The disgusting story has multiple levels of irony considering that not too many years later, the UK was bombing Libyan air defenses. Maybe Gaddafi should have bought that air defense system after all.
The Lockerbie bomber’s release was linked to a £400million arms deal with Libya, secret documents reveal.
They show ‘reprehensible’ connections between the Labour government boosting business and freeing the man convicted of Britain’s worst terrorist atrocity.
An email sent by the then UK ambassador in Tripoli to former premier Tony Blair explained how a prisoner transfer agreement will be signed once Libya ‘fulfils its promise’ to buy an air defence system.
At that meeting, according to Sir Vincent’s email, Mr Blair and Mr Baghdadi agreed that Libya would buy the missile defence system from MBDA, a weapons manufacturer part-owned by BAE Systems. The pair also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA), which the Libyans believed would pave the way for Megrahi’s release.
The British government initially intended the agreement to explicitly exclude Megrahi. However, ministers relented under pressure from Libya.
In December 2007, Jack Straw, then justice secretary, told his Scottish counterpart that he had been unable to secure an exclusion, but said any application to transfer Megrahi under the agreement would still have to be signed off by Scottish ministers.
Sir Vincent wrote: “There is one bilateral issue which I hope TB [Tony Blair] can raise, as a legacy issue. On 29 May 07 in Sirte, he and Libya’s PM agreed that Libya would buy an air defence system (Jernas) from the UK (MBDA). One year on, MBDA are now back in Tripoli (since 8 June) aiming to agree and sign the contract now — worth £400 million, and up to 2,000 jobs in the UK.
“Saif [Gaddafi’s son] says they are to come back to conclude; but there is opposition within the Libyan armed forces, from those in the Russian defence equipment camp. We think we have Col Q’s [Gaddafi’s] goodwill for this contract: it would be very helpful if he expressed it more clearly. This issue can also be raised with Libya’s PM, and the Planning Minister. It was PM Baghdadi who told the media on 29 May 07 that Libya would buy British.
“Linked (by Libya) is the issue of the 4 bilateral Justice agreements about which TB signed an MoU with Baghdadi on 29 May. The MoU says they will be negotiated within the year: they have been. They are all ready for signature in London as soon as Libya fulfils its promise on Jernas.”
The UK wasn’t alone in this sort of obnoxious behavior. The French, who were the No. 2 party determined to bomb Gaddafi were nearly as bad.