View Full Version : Clinton urges no Megrahi release

August 14th, 2009, 06:27 PM
Clinton urges no Megrahi release
From BBC

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has personally urged Scotland's justice secretary not to free the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

A spokesman said she "expressed strongly" the view to Kenny MacAskill that Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland.

Earlier it was confirmed the Libyan had applied to abandon his appeal against his conviction.

Terminally-ill Megrahi is serving a life sentence at Greenock Prison.

On Wednesday BBC News revealed that Kenny MacAskill was likely to announce next week that Megrahi, who is gravely ill with prostate cancer, would be released on compassionate grounds.

US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said there were "compelling reasons" why Megrahi should remain in jail.

He said: "Our interest is justice, and our interest is the commitment that we made to the families that we would find the perpetrator of this terrorism act, bring him to justice, working with the United Kingdom and with Scotland.

There are a number of vested interests who have been deeply opposed to this appeal continuing as they know it would go a considerable way towards exposing the truth behind Lockerbie
Christine Grahame MSP

"He was brought to trial. He had a fair trial. He was convicted. He's serving his time. And we think he should stay in jail."

Mr MacAskill is also considering a request from the Libyan government for Megrahi to be returned to Libya under a prisoner transfer deal with Britain.

Abandoning his appeal could pave the way for his return home because a transfer cannot take place if criminal proceedings are active.

'No pressure'

The Scottish government said no decision had yet been taken on Megrahi's future and insisted no pressure had been put on him to abandon his appeal.

But South of Scotland SNP MSP Christine Grahame, who has met Megrahi several times in prison, said she believed he had been put under pressure.

The Scottish legal system might well welcome closure of this protracted, challenging case.

The counter point of view, advanced by Nationalist MSP Christine Grahame among others, is that Scottish justice is better served by persisting in efforts to dig out the truth.

Then there is the issue of compassion. Megrahi is said to be terminally ill with prostate cancer. Regardless of other issues, should the justice secretary pay heed to that?

Either way, relatives of those who died are decidedly not content.

There are those who believe that Megrahi is guilty and who say there should be no deal whatsoever: he should remain in jail in Scotland.

Those who believe he is innocent - and consequently welcome his release - nevertheless are voicing distress that the emerging shape of events means that the search for further information will be stalled.
'An amazing coincidence'

She said: "I know from the lengthy discussions I had with him that he was desperate to clear his name, so I believe that the decision is not entirely his own.

"There are a number of vested interests who have been deeply opposed to this appeal continuing as they know it would go a considerable way towards exposing the truth behind Lockerbie.

"Some serious scrutiny will be required to determine exactly why Mr Megrahi is now dropping his appeal and examination of what pressure he has come under."

She renewed her calls for a full public inquiry into the bombing.

She added: "In the next days, weeks and months new information will be placed in the public domain that will make it clear that Mr Megrahi had nothing to do with the bombing of Pan Am 103."

Megrahi is the only person to be convicted over the 1988 bombing which claimed 270 lives.

His lawyers said he had applied to the High Court in Edinburgh two days ago to abandon his appeal against conviction.

A spokesman for the legal firm Taylor and Kelly said: "As the appeal hearing has commenced... leave of the court is required before the appeal can be formally abandoned."

A court hearing to discuss the application will take place in Edinburgh next Tuesday.

'Cloak and dagger'

Conservative justice spokesman Bill Aitken said clarity was needed from the Scottish Government.

"Too much of this story has been characterised by secret briefings, hints of special deals and international cloak and dagger," he said.

"The Lockerbie atrocity cannot descend into this kind of diplomacy by spin and stealth."

He said there needed to be "compelling medical evidence of extreme ill health" before any release on compassionate grounds.

Nothing that the Scottish Government has done or said suggests pressure on anybody to do anything
First Minister Alex Salmond

First Minister Alex Salmond said the Scottish Government denied any pressure had been placed on the Libyan to drop his second appeal.

Speaking in Edinburgh before Megrahi's application to drop his appeal was announced, he said: "We have no interest in pressurising people to drop appeals, why on earth should we?

"That's not our position - never has been."

He added: "Nothing that the Scottish Government has done or said suggests pressure on anybody to do anything."

He also said the issue would not be discussed at cabinet on Tuesday, saying it was a judicial matter, not a political one.

"This is a matter the justice secretary must determine and he must do it purely on judicial grounds, which is what he's been doing," he said.

Sentence appeal

Megrahi was convicted of murder in January 2001 at a trial held under Scottish law in the Netherlands.

A first appeal against that verdict was rejected the following year.

His second appeal got under way this year but shortly afterwards applications were made for both his transfer to a Libyan jail and release on compassionate grounds.

Separately, the Crown Office is appealing against the length of the sentence handed out to Megrahi.

A Crown Office spokesman said that its appeal remained live.

The spokesman would not be drawn on whether that appeal would be dropped alongside Megrahi's appeal against conviction.

August 20th, 2009, 03:42 PM
Lockerbie bomber arrives in Libya

The Libyan man jailed in Scotland for blowing up a US airliner over Lockerbie in 1988, has arrived back in Libya after being set free.

The Scottish government released Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who is 57 and has terminal cancer, on compassionate grounds.

US President Barack Obama said the move was "a mistake", and some relatives of US victims reacted angrily.

Most of the 270 people who died in the bombing were Americans.

In a radio interview, Mr Obama said: "We have been in contact with the Scottish government, indicating that we objected to this. We thought it was a mistake."

Lockerbie scene

'A convenient scapegoat?'

Grounds for compassionate release

'No prospect of recovery'

He added that his administration had told the Libyan government that Megrahi should not receive a hero's welcome and should be placed under house arrest.

The BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli says that although the Libyan authorities have so far not commented on the release, they will regard it as a diplomatic triumph.

Earlier on Thursday, police took Megrahi from Scotland's Greenock Prison to Glasgow Airport to board an Airbus plane which landed in Tripoli at 1830 GMT.

The Scottish government said it had consulted widely before Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill made his decision on applications for Megrahi's compassionate release or his transfer to a Libyan jail.


Mr MacAskill told a news conference that he had rejected the application for a prisoner transfer.

However, after taking medical advice it was expected that three months was a "reasonable estimate" of the time Megrahi had left to live.

Well before the Scottish justice minister had announced his decision, Col Muammar Gaddafi's private jet was on its way to Glasgow.

Until now, Libyan officials have been careful not to comment in case they jeopardised the release, wary of this last-minute intervention by the US.

Officially there are unlikely to be any triumphant statements here, but given the personal involvement of Mr Gaddafi it will no doubt be seen as further evidence of his growing stature on the international stage.

It is rumoured that he has asked to see Megrahi when he returns, and the timing is perfect. In 12 days' time, Libya celebrates the 40th anniversary of the revolution that brought Mr Gaddafi to power.

"Mr al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days," he said.

"But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days."

Mr MacAskill continued: "Our justice system demands that judgement be imposed, but compassion be available.

"For these reasons and these reasons alone, it is my decision that Mr Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi, convicted in 2001 for the Lockerbie bombing, now terminally ill with prostate cancer, be released on compassionate grounds and be allowed to return to Libya to die."

In a statement released after his departure from HMP Greenock, Megrahi continued to protest his innocence.

He said: "The remaining days of my life are being lived under the shadow of the wrongness of my conviction.

"I have been faced with an appalling choice: to risk dying in prison in the hope that my name is cleared posthumously or to return home still carrying the weight of the guilty verdict, which will never now be lifted.

"The choice which I made is a matter of sorrow, disappointment and anger, which I fear I will never overcome."

'No remorse'

The families of American victims of the Lockerbie bombing reacted angrily to the news.

Kara Weipz, of Mt Laurel, New Jersey, who lost her brother Richard Monetti, said: "It is an utter insult and utterly disgusting... I don't show compassion for someone who showed no remorse."

New York state resident Paul Halsch, whose 31-year-old wife was killed, said of Mr MacAskill's decision: "This might sound crude or blunt, but I want him returned from Scotland the same way my wife Lorraine was and that would be in a box."

However, British relatives' spokesman Dr Jim Swire, who lost his daughter Flora in the atrocity, reiterated his view that Megrahi had "nothing to do with" the bombing.

"I don't believe for a moment that this man was involved in the way that he was found to have been involved," he said.

Megrahi was convicted of murder in January 2001 at a trial held under Scottish law in the Netherlands.

August 20th, 2009, 03:47 PM
I don't feel strongly either way on this. I don't know the specifics of the case so I can't have on opinion on whether he is guilty or not. As for his release it is normal for a prisoner to be released if they only have a short time left to live. The recent Ronnie Biggs case being a recent example.

What I do feel strongly about however is this:

'We have been in contact with the Scottish government, indicating that we objected to this. We thought it was a mistake.'

'He added that his administration had told the Libyan government that Megrahi should not receive a hero's welcome and should be placed under house arrest.'

Why does America feel it can dictate to everyone how they should act? I understand most of the victims were American but the man was convicted under Scottish law and he will be treated the same as every other criminal. No one has the right to demand otherwise.

As for how Libya should act that is up to them also.

August 20th, 2009, 05:49 PM
"No one has the right to demand otherwise"

You've just nullified the basis of much diplomacy. Countries do it all the time. They trade with each other based upon what is in their best interest. Just as, in this case, certain parties are very possibly taking actions based not solely upon compassion & humane interests but upon oil & business interests (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6797118.ece).

August 20th, 2009, 06:06 PM
His release isn't unusual considering this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/8188479.stm) happened a couple of weeks ago, otherwise I'd be more suspicious.

I don't think good diplomacy includes telling people what they should do concerning criminals convicted under their own laws. And in the case of Libya what they should do with a free citizen. This isn't about trade its a legal/ criminal issue.

August 21st, 2009, 12:21 AM
When I think of the horror/terror and physical pain that the screaming passengers felt as they fell from the sky to their deaths, I can only wish that the low-life who set that event in motion stayed in jail. Better still, he should have been strapped into a obsolete older-series 747 and blown up remotely in midair.

August 21st, 2009, 12:55 AM
His release isn't unusual considering this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/8188479.stm) happened a couple of weeks ago, otherwise I'd be more suspicious.

That guy (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/norfolk/8188479.stm) /\ stole a lot of money, beat up a guy and then escaped from prison and went on the lam -- hardly the equivalent of murdering nearly 300 people in cold blood.

Biggs, from Lambeth, south London, was a member of a 15-strong gang which attacked the Glasgow to London mail train at Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, in August 1963, and made off with £2.6m in used banknotes.

The train's driver Jack Mills suffered head injuries during the robbery.
Biggs was given a 30-year sentence, but after 15 months he escaped from Wandsworth prison in south west London by climbing a 30ft wall and fleeing in a furniture van.

He was on the run for more than 30 years, living in Australia and Brazil, before returning to the UK voluntarily in 2001 in search of medical treatment.

He was sent to Belmarsh high-security prison on his return before being moved to a specialist medical unit at Norwich prison.

Don't you think that the UK / Scottish authorities would put in their two cents if somebody blew up a busload of Scottish tourists in Wyoming and was tried and held but then released by the US Government?

August 21st, 2009, 05:28 AM
It would depend on the circumstances of their release. There is a big difference between someone simply being released and being released because they are going to die very soon. In the Lockerbie instance the reason for his release is not unusual. I believe it is policy to release a prisoner when they have only 3 months to live and this doesn't change with the magnitude of the crime.

roy ben(uk)
August 21st, 2009, 06:21 AM
to all our friends in the u.s.a i would like to say to you all that us folk in the uk are so so sorry for letting that bomber free im sure you understand it was not us that decided it was our government over the years we have stood side by side with you and i hope that you will always do so we thank you roy

August 21st, 2009, 09:04 AM
Royal visit to Libya reconsidered

A crowd gathered to welcome Megrahi home to Libya

A royal visit to Libya is being reconsidered after the welcome given to the Lockerbie bomber on his return to the country, the BBC understands.

The Foreign Office is reviewing plans for Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, to meet senior figures and promote trade.

The visit - planned for early September - now seems unlikely to go ahead.

It also emerged that the prime minister had written to Colonel Gaddafi asking that Libya "act with sensitivity" when Megrahi returned home.

Downing Street said Gordon Brown had sent the letter on Thursday, ahead of the bomber's release from prison.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has described the celebratory welcome in Libya for Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi as "deeply distressing".

BBC Diplomatic Correspondent James Robbins said he understood the royal visit - which had not yet been made public - was now unlikely to proceed.

"It would be the Duke of York's third visit to Libya," he said.

"Last year he met Colonel Gaddafi and previously he has met a series of senior Libyan ministers in his role as Britain's special representative for trade and investment.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said that the decision had been made "for the right reasons"

"Britain has secured huge contracts with Libya, particularly in the energy sector, in recent years as the country has returned from deep international isolation."

The foreign secretary has said he deplored the welcome Megrahi received in Tripoli on Thursday.

But Mr Miliband refused to comment on whether he believed the Scottish Government was right to free him.

Crowds in Tripoli, some waving Saltires, greeted Megrahi after he was freed on compassionate grounds.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said the reception was "inappropriate".

The welcome Megrahi received on his return to Libya also prompted an angry reaction from families of those killed in the 1988 bombing, which brought down Pan Am flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie, in southern Scotland.

'Deeply distressing'

US President Barack Obama described the Scottish Government's decision to free Megrahi as a "mistake" and said his administration had told the Libyan government that Megrahi, who has terminal cancer, should not receive a hero's welcome and should instead be placed under house arrest.

Mr Miliband, the first UK minister to comment on Megrahi's release, said the scenes in Tripoli were deeply distressing.

He added: "Obviously the sight of a mass murderer getting a hero's welcome in Tripoli is deeply upsetting, and deeply upsetting above all for the 270 families who grieve every day for the loss of their loved ones 21 years ago, but also for anyone who's got an ounce of humanity in them and I think that is the overriding emotion that people will be feeling today.

Megrahi is welcomed at airport in Tripoli
Saltires were waved by some of those waiting at the airport

"I think it is very important that Libya knows, and certainly we have told them, that how the Libyan government handles itself in the next few days after the arrival of Mr Megrahi will be very significant in the way the world views Libya's re-entry into the civilised community of nations."

He said there had been no pressure from Westminster on the Scottish Government to release Megrahi.

Mr Salmond said the welcome received by Megrahi was "unwise".

He said: "I don't think the reception for Mr al-Megrahi was appropriate in Libya. I don't think that was wise and I don't think that was the right thing to do."

He said he supported Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill's decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds, and denied it had damaged Scotland's relationship with the United States.

He said: "The international politics of the situation are not, correctly in my view, a matter for the justice secretary.

"We're not responsible for the actions of others and I don't agree that we've damaged Scotland's reputation."

The Scottish Parliament is to be recalled on Monday to discuss the controversial decision to release Megrahi.

Alex Salmond's government has made a mistake of international proportions
David Mundell
Conservative MP

Russell Brown, Labour MP for Dumfries, said seeing the Saltire at Tripoli airport was "stomach churning" and condemned the Scottish Government for failing to seek adequate assurances that the Lockerbie bomber would not be hailed a hero on his return to Libya.

He said: "I have never been ashamed to see my country's flag waved before, but to see it misused to celebrate mass murder is outrageous.

"This man is convicted of murdering 270 people in my part of Scotland and that conviction stands.

"This adds further pressure to the SNP to explain why they have freed a man who showed no remorse for the crimes he has committed."

David Mundell, Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, said the scenes from Tripoli were "sickening".

He said: "This is as we feared and why we said that Mr Megrahi should be kept in Scotland.

"Alex Salmond's government has made a mistake of international proportions."

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the release order on Thursday afternoon, saying Megrahi probably had about three months to live.

The fact that Megrahi's victims were shown no compassion was "not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days", he said.

Tony Kelly, a solicitor acting on behalf of Megrahi, said his client was still interested in clearing his name in the "court of public opinion."

He said: "In the statement I issued on his behalf yesterday he talked about the appalling choice he had to make.

"He had to say whether he was going to stay here and die in prison with a view to trying to clear his name posthumously, or to abandon the appeal with a view to get himself home so he could go back to the bosom of his family."

August 21st, 2009, 10:59 AM
Note to Prince Andrew: Not sure the photo op is worth it, you might be wise to send a lackey in your place. The meet up could have a similar repercussions as those caused by the coziness between a great-great uncle of yours and another unpopular leader, way back in the day.

August 23rd, 2009, 11:09 AM
As a proud Scot, I am totally shocked amd disgusted at the release of Megrahi. What an insult to the families of those who lost their lives over and in Lockerbie. What an insult to the troops, who are fighting terrorism in the middle east.

I hope that our American cousins can see this for what it is: Just another utter screw up by an incompetent British government.

Please, please do not hold this against the Scottish people by cutting back in tourism to Scotland. We are as disgusted as you are over this fiasco.

August 23rd, 2009, 11:11 AM
This was completely the Scottish governments decision, as both sides love to point out.

August 23rd, 2009, 02:09 PM
I'm somewhat dense on the machinations of Great Britain.

That would be the free and independent Scotland, subject to the will of no one else, yes?

August 23rd, 2009, 02:14 PM
Lofter, maybe I'm reading your tone or humour wrong but can the sarcasm if that is what you were aiming for.

No, Scotland is not independent. However justice is a completely devolved power and is completely under the power of the Scottish parliament. Ergo the UK government had no part in this decision according to people on both sides.

August 23rd, 2009, 02:40 PM
Sorry, must have missed the WNY Rule outlawing sarcasm.

August 23rd, 2009, 02:41 PM
There is no rule. Its helps the discussion if you are mature in your responses. It also helps to be accurate if you are trying to act smart.

August 23rd, 2009, 02:46 PM
Ergo the UK government had no part in this decision according to people on both sides.

Drudge has broken the story - this is on the front page of Drudge right now - Brown may have had more to do with it than is being led on. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/23/gordon-brown-letter-gaddafi-lockerbie) But I don't really care.


There - hows that for a hot cup of haggis.

August 23rd, 2009, 02:46 PM
What wasn't accurate? I believe a poster before me said that this was "completely" a decision of the Scots. I was merely inquiring how that might be, given the structure of Scotland vis a vis it's alignment with Great Britain.

Like I said, I don't have full understanding as to how that works and was looking for illumination from someone who might be in the know.

August 23rd, 2009, 02:49 PM
Boycott Scotland

There are calls for it right now.

Craig Ferguson isn't funny anyway, or June Thomas. F*ck them both.

August 23rd, 2009, 02:50 PM
Lofter. Like I said I couldn't read your tone. I've been on the receiving ending of your sarcasm before and I couldn't tell if you were being genuine or not. Therefore I apologise for my curt response.

As for your question, there are separate legal systems for Scotland and England. Justice, ie law, is completely devolved power so all legal matters are handled by the Scottish parliament with no input from the UK government. I'm can't think of an example but I'm sure there are some caveats to that.

August 23rd, 2009, 03:08 PM
Your reply is appreciated. Scorn and sarcasm can be needed weapons when the world goes awry.

Its helps the discussion if you are mature in your responses.

Excuse my distaste and the need to express it. Logic escapes me in this instance. To demand a "mature response' in this moment seems to be a call for an unwillngness of feeling and an analytic view of a sickening turn of events.

Situation: Mass murderer given clemency; Political big wigs do deals over dead bodies.

How much maturity is displayed by that? And how much cold-eyed logic should meet such a display?

And finally:

How maturely will folks respond if this fine Libyan fellow, convicted of the murders of 270 souls but now welcomed back home in Libya as a conquering hero (despite Gordon Brown's personal correspndence (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/23/gordon-brown-letter-gaddafi-lockerbie) to his "Dear Muammar" where he pleads with the co-conspirator Gaddaffi that "when we met [there] I stressed that, should the Scottish executive decide that Megrahi can return to Libya, this should be a purely private family occasion" rather than a public celebration"), isn't dead and buried within three months, as surmised by the Scottish Authority in Charge?

Do the Scots then take him back?

August 23rd, 2009, 03:17 PM
At the moment I am stuck between the fact that compassionate release is a standard part of Scots law and the fact that this man's crime is sickening. It doesn't help that there are rumours of his innocence and of under handed business deals. I'm deeply embarrassed by the scenes in Tripoli.

August 23rd, 2009, 03:48 PM
... rumours of his innocence ...

Where did that come from?

Why did Gadaffi negotiate to allow Megrahi's incarceration and subsequent trial in a neutral country? Which resulted in his conviction of the murders of 270 persons and a sentence of Life Imprisonment. Did Muammar give up his faithful subject simply to get the $4M reward? Or maybe it was the hope that Gaddaffi, now compliant to the wishes of the west, could bring his country out of the dark ages into which he had (mis)guided it? Or maybe Megrahi is just Muammar's dupe? Next thing we know we'll be re-arguing every splinter group's claims of responsibility (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103#Claims_of_responsibility).

But again there are rumours. So, by all means, let us now nullify the ruling of the courts (even though the appeals process was played out with no good results for Megrahi).

Compassion is a lovely sentiment and a golden rule by which one should live. But in this instance it is totally misplaced. It means nothing unless put into context.

Or perhaps I'm utterly wrong and Pan Am 103 merely fell from the sky on it's own accord.

In a world where nothing matters, nothing does.

August 23rd, 2009, 03:58 PM
I remember reading in most articles before his release and some since that there are people who believe he had nothing to do with it. Remember he was also appealing against his conviction. Like I said though I don't really know much about the details of his case.

I agree compassion is extremely important in life. It's difficult though when something so despicable has happened. I've been thinking to myself about compassion and what it means. The way I see it you have to show compassion to bad people as well as good, or its an empty sentiment. This doesn't stop my conflicting feelings however.

August 25th, 2009, 03:43 PM
This creep was one of several who cooly packed bombs into a portable radio in order to compassionately kill off several hundred Westerners all at once.
It seems that their intended victim's government had retaliated against Libia for some previous murders, and Libia was having none of that, so someone had to die.
Megrahi and a few other indicited co-conspiraters decided, on orders from Moomar, that blowing up a jumbo full of American-bound passengers would be kind of a cool thing to do-- so that's what they did.
Their radio exploded, blew out the side of the 747, and after only a couple of minutes of flaming free-fall, all the passengers compassionately died on the rooftops and backyards of Lockerbie.

Later, after being tracked down by Interpol and then surrendered to the Scots by Kadaffy ( who also offered the surviving families some money--did he ever pay that off??? )-- this azzhole Megrahi was given life by the courts of Scotland.
Except, of course, if he caught cancer. Then he could go home.

The residents of Lockerbie, who got part of their town destroyed as the jet fell out of the sky (along with a dozen of their neighbors, who were simultaneously destroyed), should grab their torches and storm the Parliament-- or whatever looney group actually made this sad decision to free Meghrabi-- and demand that a commando group go into Libia and bring this sick fck BACK to prison where he needs to be. LIFE means LIFE; he should die behind prison walls.

The surviving family members-- a LOT of them from New York (...the plane was carrying dozens of Syracuse University students )-- have been robbed of their dignity and, yes, their vengence, and the nasty, cancerous mass-murderer of nearly 300 people runs free, hailed as a hero. How did THAT happen???

If I were a terrorist leader, I'd use only smokers or cancer patients to kill my enemies. I could guarantee them that if they got caught throwing bombs and get tossed into prison in the West, at some point everybody will feel sorry for them because of their disease and set them free.
Westerners are nothing if not compassionate.

August 25th, 2009, 04:16 PM
I'm hearing a lot of things said like this. It is part of the British legal system to release prisoners if they meet certain criteria including their life expectancy being 3 months. Obviously this law gets difficult when the crime gets to this magnitude but in a legal system there shouldn't be exceptions and double standards.

I don't buy the 'he didn't show compassion so why should he receive' it argument. I believe very much in the Ghandi quote 'an eye for a eye will leave us all blind'. I think it applies here as I don't see what forcing this man to die in a prison hospital as opposed to a Libyan one is going to solve. It's part of being the better person to forgive or at least show someone compassion in their dying moments.

It boils down to your morals. While the crime was inexcusable I'd rather live in a country that would release someone in their last moments on earth than send them to an electric chair, it's not like he's going on a pleasure cruise, he will be having a slow painful death.

August 25th, 2009, 06:52 PM
Last moments? OK, wait until he's gasping for breath and then put him on a plane where mum is waiting to hold his hand.

And does anyone now really believe that the newly-freed Libyan hero will be held in a prison?

Also, we're not talking about "an eye for an eye" or else Megrahi would have been strung by his neck over the streets of Lockerbie.

Is there anyone who wouldn't deserve this so called equal compassion?

What's the tipping point? How many would would such a killer have to murder to reach that level? Clearly 270 massacred souls isn't enough.

So where's the morality in that?

August 25th, 2009, 07:50 PM
How come lineupguy got banned?

August 25th, 2009, 10:35 PM
Yes, it's curious.

August 27th, 2009, 08:23 AM

AUGUST 26, 2009

Britain and the Lockerbie Bomber

London officials seem to have been involved
in the decision to release Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi


When former Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to give up his pursuit of nuclear weapons in late 2003, Britain received world-wide praise for a remarkable diplomatic coup.

The plaudits heaped on the British government then stand in marked contrast to the international opprobrium its latest dealings with the Gadhafi clan are attracting.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government says the shameful decision to return Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi—convicted of murdering 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988—to Libya was taken solely on compassionate grounds. His release from prison last week was not, the government says, part of some secret deal between London and Tripoli.

Megrahi's doctors claim he's suffering from terminal prostate cancer and has only a few months to live. Scotland's Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill insists his decision to release Megrahi was based on the requirements of Scottish law, which allows for terminally ill prisoners to be released from custody regardless of the magnitude of their crimes. Although it is part of the United Kingdom, Scotland enjoys its own justice system.

But even if the Scottish government acted solely in accordance with its legal obligations, strong rumors persist that Megrahi's return had more to do with the prospect of Britain enjoying lucrative trade deals with Libya than the state of the convicted murderer's health. Suspicions that there is more to this episode than the British government will admit center on the role Seif al-Islam Gadhafi has played in the affair. Gadhafi's second son, whose name translates as "sword of Islam," is widely regarded as the heir apparent.

Educated at the London School of Economics, Mr. Ghadafi claims to entertain no political ambitions and says his only official role is that of running a Tripoli-based family charitable foundation. But in Libya he is increasingly seen as the power behind the throne. He is also well known to Britain's political and intelligence establishment for the key role he is credited with playing in persuading his father to end Libya's decades-long international isolation by giving up its weapons of mass destruction.

For years, Ghadafi's regime was deemed by Washington to be one of the world's leading state sponsors of terrorism. It also had a nuclear weapons program, though it maintained the pretense to visiting inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency that its nuclear activities were purely peaceful—a fiction with which the agency concurred.

Then came the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003, which removed Saddam Hussein from power. This had a profound impact on Col. Ghadafi, who, at his second son's prompting, secretly passed a letter to Downing Street indicating he wanted to come in from the diplomatic cold and end Libya's status as a pariah nation.

The British government reacted swiftly to the Gadhafi clan's overture. There followed a series of lengthy discussions between Seif al-Islam and Mark Allen, then head of counter-terrorism at Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), that were conducted within the elegant confines of London's Travellers Club. The result was Mr. Blair's triumphant announcement in late December 2003 that Col. Ghadhafi had made a "historic" decision to scrap the nuclear-weapons program whose existence he'd always denied.

Fast forward six years, and many of those who were central to the negotiations in 2003 continue to feature prominently in Anglo-Libyan affairs. Sir Mark Allen, to give him his present title, is now a senior executive with the British oil giant BP. BP is keen to develop its oil exploration business in Libya, which is said to be sitting on 44 billion barrels of untapped oil reserves.

Seif al-Islam Ghadafi, meanwhile, owns a $16 million mansion in London's northern suburbs and maintains close links with Britain's leading business figures. Earlier this summer he was a guest at the villa owned by the Rothschild banking family on the Greek island of Corfu. Another guest was Lord Peter Mandelson, Britain's business secretary and a close ally of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Lord Mandelson has confirmed that, during their stay at the villa, Mr. Ghadafi raised the issue of Megrahi's release. He insists he personally had nothing to do with releasing Megrahi. Nevertheless, Seif al-Islam Ghadafi remarked on Libyan television (after Megrahi's release) that, "In all commercial contracts for oil and gas with Britain [Megrahi] was always on the negotiating table."

Other evidence suggesting the British government, rather than its weaker Scottish partner, was the driving force behind Megrahi's release has emerged in the form of a letter Ivor Lewis, a junior minister at the British Foreign Office, wrote to Mr. MacAskill on Aug. 3. In that letter, parts of which have been leaked to the British press, Mr. Lewis tells Mr. MacAskill that there is no legal reason not to accede to Libya's request to transfer Megrahi into its custody under the terms of an agreement reached between Mr. Blair and Gadhafi senior in 2004 to strengthen U.K.-Libyan diplomatic ties. This agreement was negotiated in the wake of the historic nuclear deal.

According to a Scottish government source quoted in the British press over the weekend (who says he's seen the entire letter), Mr. Lewis wrote, "I hope on this basis you will now feel able to consider the Libyan application [for Megrahi's release]."

Certainly the involvement of both Lord Mandelson and Mr. Lewis in this sorry affair seems to undermine Mr. Brown's claim on Tuesday that he "had no role" in the decision to release Megrahi from prison. Mr. Brown's government still has many questions to answer about one of the least edifying episodes in his nation's hitherto impressive history of confronting international terrorism.

Mr. Coughlin is the executive foreign editor of the Daily Telegraph in London and the author of "Khomeini's Ghost: The Iranian Revolution and the Rise of Militant Islam" (Ecco, 2009).

August 27th, 2009, 08:33 AM
And over in the Garden State...


New Jersey fury at Gaddafi 'stay'

Officials in the US state of New Jersey have reacted angrily to the possibility that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi may pitch his tent there next month.

The Libyan embassy has owned the
mansion in Englewood since 1982

Col Gaddafi is expected to set up his Bedouin-style tent on Libyan Embassy-owned land in the town of Englewood as he attends the UN General Assembly.

The town mayor, state governor and legislators said he was not welcome.

They were angered by the "hero's welcome" home given to Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi last week.

A number of the 270 people killed when a Pan Am jet exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988 were from New Jersey.

"I want him barred from New Jersey," New Jersey Congressman John Adler said of Col Gaddafi on Wednesday.

"Let him land at the UN by helicopter, do his business and get out of the country."

"People are infuriated that a financier of terrorism, who in recent days gave a hero's welcome to a convicted terrorist, would be welcomed to our shores, let alone reside in our city," Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes told Reuters news agency.

State Governor Jon Corzine echoed his views, saying: "Gaddafi is not welcome in New Jersey."

New Jersey senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg have urged the State Department to limit the Libyan leader's stay to the immediate area around the UN building in New York.

'Raw sensitivities'

Both the US state department and the Libyan Embassy said no decision had yet been taken as to where Col Gaddafi and his entourage will stay when the Libyan leader speaks at the UN on 23 September.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the US would keep in mind the "raw sensitivities" of the families of the Lockerbie bombing victims on the issue.

"Our priority has been and will remain the families of the victims of this tragedy," he told reporters.

"We, of course, are sensitive to the concerns of the communities that might be affected by any travel arrangements made for the Libyan delegation."

Col Gaddafi has faced strong criticism from the US and the UK for the jubilant scenes that greeted Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi upon his arrival home in Tripoli a week ago.

The decision by the Scottish government to free the terminally-ill 57-year-old on compassionate grounds has been met with dismay and anger by many of the relatives of the Lockerbie bombing victims.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/08/27 08:08:19 GMT


August 27th, 2009, 08:44 AM
I had no idea that this incident occurred or that some consider Lockerbie to be a retaliation for it:

From Wiki

Iran Air Flight 655, also known as IR655, was a civilian airliner shot down by the United States Navy on Sunday 3 July 1988, over the Strait of Hormuz.

The aircraft, an Airbus A300B2 operated by Iran Air as IR655, was flying from Bandar Abbas, Iran, to Dubai, UAE, when it was destroyed by the U.S. Navy's guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, killing all 290 passengers and crew aboard, including 66 children,[1] ranking it the seventh among the deadliest airliner fatalities.[2] It was the highest death toll of any aviation incident in the Indian Ocean and the highest death toll of any incident involving an Airbus A300 anywhere in the world. The Vincennes was traversing the Straits of Hormuz inside Iranian territorial waters and at the time of the attack, IR655 was within Iranian airspace.

According to the US government, the crew mistakenly identified the Iranian Airbus A300 as an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter. The Iranian government maintained that the Vincennes knowingly shot down the civilian aircraft. The event generated a great deal of controversy and criticism of the US. Some analysts have blamed US military commanders and the captain of the Vincennes for reckless and aggressive behavior in a tense and dangerous environment.

In 1996, the United States and Iran reached "an agreement in full and final settlement of all disputes, differences, claims, counterclaims" relating to the incident at the International Court of Justice. As part of the settlement, the United States agreed to pay US$61.8 million in compensation for the Iranians killed. The United States did not admit responsibility or apologize to the Iranian government.

August 27th, 2009, 10:28 AM
A possible example of the "an eye for an eye" thing?

August 27th, 2009, 10:30 AM
One of the many that achieved nothing.

August 28th, 2009, 01:11 PM
As for your question, there are separate legal systems for Scotland and England. Justice, ie law, is completely devolved power so all legal matters are handled by the Scottish parliament with no input from the UK government. I'm can't think of an example but I'm sure there are some caveats to that.

M c C a s k i l l is a government minister who exercised a discretion to allow the release - which has nothing to do with a judge or the different legal systems.

The UK government ie I v a n L e w i s, M a n d e l s o n - they are alleged to have been involved too.

They have their oil deals now - and must be laughing, while, up north, the SNP and S a l m o n d, enthralled both by the oil companies and the boys from Westminster, are contemplating their defeat at the next election.

Many are saying that he shouldnt have been released. He should have been given the famous public health care.

The hue and cry around the internet will stick for years and the French are, for once, relieved: Welcome to the new world of the Haggis Eating Surrender Monkeys.

Here's an example. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0ms105Lv4U&feature=channel_page)

August 28th, 2009, 02:34 PM
Yes, a Scottish government minister not a British one. Do some research.

Keep up the s p e l l i n g of the names of people involved and firing off irrelevant insults (What has France got to do with this?) its great for discussion.

August 28th, 2009, 02:51 PM
Majority 'oppose' Megrahi release
From BBC

Megrahi served eight years in Scottish prisons after being convicted in 2001

Only a third of Scots believe the Lockerbie bomber should have been freed from prison last week, a poll commissioned by BBC News has suggested.

The ICM Research survey indicated almost three quarters thought Scotland's reputation was damaged by Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi's release.

But only 36% thought Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill should quit.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said Mr MacAskill had shown "guts" in making a hard but correct decision.

Mr MacAskill announced on 20 August that Megrahi, who is terminally-ill with prostate cancer, would be freed on compassionate grounds and allowed to return to Libya.

Alex Salmond said Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has his ''100% backing''

He had served eight years of a life sentence for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie, in southern Scotland, in which 270 people died.

A random sample of 1,005 adults from across Scotland were questioned by telephone on Wednesday and Thursday.

The survey found 60% thought the Scottish Government was wrong to release Megrahi, against 32% of respondents who believed it was the right decision.

Of those polled, 57% believed Megrahi should have remained in prison until he died, while 37% thought he should have been released at some point prior to his death.

Brian Taylor
BBC Scotland political editor

It may not last. It may fade. But, right now, people in Scotland seem decidedly hostile to the decision to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

Opposition to the particular decision taken by Kenny MacAskill is nearly two to one. Even offered options, a majority say that the Libyan should never have been released from jail.

Intriguingly, glancing at the figures in more detail, opinion against release appears particularly strong among younger people, with the elderly more inclined towards compassionate release.

But, in all age groups, more oppose the decision than support it.
Brian Taylor reflects on an 'unhappy' nation

Despite Mr MacAskill's insistence to the contrary, more than two thirds of those questioned - 68% - thought the decision was influenced by factors other than Megrahi's health, while only 20% believed it was made purely on compassionate grounds.

Mr MacAskill's controversial meeting with Megrahi in Greenock Prison on 4 August was also unpopular, according to the poll, with 52% believing the visit should not have taken place, and 36% saying it should.

The justice secretary has claimed the visit was required under the terms of the Libyan government's prisoner transfer request, but this has been disputed by opposition politicians

Almost three quarters of those polled (74%) said the affair had damaged the standing of the Scottish Government in the eyes of voters, with the same proportion believing the release of Megrahi had damaged Scotland's reputation.

Only 11% said it had enhanced the reputation of the country, while 10% said it had made no difference one way or the other.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also apparently been damaged by the controversy over the release of Megrahi, despite his insistence that it was purely a matter for the Scottish government.

The poll suggested that 34% believed Mr Brown's reputation had been damaged "a lot", with a further 33% saying it had been damaged "a little".

But only 29% of those surveyed said the prime minister had not been damaged.

A minority of people - 39% - said they thought the UK government should have tried to influence the decision by the Scottish Government, while 52% said it was right not to get involved.

Responding to the poll findings, First Minister Alex Salmond stood by his justice minister.

He said: "I acknowledge that these were difficult, controversial decisions but somebody had to take a decision and it fell to the Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, to do so.

"Sometimes in life and politics and in government, there's no easy option available. You have to take hard choices because you think and believe you're doing the right thing and you know it just takes guts to govern sometimes and Kenny MacAskill showed that."

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray called on Mr Salmond to explain how he would repair Scotland's damaged reputation.

He added "I believe the whole process was mishandled from start to finish and a clear majority say it was wrong for Mr MacAskill to visit Megrahi in prison. Kenny MacAskill must return to the parliament to justify his mishandling of this affair."

Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said the findings showed the Scottish Government was wrong to release Megrahi - and she demanded to know what "murky deals have been going on behind the scenes".

For the Liberal Democrats, MSP Mike Rumbles said the poll confirmed public anger at the SNP's handling of the affair and its failure to address other options for the "compassionate" treatment of Megrahi.

Megrahi, who has always maintained his innocence, was the only person convicted over the Lockerbie bombing.

He returned to a hero's welcome in Libya after being released from Greenock Prison.

The release sparked widespread criticism in the UK, as well as from US politicians, law enforcement agencies and victims' relatives.

An internet campaign was also launched calling on Americans to boycott Scottish and UK goods over the release.

August 28th, 2009, 03:25 PM
Yes, a Scottish government minister not a British one. Do some research.

Keep up the s p e l l i n g of the names of people involved and firing off irrelevant insults (What has France got to do with this?) its great for discussion.

I know that McC is a Minister of Scotland. I was referring to the media getting hold of the story about Westminster being involved - and running with it.

May I suggest that you tone the level of personal vitriol and retort down? What is driving you to fire a post like that off?

August 28th, 2009, 04:31 PM
Your last three posts have been insulting and over the top. Consider how you're coming across.

August 28th, 2009, 04:57 PM


I think you could be right.

My last three posts were insulting and over the top, as you say.

What was I ever thinking - about expressing an opinion here and correcting you.


August 28th, 2009, 05:05 PM

There - hows that for a hot cup of haggis.

Boycott Scotland

There are calls for it right now.

Craig Ferguson isn't funny anyway, or June Thomas. **** them both.

The hue and cry around the internet will stick for years and the French are, for once, relieved: Welcome to the new world of the Haggis Eating Surrender Monkeys.

No, what was I thinking?

These kind of posts have no place here. If you have a problem PM me. Stay on topic.

August 28th, 2009, 05:08 PM
I think you are being a little bit sensitive.

Your post about the relevance in this matter of the different legal systems in England and Scotland was incorrect. Your subsequent attempt to correct what I had said about the influence from Westminster was also incorrect.

Im sorry if that caused you any undue offense. I am so very very sorry.

August 28th, 2009, 05:12 PM
M c C a s k i l l is a government minister who exercised a discretion to allow the release - which has nothing to do with a judge or the different legal systems.

This statement shows you don't understand the system. There is a Scottish justice minister who handles Scottish legal matters including this one. There is a British justice minister called Jack Straw. He would have made the decision if it was a decision for the British Government to make. Please explain how this is incorrect.

August 28th, 2009, 05:19 PM
This statement shows you don't understand the system. There is a Scottish justice minister who handles Scottish legal matters including this one. There is a British justice minister called Jack Straw. He would have made the decision if it was a decision for the British Government to make. Please explain how this is incorrect.

Follow the link to the article I posted on Drudge.

Do you not understand that there is a difference between saying, as I did, that there are allegations in the press in the UK and elsewhere that Westminster was involved behind the scenes in influencing the decision made


that the proper person for the lawful exercise of the discretion is/was the Secretary of Justice for Scotland either under customary Scot law or under a specific piece of legislation?

I have no duty to explain that to you, but you obviously need some help, so have done it.

Im sorry ok?

Im just expressing an opinion. I am truly sorry if that bothers you.

How about you get over it, or study what I have said a little bit more before reacting so petulantly?

August 28th, 2009, 05:24 PM
lineupguy, the post you quoted way back was a response to Lofter1, not you. I wasn't correcting you in first place.

August 28th, 2009, 05:28 PM
No, you specifically said that I thought that Macaskill was a British minister. You had read my post incorrectly. You then asked me to explain the discrepancy.

You then launch an assault of pms at me on this very point. Again unecessary and incorrect.

Slow down, settle down, and perhaps before you start debating this point, study constitutional law and politics for 6 years, and learn to accept that sometimes, you can be wrong.

OR keep digging an intellectual hole for yourself.

In short, enough of the HU HA please. And the lashing out in an attempt to correct me. It spells FAIL.

The Drudge Report linked story was breaking news when I posted it and relevant, and now everywhere in the mainstream press.

August 28th, 2009, 05:32 PM
You say:

M c C a s k i l l is a government minister who exercised a discretion to allow the release - which has nothing to do with a judge or the different legal systems.

It has everything to do with different legal systems because there is a Scottish and British Justice minister.

August 28th, 2009, 05:37 PM

It was not a judicial discretion.

It was a ministerial ie executive discretion.

Ministerial discretions, exercised by a secretary of one nation (as opposed to another) do not arise by reason of differing "legal systems". They arise by reason of executive sovereignty of a nation state and the fact that at the time the decision is made, the secretary was the relevant minister or discretion holder ie office holder in that state.

Keep digging.

August 28th, 2009, 05:43 PM
If Scotland did not have a separate legal system it would not have a Justice minister. Look at Wales, it has a similar, less powerful devolved parliament. It does not and did not have a separate legal system and hence, no justice minister of its own. The only reason Scotland could make this executive decision is a result of having a separate legal system.

August 28th, 2009, 06:56 PM
The question at hand seems to be: Did Scottish Justice Secretary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabinet_Secretary_for_Justice) Kenny MacAskill act independently or did officials of other nations / governments steer him to the decision to release Megrahi.

Seems that some (http://www.snp.org/node/15586) in the upper ranks in Scotland, when MacAskill's act, are terming it "a quasi-judicial decision" :confused:

That little "quasi" leaves lots of legal wiggle room.

August 30th, 2009, 02:39 PM
Megrahi trade deal untrue - Straw

Megrahi in hospital

Megrahi was filmed in a Tripoli hospital by a British TV crew

Justice Secretary Jack Straw has said reports the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was released over an oil deal are "wholly untrue".

He denied a "back door deal" was done to transfer Megrahi because of UK trade talks with the Libyan government.

Letters leaked to a newspaper show UK ministers agreed to include him in a prisoner transfer deal in 2007 because of "overwhelming national interests".

Terminally ill Megrahi was recently released on compassionate grounds.

Pictures of Megrahi being treated in a Libyan hospital were shown on UK TV for the first time on Sunday.

A team from Channel 4 News were invited into his room, but he was reportedly too sick to answer any questions about claims his release was linked to a trade deal.

Oil contract

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill released Megrahi on 20 August, eight years into his 27-year sentence for murdering 270 people in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said the convicted bomber was released from a Scottish jail with no London involvement.

He was not released under a prisoner transfer agreement.

Jack Straw denied Megrahi's release was part of a covert deal

The British government has always maintained the decision to release Megrahi rested with Scotland, but revelations in the Sunday Times will fuel suspicions about the motivations behind his release, BBC correspondent Norman Smith says.

Opposition parties are calling for an inquiry.

Leaked ministerial letters reveal UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw's change of stance over Megrahi's inclusion in a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA).

According to the Sunday Times, Mr Straw wrote to his Scottish counterpart Kenny MacAskill on 19 December 2007, six weeks before an oil exploration contract for BP in Libya was ratified.

The letter said: "I had previously accepted the importance of the al-Megrahi issue to Scotland and said I would try to get an exclusion for him on the face of the agreement. I have not been able to secure an explicit exclusion.

"The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the UK, I have agreed that in this instance the [PTA] should be in the standard form and not mention any individual."

Responding to the report, Mr Straw said on Sunday that the "normalisation of relations with Libya" was in the UK's interests.

He said this was because they had uncovered "a huge nuclear weapons programme of the Libyans, which they had been conducting wholly in secret".

"As a result of painstaking, secret negotiations over months, an agreement was struck with them in December 2003 that they would allow the international atomic energy inspectors in to supervise the whole dismantling of their nuclear weapons programme.

"And yes, as part of that there would be gradual normalisation of relations with Libya, with the West as whole, not just with the United Kingdom.

Mr Straw said a prisoner transfer agreement was part of that agreement.

"But was there a deal? A covert, secret deal ever struck with the Libyans to release Megrahi in return for oil? No, there was not and there is no evidence whatsoever because it is untrue."

Normalisation of relations

He said the Scottish government had sought a "carve-out" in any treaty, which he had supported, but in the event the Libyans had said they would not find that acceptable.

"And they said that for two reasons. One that it wasn't necessary. And they were correct about that, because a veto was in the hands of the Scottish government anyway, but secondly, they said, if you are after the normalisation of relations what we want is simply a stand, normal prisoner transfer agreement.

If the government fails to provide a full account of its conduct it will simply add to speculation
Sir Menzies Campbell
Lib Dems

Mandela supports Lockerbie release

"Not one that carves out in respect of any one prisoner."

He also emphasised the Megrahi had not been released under a PTA, but quite separately under the jurisdiction of the Scottish government.

Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell, a member of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, said: "Jack Straw's intervention has simply muddied the waters.

"We need a full and frank comprehensive statement about the extent to which Mr Megrahi's fate may have featured in any trade negotiations between the United Kingdom and Libya.

"If the government fails to provide a full account of its conduct it will simply add to speculation.

"This is a matter which the foreign affairs select committee may well consider justifies investigation."

David Lidington, the Conservatives' foreign affairs spokesman, said leaks and "secrecy" around the case were damaging to international relations and public trust.

He called for an independent inquiry by a parliamentary select committee to examine all the documents involved and determine "what did and did not happen".

The BBC's political correspondent Norman Smith said the story would fuel the suspicions of those who felt the "bottom line" was oil.

The letters, he added, also suggested the British government was a good deal more involved in the release, and they were prepared to see him released under the transfer accord.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said it was a matter of record that his administration had opposed the prisoner transfer agreement between Westminster and Tripoli.

"We didn't think that the Lockerbie decision should be linked to trade or oil decisions by anyone who looked at the coincidence that the prisoner transfer agreement was being negotiated at the same time as commercial contracts," he told the BBC.

Despite opposition on both sides of the Atlantic, the SNP leader added there was "huge international support" for the Scottish government's decision.

August 30th, 2009, 02:40 PM
Mandela backs Lockerbie decision

Nelson Mandela
Mr Mandela expressed his support through a letter to the government

Nelson Mandela has backed the Scottish Government's controversial decision to free the Lockerbie bomber.

The former South African president has expressed appreciation for the decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

US President Barack Obama is among those who have criticised the decision to free Megrahi, who is terminally ill.

But Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said there was huge support internationally for the move.

Megrahi, who has prostate cancer, was released eight years into his 27-year sentence for the murder of 270 people in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103.

Hundreds of people were waiting in Libya to welcome Megrahi home as his plane landed in Tripoli, some of them waving Saltire flags.

Mr Mandela's support came in a letter to the Scottish Government from Prof Jake Gerwel, chairman of the Mandela Foundation.

"Mr Mandela sincerely appreciates the decision to release Mr al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds," it stated.

'Humanitarian concern'

The letter went on: "Mr Mandela played a central role in facilitating the handover of Mr al-Megrahi and his fellow accused to the United Nations in order for them to stand trial under Scottish law in the Netherlands.

"His interest and involvement continued after the trial after visiting Mr al-Megrahi in prison.

"The decision to release him now, and allow him to return to Libya, is one which is therefore in line with his wishes."

Responding to the letter, Mr Salmond told the BBC News Channel: "We have seen today that Nelson Mandela has come out firmly in support, not just as the towering figure of humanitarian concern across the world in the last generation, but of course somebody who brokered the agreement that led to the Lockerbie trial in the first place.

"Many people believe that you will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution."

Mr Mandela visited Megrahi in Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison in 2002.

September 6th, 2009, 04:17 PM
The Times (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6814974.ece) alleges that it is all about oil:

DURING the past year a small ship bristling with computers and seismic equipment has been crisscrossing the Gulf of Sidra, in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast. Its mission: to help to find BP’s next offshore oilfields.
The company’s search for oil off Libya and in a 20,000-mile area in the west of the country potentially offers as much as £15 billion in new revenue. But less than two years ago it was feared that the deal could founder — and the reason was wrangling over Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the jailed Lockerbie bomber.
BP was finally given the go-ahead six weeks after a volte-face by the British government to include Megrahi in a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya under which prisoners could serve out sentences in their home countries. Jack Straw, the justice secretary, revealed this decision in a letter to his Scottish counterpart. He cited “wider negotiations” and the “overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom”.
Sources in the UK and Tripoli said last week that those wider interests included BP’s hoped-for share of Libya’s untapped oil and gas reserves. The decision to include Megrahi in the prisoner transfer arrangement was seen by Libyan officials as paving the way for his release — and BP’s much-coveted deal was finally ratified.

Getting back to the point made earlier, Scotland and England have separate legal systems but that is not relevant to Megrahi's release because a judge did not release Megrahi, the executive government of Scotland did. The fact that Scotland has a separate almost fully autonomous executive (ie executive sovereignty) albeit granted by the UK Parliament), means that this could happen as a decision of Scotland. Of course in such a decision, it would be appropriate to consider relations that Scotland has not only with Libya but with the UK and England.

Scotland and England have separate governments, ie executives. This decision had nothing to do with their respective legal systems.

September 6th, 2009, 04:23 PM
What is the mood on this in the US at the moment? Has the initial hysteria died down?

September 7th, 2009, 08:44 AM
Take a look. (http://www.boycottscotland.com/)

(http://wirednewyork.com/forum/%3Cobject%20width=%22560%22%20height=%22340%22%3E% 3Cparam%20name=%22movie%22%20value=%22http://www.youtube.com/v/eVcn7e5zMQo&hl=en&fs=1&%22%3E%3C/param%3E%3Cparam%20name=%22allowFullScreen%22%20va lue=%22true%22%3E%3C/param%3E%3Cparam%20name=%22allowscriptaccess%22%20 value=%22always%22%3E%3C/param%3E%3Cembed%20src=%22http://www.youtube.com/v/eVcn7e5zMQo&hl=en&fs=1&%22%20type=%22application/x-shockwave-flash%22%20allowscriptaccess=%22always%22%20allowf ullscreen=%22true%22%20width=%22560%22%20height=%2 2340%22%3E%3C/embed%3E%3C/object%3E)And here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVcn7e5zMQo&feature=related)

If The Times' allegations posted in my previous post are true, why is that hysteria?

It is the normal reaction to what could be described as an underhanded deal.

Honestly, I dont think that most Americans care. They just cant understand why Scotland continues to kow tow to Whitehall.

Once the fish and the oil runs out, what exactly will you do? Its too late - Whitehall will have gotten what it wanted.

September 7th, 2009, 08:55 AM
In my opinion to punish a country's people for a decision the government made is hysteria. Its irrational and illogical. Im sure I posted an article which says that 2/3rds of the country didn't support it. But yeah its normal to boycott our products and punish those 2/3rds who wouldn't have wanted him released.

Its the same as the flag burning you see around the world. It is pointless. It isn't right to tar an entire country with the same brush as one or a few people just because they are from there. It is over the top.

September 7th, 2009, 10:16 AM
Any ill will isn't towards the Scottish people per se, but rather aimed towards those in power who constructed the deed. Given the structure of societies it's nearly impossible to protest against those in charge (politically & economically) in any quasi-meaningful way without those on the lower rungs being affected. The fact that those up top in the US apparently were fully aware of the release plan only confirms that politicians are alike everywhere, and will try to weasel out of unpopular things after the fact.

For those Americans who want to go to Scotland or have a snort of Lagavulin (if one can even find it) this whole affair is unlikely to change their minds.

September 7th, 2009, 02:00 PM
11,5 days per victim was not enough time served.

One of two things happened here

1. Scotland screwed up the trial procedure/appeals process


2. The trial and appeals process were both satisfactory, and they got the right guy, but Scotland screwed up the early release of this guy

Take your pick.

Either way, its a funny way to describe "compassion".

Either way, Washington isn't pleased.

September 7th, 2009, 04:55 PM
Now that we know "Washington" knew all about the plan for release from way back the only thing "Washington" doesn't like is that many Americans were disgusted and upset by Scotland's decision (apparently made with the full OK from US authorities).