Lockerbie bomber hospitalized. Britain's Brown denies deal, again.(Read article summary)
Gordon Brown says no double dealing or oil deal one day after his government released classified documents about freeing Abdelbaset al-Magrahi.
Deny. Deny. Deny.
It‚Äôs becoming a daily thing for Britain‚Äôs Prime Minister Gordon Brown as the fallout surrounding the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi snowballs. It's now being reported that Mr. Megrahi has been hospitalized in Libya.
And earlier today ‚Äď one day after Brown's government released previously classified documents in a bid to quell mounting allegations of ulterior motives in the release of Megrahi ‚Äď Mr. Brown again denied any unsavory actions on the part of the British government: ‚ÄúThere was no conspiracy, no cover-up, no double-dealing, no deal on oil, no attempt to instruct Scottish ministers, no private assurances by me to [Libyan leader] [Col. Muammar] Qaddafi.‚ÄĚ
It‚Äôs ‚Äėshambolic,‚Äô I say
Brown‚Äôs words come in response to comments from opposition Conservative party leader David Cameron, who leads in the polls less than a year before an election.
‚ÄúWe are now in a shambolic situation where the government has upset one of our most important allies,‚ÄĚ Mr. Cameron told BBC radio. ‚ÄúThey stand accused of double-dealing, saying one thing to the Libyans in private ... and something else to the Americans.‚ÄĚ
Unfortunately for Brown, however, his denials come as Foreign Minister David Miliband confirmed that the British government did not want Megrahi to die in prison.
Mr. Miliband‚Äôs comment suggests that Britain had ‚Äúno interest‚ÄĚ in fulfilling assurances that top-level US officials say were made to the United States when the bomber was sentenced, according to David Rivkin, a former Justice Department official. ‚Äė‚ÄôThis will damage US relations with Britain for years to come,‚ÄĚ Mr. Divkin told the BBC. ‚Äė‚ÄôI really can‚Äôt think about a more duplicitous act by Britain vis-√†-vis the United States in the post-war period.‚Äô‚Äô
The issue has caused some strain in the vaunted ‚Äúspecial relationship‚ÄĚ between the US and Britain, including some hyperventalating by commentators.
‚ÄėSpecial Relationship. Passed away 2009. R.I.P.,‚Äô reads the headline of one particularly stinging piece of commentary in London‚Äôs right-leaning paper, The Times.
‚ÄúThe row over the decision to allow Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi to return to Libya is the final nail in the coffin for the transatlantic bond first identified by Winston Churchill after the Second World War,‚ÄĚ writes columnist Rachel Sylvester.
That may be a bit much. But the Scottish Parliament didn't think so. Asked to endorse the compassionate release of the Lockerbie bomer, the members voted 75 to 50 that it was not "consistent with the principles of Scottish justice."
What do you think?