Dear America

24 Aug

When Libya agreed to extradite Abdelbassett Ali Al-Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah to face trial for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in a neutral country under Scottish Law I regarded it, at the time, as affirmation of my country’s fair and unprejudiced judicial system. When these men were not afforded a trial by jury I was utterly ashamed. When it was alleged that the single most important prosecution witness was paid cash by the Americans and coached by Scottish Police I didn’t believe for one minute that the conviction of Al-Megrahi would stand up on appeal… but we’ll never know. Despite being granted leave to appeal, any new evidence will never now see the light of day. It needs to be asked, who stands to benefit from this?  There was, and still is, little will on anyone’s part to find out what happened on flight 103 that night over Lockerbie. Little will to uncover the extensive network necessary to carry out such an operation. Little will to discover much more than this one guy dit it? WTF?

For that I am ashamed. We should all be. Scotland does not stand alone lacking the will. The biggest disservice done to the families of those who lost loved ones on that flight and on the ground is alllowing an at best shaky conviction to negate investigating this crime further.

What I am not ashamed of is Scotland’s long established practice of releasing terminally ill prisoners at the end of their life into the care of their families. When a death sentence has already been carried out, holding the hand of compassion out to a dying prisoner’s wife, mother, children is a human thing to do. Having said that it’s a decision that needs to be taken dispassionately and according the the rule of law. Our Law. Not America’s.

I can barely put into words the heart-bursting joy I felt the day Alex Salmond took his place as First Minister of Scotland. I can still hardly begin to express the euphoria, the hope… oh I’m not even going to try, I’ll never succeed. To have the mighty fist of the USA threaten to crush that… simply because we, a sovereign state, applied our own judicial policies within our own borders regarding a prisoner convicted in our courts for a crime committed on our soil… well you begin to understand a bit about why America is so reviled around the world.

The UN forced the extradition of these men from Libya with crippling sanctions and circumstantial evidence. It’s such a pity Venezuela and Cuba don’t have the same clout with the UN. It is, evidently, acceptable for Luis Posado Carrilles to bomb planes. America, by refusing to extradite Carrilles, sanctions the murder of  the 73 passengers and crew of Cubana flight 455. They were not American so clearly don’t count. Yes… you sure begin to understand…

America suggests this release is to further British oil interests. America. Who after 9/11 invaded Iraq (not Saudi Arabia, you know, where the bombers were from) and killed over 100,000 civilians, for OIL. And that one-way special relationship drags Britain along.

It’s a special relationship for sure. I have met educated, articulated, successful Americans who actually think it was a good thing that all those US dollars flowed across the Atlantic into the IRA coffers. That it was a good thing that American civilians paid for the bombs that blew British soldiers in bits across the streets of Belfast and splattered British families over shopping centres, remembrance services and parks. I’m sure as shit delighted we’re “friends” of America cos I don’t even want to imagine being on the receiving end of anything American and unfriendly.

America has the highest proportion of prisoners in the world. No democracy has a more punitive system. We are not like that and I for one don’t want us to be like that. There’s precious little that separates us from all the other animals on this planet. Compassion and NOT doing to others as they have done to you kinda fall into that category.

It’ll be a real shame if you stop buying our whisky, but let’s face it, we have to buy our own water off the Arabs who own Blackford so who knows where the profit on a bottle of Grouse ends up these days. As for those ranting and raving about boycotting Scotland by not visiting us… can we have that in writing please?

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One Response to “Dear America”

  1. HeatherMomo August 25, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    Hear! Hear!

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