Megrahi – who stands to benefit from the latest ‘confusion’ ?

32
987


The circus rumbles on, the compassionate release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is yet again being headlined by the Scottish media.

Last week we were told that the man known as the Lockerbie Bomber could live for a further 20 years, this week the media seem eager to give credence to bizarre claims that have emanated from four US senators.


The circus rumbles on, the compassionate release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is yet again being headlined by the Scottish media.

Last week we were told that the man known as the Lockerbie Bomber could live for a further 20 years, this week the media seem eager to give credence to bizarre claims that have emanated from four US senators.

The claims seem to imply that British oil giant BP somehow collaborated with the Scottish government in order to facilitate the release of Al Megrahi in August 2009.  That the Libyan oil contracts that BP sought had already been signed off in 2007 seems to have been overlooked by pretty much everyone.  That these contracts were negotiated as part of a secret deal hatched by the former UK Labour government doesn’t seem to register with the senators.

The demand by the senators for an investigation into the 2009 compassionate release is probably indicative of the limited knowledge and understanding most Americans have of the UK setup.  The UK and England are seen as one and the same by many Americans, thus, by extension the lobbying of the last UK government by BP on a matter that fell under Scottish legal jurisdiction is being interpreted as involving the whole of the UK.

So, the subsequent release of Al Megrahi on 20th August by Kenny MacAskill looks to some Americans as a continuation of the 2007 machinations.

It is sad to say, but much of this appears well choreographed.  Oil giant BP is currently under intense pressure in the US over its handling of the Gulf oil leak, the president himself has openly attacked executives of the corporation and a scapegoat is now being sought.

The four senators have managed to obtain very positive coverage in the USA by pulling together two political ‘bogeymen’ in the shape of BP and Megrahi.  The use of the 2007 oil deal involving BP, Libya and the last Labour government, is clumsy and looks contrived but has been effective.

The new UK coalition government have jumped aboard this US crafted media vessel and have announced that the release of Megrahi was a “mistake”, this was also the view of Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain’s ambassador to the US.  This is the same Sir Nigel Sheinwald who was Tony Blair’s foreign policy adviser during the time of the secret ‘Deal in the Desert’ talks.

Whilst the reaction of the senators might just be excused by a lack of knowledge and a flawed understanding of the UK setup and an ignorance of the facts surrounding the ‘Deal in the Desert’, the same cannot be said of those in the Scottish media who are all too familiar with both.

That these claims and demands by the senators are currently being headlined and reported pretty much uncritically in Scotland gives cause for concern, all the more given the hysteria that enveloped the Scottish media in 2009.

Such reporting could have the effect of conflating two very separate events in the minds of the Scottish electorate.  It is just possible that many Scots will confuse the oil deal signed in 2007 after Blair’s talks with Gaddafi and start to believe that the BP oil contract was somehow related to the compassionate release that took place two years later.

The headline of this article asks ‘Who stands to benefit’?  Perhaps we ought to have asked ‘Who stands to be damaged’?.

The answer of course that this if this contrived nonsense and misinformation masquerading as ‘news’ goes unchallenged then the victims will be the Scottish government and of course the Scottish electorate.

To paraphrase today’s Herald, who have a balanced editorial on the whole coverage; Perish the thought that such uncritical reporting might also be wilful.

If you found this article interesting why not make a small contribution in order to help keep the site going – see the paypal button on the right.

newsnetscotland.com