No, Obama Didn't Green Light Lockerbie Bomber's Release -- But it Looks like the BP Oil Deal Exchange Theory is True

I'm getting tons of emails about the leaked letter from the US Ambassador in the UK which proceeded the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.

The headline at the Australian is misleading. The memo shows the exact opposite from the "White House backed release of Lockerbie bomber." In fact, if you take the time to actually read the article, you'll see the Obama Administration was against the release. It's not until six paragraphs in that we read:

In the letter, sent on August 12 last year to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and justice officials, Mr LeBaron wrote that the US wanted Megrahi to remain imprisoned in view of the nature of the crime.
So, Obama and his people in the State Department opposed the release.

This does not mean there is nothing to see here, though. The letter suggests that they saw the release of the mass-murderer as a fait accompli. That if al-Megrahi was going to be released, then it would be better for him to be kept on house arrest rather than flown back to Libya.

The note added: "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."

Mr LeBaron added that freeing the bomber and making him live in Scotland "would mitigate a number of the strong concerns we have expressed with regard to Megrahi's release".

So, it looks like they knew that Megrahi was going to be released. It looks like they did oppose the deal, but that not much diplomatic effort was put forth to stop it, and it looks like his release was really negotiated as part of a deal for BP to drill in Libyan waters.

It makes the Obama Administration's diplomatic team look like minor leaguers. But the real villains here are those in the previous UK Labour government that seemed to have negotiated the deal between Libya and BP. Some might call that sort of deal criminal.

And to be honest, until I heard about this over the weekend I was inclined to write off the accusations as part of a general anti-BP mood combined with the usual conspiracy theories. But now? Not so much.

Posted by: Rusty at 10:54 AM

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