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Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi freed

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Ng'wanza Madaso, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. Ng'wanza Madaso

    Ng'wanza Madaso JF-Expert Member

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    Megrahi: What price justice?

    The expected release of the Lockerbie bomber illustrates the centuries-old conflict between Britain's interests and its moral values, says David Blair

    By David Blair
    Published: 8:19PM BST 19 Aug 2009


    Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi is to be freed from a British jail on compassionate grounds Photo: GETTY

    Above the staircase leading up to the Foreign Secretary's office, grandiose murals show a benign Britannia dispensing peace and enlightenment to the world.

    Yet despite the vaulting ambition of Sigismund Goetze's artwork, the fate of one individual can sometimes shape foreign policy – and general benevolence must sometimes take second place to raw national interest.
    So it is with Abdulbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber whose release from his Scottish prison cell is expected to be announced today. His case brings to the forefront the perennial tension between our interests and our values that has always underpinned British foreign policy.
    If our values matter more than anything else, then Megrahi's fate would scarcely be worth debating. The rule of law is the most important foundation of British democracy, and a Scottish court found Megrahi guilty of the worst act of terrorism in Britain. Unless his conviction is overturned on appeal, upholding the law means keeping him behind bars until he completes his sentence. No ifs and no buts.

    But our national interest points in a very different direction. Libya, under the newly pragmatic rule of Col Muammar Gaddafi, has become an important ally, ideally placed to help us combat terrorism and nuclear proliferation – the two biggest threats to British national security. So keeping Libya happy matters a great deal, particularly as the country also possesses 42 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and a similar abundance of natural gas. Thanks to our new friendship with Libya, BP's biggest exploration project in the world is now under way inside Col Gaddafi's domain.

    Britain needs to make sure that nothing interferes with what diplomats call "our bilateral relationship" with Libya. If that means sending one 57-year-old prisoner back to his homeland, particularly if he happens to be terminally ill – so allowing him to be released on "compassionate grounds" – then so be it.

    Last November, Britain signed a deal with Col Gaddafi's regime that looked suspiciously like a tailor-made arrangement for Megrahi's repatriation. This Prisoner Transfer Agreement was hastily ratified in London, formally coming into effect on April 29. Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, urged Parliament to give its speedy approval for the sake of "our wider bilateral relations with Libya". He and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, were both agreed that delaying ratification beyond April would "lead to serious questions on the part of Libya". It also happens that Lord Mandelson was spied in Corfu with none other than Col Gaddafi's son.

    When Megrahi goes free, it will be a classic example of our interests colliding with our values – and national interest coming out on top. So far, this all sounds cynical and shady. But there is nothing dishonourable about a country deciding where its crucial interest lies and acting accordingly. If British jobs and security are at stake, there is a powerful case for not allowing one man's fate to get in the way.

    Every foreign minister in the world is compelled to make these judgments – and national interest usually comes out on top. As Palmerston said: "We have no eternal friends, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and these interests it is our duty to follow."
    Yet the game is not as cynical as it might appear. For a start, values and interests often coincide. Britain spends more than £9 billion on foreign aid, because helping poor countries is right in itself and also represents an investment in a safer world, less likely to threaten us with terrorism.

    Instead of the umpteen occasions when brute national interest has triumphed, perhaps the more surprising fact is how often in British history we have put our values first. The shining example remains the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, when Britain chose to damage its own commercial interests in Caribbean sugar, and place itself at odds with key allies, for the sake of doing what was manifestly right.

    In Bury the Chains: the British Struggle to Abolish Slavery, Adam Hochschild laid out what was at stake. "In the England of the 18th-century, the luxury vehicles were the carriages of Caribbean sugar planters and the imagined road to riches led through the cane fields of the New World," he wrote.

    Huge sums were to be made by investing in the slave trade. John Gladstone, father of the Liberal prime minister, owned sugar estates in Jamaica worked by 1,000 slaves – and sent his son to Eton on the proceeds. One Liverpool businessman, William Davenport, made returns of 73.5 and 147 per cent when the slaving ship Hawke embarked on two voyages to plunder West Africa in 1779 and 1780.

    But even in the days before universal suffrage, the demands of British business could not hold out against the power of public opinion, as mobilised by William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson. When the government of the day had to choose between Britain's national interests and her values, opting for the former was politically impossible. With the first Abolition Act of 1807, commercial advantage was duly put aside.
    This was not a unique aberration. Throughout the 19th century, successive governments deployed a large proportion of the Royal Navy to stamp out the Atlantic slave trade. A simple calculation of national interest would have held that expensive assets like warships should be used to defend the country and police its empire. But the nation's values dictated that the world's largest navy should also be used to wipe out a vile trade in human beings. For the best part of a century, every government in this respect chose to put British values first.

    Most of the time, however, the balance swung the other way. In the 1870s, Turkey ruthlessly suppressed a revolt in Bulgaria and carried out hideous atrocities. The British government under Benjamin Disraeli turned a blind eye because Turkey was a useful ally against an expansionist Russia. This amoral calculation was denounced by Gladstone, who turned it into a national cause célèbre of such power that he defeated Disraeli in the 1880 election.

    In general terms, national values are far more likely to guide foreign policy when public opinion is actively engaged. Left to themselves, most governments are likely to choose the default option and uphold a narrow definition of national interest, mainly because this usually creates less friction with reliable allies. Ever since the campaign against the slave trade, public opinion has been the most important check on this behaviour.
    The present Government's conduct of foreign policy would probably have pleased Disraeli more than Gladstone. When, in 2006, the Serious Fraud Office dropped its investigation into the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia by BAE Systems, it was a classic case of interests triumphing over values. Similarly, the High Court agreed earlier this year to withhold documents relating to the ordeal of Binyam Mohamed, the Ethiopian who claims to have been tortured at Britain's behest. Mr Miliband had argued that disclosing this evidence would have jeopardised the close co-operation between British intelligence agencies and their American counterparts. Put simply, the Foreign Secretary said that national security should take precedence over our belief in natural justice – and the court reluctantly agreed.

    But no cynical calculation of self-interest lay behind Tony Blair's intervention in Sierra Leone in 2000, when British troops saved an African capital from the clutches of a brutal rebel army and, eventually, stopped a terrible civil war. Sierra Leone had no oil and its collapse would scarcely have portended disaster for Britain. The tiny country had suffered for many years, without its travails damaging us in any way. Yet Mr Blair sent a small flotilla of warships and 1,500 troops to its aid.

    Nor would our vital interests have been gravely threatened if Slobodan Milosevic had been allowed to complete the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo in 1999.

    Again, this relatively insignificant territory had no oil and, beyond a general interest in the stability of a corner of Europe, Kosovo's fate was of little importance to Britain.

    But Mr Blair chose to go to war to stop its people from being driven from their homes. Incidentally, the population of both Sierra Leone and Kosovo is largely Muslim.

    The lesson is that British governments do choose to uphold our values – but it helps when the public is breathing down their necks. In the end, the best guarantee against the amoral pursuit of self-interest is a public that knows and cares about the world depicted, in rather overblown fashion, by the murals adorning the Foreign Office's grand staircase.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2009
  2. MziziMkavu

    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    Lockerbie bomber to go free
    NBC: State Department official confirms British TV reports

    LONDON - The Scottish government has decided to release Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a State Department official confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday.

    NBC, quoting the unnamed official, said a statement was expected to be released once an official announcement by Scotland was made.

    Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said Wednesday that he had informed the families of the victims that he had come to a decision about what to do with al-Megrahi and would make a formal announcement Thursday afternoon in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital Sky News television and the BBC reported Wednesday that al-Megrahi will be released from prison on compassionate grounds. The BBC added that his release had been expected before the end of the week. Neither network cited the source of its information.

    Al-Megrahi, 57, has terminal cancer.

    He was convicted in 2001 of taking part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988. The airliner — which was carrying mostly American passengers to New York — blew up as it flew over Scotland. All 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground died when the aircraft crashed into the town of Lockerbie.

    But a 2007 review of his case raised the prospect that al-Megrahi had been the victim of a miscarriage of justice, and many in Britain believe that he is innocent.

    Lawyers for the former Libyan intelligence agent say his physical condition is worsening. The question of whether to release him has divided the families of those who died.

    The Rev. John Mosey, whose daughter Helga, 19, died in the attack, said Wednesday he would be glad to see al-Megrahi return home.

    "It is right he should go home to die in dignity with his family. I believe it is our Christian duty to show mercy," he said.

    But American families have largely been hostile to the idea. Seven U.S. senators and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have urged MacAskill not to release al-Megrahi.

    "If he's released on compassionate grounds, who would provide comfort and compassion to the family members?" said Peter Sullivan, whose best friend Mike Doyle was killed in the bombing.

    On Tuesday, Clinton told reporters that the U.S. believes al-Megrahi should serve out his sentence.

    "The United States has made its views known over a number of months and we continue to make the same point that we think it is inappropriate and very much against the wishes of the family members of the victims who suffered such grievous losses with the actions that led to the bombing of the airline," Clinton said. "And we have made our views known to the Libyan government as well.

    "I take this very personally because I knew a lot of the family members of those who were lost, because there was a large contingent from Syracuse University," Clinton, a former U.S. senator from New York, added. A generation of sanctions
    Libyans, meanwhile, are ready to celebrate the return of al-Megrahi, whom they see as an innocent victim of the West's campaign to turn their country into an international pariah.

    "Exoneration. That's what we've been waiting for, and what (his release) would be," said Mohammed Abdel-Hameed, a 76-year-old retiree catching some shade behind a column in the square. "We all paid for Lockerbie, but al-Megrahi paid the highest price."

    "It was all fabrication on fabrication," said Ramadan Misbahi, 45, as friends seated around him at an outdoor cafe nodded in agreement. "He didn't do anything."

    The Lockerbie bombing sealed Libya's reputation as a terror sponsor in the eyes of the West. United Nations sanctions were imposed in 1992, augmenting others already imposed by the United States. The measures, as a whole, barred U.S. firms from doing business in Libya and barred air travel in and out of Libya.

    The sanctions shaped the lives of a generation of Libyans. People had to drive to neighboring Tunisia or take a ferry to Malta to travel abroad. Quality goods were hard to come by. With little foreign investment — even from Europeans — and heavy government control of the local economy, cities like Tripoli fell into disrepair, buildings became run down, and Libyans felt cut off from the world Libya's decision to hand over al-Megrahi — along with a second suspect who was eventually acquitted — for trial in the Netherlands in 1999 marked the start of the country's escape from international isolation. The transformation was pushed along in the early 2000s by Libya's renunciation of its weapons of mass destruction program and agreement to pay compensation of about $2.7 billion to the Lockerbie victims' families.

    That paved the way for the lifting of the U.N. sanctions in 2003, and the U.S. sanctions in the years that followed. It also opened the floodgates for foreign — mainly European — investment in a country flush with oil and hungry for contact with the outside world

    Lockerbie victim’s mother: Keep bomber in jail
    Her daughter was killed in 1988; she condemns ‘appeasement’ of Gadhafi

    AP file
    Police and investigators look at what remains of the flight deck of Pan Am 103 on a field in Lockerbie, Scotland, in this Dec. 22, 1988, file photo

    The prospect of the man convicted of murdering her daughter and the 269 others who died in the bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 being released from prison has outraged Susan Cohen and many other parents of the 180 Americans aboard the flight.

    “I would say it’s the best argument for capital punishment I’ve ever heard,” Cohen told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Thursday from her home in Cape May Courthouse, N.J. Cohen, who with her husband, Daniel, has written a book about the terrorist attack, was reacting to news that Scotland is on the verge of releasing convicted Libyan bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds because the 57-year-old father of five has terminal prostate cancer.

    “We were told he would at least serve his term in Scotland, and I think he should die in Scotland,” Cohen said.
    All about oil?
    Cohen minced no words with Lauer, saying the mercy being considered for al-Megrahi is prompted by the influence of oil interests. Libya has the ninth-highest reserves of oil in the world.

    “Don’t kid yourself,” Cohen said. “This whole thing is not just about Megrahi. It is about appeasing [Libyan strongman] Muammar Gadhafi, and it is the oil interests with the governments in tow which are really behind this. That is absolutely true. I’ve watched this play out.”

    Pan Am Flight 103 took off from London on Dec. 21, 1988, with 259 passengers and crew bound for New York. It blew up over Lockerbie just over a half-hour into its flight. The wreckage rained down on Lockerbie like a meteor shower, destroying homes on the ground and killing 11 more people.

    Investigators established that a bomb hidden in a suitcase and detonated with a timer caused the disaster, which remains the worst terrorist attack on British soil. It took years to identify al-Megrahi, a Libyan agent, as the prime suspect. Another Libyan, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, was also accused of carrying out the plot.


    Pan Am bomber to be freed?
    Aug. 13: British officials are reportedly considering freeing the man serving a life sentence for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.
    Today show

    It took even longer for international pressure to convince Gadhafi to turn the two over to Scotland for trial. Fhimah was acquitted at that trial, but al-Megrahi, who continues to maintain his innocence, was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to life in prison.

    Gadhafi was once an outlaw dictator who virtually sealed off Libya from the world. But as international sanctions withered his economy, he became more conciliatory toward the West and claimed to have changed his political philosophy. His image change worked. President George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, complimented the new Gadhafi, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently sat down with him to talk about issues of mutual interest, including al-Megrahi’s possible release.

    Cohen’s daughter, Theodora, was a 20-year-old college student returning home to celebrate the holidays with her family.

    Powerful Uncle Sam
    Although the appeal for al-Megrahi’s release is a British affair, Cohen insisted that the United States still bears enormous influence.

    “I assure you that the United States government has a lot of power,” she said. “I am very much on [President Barack] Obama’s side. He is a definite improvement over Bush.”

    But Cohen is unhappy with the lack of response from the White House to requests by her and the families of other survivors to meet.

    Susan Cohen, whose daughter was killled in the 1988 plane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, feels that victims of the terrorist attack have been forgotten.

    “I have asked to meet with him,” Cohen said of Obama. “He shook Gadhafi’s hand; he hasn’t shaken my hand. We, the families, would like to have a chance to meet with Obama. We asked for condolences on the 20th anniversary, Dec. 21, last year. After all, he had already been elected. My impression is that nobody cares very much and everybody is happy to go on with this because the amounts of money are so great.”

    Although the BBC has reported that al-Megrahi will be released within the next week, either to his family or to a Libyan jail, British officials have said no decision has been made.

    Cohen questioned why a convicted terrorist who killed 270 people should be even considered for compassion.

    “He gets treatment for his disease there. What is this compassion for him?” Cohen said. “My heart is broken. My daughter’s birthday is soon. She would have been 41. It’s just been living in hell.”

    She said that people seemed to have forgotten about what was the worst terrorist attack ever.

    “We were the worst crime of the sort before 9/11. But nobody seems to care,” Cohen said. “Nobody seems to mind Megrahi did this crime … We are the victims. We are tossed aside. Megrahi is guilty. He should serve his time. And there should be a strong position on Libya, whose human rights record is the worst in the world, and all I see is appeasement, appeasement, appeasement.”
  3. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Gadaffi anacheka mpaka jino la pasaka linaonekana.
  4. Mbu

    Mbu JF-Expert Member

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    ...kwanini mkuu? kwa habari hii;

    ...hicho kicheko kitakuwa cha kinafiki.
  5. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    kwa muarabu hio hela ni mbzui sana. Kumbuka wanachimba mafuta
    and during the period of sanctions the country still survived. Cha mno ni
    kuelewa kwamba hii plan yote ilikua na blessings za Gadaffi nd'o maana
    marekani ilijaribu kumuua as a 'moral justificaton' for his involvement in
    the bombing of the planes.

    After all the chest thumping kua they will bring justice by arresting
    the culprits ilikua ni hadisi tu. Kisha huyu bwana alikua kama sacrificial
    lamb ama token to the western countries. Gadaffi still runs free just
    like Osama.Marekani wamemaindi sana hii kitu and you should have
    seen Hillary Clinton akiongea.

    Meanwhile, my own opinion ni kua huyu bwana ana haki ya kuachiwa
    akafie kwao maana ni gharama ya taxpayer wa Scotland kumhifadhi na
    pia kulipia matibabu yake jela...a chronic terminal illness. Wenyewe
    wameona isiwe tatizo na kumrudisha Libya.Anayeona unyonge amfuate
  6. Mbu

    Mbu JF-Expert Member

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    ...Breaking News;

    ...huyu bwana mkubwa ameachiwa huru on 'compassionate' grounds, soon atakuwa safarini kurudi Tripoli...
  7. Ng'wanza Madaso

    Ng'wanza Madaso JF-Expert Member

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    By Lucy Cockcroft and Matthew Moore
    Published: 6:06PM BST 20 Aug 2009

    In a statement released after he left Britain on a chartered flight to his native Libya, Megrahi said that the rest of his days would be "lived under the shadow of the wrongness of my conviction."
    The 57-year-old has terminal prostate cancer and doctors say that he only has weeks to live.

    "I cannot find words in my language or yours that give proper expression to the desolation I have felt," he said in a statement.

    "This horrible ordeal is not ended by my return to Libya. It may never end for me until I die. Perhaps the only liberation for me will be death."

    Megrahi described his relief at securing his freedom but expressed regret that he had been forced to drop his appeal against his conviction.

    "I had most to gain and nothing to lose about the whole truth coming out – until my diagnosis of cancer," the statement continued.

    "To those victims' relatives who can bear to hear me say this: they continue to have my sincere sympathy for the unimaginable loss that they have suffered."

    Megrahi was driven from HMP Greenock in a white van escorted by three police cars, another van and five motorcycles early this afternoon. The convoy set off on the 16-mile journey to Glasgow airport, where a jet was waiting to return him to Tripoli, after he was released on the orders of Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

    He was driven straight on to the tarmac where the jet was waiting to take him home.
    After a short delay, the bomber, wearing a baseball cap, left the van and slowly walked with a stick up the stairs on to the jet. Shortly afterwards he walked on board a Libyan airliner at the airport to return home, where he is now free to die with his family at his side.

    Dressed in a white tracksuit and wearing a baseball cap and a white scarf to hide his face, he appeared frail but was able to walk up the steps of the plane alone, using a stick.
    The plane took just before 3.30pm.

    Megrahi has served eight years of a life sentence for murdering 270 people when a Pan Am plane was blown up over Lockerbie in 1988.

    Dozens of journalists from around the world were outside the entrance of the jail as its blue automatic door slid open to let the convicted bomber out at 2.36pm.

    His release has been met with strong condemnation by politicians both in Britain and America, which lost 189 of its nationals in the airliner explosion.

    Conservative Party leader David Cameron said: "I think this is wrong and it's the product of some completely nonsensical thinking, in my view.

    "This man was convicted of murdering 270 people, he showed no compassion to them, they weren't allowed to go home and die with their relatives in their own bed and I think this is a very bad decision."

    The United States Government issued a statement to express "deep regret" at the decision.
    It read: "The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Scottish Executive to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi," a White House statement said.

    "On this day, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families who live every day with the loss of their loved ones. We recognise the effects of such a loss weigh upon a family forever."
    Kara Weipz, 36, who lost her student brother Rick, 20, in the atrocity, also condemned the move to release Megrahi.

    Speaking from her home in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, she said: "I think it's an absolutely horrible decision.

    "I don't know how you show compassion to someone who has shown no remorse for what he has done and as Mr MacAskill praised the justice system and the investigation and the trial, how do you then show this person compassion? It's just utterly despicable.

    "I think he should have died in prison. Why should he be returned to Libya?

    "That's not what we were promised. We were always told he would serve out his full sentence in Scotland."

    But Tam Dalyell, the former Labour MP and former father of the House of Commons, who has persistently claimed that Megrahi was innocent, said today: "Mr MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Minister, has arrived at the right decision on compassionate grounds.

    "I do not accept his endorsement of the guilt of Mr Megrahi, whom I continue to believe had nothing whatsoever to do with the crime of Lockerbie."
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2009
  8. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, boards a plane at Glasgow airport from Greenock Prison on August 20, 2009 in Glasgow, Scotland. Abdelbaset ali al-Megrahi had been serving a life sentence for the 1988 Pan-AM flight 103 Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people. Megrahi, who is terminally ill with prostate cancer, served eight years of a life sentence and following today's decision, has been released on compassionate grounds to go home to spend his remaining days with his family in Libya.


    Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi arrives at Glasgow airport to board a plane after arriving from Greenock Prison on August 20, 2009 in Glasgow, Scotland.



    A man protests as a police convoy escorts Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the only person convicted for downing a US passenger jet that killed 270 people over Lockerbie, from Greenock prison to Glasgow airport in Scotland, on August 20, 2009.

  9. Mbu

    Mbu JF-Expert Member

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    ...'kondoo wa kafara'
  10. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    ....Very true.
    Je hii tetesi kua Iran na Syria were involved in the bombing of
    the plane inakaaje?
  11. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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  12. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    In full: Statement from Megrahi

    After leaving HM Prison Greenock after being released on compassionate grounds, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released the following statement:

  13. Ab-Titchaz

    Ab-Titchaz Content Manager Staff Member

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    Trade 'link' to bomber's release


    The release of the Lockerbie bomber was tied to trade deals between Libya and the UK,
    reports quote the son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi saying. Seif al-Islam told Libyan
    TV the case was raised during talks over oil and gas, AFP news reported. The UK Foreign
    Office has strongly denied the claims.

    Scotland's government freed terminally ill Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, 57, on compassionate
    grounds on Thursday. Megrahi told the Times he would present new evidence proving his
    innocence. The man convicted of killing 270 people aboard a transatlantic airliner in 1988
    said he would present the evidence through lawyers in Scotland and ask the British and
    Scottish communities to "be the jury".
    Colonel Gaddafi's son had labelled Megrahi's release a "victory". In an interview with a
    Libyan station, he reportedly claimed that the Megrahi issue had been raised repeatedly
    by Britain's former prime minister Tony Blair.

    "In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the
    negotiating table," Mr Islam said told Libya's Al Mutawassit channel.

    Mr Blair visited Libya in May 2007, during which UK energy giant BP signed a
    $900m (£540m) exploration deal. However, the Foreign Office insisted Megrahi's
    release had been a matter solely for the Scottish authorities.

    A spokesman said: "No deal has been made between the UK government and the Libyan
    government in relation to Megrahi and any commercial interests in the country."

    UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband earlier rejected suggestions the UK pushed for
    Megrahi's release to improve relations as "a slur on both myself and the government".

    Prince Andrew

    Separately, the Foreign Office was unable to confirm whether a planned trip to Libya
    by the Duke of York in September would be cancelled. A spokeswoman said an official
    invitation to the British government from Libya had not yet been received. However,
    it is believed any visit is unlikely to go ahead in light of the furore surrounding Megrahi's

    The bomber's release - and the hero's welcome he was given on return to Libya - provoked
    anger from many relatives of those who died aboard Pan-Am flight 103, particularly in
    the US. President Barack Obama condemned the jubilant scenes at Tripoli airport as
    "highly objectionable". The UK foreign secretary described TV footage of people greeting Megrahi
    by cheering and waving flags as "deeply distressing".

    Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond also said the reception was "inappropriate". UK Prime
    Minister Gordon Brown has so far made no comment, although it has emerged he wrote to
    Colonel Gaddafi to ask that Libya "act with sensitivity" in its welcome.

  14. Ng'wanza Madaso

    Ng'wanza Madaso JF-Expert Member

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    Gaddafi embraces Lockerbie bomber and thanks his 'courageous friend' Gordon Brown for releasing him

    By James Chapman and Ian Drury
    Last updated at 1:50 PM on 22nd August 2009

    The international furore over the release of the Lockerbie bomber deepened today after he was seen embracing Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.
    In scenes that will provoke outrage among victims' families and the U.S. government, TV footage showed Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi meeting Gaddafi in Tripoli.

    It came as Gordon Brown faced fresh pressure after shocking claims by Libya that the release of the bomber was linked explicity to trade deals benefiting Britain.

    Enlarge [​IMG]
    Embrace: Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, (right), who was found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, is greeted by Libyan leader Gaddafi in Tripoli
    Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam said Megrahi's case was discussed at every meeting between the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Libyan leader.
    But the Foreign Office strongly denied any link between the boosting of UK business interests and the freeing of the man convicted of Britain's worst terrorist atrocity.
    A spokesman insisted: 'No deal has been made between the UK Government and Libya in relation to Megrahi and any commercial interests.'

    The growing sense of unease in Downing Street intensified today after Col Gaddafi praised 'my friend' Gordon Brown and the British Government for their part in securing Megrahi's freedom.
    'To my friends in Scotland, the Scottish National Party, and Scottish prime minister, and the foreign secretary, I praise their courage for having proved their independence in decision making despite the unacceptable and unreasonable measures that they faced. Nevertheless they took this courageously right and humanitarian decision,' he said.

    Enlarge [​IMG]
    Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi kisses the hand of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

    Enlarge [​IMG]
    The Lockerbie bomber and his extended family sits with the Libyan leader. The reception came amid mounting Western outrage over the hero's welcome
    'And I say to my friend Brown, the Prime Minister of Britain, his Government, the Queen of Britain, Elizabeth, and Prince Andrew, who all contributed to encouraging the Scottish government to take this historic and courageous decision, despite the obstacles.'

    Foreign Secretary David Miliband rejected suggestions that the Government wanted 57-year-old Megrahi released so commercial relations with oil-rich Libya could be improved.
    'I really reject that entirely,' he said. 'That is a slur both on myself and the Government.'
    The trade claim will intensify demands for Mr Brown to come clean about exactly what contacts Britain had with the former pariah state before Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds - he has terminal prostate cancer.
    Speaking on Libyan television, Colonel Gaddafi's son said Mr Blair raised the Megrahi case repeatedly to smooth the way for British firms to tap into Libya's energy reserves.
    He told the Al Mutawassit channel: 'In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table.'

    Enlarge [​IMG]
    Gaddafi hugged the convicted Lockerbie bomber and promised more cooperation with Britain in gratitude for his release

    Enlarge [​IMG]
    Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam holds hands with al-Megrahi after his release
    Mr Gaddafi, who discussed the case with Business Secretary Lord Mandelson when they met in Corfu just weeks ago, hailed Megrahi's the release as a 'victory' for all Libyans.

    As he left a London hospital today following a prostate operation, Lord Mandelson denied any deals were made between Libya and Britain and said the suggestion was 'offensive'.

    He said: 'It's not only completely wrong to make such a suggestion it's also quite offensive.'

    Of his meetings with Colonel Gaddafi's son he said he had met him twice this year.

    'As I have already stated, on both occasions Mr Gaddafi raised the issue of the Libyan prisoner in Scotland's release as all representatives of the Libyan government do,' Lord Mandelson said.

    'They had the same response from me as they would have had from any other member of the Government.

    'The issue of the prisoner's release was entirely a matter for the Scottish Justice Minister.

    'That is how it was left, that is how it was well understood.'

    He said it was a devolved matter and told reporters there was 'no agreement between the Libyan government and the British government'.

    He said: 'It has been a matter entirely for the Scottish Justice Minister to exercise his discretion.'

    According to Lord Mandelson there was 'no link' between the release of Megrahi and business relations.

    He said: 'The issue of the prisoner's release is quite separate from the general matter of our relations and indeed the prisoner's release has not been influenced in any way by the British Government so the business relations will take their course regardless of what happens to this individual.'

    He also criticised the scenes of celebration in Libya and said: 'It's very insensitive. You just have to think about what is going through the minds of the families who have lost loved ones in a terrible tragedy.'
    Megrahi himself called his freedom 'something amazing'.

    Sitting on a sofa in his family home in Tripoli he said: 'I'm very, very happy.

    'This was always my hope and wish to be back with my family before I pass away.'

    He told The Times his 86-year-old mother had not stopped crying.

    Megrahi said: 'I told her "You should laugh not cry". She doesn't know I am ill.'
    He also insisted he would have won an appeal against his conviction for murdering 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie in December 1988.
    Mr Brown had already been pulled into the centre of the storm when it emerged
  15. s

    shabanimzungu Senior Member

    Aug 22, 2009
    Joined: Jul 7, 2009
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    The whole scenario of releasing the "'PAN AM BOMBER"' now will focuson Iran and Syria and the whole bandwagon of "''blame game'' is shifting! The west now is after IRAN ..and u will see the scenario taking place....West is selfish with Libya....