[A very interesting and perceptive article headlined US remains a wild card in Scottish independence vote appears today on the website of The Washington Post. Perhaps inevitably, it contains a few sentences referring to the release of Abdelbaset Megrahi, which read as follows:]
Still, Scottish nationalists have been careful not to antagonize Washington. Salmond visited the United States this past week and carried with him assurances that Scotland would remain a close US ally even after independence.
That is not a foregone conclusion. Scottish authorities deeply angered Washington in 2009 by releasing a Libyan national, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who had been convicted of the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie. At the time of his release, Scottish authorities said he was near death from cancer. But he lived three more years.
[It is perhaps instructive (or perhaps not) that Megrahi is referred to as having been convicted of the bombing, rather than as “the Lockerbie bomber”. In any event, as senior officials of the Gaddafi regime assured me at the time of submission of the applications for prisoner transfer and compassionate release, the US government (which was vigorously seeking to normalise relations with the regime) was relaxed about repatriation though, for US public consumption, it would have to huff and puff.]