This is swell. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was handed over to a Scottish court seated in the Netherlands in 1999 after he was indited in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in December 1988 which killed all 259 passengers and another 11 on the ground. He was convicted, got cancer and released this week back to Libya. Libya’s dictator through him a party.
Britain dismissed suggestions of a link between the Lockerbie bomber’s release and energy deals with Libya on Saturday, and the head of the U.S. FBI said the move gave comfort to terrorists.
London and Washington have condemned the ‘hero’s welcome’ given to Abdel Basset al-Megrahi on his return to Libya after being freed from a life sentence in a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds because he is dying of cancer.
‘The idea that the British government … would sit down and somehow barter over the freedom or the life of this Libyan prisoner and make it all part of some business deal … it’s not only wrong, it’s completely implausible and actually quite offensive,’ said British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson.
But of course – wink, wink, nod, nod – they never would tie business deals to the release of al-Megrahi, but that does not mean dictators like Gaddafi won’t take advantage of you.
‘This step is in the interest of relations between the two countries…and of the personal friendship between me and them and will be positively reflected for sure in all areas of cooperation between the two countries,’ he [Libyan de-factor leader Muammar Gaddafi] told Libyan TV.
His son Saif al-Islam went further, saying that whenever he had met British officials to discuss business, the issue of Megrahi’s release was a condition of any deal being struck. …
‘In all British interests regarding Libya, I always put you on the table,’ Saif al-Islam’s newspaper quoted him as telling Megrahi on his return to Libya.
‘All the visits of the ex-Prime Minister Blair and the big secret and public work that all the parties entered into was carried out in order to release you. The exploitation of British-Libyan political and trade interests was always done with the aim of releasing Abdel Basset al-Megrahi.’
European governments including Britain’s are lobbying hard for business in Libya as it emerges from years of sanctions.
The British government just got PUNKED on the international stage by terrorists who’ve been on sabbatical. Will Britain, the United States and other democracies around the world learn anything from this disaster?
It was bad enough the Scottish minister Kenny MacAskill ordered the release of a convicted terrorist and Gordon Brown – Britain’s prime minister – approved it, but everything else is a slap in the face.
Important Note: al-Megrahi’s indictment and trial was not held in the United States or Scotland. In a tip toward the spirit of the United Nations and their desire for a “world court”, a fair trial was scheduled in the Netherlands with a panel of judges from Scotland. The death penalty was off the table. Nice…
Here’s a video report with the cheering crowds just to start your Sunday morning off on a sour note, we did not add the text commentary in the video.