Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The al-Megrahi Death Clock
119 Days and Counting

He helped kill 189 Americans by blowing PanAm 103 out of the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland. Now Abdel Baset al-Megrahi may help kill the “public option” from U.S, health care reform.

Libyan strongman Muammar Al-Qaddafi; his “compassionately released” and allegedly cancer-ridden spy / terror bomber, al-Megrahi; British Prime Minister Gordon Browne; and Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill also may play key roles.

The strange alignment of Libya, Great Britain, and Scotland may prove that all U.S. politics isn’t just local, it’s global.

If al-Megrahi isn’t a cancer mortality statistic six feet under by Christmas we could bear witness to how skilled Libyans and stupid Scots have helped to scuttle Democrats’ hopes of inching towards universal health care.

Last Thursday in a white track suit, with a white baseball cap pulled over his forehead and a white scarf his right hand cupped over his nose and mouth to look like a mask (perhaps his immune system is compromised?) 57-year-old al-Megrahi took cane-assisted old-man baby steps after exiting a Scottish police van at Glasgow International Airport. The world watched his haltingly slow trip up the ramp into one of Qaddafi’s al Afriqiyah Airbus 320’s.

Great Britain’s Prison Service Order 6000 lists two possible grounds for early release. One, medical condition, “...may be considered where a prisoner is suffering from a terminal illness and death is likely to occur soon. There are no set time limits, but three months may be considered to be an appropriate period," according to an August 14th BBC report.

Al-Megrahi, who killed 270 when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown out of the sky asked to be excused from his life term (with a 27-year minimum) after only eight years in prison. He had, according to prison officials, only months to live from terminal prostate cancer.

First a trial balloon was floated suggesting al-Megrahi’s medical release. Nine days later, August 22, he was let out of prison to return to Libya to die. Ironic, a trial balloon floated Megrahi to freedom. His victims, 189 of them Americans with their lives ahead of them, plunged to their deaths in an airplane he helped explode into smithereens from the sky.

British public opinion apparently leans towards Megrahi’s innocence. No wonder. That’s where crop circles first popped up. In the U.S. we have been apoplectically angry. See boycottScotland.com. (My next bottle of Balvenie will, instead, be a Jack Daniels.)

At least one television report stated that Megrahi, with one foot already in the grave, could not be treated adequately in Scottish prison. But nine months earlier, in November 2008, authorities denied his release stating that the terrorist could be treated in prison. Then Megrahi dropped his appeal and Scottish authorities said Thursday that his case was beyond their medical capability.

In Tripoli Qaddafi thanked British Prime Minister Brown and Queen Elizabeth for springing al-Megrahi. Now the international press is filled with reports of oil and gas deals as the real basis for releasing the only person ever convicted in connection with the deadly sky terror bombing.

When Qaddafi’s jet landed in Tripoli, Megrahi looked slightly cured as he appeared at the door with one of Qaddafi’s son’s. The white togs of the dying cancer victim were replaced with a nice-looking dark suit and al-Megrahi’s smiling face no longer was covered. Later, when he met Qaddafi he wore a gray suit with a nice cranberry handkerchief in the breast pocket. Not bad for a dying man.

As he came down the airplane ramp in Tripoli, al-Megrahi didn’t dance like Gene Kelly in “Walking in the Rain,” but he sure wasn’t grabbing onto railings for dear life. And he seemed even better when he appeared in public with Qaddafi.

So, how does this tie into health care?

As of August 25th the countdown death clock has 119 days remaining.

Don’t they have government-run, public option national health service in England and Scotland?

If Scotch doctors who made the diagnosis that Megrahi was within three months of dying are wrong (a/k/a incompetent) each day the terror bomber al-Megrahi survives after December 22nd will serve as further proof that the public option doesn’t work.

D (death)-Day for al-Megrahi is December 22nd. If he’s still kicking by then each day he lives puts another nail in the Democrats’ public option coffin.

©Copyright 2009 Richard Lavinthal. Lavinthal is CEO of PRforLAW, LLC, a legal media relations service for major cases. A former daily newspaper and wire service reporter Lavinthal writes commentaries for several newspapers.

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