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Lockerbie: Now it's payback time... America boycotts British goods as anger grows over release of bo


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Lockerbie: Now it's payback time... America boycotts British goods as anger grows over release of bomber



By James Chapman, Sean Poulter and Ian Drury

Last updated at 2:30 AM on 24th August 2009



Britain was warned last night it faces ' payback time' from the U.S. over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.


The alert came as American consumers were urged to boycott British and Scottish exports and holiday in Ireland instead of the UK.


The special relationship was under strain over new allegations linking UK trade interests with the freeing of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi on compassionate

grounds - he has terminal cancer.


U.S. government sources urged Gordon Brown to end his silence and Opposition MPs demanded records of all meetings between ministers and the Libyan regime.


article-1208538-06249717000005DC-977_468x286.jpg Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi returns home to Libya: Britain has been warned it faces payback time from the US over his release


Security sources expressed concern that counter-terrorism co-operation with the U.S. is in danger after the head of the FBI attacked Megrahi's release by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill as a 'mockery of justice'.


Lord Mandelson was also under growing pressure as new links emerged between his associates and the son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi. The Business Secretary has angrily denied there was a deal to free Megrahi, who was pictured this weekend at home with his family.







U.S. families who lost loved ones in the bombing, which claimed 270 lives, are understood to be behind the boycott campaign. But many others in the U.S. have been horrified at claims by Saif Gaddafi that Megrahi's case was 'on the table' in all recent trade talks.


In a transcript of a conversation as they flew home from Glasgow, Mr Gaddafi tells Megrahi: 'You were on the table in all British interests when it came to Libya, and I personally supervised this matter. Also, during the visits of the previous Prime Minister, Tony Blair.'



article-1208254-0620D350000005DC-259_468x286.jpg Homecoming: A screaming mob gave Megrahi a hero's welcome with some supporters waving the Scottish national flag


Mr Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and other senior ministers have refused to condemn Megrahi's release, arguing that it was purely a decision for Scotland's Nationalist administration.


But Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond upped the pressure on the Government yesterday by insisting it had made ' extensive consultations and submissions' over a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.


The Foreign Office faced allegations that ministers tacitly encouraged their Scottish counterparts to let Megrahi go home.


In his response to a letter from the Scottish government asking for advice on the legal position, Foreign Office minister Ivan Lewis concluded: 'I hope on this basis you will now feel able to consider the Libyan action in accordance with the provisions of the prisoner transfer agreement.'


A source close to Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said: 'That clearly means "I hope on this basis you will feel able to approve the Libyan application". That's the only conclusion you can take from it.'



article-1207488-061A7636000005DC-9_468x386.jpg Connection: Prince Andrew with Omar Massoud, Gaddafi's nephew, at Windsor



But the Foreign Office said Mr Lewis had explicitly stated the Government was not making representations, simply offering legal opinion.


A U.S. government source, who discussed the case over the weekend with top State Department and Congressional officials, told the Daily Mail: 'There is a feeling of great outrage and anger in this country and it will not go away. It is becoming a significant bilateral issue.


'At least two senators are already demanding a full investigation to see if there was any link between the release and British oil and other commercial interests.


'The Prime Minister needs to speak out and make it very clear that there were no such links. This comes at a time when the special relationship is not as strong as it once was and there is no close personal friendship between Brown and Obama to act as a cushion.'


article-1207488-0617CB8B000005DC-427_233x317.jpg Cancer: Lockerbie bomber Megrahi


Any boycott could cost the UK economy billions. U.S. travellers spend more money in this country than any other nation - about £2.2billion a year.


Scottish whisky could also suffer, for America is the biggest market for exports with sales worth more than £350million a year.


Patrick Mercer, chairman of the Commons counter-terrorism sub-committee, said: 'There is clearly a real risk of longterm damage to our intelligence relationship.


Gordon Brown must come out and utterly condemn the release of Megrahi and clear up the allegations about some sort of deal relating to trade.


'Unless he does that, there is a real danger of payback time from the U.S. on several fronts.'


Mr Blair admitted yesterday that the Megrahi case had been raised in his meetings with Colonel Gaddafi, telling the CNN TV channel, 'it was a major national concern for them.' But he insisted he told the Libyans the decision rested with the Scottish Government.



It also emerged that a letter from Mr Brown to Colonel Gaddafi - addressed to 'Dear Muammar' and signed with wishes for a happy Ramadan - suggested they had discussed detailed conditions for Megrahi's release nearly six weeks earlier.


Sent on the day the bomber was freed home, it recalls that Mr Brown told the Libyan leader any homecoming should be 'a purely private family occasion' when they met at the G8 summit last month.



article-1208538-061D844B000005DC-202_468x286.jpg Rescue personnel carry a body away from the wreckage of the Lockerbie air disaster






Household name firms will be among the early beneficiaries of what critics have dubbed a 'blood money' export boom to Libya.


Petro-chemical giants BP and Shell are set to build on lucrative contracts in the north African state. Construction companies are also at the head of a queue that includes banks, steel producers, drug companies and security firms.


High Street retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Bhs, Monsoon and Accessorize have outlets there and Next plans to open one in October.


UK exports to Libya were already up 48 per cent in the first five months of 2009 after Colonel Gaddafi's regime was redefined as a friend of the West rather than pariah. This trickle of investment is now expected to turn into a flood.


Separately, Libya is looking to invest billions - its foreign currency reserves are estimated at £82billion - in British businesses.


The boom in trade has followed heavy lobbying by British ministers and Prince Andrew, pictured, in his role as a Government trade ambassador.


Links are also being extended in the fields of education and medicine.


Some 4,000 Libyan students are in UK higher and further education or studying English, paying fees to British education institutions.


More than 2,000 Libyan doctors now undertake medical training or actually work in the NHS.

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Guest howyousawtheworld

Let's all thank that fat tosser Alex Salmond and his laughable "government" for the mess they have put Scotland in. SNP = Morons.

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