Brown Brokers Prisoner-for-Oil Deal: England's Prime Minister Gordon Brown Says He's Innocent, but Evidence Is Mounting That He Played an Important Role in Freeing the Terrorist Who Brought Down a Plane over Scotland
Wolverton, Joe, II, The New American
The buck (or the pound, in this case) stops at the desk of perpetually embattled British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. According to numerous reports in newspapers in the U.K. and worldwide, a clandestine oil-for-prisoners deal with Libya facilitated the recent "compassionate release" of convicted terrorist Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi from the Scottish prison where he was serving a life sentence for having bombed a commercial airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 270 people.
Despite weeks of Brown's denials and pretended offense at the very suggestion that either his government or the government of Scotland would ever make such a behind-the-scenes deal for al-Megrahi's freedom, both the son of longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and Britain's former ambassador to Tripoli tell a different tale. It is a head-shaking story rife with purposeful obfuscations, cleverly worded agreements, and shady wink-and-nod double deals that smell fishier than the cod wrapped up daily with greasy chips in the News of the World.
Not surprisingly, given his already tenuous grip on the helm of the ship of state, owing to the several and sundry other scandals and controversies dogging him, Gordon Brown has issued a complete denial of any wrongdoing or questionable behavior regarding the release of Megrahi. While in Birmingham, England, Brown told reporters, as quoted by the BBC: "There 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 Colonel Gadaffi." This brief article, however, will delineate chapter and verse how the record, official and unofficial, of the events culminating in the "compassionate release" (which under Scottish law is available by application to any inmate with less than three months left to live) of a convicted Libyan terrorist and murderer belies Brown's denial and, in fact, reveals quite a different and despicable story.
"Conspiracy" is defined by the Unabridged Random House Dictionary as "an evil, unlawful, treacherous, Or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons." What follows is irrefutable evidence that Gordon Brown's actions, taken in concert with those of other Libyan, Scottish, and British officials, were absolutely consistent with every essential element of that definition.
Although the dramatis personae, including supporting roles, is long and distinguished, the scope of this article forces us to focus on just the lead actors and those eligible for "best supporting" nominations. First and foremost is Gordon Brown. Gordon Brown, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, is himself a Scot. He has insisted that the decision was solely and constitutionally under the bailiwick of the Scottish government and not that of the greater United Kingdom. Brown sticks by this disavowal despite the daily multiplication of documents proving he was complicit in a furtive deal to arrange the release of Megrahi from Greenock Prison in Scotland, where he had been incarcerated for over eight years.
Another principal player in the scandal is Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary. Although allegedly originally opposed to the notion of the release of Megrahi under any circumstances, MacAskill changed his mind, and on August 20 announced at a press conference that Megrahi's application to the Scottish courts to be released on compassionate grounds resulting from his diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer was accepted and that Megrahi would be flying home to Tripoli. As late as August 5, after an in-cell meeting with Megrahi, MacAskill proclaimed that Megrahi would not be released on compassionate grounds. Then, in what the timeline reveals is coincidental with Megrahi's dropping the appeal of his conviction and the final approval by Libya of lucrative business deals with British multinationals, MacAskill reversed his opinion and signed the papers that punched Megrahi's ticket home. …