Conspiracy Watch: Is BP Connected to the Lockerbie Bombing?

Creative Commons Photo by Russavia.

There’s an interesting item buried near the end of CNN’s article on the upcoming anniversary of the release of Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, of Pan Am Flight 103. It’s this little gem of a paranoid conspiracy theory:

U.S. senators have also repeatedly voiced suspicions that Scotland released al Megrahi as part of a deal allowing oil giant BP to drill off the Libyan coast. Salmond has already shot down such concerns, saying “there is no evidence whatsoever” for any link.

While this sounds like crazed tinfoil hat nonsense, there’s almost nothing Americans would put past British Petroleum nowadays, which I think is ultimately a good thing. Given how completely BP has betrayed public trust, and how thoroughly unlikely it is they’ll ever be held accountable even for a significant fraction of the damage they’ve done, I’d like to advance the theory that BP has Hitler’s brain in a jar and are going to turn the entire human race into mutant half-lizard slaves to Liberia’s Charles Taylor, who secretly owns the company. Did I say theory? Well…it’s more of a hypothesis, really.

For what it’s worth, though, the Lockerbie bombing is packed with conspiracy — by definition. Prominent Swiss businessman Edwin Bollier was interrogated and narrowly avoided being charged as a co-conspirator, based on evidence that he had rented office space to the convicted bomber, a Libyan spy — and the fact that his electronics firm may have supplied the device used as a timer in the bomb.

Bollier responded to his potential indictment by threatening, if indicted, to call Oliver North and George H.W. Bush as witnesses in his trial. He later claimed to have been offered $4 million to falsely identify a component of the bomb in court.

By “U.S. Senators,” the article implies they’re talking about Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg (both Democrats from New Jersey — Pan Am Flight 103 was en route to New York’s JFK when it crashed), who are holding a press conference with the families of Lockerbie victims. But the article doesn’t bother to specify which Senators are speculating. As it turns out, it’s them and two more.

Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer and the former head of security for Libyan airlines, was the only person convicted in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people. Harbored by Libya, he was finally extradited with one accused co-conspirator (who was found not guility). He received a life sentence, but was released a year ago to return to Libya when Scottish doctors said he was dying of cancer and had only a few months to live. He’s still alive.

As the first anniverary al Megrahi’s release approaches, Britain has warned Libya not to hold celebrations; al Megrahi was greeted as a hero upon his post-release arrival in Libya.

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