David Pryce-Jones has already commented on the WikiLeaks revelations about the Lockerbie bomber’s release, so I’ll just add that this wasn’t the first time the British government caved in to Qadhafi’s “thuggish threats.” In 1984, a gunman firing from the Libyan embassy in London shot British policewoman Yvonne Fletcher in the back. British police surrounded the embassy but, after Qadhafi made thuggish threats that Libyan students would “spontaneously” storm the British embassy in Libya should London pressure for the diplomat’s arrest, the British allowed Yvonne’s murders go back to Libya, where they have never been held accountable. The lesson for policymakers? Appeasing Qadhafi simply emboldens Qadhafi.
The good news, however, is that Abdul Baset al-Megrahi, the convicted bomber who spent 11 days in prison for every life he took before being released so that British Petroleum could win competitive advantage in Libya, is now finally near death.
A final word: Today, the United States prepares to celebrate the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. Just a few weeks ago, President Obama celebrated the release from house arrest in Myanmar of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Had the international community and the George W. Bush administration advocated with even a fraction of the energy that they have for Liu Xiaobo or Aung San Suu Kyi for the late Libyan prisoner of conscience Fathi ElJahmi, then perhaps we would be able to one day celebrate his Nobel Prize. Alas, they did not, and Fathi died after years of torture, solitary confinement, and denial of basic medical care. Meanwhile, former Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, like his British colleagues, was amply rewarded by the Libyan government for turning a blind eye to human rights and justice.