The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.
Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.
The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.
The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.
Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: “This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking.”
Two letters dated five months apart show that Straw initially intended to exclude Megrahi from a prisoner transfer agreement with Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, under which British and Libyan prisoners could serve out their sentences in their home country.
Downing Street had also said Megrahi would not be included under the agreement.
Straw then switched his position as Libya used its deal with BP as a bargaining chip to insist the Lockerbie bomber was included.
The exploration deal for oil and gas, potentially worth up to £15 billion, was announced in May 2007. Six months later the agreement was still waiting to be ratified.
Archives for August, 2009
Mugsy`s Rap Sheet: Bi-partisanship is a crock
Texas Observer Blog: "We Hate the United States": Secessionists rally at Capitol while Perry stays home
Unfogged: A few news items that caught my eye
Open Left: Who could've foreseen the housing bubble? Dean Baker, that's who - in 2002
(Luigi Boccherini - Less well known than is necessary)
The interesting thing about a lot of these older recordings, especially from the 78 era is the lack of authentic performance practice, as has been so much the opposite case in recent years. Even a well established and regarded Quartet as the Roth's tended to reject a lot of the nuance that has made period recordings a different kettle of fish entirely.
But with that in mind, it's interesting to get a 1940's point of view, and this recording, made for Columbia Records, is a prime example.
(Phil Manzanera w/Andy McKay - Roxy Music and the splendid quirkiness)
Roxy Music were always one of those bands I loved no matter what they did or which direction they took. Because of that, they have maintained a pretty constant popularity for the better part of 35 years.
In the mid 1970's the various members of the band did side projects of solo albums. Some with great success and others not so memorable.
One of the more memorable solo albums was by Phil Manzanera, lead guitarist of Roxy Music and carried their indelible stamp on every cut.
This track, Miss Shapiro, opens the first side wonderfully well and sets the scene for the rest of the album which, if you've heard it, is memorable.
(German Troops heading to the Polish frontier - waiting to see who blinks first)
As the precautions continue via radio broadcasts from Warsaw, Berlin and Rome, the crisis is at a point where the start of shooting is a matter of hours or minutes, no longer days, away.
Radio Warsaw newsreader: “The following official communiqué has been issued today – several months ago Germany started an aggressive policy against Poland. The anti-Polish press campaign with threatening features against the leading statesmen in Germany, the systematic provocations of frontier incidents, and finally the growing concentration of armed forces mobilized at the Polish frontier. All that constitutes an obvious truth of Germany aggressive policies”.
The propaganda war had no intention of letting up though.
A crack surveillance team has found footage from Fox News Channel's security cameras of Glenn Beck's office after he discovered that ColorOfChange.org's campaign has resulted in ten more sponsors pulling out of advertising on the Crazy One's show, bringing us to a total of 46 advertisers just saying no.
From The Onion:
In The Know panelists discuss the closing of the controversial detainee labyrinth and debate whether the Minotaur's sternum-stomping-by-hooves interrogation technique yielded valuable intelligence.
h/t C&L'er Stupid Git
Buena Live - Transmusicales Rennes - December 1993
Morphine had a unique sound based on several factors. Their front man, Mark Sandman was a major part of that. He had a great voice and sense of phrasing, and played a two string bass (check out the close up of the bass neck and head at the beginning of Honey White). Another part of the sound was the baritone saxophone that Dana Colley played. He also played the bass saxophone, and sometime went Rahsaan Roland Kirk on everyone and played two saxophones at a time.
Morphine immediately ceased to be after Sandman collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 46, on stage in Italy on 3 July 1999.
Some bands choose to soldier on after a key member departs. Which one of your favorite bands broke up following a member's departure?
On the day I was born, said my father, said he
"I've an an elegant legacy waitin' for ye.
'Tis a rhyme for your lips and a song for your heart
To sing it whenever the world falls apart. "
Look, look, look to the rainbow
Follow it over the hill and the stream
Look, look, look to the rainbow
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.
For those of you who are younger, who may not quite get exactly what the Kennedys meant to us, this lovely piece from Bob Herbert explains it well - they made us feel better than we were, and made us want to be better people. He suggests that their theme song, rather than "Camelot," should instead be "Follow the Rainbow" from "Finian's Rainbow":
The Kennedy message was always to aim higher, and they always — or almost always — appealed to our best instincts. So there was Bobby speaking to a group of women at a breakfast in Terre Haute, Ind., during the 1968 campaign. As David Halberstam recalled, Bobby told the audience: “The poor are hidden in our society. No one sees them anymore. They are a small minority in a rich country. Yet I am stunned by a lack of awareness of the rest of us toward them.”
Bobby cared about the poor and ordinary working people in a way that can seem peculiar in post-Reagan America. And his insights into the problems of urban ghettos in the 1960s seemed to point to some of the debilitating factors at work in much of the nation today. Bobby believed, as Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has noted, that the crisis of the cities ultimately came from “the destruction of the sense, and often the fact, of community, of human dialogue, the thousand invisible strands of common experience and purpose, affection and respect which tie men to their fellows.”
Kennedy worried about the dissolution of community in a world growing ever more “impersonal and abstract.” He wanted the American community to flourish, and he knew that could not be accomplished in an environment of increasing polarization, racial and otherwise.
“Ultimately,” he said, “America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.”
Like his brothers and sisters (don’t forget Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Special Olympics), Bobby believed deeply in public service and felt that the whole point of government was to widen the doors of access to those who were being left out.
“Camelot” became a metaphor for the Kennedys in the aftermath of Jack’s assassination. But I always found “Finian’s Rainbow” to be a more appropriate touchstone for the family, especially the song “Look to the Rainbow,” with the moving lyric, “Follow the fellow who follows a dream.”
That was Ted’s message at Bobby’s funeral. The Kennedys counseled us for half a century to be optimistic and to strive harder, to find the resilience to overcome those inevitable moments of tragedy and desolation, and to move steadily toward our better selves, as individuals and as a nation.
This Week with George Stephanopoulos marks the passings of Hall of Fame songwriter Ellie Greenwich, educator and test prep pioneer Stanley Kaplan and producer/writer Dominick Dunne. In addition, the Pentagon released the names of 15 servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan:
Army SGT Matthew L Ingram, 25, of Pearl, MS
Army SPC Troy O Tom, 21, of Shiprock, NM
Army PFC Jonathan C Yanney, 20, of Litchfield, MN
Army SSG Andrew T Lobosco, 29, of Somerville, NJ
Army 2LT Joseph D Fortin, 22, of St Johnsbury, VT
Army CPL Darby T Morin, 25, of Victoria, Canada
Marine LCpl Donald J Hogan, 20, of San Clemente, CA
Army CPT John L Hallett III, 30, of CA
Army CPT Cory J Jenkins, 30, of Arizona
Army SFC Ronald W Sawyer, 38, of Trenton, MO
Army PFC Dennis M Williams, 24, of Federal Way, WA
Army PFC Matthew E Wildes, 18, of Hammond, LA
Army SSG Kurt R Curtiss, 27, of Murray, UT
Army SGT Earl D Werner, 38, of Mondovi, WI
Army PVT Taylor D Marks, 19, of Monmouth, OR
Per iCasualties, the total number of allied servicemembers killed in Iraq now totals 4,654; in Afghanistan, 1,347. The month of August has turned out to be the deadliest month for the American military in the eight year Afghan conflict and will definitely be cited in the coming protests against an anticipated "surge" in military personnel in Afghanistan. During this past week, Iraq Body Count lists 68 Iraqi civilian casualties.