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Scottish Cardinal damns the US Justice System

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posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 02:27 AM

Justice not Vengeance

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of Scotland's Roman Catholic community, has made an interesting intervention in the debate about the early release on compassionate grounds of Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. His intervention is sure to cause controversy.

Writing in an article in the newspaper Scotland on Sunday, the Cardinal expresses his displeasure with the way serving Scottish government ministers have been summoned like lapdogs to testify before a foreign legislature (a US Senate committee).

The First Minister is reported as having said that there was "no way on earth" that Scottish ministers would formally give evidence to a committee hearing of a foreign legislature, even if it were to be held in the UK, adding pointedly that it was impossible to imagine US lawmakers agreeing to such an interrogation on foreign soil. I too believe that Scottish ministers are accountable to the Scottish Parliament and ultimately the Scottish people alone.

The Cardinal goes on to praise the Scottish justice system as having a "culture of compassion", whilst at the same time damning the justice system in many parts of the United States.

At the core of this dispute, there seems to be what might be termed a "clash of cultures". In Scotland over many years we have cultivated through our justice system what I hope can be described as a "culture of compassion". On the other hand, there still exists in many parts of the US, if not nationally, an attitude towards the concept of justice which can only be described as a "culture of vengeance".

His damning of the US justice system appears to have little limit, the death penalty incurring his condemnation in particular.

On 18 June 2010, Ronnie Lee Gardner was hooded, strapped to a chair and shot by a firing squad at a prison in Utah. He had been condemned to death for murder in 1985. He spent 25 years in solitary confinement, and ultimately was given an option as to how he preferred to die: by firing squad or by lethal injection. While his actions were inexcusable, his death did not bring back the life of his victim. His death will not prevent other violent murders. His death simply brought to an end a life of utter misery and darkness. His story is symptomatic of so many who sit incarcerated within the US justice system waiting to die. Ronnie Lee Gardner was first picked up by the authorities at the age of two, abandoned, wandering the streets in a nappy. He was sniffing glue by the time he was six, taking heroin at ten and sent to a mental home at 11 where he was sexually abused as a teenager.

His descent into violence was as predictable as it was piteous. Perhaps the consciences of some Americans, especially members of the US Senate, should be stirred by the ways in which "justice" is administered in so many of their own states. Perhaps it is time for them to "cast out the beam from their own eye before seeking the mote in their brothers". Perhaps they should direct their gaze inwards, rather than scrutinising the workings of the Scottish justice system.

Scotland on Sunday

Now here's a man who puts so eloquently into words what so many of us think.

That the United States Congress is overreaching itself by summoning politicians and judicial officers from other sovereign states to testify before it, as if anyone nowadays jumps when this busted flush of a post imperial USA cracks the whip.

And that any nation which still exercises the death penalty should thing long and hard before criticising the actions of judicial officers in other parts of the world.

I said good on him for saying such a thing. He deserves nothing but praise.

[edit on 8-8-2010 by LeBombDiggity]

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 03:58 AM
Unfortunately I think you're going to find few people that agree with him - especially Americans.

Regardless of what a person has been through people often show very little compassion for them after the fact, and are blind to see that sometimes the very system delivering the punishment is the same system causing the danger.

Talk to near enough any American and despite all evidence to say this will put us in more danger, they would have all criminals sitting on a rusty spike in dark rooms with no light and only bread wiped on a the jailer's buttocks for food.

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 04:16 AM
reply to post by LeBombDiggity

Yes, I applaud this man.

And it is not up to us on this earth to put someone to death, no matter what he has done - although I tell you, if someone murdered one of my beloved people, I would personally murder them and be damned.

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 04:30 AM
reply to post by LeBombDiggity

While I personally think this mans release was "dubious", to say the least, I completely agree with the Cardinals comments about how the US seems to think it is within it's rights to summon foreign Government officials.

I doubt, almost completely, that any US Senator, Congressman, Secretary of State or soldier would even contemplate doing the same and they would probably cite some dubious passage from the Constitution as a reason why. Has any American turned up for the Iraq Inquiry?

But these same people would then get their knickers in a twist if people didn't come before them and kiss their arses like their overlords or something.

If anything, the Scottish Government is accountable firstly to the Scottish people and ultimately the UK Government, not ANY foreign state, no matter how important they think they are.

posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 05:42 AM
reply to post by catwhoknows

See, that's where you & I part company. I would be quite content to see the murderer of "one of mine" languish for the rest of his life in prison. But I'd also be receptive to the idea of personal redemption, improvement, re-education ... and if that's combined with no further risk to the community then I wouldn't object to his early release.

That's not to say I'd be too enamoured. But prison can and does, occasionally, so improve the life & prospects of someone that they do deserve to be freed even though they committed the most terrible of crimes. Justice, with mercy, is the basis of the Scottish legal system ... because justice, without mercy, is no justice at all.

I fear the Scottish ministers may have been hoodwinked by al-Megrahi's doctors as to his life expectancy, perhaps that's the nature of his illness, unpredictability. But they're accountable to the Scottish Parliament & People ... and no-one else, certainly not to the United States Congress.

posted on Sep, 3 2010 @ 06:13 PM
Surely it would be a case of treason for a parliamentarian to obey the dictates of a foreign country?
There's just no end to these bloody yanks is there? Just who do they think they really are? To my mind they're nothing other than a universal disease infecting the whole world bit by bit.
Iran has the right attitude to them and thier nasty little co-hort in the Med'. We should all tell the yanks to get well and truly stuffed and to stay within thier own borders. Leave the world alone!

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 01:40 AM
Well at least an oil deal was struck due to the release. Nothing like selling out your allies and your own people for a little oil huh?

Lockerbie bomber 'set free for oil'

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.

Now Italy has to deal with Libya on illegal immigrants from Libya. Ol crazy man threatens them with allowing the deluge to happen if he is not paid $5 billion a year, or was it 5 billion euros. Do not remember. Oh well, cognitive dissonance is a hell of a thing.

[edit on 6-9-2010 by saltheart foamfollower]

posted on Sep, 6 2010 @ 01:42 AM
Glad to here him speaking up. All church matters aside, he is completely right and the US has no right on anyone soil dictating its police state, heartless dog eat dog stuff anywhere, anytime, any place. They need to start looking after their own with compassion and absolute transparent equality.

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