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Cables: Libya threatened trade consequences if Lockerbie bomber wasn’t released

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Lockerbie bomberA Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland was released from prison following threats to British business interests, US State Department documents released by WikiLeaks reveal.

While the Scottish government claims Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, known as the Lockerbie bomber, was freed on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal cancer, many have speculated that BP pressured Britain to free him to protect a 2007 oil exploration deal with Libya valued at $900 million.

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British cancer specialists who were involved in the treatment of al-Megrahi, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing 270 people, said they were not consulted about his condition before his release.

Leaked US diplomatic cables, released Tuesday night by WikiLeaks, show that the United Kingdom was warned of “enormous repercussions” for UK-Libyan trade deals if al-Megrahi was not released.

Libyan officials warned that “consequences for the UK-Libya bilateral relationship would be ‘dire’ were al-Megrahi to die in Scottish prison,” a leaked cable notes. “Specific threats have included the immediate cessation of all UK commercial activity in Libya, a diminishment or severing of political ties and demonstrations against official UK facilities.”

In addition, General Qadhafi’s son “linked Megrahi’s release to UK business contracts, asserting that Megrahi’s case was raised during all negotiations of UK-Libya commercial, oil, and gas deals.”

“Saif al-Islam implied that former UK PM Tony Blair had raised Megrahi with the Libyan leader in connection with lucrative business deals during Blair’s 2007 visit to Libya,” the cable continues. “[Note: Rumors that Blair made linkages between Megrahi’s release and trade deals have been longstanding among Embassy contacts. End note.] The UK Ambassador in Tripoli categorically denied the claims.”

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In July, US senators called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to investigate BP’s role in the release of al-Megrahi.

“Evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster seems to suggest that BP would put profit ahead of people,” US Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said in a letter to Clinton. “The question we now have to answer is, was this corporation willing to trade justice in the murder of 270 innocent people for oil profits?”

After Clinton voiced some support for an investigation into BP’s role in the release of al-Megrahi, the oil firm admitted it had lobbied the British government, but denied it sought al-Megrahi’s release.

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“BP told the UK government that we were concerned about the slow progress that was being made in concluding a Prisoner Transfer Agreement with Libya,” BP said in a statement. “We were aware that this could have a negative impact on UK commercial interests, including the ratification by the Libyan government of BP’s exploration agreement.”

“The decision to release al-Megrahi in August 2009 was taken by the Scottish government,” BP claimed. “It is not for BP to comment on the decision of the Scottish government. BP was not involved in any such discussions about the release of al-Megrahi.”

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Jack Straw, the former Labour justice secretary, told The Guardian on Wednesday that the decision to free al-Megrahi was made “by the Scottish government and nobody else.”

“It was a matter of record that Libya wanted al-Megrahi released,” Straw said. “It is also a matter of record that I signed up to a prisoner transfer agreement in 2007 in respect of general prisoner transfers with Libya, but that the agreement was never the vehicle for al-Megrahi’s release. Indeed, he was refused transfer under the PTA and he instead was released under long-standing Scots law on compassionate grounds.”


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‘Angry’ Trump Michigan voters admit they want ‘this nightmare to end’ in November

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President Donald Trump's Michigan supporters are abandoning their 2016 pick for Vice President Joe Biden as the election comes closer.

In a series of interviews on MSNBC Sunday, revisited voters they'd met earlier in the election cycle in Kent County.

Katey Morse and her husband were both working full time, and their kids were in school back in March, but things quickly changed as the coronavirus spread throughout the country. Luckily, she and her husband didn't lose their jobs, but they, like many parents, are struggling to do virtual school for their kids.

"I'm turning into more of an angry person than I've ever been in my life," she said about how she feels politically, noting that it makes her sad. "I've just got a countdown to November now, and I'm hoping we'll wake up from this nightmare we're in."

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Trump abusing the intelligence community in an attempt to keep them quiet about Russia election hacks: Conservative

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The New York Times Magazine piece outlining President Donald Trump's battles with the U.S. intelligence community revealed that Russia is continuing to wage its own cyberwar against the world. According to conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot, the devastating report explained the extent to which the president is ignoring the threats to the 2020 election.

“The options faced by the intelligence community during Trump’s presidency have been stark: avoid infuriating the president but compromise the agencies’ ostensible independence, or assert that independence and find yourself replaced with a more sycophantic alternative," wrote Robert Draper in his lengthy investigation into Trump's efforts to politicize international intelligence. According to Boot, the most shocking part of the investigation was that the experts in the intelligence community have been banned from speaking honestly about the Russian attacks.

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2020 Election

‘Incompetent moron’ Chuck Todd ripped for letting Trump official claim Democrats want more COVID-19 deaths

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"Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd is under fire -- once again -- after letting Donald Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro claim on NBC that Democrats want more Americans to die during the coronavirus pandemic to boost their chances at the polls in November.

Instead of pushing back the NBC host known for his lack of follow-up questions let the comment slide by responding, "I take your point."

Todd's failure to call out the Trump aide for what one Twitter commenter called a "disgusting" comment led to an avalanche of criticism for the MBC political director who recently saw his weekday show cut back to make room for more commentary by colleague Nicolle Wallace.

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