White House backed release of Lockerbie Bomber

#1
Very interesting and maybe explains why the story has not gotten much play up to now in the US:


White House backed release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi


  • Jason Allardyce and Tony Allen-Mills
  • From: The Australian
  • July 26, 2010 12:00AM

THE US government secretly advised Scottish ministers it would be "far preferable" to free the Lockerbie bomber than jail him in Libya.

Correspondence obtained by The Sunday Times reveals the Obama administration considered compassionate release more palatable than locking up Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in a Libyan prison.
The intervention, which has angered US relatives of those who died in the attack, was made by Richard LeBaron, deputy head of the US embassy in London, a week before Megrahi was freed in August last year on grounds that he had terminal cancer.
The document, acquired by a well-placed US source, threatens to undermine US President Barack Obama's claim last week that all Americans were "surprised, disappointed and angry" to learn of Megrahi's release.
Scottish ministers viewed the level of US resistance to compassionate release as "half-hearted" and a sign it would be accepted.


The US has tried to keep the letter secret, refusing to give permission to the Scottish authorities to publish it on the grounds it would prevent future "frank and open communications" with other governments.
In the letter, sent on August 12 last year to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and justice officials, Mr LeBaron wrote that the US wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned in view of the nature of the crime.
The note added: "Nevertheless, if Scottish authorities come to the conclusion that Megrahi must be released from Scottish custody, the US position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be a far preferable alternative to prisoner transfer, which we strongly oppose."
Mr LeBaron added that freeing the bomber and making him live in Scotland "would mitigate a number of the strong concerns we have expressed with regard to Megrahi's release".
The US administration lobbied the Scottish government more strongly against sending Megrahi home, under a prisoner transfer agreement signed by the British and Libyan governments, in a deal now known to have been linked to a pound stg. 550 million oil contract for BP.
It claimed this would flout a decade-old agreement between Britain and the US that anyone convicted of the bombing would serve their sentence in a Scottish prison. Megrahi was released by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on the grounds that he had three months to live, making his sentence effectively spent.
The US Senate foreign relations committee launched a probe after The Sunday Times revealed this month that Megrahi's doctors thought he could live for another decade.
A source close to the Senate inquiry said: "The (LeBaron) letter is embarrassing for the US because it shows they were much less opposed to compassionate release than prisoner transfer."
Last week, a succession of British politicians - including Mr MacAskill, Mr Salmond and former justice secretary Jack Straw - delivered a diplomatic snub to the senators by refusing to fly across the Atlantic to answer questions at the Senate's hearing on Thursday (US time) about their role in Megrahi's release.
Despite the controversy over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and Megrahi's release, it emerged over the weekend that BP is planning deep-water drilling off Libya.
And BP boss Tony Hayward is poised to quit this week when the company announces its half-year results, London's Sunday Telegraph reported.
The Sunday Times, AFP


White House backed release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi | The Australian
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#2
Saw that today as I was leafing through my Sundays, didn't post because I sure as hell am not going to pay to view the Times online, when I can read it for free in any cafe. Did raise a smile though, the Commitee could be heading for a huge Ostrich egg in the face if they keep pushing this line - ohh it could Georgeous George all over again (I might not be his biggest fan but he certainly made the Commitee who tried to interogate him look like a bunch of buffoons - YouTube - George Galloway at the US Senate Part 1 )
 
#4
Saw that today as I was leafing through my Sundays, didn't post because I sure as hell am not going to pay to view the Times online, when I can read it for free in any cafe. Did raise a smile though, the Commitee could be heading for a huge Ostrich egg in the face if they keep pushing this line - ohh it could Georgeous George all over again (I might not be his biggest fan but he certainly made the Commitee who tried to interogate him look like a bunch of buffoons - YouTube - George Galloway at the US Senate Part 1 )
Totally agree with you.....Alex Salmond has also timed his run very well with his "let's publish all the documents plea"...the only ones he hasn't been able to release are those authored by the US government and he seeks their permission to do so....interesting!

BTW: Agree that GG wiped the floor with them a few years back - would love to see those self-appointed jurists in the Senate get their a***s handed to them again!
 
#5
Well there is a surprise........NOT.

Wee Eck has been pushing this line from the begining knowing that the cat would be let out of the bag sooner or later.

Nothing to see here, move along
 
#9
The Senate committee really wants to think long and hard about how much truth they have an appetite for on this one!
IMO, publish and be damned. At the time of the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi Wee Eck and MacAskill both alluded to the existence of unpublished letters from the governments of USA and UK.

BBC News - Alex Salmond calls for release of Lockerbie files

Once the documents become open for all to see just sit back and watch the squirming begin, just in time for the November mid term elections.. They wanted this can of worms opened, "take the lid off", I say.
 
#10
ALEX Salmond yesterday heaped pressure on the US and UK governments to publish crucial correspondence relating to the Lockerbie bomber, after it emerged the Obama administration had been willing to discuss alternatives to custody in the run-up to his release.

Mr Salmond suggested yesterday that Senator Menendez should ask the US State Department to give him copies ahead of the Senate committee hearing on Thursday.

"There is a great virtue in this case of publishing all the documents," he said. "I took from what the Prime Minister and the President said that they wanted to do that.

"The only things the Scottish Government haven't published, in terms of documentation, are our correspondence – some of it – with the UK government, which the previous UK government said we couldn't, and our correspondence with the American State Department, which the American government, up until now, said we couldn't publish."

Mr Salmond added: "Just as I would say it would be helpful for the US government to publish all the correspondence, the present Prime Minister is right ... in saying he is going to publish all that correspondence as well.

"When all that correspondence is published, let me tell you, the position of the Scottish Government will be vindicated throughout this matter.

"Not because everyone agrees with us, but because we have acted throughout this matter with total integrity and following the best precepts of the Scottish legal system, and have been influenced by no other factor whatsoever."

SNP: Lockerbie letters must be made public - The Scotsman
 
#12
Interesting leader in the Sunday Times yesterday with the headline 'America look in the mirror'. They are on very thin ice accusing BP of lobbying Libya for oil exploration concessions when Exxon and Mobil had already negotiated exploration rights with the Libyans - their hypocrisy knows no bounds. One wonders about the calibre and intelligence of US politicians when they lead with their chins like this. As someone has already said, publish and be damned and watch certain politicians faces go red.
 
#14
The Senate committee really wants to think long and hard about how much truth they have an appetite for on this one!
I think one needs to understand the workings of our government here to get the full impact of this--it appears the White House (surprise surprise) is the "villain in the piece" both as to influencing the original decision (more of the "kinder and gentler" stuff) and then trying to avoid involvement with His shameless assertion (all Americans were "surprised, disappointed and angry" to learn of Megrahi's release).

I
n keeping with the pattern to which we have grown accustomed (deny responsibility and blame others--witness the unprincipled blaming of a subordinate and the ever evil "right wing" media for last week's scandal regarding the precipitous firing of a black woman in the Dept. of Ag), the White House then tries to cover up the matter by suppressing the "smoking gun" letter, with the apparent help of the fawning media.

The Senate i(e)nquiry appears to be a case of the right hand not talking to the left and now the proverbial steaming stinking feces has hit the fan.
 
#15
While I understand that arrogance and a sense of predestination may occasionally lead the government of the US to imagine it can summons politicians from the 51st State to its Senate hearings, I am disappointed to find they believe our leaders have nothing better to do than fuel an electoral campaign with knocking copy.
 
#16
While I understand that arrogance and a sense of predestination may occasionally lead the government of the US to imagine it can summons politicians from the 51st State to its Senate hearings, I am disappointed to find they believe our leaders have nothing better to do than fuel an electoral campaign with knocking copy.
Political theater--now likely intended to shift "blame" to the UK from the White House--reminds one of the current BP scapegoating.
 
#17
Political theater--now likely intended to shift "blame" to the UK from the White House--reminds one of the current BP scapegoating.
Yep JJH, likely also to play out the way previously....with some egg on face for the less intelligent senators and pollies in the US - with some useful splashback on some UK pollies too....
 
#18
I think what is galling the Senate Committee and their ilk is that BP managed to obtain access to a potentially massive crude supply without first concocting WMDs and a costly war.

It all comes down to economics. ;P
 
#19
I think what is galling the Senate Committee and their ilk is that BP managed to obtain access to a potentially massive crude supply without first concocting WMDs and a costly war.

It all comes down to economics. ;P

And just what "access" (I assume you mean "special') to oil in the region have we gotten as compared to that of any other nation, including the UK whose politicians decided to "leave" Iraq a bit early?
 

Travelgall

MIA
Kit Reviewer
#20
I'm not suprised about this. After idealistic but fairly moral NeoCon Foreign policies it was inevitable that Machiavellian Realpolitik would return. The Senators calling for a Jock head and BP to be taken over by Exxon on the release of Al-Megrahi were fooling themselves that their own State Department weren't doing cartwheels over Lybia Returning to the fold. No more Lybian Nukes, No more funding of blowing up US Servicemen in Bars, Clamping down on Al-Qaeda sympathisers. I would have been suprised had they not been secretly delighted (especially since there are over 50 US oil companies operating in Libya - the UK has 4 btw) and now it looks like there is some proof that not only were they delighted but were actually working towards the same goal.

On the other hand I think it is a disgrace that this man was released. It dishonoured those who died. He should have rotted in jail.
 

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