Feature

The Lockerbie bomber: A British oil deal with Libya?

<em>The Times of London</em> says Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was released so BP could get Libyan oil contracts.

"Where there's smoke, there's fire," said Douglas A. McIntyre in 24/7 Wall St. So it should come as no surprise that The Times of London says the British government arranged for Scotland to release terminally ill Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi to secure a big oil deal for BP. Profits often outweigh ethics, but "the heinousness of the Lockerbie bombing gives the apparent 'trade' a special level of abhorrence."

The Scots insist they released the bomber for humanitarian reasons, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, and the British government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown says it had nothing to do with the decision. But the Times of London "continues to rip to shreds the official explanations from Edinburgh and London." Brown's government should "resign in disgrace" to save Parliament the trouble of holding a vote of no confidence, "not just for the grubby commercial bargain but for their contemptuous lies afterward."

It's "impolitic" to say so, said Michael Wilkerson in Foreign Policy, but maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi. Even at the time of Megrahi's conviction, the case against the Libyan intelligence agent was considered weak by many lawyers and diplomats familiar with the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. If his appeal—withdrawn so he could be released on medical grounds—stood a chance of succeeding, maybe letting him go home to die was "best for the political fortunes of everyone involved."

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