Friday, September 04, 2009

Minister Confesses UK Traded Pan Am Bomber for BP-Libya Oil Deal

In an item from the Press Association (UK), Justice Minister Jack Straw takes a fall for Prime Minister Gordon Brown:
But Mr Straw said the issue of trade played "a very big part" in his decision to include Megrahi in a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) struck with Libya in 2007, citing a lucrative deal which was being sought by British oil giant BP at the time.

Documents released earlier this week showed Mr Straw assured the Scottish Government in 2007 that Megrahi would be excluded from any PTA agreed with the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi as part of the normalisation of relations between the UK and Libya. But just weeks later, he informed Edinburgh that he had not been able to secure an exemption for Megrahi and had decided to go ahead with the PTA as it stands "in view of the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom".

Asked whether trade was a factor in his decision, Mr Straw told the Daily Telegraph: "Yes... a very big part of that. I'm unapologetic about that. Libya was a rogue state... We wanted to bring it back into the fold. And yes, that included trade because trade is an essential part of it and subsequently there was the BP deal."

Mr Straw said Mr Brown was not involved in the decision to press ahead with the PTA, saying: "I certainly didn't talk to the PM. There is no paper trail to suggest he was involved at all."

In January 2008, just weeks after the PTA was sealed, Libya ratified a £550 million oil deal with BP.