Bravo, Blitzer
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Bravo, Blitzer

Wolf Blitzer – who got his start in Jewish journalism, I recall – did a bang-up job interviewing Scotland’s feckless justice secretary on CNN Thursday night.

Perhaps Kenny MacAskill’s title should be changed to “injustice secretary.” MacAskill is the nincompoop (or oil interests’ tool) who allowed Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, convicted of murdering 270 people – many of them Americans, and young Americans at that – by blowing up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, to be released on compassionate grounds.

It seems the poor man is dying of prostate cancer and wanted to return to his native Libya. As the old Jewish curse goes, “A nomen auf er,” may someone be named after him (i.e., he should drop dead).

Shame on MacAskill.

Blitzer conducted a masterful interview, pressing MacAskill on just how many prisoners had been released from Scottish jails on compassionate grounds. MacAskill kept tangling himself up, hanging himself vis-à-vis history. Here are some excerpts from the interview Notice how Blitzer keeps pressing him to cite a precedent – and he can’t:

Blitzer: Is there any precedent in Scotland where a mass murderer, someone who killed 270 people in cold blood, has been freed to go home to his wife and family because he is suffering from cancer?

MacAskill: This crime is unprecedented in our small country. It’s actually the worst atrocity – terrorist atrocity ever perpetrated anywhere within the United Kingdom. So it’s a circumstance that has never happened before. And I hope that it’s a circumstance that will never reoccur.

Blitzer: Are there precedents where murderers, just regular murderers, someone who killed someone in cold blood and served only a very small portion of his or her sentence, has been free to go home and spend the rest of his life with his wife and kids because he or she is suffering from cancer?

MacAskill: Well, each and every compassionate release that has been granted, and there have been 30 granted since the year 2000, is done under individual circumstances. And as we were seeing, in Scotland, justice is equally tempered with mercy. Those who commit an offense must be punished and have to pay a price.

Equally, we have values that we seek to live by, even if those who perpetrate crimes against us have not respected us or shown any compassion. Here is a dying man. He didn’t show compassion to the victims, American or Scottish. That does not mean that we should lower ourselves, debase ourselves, or abandon our values.

He was justly convicted, but we’re allowing him some mercy to return home to die.

Blitzer: Do you have one example, one precedent of a convicted murderer in Scotland who served only a small portion of his sentence who was allowed to go home because he was suffering from cancer?

MacAskill: These matters are dealt with on each and every application of the individual. As I’ve said, since the year 2000 there have [been] 30 such applications. I’ve had some -two applications, I’ve not had to deal with the question of a mass murderer because, as I’ve said, these matters are few in Scotland….

Blitzer: So just to be precise, because I want to move on, Mr. MacAskill, you don’t know of one murderer in Scotland who has ever been released for compassionate reasons after serving only a small portion of his sentence?

MacAskill: Well, I don’t know the nature of the applications for compassionate release ever dealt with by my predecessors responsible for justice in Scotland. I can confirm two that clearly those who I have granted compassionate release so far were not murderers, but that’s because in Scotland, we do not have terrorist atrocities as a norm….

RKB

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