Monday, August 24, 2009

Macavity Brown's Masterstroke Of Spin

Scotland is the fall-guy in the fall-out of the release of the Lockerbie "bomber" in a masterstroke of spin. The Scottish parliament is recalled to defend its decision. But it's the UK parliament which should be recalled and Macavity Brown called to account.

You have to hand it to the New Labour government. It is pulling-off a masterstroke to get SNP arch-enemy Salmond in the frame to take the flak and smooth the way for the UK to strike oil.

A masterpiece of government spin is managing to turn the tables, blaming the Scots for the dastardly decision to release al-Magrahi on compassionate grounds.

A spectacular wave of American outrage has swept across the Atlantic. The SNP and justice minister MacAskill seem to be under fire from all sides.

But in the US, it is bunkered Brown not Salmond who's in the firing line. Influential website Drudge screams with a large picture of Brown and the question: "YOU DID WHAT?!"

Former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, has called for a congressional hearing into how the US government lobbied the UK over the release.

Pictures coming out of Libya splash al-Magrahi whopping it up with Gaddafi and his son.

But if pictures tell a thousand words then it is those of Blair with Gadaffi and the shameful 'deal in the desert' and Brown shaking hands with his new best friend that are the more telling.

The whole squalid charade stinks. Scotland is just a pawn in the diplomatic shenanigans. Someone's playing politics over Lockerbie. In the world of diplomatic spin, Whitehall has pulled a fast one over Holyrood.

Weekend disclosures in the Observer and elsewhere reveal Brown at the centre of detailed discussions with the Libyan dictator and a foreign office endorsing the Scots' decision. But bunkered Brown has steadfastly refused to speak publicly which once again calls into question his leadership.

Mandy too is in the frame, meeting Gaddafi the younger twice in the past four months with a "fleeting" discussion about al-Megrahi while sunning himself in Corfu.

Al-Megrahi's release was "on the table in all commercial, oil and gas agreements" and other dealings with Britain, according to Tripoli.

Misplaced outrage over the release of the Lockerbie Libyan and the wave of political posturing are hiding the shameful dealings in the aftermath of the atrocity.

Lockerbie's dirty secrets are only slowly beginning to unravel. Deals stuck over trade and oil are only part of the plot.

Al-Megrahi’s release has been on the cards for some time in a carefully orchestrated plot to stop a hugely embarrassing appeal, hide the truth over the bombing and to get a hold of Libya's oil and gas. That appeal would have laid bare failings in the original verdict and the manipulation of evidence.

The Orange Party has long held the view the casualty here is justice and the truth about the bombing of Pan Am flight 103. With no appeal, only with a full public inquiry demanded by the bereaved families of some of the victims, would that truth be known. But for the moment that remains a side-issue.

The heat is on many politicians to explain their involvement in the controversial decision to release the Lockerbie "bomber", who was serving a life sentence for the mass murder of 270 people in 1988.

Former US ambassador Bolton said: "I'm appalled by the decision of the Scottish government. But I'm more appalled by the decision of the British government apparently to see commercial advantage for the UK in having this mass murderer go free. We wait to hear from Prime Minister Brown what he thinks."

Bolton may have to wait a while for tight-lipped Brown. Downing Street is sitting tight. In the spinning world, it the wrong Scot who is taking the flak and the wrong parliament which has been recalled.

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