Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Was release of Lockerbie bomber exchange for 'blood money' for BP?
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
The damage BP is causing may not just be to the Gulf of Mexico. It could be to the hearts of relatives of those who died in the bombing of TWA Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. A bombing ordered by the Libyan government.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted in the bombing. But he was released from custody and returned to Libya after a doctor said he only had three months to live.
Well, he has long outlived that prognosis - now it's been reported that maybe the diagnosis was wrong - and that he may live a long life. The doctor - a cancer specialist - who said al-Megrahi would soon die from prostate cancer now acknowledges that he lied to help the Libyans.
Which has gotten a lot of people to thinking: why were the Scottish authorities so quick to release him?
The answer may lie - literally - in another BP underwater oil drilling operation. Not in the Gulf of Mexico. But in Libyan waters.
A deal that analysts say could net BP billions of dollars.
A deal that was struck just after the prisoner transfer agreement was reached.
Now a group of Democratic lawmakers is demanding that the British government investigate. Was this decision to release al-Megrahi coincidental? Or a result of the oil deal?
They are also demanding a congressional investigation.
"It is shocking to even contemplate that BP is profiting from the release of a terrorist with the blood of 189 Americans on his hands," wrote U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). In total, 207 people died on the plane and on the ground.
Lautenberg, and others, including relatives of those who died in the attack, have reason to be suspicious. And they are right to call for an investigation.
If it turns out there suspicions are true - then the release of al-Megrahi would turn out to be far more damaging to BP's reputation than the Gulf gusher. Evidence suggests that BP and its partners failed to follow proper safety procedures leading to the Deepwater Horizon explosion. But no one is suggesting that the oil giant wanted it to happen. No such claim can be made if its shown that there was culpability in a decision to release a mass murdering terrorist for financial gain.
And if the suspicions prove valid - the broader question of how serious we are in this so-called war against terrorism. Do we really want to put an end to terror? Maybe so. But maybe there are exceptions. Exceptions when billions of dollars are at stake.
Photo: Air Accidents Investigation Branch published as fair use under U.S. copyright law