Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Qaddafi Still Dodging the Bill for PanAm 103

By Jeff Stein

September 8, 2008

Despite all the warm fuzzies between Condoleezza Rice and Muammar el-Qaddafi in Tripoli last week, there can be little optimism that Libya will make final payments to relatives of the hundreds of Americans killed in the PanAm 103 and LaBelle discotheque terrorist attacks anytime soon.

The Bush administration has said repeatedly that Libya's bizarre dictator must finish making promised payments to the families before normal relations can resume.

The Comprehensive Claims Settlement Agreement that Secretary of State Rice negotiated with the erstwhile rogue obligates Libya to put up $1 billion in compensation to the families in return for the normalization of relations with Washington.

But the agreement has no timetable or deadline. And none of the funds, which Libya originally promised to pay in 2003, have shown up.

There's little reason to be optimistic they will anytime soon. Qaddafi has a history of discarding his promises once he gets what he wants.

And now he's laughing about it.

After he renounced his nuclear weapons program in 2006 -- which a number of experts say was going nowhere anyway -- the Bush administration announced it was removing Libya from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Qaddafi promptly ditched a near-agreement with a lawyer for families of the LaBelle discotheque bombing for final payments.

When the State Department moved last summer to exempt Libya from suits filed by victims of its terrorist attacks, critics cried that the Bush administration was systematically removing incentives for Qaddafi to pay up.

Meanwhile, even before Rice and Qaddafi were televised beaming at each other last week, the dictator's son, a powerful official in his own right, was denying any responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am 103, which was blasted out of the air over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1989, killing all 270 aboard, including 180 Americans.

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi said Libya had accepted responsibility for the attack -- but only to get international sanctions lifted.

"It doesn't mean that we did it, in fact," he told the BBC in a little-noted program broadcast Aug. 31, calling the victims' families "very greedy" for pursuing their claims.

"They were asking for more money and more money and more money," said Junior, who is expected to succeed his father on the throne someday.

Only months earlier Muammar Qaddafi himself had bragged publicly that he'd squeezed as much money out of American oil companies for the rights to drill in Libya as he'd paid out in claims.

"We have paid off the compensations to the victims' families but the US oil companies, which wanted to enter our country had to pay such fees that they brought this money back to Libya," he said in a speech. "So, what we gave with the right hand was later taken with the left."

A State Department spokeswoman, Ann Somerset, told me Monday that the department remains "optimistic" that Qaddafi will pay up, emphasizing that the normalization of relations with Libya, with all its commercial and political benefits, will not go forward "until the entire amount" has been paid.

2 comments:

Luna said...

Something to ponder upon...

the department remains "optimistic" that Qaddafi will pay up, emphasizing that the normalization of relations with Libya, with all its commercial and political benefits, will not go forward "until the entire amount" has been paid.

in other words meaning:
My way or the highway
Pay up or else -face the consequences..

we are not forgetting that we live in a most democratic world and want to ensure that all evil acts are punishable and brought to justice...

to which I quote ...

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn

PH said...

"But the agreement has no timetable or deadline. And none of the funds, which Libya originally promised to pay in 2003, have shown up."

Actually there was a timetable I remember that after Libya handed it old rusty 70's era nuclear program, we studied about in our primary school books, that the US had six months to remove Libya from it's terrorist watch list; before Libya pays the rest of compensation payments ( 6 million per family ).The deadline was on July the 30th 2004, which was extended numerous times to no avail ... the Americans couldn't keep their promise.

The American government lifted the US sanctions on Libya within the deadline and got 4 million per victim for that - as agreed upon - but didn't lift it from its terror list before the agreed upon deadline and thus lost 2 million per victim.

As I'm sure you know the money, in whole was put up in a Swiss escrow account so the Libyan's couldn't have possibly screwed the Americans it was the Americans trying to screw the Libyans and blackmail them to pay more, which is what led to the latest agreement.

It was the American government that backtracked on it's promise, to be more specific the congress. Then the US government went to task to set up the Libyan government for the fall because they don't want to be held accountable by their constituents for the loss of the rest of the compensation money.


Here are some American online references for you :

http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/africa/09/01/libya.uta.facts.reut/index.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/08/world/africa/08libya.html?n=Top%2FReference%2FTimes%20Topics%2FSubjects%2FP%2FPan%20Am%20Flight%20103