Scotland has released the only man jailed for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, said Britain’s Daily Mail. “But don’t be deceived” by the “fig leaf” of compassion cited in the decision to free terminally ill Libyan Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi—it has “precious little to do with justice or humanity.” No it’s a “desperate quest for political and diplomatic advantage.” And worse, it was made by an “obscure” Scottish politician, Kenny MacAskill.
“All the signs are that MacAskill is a patsy,” said Gerald Warner in Britain’s The Daily Telegraph, a “pawn in a much larger geopolitical stitch-up” dating back to a 2007 meeting between Muammar al-Qadaffi and then-prime minister Tony Blair. Hours later, BP announced a billion-dollar oil deal in Libya. If this sham of a decision is the result of a “sinister back-room deal,” the truth will come out.
That’s all “nonsense,” said Alan Cochrane, also in The Telegraph. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has about three months to live, and I for one have “no quarrel with this man being allowed to go home to die.” That said, MacAskill didn’t do himself, or Scotland’s newly autonomous government, any favors by allowing the “leaks and nudges” to fester and grow unanswered.
He also didn’t win any friends in the U.S., said Daniel Nasaw in The Guardian, where politicians and family members of Flight 103 victims were “uniformly outraged and dismayed.” The White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “vigorously opposed Megrahi’s release,” and President Obama said the U.S. “deeply regrets the decision.”