There have been some bad trades in history. Babe Ruth traded for financing for No No Nanette, Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson, Curt Schilling for Mike Boddicker, John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander, Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb, and "who can forget Milt Pappas for Frank Robinson, for gosh sakes". But baseball is a game, and a bad trade offends the fans, but doesn't devalue their lives. Other trades can. I don't think I've seen a worse trade than this.
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.
After less than 12 days per murder the convict is set free, based upon the false representation of impending death and for the commercial interests of BP. My brother's life, traded for a few barrels of oil. Before I was disturbed. Now I'm pissed. British PM Gordon Brown should be ashamed, and I, for one, want an abject apology.
... Megrahi’s back in Libya and Gadaffi doesn’t particularly care what Brown thinks about things. And if you’re wondering why they waited two years… well. Gadaffi cared a great deal about what George W. Bush thought about things.
This new guy in the Oval Office? Eh. not so much.
8/30/09 1320: After reading, for example, Eleanor Clift and Melissa Lafsky excuse Ted Kennedy in the matter of Mary Jo Kopechne and Chappaquiddick because, politically, he did so much with which they agreed, perhaps it's just a leftist flaw that considers human life only worth as much as any other political football, to be punted around for field position.
8/30/09 1345: Ed Morrissey, who has been right on top of this:
What happens to Brown’s government now? Will Parliament issue a vote of no confidence and force his resignation and new elections? After this debacle, men of honor wouldn’t wait for a vote of no confidence but resign in disgrace, not just for the grubby commercial bargain but for their contemptuous lies afterward.
He should resign in disgrace, but only after issuing that abject apology.
9/6/09 2315: First we find out from that the Obama administration was kept in the loop throughout on the negotiations for the release of al-Megrahi. Via Allahpundit at Hot Air:
The US was kept fully in touch about everything that was going on with regard to Britain’s discussions with Libya in recent years and about Megrahi,’ said the Whitehall aide.
‘We would never do anything about Lockerbie without discussing it with the US. It is disingenuous of them to act as though Megrahi’s return was out of the blue.
'They knew about our prisoner transfer agreement with Libya and they knew that the Scots were considering Megrahi’s case.’
Mr Obama said Megrahi’s release on compassionate grounds was a ‘mistake’ while Mrs Clinton phoned the Scottish administration to complain in person.
This doesn't make the case that the release was approved by the Obama administration, though I do note that when the documents relating to this matter were released, those involving the US were held back at the request of the administration.