In 2009, top aides to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi called together 15 executives from global energy companies operating in Libya’s oil fields and issued an extraordinary demand: Shell out the money for his country’s $1.5 billion bill for its role in the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 and other terrorist attacks.
If the companies did not comply, the Libyan officials warned, there would be “serious consequences” for their oil leases, according to a State Department summary of the meeting. — NYTimes
According to this fascinating account, some of those energy companies balked, believe it or not. But enough caved in — you know how it works: they weighed the cost of principled refusal against the price of unconscionable concession — and shelled out. Bidness is bidness. What’s an airplane full of dead innocents against billions in oil profits?
Encouraged by such an enlightened western perspective, the kleptocracy of Libya entertained advances from companies such as Occidental Petroleum, Caterpillar, Halliburton, Boeing, etc., to collaborate on Libyan soil. It was strictly pay to play — you want access, you pay a “consultancy fee,” or hire a local company to assist with the transition of business. These financial arrangements are also known (rudely) as “bribes.”
But what the hell? Not all tent dwellers are boy scouts.
I saved the best for last:
Libya became so flush with cash that Bernard L. Madoff, the New York financial manager who stole billions of dollars in a long-running Ponzi scheme, approached officials overseeing the country’s $70 billion sovereign fund a few years ago about an “investment opportunity,” according to a State Department summary of the episode in 2010. “We did not accept,” a Libyan official reported.
You hear this? Led by their crackpot dictator, the Libyan administration –sponsors of international terrorism, embezzling thieves, brutal oppressors and ruthless assassins of their own citizens — take one gander at Bernie Madoff and send his ass packing. Whether they didn’t trust him or just smelled something rotten is unclear, but they weren’t having any part of him or his company.
What does this say about all these financial institutions, investment counselors, and captains of commerce who embraced Madoff, swearing they knew nothing, and claiming to be his victims? The corrupt-to-the-core Libyans have the sense or the smarts to say No, and they have neither?
This is depravity on stilts.
In another depravity-related development, Westboro Baptist Church announced it would demonstrate at Elizabeth Taylor’s funeral. In a message posted Thursday, a spokesman wrote “Actress Elizabeth Taylor has died…Used every gift she had to teach a generation to be proud whores. WBC will picket her funeral.”
This is why I drink on weekends. Have a great one.