Monday, 26 July 2010

The letter to Alex Salmond from the US embassy

The US State Department has been shamed into releasing the letter to the First Minister dated 12 August 2009, referring to (and appending the text of) a letter sent three days earlier to the Scottish Government Justice Department. It can be read here.


  1. So.

    They would have gone with compassionate release as long as he died within three months and remained in Scotland, and as long as they, the US, had access to the medical records so that they, the US, could decide if they could be sure he would die within the life-span they were willing to grant him.

    I'm just surpised they didn't add in a further condition: that if Megrahi did not die within the required time they could despatch a couple of Marines to execute him.

  2. Something interesting came out of those notes of meetings, actually. At the time of the release, we were told that Megrahi's cancer had become hormone-resistant. Nothing was really said about chemotherapy, but some commentators assumed he had already received chemotherapy. Thus, when he was immediately admitted for chemotherapy on arrival at Tripoli, there was some discussion about whether this was a new drug not available on the NHS. However, it wasn't, it was standard NHS treatment for that stage of the condition.

    Megrahi's own representations make it clear that he had not yet had chemotherapy in Scotland, but knew it would have to start soon. He was petitioning to be allowed to return to Tripoli so that he could have chemotherapy where his family could support him, because he knew it was a tough option even under the best of circumstances.

    It appears that the three-month prognosis was the estimate, even with this chemotherapy - but as Kenny MacAskill made clear (even at the time, despite the shrieks of "liar" by the Daily Fail), that was under the circumstances of his continuing to remain in prison. It was always recognised that moving to a better environment might improve the prognosis. So, he went back to Tripoli, to his home and family and native way of life and the climate he was used to, and had the chemotherapy, and responded better than expected.

    Why is this such a scandal? The monstering of a man fitted up for a crime he didn't commit, who then developed aggressive cancer while in prison 1,800 miles from his home and family, simply because he hasn't died quickly enough, is simply disgusting.

  3. The other thing Rolfe is the effects of stress on the cancer patient. Consider his situation while in jail fighting such a condition compared with being surrounded by family and loved ones for support in one's own home. I'm sure there would have been a vast improvement in his own spirit alone never mind anything else just being home again. But I also believe the state of the mind is a huge factor when fighting such a disease.

  4. Oh, absolutely. I was taking that as read, really. Kenny MacAskill said himself that in prison some people simply "turn their faces to the wall".

  5. Your comments about the chemo are interesting Rolfe.

  6. -- The United States respects that decisions concerning compassionate release and bail are reserved to Scottish authorities and are to be made in accordance with Scottish law and policy.

    See, that's the terrorist-loving wimp Obama in action. He shoulda said "no way, not that scum bag. If you let him walk we'll invade." [/average American mode]

    That's a very interesting point about the lack of available chemo. It could well have been a budget thing or other natural thing reason, but a conspiracy theorist might wonder if they withheld it to artificially worsen his prognosis and speed up his departure / surrender.

    That could only work well if the prognosis projected a continued lack of chemo, which seems a weird thing to project. It was just a thought.

  7. Oh, get out of mad CT mode, Adam. There are enough real CTs here without inventing nonsense.

    Megrahi was simply clear that his cancer was at the stage where hormone treatment was no longer working, and that if he wanted to have a chance even of that three-month prognosis, he'd have to go on chemotherapy. And he'd rather do that back home with his family to hold his hand please.

    Who would have been the "they" who "artificially withheld" the chemotherapy? We have an NHS here, you know, and everybody gets treated the same, whether they're a convict in jail or a bank manager. Megrahi was an NHS patient, and the chances of any political interference with his treatment are sub-zero.

    It's clear from Megrahi's submission that the three-month prognosis was with the chemotherapy, but still assuming continued incarceration. It was decided to let him have the chemotherapy in Tripoli instead, that this probably contributed to his longer survival time. Nobody withheld anything, and the very suggestion is quite offensive, actually.

    If there's any CT here at all, it may be that the prognosis selected was a more pessimistic one, in order to achieve the withdrawal of the appeal before it came back in front of the court in November. However, it's difficult to see how that could have happened unless that prognosis was at least moderately plausible. You can't twist the arms of a bunch of NHS oncologists to that extent, even if you can pay that kook Sikora to say anything you want him to say.