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Old July 15th, 2010, 06:37 AM   #1
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BP Lobbied Brits Ahead of Lockerbie Bomber Release

BP Confirms Lobbying UK Ahead of Lockerbie Bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's Release



LONDON (July 15) -- Amid a new U.S. furor over trading a terrorist for commercial considerations, BP confirmed today that it had lobbied the British government in late 2007 over a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya prior to the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.



The London-based petroleum giant said it had voiced concerns that the slow pace of negotiations risked impeding an offshore drilling deal with Moammar Gadhafi's North African country.



"BP told the U.K. government that we were concerned about the slow progress that was being made in concluding a Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya," BP said in a statement. "We were aware that this could have a negative impact on U.K. commercial interests, including the ratification by the Libyan government of BP's exploration agreement."



The company's statement appears to have been prompted by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's announcement on Tuesday that she was considering a request by four senators to investigate whether BP pushed for last year's release of Megrahi in exchange for lucrative drilling concessions off the Libyan coast.



"Evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster seems to suggest that BP would put profit ahead of people -- its attention to safety was negligible and it routinely underestimated the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf," read a letter sent to Clinton by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York, and Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey. "The question we now have to answer is, was this corporation willing to trade justice in the murder of 270 innocent people for oil profits?"



Schumer called on the company to freeze its projects in Libya, pending an investigation. "If BP is truly dealing in good faith and has nothing to hide, it should cooperate with such an investigation," he said Tuesday at a news conference. "The companies should not be allowed to profit on this deal if it was facilitated at the expense of the victims of terrorism."



Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, is the only person ever sentenced in connection with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over the small Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988. He was convicted in 2001 of 270 counts of murder for masterminding the attack. But last August, the Scottish government released him from jail on compassionate grounds, after being told by doctors that his prostate cancer was likely to result in his death within three months. That decision angered the U.S. and many relatives of those killed in the attack, who argued Megrahi should end his days in prison.



Almost a year later, Megrahi, 57, is still alive. And last week, the British doctor who originally diagnosed the bomber admitted Megrahi might survive for another decade.



BP insists that it never raised the actual subject of the Libyan intelligence officer's fate while lobbying the government. "The decision to release al-Megrahi in August 2009 was taken by the Scottish government," the company said. "It is not for BP to comment on the decision of the Scottish government. BP was not involved in any such discussions about the release of al-Megrahi."



At the heart of this controversy is a $900 million exploration deal BP provisionally agreed with Libya in May 2007, the same month that Britain and Libya opened talks on a Prisoner Transfer Agreement. During initial negotiations over the transfer pact, Britain's then-Justice Minister Jack Straw refused to sign on to the deal if it included Megrahi. At the same time, Libya was stalling and refusing to ratify its multimillion-dollar deal with BP.



Then in December 2007, according to The Sunday Times, Straw wrote to Kenny MacAskill -- his counterpart in Scotland, who set the Libyan free last August -- and said the government was abandoning its attempt to exclude Megrahi from the prisoner agreement, citing the national interest. Within six weeks of this about face, Libya had authorized the BP deal.



It later emerged that Straw had changed his mind following lobbying from the petroleum industry, especially BP. He took two phone calls from Sir Mark Allen, a former MI6 agent, then working for BP as a consultant, on Oct. 15 and Nov. 9, 2007.



In an interview with the Daily Telegraph last September, Straw admitted that trade and BP were key considerations when the government decided to include Megrahi in the prisoner agreement. "Yes, [it was] a very big part of that. I'm unapologetic about that ... Libya was a rogue state," he said. "We wanted to bring it back into the fold. And yes, that included trade because trade is an essential part of it and subsequently there was the BP deal."



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Well, this will make a lot of people mad.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 07:21 AM   #2
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Apparently BP is Too Big to Investigate. Too Big Not to get away with Murder. ... What the fuck, really? And this stupid island nation use to rule the ...

BP yanks containment cap after problem, oil flows unimpeded into the Gulf | Raw Story



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