Earlier today the White House put out a press release noting that President Obama spoke with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and expressed his "disappointment" over the Lockerbie affair. (In case anyone has been under a rock these past few weeks, Brown has been at the center of a controversy over allegations that the Scottish government's decision to release convicted Lockerbie bomber, the Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 57, on compassionate grounds, was linked to Britain's fears that not releasing him would block oil deals with Libya worth hundreds of billions of dollars).
Brown has consistently denied the charges -- only to have members of his own government -- and Libya's -- contradict him. As I blogged last week, the British media then reported that the American's professed outrage on the affair was "disingenuous."
Well, speaking of disingenuous, Brown did not mention the fact that the American President had expressed his disapproval to the British press, who first learned of the conversation with Brown thanks to a White House briefing.
Further, the London press -- both left and right -- are reporting of great anger in the British army about Brown's personal order to send in British commandos for a pre-dawn raid to rescue the British New York Times journalist, Stephen Farrell, who had been captured in Afghanistan.
Unfortunately for Brown, as we know, the rescue did not go smoothly. Both a British paratrooper and Farrell's interpreter, Sultan Munadi, were killed. Top hostage negotiators have told the London Times they are furious -- that they were days away from securing Farrell's release. Even the Queen, it's been reported, has recently read Brown the riot act over lack of equipment in Afghanistan.
The Guardian's Robert Fox writes:
Was the daring rescue of the New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell a risk too far, for all concerned?
Today we are hearing that the brass in the British Army are angry that valuable special forces troops had to be tasked to rescue the reporter from the Taliban in Kunduz, and that one of their own troopers died in the operation as well as the reporter's colleague and two Afghans.
Questions are now being raised whether Farrell should have heeded warnings not to go to northern Kunduz. Since he dared to do so, shouldn't he have been left to reap the consequences? Furthermore, wasn't Gordon Brown, who took the ultimate decision to send the special forces in, too trigger-happy -- in the clear hope that by daring to order such a bold move, he would win much-needed public applause?
Well, if applause is what Gordon Brown wants, he's not getting it. What he's got, instead, is blood on his hands and the stink of corruption all around him. One hopes there will be investigative reporting into what happened and why in Afghanistan -- and if necessary, accountability for several tragic deaths.
The attempted cover-up over Brown's less-than-cordial conversation with Obama is just one more signal that the truth is considered an inconvenience for this British premier. When, for the sake of his country, is he going to do the decent thing -- and resign?