Rabbi Shmuley Unleashed

Rabbi Shmuley Unleashed


BP, Kaddafi, and Britain’s Oil Comeuppance

 Leading British politicians have been running to defend BP from unwarranted American attack and “bashing Britain.” First we stole their tea. Now we disparage their oil. The nerve.

 


Leading the charge was London Mayor Boris Johnson who said there is “something
worrying about the anti-British rhetoric that seems to be permeating from
America.” Next up was Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who, in a thinly veiled
attack against President Obama, said, “I don’t
frankly think we will reach a solution to stopping release of oil into the
ocean any quicker by allowing this to spiral into a tit for tat political
diplomatic spat.” The biggest critic was
Lord Tebbit, a former Thatcher
Cabinet Minister, who called Obama’s attitude toward BP “despicable.”

 Curiously, none of those seeking to paint BP as a victim made
reference to its atrocious safety record prior to the Deepwater Horizon
explosion on 20 April, 2010. An internal BP report of 2004 found “a pattern of the company intimidating workers who raised
safety or environmental concerns,” and “managers shaved maintenance costs by
using aging equipment for as long as possible.”

 In 2005 an explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery killed
15 people. A ProPublica report found “significant process safety issues exist
at all five U.S. refineries, not just Texas City.” It added that “the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the firm $87 million for
not improving safety at the same Texas plant.”

 Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen summed it up. “BP is a
London-based oil company with one of the worst safety records of any oil
company operating in America. In just the last few years, BP has paid $485
million in fines and settlements to the US government for environmental crimes,
willful neglect of worker safety rules, and penalties for manipulating energy
markets.”

 So why would the British defend this horrible safety
record by insinuating that American rage at BP is “British bashing?” And let’s
not forget that BP itself changed its name in 2001 from British Petroleum,
almost as if it were ashamed of the word “British.”

 Britain does itself no favors by complaining about a
falling share price and lost dividends while eleven Americans lie dead,
thousands of Gulf Coast residents have lost their livelihood, and innumerable
wildlife wash up ashore drenched in BP guck.

 Unfortunately Britain’s penchant of putting oil profits
ahead of human life has a shameful and recent precedent.

 In an act of unforgettable infamy the Scottish
government, in August of last year, released convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel
Basset al-Megrahi, who murdered 270 people, on “humanitarian grounds,” saying
that he had only three months to live. The mass-murderer was immediately
accorded a hero’s welcome by Kaddafi in Tripoli. FBI Director Robert Mueller
published an angry letter to the Scottish government that said, “Y
our action makes a mockery of the rule of law.
Your action gives comfort to terrorists around the world.”

 From the beginning there was
speculation that al-Megrahi’s release was brokered by the British government in
exchange for lucrative British oil contracts with Libya. Kaddafi himself
publicly thanked Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth for
facilitating the terrorist’s release. “
This step,” he said, “is in the interest of relations between the two
countries…and of the personal friendship between me and them and will be
positively reflected for sure in all areas of cooperation between the two
countries.”

Kaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam went further, saying that in all his
meetings with British officials to discuss oil contracts the subject of the
Lockerbie bomber’s release was an absolute condition of any deal. “In all
British interests regarding Libya, I always put you on the table,” he told the
killer.

 And which British companies were pushing hardest to strike a deal with
Kaddafi? Reuters named BP and Shell at the top of the list.

 A few weeks after this murky deal was concluded I hosted a protest on
my front lawn against Kaddafi who was planning to pitch a tent immediately next
door to me in Englewood, New Jersey, in a mansion owned by the Libyan mission
to the United Nations. Those attending included New Jersey governor Jon Corzine
and Senator Frank Lautenberg. But the standout speakers were families of the
victims of Pan Am 103 who described how their lives had been shattered by
Kaddafi’s atrocity and their outrage at the British and Scots for releasing the
bomber after only eight years in prison.

 Now comes word via the London Times that Kaddafi plans to pay £2
billion to victims of IRA bombs for his role in supplying shiploads of
explosives. “Semtex supplied by Kaddafi’s regime,” the Times said, “was used by
the IRA in at least 10 atrocities, including the bombing of Harrods in 1983 and
Enniskillen in 1987. The Real IRA used it at Omagh in 1998, killing 29 people
and injuring 220. It was used in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 at Lockerbie,
when 270 were killed.” The Times revealed that Gordon Brown had initially
balked from pressuring Kaddafi to pay the victims “for fear of harming trade.”

 But Kaddafi has now decided that a grand humanitarian gesture, without
any admission of responsibility, “will end the legal actions and build
diplomatic and business relations with the UK.”

 It is now ten months since the Lockerbie bomber’s release. It appears
that miracles still happen because the previously terminally ill patient is
somehow alive and well and, according to Kaddafi’s son, ‘greatly improved’ now
that he is home in Libya. As for the reward to Britain, the Daily Mail reported
that just five months after the bomber’s release “Libya announced plans to
invest £5 billion in the UK.”

 In the aftermath of these shameful British actions, I continue to
fight what has become a lonesome battle against Kaddafi’s Ambassador living
next door to me in a state where 30 people died aboard Pan Am 103. My pleas to
Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle and City Council President Scott Reddin to take
action against the mission of a terror-sponsoring government living tax-free in
a city strapped for cash, and in post 9/11 America, have been met with little
response. Most shocking of all Congressman Steve Rothman of New Jersey’s Ninth
district, now up for reelection, was quoted as saying that he expected us
residents to act as “appropriately good neighbors” with the Libyan Ambassador.

 Justice be damned.

 

 




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