Product Placement

August 21, 2009 at 12:40 am (By Randy)


Nike must be thrilled by this photo of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi as he boards plane for return to Libya and a hero’s welcome. al-Megrahi was convicted of plotting the bombing of Pan Am flight #103, which killed 270 people when it exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

The stairway to the plane which was about to fly al-Megrahi home was emblazoned with the logo, Next Time … Relax before you fly.


  1. Ron said,

    Terrorism — “Just Do It”


  2. PatHMV said,

    Shame on Scotland. It took so long to bring this murdering terrorist to justice, and they send him home to die with a hero’s welcome? Disgusting.

  3. realpc said,

    What could they possibly have been thinking? Or not thinking?

  4. wj said,

    It was a chance for the Scottish National Party to thumb their noses at the government of the UK. Why worry about justice when there are political points to be made?

  5. Randy said,

    FWIW, a few unlikely suspects whose opinions I tend to value (Mr. Eugenides and Alex Massie being two) are supportive or at least mbivalent about this decision.

  6. PatHMV said,

    I’ve worked on, and made crucial decisions about, pardons, paroles, and “compassionate” releases of criminals from prison. There’s a central problem to the ambivalence of Mr. Eugenides and Mr. Massie, which comes up very often in these kinds of cases.

    There is, apparently, some concern about al-Megrahi’s guilt, or at least his level of responsibility, for the Lockerbie bombing. He has an appeal of his conviction going on. The ambivalent crowd (sorry, amba!) looks at this, combines it with his alleged ill health, and concludes that, well, this is all-in-all an ok result.

    The problem with that is its inconsistency. Taking that route lets us off the hook of making hard decisions. If the man is really guilty of murdering a plane load of people (plus about a dozen on the ground), he should rot in jail until he dies. We do that to lots of people; he shouldn’t get special treatment because his crime is “political” or whatever.

    But if he’s not guilty, then we have a moral obligation to set him free, period.

    We had several pardon applications where the prisoner refused to accept any responsibility for his crimes and denied having committed them, even. But he had no evidence to provide which would warrant concluding that the jury and judge and appellate process was wrong in convicting him. He would ask for a cut to time served and make some kind of half-hearted “apology” that didn’t actually accept responsibility for the crime.

    We denied those. If he was guilty but truly remorseful and had turned his life around, we might consider it. But without remorse and acceptance of responsibility, no way. But if he was innocent, he deserved a full pardon to clear his name, etc., and law enforcement needed to know that the real criminal was still out there somewhere. “Splitting the baby” in those circumstances would leave you with the worst of both worlds. And it’s a cop-out. If you’re not sure enough that the conviction was solid and the guy did it to leave him in jail, then you have a moral obligation to grant the full pardon and clear his name.

    At the DA’s office, we did that with pleas, too. My boss’ rule was strong. Don’t take a plea just because you’re afraid you’ll lose the case. Every DWI went to trial or plead guilty as charged. You don’t take a plea, because the defendant shouldn’t feel pressured to accept responsibility for something he didn’t do just because the alternative jail time would be very great. And the defendant who really did it shouldn’t get a break. Make the though call, and act appropriately. Everything else is weaseling.

  7. amba12 said,

    I love this blog. . . .

  8. trooper york said,

    Just Abdul it!

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