Saturday, August 22, 2009

Megrahi, Mueller, Mandelson and the Quality of Mercy

The FBI Director Robert Mueller, is incandescent at the decision of the Scottish Govt decision to free Mr Megrahi.

The Noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, said "no brokered deal or no agreement between the Libyan government or the British government" had been made. It was a matter for Scottish Government.

The Noble Lord Lord Mandelson's words leave open the possibility that there was some kind of unbrokered agreement not involving Government officials or members. The Libyans - and indeed, the Arab League - have an intense desire to have Magrahi set at liberty. They do not believe he was really guilty of the evil act that took place over Lockerbie.

They are not alone.

Take a look here, at Christine Grahame MSP, her view on things.

Professor Hans Köchler, who was appointed as one of the UN observers by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, criticised the [PanAm flight 103] trial in his report and evaluation. Köchler observed that the trial had been politically influenced in breach of legal traditions and principles, such as the Rule of law.[21] In an interview for the BBC on the day the first appeal was rejected, he described the court's decision as a "spectacular miscarriage of justice".[22][23] - source - Wikipedia. (Yes. I know. If this is a Wikipedierror, just let me know and I will go and correct it.)

The possibility that Magrahi's guilty verdict is not necessarily 100% correct adds to the rightness of the decision of the Scots to display compassion, even if in other parts of the political machinery, unbrokered exchanges of some kind or another may or may not be taking place.

Clearly, compassion is at its best when it is unconditional, but it is good even if there is some kind of gain. It could be argued that there is always a gain from compassion.

Even if, for the sake of argument, there was some kind of hypothetical oil trade deal of some kind attached to Megrahi's release, (which there was of course not, because the Noble Lord Lord Mandelson says a brokered deal did not take place), but if there was such a deal, and the Scots were in some subconscious way affected by political or economic considerations, (and what action, even by a lawyer, is 100% unaffected by economic or political considerations?) which they were of course not, but even if this were to have been the case, the Scots' compassion is still good, because compassion is always good.

The only bit of the Holy Q'ran that I know by heart is :

"In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful".

It is placed at the beginning of every chapter. Compassion and mercy should lie at the heart of every true Muslim, as indeed they should lie at the heart of every true Christian. And every other religion, and indeed every other reasonable philosophy. Because compassion generates compassion. It is self propagating, in exactly the same way that violence is self propagating.

The UnChristian furyof FBI chief Rob Mueller should not alarm us. Its meta-statement is:

"The FBI stands uncompromisingly, unmovably and unflinchingly behind a totally inflexible committment to a 100% inexorable w... (thinks: not exactly, a war nowadays, a more of a ... what shall we call it? a... conflictionation, yes) conflictionation against terrorism. 100%. The court found him guilty, that's good enough for us. Prostate cancer? Send him over here for treatment. We'll cure his prostate cancer in the electric chair".

(I'm not saying this is what Chief Mueller is saying out loud, but that will be the undercurrent in the USA. Will there be a Republican inspired hysterical outpouring of public emotion in the USA next week? )

Anyway, this was Tough Talk, and it is Robert Mueller's job to do TT on occasions.
Comments noted, Bob.
Now let's get on with the job.

The job being the work of helping to extricate West-East* relations from the Quagmire of Mutual Suspicion in which it currently finds itself. What the world needs is a series of acts of reciprocal compassion between the two camps. By this means, and with other statesmanlike manoevres we can and must build the kind of unity that we need to overcome the real threat that we all face - global ecological crisis. Compared to the combined threats that we face - recession, peak oil, resource depletion, climate change, social disintegration, poverty, migration, dictators, wars, piracy, drought, hunger and torture, compared to these, terrorism is a relatively minor detail. This is not to underestimate the horror of what was done over Lockerbie, but everything need to be set in proportion.

So let us hope that good will come of this encounter between the Scots and the Libyans, and that it takes us a step further towards a general and sensible cessation of hostile attitudes.

*as opposed to the East-West problems we had back in the 70s with the Commies.

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