Monday, 6 December 2010

WikiLeaks: Al-Megrahi move 'saved UK trade from being cut off at the knees'

This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Scotsman. (The story, of course, featured on this blog on Saturday morning.) The Scotsman's report reads in part:]

The British ambassador to Libya said the nation's business interests would have been "cut off at the knees" if the Lockerbie bomber was not released, according to a secret US cable published by Wikileaks.

The dispatch - sent from the US embassy in Tripoli before the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi in August 2009 - reports the view expressed by the British ambassador at the time, Sir Vincent Fean. He is now the Consul-General in Jerusalem. According to German news magazine Der Spiegel ... Sir Vincent was said to be relieved at news the Scottish Government was intending to release Megrahi as he was suffering from terminal cancer and expected to live less than three months.

The cable said: "The British ambassador expressed relief that Megrahi likely would be returned to Libya under the compassionate release programme. 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'."

The ambassador's comment on "the Swiss" is a reference to Libya's reaction after Swiss police arrested Colonel Gaddafi's son, Hannibal, and his wife, Aline Skaf, on charges of abusing servants in a luxury hotel. Although the couple were quickly bailed and the charges dropped, Libya responded by withdrawing billions of dollars from Swiss banks, cutting off oil supplies, denying visas and recalling diplomats.

If accurate, the cable is evidence that the British government was clearly supportive of the decision by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to release Megrahi, the only person convicted of the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 and the murder of 270 people. At the time, then prime minister Gordon Brown refused to comment on the decision and insisted the UK government had played "no role" in the release. (...)

Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the bombing, said the cable was bound to "re-light the question of whether pressure was put on Scotland by the UK government to get advantages for British governments in Libya".

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We are not going to speculate on any specifics."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Megrahi is terminally ill with prostate cancer.

The Scottish Parliament justice committee examined all relevant aspects of this issue, and concluded that the decision was taken 'in good faith'."



    Heute ist klar United Kingdom hatte den Weg des geringsten Widerstandes eingeschlagen um nicht vom nationalen BIG BUSINESS mit Libya ausgeschlossen zuwerden. ("cut off at the knees"!!!, WikiLeack)
    Die saubere Art, das Erfolg versprechende Appeal Ergebnis des unschuldigen Al-Megrahi abzuwarten, hätte mit grosser Wahrscheinlichkeit für United Kingdom, durch einen "Compensation Claim", in einer Finanzkatastrophe von ca. $ 40 Milliarden gegenüber Libya und einem weltweiten Prestige Verlust geendet...

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


    As addition and orientation to "WikiLeaks" documents about Abdulbaset Al Megrahi, watch the video film: The Maltese Double Cross, on URL:

    The film documentary was banned in USA and UK. Because it was full of truth ? Because it was full of lies ?

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland

  3. Probably the most imperative reason for the release was the imminent revelations in an appeal of a corrupt judiciary and the possible involvement of the US and UK in the downing of the plane.

  4. I'm not sure the appeal would have revealed the involvement of any particular country in the downing of the plane Ruth. What it almost certainly would have done however was overturn the conviction of Megrahi and expose many of the decisions made by the judges, who heard the case, as completely extraordinary given the evidence put before them that had screamed the opposite of their own conclusions.