SNP demands openness on US Megrahi letter

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The SNP has called for the US Government to give its full co-operation to the forthcoming Senate inquiry and to release all documents and any information pertaining to American discussions with Libya in relation to Abdelbasset Mohmed Al Megrahi.

The calls come after newspaper reports suggested that there existed official correspondence between the Scottish Government and senior US officials that would vindicate the Scottish Government in the transatlantic row.


The SNP has called for the US Government to give its full co-operation to the forthcoming Senate inquiry and to release all documents and any information pertaining to American discussions with Libya in relation to Abdelbasset Mohmed Al Megrahi.

The calls come after newspaper reports suggested that there existed official correspondence between the Scottish Government and senior US officials that would vindicate the Scottish Government in the transatlantic row.

The reports suggest that US correspondence with the Scottish Government indicated that US officials, whilst being against the release, had expressed a preference for compassionate release rather than prisoner transfer should Megrahi be allowed to return home.  The reports also included claims that US officials may have been present during PTA negotiations involving the Lockerbie bomber and that campaign donations had been made by BP organisations to the US senators involved in the Senate inquiry. (1)

SNP MSP Christine Grahame repeated her call for the US Government to allow the release of documents and for the Senate investigation to call the appropriate witnesses.

Ms Grahame said:
“As a newspaper appears to have obtained this document it is ridiculous that the public and the US Senate Committee are unable to see it.

“At the very least the US Government must release its correspondence with the Scottish Government to its own Senate committee and lift the embargo on Scottish Government publication.  Senator Menendez has asked for this document and the Obama administration must give permission for it to be released.  The families of victims on both sides of the Atlantic deserve to know the full position of the US Government on this issue.

“If this senate inquiry is to be taken seriously it must ask the right questions of the right people and along with revisiting its failure to formally invite Tony Blair and his former adviser, now UK ambassador to the US Sir Nigel Sheinwald,  they should ask the US government to set out what discussions it had with Libya over Mr Megrahi and if US officials were in contact or even accompanied UK officials in discussions around the deal in the desert.”

Campaign donations by BP, and US oil companies drilling in and around Libya, were reportedly made to US Senators and senior Democrats, including President Obama and Hilary Clinton.  SNP MSP Michael Matheson said this exposed the pure politicking around what should be an incredibly serious issue.

Mr Matheson said
“It’s astonishing that after all the rhetoric and talk of BP funds as ‘blood money’ that those Senators attacking BP have benefited from their donations.  It exposes some of the sheer political opportunism currently being played out over the tragic events at Lockerbie and in the Gulf.

“It is utterly hypocritical of these senators, when Kenny MacAskill and Alex Salmond have been absolutely clear no discussions or lobbying  of the Scottish Government by BP took place,  to raise ill founded accusations when they are the ones actually accepting donations from the same company.

Notes:
1.        Research by the US based Centre for Responsive Politics shows that in the cycle ending 2010 two of the Senators – Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer – took $750 and $250 from BP respectively, while Senator Menendez who is to chair the inquiry on Thursday received a $2000 donation.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/recips.php?id=D000000091&chamber=S&party=D&cycle=2008&state=&sort=A

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/recips.php?id=D000000091&party=D&chamber=S&type=P&cycle=2010

Other senior US political figures including President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton have also taken significant campaign donations from BP, with Mr Obama receiving $71,000 and Ms Clinton receiving $6000 and the Democrats accepting over $160,000 in campaign donations from US oil companies active in Libya.

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