[This is the headline over an article published yesterday on the Libyan government-supporting Mathaba news agency website. It reads in part:]
The rebel administration based out of Benghazi has said that it signed an apology for "the Gaddafi regime's role in IRA attacks and the Lockerbie bombing under pressure from the British government", and that the document is the result of "misunderstanding".
Asked to explain how it can be a "misunderstanding" to sign such a "monstrous document" sources said that it was not meant to become public and that the rebels were anxious to do anything they were told by the British, in order to have their support.
After initially denying that the document even existed, the rebels' governing "revolutionary council" acknowledged that its chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, had indeed signed an apology on behalf of the entire Libyan people (!) for "Gaddafi's provision of semtex used in IRA bombings and for the blowing up of the Pan Am flight in 1988." It also promised compensation to the tune of $10 million for every IRA victim.
This is the same sum of money as paid in a previous Lockerbie arrangement in exchange for relations with the USA, for each of the American families who lost a family member on Pan Am Flight 103 (...)
In an attempt to explain away the document after it had become public, the Libyan rebels agreed with the British to claim its signing was the result of "division and confusion over the declaration", and even to blame it on "a translation mix-up", with council officials adding that "the issue of the Libyan government's responsibility for attacks in the UK came up only because it was pressed on the revolutionary administration by the British."
Libyan Rebel Council officials privately said that the British Foreign Office pressed Jalil to invite a British lawyer, Jason McCue, head of the Libya Victims Initiative, to Benghazi. McCue arrived saying that he was seeking an "unequivocal apology" in the name of the Libyan people and $10m compensation for each death in IRA attacks. All of his demands were met by Jalil.
Weeks earlier Jalil had also been quick to tell the European media, in the first days of the uprising when he resigned as Justice Minister of Libya and joined the rebel coalition, that he "knew Qaddafi was responsible for the Lockerbie bombing", something which initially caused derision among observers of the Lockerbie Trial who have established beyond any doubt the innocence of Libya.
The British were under immense pressure to compensate the wrongly convicted Libyan of the bombing, and this was one of the reasons which pushed their hand to finally attempt to overthrow the Libyan leadership, along with the absence of a central bank in Libya, the gigantic projects to develop Africa's infrastructure, health, communications and educational establishments, water, and oil.
Council "officials" said that they regarded McCue as working with a team of British diplomats in Benghazi, led by the Britain's ambassador to Rome, Christopher Prentice. Prentice has declined to talk to the press. A council "spokesman", Essam Gheriani, said that Jalil had had "little choice but to sign as part of the rebel administration's attempts to win diplomatic recognition and gain access to desperately needed funds frozen overseas."
Britain is holding additionally holding about £100,000,000 in Libyan currency seized from a ship that they have held as "candy" to be released to the rebel administration, which is desperate for funds to meet next month's civil service pay roll as well as for imports of food.
[The same website has also re-published John Pilger's September 2009 article The trial of the "Lockerbie bomber" was worse than a travesty of justice: evidence that never came to court proves his innocence.
A lengthy Associated Press news agency profile of the town of Lockerbie and its reaction to current events in Libya headlined "Lockerbie shuns limelight as Libya unravels" can be read here.]