Thursday, February 03, 2011

Wikileaks - British Government Secretly Advised Libya On Getting Lockerbie Bomber Released

This is a story I feel dirty even writing.

The latest Wikileaks doc dump has 480 documents detailing international relations with the Libyan regime over the past three years. One of the things that came out is the story of how officials high up in Britain's Labour government not only made a deal with Libya to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on "compassionate grounds" in exchange for oil concessions but actively coached the Libyans and gave them detailed legal advice behind the scenes on how to manipulate the system to get al-Megrahi freed from a British prison.

Most of us have forgotten the Lockerbie bombing by now. al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, was imprisoned in 2001 for life after being found guilty of bombing Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. That attack took 270 lives, most of them Americans.

It took years to track down al-Megrahi and try him. When al-Megrahi was finally captured, the US wanted him extradited and tried here, but the Brits put up a fuss because they were afraid this cockroach might be subjected to the death penalty.So an international agreement was made allowing him to be tried and sentenced under British law, with the proviso that he would serve out his entire sentence in Scotland and not be eligible for early release.

He had served only eight years of a life sentence when he was suddenly freed in 2009 by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on 'compassionate grounds' because he supposedly had cancer and only three months to live.

This sordid story starts with Tony Blair, who secured a number of trade agreements with the Libyan government. Apparently one of the conditions was al-Megrahi's freedom, and it doesn't take much guessing to figure out that means for accomplishing this were discussed behind closed doors.

Shortly afterward, the Libyan government hired and paid a doctor for al-Megrahi's 'diagnosis' who wasn't even an oncologist. According to the wikileaks documents, within a week of the diagnosis, Bill Rammell, a junior Foreign Office minister, wrote the Libyan consul advising him on how this could be used as the grounds of securing al-Megrahi’s compassionate release from prison.

They then presented this to the Americans as a done deal. Rob Dixon, a senior Foreign Office official, met with the American Ambassador to brief him, as th efollowing memo relates:

“FCO Minister for the Middle East Bill Rammell sent Libyan Deputy FM Abdulati al-Obeidi a letter, which was cleared both by HMG and by the Scottish Executive, on October 17 outlining the procedure for obtaining compassionate release.

“It cites Section 3 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act of 1993 as the basis for release of prisoners, on license, on compassionate grounds. Although the Scottish Crown informed the families of the Pan Am 103 victims in an email October 21 that the time frame for compassionate release is normally three months from time of death, Dixon stressed to us that the three month time frame is not codified in the law.”

Mr Dixon then told the American Ambassador that Jack Straw, who was then the UK's Justice Secretary, had also spoken to Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister about the case and that al-Megrahi would soon be released. Here is what the leaked cable of th emeeting says:

“Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond told Jack Straw that he will make the final decision in this case. Salmond told Straw that he would make the decision based on humanitarian grounds, not foreign policy grounds; Dixon told us HMG has interpreted this to mean that Salmond is inclined to grant the request.”

Needless to say, al-Megrahi, after returning to a hero's welcome in Tripoli is still alive and well and living in a luxury villa gifted to him by Moamar Khadaffi himself.

Khadaffi probably felt he owed al-Megrahi something for all his hard work. In the end Khadaffi paid out about $1.5 billion in compensation to the families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing - and then got most of it back in exchange for a deal with British Petroleum allowing access to Libya's oil.

No wonder the Islamists hold us in contempt. We won't even revenge our own dead.

please helps me write more gooder!


louielouie said...

i wonder if blair is going to be as useful in advising Khadaffi on the coming egyptian effect sure to sweep into libya. i think Khadaffi has a succession wish in place.

Anonymous said...

And STILL we refuse to name our enemy.

I remember members of the Labour government being Leftist scum when they were student leaders at the start of their "illustrious" careers. They continued to be the same throughout.

The present government is proving that nothing changes. Regardless of an election the same policies are pursued. Britain will do nothing as a result of this revelation, because the "powers that be" got what they wanted.

Once upon a time, such treason would be criminal. Now it is ordinary, and to be expected.