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Business as Usual for BP
July 16, 2010 1:08 PM   Subscribe

BP admits lobbying to get convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi released in order to protect a $900,000,000 deal to drill off the coast of Libya. In the future, we'll probably be hearing a lot more about the controversy over BP's admitted role (acknowledged long ago by officials in the UK) in negotiating for al-Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds that have since been called into question (as previously discussed here). At the time of al-Megrahi's release by a Scottish Judge, US officials were sharply critical of the decision to release al-Megrahi. Investigations into the arrangement are currently underway in the US congress.
posted by saulgoodman (80 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I couldn't help but think as I saw Stormin' Joe Liebermen getting pissy about this in a TV interview that his moral high ground and righteous anger about this issue would have been a lot more meaningful if he'd opened his mouth against an oil company before said oil company became the most hated two letters in America.


(My apologies to Senator Lieberman if I missed him doing so before yesterday, but seriously after your behavior for the past 6 or 7 years, I think you owe me at least one pass.)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:14 PM on July 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


...
posted by entropicamericana at 1:14 PM on July 16, 2010


Right as if an American corporation wouldn't do the exact same shit for a 900 million dollars investment.
posted by spicynuts at 1:17 PM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's interesting to read that old thread. There were many who recognized what a rotten deal this was from the get-go, while others strongly denied that there was any collusion between the two governments. Those who vigorously argued that the only reason al-Megrahi was being released was because of his poor health should recalibrate their bullshit detectors.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:17 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


spicynuts: "Right as if an American corporation wouldn't do the exact same shit for a 900 million dollars investment."

Yes, they were criticizing the whole Britishness of the affair.
posted by boo_radley at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


Right as if an American corporation wouldn't do the exact same shit for a 900 million dollars investment.

BP is an American corporation spicynuts--well, at least it's roughly as much an American company as it is British.
Around 40% of BP shares are held by UK shareholders, and 39% in the USA. BP's UK dividends represent approximately one-seventh of all dividend payments in the UK and form the basis of many pension schemes.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just want a nice clear outline of how to boycott BP (versus the station owners who may have a drop of their product in "BP" gasoline). Though I mostly fault the British government for this release, this is the last straw for me with BP.
posted by bearwife at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


spicynuts: Right as if an American corporation wouldn't do the exact same shit for a 900 million dollars investment.

Okay, let's not go down that road. Or I guess we can.

Let's not go that road unless we need to do so.

If anyone else thinks that American corporations are any less likely to do the same and that American politicians are anything other than hypocrites on this (see my comment above), they should make that point in here.

If not, let's just assume the opposite as a given.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:23 PM on July 16, 2010


(sorry that was me agreeing in a snarky way, not me disagreeing or trying to stifle discussion)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:25 PM on July 16, 2010


Och, Scotland, still doing England's dirty-work are ye?
posted by No Robots at 1:26 PM on July 16, 2010


(versus the station owners who may have a drop of their product in "BP" gasoline)

I personally still hold the station owners responsible and have been boycotting them since day one. Because, while it may be true that they are locally owned franchises, these businesses do still pay licensing fees to BP and they get their fuel from BP, paying BP fees for providing the fuel even though it isn't necessarily solely a BP product.

Every station owner has the option to partner with a different franchise. During the Exxon spill, a lot of small owners switched, and in our area, some have switched already. That may not be the most direct way of damaging BP's bottom line, but seriously: if franchises weren't a profit-making business for BP, why would they bother franchising?

So even though boycotts may hurt the local station owners more in the short term, it does ultimately have a real impact on BP's own bottom line. And those station owners do always have the option of terminating their relationship with BP and seeking out a reputable fuel provider/brand.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:28 PM on July 16, 2010


I'm just thankful that we were able to catch red-handed the world's one truly evil multinational mega-corporation before it was too late! Their wicked, underhanded deeds have been giving all the other massive, multibillion-dollar conglomerates a bad name for far too long!
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:28 PM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, come on now. There's no way BP would put profits ahead of justice and the "small people." No fuckin' way.
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on July 16, 2010


BP to drill for Libyan oil despite Lockerbie furor.
posted by ericb at 1:29 PM on July 16, 2010


Not a great day for BP:

British Pipeline Agency, owned by Shell and BP, pleaded guilty to charges of failing to take measures necessary to prevent major accidents and causing pollution to enter into controlled waters. It was fined £300,000 plus £480,000 costs.
posted by regicide is good for you at 1:33 PM on July 16, 2010


Yes, they were criticizing the whole Britishness of the affair.

My point was directed at the link about US officials being critical. Glass houses, stones, pots, kettles, etc.
posted by spicynuts at 1:33 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Would it have been legal for the British government to stop this release?

From what I've read about the case, its seems to have been dealt exclusively on the formal/official legal level by the (post-devolution) Scottish government, under Scottish law (with the Scottish government minister for justice repeatedly emphasizing that it had been solely his decision). If the Brown government in London had stopped the compassionate release (which was occurring under a standard Scottish legal process, rather than an extraordinary or extra-legal one), I think this would have probably caused a constitutional crisis that would threaten to undermine the devolution agreements with London of not just Scotland but also Wales and, most worryingly, Northern Ireland.
posted by Bwithh at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


bearwife: "I just want a nice clear outline of how to boycott BP (versus the station owners who may have a drop of their product in 'BP' gasoline)."

I feel bad for those station owners. But I still don't shop there. I don't see a fair resolution for the owners myself, but I'm not voluntarily giving BP any of my money even if it hurts the station owners. Corporations don't change things unless they're losing money. If people still go to BP stations just because they feel bad for the owners, BP won't lose much money from consumers, and they won't end up changing a damned thing.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2010


BP is an American corporation spicynuts--well, at least it's roughly as much an American company as it is British.

Since when does the nationality of shareholders determine a corporation's 'nationality'?
posted by spicynuts at 1:35 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, the shareholders are technically the owners, spicynuts. I think it's reasonable to consider the ownership of a company determinant of its nationality. What other standard would we use? They have headquarters in every nation where they have major operations, don't they?
posted by saulgoodman at 1:38 PM on July 16, 2010


Those who vigorously argued that the only reason al-Megrahi was being released was because of his poor health should recalibrate their bullshit detectors.

Exactly. Upon his release government officials said he was "not expected to live for much more than three months after his release and rapid return to Libya last August."

He's alive and living well in Libya today.

"...[O]ne of those same doctors [who had earlier predicted imminent death now] claims Megrahi could potentially live another decade.

In December 2009 it was revealed that "al-Megrahi had a secret fortune of nearly £2million in a Swiss bank account before his conviction eight years ago."
posted by ericb at 1:39 PM on July 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Blood money, indeed!
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on July 16, 2010


spicynuts: "Yes, they were criticizing the whole Britishness of the affair.

My point was directed at the link about US officials being critical. Glass houses, stones, pots, kettles, etc.
"

Whoops, I owe you an apology then. In a lot of past BP threads, there've been people who do a little DUCK SEASON/RABBIT SEASON for BP's nationality.
posted by boo_radley at 1:44 PM on July 16, 2010


Well, the shareholders are technically the owners, spicynuts. I think it's reasonable to consider the ownership of a company determinant of its nationality. What other standard would we use? They have headquarters in every nation where they have major operations, don't they?

Technically is not legally. Headquarters is not the same as where they are incorporated. Or if they are owned by a holding company, where the holding company is incorporated. Would anyone argue that Bertlesmann is not a German company?
posted by spicynuts at 1:47 PM on July 16, 2010


I can't wait to hear Congressman Joe Barton chime in on this.
posted by Xoebe at 1:52 PM on July 16, 2010


From wikipedia:

"BP is the United Kingdom's largest corporation, with its head office in St James's, City of Westminster, London.[8][9][10]"
posted by spicynuts at 1:53 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not a great day for BP: ... It was fined £300,000 plus £480,000 costs.

By my math at the current rate of exchange that comes to just over a million US$. With the amount of money these companies make, that probably isn't even an operating cost.

Corporate fines should be calculated on the aggregate worth of the company, That way when they are penalized for something, they feel it.
posted by quin at 1:56 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pretty much it was a cell of terrorists in Frankfurt who did it, not the Libyan. So they pushed to get an innocent man out to get their oil. Bad, but not that bad. I personally think that they didn't want the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission looking into the reality of the case, as they were about to open a big inquiry into a potential "miscarriage of justice" occuring when the US insisted that the Libyans be tried. Otherwise, admitting that it was a revenge bombing for the Vincennes' destruction of the Iranian airliner would have been a bit much to bear.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:57 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm usually extremely wary of conspiracy theories and such, but there is certainly evidence to suggest al-Megrahi may have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice:

Al-Megrahi 'pressured into abandoning appeal'.

Lockerbie questions demand an answer.

Scottish police had information that might have changed the outcome of the Lockerbie bombing trial...[which] was not passed to the defence team.

Vital Lockerbie evidence 'was tampered with'.

Was it Iran? Was it Syria? All I know is it wasn't the man in prison.
posted by Electric Dragon at 1:58 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd confine my outrage to the 12 weeks of oil spillage, considering Megrahi was a patsy
posted by simms2k at 2:00 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, per Electric Dragon and Ironmouth, this whole affair is shitty from top to bottom. If all parties were held to account, an epic shitstorm would result.
posted by rhizome at 2:01 PM on July 16, 2010


I appreciate the people who are telling me why they are boycotting BP stations -- here's why I'd like a clearer outline about how to aim more carefully at BP's pocketbook.
posted by bearwife at 2:03 PM on July 16, 2010


But the modern BP came about as a result of the merger of British Petroleum (the remains of Britain's national oil company) and Amoco (the remains of Standard Oil, America's national oil company). To my mind, that and the roughly equal distribution of its share ownership makes it as much an American company as an American one.

In reality, BP is just another transnational with no particular national allegiance, and the recent effort to cast this issue as one somehow related to anti-British sentiment or the British-ness of BP is just a tory scam to spin the issue in defense of the company.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:06 PM on July 16, 2010


Oops. Should be "as much an American company as a British one," of course.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:13 PM on July 16, 2010


BP is just the weapon. We're the killers.
posted by greekphilosophy at 2:19 PM on July 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


We're all shareholders in Planet Earth, but we don't own it.

Boycotting BP at the pump is missing the point so hard it's depressing.
posted by vectr at 2:23 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


We don't own this place, though we act as if we did,
It's a loan from the children of our children's kids.
The actual owners haven't even been born yet.

But we never tend the garden and rarely we pay the rent,
Some of it is broken and the rest of it is bent
Put it all on plastic and I wonder where we'll be when the bills hit.


I'm going to curl into a fetal position and cry now...
posted by mikelieman at 2:36 PM on July 16, 2010


BP lobbied the UK government for his release under the prisoner transfer agreement, but Megrahi wasn't released under the prisoner transfer agreement and he wasn't released by the UK government. If anyone has evidence that they lobbied the Scottish government and got any traction there, then please go ahead and show it.

Not that it makes BP any nicer for doing such lobbying purely for business concerns, but conspiracy theorists are barking up the wrong government. Megrahi was released by a devolved government which was and still is politically hostile to the UK government.

Are any of you arguing, that though he has outlasted his prognosis that this man hasn't got advanced cancer? The doctor being cited above as saying he could live 'for a decade' was Karl Sikora, but this is what he says:" There was always a chance he could live for 10 years, 20 years ... But it's very unusual.", however it should be noted that the release itself was not based on Sikora's opinion but that of Dr Andrew Fraser director of health and care at the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).

Indeed BP are bastards who were only lobbying for business reasons, and I can understand why people want extra sticks to beat them with, but Megrahi has got advanced cancer, there is a pretty significant chance that he was fitted up for the bombing and people with advanced stage cancer should not be in jails where they cannot be treated properly - however much they are hated for what they may or may not have done.
posted by Flitcraft at 2:54 PM on July 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


Maybe if people started boycotting oil products..?
posted by i_cola at 3:00 PM on July 16, 2010


"Maybe if people started boycotting oil products..?"

mikelieman has started: "I'm going to curl into a fetal position"

Look around you... we live in the age of cheap oil. Anything plastic in your home? Oil. How it got to your home? Oil. The food in your fridge? produced by intensive farming practices and transport thanks to oil.

The computer you use? Couldn't be produced without oil as energy at every level of its construction and consumption.

There are over 6 billion people living on Earth at the moment. A tiny historically recent blip in the history of mankind, that directly correlates with the discovery and use of oil ponds underground.

Yeah we should boycott oil. We'll have to... we won't have a choice. But the social, economic and global structural upheaval will result in billions of deaths and the end to the accepted way of life of everyone... probably.
posted by vectr at 3:12 PM on July 16, 2010


And while we're on the subject of BP:

BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense, roiling academic community
For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation.

BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university, according to scientists involved in discussions with the company's lawyers.

posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 3:13 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


All this jingoistic, opportunistic hypocrisy over BP is almost making me pity them. And I loathe BP. I detest BP.

Multinationals like BP are very nasty creatures, creatures that have largely been deliberately bred by the USA's rich and imposed on the rest of the world. Elsewhere they can routinely do terrible things knowing that they can get protection from their creator. Yet when one of them messes up to close to home and hurts the US, things are suddenly different? It reminds me of the news stories about bomb makers accidentally blowing themselves up, except sadly in this case injuring innocent people too. BP have made a terrible mess.

The same media pundits and politicians who cheerlead uncontrolled capitalism are now all desperately trying to distract attention from it's failure by pointing at the evil foreign capitalism.

As for al-Megrahi - he might have been an agent, but the case against him was very weak at best. That was clear in 2001 when Private Eye magazine published 'Lockerbie – the Flight from Justice'.

Humph. Right, I'm off to drink tea from a bowler hat and twirl my moustache.
posted by BinaryApe at 3:54 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


This may be an abuse of justice, but so was the initial court case, as I've discussed before here. The problem is, with everything being so farcical on every side of the case, in every respect, it just winds up being impossible to know how one should feel about any of it.

But essentially as has been discussed many times over the last few months, letting any corporation become more powerful than governments is just a terrible idea, and now we have probably hundreds of them, all lobbying and buying and corrupting.
posted by opsin at 4:21 PM on July 16, 2010


When BP Amoco rebranded to Beyond Petroleum, so technically they are a Beyonder company (and British people are now Beyonders).

SECRET WARS!
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on July 16, 2010


P.S. Just to make clear - describing the case as an abuse of justice is not a statement on al-Megrahi's guilt, either way.
posted by opsin at 4:32 PM on July 16, 2010


Test results from well not as hoped
"Pressure readings from the cap atop BP's busted well are less than ideal, but the crude will remain locked in while engineers look for a possible leak."
posted by ericb at 4:32 PM on July 16, 2010


'Super skimmer' a giant bust in cleanup.
posted by ericb at 4:45 PM on July 16, 2010


I'd confine my outrage to the 12 weeks of oil spillage, considering Megrahi was a patsy

I'm a little curious, if this were true, how you suppose this particular patsy ended up having 2 million pounds tucked away in a Swiss bank account?
posted by saulgoodman at 5:16 PM on July 16, 2010


Funny how the suggestion of an elaborate conspiracy to convict al-Megrahi of the crime is meant to be taken seriously, while suggestions of a conspiracy surrounding his possible release in exchange for a favorable business transaction are meant to be taken as absurd on their face on the basis of the well-known, newly-received folk wisdom that there's no such thing as real conspiracies.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:20 PM on July 16, 2010


BP lobbied the UK government for his release under the prisoner transfer agreement, but Megrahi wasn't released under the prisoner transfer agreement and he wasn't released by the UK government. If anyone has evidence that they lobbied the Scottish government and got any traction there, then please go ahead and show it.

What's interesting here, though, is that the documentary evidence clearly shows officials at the highest ranks of the British government were making key decisions with the explicit aim of furthering BP's business interests. What's worse, the record clearly shows these officials were concerned with covering up the appearance of impropriety.

Consider the following passage from the linked article (emphasis my own):
In a letter leaked by a Whitehall source, he wrote: “I had previously accepted the importance of the al-Megrahi issue to Scotland and said I would try to get an exclusion for him on the face of the agreement. I have not been able to secure an explicit exclusion.

“The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed that in this instance the [prisoner transfer agreement] should be in the standard form and not mention any individual.”
The only thing that could really rule out Scottish involvement in a conspiracy to arrange al-Megrahi's release would be the remarkable discovery that Scottish Judges, unlike judges in any other legal system in the world, are uniquely insusceptible to corruption. Maybe that's true, but I don't think any harm could come from a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding his release either way. Particularly considering that BP was in fact eventually allowed to drill off the coast of Libya, though that eventuality was, by most accounts, originally held to be largely contingent on al-Megrahi's release, which somehow also happened.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:47 PM on July 16, 2010


It's like BP decided that this whole oil thing was never going anywhere, so they might as well become a cadre of cartoonish supervillains and possibly fight James Bond.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 5:58 PM on July 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lockerbie evidence 'planted by CIA'

Lockerbie conspiracies: from A to Z
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:09 PM on July 16, 2010


>I just want a nice clear outline of how to boycott BP

All the hand wringing here really confuses me. Bike or take public transit. Start an office carpool. If you can't do those things, move closer to your work. If you can't do that, buy carbon offsets, use less electricity, eat less meat, seriously consider slow travel instead of flying. Vote. Raise Hell about Corporate responsibility and the end of Corporate personhood. Encourage and support others to do all of the same as much as their resources and ability to adapt allow.

Lifestyle change is hard, but it's much more meaningful and sustainable than a one-off boycott that everyone will forget about when BP rebrands itself and papers the world with new PR and lobbying or when the next corporate horror strikes.
posted by Skwirl at 7:10 PM on July 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


As I understand it, gasoline distribution isn't 'BP gas goes to the BP station; Shell gas goes to the Shell station.' One brand of gas might be sold at any station, it depends on who is doing the distribution in a given area and who owns the nearest pipeline. Brand differentiation is done on the basis of additives, which can be put into any gas the station buys.

You could never buy gas at a BP station again, but there are good odds that you'll be buying BP gas sometime.
posted by Quonab at 7:30 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Believe me, where I live, reasonable or not, almost no one is stopping at the local BP. It's not so much a conscious collective decision to boycott as an immediate visceral reaction. Even if we wanted to, most of us don't have the stomach for it.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:33 PM on July 16, 2010


Yes, let's investigate a foreign nation's handling of a diplomatic situation instead of doing anything at all about Goldman Sachs. That's much safer.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:37 PM on July 16, 2010


As I understand it, gasoline distribution isn't 'BP gas goes to the BP station; Shell gas goes to the Shell station.'

Yeah but BP gets paid to deliver the gas. They also collect hefty franchise fees for the use of the BP brand and logo. Either way, as I said, Floridians in my area just can't bring themselves to go to BP stations. Several of the local BP stations have already closed up shop.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:40 PM on July 16, 2010


In April, Ms. Casey and Mr. Paredes had voted against filing the fraud case in the first place, concerned that the agency didn't have the strongest case and risked losing it in court, people familiar with the matter say.

Funny how the WSJ article you linked above first seems to imply the republicans on the sec commission that reached the settlement with Goldman voted against the settlement on the grounds that the penalty was insufficient, only to go on several paragraphs later to note the republicans on the commission originally argued forcefully against launching any kind of investigation into Goldman's practices at all.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 PM on July 16, 2010


I've turned the AC in my Escalade from 72 degrees up to 76. That'll show BP.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:36 PM on July 16, 2010


It might help if you understood what you're citing:

In a letter leaked by a Whitehall source, he wrote: “I had previously accepted the importance of the al-Megrahi issue to Scotland and said I would try to get an exclusion for him on the face of the agreement. I have not been able to secure an explicit exclusion. [emphasis mine]

The exclusion MacAskill was asking for was from the prisoner transport agreement: ie. MacAskill was wanting to make sure Megrahi stayed in jail in Scotland despite the transfer agreement. When the problem of Megrahi having advanced cancer came up, that triggered a completely different procedure.

By the way MacAskill is not a judge, he's the justice minister, no judges were involved in the release so your comments about 'Scottish judges' are both irrelevant and ignorant.

At the point when moves were made for a judicial appeal, it was hampered because the UK Crown Office, the Foreign Office and police all failed to give their consent to an official request to disclose the material needed. The appeal request came about after a

three-and-a-half-year investigation by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) concluded that there were six grounds for believing Megrahi may have suffered a miscarriage of justice.


This is the body which routinely investigates miscarriages of justice, and they were allowed to see the evidence which was not being allowed into court, if they found sufficient grounds for an appeal, and the appeal was obstructed that's a very worrying thing for the safety of the conviction, (though no doubt according to you they were all bribed).

The BP lobbying of the UK government was pretty blatant, and very easily unearthed, so if you expect me to believe they went on to nobble our justice secretary, I'd expect you to be able to show that, instead of relying on smears.
posted by Flitcraft at 8:46 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


By the way MacAskill is not a judge, he's the justice minister, no judges were involved in the release so your comments about 'Scottish judges' are both irrelevant and ignorant.

Flitcraft--are you serious? I didn't emphasize the mention of Scottish officials because I ignorantly misunderstood the reference to imply some involvement on the part of Scottish officials. I emphasized it to point out that the British official had later taken a contrary position motivated purely by concern for the business interests of BP.

Your reading of my comment is bizarre and I can only believe willfully uncharitable. Your eliding two completely unrelated points from my original comment, the first meant only to establish that British officials knew of the Scottish government's opposition to transferring al-Megrahi back to Libya but decided to discreetly push for his transfer anyway, and the second, which is only meant to point out that the suggested conspiracy to get al-Megrahi released on bogus compassionate grounds doesn't even require an especially elaborate coordination of conspirators to pull off: a couple of corruptible doctors and one well-placed, corruptible Scottish judge, hypothetically, would be nearly all it takes to pull off such a plot, had there in fact been one.

In contrast, the suggestions of a plot to frame al-Megrahi would have required the involvement of scores of government officials from multiple different countries, various intelligence agencies and the courts all working in close collaboration, for no particularly well defined purpose that I can tell other than to frame an innocent man.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:27 PM on July 16, 2010


Ach... "you're eliding."

Also, fine, I stand corrected in my characterization of the scottish official as a judge. I thought a justice minister was essentially what we would call a judge in the American system. Thanks for correcting that misconception. You are right to point out my ignorance of the Scottish justice system. But surely you aren't suggesting that justice ministers are uniquely incorruptible?

It doesn't matter in any case. The matter is already being investigated. That's the point, not whether or not you or I personally think BP is guilty as charged. Although I'm not nearly as charitable as you are in my own opinions on that question.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:33 PM on July 16, 2010


This is the body which routinely investigates miscarriages of justice, and they were allowed to see the evidence which was not being allowed into court, if they found sufficient grounds for an appeal, and the appeal was obstructed that's a very worrying thing for the safety of the conviction, (though no doubt according to you they were all bribed).

I would also point out that despite your insistence on his innocence, the charges ultimately were not thrown out on the basis of any finding of a miscarriage of justice. Al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds because it was claimed he likely had at most three months to live. No one who did have access to all the evidence ever ruled that he was not guilty. Why are you suggesting that he was, as if it were relevant, when it isn't?

And once more, how did al-Megrahi end up with 2 million pounds tucked away in a Swiss bank account if he was an innocent patsy? He was a low-ranking airline worker. It must have taken him an awful long time to scrounge up that much in savings.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:41 PM on July 16, 2010


And once more, how did al-Megrahi end up with 2 million pounds tucked away in a Swiss bank account if he was an innocent patsy?

What? Is every person who has $2 million dollars in the bank a terrorist? I don't understand at all what you're trying to imply here. He was a Libyan Intelligence chief. Why wouldn't he have money stashed away in some swiss bank? What does the money have to do with the bombing?
posted by delmoi at 11:38 PM on July 16, 2010


I just want a nice clear outline of how to boycott BP (versus the station owners who may have a drop of their product in "BP" gasoline).
Boycotting BP stations hurts BP because station owners can change to other types of stations. There's no way to segregate "BP"s oil from other oil, especially (I think) because when you buy BP gas, you're buying stuff that BP refined, whereas BP's crude oil could go anywhere.

The other day someone was saying that buying BP stock isn't "supporting" the company, which is obviously absurd. It's amazing how people try to confuse these basic issues, I guess because they don't want to bother with their own moral culpability (in buying BP stock or BP gas)

Regarding al-Megrahi, isn't there a lot of evidence that the guy might have been innocent?
Look around you... we live in the age of cheap oil. Anything plastic in your home? Oil. How it got to your home? Oil. The food in your fridge? produced by intensive farming practices and transport thanks to oil.
Bla bla bla. A lot of that stuff could be made with other means. Plastics? Can be refined from biomatter just as easily as oil. After all, you can make just about any type of oil you want from plant and animal oil. It's just far more expensive. But the costs of plastics from biomatter would still be pretty cheap. We use far less plastic then we do gasoline and other fossil fuels. And more importantly, creating plastic doesn't create greenhouse gases, unless you burn them.

The fertilizers need electricity, but they can be created using nuclear energy. There are also fertilizers that come directly from oil (I think) but plants need just a few chemicals, plus sunlight, to grow. All of which can be aquired without oil. Like I said, you need electricity but it doesn't mater where the electricity comes from.

This scare story bullshit about how all modern life depends on oil is just that, bullshit. Other then oil as a fuel, using small amounts of oil to make plastics isn't a problem, and those plastics can be made from other sources anyway.
posted by delmoi at 11:39 PM on July 16, 2010


"And once more, how did al-Megrahi end up with 2 million pounds tucked away in a Swiss bank account if he was an innocent patsy? He was a low-ranking airline worker. It must have taken him an awful long time to scrounge up that much in savings."

for all those who wish to read an insightful introduction to tall of this, steal This Private eye report mentioned earlier. Lockerbie appears, according to the report, to be revenge for the US navy shooting down an Iranian Airliner carrying approx. 290 men, women and children. Magrahi was innocent. Thank god he got released, such an utter miscarriage of justice.
posted by marienbad at 2:53 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, SaulGoodman, you are quoting from the Daily "we hate all forrins" Mail on Metafilter? Please read the Guardian article cited earlier in this thread. Again, Magrahi was innocent. Can you name the other accused who was found not guilty? why would that be?
posted by marienbad at 3:01 AM on July 17, 2010


Boycotting BP at the pump is missing the point so hard it's depressing.

Could you at least tell us what you think the point is? Because you didn't.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:55 AM on July 17, 2010


Anyone who still thinks Kenny MacAskill, Scotland's SNP Cabinet Secretary for Justice, was in cahoots with then Labour government in London understands literally nothing about Scottish politics.
posted by imperium at 4:02 AM on July 17, 2010


The following comment is information for Bwithh at 1:34 PM on July 16 on the status of Scots Law and the Scottish legal system -

'74. ...By the time of the Union a well-defined and independent system of Scottish law had been established. This was recognised in the Union settlement, which provided for the preservation of the separate code of Scots law and the Scottish judiciary and legal system. Under Article XIX the two highest Scottish courts - the Court of Session and the High Court of Justiciary - were to continue, and were not to be subject to the jurisdiction of the English courts. These bodies have remained respectively the supreme civil and criminal courts in Scotland, while beneath them there is a completely separate Scottish system of jurisdiction and law courts, with a judiciary, advocates and solicitors, none of whom are interchangeable with their English counterparts....

76 ...Nevertheless the two systems remain separate, and - a unique constitutional phenomenon within a unitary state - stand to this day in the same juridical relationship to one another as they do individually to the system of any foreign country.'

SOURCE: 'ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE CONSTITUTION, 1969-1973', VOLUME I, paras. 74 and 76, Cmnd. 5460
TO BE CONTINUED...
posted by Scotnat2007 at 7:02 AM on July 17, 2010


...CONTINUED

AS far as devolution is concerned Scots Law and the Scottish legal system could not possibly be devolved as I hope the above extracts clarify. What was devolved was the authority to legislate for Scots Law and the Scottish legal system.
posted by Scotnat2007 at 7:06 AM on July 17, 2010


How are the boycotts of Shell for Ken Saro Wira going?
posted by Artw at 7:20 AM on July 17, 2010


How are the boycotts of Shell for Ken Saro Wira going?

We're hanging in there!
posted by geoff. at 8:32 AM on July 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ouch.
posted by Artw at 8:34 AM on July 17, 2010


Thank god this isn't my investigation, because I don't see how on earth I could prove my case when apparently the mere suggestion by observers with no legal authority is enough to overturn a man's lawful conviction in the UK's system.

Also, I'm constantly amazed by the number of MeFites who consider millions of dollars/pounds to be only a marginal sum one might just find lying around somewhere. Delmoi: I don't believe it's all that clear al-Megrahi was any kind of intelligence agent. As far as I know, the facts established during the case held him out to be a low-ranking airline worker, and any implications of his having been more than that are just part of the seemingly impenetrable cloud of speculative theorizing and conjecture that seems to hang over this case. All the reputable media accounts seem pretty clear on the point that, officially, he was nothing buy a lowly airline worker. But if in fact he was a Libyan intelligence operative, is that supposed to somehow make me view him as less likely to be a participant in the kind of plot he's been implicated in? Because it doesn't.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:51 AM on July 17, 2010


saulgoodman at 10:51 AM on July 17 writes:

'...when apparently the mere suggestion by observers with no legal authority is enough to overturn a man's lawful conviction in the UK's system.'

What exactly is that supposed to mean?
posted by Scotnat2007 at 11:52 AM on July 17, 2010


The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission is a public body which was established by an Act of Parliament to produce robust and impartial review of cases independently of Parliament, the Scottish Government, the Crown, the Justiciary and the Defence.

They do indeed have legal authority - they can make our high court re-open cases, as they did in this case. They are not just 'a body of observers', they are there to start the process to overturn convictions, if there are grounds for thinking them unsafe.

They found six grounds for thinking a miscarriage of justice had occurred- that meant the proper legal process to determine if the conviction was safe was for it to go to appeal. The appeal was obstructed by various bodies refusing to release the necessary evidence and then dropped by Megrahi when cancer intervened and the other quicker process was triggered. Now you can go on and on about whether he has 2 million pounds in a bank account but that doesn't make the conviction safe. The conviction had enough problems found by an independent review that it needed to be tested again- and it wasn't. So there is a significant element of doubt as to whether it would have held up on appeal.

I notice that you've still failed to produce any evidence that our justice secretary was got at by BP, so I take it that you cant.
posted by Flitcraft at 11:57 AM on July 17, 2010


The point being, regardless of whether you're satisfied with how the process worked out, the end result has not at any point been the reversal of a conviction, and his release was on other grounds. That's been my only contention here and yet I feel as if you're disputing the fact of that outcome on the basis of your own opinion that the outcome was flawed. Your opinion doesn't change the actual situation, which is all I've meant to say: the fact of al-Megrahi's conviction--no matter what our opinions about it may be--remains the same, doesn't it?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:37 PM on July 17, 2010


"...and yet I feel as if you're disputing the fact of that outcome on the basis of your own opinion that the outcome was flawed. Your opinion doesn't change the actual situation, which is all I've meant to say: the fact of al-Megrahi's conviction--no matter what our opinions about it may be--remains the same, doesn't it?"

"They found six grounds for thinking a miscarriage of justice had occurred- that meant the proper legal process to determine if the conviction was safe was for it to go to appeal. The appeal was obstructed by various bodies refusing to release the necessary evidence and then dropped by Megrahi when cancer intervened"

yes technically he is still guilty, but in reality, it was a show trial ran by America.

really mate, you need to download and read this report. (or buy it from the private-eye site (www.private-eye.co.uk)) Originally it was blamed on Iran but then the political situation changed and blame had to be allocated somewhere else. Please read it before commenting again.
posted by marienbad at 4:41 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


White House backed release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi
posted by homunculus at 12:26 AM on July 26, 2010


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