Thursday, 9 December 2010

Families: Megrahi's release a business deal

[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Scotsman. It reads in part:]

The families of US Lockerbie victims say revelations on whistleblowing website WikiLeaks about Libyan inducements to secure Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi's release show it was a "business deal". (...)

Cables from US diplomatic staff contain claims that Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, made explicit and "thuggish" threats to halt trade deals with Britain if Megrahi died in jail - and that senior diplomats feared reprisals on British citizens.

Bob Monetti, whose son Rick died in the bombing, said: "It's exactly what we said all along. The UK and Scots totally caved in because they need Libyan oil.

"It has nothing to do with justice, it has nothing to do with anything else except business - and business trumps."

Of the Scottish ministers, he added: "For whatever reason, whether they were pressured by Gaddafi or by the Brits, they clearly violated their own law by letting someone go on compassionate (grounds] who had at least two years to live, when compassionate release is three months left."

Susan Cohen, whose 20-year-old daughter was also among the victims, said: "It's obvious what it was and there's no great surprises here.

"All it does is give us more proof, and we've already had a lot, that that's what it was - a business deal.

"You should be ashamed in Scotland because nothing else mattered, nothing about your legal system."

But ministers insist the decision was based purely on the Scots justice system.

Mr Salmond said the cables "vindicated" their position and everything they had said publicly and privately at the time.

"We weren't interested in threats, we weren't interested in blandishments, we were only interested in applying Scots justice and that's what we did," he said. (...)

But Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the tragedy, said the leaks indicate that Mr Salmond was behind the decision.

"It looks as though the Scottish Government was at least thought by the US ambassador in London to be considering compassionate release at an early stage," he said.

Dr Swire, who visited Megrahi around this time and believes he is innocent, said he was not ill enough at this stage for compassionate release to be a possibility. I think its very interesting that a letter from that date should be suggesting compassionate release that early."

WikiLeaks have also "firmed up" suspicions that the ultimate decision to release Megrahi was not taken by justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, according to Dr Swire.

He said: "It's pretty clear that he was operating under the advice of Salmond." (...) [RB: The cable in which the US ambassador says (on the basis of what he was told by a FCO civil servant reporting what Jack Straw said he was told by Alex Salmond -- hearsay upon hearsay upon hearsay) is dated 24 October 2008, just shortly after Megrahi's diagnosis and more than six months before any application was made for prisoner transfer and eight months before an application was made for compassionate release. The cable provides no evidence at all that when eventually decisions had to be made more than six months later, and after Scottish Government lawyers had had a chance to give advice on law and procedure, anyone other than the Cabinet Secretary for Justice took those decisions.]

According to the leaked diplomatic documents, Mr Salmond told the US consul in Edinburgh on 21 August this year that "he and his government had played straight with both the US and the UK government, but implied the UK had not . . . He said the Libyan government had offered the Scottish Government a parade of treats, 'all of which were turned down'."

The leaks claim to show the UK Government feared harsh action by Libya against British interests if Megrahi died in prison.

Former UK justice secretary Jack Straw also said the revelations had no connection to the final decision.

"Both Alex Salmond and the British government have said until they're blue in the face what is true - that this was a decision which was made by the Scottish Government, and by nobody else, " Mr Straw said.

[A somewhat similar article appears in today's edition of the Daily Mail. The Times concentrates on the supposed involvement of Alex Salmond in the decision. The Daily Telegraph runs an odd story about a proposed Swiss deal to have Megrahi transferred from Greenock Prison to a prison in Switzerland.

The Sun has a report to the effect that Megrahi is on life support, is unable to communicate and is near death. The BBC Scotland Good Morning Scotland programme reported today that a family member had confirmed this to their correspondent in Tripoli.]

1 comment:


    1:1 In the Name of ALLAH, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Bismi ALLAHI alrrahmani alrraheemi.

    We are convinced of it, Mr Al Megrahi is indeed innocent. For the TRUTH we continue to fight.

    The demanded new investigation in the Lockerbie-Tragedy, must strengthen after death from Abdelbaset Al Megrahi further go, in order to RELIEVE its Family and Libya from his enormous call murder.

    A hard-fought re-investigation adds to the legal fact that Mr Al Megrahi and Libya have nothing to do with the "Lockerbie tragedy".
    Finally, we expose how Libya is "sold" to United Kingdom through a cunning strategy... (Corfu/ WikiLeaks, stand by)

    Recommendation for the Scottish Parliament, 10th December 2010: there is now nothing stopping a new search for the real culprits behind the atrocity on PanAm 103...

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland.