The Libyan government made a surprise announcement that it would give up WMD programme. This was such a surprise it surprised most commentators, who did not believe Libya had a credible WMD programme.
This was towards the end of 2003. Bush and Blair were delighted with this Christmas present.
In March 2007, three years later, Libya signed an oil deal with BP, brokered by Blair.
In May 2007, three years since the WMD announcment and two months since the BP deal, Blair signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) with Libya. The understanding at the time between the Westminster and Scottish governments was that this would not include anyone convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.
In December 2007, three years since the WMD announcement and nine months since the signing of the BP oil deal, the Justice Secretary Jack Straw changed his position on the PTA, stating that "the wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom I have agreed that in this instance the PTA should be in the standard form and not mention any individual."
In December 2007, three years since the WMD announcement, nine months since the oil deal, and the same month as Jack Straw changed his position on the PTA, the BP oil deal was ratified by the Libyan General Peoples' Committee.
There is a paper trail providing ample evidence that the return of the Lockerbie bomber was linked to the agreement and the ratification of the BP deal. I wonder how much Blair has made personally out of this.....there are really no words to describe the character of such a man...or of those who have followed his lead regardless of the loss of 270 lives: Straw, Mandelson, Rammell, Brown.
Incidentally, I don't believe that Megrahi committed the crime, and this is the view widely held in Libya. I believe he was going to be transferred and his terminal illness was most convenient for the Westminster government - who could pass the buck to the Scottish government and avoid any repercussions - and for the Scottish government, who sidestepped an appeal which probably would have succeeded. The unspoken reason that underpins Megrahi's release is the doubt surrounding his conviction. They nearly got away with it. Should have kept the Americans onside to avoid a backlash, that was the major blunder.
(first posted on Jess The Dog's Blog)