Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Time To Complain and Investigate Was Before Lockerbie Bomber Was Released

It's a little late to investigate how and why Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the convicted terrorist who murdered 270 people in blowing up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, was released. Was it because BP was pressuring the British government to make any kind of a deal in order to secure drilling rights in Libya? Was it because the British government saw an opportunity to open up a new relationship with the Libyan regime? BP admits that they lobbied to get the British government to make some kind of deal, but didn't specifically call for Megrahi's release. The British government has repeatedly admitted that they were trying to make an oil deal, but weren't influenced by BP.

What about justice?

Justice was denied in this instance. Scotland enables convicted felons to be released if they can show that they are in ill-health. Megrahi was supposedly released because he was suffering from terminal cancer and had just months to live according to doctors. One of those doctors turned around and now says that Megrahi could live 10 years or more. He ended up serving less than 8 years in prison - or 11 days for each victim he murdered.

The fact is that Megrahi should never have been released - whether under some misguided notion of compassion or because of lobbying to get oil rights in Libya. The man was culpable for murdering 270 people and his sentence should never have been cut short.

The current move to launch still more investigations will not show anything that we don't already know. We know the British and Scottish governments screwed up. We know that oil deals played a role. We also know that the British government is trying to pass the buck on to the Scottish government and the judges who ruled for his early release. BP was trying to secure oil deals and the British government was working to smooth things over with the Libyans, who were busy trying to get Megrahi back.

Here's New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand talking about the situation:

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