Great Britain’s Lockerbie Connection

The freedom of the Lockerbie bomber last week has incited public outrage—but no one is sure who to blame. Saif Gadaffi, son of the Libyan leader, lobbied for the release of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal cancer, and saw to it that he received a “hero’s welcome” when he landed in Tripoli on Thursday. But Gadaffi couldn’t do it alone: He has friends in high places, including a close connection with British Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, with whom he has met twice in the last four months. Though Mandelson’s spokesman denies that he lobbied for al-Megrahi’s release, the secretary has admitted to a string of powerful connections in the past. Despite denials, many people are questioning Lord Mandelson’s role in the release. Mandelson insists that he didn't influence the Scottish justice secretary to free the prisoner. He says that he met with Gaddafi only “fleetingly,” but the two were together at Lord Rothschild’s estate in Corfu just a week before it was announced that al-Megrahi would go free. Lord Mandelson’s spokesman said the secretary hopes to see more of Gaddafi soon. The leader of Britain's Conservative Party, David Cameron, has called for Prime MInister Gordon Brown to take a stand on the issue.