The Lockerbie bombing was a traumatic event in Western history. A plane called the Clipper Maid of the Sea was destroyed by a bomb. The deaths included 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 on the ground for a total of 270. One man was convicted for the bombing. His name is Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi. He was sentenced to life in prison with a recommendation that he serve at least twenty years. He was released by the Scottish government after serving less than ten years on the grounds that he had terminal prostate cancer with less than three months to live. Only the one unnamed doctor supported this diagnosis. It is alleged that there were four specialists on cancer who did not agree and whose advice was ignored. Nevertheless, he was released on compassionate ground to “die” in homeland of Libya.
Let me quote wikipedia concerning his triumphal return to Libya: Megrahi landed in Libya to national celebrations and acclaim. As he left the plane, a crowd of several hundred young people were gathered at Tripoli Airport to welcome him, some waving Libyan or Scottish flags, others throwing flower petals. Many had been ushered away by Libyan officials in an attempt to play down the arrival in accordance with British and US wishes. Megrahi was accompanied by Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was dressed in a traditional white robe and golden embroidered vest. It was he who had pledged in 2008 to bring al-Megrahi home, and so he raised his arm in victorious salute to the crowd. Megrahi was then joined on the aircraft steps by Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, dressed smartly in a white boubou with a tan waistcoat and waving a small Libyan flag at the gathered crowd. This was the first time the pair had met since they had stood side by side during their eight-month trial at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands 8½ years earlier.
Thus, one of the greatest mass murderers of history was returned to his country. Of course, he did not die. Reports indicate that he could live another ten years.
Why was this man released? There is an allegation that British Petroleum wished a lucrative deal with Libya and the imprisonment of their “national hero,” was a roadblock in the negotiation. The negotiations occurred at the same time and were concluded at roughly the same time. The Libyan government has denied any connection between the two sets of negotiations.
Let us assume for the sake of argument that the allegations are true. The convicted killer of 270 people is released so that British Petroleum and the British government can reap enormous profits.
Let’s do an ethical analysis. We are not confronted here with an iffy, unclear, difficult analysis. Releasing convicted murderers on compassionate grounds when the evidence appears to have been flimsy at best is not ethical. Releasing him for money is not ethical to put it kindly.
What conclusions can we draw from this? First, both BP and the British government’s concept of justice is that it is a matter of convenience. Second, money outweighs all other interests.
I call into question the patriotism of British Petroleum in that providing release of a convicted international criminal who performed essentially an act of war is not the action of a group devoted to the interests of any country or any civilized society but motivated only by a concern for profit.
Now, the big question, can we count on international corporations in a time of war? If the United States were to go to war with a large and powerful enemy with considerable economic resources, would international corporations (even nominally based in the United States) offered enormous profits to remain neutral side with this country and decline to sell trade, patent and other secrets to our enemies? Would these corporations refuse to support the United States if such support cost profits particularly in the areas of trade disruption or mineral rights?
Does the regularly delivered evidence of corporate malfeasance indicate a willingness to abandon national interests in time of war if such would cost profits? Could an enemy of the United States purchase military secrets held by corporations if they name the right price?
I believe that currently with the enormous financial resources of the United States that we can outbid other countries for the continued favor of international corporations. Since this country is squandering its manufacturing base and descending into an ear of corporate ethical darkness, it is doubtful that such a financial advantage can long continue.
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