Lockerbie Bomber released for Sake of BP Libya Drilling Rights

The Times of London reports on two leaked memos from the British government under Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown that strongly suggest that the Libyan accused of planning the Lockerbie airliner bombing was released in return for BP drilling rights in Libya. (H/t Crooks & Liars.

So are they leaked memos or spilled memos?

BP was founded in the early twentieth century for the purpose of exploiting Iran’s oil, which, as Stephen Kinzer at Tomdispatch argues, it gradually convinced itself it actually owned.

And the word ‘exploit’ seems to have been central to the company’s ethos ever since.

Although the Republicans and some Democrats in Congress don’t seem all that upset about, like, the destruction of the entire Gulf of Mexico (and some have been apologizing to BP for the shoddy way the US government has treated the company, making it pay for the damage it caused and all)– nevertheless, there are stirrings toward a congressional investigation of the Megrahi release.

15 Responses

  1. Not being an expert about the Lockerbie affair, I did , however, see a pretty compelling interview on BBC w father (a medical doctor) of one of the Lockerbie dead. He had met the convicted “bomber” and spoken with him and was convinced that this man was innocent. He figured the Brits let the Libiyan go because British govt (and Americans) did not want some things revealed in an appeal that was likely to happen soon. Also I have always thought (because of US shooting down Iranian airliner in July 1988) that there could well have been some connection / retribution re: Pan Am 103 downed at Lockerbie.

  2. Al-Megrahi was probably innocent anyway. The PFLP, on behalf of the Syrian and Iranians dunnit (Iran in revenge for an airliner shot down by the US ‘by mistake’ a few months earlier). Al-Megrahi saved everbody’s bacon by preparing to die at the right moment, so he could be released on ‘compassionate grounds’.

    BP, as an international corporation, is totally amoral, and interested in profits alone, but they pay dividends and a little tax, in Britain. Their boys and our Foreign Office fellows probably had more than a few snuggles in each other’s pockets before the dirty deal was done.

  3. I am sure that without the economic incentive Brown wouldn’t much care where Megrahi died, so I don’t doubt its veracity. But there is also the fact that few in the Scottish government believe he had anything to do with it. In Scotland there is a widespread belief that Megrahi was framed, reinforced by various journalistic investigations.

  4. At last! British politicians looking out for British interests. A quite novel sensation since I’ve felt for the last few years that British politicians have been more concerned with American rather than British interests. Perhaps American politicians should pay more attention to America’s interests instead of serving Israel’s interests the whole time.

  5. Releasing al-Megrahi was rather convenient for Britain too, as it got out of an embarrassing appeal giving more publicity to the dirty tricks used by the prosecution. As far as I can tell he was convicted on very shaky grounds. There may be secret evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, but the publically available evidence is weak.

  6. The Times story is an old one, from January 2009. It was never conclusively demonstrated that oil issues were involved in the decision to release Megrahi. Rather it seems to have an independent decision of the Scottish courts, who stood on their independence.

  7. Please read these two articles:

    The Framing of al-Megrahi by Gareth Peirce

    From a logically compelling case that seemed to point clearly in one direction the prosecution switched tack, but not at the beginning: not, in fact, until two years after the bombing, when the politics of the Middle East shifted and new allies had to be found quickly if the flow of cheap oil were to continue.

    It is not difficult to achieve a conviction of the innocent. Over many decades several common factors have been identified, and the majority of them are present, centre stage, in this case: achieving the co-operation of witnesses by means of a combination of inducements and fear of the alternative (the tried and tested method of obtaining evidence for the prosecution on which many US cases rely); the provision of factual information by scientists where there is no proper basis for it (a recurrent theme in UK convictions as well as in the US); reliance on ‘identification’ evidence which is no such thing. Add to that the political will to achieve a prosecution, and the rest is easy. Fabrication demands outright dishonesty, but it isn’t always necessary, or necessary in every aspect of an investigation: the momentum of suspicion, and a blinkered determination to focus on a particular thesis and ignore evidence pointing to the contrary, is a certain route to achieving the desired end.

    For the first two years there was no mention at all of Libya. The investigation originally seemed to have clear evidence of a motive (tit for tat retaliation); evidence of the existence of a bomb intended to destroy airliners in mid-flight contained in the same brand of cassette radio discovered on the plane; and evidence implicating a Palestinian splinter group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, which was prepared at the time to hire itself out to regimes that were known to be state sponsors of terrorism; Syria was one (somewhat earlier, Libya had been another), so was Iran.

    Behind every crime there is of course a motive. For the initial prime suspect, Iran, the motive was brutally clear. In July 1988 a US battleship, the Vincennes, shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in the Persian Gulf, with 290 passengers, many of them pilgrims en route to Mecca. There were no survivors. By chance a television crew was on the Vincennes when the attack took place and images of triumph at the carnage were immediately beamed around the world. When it became clear, as it did straight away, that the attack was an appalling error, the US compounded its mistake: President Reagan claimed self-defence and the ship’s commander and crew were awarded high military honours.
    link to lrb.co.uk

    Inconvenient Truths by Hugh Miles

    Robert Black QC, an emeritus professor of Scottish law at Edinburgh University, was one of the architects of the original trial in Holland. He has closely followed developments since the disaster happened and in 2000 devised the non-jury trial system for the al-Megrahi case.

    Even before the trial he was so sure the evidence against al-Megrahi would not stand up in court that he is on record as saying that a conviction would be impossible. When I asked how he feels about this remark now, Black replied: ‘I am still absolutely convinced that I am right. No reasonable tribunal, on the evidence heard at the original trial, should or could have convicted him and it is an absolute disgrace and outrage what the Scottish court did.’

    link to lrb.co.uk

  8. Remember the outrage of the neocons, dittoheads, etc. at the decision of the effete, wimpy, bleeding-heart Scottish courts for letting the guy go and also at the Brits, especially the Labor govt. for letting the Scots “get away” with letting him go?

    That’s probably why they are now so incensed at BP and publicly lashing out at them for … oh, wait … they aren’t?

    In the immortal words of Emily Litella — “Never mind.”

  9. BP is an amalgamation of Amoco and British Petroleum, is it not?
    The point, as many others have pointed out, is that the convict in this case was clearly framed and that the US, and British governments, as well as the media, were complicit in this cynical injustice and corruption of the law.

  10. With all the comments about the deal BP has with Libya, there is no mention of the amount of money BP will be able to realize from this new drilling off the coast of Libya.
    The Financial Times of London 2 weeks ago predicted that the total profit BP will realize from this well will be about 8O bn dollars. Where are the news papers in the US covering this story??????????????????

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