Monday, 31 August 2009

The High Price of Oil

You will notice, over this Bank Holiday Weekend, that prices at the petrol pumps are around £1.05 per litre, the highest price for fuel since October 2008. The price of oil has over doubled since that time and retailers would have us believe that they are merely passing on the rises. In fact, they will go higher as a new fuel duty increment is due to come into effect at midnight tonight, adding a few more pence per litre.

But there is a much, much higher price to oil. The weekend papers have revealed, in shocking detail thanks to leaked letters, the suspicions I voiced on my blog last week that the Lockerbie Bomber's release was part of background negotiations by the Government in exchange for oil. The papers go into much detail about Blair's visits to Tripoli on behalf of a £15bn contract for BP and Jack Straw's letters to Kenny MacAskill about how the Bomber's name could not be excluded from a Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) between Britain and Libya, effectively overruling any sentence imposed by the Scottish Legal System for his crimes, as negotiations had reached a 'delicate stage'. We all know what happened next - the bottleneck was removed, the contract was signed and BP had their oil.

This left the nasty issue of Megrahi and how to repatriate him under the agreement. Technically, the Government denials are right - Megrahi's release was not part of the PTA agreed with Libya under the terms of the BP deal. He was released on compassionate grounds, so they can all stand piously - Brown, Straw and Mandelson - and say they had nothing to do with it; it was a decision by Scotland's Justice System with no pressure from the Government. Indeed, any such inference was a heinous crime in itself - the Government 'Thought Police' were going into overdrive.

Everyone was at pains to point out to aggrieved American officials that this was not a prisoner transfer but a compassionate release, even though for many of us it was the first time we had ever heard of a Prisoner Transfer Agreement.

Medical experts have lined up to question whether Megrahi was 'terminal enough' as the grounds for compassionate release should be only 3 months left to live. I think many were pretty shocked at the rather healthy looking individual being hugged by Saif Gadaffi and his father, the Dictator. I may be being a little callous here as new pictures were released over the weekend of the Bomber in hospital in Tripoli, but I cannot shake the belief that Megrahi's release came as part of the price of agreed trade between Libya and Britain. All the leaked evidence now points to the fact that Megrahi's release was part of the deal and what is actually different about his release was that Britain (with Scotland very much part of it) used Megrahi's illness as a convenient cover.

Would the public mind if he lived longer than 3 months and show a miracle rejuvenation like the other compassionate release recently, Ronnie Biggs?

Oil is a demon of a commodity. The West rode roughshod over the Middle East to get it. When these states fought back by reclaiming their territory and voice, we have systematically split the Middle east into friends, foe and people we don't care about - the latter being those who do not have oil. Iraq was amongst the biggest of the foes. After 9/11, George W Bush famously labeled Iraq the 'Axis of Evil' suggesting that the 9/11 attacks emanated from there while asserting that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and was refusing to comply with international law by handing them over. The Second Gulf war proved many things, the most poignant being that Saddam was a spent force, he did not have WMD and that 9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq.

What it did achieve was to rouse just about every would-be terrorist to rally around a cause and a visible enemy.

Oil has a very high price indeed. The few extra pennies of duty we will see tomorrow morning no doubt pays for the commission required by Ministers who helped negotiate the deal with Libya, the state responsible for shooting a Policewoman, Yvonne Fletcher, on a street in London and for blowing 270 people out of the air over the sleepy town of Lockerbie.

The British Government, in its infinite wisdom, went along with Libya's ruse to get us all to accept the country by telling us it was dismantling its nuclear program in return for the prize asset, oil. But there was a far greater price to pay as, somehow, Libya had all the negotiating chips in this international reconciliation process despite supposedly having a rogue capability to bomb us with nuclear devices.

No, we sat down in tents, listened to Gadaffi fart and burp and then did exactly as he wanted.

That is the price of oil. Several names in the Government will be slightly embarrassed about all this but as Jack Straw said about the leaks, they are 'academic'. You see, the clever ruse of compassionate release deflected the blame for such negotiations as the most helpful of all things made sure the Government could point its finger elsewhere - cancer. How convenient that has supplied a neat smokescreen, a disease you would be hard pushed to get consistent care for in Britain today.

The letters prove otherwise. The unhealthy relationship between Gadaffi's son and Peter Mandelson is another to be behold with splendour while the obsequious entourage of background negotiators made sure a British company gets the ability to continue to find enough oil so we can be taxed heavily on it.

Drinks all round - the Government could not have hoped for a better result.

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