the world as it is not as you would wish it was and how it is being well beyond your sphere of influence means that your say and ability to apply principle is further diminished. It would be easy to jump on the bandwagon and make this a post slating the SNP’s administration in Scotland or else turn it onto London like David Cameron has; easy but in my eyes wrong. This is a messy case and even the scrambles of Hillary Clinton and the US for the moral high ground ring hollow; so easily they forget the slaughter of innocents on an Iranian passenger plane 5 months prior to the bombing by an American military cruiser.

They have no outraged Secretary of State to plead for them; no Barack Obama to hammer into a government on their behalf but there is nothing less shocking or more right about that event. This is the problem with international power politics; the brutal reality is that each national government looks after it’s own interests and is more than prepared to ignore others.  Each claims to be representing higher ideals but none realistically is; the American government would not advocate so passionately for grieving Afghans and usually offers the most terse remarks when it frequently kills innocents.

Given this it would not be surprising if there were British trade issues involved. However, there is a wider issue as highlighted by  Christine Grahame, the courageous SNP MSP who has penned a piece for The Independent outlining the case for Al-Megrahi’s acquittal.  Reading it created in my mind significant doubt about his guilt and in my book that means unequivocally the decision to release was the right one; as has been said justice is not about retribution and revenge and never must be, this is why it is dolled out by judges and juries, not victims or their families.  Even taking that point; if there is reasonable doubt then that must mean acquittal in a legal system which presumes innocence and there seems to me here to be a large dollop of reasonable doubt and if Al-Megrahi should have never been convicted in the first place then the least that can be done now is he is allowed to die with his family, scant compensation for the injustice of his imprisonment but a sort of justice nonetheless.

It seems likely that this weighed heavily in the decision to release him; better the embarrassment of this decision than the calamity and massive compensation liability that would have arisen from a successful appeal. The strong suggestion is that Al-Megrahi was convicted as a political expedient so, once again we are back to the point I was making at the top; however, the key issue should not be whether this release was right or wrong but how an independent enquiry is now established to see that justice is truly done.

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8 responses to “Al-Megrahi; international power politics at its worst…”

  1. Vigilante says :

    Political assassins and terrorists strike at the life blood of open, constitutional and democratic societies. Absent the death penalty, (which I agree should be abolished), these assholes should rot to death in prison whenever they can be caught and convicted. That’s what Megrahi was doing when he was let out, “Scot-Free”.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    And what if he is innocent? That presents slight problems with your ‘let them all rot’ rant does it not? Wrongful convictions in terrorist cases are not unheard of; especially on these shores where there have been infamous miscarriages of justice in terrorism cases.

    If he is innocent then he has not got away ‘scot-free’ in fact, quite the reverse he has been wrongfully imprisoned and forever stigmatised for a crime he did not commit. As I say in the body of the text, the reasonable doubt which I believe exists, leads me to conclude his release was the right decision in the time frame allowed (given his health) and should now be followed by an inquiry which can either determine his guilt or clear his name.


  3. Woody says :

    OK Vigilante, so who exactly are the assassins and terrorists? You’ll remember the Palestinians had elections early 2006 and democratically elected Hamas, which was their right (enshrined in declarations the entire world has signed up to). What happened? The US, Britain, and of course their Israeli puppetmasters decided the result didn’t suit their plans, so they immediately set about snuffing out this fledgeling democracy and starving the population into submission with aid and other financial embargoes, a medieval-type siege, a (failed) coup that pitted sore losers Fatah against winners Hamas, and by arresting some 30 of the legitimated government’s MPs. Later Israel tried bombing the Palestinian voters into submission, slaughtering over 1400, maiming thousands more and rendering hundreds of thousands homeless, then denying them materials for essential rebuilding. By the way, who had funded Gaza’s wrecked infrastructure? You and me and the rest of the EU’s taxpayers, that’s who!

    And still the US supplies the murderers with billions of tax dollars and sophisticated weaponry and still Britain harbours Israeli flag wavers at the heart of its government (and within the LibDem Party, for Pete’s sake!). We won’t even talk with the legitimate power in Palestine, the remnants of which are now holed up in Gaza. Instead we nourish the Fatah faction which was ousted for its corrupt practices.

    Our allies – America and Israel – assassinate anyone they don’t like, it’s part and parcel of their foreign policy. We act as cheerleaders and apologists. Yes, we and America know all there is to know about provoking terrorism. We’re pastmasters at it ourselves.


  4. Vigilante says :

    Darrell, if he were innocent, there’s the appeal process which might have unlocked more secrets.

    Woody, if you want to arrest Cheney and Bush for war crimes, I’ll dive your car and hold your hat. Perfectly fine with me.

    But the 270 people who died at Lockerbie were innocent. Scots as well as Americans.


  5. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Agreed that the appeals process does exist but given his terminal health I feel that ‘waiting for an appeal’ in this specific instance was the wrong call. Given that reasonable doubt exists in my eyes I therefore support his release on compassionate grounds in this specific instance and a subsequent independent inquiry.


  6. Vigilante says :

    Well, then! In that case, Darrell, congratulations to you on your Moment of Clarity!


  7. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Lol thanks 🙂


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