Reporter's Note: President Obama is making foreign affairs an important item on his agenda. I suppose every president does to some degree. However, not every president has someone to offer advice on how to handle it, with a letter a day to the White House.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/08/31/uk.libya.lockerbie.bomber.deal/art.megrahi.gi.jpg caption="Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi (second from left) arrives in Tripoli, Libya on August 21."]
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
To paraphrase that old Revolutionary War cry: The British are coming…run! I have no idea when our pals in the Brit government will next come for coffee and cookies, but if it is anytime soon you might do well to tell them it’s your Kiwanis Club night, or you promised to take Biden to a ball game, or you think you are getting swine flu…anything to keep them at arm’s length. Have you seen the storm brewing along the Thames?
I spent all day looking into the details around the release of the Lockerbie plane bomber; you know, the one convicted of killing 270 people, most of them Americans? Of course you know. Who could forget? It was a cowardly act of treachery against defenseless and innocent civilians. And when the Scottish government locked Abdel Basset Al Megrahi up, the victim’s families must have assumed it was forever. But then, a couple of weeks ago, they set him free. Sent him home to die of cancer. The Scots have called it a compassionate release, and the British government denies any involvement.
But question marks are now swirling around this whole affair. Reporting has suggested that the Brits may have (at least in a backhand way) encouraged the release of this terrorist, to grease the tracks for lucrative oil and gas deals with his home country of Libya. Although the Libyans now deny it too, up until a couple of days ago they were pretty much openly crowing that they’d negotiated his release by playing off the value of their natural resources.
Again, the Brits say that’s not the case, but the timing of it all looks bad. The release came right before the start of Ramadan, right before a big celebration of Moammar Gadhafi’s 40 years in power (and btw, if you spell his name differently, feel free to cross out my version and write in your own…seems to be about a dozen alternatives,) right before he comes to New York to the United Nations, and oh yeah…less than two months after he met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Like I said, maybe everything is on the level, but word to wise: I wouldn’t be trotting down to the pub with Brown until this gets cleared up. Or maybe you should, and see if he can answer a few questions.
Call if you want to chew it over. I’m around.
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