Aug 232009

Seems that by releasing the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, the Scottish government has annoyed the chief of the FBI Robert Mueller who has indicated his disgust at the decision. Ordinarily an opinionated statement from someone from the US on UK policy can be irritating, but is perfectly fine – there is such a thing as free speech. However Robert Mueller is not a private citizen; he is a member of the US government machinery. Perhaps he should remind himself that his organisation’s role is domestic law enforcement so he should really not be making statements about the justice systems of foreign countries.

After all the UK is not a US state. The right thing to do in terms of foreign policy over this matter would be for the US authorities responsible for foreign relations to issue a note to the UK Embassy indicating disquiet over the decision and not to trumpet the details in the press. Condemning one of your oldest allies in the press is the sort of behaviour that is indicative of US arrogance that is so irritating throughout the world.

Just to correct one misconception that the US press seems to have made – he was not leading the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing. Not unless he was working for the Dumfries and Galloway police force at the time. I am sure that he was involved in the investigation but the US Justice Department was merely assisting the Dumfries and Galloway police with the investigation. I am sure the Scottish police were grateful for the assistance which would have been very helpful considering the airline involved (Pan Am) was a US company. But it was still a Scottish investigation and when the conviction was made, the justice handed down to the guilty party was Scottish.

Quoting from Mueller’s statement :-

… because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of ‘compassion.’

Well perhaps ‘compassion’ is not part of the US justice system, but it is part of the Scottish justice system. Keeping a man in prison far from his home and family when he is dying is inhumane – whatever his crime. And at least this UK citizen feels outraged that the Scottish government is being criticised for being humane.

A further quote :-

… as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law.

Well firstly if you find the concept of ‘compassion’ inexplicable, then perhaps you should sign up for a course on humanity, because whether you agree with compassion or not, it is fairly easy to see the reason behind the release of the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds.

As to the rest of the statement, the bomber was given a fair trial, found guilty, and sentenced to a term in prison. The rule of law has been served, as the guilty has been found and treated appropriately. As to justice being served, well the guilty party did serve 8 years in prison which is not enough, but is not a minor punishment by itself. And the bomber won’t serve much longer even if we did not release him on compassionate grounds; he is dying slowly and painfully, and will shortly be dead (those who believe in such things might think that God wants a quiet word with him).

Lastly :-

… gives comfort to terrorists around the world …

Which is just ridiculous. What normal person is going to risk 8 years in prison ? Whatever punishment you hand out to terrorists, terrorists will attack if their beliefs lead them to think that they are doing the right thing. Nobody is going to attack UK targets because we release terrorists who are dying whilst the US cruelly keeps them in prison.

Although I have no sympathy for the Lockerbie bomber, I am proud that I live in a country that will release a dying prisoner on compassionate grounds.

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