Lockerbie Bomber Release: What Did Obama Approve, and When Did He Approve It?
posted at 12:46 am on September 7, 2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh
Blogger DRJ on powerhouse blogsite Patterico’s Pontifications links to an important article; but I think she missed one of its major implications.
She linked to an article in the UK Daily Mail, “No.10 turns on Obama and Clinton for criticising decision to release Lockerbie bomber,” focusing on the damage this contretemps is doing to our special relationship with the United Kingdom. But there is a deeper and much more disturbing conclusion to be drawn from that piece:
British officials claim Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton were kept informed at all stages of discussions concerning Megrahi’s return.
The officials say the Americans spoke out because they were taken aback by the row over [Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset] Megrahi’s release, not because they did not know it was about to happen.
‘The US was kept fully in touch about everything that was going on with regard to Britain’s discussions with Libya in recent years and about Megrahi,’ said the Whitehall aide.
‘We would never do anything about Lockerbie without discussing it with the US. It is disingenuous of them to act as though Megrahi’s return was out of the blue.
But what is the real implication here? If these “British officials” are truthful and accurate, then President Barack H. Obama has known for months that they were negotiating the unconditional release of Megrahi to the Libyans, with predictable results (the “hero’s welcome”).
But had Obama put his foot down, perhaps even threatening to go public about the talks (thus scuttling them) — had he even threatened to reveal the real reason for the amnesty, a massive oil deal for British Petroleum offered as a bribe by Libyan military dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi — Obama could almost certainly have stopped the release of Megrahi.
Given the reaction not only here but across the Atlantic, such a deal must be negotiated in the dead of night; a credible threat to bring it out into the open before the terms were agreed upon would have meant both Great Britain and Libya would have had to deny and denounce the deal, and it couldn’t have happened… not for years, at least, while the furor died down.
And again, the Obamacon must have known this: first and foremost, because he is of course omniscient; just ask any supporter. But beyond that perhaps dubious claim, because Rahm Emanuel would have told him that he had the de facto power to stop the deal, as would neutered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Which leads me to only two possible conclusions:
- The British officials are either lying or jaw-droppingly misinformed about what Obama knew and when he knew it; or…
- Obama could have stopped the release but chose, for political reasons, not to do so. To put it another way, if the Brits are correct, then Obama tacitly approved, by deliberate inaction, the release of the Lockerbie bomber.
I lean towards the second conclusion, since it strains my credulity to the snapping point to believe that unnamed, but surely well known to the British press, “officials” would tell a complete cock-and-bull story that could easily be debunked, leading to their own disgrace and ruin within a day or two.
The administration might argue, as a last-ditch defense, that Obama didn’t approve the deal; he just couldn’t make up his mind whether to go whole hog to prevent it. But not making a decision is making a decision, the decision to do nothing. And when the non-decider has the power to force a moral conclusion but refuses to exercise it, that equates to approval of and support for rank evil: The sin of omission in such a case is functionally identical to the corresponding sin of commission.
These may be the most urgent questions to be asked of the president at this moment, more important than why he hired Van Jones or what his own health-care takeover plan may be:
- Mr. Obama, did you have advance knowledge about the release of Abdelbaset Megrahi to Libya after only a few years in prison in Scotland, despite his conviction in Scottish court of the murder of 270 people, including 180 Americans, four American intelligence officers, and children and families of many nationalities?
- Given the fact that you allowed the release without blowing its secrecy, at what point did you decide to tacitly acquiesce to that ghoulish decision, whose only justification was a multi hundred million pound bribe (an oil lease) paid by Gaddafi to BP?
- And how can you possibly justify your approval of Megrahi’s release? To what principle can you appeal beyond pure political opportunism, coupled with depraved indifference to human life?
If Americans understood that, protestations notwithstanding, Barack Obama was in on the deal to release the Lockerbie bomber, I suspect that might be the last straw for a huge chunk of the still undecided voting population.
Obama has buttered his bread, and now he must sleep in it. We must hold his feet to the grindstone on this vile, cynical, and cowardly “non-decision” decision.
Cross-posted to Big Lizards…