US Oil Companies lobbied ‘Lockerbie’ Senator to protect Libya

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New information has emerged showing the extent of lobbying of the US Senate by US oil firms over business deals with Libya.

It reveals that US oil companies wanted Libya excluded from new legislation that would have allowed American victims of state sponsored terrorism to sue the countries responsible as well as firms operating within those countries.

 

New information has emerged showing the extent of lobbying of the US Senate by US oil firms over business deals with Libya.

It reveals that US oil companies wanted Libya excluded from new legislation that would have allowed American victims of state sponsored terrorism to sue the countries responsible as well as firms operating within those countries.

The amendment to remove Libya from the bill was co-sponsored by Frank Lautenberg – one of the four senators currently claiming BP lobbied for Al Megrahi’s release.  The revelation will fuel calls for those US Senators, keen to investigate any business involvement with the case of Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, to start with companies at home.

The information shows:

  • US Oil companies were the chief lobbyists to have Libya excluded from legislation allowing American victims of state sponsored terrorism to sue responsible countries or US firms operating in those countries.
  • The legislation removing Libya from the bill was co-sponsored by Frank Lautenberg – one of the four senators currently claiming BP lobbied for Al Megrahi’s release.
  • Reports in the New York Times when the legislation – which prevented the families of victims of the Lockerbie bombing suing Libya was introduced – state that ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil, Amerada Hess and Occidental all lobbied alongside the Libyan Government.   These firms, along with an Oil industry lobby group and supported by ExxonMobil, Chevron and Dow Chemical all lobbied US senators to pass the amendment exempting Libya.
  • The amendment passed unanimously with no Senator speaking out against it.

Questions have also been raised over the role of the US-Libya Business Association and a trade deal signed between the US and Libya in May 2010 which highlighted oil as Libya’s major export to the USA.

SNP MSP Christine Grahame who has repeatedly urged the US Senators to investigate their own back yard said:

“This is another example of utter hypocrisy from the senators involved.

“Before they go making accusations at other countries and other companies they should look closely in their own back yard.”

Ms Graham criticised the reluctance of the Senate Hearing to speak to US oil firms adding:

“As yet they have failed to call Exxon Mobil – a key member of the UK Libya Business council whose activities so concerned them.

“They have not called in US CIA agents involved in negotiations with Libya and despite their concern over the UK’s deal in the desert – a concern I share – they do not seem to have any problems with their own Government signing trade deals based on oil with Libya.

“If I was running their inquiry I would certainly want to know if US companies and trade negotiators discussed Al Megrahi.”

Ms Graham highlighted the role of Senator Lautenberg in protecting Libya from lawsuits and called on the Senate Committee to join the growing calls for a full international inquiry into the Lockerbie tragedy.

“Above all we now know that one of the US Senators laying accusations against the Scottish Government and BP put forward legislation on behalf of the Libyan Government and US Oil companies that stops American citizens pursuing Libya in the courts over this or any other terrorist act.

“I do not doubt the Senators care and concern for the families of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing and I share their desire to get to the truth over the bombing but would urge them to join me in backing a full international inquiry into the atrocity. Their hypocrisy in making allegations against the Scottish Government when they themselves have acted in favour of US oil and Libyan Government lobbying is deeply distasteful.”

New oil find
The revelations follow the announcement by Libya’s Waha oil Company (WOC) of a new major oil find in the country.

WOC said in its website that it had made a new discovery in the Sirte basin, 80 km south east of the area of Marada.  The company said the output of the well of Lidam layer was 1.080 ppd and 0.86 million cubic meters of gas per day.  The output of the lower white layer was 1.704 million ppd and 0.025 million cubic meters of gas per day.

Waha Oil Company is considered to be the second biggest oil producer in Libya, it is owned by National Oil Corporation (NOC) in a joint venture with three American companies namely:
ConocoPhillips, Marathon and Amerada Hess.

These companies have been working as partners since Jan 2006.

U.S.-Libyan relations
According to Reuters, the following are some important events in U.S.-Libyan relations:

  • January 1986 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan orders halt to economic and commercial relations with Libya, freezes Libyan assets in the United States.
  • April 1986 – U.S. blames Libya for bombing of West Berlin disco used by U.S. military personnel that killed three people and wounded more than 200.
  • April 1986 – U.S. aircraft bomb Tripoli, Benghazi and the home of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Libya says more than 40 people are killed, including Gaddafi’s adopted baby daughter.
  • December 1988 – Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York is blown up over Scotland, killing 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie.
  • April 1999 – Libya hands over two suspects in the Pan Am bombing. They stand trial in the Netherlands under Scottish law.
  • January 2001 – One suspect is found guilty of murder and given a mandatory life sentence. The other is acquitted.
  • March 2003 – Libya reaches political agreement with the United States and Britain to accept civil responsibility for the bombing. Libya agrees to pay about $2.7 billion.
    Libya says it will abandon weapons of mass destruction programs and allow international inspectors.
  • June 2004 – U.S. and Libya resume diplomatic ties after 24 years.
  • September 2004 – President George W. Bush formally ends U.S. trade embargo on Libya, rewarding it for giving up weapons of mass destruction, but leaves some terrorism-related sanctions in place.
  • January 2008 – Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Shalgam, Libya’s foreign minister, declares an end to confrontation with the United States during a visit to Washington, the first by a Libyan foreign minister since 1972.
  • August 2008 – Libya and the United States sign a deal to compensate all U.S. and Libyan victims of bombings or their relatives.
  • September 2008 – Condoleezza Rice meets Gaddafi in Tripoli during the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to Libya since 1953.
  • July 2009 – Gaddafi and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands at a world leaders’ dinner during a G8 summit in Italy.

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