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Lockerbie's legacy

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Based on the latest allegations about the release of the only person ever convicted of the Lockerbie jetliner bombing, compassion had nothing to do with setting free this “dying” scoundrel.

Correspondence reported by Britain's Sunday Telegraph suggests the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was linked to a $615 million arms deal with Libya.

Mr. al-Megrahi had been convicted in 2001 in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which four Southwestern Pennsylvanians died among the 270 victims. Supposedly suffering from terminal cancer, al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison in August 2009 and lived as a free man until his death in May 2012.

In response to the Telegraph's report, a spokesman for Tony Blair, Britain's ex-prime minister and later an envoy for the British government, said there was no quid pro quo for al-Megrahi's release. Yet there have been other allegations of various deals for al-Megrahi's release.

And he probably never would have been released if the U.S. had pressed Libya's late Moammar Gadhafi for answers.

Instead, in a perverse foreign policy “coup” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration normalized relations with this unrepentant world thug. The Obama administration supported the rebels who ultimately killed Mr. Gadhafi. And on last year's anniversary of 9/11, terrorists stormed the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, and killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

So, where did the U.S. ever draw the line regarding the slaughter of innocents during an awful winter's night in 1988? It didn't.

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