Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Megrahi

According to the Independent (1), a foreign offic minister in the previous Labour government 'advised Libya how to free Lockerbie bomber.'

That's not me putting it in double quotes for fun, by the way - those words are placed in quotation marks by the Independent, which suggests it is a quotation from one source or another, but it that wording isn't used anywhere in the Indie story, the Telegraph original (2), or the wikileaks source memo (3), that I can see. Similar wording appears in the Telegraph headline: "Britain secretly advised Libya how to secure release of Lockerbie bomber," but the story attached to that headline doesn't bear it out - the Foreign office did not advise the Libyans how to secure Megrahi's release. They simply explained how his diagnosis altered the situation.

Slaps alround, to the Telegraph for running a misleading headline, and to the Indie for echoing it.

The only interesting points are the suggestion of Foreign Office involvement when the official stance was it was Scotland's call; but that's tenuous, as the foreign office would probably have the duty of notifying the Libyans - devolved Scotland does not have a minister of foreign affairs, after all. They would have contacted the Libyans on behalf of the Scottish executive, merely noting their own neutrality, as is indicated in the leaked memo:
The Libyan government is therefore pursuing Megrahi's early release through two other channels, the FCO reports: compassionate release under Scottish law, and the as-yet unsigned UK-Libya Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA). HMG has made clear to the Libyans, to Embassy London and to the media that it will take no official position on Megrahi's early release, but will leave the decision - whether through compassionate release or the PTA - to the devolved Scottish government.
It is much more interesting to be reminded - and kudos to the Telegraph for highlighting this - that Honest Dave Cameron is still sitting on the documents relating to the release, which is a bit odd as last year he was promising to release them to clear up any suspicion of a cover up:
It will also lead to renewed pressure from senior American politicians on David Cameron to release all internal documents detailing Britain’s role in the scandal. Last summer, the Prime Minister pledged to release the relevant information – but the publication has yet to occur sparking fears that a cover-up may have been ordered.
Er, nice going there, Dave. That doesn't look at all suspicious.

So any skullduggery probably originates with the companies trying to court Libya, who may have influenced the last government and - if so - would appear to be doing the same to the current administration.
1 - "UK 'advised Libya how to free Lockerbie bomber'," by Oliver Wright. Published in The Independent, 1st of February, 2011. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-advised-libya-how-to-free-lockerbie-bomber-2200349.html)
2 - "WikiLeaks: Britain secretly advised Libya how to secure release of Lockerbie bomber," by Christopher Hope and Robert Winnett. Published in The Telegraph, 31st of January, 2011. (
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8294120/WikiLeaks-Britain-secretly-advised-Libya-how-to-secure-release-of-Lockerbie-bomber.html)
3 - "PAN AM 103 BOMBER HAS INCURABLE CANCER; LIBYANS SEEK HIS RELEASE," anonymous memo originating in the US embassy in London, dated 24th of October, 2008. Reproduced in The Telegraph, 31st of January, 2010. (
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wikileaks-files/libya-wikileaks/8294871/PAN-AM-103-BOMBER-HAS-INCURABLE-CANCER-LIBYANS-SEEK-HIS-RELEASE.html)

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