Obama Administration Shrugs Shoulders on Lockerbie Bomber Early Release
The U. S. government urged Scottish ministers that it would be “far preferable” to free the Lockerbie bomber and allow him to live in Scotland rather than in Libya reported The Daily Australian quoting the London newspaper (firewalled!) The Sunday Times—contradicting a statement by President Obama that “all Americans were surprised and angry” when the bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was released to Libya because he was at death’s door with advanced prostate cancer and had only three months to live. After he was released, a doctor in Libya said he can live for a long time: meaning the pretext of the release was a hoax. And the soft underbelly of the U. S. State Department under Obama technically agreed but wanted him to stay in Scotland. The report was quoted in the Drudge Report last night.
A letter to that effect was written and signed by the deputy head of mission at the London U. S. embassy, Richard LeBaron. It was sent to the Scottish First Minister. Its release has been fought by the Obama State Department which has maintained that the memo should be treated as confidential to protect the integrity of communications between the U. S. and other nations. But the memo from LeBaron says flatly that if the bomber must be released “from Scottish custody the U. S. position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be far preferable to prisoner transfer which we oppose.”
This memo from an Obama State Department official changed the decade-old agreement between Britain and the U. S. that anyone convicted of the bombing would serve that sentence in a Scottish prison. That soft-headedness really rubs it in for the families of the 243 whose loved ones flying in a Boeing 747 were blown out of the sky over Lockerbie Dec. 21, 1988 on a flight from Heathrow (London) to JFK International in New York. On January 31, 2001 Abdel Bastel al-Megrahi was found guilty and sentenced to 27 years in prison in Scotland. He was released by the Scottish Justice secretary on compassionate grounds…grounds Obama seemingly opposed but which his State Department gave a tacit “o.k” to via the memo from LeBaron.
If this doesn’t become a major issue in the 2010 campaign I’ll be surprised.
Tom Roeser is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Chicago Daily Observer