Downing Street released the text of a cordial letter sent to the Libyan leader on the day that Abdulbaset al-Megrahi was released, asking that the event be kept low key because a "high-profile" ceremony would distress his victims and their families.The official statement released by the Libyan leader makes clear the involvement of the British Prime Minister, as well as Libya's continuing support for terrorism:
But critically the letter also refers to a meeting between the two leaders six weeks earlier at the G8 summit in Italy, adding that "when we met [there] I stressed that, should the Scottish executive decide that Megrahi can return to Libya, this should be a purely private family occasion" rather than a public celebration.
Previously officials have said that the two men's conversation in Italy at the beginning of July was brief and that, while the Lockerbie case was raised, Brown merely stressed the matter was one for the Scottish government to decide.
However, the new letter, addressed to "Dear Muammar" and signed off by wishing him a happy Ramadan, suggests that the decision was well enough advanced and Brown well enough briefed to set terms for a homecoming – albeit unsuccessfully. A jubilant Libyan crowd, some waving Scottish flags, greeted Megrahi at the airport.
Meanwhile, details emerged of a second letter written by the Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis to the Scottish justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, confirming that there were no legal reasons not to let Megrahi go and concluding: "I hope on this basis you will now feel able to consider the Libyan application."
Although the Foreign Office said it was not intended to make representations either way, the leaking of the letter suggests the SNP-led administration may be starting to fight back.
Tonight the shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, redoubled calls for the government to release official records of conversations about the release, as Gaddafi increased the embarrassment by publicly thanking "my friend Brown, his government, the Queen of Britain, Elizabeth, and Prince Andrew who all contributed to encouraging the Scottish government to take this historic and courageous decision".
The scale of fury in America was laid bare in a vitriolic letter from the director of the FBI, Robert Mueller – who as a justice department lawyer led the investigation into the bombing – describing the release in a scathing letter to MacAskill as a "mockery of the rule of law" and of the victims' grief.
However, the Scottish government last night responded defiantly, insisting the US had made clear in discussions that, while it opposed Megrahi's release, it regarded freeing him on compassionate grounds because of his terminal cancer as "far preferable" to a prisoner transfer deal that would have seen him in custody.
Fears that the US could retaliate against the British government were eased when Whitehall sources disclosed that the White House had made no complaint to Downing Street, reserving its ire for the Scottish administration.
Tripoli, 22.08.2009 (JANA)More reaction at BoycottScotland.com:
Tripoli-22.8.2009(JANA) In front of his steadfast home, the Leader of the Revolution received last night Abd al Basset al Megrahi, his family members and a crowd of his relation.
The Leader made the following statement in which he addressed a message to friends and those who objected to these friends:
"At this moment I want to address a message to our friends in Scotland , the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister to congratulate them all for their courage, that they have proven to be independent inspire of all unnecessary and unacceptable pressure they faced..but they made the right, courageous and humane decision.
"I say to my friend Brown, the British Prime Minister, his government, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew who against all odds encouraged this brave decision."
"This step is in the interests of relations between the two countries Libya and Britain and in the interests of personal friendship between me and them, and will positively affect exchange between the two countries.
As for the other side, we would like to tell them:
When Libya took up the responsibility and commuted the death sentence against the Bulgarian medical team to life imprisonment, and I took up the responsibility in response to my friend President Sarkozy, and for France we turned the team that is convicted of mass murder to serve life imprisonment in Bulgaria.
However, the world was stunned that the team, convicted of the hideous crime, was pardoned even before landing at the airport in Bulgaria, the President of Bulgaria was at the forefront of those to greet them, they were greeted as heroes, since they killed 400 innocent Libyan children and infected them with the AIDS virus.
Then, unfortunately, the European parliament welcomed the convicted team with a standing ovation, as if they were heroes.
We haven't we heard any protests on the exoneration of the convicted team? And why there was no talk that this would hurt the feelings of the families of the Libyan victims?
As for now with the release of Abdelbaset from prison, unfortunately illogical voices were raised, saying this hurts the feelings of families of the Lockerbie victims!!
Are we without any feelings, and they have feelings?!...Are we donkeys and they are humans?!
This is the double standard politics, this is an encroachment, this is arrogance and contempt for other nations, of their public opinion and humanity.
This is what brings about injustice and the terrorism they are now facing.
Terrorism is a phenomena that has justifications, which is the double standard politics.
Herein, we are extending a message to friends and to those who objected the friends.
During this reception several popular poems that express congratulations to the leader , his honorable family and the Libyan people on the occasion of 40th anniversary of Great al-Fatah Revolution and on start of the blessed month of Ramadan and the return home of brother , Abdel Basset el-Meghrahi .
These poems hailed the giant moral and material gains of al-Fatah Revolution for the Libyan people since its outbreak in 1969.
The poets reaffirmed their commitment and loyalty to the leader of the Revolution generation after generation .
/ JANA /
From the very beginning we have advocated the boycott of British Petroleum and other major British companies that have been lobbying for closer trade relations with Libya. As the news continues to unfold, more and more evidence is mounting regarding BP's role in this affair, as well as that of other major British industries seeking a foothold in the increasingly lucrative Libyan market. It has now become clear that the release of al-Megrahi was a concession made towards this end.