Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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Pan Am 103 Bombing, BP and Libya

Com­ment: Numer­ous news accounts, such as the sto­ry below, have engaged in spec­u­la­tion that BP was involved in secur­ing the release of con­vict­ed Locker­bie bomber al-Megrahi in exchange for being grant­ed off­shore drilling rights for Libya.

What is not being dis­cussed are the evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries link­ing George H.W. Bush to the bomb­ing of Pan Am 103 and, in turn, the cov­er-up of the Iran/Contra scan­dal. (New lis­ten­ers can inform them­selves with AFA #35 and FTR #248.)

Anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion to be eval­u­at­ed in the con­text of the Lockerbie/BP alle­ga­tions are the links and influ­ence of the Gam­mells, a pow­er­ful Scot­tish bank­ing fam­i­ly that has been close to the Bush fam­i­ly for gen­er­a­tions. In addi­tion, the Gam­mells are very close to Tony Blair and BP.

What role might the Gam­mells have played in these events? What role might the Bush­es have played in these events?

“A (Bet­ter) Rea­son to Hate BP” by Bret Stephens; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 7/6/2010.

What Barack Oba­ma taketh away, Moam­mar Gad­hafi giveth. That must be the fond hope these days at BP, as it seeks to recoup in Libya’s Gulf of Sidra what it is los­ing in the Gulf of Mex­i­co. And if it takes a wretched lob­by­ing effort to make that hap­pen, so be it.

Yes­ter­day, the chair­man of Libya’s Nation­al Oil Co. told Zawya Dow Jones that he would urge Libya’s sov­er­eign wealth fund to buy a strate­gic stake in the trou­bled oil giant. That fol­lows news that Libya will allow BP to begin deep­wa­ter drilling next month off Libya’s coast as part of a $900 mil­lion explo­ration deal ini­tial­ly agreed upon in 2007.

BP is no less enthu­si­as­tic, not­ing in a 2007 press release that the deal rep­re­sent­ed “BP’s sin­gle biggest explo­ration com­mit­ment,” equiv­a­lent to “2000 Gulf of Mex­i­co deep­wa­ter blocks.” Long term, some pre­dict BP could reap $20 bil­lion from the deal, per­haps enough to cov­er its Gulf of Mex­i­co claims fund.

This rare patch of sun­shine for BP arrives almost simul­ta­ne­ous­ly with reports of anoth­er sort. Over the week­end, Lon­don’s Sun­day Times report­ed that a doc­tor who last year diag­nosed Locker­bie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi with metasta­t­ic prostate can­cer and gave him three months to live now thinks the for­mer Libyan intel­li­gence agent “could sur­vive for 10 years or more.”

Karol Siko­ra, the dean of med­i­cine at Buck­ing­ham Uni­ver­si­ty who was paid by the Libyan gov­ern­ment for his prog­no­sis, says he finds it “embar­rass­ing” that Megrahi is very much alive and kick­ing in Libya after he was released last August from a Scot­tish prison on grounds that he only had a few weeks to live. “It was clear that three months was what they [the Libyans] were aim­ing for,” he said. “I felt I could sort of jus­ti­fy [that].”

Megrahi’s not-so-sur­pris­ing longevi­ty is the lat­est sor­did twist in a tale in which BP is no bystander. It begins in 2004, with efforts by then-British Prime Min­is­ter Tony Blair to reha­bil­i­tate Col. Gad­hafi and open Libya to British com­mer­cial inter­ests. BP inked its explo­ration deal with Libya fol­low­ing a sec­ond vis­it by Mr. Blair in 2007. But the deal near­ly ran aground after the U.K. took its time final­iz­ing a pris­on­er trans­fer agree­ment between the two coun­tries.

It was at this point that BP became con­cerned. As this news­pa­per report­ed last Sep­tem­ber, BP admits that in 2007 it “told the U.K. gov­ern­ment . . . it was con­cerned that a delay in con­clud­ing a pris­on­er trans­fer agre­ment with the Libyan gov­ern­ment might hurt” the deal it had just signed. BP also told the Jour­nal that a spe­cial advis­er to the com­pa­ny named Mark Allen, for­mer­ly of MI6 and well-con­nect­ed in Labour Par­ty cir­cles, raised the trans­fer agree­ment issue with then-Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Jack Straw, though the com­pa­ny also says the two did not dis­cuss Megrahi.

On what basis (oth­er than sheer mer­can­til­ism) would a BP advis­er raise a pris­on­er trans­fer agree­ment with senior U.K. offi­cials? I put that ques­tion to a BP spokesper­son and was told I’d hear back “short­ly.” As of press time, I still had­n’t.

As for the U.K. and Scot­tish gov­ern­ments, their denials that Megrahi’s release had any­thing to do with BP and oth­er oil inter­ests could not be more emphat­ic. “The idea that the British gov­ern­ment and the Libyan gov­ern­ment would sit down and some­how barter over the free­dom or the life of this Libyan pris­on­er and make it form some part of some busi­ness deal . . . it’s not only wrong, it’s com­plete­ly implau­si­ble and actu­al­ly quite offen­sive,” said then‑U.K. Busi­ness Sec­re­tary Peter Man­del­son at the time of Megrahi’s release.

Yet as the Sun­day Times report­ed last year, in 2007 Mr. Straw wrote his Scot­tish coun­ter­part Ken­ny MacAskill, the man who ulti­mate­ly decid­ed on Megrahi’s release, that the U.K. would not exclude the Libyan from the pris­on­er agree­ment. “The wider nego­ti­a­tions with the Libyans are reach­ing a crit­i­cal stage,” Mr. Straw wrote, “and in view of the over­whelm­ing inter­ests for the Unit­ed King­dom, I have agreed in this instance the [pris­on­er agree­ment] should be in the stan­dard form and not men­tion any indi­vid­ual.”

Weeks lat­er, Libya for­mal­ly rat­i­fied its deal with BP, though it was again sub­ject to bureau­crat­ic delays until Megrahi’s release. BP denied last year that the delays were any­thing oth­er than rou­tine. But the Libyans have been less than coy about the link­age: “Peo­ple should not get angry because we were talk­ing about com­merce or oil,” Gad­hafi’s son Seif said after Megrahi’s release.

BP has now spent the past 11 weeks promis­ing to make things right for every­one affect­ed by the Gulf spill. But for the fam­i­lies of Pan Am Flight 103’s 270 vic­tims, things can nev­er be made right. Nor, fol­low­ing Megrahi’s release, will jus­tice ever be served. The ques­tion that BP could use­ful­ly answer—and answer fully—is whether, in that denial of jus­tice, their inter­ests were served. It won’t restore the com­pa­ny to hon­or, but it might do some­thing to restore a mea­sure of trust.


One comment for “Pan Am 103 Bombing, BP and Libya”

  1. If George Her­bert Walk­er Bush had nev­er been born, JFK would not have been assas­si­nat­ed and the attack on the World Trade Cen­ter would nev­er have occurred. Google “Quadri-Track ZCT”

    Posted by David Howard | November 29, 2011, 11:25 am

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