The cat leaves the bag 2

From The Sunday Times, London:

The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal. 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. The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.

However, the business secretary Peter Mandelson is still lying about it:

Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, said last weekend: “The idea that the British government and the Libyan government would sit down and somehow barter over the freedom or the life of this Libyan prisoner and make it form part of some business deal … it’s not only wrong, it’s completely implausible and actually quite offensive.”

So is BP, the chief beneficiary – along with al-Megrahi himself, of course – of the sneaky deal:

BP last week denied the agreement was influenced by talks over prisoner transfers and specifically Megrahi. But other sources insist the two were clearly linked. Saad Djebbar, an international lawyer who advises the Libyan government and who visited Megrahi in jail in Scotland, said: “No one was in any doubt that if alMegrahi died in a Scottish prison it would have serious repercussions for many years which would be to the disadvantage of British industry.”

So is the Foreign Office:

Last week we reported on a letter sent by Ivan Lewis, a Foreign Office minister, to the Scottish government. In it he said there was no legal barrier to the release of Mr Megrahi, adding: “I hope on this basis you will now feel able to consider the Libyan application in accordance with the provisions of the prisoner transfer agreement.” The Foreign Office said this letter did not imply the government was encouraging the release. It would be difficult, however, to find a form of language that provided much more encouragement.

As a result of the deal that Mandelson and BP deny was done, other happy results appear:

SAIF GADAFFI, the son of the Libyan ruler, is moving his burgeoning media empire to London as he seeks to capitalise on blossoming trade ties with Britain. Gadaffi, who escorted Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the freed Lockerbie bomber, from Scotland to Tripoli, has bought a £10m home in Hampstead, north London.

The really good result of the whole wicked business and the scandalous deception surrounding it, is that it will help to ensure the fall of the Labour Party from power. It’s a pity that the Conservative Party doesn’t offer a much better alternative.

Whose prognosis moved Heartbreak Kenny? 0

It now appears that the medical advice providing the pretext for the release of  al-Megrahi is suspect.

This from The Scotsman:

JUSTICE secretary Kenny MacAskill was last night under pressure to reveal more details of the medical evidence that led to the release of the Lockerbie bomber, after it emerged that only one doctor was willing to say Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi had less than three months to live.

Labour and Conservative politicians have demanded the Scottish Government publish details of the doctor’s expertise and qualifications, amid suggestions he or she may not have been a prostate cancer expert.

The parties have also raised questions over whether the doctor was employed by the Libyan government or Megrahi’s legal team, which could have influenced the judgment.

The evidence provided by the doctor is crucial as compassionate release under Scots law requires that a prisoner has less than three months to live.

Doubts about Megrahi’s life expectancy have already been raised by American relatives of the 270 victims of the bomb that blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie on 21 December, 1988. But last night the Scottish Government said it would not publish details of the individual who gave the crucial advice…

The report suggests that only one doctor was willing to support the claim that Megrahi had just weeks to live…

And suggestions that the doctor who gave the prognosis may have been employed by the Libyan government emerged in the report’s notes. It said that a professor from Libya had been involved in Megrahi’s care and the medical officer who wrote the report had been “working with clinicians from Libya over the past ten months”…

Did you know they have really great doctors in Libya, far better than any Scottish oncologists that could be found?

Even these super-experts took ten months to make their prognosis. But eventually one was clear that the mass-murderer had only three months to live, so Heartbreak Kenny could at last sob out that the poor pitiable creature was free to go home.

Posted under Arab States, Britain, Commentary, Diplomacy, Islam, middle east, Terrorism, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Thursday, August 27, 2009

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Oily gassing villainous politicians 2

Now they’re pretending that the government of Scotland was not informed of Tony Blair’s ‘prisoner transfer agreement’ with Qaddafi; that the Scottish administration was ‘furious’ when they found out about it ‘from prison service officials’, and would never have let al-Megrahi go had it not been for the compassionate ‘instincts’ of their Justice Secretary when the news of the bomber’s fatal illness came to him.  But reading between the lines one can see clearly enough that the Scots were pressured by Blair and Brown and only needed an excuse  to release al-Megrahi – the only Libyan prisoner in Britain.

Alan Cochrane writes in the Telegraph:

It increasingly appears as if Prime Minister Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband are content to allow the SNP [Scottish National Party] administration to take the flak over this issue [the release of the Lockerbie bomber] as part of a greater game to help secure British and American access to the Libyan oil and gas fields. Miliband has attacked this suggestion as a “slur”, but aren’t his words just so much hot air? Saif Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator’s son, has said that a trade agreement with Britain was part of the deal done to secure Megrahi’s release, and this newspaper reveals today that relations between Saif and Lord Mandelson are much closer than the Business Secretary has admitted.

To the rest of the world, the British Government is shrugging its shoulders and confessing its horror at the scenes at Tripoli airport – which we’re told that Gordon Brown tried to forestall. But as to whether Megrahi should have been released in the first place, there was not a word from Brown, or any other Government minister.

We’re told that they didn’t want to be seen to be influencing the decision of a devolved administration. But Labour ministers in London argue with the Nationalists in Edinburgh on an almost daily basis, over matters as mundane as the council tax and who’s to pay for a new Forth Road Bridge. Why not on such an important issue as the release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing?

What is perhaps not widely understood is that the process behind Megrahi’s release began not with Alex Salmond’s devolved SNP administration in Edinburgh, but with the Labour government in London – or, more specifically, with Tony Blair. It was the then prime minister who brokered a secret prisoner transfer agreement with Gaddafi, as part of a general thawing of relations between the West and this former rogue state. It was linked to suggestions that massive new British, American and European investment in Libya’s vast oil and gas fields would be forthcoming if only the Libyans would mend their ways. The small matter of the Lockerbie bomber was a fly in the ointment.

Blair didn’t inform the authorities in Edinburgh of his deal, even though they were responsible for Megrahi’s conviction and incarceration. [?] Salmond and the independent Scottish law officers only found out about it when they were tipped off by senior prison service officials.[?]  Downing Street then compounded the original error by trying to pretend that the deal done with Gaddafi did not concern Megrahi, even though he was the only Libyan held in any British jail.

Eventually, after furious protests from the Scots, Jack Straw, the justice secretary, was forced to issue a statement conceding that any decision on the Lockerbie bomber’s future was indeed a matter for Scottish ministers. But the damage, in terms of relations between the two administrations, had been done. [?] Although the formalities over a prisoner transfer for Megrahi continued, the Scottish authorities, still smarting over Blair’s behaviour, were now firmly against such a move [?] – until it became known that Megrahi was suffering from terminal cancer, and a release on compassionate grounds became an option. Those close to MacAskill reported that he was looking favourably on such a move; given that his instincts [!] on the matter were well known in Downing Street and the Foreign Office [!?], they sat tight, said nothing [?] and waited for the release to take place.

The letter from the FBI director to Scotland’s Justice Secretary 2

Here is the full text (from the Telegraph):

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Over the years I have been a prosecutor, and recently as the Director of the FBI, I have made it a practice not to comment on the actions of other prosecutors, since only the prosecutor handling the case has all the facts and the law before him in reaching the appropriate decision.

Your decision to release Megrahi causes me to abandon that practice in this case. I do so because I am familiar with the facts, and the law, having been the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation and indictment of Megrahi in 1991. And I do so because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of “compassion.”

Your action in releasing Megrahi is as inexplicable as it is detrimental to the cause of justice. Indeed your action makes a mockery of the rule of law. Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that regardless of the quality of the investigation, the conviction by jury after the defendant is given all due process, and sentence appropriate to the crime, the terrorist will be freed by one man’s exercise of “compassion.” Your action rewards a terrorist even though he never admitted to his role in this act of mass murder and even though neither he nor the government of Libya ever disclosed the names and roles of others who were responsible.

Your action makes a mockery of the emotions, passions and pathos of all those affected by the Lockerbie tragedy: the medical personnel who first faced the horror of 270 bodies strewn in the fields around Lockerbie, and in the town of Lockerbie itself; the hundreds of volunteers who walked the fields of Lockerbie to retrieve any piece of debris related to the breakup of the plane; the hundreds of FBI agents and Scottish police who undertook an unprecedented global investigation to identify those responsible; the prosecutors who worked for years–in some cases a full career–to see justice done.

But most importantly, your action makes a mockery of the grief of the families who lost their own on December 21, 1988. You could not have spent much time with the families, certainly not as much time as others involved in the investigation and prosecution. You could not have visited the small wooden warehouse where the personal items of those who perished were gathered for identification–the single sneaker belonging to a teenager; the Syracuse sweatshirt never again to be worn by a college student returning home for the holidays; the toys in a suitcase of a businessman looking forward to spending Christmas with his wife and children.

You apparently made this decision without regard to the views of your partners in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the Lockerbie tragedy. Although the FBI and Scottish police, and prosecutors in both countries, worked exceptionally closely to hold those responsible accountable, you never once sought our opinion, preferring to keep your own counsel and hiding behind opaque references to “the need for compassion.”

You have given the family members of those who died continued grief and frustration. You have given those who sought to assure that the persons responsible would be held accountable the back of your hand. You have given Megrahi a “jubilant welcome” in Tripoli, according to the reporting. Where, I ask, is the justice?

Sincerely yours,

Robert S. Mueller, III

Director

A lonely, brave, and saintly politician? 1

The protests coming out of the British Foreign Office, the British government, and the government of Scotland that they had nothing to do with the release of al-Megrahi (see posts below) ring hollow. Especially the denials of the Business Secretary, Peter Mandelson –  a buddy of Qaddafi’s son, Seif al-Islam – are unlikely to convince any but the most gullible. Mandelson is a Liar of Record. He is the strongest candidate in Britain for the title of Public Liar Number One, and it’s a strong field. He has twice been kicked out of government – or reluctantly dropped by his pal Tony Blair – for offenses that, when he was first accused of them, he tried to wriggle out of by lying. His denials are almost a guarantee that the opposite is the truth.

Another way to look at the case is this: is it remotely plausible that the Scottish Justice Minister, Kenny MacAskill, whose responsibility it was to release the mass murderer or not, would take it upon himself, all alone, to let him go, in the teeth of public opinion at home and abroad, against the wishes of the government of which he is part, and the Westminster government?

Wakes up one morning, this remarkable Kenny guy, and with everything else he has to think about suddenly banished from his mind, is overwhelmed with a sense of pity for that Libyan mass murderer – whatsisname? – in prison because the poor chap has a terminal illness. Can’t bear to think of it. ‘I’ll let him go, to die at home, in the bosom of his family,’ this deeply compassionate politician decides. ‘I’ll brave the howls of anger and pain that will come from the families of his victims. I’ll defy my government and the government of the United Kingdom. I’ll ignore the understanding we had with the Americans that the bomber will stay in prison for life. I’ll risk derision and reproach, and do this great good deed even if it means my removal from office! That’s how heroic I am going to be.’

Has any politician in history ever been so selfless before, or is likely to be again?

You have to admire him!

Strange though, we might think, that a man so supremely compassionate couldn’t spare a little of that feeling for the families of the victims.

But there it is. He acted alone. Moved by nothing but a moral consideration. And luckily for him not a word of reproach, or disagreement, or even surprise, was flung his way by the governments who had nothing to do with his out-of-the-blue decision.

Or is it possible that we, the general public, are being played for fools?

From the foal’s mouth 0

The son of Qaddafi [or Kadhafi] confirms our suspicion that a dirty deal was done and political pressure  brought to bear where it should have no influence (the decision of a British court of law) in connection with the release of al-Megrahi, the Libyan jailed for the Lockerbie bombing (see the post below).

From Breitbart:

The release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi was linked to trade deals with Britain, Seif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, said in a interview broadcast Friday.

For confirmation that the release was arranged by the British Foreign Office go to this article at Power Line:

I thought you might be interested in a conversation I had in London in mid-April (!) with very senior UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials about al-Megrahi. After leaving the Bush Administration in January I was on a work trip to London in mid-April and dropped by the FCO to check in with a couple of my former FCO colleagues. One high ranking British diplomat – a personal friend – complained to me that the release of al-Megrahi was forthcoming

Not only is Andy McCarthy on the right track, it’s even worse than that. We spoke (complained?) at length about the issue and it was very from my conversation that the decision was left to Number 10, and was being driven by the FCO in part to curry favor with Qaddafi after a rocky “rebooting” period.

I’ve been quite perplexed at the characterization of this as a Scottish decision, as my friend spoke of it in terms of something that had already been cleared conditionally by the courts and had been signed off on by the Prime Minister. In fact, he pointed me toward this February 2009 AFP article, mentioning that it was a trial balloon from the British government to test the reaction in the US and UK.

And there is this from Investor’s Business Daily (22 August):

Curiously, last November, just after President Obama’s election, Britain’s Parliament passed a Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya. We say “curious” because it appears the only prisoner it could have related to was al-Megrahi. Was he sick then? If not, why was it passed?

We wonder, and we’re not alone, if this was a deal to curry favor with Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, who sent his private jet to pick up al-Megrahi. After all, energy giant BP has contracts and business dealings in Libya and no doubt wants more.

Posted under Arab States, Britain, Diplomacy, Islam, Law, middle east, Muslims, Terrorism, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 21, 2009

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