Where’s the Lockerbie bomber?
Sep 5, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 47 • By TOD LINDBERG
The Brown government clearly saw Megrahi as an obstacle to the cultivation of further lucrative business deals with Qaddafi. As the O’Donnell report concludes:
Straw et al. also saw clear advantage in a Megrahi release with no finger-prints of theirs on it. An internal Whitehall memo released alongside the O’Donnell report notes,
Thanks a lot.
Scotland’s MacAskill, meanwhile, was well aware of the Brown government’s press to improve U.K.-Libya relations and the billions of pounds at stake. He found himself in the enviable position of furthering those interests while striking a pose as a world-class humanitarian.
Of course two years later, Megrahi’s survival, let alone his appearance at a Qaddafi rally, does pose a problem for the pretext for the whole sorry episode (in which the Obama administration, “crystallizing” its position rather than telling Her Majesty’s Government that its foreign policy ought not to be devolved to provincial justice ministers, was hardly blameless).
But the conclusion that MacAskill got played, though true, entirely misses the point. All parties worked diligently to overcome the inconvenience to the march of commerce of a mass murderer serving out his sentence. The Brown government got exactly what it wanted.
Scottish authorities reported last week that they had lost contact with Megrahi in Libya, apparently a violation of his conditions of release. Tsk. Unfortunately, the successor Cameron government is of the view that whether Megrahi should be returned to Scotland, were that possible, remains a matter for Scottish authorities. But then, the Cameron government has found other ways to express itself on the Qaddafi regime tout court—as a leader of the international effort to topple him.
Maybe somebody will indeed grab Megrahi in Libya and ship him back to Scotland for violating his parole agreement. On the other hand, reports of his demise are greatly overdue.
Tod Lindberg, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and editor of Policy Review, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.
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