The British government freed the Lockerbie bomber in exchange for oil. We learn the news from the UK Times Online:
The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.
Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.
The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.
The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.
This strategy is obviously foolish. It may have helped the British with their energy issues in the short term, but they have exposed their weakness to their enemies. Not that terrorists didn’t already know how dependent the UK is on Middle Eastern oil, but now they have learned how far they are willing to go and who they are willing to sell out to get it.
The UK sold this transfer as an act of compassion by claiming that Megrahi had cancer and only had a few weeks left to live, but pictures of Megrahi as he got off the plane in Libya to a hero’s welcome showed a man who looked like the picture of health.
Moe Lane at RedState notes the timing of Megrahi’s transfer is pretty interesting as well:
The Libyans walked away from this one knowing that they could profitably push back on the Brown government on issues involving the Lockerbie bomber; and now the issue’s closed, because Megrahi’s back in Libya and Gadaffi doesn’t particularly care what Brown thinks about things. And if you’re wondering why they waited two years… well. Gadaffi cared a great deal about what George W. Bush thought about things.
This new guy in the Oval Office? Eh. not so much.