Senator says BP-Libya oil deal linked to Lockerbie bomber release
BP has made billions spilling oil all over the globe. And now a U.S. senator is wondering if BP stands to make billions more from a BP-Libya oil deal after helping set free a terrorist convicted of killing Americans. Suspicions arose after Libyan Abdel Bastet Al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, was released from a Scottish prison last August after doctors said he had three months to live. A year later Al-Megrahi is living in the lap of luxury as BP prepares to drill off Libya’s coast.
Senators want Lockerbie bomber back in jail
U.S. Senators want to throw the Lockerbie bomber back in jail for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg sees evidence suggesting the Lockerbie bomber release is tied to the BP-Libya oil deal as an opportunity to increase political pressure on the culprit of the2 010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Suspicious timing: BP-Libya oil deal and Lockerbie bomber release
The Lockerbie bomber release from prison “on compassionate grounds” after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer is now in question. Al-Megrahi, now 58, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people, including 189 Americans. Yahoo News reports that Lautenberg wants the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to investigate whether serial oil spiller BP influenced Al-Megrahi ‘s release after he served only eight years of a life sentence. The senator wants to know if the Lockerbie bomber’s release was connected to a BP plan to start drilling in the next few months off Libya, which the senator says could earn the company up to $20 billion.
Lockerbie bomber alive and kicking
Other senators sought to put pressure on the British government to investigate the release of the Lockerbie bomber after a doctor said al-Meghrahi could live another decade. The Associated Press reports that Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York and Lautenberg and fellow New Jersey senator Robert Menendez requested the investigation in a July 7 letter to the U.K.’s ambassador to the U.S. In his response to the senators, British Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald said due process was followed.
Does BP have American blood on its hands?
In a letter about his BP-Libya oil deal/ Lockerbie bomber suspicions to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Lautenberg said a 2007 oil agreement may have influenced the British and Scottish governments about the Lockerbie bomber’s release in 2009. He said BP admits that in 2007 it told the British government that a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya could hurt the oil deal. Later Jack Straw, the British Secretary of State for Justice, who intended to exclude al-Megrahi from the prisoner tranfer, changed his mind, citing “overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom.” Lautenberg when on to say that:
“BP has just announced it will begin deepwater drilling next month off Libya’s coast, and it is estimated BP could earn as much as $20 billion from the deal. It is shocking to even contemplate that this company is profiting from the release of a terrorist with the blood of 189 Americans on his hands.”
Justice no match for BP-Libya oil deal
BP has declined to discuss the senators’ probe of the Lockerbie bomber release. However, CNN reports that on the BP website the oil spill company talked up the 2007 Libyan oil agreement as “the single biggest exploration financial commitment an international energy company has ever made to Libya.” The British Embassy in Washington posted a letter on its website from the British ambassador to Gillibrand defending the Lockerbie bomber’s release. Brian Flynn, who lost his brother in the Pan Am flight 103 bombing and fought to deny Megrahi’s freedom, told CNN:
“You can’t allow the process of justice to be corrupted by the cynical mercantilism of one company.”