A report released yesterday by four US senators Robert Menendez, Frank Lautenberg, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrandall, Democrats representing New York and New Jersey concluded that BP (the oil company), the British Government and the Scottish Government, that under devolution is in control of justice, colluded in the “humanitarian release” of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Megrahi was a Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am flight 103 plane over Scotland 22 years ago that resulted in the death of 270 passengers and crew.
The bottom line of the report was: “The threat of commercial warfare was a motivating factor. The U.K. knew that in order to maintain trade relations with Libya, it had to give into political demands. Faced with the threat of losing the lucrative BP oil deal and other commercial ties, the U.K. agreed to include al-Megrahi’s release in a Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) with Libya”.
Qatar was also heavily involved in the Scottish decision, holding out the possibility of business deals and massive development loans that would have boosted the status of Scotland’s First Minister Alec Salmond. The senators want an apology from Britain and al-Megrahi’s return to prison.
When al-Megrahi was released in 2009 back to Libya on compassionate grounds, Scottish doctors wrote that he had at most 3 months to live due to prostate cancer. We are now approaching 2011 and al-Megrahi is alive and with us. Either Libyan oncology is more advanced than Britain’s or there was something suspect in the doctor’s assessment.
A judicial panel in Scotland reviewed the release and produced an 800 page report with voluminous appendices, but the report is not being made public. Relatives of the victims have demanded a public inquiry that has been rejected by Foreign Minister William Hague on the grounds that “it would not be in the public interest”, reports the British Telegraph.
The Foreign Office claimed after the publication of the senators’ report “Senator Menendez’s report contains no evidence to demonstrate a link between the pursuit of Britain’s legitimate commercial interests in Libya and the Scottish Executive’s decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds.”
The Scottish Government downplayed the report: “This is not an official report of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – it is an incorrect and inaccurate rehash by four senators of material that has been in the public domain for many months, and we entirely reject their false interpretation.”
Meanwhile, back in Libya, al-Megrahi’s relatives are letting it be known that he is at death’s door (this time for real) and that upon his death they will appeal his false imprisonment and maltreatment in Britain as he was innocent of the charges. The release, they claim, was not part of a deal to advance British commercial interests but to prevent the prisoner from filing a successful appeal.