The importance of motive over Lockerbie

I am not a detective, but it seems to me that if you can figure the motive for a crime, you are half way there to discovering the perpetrator.

So in trying to fathom the extraordinarily baroque machinations of the Lockerbie affair, I will start with asking why the Scottish Government gave consent to the release of that bloke, Mr Megrahi. If, on the surface of it, the release of a mass murderer was actioned on compassionate grounds, at the very least, you would expect the Scottish Government to have weighed and understood the consequences of this. I would have expected, at the very least, a "sounding out" of opinion, with particular reference to the USA. I would not expect them to fall over and have their tummies licked, but all the same, there had to be some thinking behind what is on the face of it, an extraordinary decision.

An appeal was due. Is it possible, I ask you, that the appeal would have been won and that the original conviction proved unsafe or "not proven"? I wonder if politicians in the Scottish Government found this scenario too difficult to deal with and took what they thought was the "soft" option?

Then of course, is the complicity of Number 10. Does it surprise me that Gordon Brown is silent on the issue? Do bears defecate in the woods?

In whose interests was it to cause the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi? Was it the Scottish Government trying a damage limitation exercise in the light of a possibly successful appeal? Was it the greater business and political interests at stake?

Whatever the motives on the release of a convicted terrorist and whatever the truth, it will not bring back the lives of those who died and it will not comfort those who loved them.


Rebel Saint said...

Whilst assessing motives is always a task fraught with difficulties - the truth of which is only ever know by the Almighty & the perpetrator - I think it is fairly safe to conclude that on this case the motive was NOT compassion.

strapworld said...

I expect tghe SNP to get their pay off shortly- Tax raising powers possibly OR labour support for Independence?

Then Brown can announce that Libyan gas and oil will mean less fuel bills for us all and he will be lauded throughout the UK.

Then he wakes up!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Rebel Saint, I agree - compassion is something done by mortals, not by politicians and pragmatism always trumps it in the wider world.

Strapworld, deals must have been done. Time will tell what they were.
The Swiss experience shows that Libya, and Gaddafi in particular is volatile and unpredictable.

Brown has now spoken, apparently, but has refused to say if the deal is right or wrong - strangely surprising from such a stern moralist. I dare say he has stretched "plausible deniability" as far as it will go.

strapworld said...

Interestingly, as you live in the wild parts of the empire. What do the natives say to you about this?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Strapworld, Subrosa has something to say about it...

(see my blog roll)

Ed P said...

Don't forget the behind the scenes trickery by Mandelson in Corfu, where he met Gaddafi's son. This mess has Voldermort's fingerprints all over it.

Teddy dived for Scotland said...

Having looked at as much information as I could (well as much as a layperson can anyway) I would conclude that Macaskill made the decision without any interference from London. I believe that in his heart of hearts he knew Megrahi was innocent. However he had to back the Scottish legal system ( a lawyer by trade himself) so said he was guilty but he'll let him go free on compassionate grounds. An appeal is a red herring in this case. The slow wheels of Scottish justice would have ensured that Megrahi was well dead before a spotlight could be turned on the flawed and incompetent court case. A case held under Scottish Law. The appeal if it ever took place would have made Scotland an even bigger laughing stock than it is now.
So I'd say that the release on compassionate grounds, although seemingly incomprehensible is actually the obvious solution.
Trebles all round. Oil will flow, trade will progress, cyclops , the US etc will all effect fake outrage.But all will be forgotten in a few weeks.
Heck the beatification of the murdering barsteward Teddy has already diverted attention away.
Did Ted take a dive for the sake of Scotland ? Maybe that's the real story here ! Quick phone The Scotsman and The Herald !

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Well yes, Teddy, but they should have gotten it right in the first place. Scapegoating people because they look the part is kind of medieval is it not?

So anyway you agree that an appeal was not going to serve the interests of anybody in the UK. I am not so sure about the US, but as far as Chappaquiddick Ed is concerned, I recall he was an arch supporter of the IRA, and not just the Republican movement in general. Reasons not to mourn his passing #213

Teddy said...

I think an appeal would have been useful for the UK and the US. Especially with the new evidence that was supposed to be available. The break in at Pan Am storage at Heathrow that was hushed up and the timers that were more generally available than claimed at the first trial.
But it would never have happened as there were too many people not wanting it to happen. The process would have dragged on until Megrahi was dead and it was too late to hear the appeal.

Indy said...

It was not really an extraordinary decision at all you know.

It appears to you to be an extraordinary decision because you, like the rest of us up until now, probably knew nothing about how compassionate release works in practice.

I have read a lot of comments by people suggesting that prisoners dying in jail is commonplace and therefore concluding that Kenny MacAskill made an exception of Megrahi in deciding to release him. However that view is quite mistaken. It has become clear that prisoners are not routinely left to die in jail. They are routinely released.

Once you understand that, the decision is clearly not extraordinary - it is in fact ordinary if you consider the definition of 'ordinary' to mean the usual or normal condition or course of events.

You may still disagree with it but you should recognise that it would have been extraordinary if Kenny MacAskill had rejected the appplication.