Sunday, 5 June 2016

Trump slams Alex Salmond and Hillary Clinton over Megrahi release

[What follows is excerpted from a report in today’s edition of The Sunday Times:]

A fresh war of words has broken out between Donald Trump and Alex Salmond after the American billionaire described Scotland’s former first minister as “dumb” for allowing the Lockerbie bomber to be freed on compassionate grounds.

Trump also rounded on Hillary Clinton, his potential rival for the US presidency, following recent claims that in 2009, when she was secretary of state, Clinton did not strongly oppose the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, despite official opposition to the move by the White House.

Trump, the presumptive Republican party’s presidential nominee, told The Sunday Times last week that it was “very sad and very stupid that [Megrahi] was released. Only Salmond and Hillary could be so dumb”.

His comments follow the publication of a book on the Lockerbie bombing by Kenny MacAskill, the former justice secretary who decided to free the terminally ill Megrahi from a Scottish prison. He was sent home to Libya and died in 2012.

According to MacAskill, Clinton phoned a week before Megrahi’s release and appeared to be “simply going through the motions” when she voiced concerns about the move.

It later emerged that the US government indicated a preference for Megrahi to be freed on compassionate grounds rather than transferred to a Libyan jail.

Trump later claimed that Salmond asked him to speak out in favour of the decision to release Megrahi. The tycoon refused. On Friday, Salmond accused Trump of having “problems with his memory”.

The SNP MP for Gordon in Aberdeenshire claimed that in 2011, two years after Megrahi’s release, Trump offered to endorse Salmond in the Scottish parliament election. Salmond said that he “politely declined”.

“Trump is clearly having further problems with his memory,” said Salmond.

“When I spoke to him on the phone on this issue in 2009 he seemed quite comfortable with the Megrahi release when he thought it was part of some economic deal. It was only when I told him that the Scottish government were following the precepts of Scots law with no financial advantage whatsoever that he seemed to find it more difficult to understand.

“At any rate he couldn’t have been too upset since he volunteered to publicly endorse me as first minister two years later in the Scottish election campaign of 2011. I politely declined his offer.”

Salmond said “at no stage” did Clinton support Megrahi’s release, although both the Bush and Obama administrations “knew it was the policy of the UK government, since they were all angling for the same economic and oil deals with Colonel Gaddafi”.

[RB: Very senior officials of the Gaddafi regime told me shortly before Megrahi’s release that repatriation (if granted by the Scottish Government) had been cleared with the US administration, but that there would be lots of huffing and puffing for US internal political reasons.]


  1. "It was only when I told him that the Scottish government were following the precepts of Scots law with no financial advantage whatsoever that he seemed to find it more difficult to understand."

    Ah, Mr Salmond, but you weren't following the precepts of Scots Law at all, were you? Compassionate Release, under Scots Law, allows an existing appeal to proceed even if the prisoner has been freed. Your government didn't observe that particular precept, did it? In fact, the Justice Minister, Mr MacAskill's, office coerced Megrahi into dropping the appeal and he was warned if he did not then he wouldn't go home. Which part of Scots Law makes provision for stunts like that?

  2. Well said JO G. I'll bet he won't answer that question. Libya's oil was always the prize in the frame up of Megrahi. He was just an innocent pawn in a planned set up to put pressure on Gaddafi to get their hands back on Libya's oil. It worked but look at the cost to the Libyan people. Of course it was all done in the "National Interest" which makes it alright and legal.