Repost Who could have guessed that a confessed mass murder and terrorist would have broken the law once more? It is reported that Mohmed al-Megrahi has jumped bail, thus embarrassing his former jailers. It is therefore the perfect occasion to repost this transcript, which appeared immediately after Mohmed was released.
This is the transcript of the interview that was conducted by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill released the murderer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi yesterday. The video was deemed “too controversial” and was never released. But thanks to the efforts of famed hacker trax8er (a long-time reader of this blog, apparently) we have it.
Blitzer Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Secretary MacAskill.
MacAskill It is my pleasure. We Scots are an open people and encourage curiosity.
Blitzer Releasing the man-made disaster maker Mohmed al-Megrahi was a very controversial move. Can you comment on that?
MacAskill As you know, we Scots have led enlightened thinking. Progressive thought was born in Scotland! David Hume, Robert Burns, John Playfair, Adam Ferguson…
Blitzer Adam Smith?
MacAskill (chuckles) Of course, everybody makes mistakes. (Blitzer heard laughing) But the point I was making: we are continuing our warm tradition of enlightened thinking by creating new forms and thoughts of justice. We are not remaining still.
Blitzer In what ways?
MacAskill Take al-Megrahi, who was clearly suffering. Prostate cancer! The evils of which are all too common. Progressive jurists like myself know—it is a basic human understanding, actually—that prison is not a place of suffering, and suffer al-Megrahi would have done had we forced—coerced might be a better word—him to remain in prison.
Blitzer But what do you say to the families of the victims of al-Megrahi’s man-caused disaster?
MacAskill I would say, I understand their loss. But—and I want to put this gently, especially since some Americans think, well, consider themselves too much to the exclusion of others—that as much as you loved your family members, al-Megrahi has a family too.
Blitzer I hadn’t thought of that.
Blitzer Something which our viewers might not know is that Scotland has been leading the way in early prison release for hardship. For example, the notorious multiple-rapist Angus McFern?
MacAskill Quite right you should point him out. Syphilis. Devastating disease. Quite ravages the mind and body. To have prolonged his incarceration would have been not only cruel, but vicious.
Blitzer But after he was released, did he not go on to rape four more women before he died?
MacAskill Horrible, horrible. What that disease can do to one’s mind and powers of reasoning. Society certainly has something to answer for in not better treating McFern’s illness.
Blitzer And Camran McAllister? Didn’t he marry and then kill each of his six wives?
MacAskill Mr McAllister developed a quite awful case of piles. We judges know about piles. Comes from our constant sitting. They can be an enormous distraction. As was true with McAllister. He simply could not use his prison time wisely for all the irritation.
Blitzer Just last year you sat as judge at the trial of John McNiall, the serial killer.
MacAskill Yes, I remember that.
Blitzer Can you tell us about it?
MacAskill Appalling story. McNiall would search the internet for people whose birthday dates summed to seventy-seven, or some such number. That was how many people he was going to kill, but we nabbed him at forty-two, well before he could finish.
Blitzer But then you, just last week I remember, had him released on compassionate grounds?
MacAskill Hangnail. On his right thumb. He was obsessed: he just wouldn’t leave the thing alone! It became quite an enormous burden on the guards, who could no longer bear watching him pick at the thing. Naturally, the nail developed a small infection. We can’t have that sort of thing in prison! Other inmates might become infected, and if that happened, we would have been responsible. So out he had to go.
Blitzer And Bertie McMadoff, the Scottish embezzler who cheated people out of nearly two hundred million pounds?
MacAskill His mother wrote us a most anxious letter. Seems McMadoff has never missed a birthday at home. A rather nervous boy, she said. She didn’t know what might happen if he had to remain in prison and miss his party. We agreed that the potential for harm was too high.
Blitzer But you don’t always show leniency. The flap over David McWibert, for example.
MacAskill Despite what you might think, we Scots can be pushed too far. McWibert’s crime was simply unforgivable. All agree on that.
Blitzer But wasn’t he convicted on nothing more than public urination?
MacAskill On Bowmore! Our oldest distillery on the Isle of Islay. He defiled scotch, our national beverage, and showed no awareness of the magnificent importance this drink has on our people.
Blitzer I see.
MacAskill Yes. Even I myself, to honor our customs, drink a full bottle before issuing any ruling.[Transcript ends]
Update: Friday afternoon Reality catches up. Click on the “From the Blogs…” at the bottom.