Monday, July 26, 2010
No surprise: Obama White House Backed The Release Of The Lockerbie Bomber
A pity this little tidbit came out during the weekend news doldrums.
As you know, the Libyan Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was freed from a Scottish prison on 'compassionate grounds' in August 2009 because a doctor's report paid for by the Libyan government said he had three months at most to live. He was flown home to a hero's welcome, greeted at the airport personally by Libyan dictator Moamar Ghaddaffi and ensconced in a luxury villa overlooking the Mediterranean.
Coincidentally, British Petroleum signed a deal to pay out almost $1 billion to Ghadaffi in exchange for access to Libya's oil just before al-Magrahi release. Tony Blair is supposed to have been instrumental in inking the deal.
Almost a year later, al-Megrahi is doing just fine, and this murderer essentially has escaped justice.
At the time this corrupt deal went down, the Obama Administration claimed to have been taken by surprise and voiced opposition to the deal.
As recently as last week, when the news came out that al-Megrahi was doing fine healthwise and could live for decades, President Barack Hussein Obama claimed that all Americans were "surprised, disappointed and angry."
As it turns out, this was sheer bolshoi and kabuki outrage.
According to The Australian, the Obama Administration was not only fully informed of what was going on but actually had Richard LeBaron, deputy head of the US embassy in London lobby for the 'compassionate release' a week before Megrahi was freed.
In a letter, sent on August 12 last year to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and justice officials, LeBaron wrote that "if Scottish authorities come to the conclusion that al-Megrahi must be released from Scottish custody, the US position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be a far preferable alternative to prisoner transfer, which we strongly oppose."
The Scots ( especially since there was that juicy oil deal pending) chose to interpret the lukewarm US response to keeping al-Megrahi in custody and the remarks on how the US favored 'compassionate release' as tacit approval.By the way, this violated an agreement between Britain and the US ( th eBrits were concerned we;'d hang this murderer) that anyone convicted of the bombing would serve out their sentence in a Scottish prison.
The Obama Administration has apparently tried to keep the letter secret, and refused permission to the Scottish authorities to publish it on the grounds it would prevent future "frank and open communications". But apparently it leaked out.
Senate foreign relations committee launched a probe on the al-Megrahi release after it was revealed that far from being at death's door, he was doing just fine.
The committee had asked a number of Scottish politicians - including Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and former justice secretary Jack Straw - to appear before the Senate committee to answer questions at the hearing next week about al-Megrahi's release.
They refused. But perhaps President Obama could be persuaded to appear.There are 270 dead Americans and the ones they left behind who deserve some candor.