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.

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.

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?