Yep - the Brits lied about why they released al-Megrahi (updated)

We at AT have been covering the story of the release of the Lockerbie terrorist quite closely ever since the Libyan terrorist Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was released because he supposedly had just weeks to live.

We have documented how the Scottish government had their own reasons for releasing the terrorist - including their desire to stick it to America and the subsequent effect on the popularity of the government.

We also reported on the first hints that commercial considerations were, if not paramount to the release, then certainly a major component in the negotiations with Libya.

Now comes word from Jason Allardyce f the Times OnLine that Prime Minister Gordon Brown decided it "in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom" that al-Megrahi be set free, And what were those "interests?"

I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count:

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.

Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking."

[...]

Downing Street had also said Megrahi would not be included under the agreement.

Straw then switched his position as Libya used its deal with BP as a bargaining chip to insist the Lockerbie bomber was included.

The deal is a pretty big one even for British Petroleum; $15 billion pounds which pencils out to around $24.5 billion.

I do not begrudge Great Britain releasing the terrorist if they truly believe it was "in their overwhelming national interest" to do so. Great Britain is an independent nation and must act as it sees fit to protect and advance its interests. We don't like it - it appears that they double crossed us in the process - but considerations of friendship fly out the window when a nation determines its interests demand it.

What bothers me is the cynical smokescreen of lies they told about the release. It was pretty stupid to believe the truth would never come out and now that it has, it has soured relations with the US even more. Also, the Brits apparently failed to gauge the propaganda use Qaddaffi would make of the terrorist's release. That also, was pretty stupid.

In short, regardless whether a huge oil deal constitutes "overwhelming" national interest in your mind, the British government acted stupidly and unwisely in releasing al-megrahi. Gordon Brown has apparently not learned the lesson that it's not the scandal, it's the coverup that always comes back to bite you.

Update from Herb Meyer:

If you check the dates of the Jack Straw letters that are cited here -- leaked, that is -- you'll see that while Tony Blair was prime minister the Libyan bomber was NOT part of a deal between the UK and Libya -- but after Blair resigned and Gordon Brown became prime minister, Straw wrote to the Scottish justice minister and reversed the UK government's position....

So this deal is a Brown deal, not a Blair deal....

Update from Thomas Lifson:

How many pieces of silver does $25.5 billion amount to?

Update from Aaron Gee:

While liberals screamed about "blood for oil" during the Bush years, they have been strangely silent about the possibility that the UK government took oil profits into consideration when releasing Megrahi. Now we have evidence that Megrahi's release was discussed during the BP negotiations and Saif Gadaffi has continued to openly say that the BP deal included Megrahi. Some speculate that this new evidence may bring down the current Scottish government.

While I've seen the family of Lockerbie victims protest the release of Megrahi I've seen no protests from the usual "no blood for oil" crowd. Will this new evidence motivate them? Don't hold your breath.

Cliff Thier adds:

Bad as was the British Labor government's decision to set a mass murderer free in exchange for billions of dollars for a British company (and by extension the national treasury), it was nothing compared to Bill Clinton's okaying the sale of top secret missile technology to Communist China in exchange for contributions to his Presidential reelection campaign.

Arguably Gordon Brown got something for his country, whereas Clinton's perfidy profited only himself while endangering the lives of 300 million people.



We at AT have been covering the story of the release of the Lockerbie terrorist quite closely ever since the Libyan terrorist Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was released because he supposedly had just weeks to live.

We have documented how the Scottish government had their own reasons for releasing the terrorist - including their desire to stick it to America and the subsequent effect on the popularity of the government.

We also reported on the first hints that commercial considerations were, if not paramount to the release, then certainly a major component in the negotiations with Libya.

Now comes word from Jason Allardyce f the Times OnLine that Prime Minister Gordon Brown decided it "in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom" that al-Megrahi be set free, And what were those "interests?"

I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count:

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.

Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking."

[...]

Downing Street had also said Megrahi would not be included under the agreement.

Straw then switched his position as Libya used its deal with BP as a bargaining chip to insist the Lockerbie bomber was included.

The deal is a pretty big one even for British Petroleum; $15 billion pounds which pencils out to around $24.5 billion.

I do not begrudge Great Britain releasing the terrorist if they truly believe it was "in their overwhelming national interest" to do so. Great Britain is an independent nation and must act as it sees fit to protect and advance its interests. We don't like it - it appears that they double crossed us in the process - but considerations of friendship fly out the window when a nation determines its interests demand it.

What bothers me is the cynical smokescreen of lies they told about the release. It was pretty stupid to believe the truth would never come out and now that it has, it has soured relations with the US even more. Also, the Brits apparently failed to gauge the propaganda use Qaddaffi would make of the terrorist's release. That also, was pretty stupid.

In short, regardless whether a huge oil deal constitutes "overwhelming" national interest in your mind, the British government acted stupidly and unwisely in releasing al-megrahi. Gordon Brown has apparently not learned the lesson that it's not the scandal, it's the coverup that always comes back to bite you.

Update from Herb Meyer:

If you check the dates of the Jack Straw letters that are cited here -- leaked, that is -- you'll see that while Tony Blair was prime minister the Libyan bomber was NOT part of a deal between the UK and Libya -- but after Blair resigned and Gordon Brown became prime minister, Straw wrote to the Scottish justice minister and reversed the UK government's position....

So this deal is a Brown deal, not a Blair deal....

Update from Thomas Lifson:

How many pieces of silver does $25.5 billion amount to?

Update from Aaron Gee:

While liberals screamed about "blood for oil" during the Bush years, they have been strangely silent about the possibility that the UK government took oil profits into consideration when releasing Megrahi. Now we have evidence that Megrahi's release was discussed during the BP negotiations and Saif Gadaffi has continued to openly say that the BP deal included Megrahi. Some speculate that this new evidence may bring down the current Scottish government.

While I've seen the family of Lockerbie victims protest the release of Megrahi I've seen no protests from the usual "no blood for oil" crowd. Will this new evidence motivate them? Don't hold your breath.

Cliff Thier adds:

Bad as was the British Labor government's decision to set a mass murderer free in exchange for billions of dollars for a British company (and by extension the national treasury), it was nothing compared to Bill Clinton's okaying the sale of top secret missile technology to Communist China in exchange for contributions to his Presidential reelection campaign.

Arguably Gordon Brown got something for his country, whereas Clinton's perfidy profited only himself while endangering the lives of 300 million people.