Saturday, 7 August 2010

US senators demand more info from UK on Lockerbie

[This is the headline over a report that has just been published on the Reuters news agency website. It reads in part:]

Four US senators have written to the Foreign Secretary curtly demanding more information to help clear up the "public pall" over the release of the Lockerbie bomber to Libya.

In an accusing tone rarely used with the United States' closest ally, the senators said it appeared British trade interests with Libya had "won out over justice" in last year's release of the man convicted of the 1988 bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland.

"It would behoove all of us if you can bring greater transparency to these matters," the four senators told Foreign Secretary William Hague.

They asked whether the previous Labour government could have prevented Abdel Basset al-Megrahi from being returned to Libya after he was released by Scottish authorities on compassionate grounds because of ill health. (...)

The letter was signed by the two US senators from New Jersey, Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, as well as the two senators from New York, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillebrand. All four are Democrats. (...)

Hague wrote a seven-page letter to the Senate last month saying there was no evidence BP was connected to the release.

But the senators said comments by former Foreign Secretary David Miliband -- quoted in Hague's letter -- as well as a letter to Scottish authorities from the Libyan British Business Council urging Megrahi's release, showed trade considerations and British government attitudes may have been influential.

Miliband, who worked for the previous Labour government, was quoted as saying that "British interests, including those of UK nationals, British businesses and possibly security cooperation, would be damaged -- perhaps badly -- if Megrahi were to die in a Scottish prison." (...)

A British diplomat said the letter would be given the same consideration as earlier correspondence from the senators, but "we've already released quite a lot of information."

[Having been the recipients of a bloody nose from Wee Eck, the Bash Street Kids have now turned their attention to Oor Wullie. Note for non-Scottish readers: this is an arcane Scottish cultural reference.

There is a report in today's edition of The Daily Telegraph headed "Lockerbie bomber freed over 'low mood'". The story that follows does not, of course, justify the inflammatory headline. We can expect more such gutter journalism as the anniversary of Abdelbaset Megrahi's release approaches.]


  1. I read the medical report yesterday. I made comments to the effect that it was a sloppy report. Sloppy, in many respects, that it is open to criticism of the sort that the Daily Telegraph has outlined in this article. I don't agree with the article, but I think the medical report is a definite weakness in the process of releasing Megrahi which will be expoited. I would have thought MacAskill would have been priming his team to raise their game on every aspect of this process prior to his decision.

  2. This it the "medical report" available on the internet, which originally had attached "medical reports in a sealed envelope"? It's more of an executive summary of medical reports, right?

  3. I believe so Caustic. There was information attached which could simply not be made public but which MacAskill obviously needed, and was entitled to have, access to.