Lockerbie bomber's get out of jail free card may be a joker

It's hard to tell if the footage  offered on British television featuring the recently released Lockerbie bomber is actual news being reported or made-for-tv drama. The footage featuring Al-Megrahi is cobbled to the back-end of British Channel 4's report briefly addressing Scottish Justice Minister, Kenny McAskill's statement that trade deals with Libya had no bearing on the decision to free the terrorist.

Moammar Gaddafi's new best friend's vital signs appear to be normal on the monitor visible in the "exclusive" which features a Brit talking head supposedly asking questions of Al-Megrahi while a spokesman, who is unidentified and remains off-camera, claims the bomber is unable to answer because he is "too sick."  The brief hospital vignette is followed by footage of the bomber slowly ascending the steps of the plane which brought him home to Libya, taking his time in an effort to appear to struggle and holding a white scarf held over his mouth that matches his sporty white running suit.

Additional reportage is available at The Huffington Post:

"The Libyan Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Siala, said Monday that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi ...  is in the hospital, he is a dying man, it is normal than he came to spend his last few days in Libya," Siala (said)."

I hate to be a skeptic regarding the man's health, but the Middle East has had its share of manufactured news including fauxtography issues.  Could this be another mock-up to deflect the serious heat attending the unconscionable release of the Libyan murderer?

Megrahi's own father seemed to think the bomber was improving:

There was no way to independently verify al-Megrahi's condition, and the Libyan official offered no further details. Al-Megrahi underwent extensive medical testing before Scottish officials confirmed his cancer diagnosis, but questions have been raised about the seriousness of his condition.

The London-based Asharq Al-Awssat newspaper last Wednesday quoted al-Megrahi's father as saying that the former Libyan inmate was not dying.

"It is not that serious as some news media have been portraying," Ali al-Megrahi told the newspaper. "I see he is improving day by day, and he is better than the day he returned."

Whatever Al-Megrahi's true prognosis, the Scots and Brits have a mess on their hands and Libya has cashiered whatever goodwill it garnered by "abandoning" its WMD program .  The Obama administration appears to have some explaining to do as well.

Clearly, a lot rides on the true medical condition of the Lockerbie bomber, and you can bet that he won't be getting any "Get Well Soon" cards from Kenny McAskill, Gordon Brown or Hillary Clinton. 

Ralph Alter blogs at Right on Target