Too bad corporations aren’t treated like people.1 BP would be eligible for extraordinary rendition, and perhaps even a brief, three or four year stay in Guantanamo Bay. Aiding and abetting terrorists, don’t ya know.
LONDON — The oil giant BP faced a new furor on Thursday as it confirmed that it had lobbied the British government to conclude a prisoner-transfer agreement that the Libyan government wanted to secure the release of the only person ever convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie airliner bombing over Scotland, which killed 270 people, 189 of them Americans.
The acknowledgment came after American legislators, grappling with the controversy over the company’s disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, called for an investigation into BP’s actions in the case of the freed man, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi.
After an initial demand for an investigation on Wednesday by four senators from New York and New Jersey, further calls for an inquiry by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were made on Thursday by Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats of California.
Mr. Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence agent, was released and allowed to return to Libya in August after doctors advised the Scottish government that he was likely to die within three months of prostate cancer. But nearly a year later, he remains alive and free, though kept out of sight, in Libya’s capital, Tripoli.
BP’s statement on Thursday repeated earlier acknowledgments that it had promoted the transfer agreement to protect a $900 million offshore oil-and-gas exploration deal off Libya’s Mediterranean coast. The British justice minister at the time, Jack Straw, admitted after Mr. Megrahi was repatriated and freed that the BP deal was a consideration in the review of his case.
(click to continue reading BP Faces New Scrutiny in Lockerbie Case – NYTimes.com.)
Money trumps all, right? Even in cases of real terrorism, with convicted terrorists.
The U.S. winked and nodded at BP’s machinations previously, but after the Gulf of Mexico disaster, and the horrible PR effort of BP, the U.S. wants to distance itself
British officials have noted privately that the last three American administrations have been keen for American oil companies to strike deals with Libya, and that BP has been joined in the contest for potentially lucrative deals by several American oil giants, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron.
Still, the chain of events surrounding Mr. Megrahi fostered deep disillusionment in Washington, where politicians and senior officials criticized what they regarded as Britain’s duplicity in the affair.
Their anger was based, in part, on assurances the United States said it had been given at the time of the Lockerbie trial, held before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands, that anybody convicted in the case would serve the full term in Scotland. Mr. Megrahi’s conviction was the only one in the case, after a Libyan accused of being an accomplice, like Mr. Megrahi an agent of Libya’s secret intelligence service, was found not guilty and freed.
- According to the Supreme Court, only in the arena of political advertising [↩]