Sunday, 15 August 2010

Wanted - dead or alive

For me, the best headline for a long time is one that appears in today's Observer.
"Al-Megrahi's doctor: 'I just provided an opinion. Someone else let him go free'
Specialist Karol Sikora says he would have been 'more vague' over the Libyan's health if he had known his opinion would have been treated as fact"
Sikora was one of two of physicians paid by the Libyans. He, together with Professor Ibrahim Sharif, a Libyan oncologist – agreed al-Megrahi's death was "likely" within three months. The third expert Professor Jonathan Waxman, conceded that al-Megrahi did not have long to live. The sheer mendacity of the man of the man needs that I quite in full his claims made to the Observer. "Talking ahead of (last) Friday's first anniversary of the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, Professor Karol Sikora strongly attacked the way his prognosis was portrayed. The (claimed) leading cancer specialist said he would have made his evidence "more vague" if he could have foreseen that it was going to be interpreted as a fact that the convicted terrorist was going to die within three months of being released from Scotland's Greenock prison"

He was paid by the Libyan government - what did he think would happen to even the slightest crumb he could offer to get their man home? What does he think is the purpose of examination by two experts other than to eliminate all 'vagueness' as to the state of the disease? It seems his amour propre was further offended:
"What I find difficult is the idea I took the key and let him out. I provided an opinion, others provided an opinion, and someone else let him out. That decision of compassionate release is nothing to do with me. No one asked me, 'Should we let him out?' All they said was when do you think he will die?"
He was bought and paid for for his medical opinion - what right has he assumed to go wandering off into the desert of jurisdictional medicine surrounding release - compassionate or otherwise. Of course, it would be libellous of me to comment that if one has a big enough bag of gold and looks hard enough then there will always be an 'expert' who will 'conclude' anything one wants. The opinions of QC etc are just that - opinions - and they will hedge their correspondence around that word. For those who delight in seeing worms wriggle on hooks, the further words of the Good Professor and Dean of Buckingham University Business School (strange resting ground for an oncology specialist one might think) will become a classic.

This whole topic of Megrahi has taken on a life of it's own. How can the Scottish Justice Minister have known that his deliberations would be so questioned just because a big bubble went up a tin pipe as far away as the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. I doubt we would have heard much more of the poor old Arab gentleman had it not been for claims by US senators that the release was orchestrated by BP, who wanted to win drilling concessions in Libya, which have provoked a bitter international row.

This in itself has resulted in whole swathes of rain forest being clear felled to provide wood pulp for a voracious Press. And that is just in the civilised world - I hesitate to think how high the piles of papers are at the sides of every Walmart check-out. The emollient Cameron gave much attention to the problem; everything short of a puppy-like laying on his back and emitting a small stream of urine as a submission signal.

He demonstrated that innate English sense of fairness with his declaration that the man should have died in jail. No confusion there then at the concept of compassionate release. Seems a shame that no one was able at the meeting to reveal that even such a non-redneck state as the New York State legislature had, in 1992, introduced the Medical Parole Law. Big Arnie was thunking about it as had other parts of the world. "In 2009, Corrections systems with compassionate release procedures include the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (often known as the BOP),Scotland, England and Wales, China, France, New Zealand and 36 of the 50 U.S. state prison systems." I will wait a while whilst the idea of medical parole in the '.38 in the back of the head' Chinese legal system is savoured. All that Dave's learned legal opinion does for me is add to the conviction (no pun intended) that we made a sad choice a few months back.(I blame the Queen - she took notice of that twerp Brown as to whom she should invite.) Not only did Cameron throw aside a lawful due process but equated himself with that other Judge who washed his hands of a serious matter when he enthused "I will say to them (the senators) that I agree that the decision to release al-Megrahi was wrong. I said it was wrong at the time," he told National Public Radio in Washington.

"It was the Scottish Government that took that decision. They took it after proper process and what they saw as the right, compassionate reasons. I just happen to think it was profoundly misguided. He was convicted of the biggest mass murder and in my view he should have died in jail. I said that very, very clearly at the time; that is my view today" Perhaps he was hoping for a return invitation on a free trip as lead prosecution witness should the Senators get their eagle-clawed hands on their sacrificial lamb. Not for him any thought of the appeal that was abandoned when it so clearly became a complication. An appeal that seems set to gather unto itself a whole horde of dissenting opinion and conspiracies.

My personal consolation is that none of this is really serious in the everyday battle for our life on earth. We hear mention as to how this will impinge of something called 'the special relationship' between us and America. Surely, that has long gone the way of all undying relationships just as if it had been carried out in a little white wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today's Telegraph has a fascinating account of the ebb and flow of the claimed relationship. I cannot know who wrote the Wiki article but whoever it was, needs to revise it. POTUS himself seems to have had problems with the concept when emoting to the Gulf harvesters.

There is nothing especial in my concept of the idea. We each pursue our own interests; how cannot it be otherwise when the disparity between our current world status is recognised? On a personal level, my 'US special' status was much damaged when Car Crash Kennedy waved the tricolour as he routed the donations from America into the most efficient of the murderous society's in Ireland. Thankfully, my subsequent sojourns in the States showed me that there were very many fine people out there although I was not able to see just could be described as 'special'.

More stormy waters may lie ahead "David Cameron's pledge to reform a controversial extradition treaty with America is set to be blocked by Barack Obama's administration" There will be further grounds for animosity when the question of compensation and punitive damages from BP hits the fast revolving fan. Dave has already sold out in the court of public opinion and chose not to wait to establish in a proper court of justice just exactly what defences and evasions have been factored into their contracts vis a vis sub-contractors and suppliers.

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