Monday, 7 February 2011

Digested Lockerbie - the concluding paragraphs

here is Sir Gus O' Donnell's conclusion. In short, with Megrahi terminally ill the UK government (put Blair or Brown or Cameron or anyone in the chair) decided they had to spring him out of Greenock.

They arrived at this conclusion with the Libyian government promising mayhem if the prisoner died in Scotland, with MI6 telling them that, with former MI6 people who work with BP telling them that, and with all their instincts telling them that.

But the ball is not in their court, thanks to devolution and a separate Scottish legal system and the result of the 2007 Scottish election. A hostile SNP administration has to make the decision and the UK gov knows that applying pressure could result in disaster for UK strategic interests.

Here's the conclusion:

34. iv

"It is my conclusion that..once Mr Megrahi had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2008, HMG policy was based upon an assessment that UK interests would be damaged if Mr Megrahi were to die in a UK jail.

The development of this view was prompted, following Mr Megrahi‟s diagnosis of terminal illness, by the extremely high priority attached to Mr Megrahi‟s return by the Libyans who had made clear that they would regard his death in Scottish custody as a death sentence and by actual and implicit threats made of severe ramifications for UK interests if Mr Megrahi were to die in prison in Scotland.

The policy was primarily motivated by a desire to build on previous success in normalising relations with Libya and to safeguard the substantial gains made in recent years, and specifically to avoid harm to UK nationals, to British commercial interests and to cooperation on security issues. The desire to see such a result developed and intensified over time as Mr Megrahi‟s health declined and the imminence of his death appeared greater;

34. v. Policy was therefore progressively developed that HMG should do all it could, whilst respecting devolved competences, to facilitate an appeal by the Libyans to the Scottish Government for Mr Megrahi‟s transfer under the PTA or release on compassionate grounds as the best outcome for managing the risks faced by the UK. This action amounted to: proceeding with ratification of the PTA; explaining to Libya in factual terms the process for application for transfer under a PTA or for compassionate release; and informing the Scottish Government that there was no legal barrier to transfer under the PTA;

34. vi. .....the former Government took great effort not to communicate to the Scottish Government its underlying desire to see Mr Megrahi released before he died. Moreover, it is clear that HMG considered that any attempts to pressurise or lobby the Scottish Government could be counter productive to achieving this outcome. Although it is likely that the Scottish Government was aware of this desire, there is no record that it was communicated or that UK interests played a part in Mr Megrahi‟s release by the Scottish Government on compassionate grounds."

No comments:

Post a Comment