Sunday, 25 July 2010

US finds bullying a tough habit to kick

[This is the headline over an article by John Sexton on the website. It reads in part:]

Imperial arrogance has become so ingrained in US political culture that it even pillories its most loyal ally, the United Kingdom.

While sensible countries like France drew back from the adventures of George W Bush, Tony Blair was always there, yapping his master on. But his fawning won the UK no rewards.

When new UK PM David Cameron arrived to pay homage in Washington last week, he faced a perfect storm of Brit-bashing over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In an extraordinary feat of self-deception, America is blaming the spill entirely on BP even though an explosion on an American-owned rig triggered the disaster. Warning systems on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon were disabled to allow the workers to sleep undisturbed. (...)

Scenting British blood, senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have demanded Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill attend hearings in Washington. They want to prove BP lobbyists, eager for Libyan oil concessions, persuaded the Scots to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds last year.

In fact, al-Megrahi was convicted in a special court in 2001 by three Scottish judges, on evidence so flimsy that even many relatives of the Lockerbie victims believe he was framed on the orders of the Americans.

The original Lockerbie inquiry had focused on the Iranians – who were said to have contracted a Palestinian group to destroy Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 in revenge for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by the USS Vincennes earlier the same year with the loss of 290 lives, including 66 children. (In a less than sensitive move, the US Navy later awarded combat medals to the Vincennes crew.)

But when it became no longer politically convenient to blame the Iranians, the perennial pantomime villain Colonel Gaddafi was a handy substitute, and al-Megrahi became the fall guy.

The Scottish ministers politely refused to attend the Imperial Inquisition. (As an aside, the senators must have forgotten that last time a Scot, George Galloway, appeared at a Washington hearing he wiped the floor with his interrogators.)

Salmond and MacKaskill showed more dignity than Cameron, who obediently proclaimed al-Megrahi's release "a mistake." Meanwhile back in London, his deputy, Nick "Calamity" Clegg, was complicating matters by declaring the 2003 invasion of Iraq illegal.

There are interesting times ahead for what one British MP has dubbed the Brokeback Coalition - and the UK's less-and-less special relationship with Washington.


  1. The people behind the various demands issued to individual politicians in UK and Scottish governments are fuelled by the old American belief that they can kick-ass as and when they see fit and no one will dare answer back. The planet is littered with heart-breaking evidence of that policy.

    On this occasion however I think it is backfiring as more and more UK media concerns are waking up to the real implications of the the demands of a handful of US senators. They think we are accountable to them! And increasingly they are replying, "The hell we are!"

    For those of us who have long held serious reservations about the conviction of Megrahi, his release and the painful knowledge that the appeal was now gone too, the handling of this "hearing" by the Americans has brought us progress. We have to see it in that light. For ultimately more and more in the UK are calling for a full Inquiry, not just into Megrahi's release, but into everything, including Megrahi's conviction.

    I would encourage everyone to write to their MPs, their MSPs asking them to support calls for a full independent Inquiry now.

    To those who support the SNP politically, I would say especially, write to them. I have. I am proud they released Megrahi. I am troubled, deeply troubled, by other aspects of their behaviour and I have raised these concerns too. I have also assured them that the stench surrounding Megrahi's original conviction is something they should have no fears about addresing. They were not involved, other Parties were, including the US. As for the Scottish Judiciary and its reputation, well, sometimes you have to let walls fall down in order to rebuild them properly. If bizarre comments made by Salmond and McAskill were made simply to protect the Scottish Judiciary we need to tell them their duty isn't to the Scottish Judiciary, it is to defend justice.

  2. You make a powerful case. Who would you suggest writing to? My SNP MSP is Christine Grahame, which is somewhat preaching to the converted.

  3. The article reads like Chinese Communist propaganda, spiced up with some decent humor. But then, American news on the issue sounds like American Imperialist propaganda.

    The Chinese version is more factually relevant. What does that say?

    Jo G: Thanks! I've got no MPs over here, and I honestly think such a thing here and now would be a waste of time. But we're all in this together, and I'll be watching, maybe helping, whatever makes sense. The truth never dies.

  4. Rolfe, write to her anyway. She can wave your email about in front of Salmond. Write to him too. I have. I've mailed my own MSP plus the liste MSPs for this area as well as Miss Goldie and Mr Gray. Plus my MP.

    Caustic Logic, love that name, there are sites like this and there is also the mainstream media wherever you are. You know had the media used its considerable power to demand the truth over Lockerbie and Megrahi we would not be in this situation still. Some within the UK media are beginning to do so now. So progress is being made. It makes one feel for those who have been doing this for so much longer than I have. People like Professor Black, like Jim Swire who isn't just fighting for justice but justice for his daughter...... I don't know how they have kept going. Then I remember that sometimes the pursuit of the truth can often give us energy we didn't know we possessed. If we, out here, can add our weight to theirs then the clamour will grow louder.

  5. Then I remember that sometimes the pursuit of the truth can often give us energy we didn't know we possessed. If we, out here, can add our weight to theirs then the clamour will grow louder.

    Indeed. I've been on it less than a year, but so far I'm amazed at how motivated I've stayed in general. It's a fuel, alright, and it's all ours.

    The robotic official story supporters do NOT have access to it, they deny it. Their fuel (fossilized) is the cult of certainty, their coat of arms a circle of wagons. They tire easy when debating, and try to avoid it. We own the night, and put up a good fight for the day as well. And now I am just typing cliches, but you get the idea, which is basically "right on!"

  6. CL, read Darat's sig line!

    These are just people. They're trying to cope in their own way, and for a lot of them that way is congitive dissonance and denial.