[The German news magazine Der Spiegel reports as follows on a WikiLeaks cable relating to Megrahi's repatriation:]
Die US-Abgesandten protokollieren Gaddafis Absonderlichkeiten, die Allüren seiner Söhne und die Furcht seiner Berater vor Gaddafis Zorn. Sie verfolgten, wie er aus gekränktem Stolz zwei Schweizer als Geiseln nahm und ihre Regierung erniedrigte, wie er die Kanadier fast auf die Knie zwang, indem er die Verstaatlichung von PetroCanada androhte, und wie er den Briten die Auslieferung des Lockerbie-Bombers Abd al-Bassit al-Mikrahi abpresste. "Der britische Botschafter war erleichtert, dass Mikrahi wahrscheinlich im Rahmen einer humanitären Freilassung nach Libyen zurückkehren könnte. Er bemerkte, dass eine Verweigerung desaströse Folgen für britische Interessen in Libyen nach sich hätte ziehen können. 'Sie hätten uns fertiggemacht, genau wie die Schweizer.'"
[I have been unable to find the cable(s) in question, but here is a rough translation of the Der Spiegel paragraph:]
The US envoys log Gaddafi's peculiarities, the affectations of his sons and the fear of his advisers before Gaddafi's anger. They detailed how he took two Swiss hostages out of injured pride and humbled their government; how the Canadians were almost forced to their knees, when he threatened the nationalization of Petro Canada; and how he forced the British handover of the Lockerbie bomber, Abd al-Bassit al-Megrahi. "The British ambassador was relieved that Megrahi could probably return to Libya under a humanitarian release. He noted that a refusal would have entailed disastrous consequences for British interests in Libya. 'They would have closed us down, just like the Swiss.'"
[The above passage now appears on Der Spiegel's English language website. Their English version reads as follows:]
Americans dispatched to Libya report in great detail on Gadhafi's peculiarities, the airs and graces of his sons and the degree to which his advisers fear his wrath. For example, they closely monitored how wounded pride led him to take two Swiss citizens hostage and humiliate the Swiss government, how he almost forced Canada to its knees by threatening to nationalize the assets of PetroCanada and how he more or less compelled the British to extradite Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people, most of them Americans.
As one dispatch explained: "The British ambassador expressed relief that Megrahi likely would be returned to Libya under the compassionate release program. He noted that a refusal of Megrahi's request could have had disastrous implications for British interests in Libya. 'They could have cut us off at the knees, just like the Swiss.'"