Monday, July 26, 2010

Dem Calls for an Investigation Over Release of Lockerbie Bomber Highlights Obama Admin Support

How are they going to hush this one up?

Just 12 days ago Senate Democrats were demanding an investigation into the efforts foreign oil giant BP may have made to get the Lockerbie Bomber (responsible for the deaths of 270 persons after Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the sky over Scotland) released from Scottish jail and returned to Libya. Megrahi was released last year after Scottish officials came to the erroneous conclusion that his terminal prostate cancer left him with only a few months to live. He's outlived their dire predictions for over a year and a Libyan doctor advises that he may live for another ten years.

The issue of convicted terrorist Megrahi's release is so controversial that it even came up in a White House meeting with President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. During the press conference, Obama said this:

OBAMA: [A]ll of us here in the United States were surprised, disappointed, and angry about the release of the Lockerbie bomber. And my administration expressed very clearly our objections prior to the decision being made and subsequent to the decision being made. So we welcome any additional information that will give us insights and a better understanding of why the decision was made.
"Surprised, disappointed and angry" and "expressed very clearly our objections prior to the decision being made and subsequent to the decision being made."


So, when the U.S. Congress called on the Scottish government to release letters regarding the release of Megrahi, why has the Obama Administration refused to release the letter it sent via our embassy in London?

Perhaps it is because the letter reveals that the Obama Administration was prepared to look the other way if Scotland choose to release Megrahi? While their position was that they prefer Megrahi to be released and live in Scotland, they "strongly opposed" a prison transfer of the bomber to Libya which would have kept him in jail. In the end, Megrahi was sent as a free man back to Libya.

From the embassy letter:

“Nevertheless, if Scottish authorities come to the conclusion that 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 Australian reports that "Scottish ministers viewed the level of US resistance to compassionate release as "half-hearted" and a sign it would be accepted."

Ed Morrisey sums up the current controversy this way:
The letter did not give a green light to Megrahi’s parole to Libya. Nevertheless, it shows the kind of ineptitude that has plagued the Obama administration’s diplomacy from the “reset button” with Russia to this day. LeBaron’s note was a clear signal to Scotland that the US had lost most of its interest in Megrahi; recall that the US had insisted originally that any parole must include extradition to the US. The Scottish government must have presumed that we would not strenuously object to their release of Megrahi to the Libyans after LeBaron failed to raise that point and demand Megrahi’s extradition.

Also, it shows that the Obama administration lied about being surprised by Megrahi’s release. They knew it was coming, and while they may have been surprised that he went to Libya, the White House knew Scotland was going to spring Megrahi one way or the other.
190 American citizens were aboard Pan Am 103. All were killed, including 35 students of northeastern colleges on their way home from overseas study. Clearly, the Obama Administration sent the wrong signals to Scottish authorities. Megrahi never should have been released PERIOD!

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