The 270 victims of Pan Am 103 may soon rest easier because their murderer is on the brink of being toppled from power. Even as the world awaits word of Gadhafi’s downfall, however, it must also look toward a day of reckoning for those in the West who supported him and kept him in power.
For decades, the world tolerated the crazed and bloodthirsty Libyan leader for one reason: He had oil.
Truth regardless of consequences The most egregious violators were the British. Prime Minister David Cameron and Labor leader Ed Milliband decry Britain’s loss of morals, which, they say, is evidenced by the recent News of the World tabloid scandal and the riots that had London burning.
In truth, the UK’s moral bankruptcy was out there for all to see when it set free the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, whom Scottish authorities assured us was at death’s door but who ironically might outlive Gadhafi himself. Not only must al-Megrahi be recaptured and brought back to rot in jail, but all the documents detailing the negotiations for his release must also see the light of day. The world has a right to know whether the sacred memory of 270 innocent victims was sold so that British oil companies such as BP could benefit. We also need to know who in Britain negotiated this shameful release.
Which bring us to Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, whom the Daily Mail says reportedly went to Libya “on behalf of J.P. Morgan, an American bank which pays him a mere Â£2 million a year [$3.3 million], and which has been keen to develop banking opportunities in the country.” Will Blair and JP Morgan Chase clarify exactly what transpired between them and Gadhafi?
The Daily Mail also reported that the London School of Economics awarded Saif Gadhafi a doctorate under possibly questionable circumstances. Could the degree have had anything to do with the Â£1.5 million [$2.47 million] gift the school accepted from Gadhafi’s son after his graduation, of which only Â£300,000 [$495,000] has been paid?
In my own town of Englewood, N.J., where the Libyans own an official residence immediately next door to me and which has been tax-exempt for nearly three decades, millions of dollars were spent to ready the derelict embassy for Gadhafi’s use in the summer and autumn of 2009. While I have no reason to believe anything illegal occurred during the process of obtaining permits and approvals-although I do have an issue regarding the wanton destruction of my fence and several of my trees-we do have a right to know whether that process was eased in any way to accommodate the Libyans. An investigation into the circumstances is not unwarranted.
Gadhafi’s former ambassador, Muhammad Shalgham, is my next-door neighbor. After serving for eight years as Gadhafi’s foreign minister and then as his ambassador to the United Nations, he did an about face when Gadhafi’s days seemed surely numbered, denouncing his former patron before the Security Council. If Shalgham is sincere in his renunciation, however, he should not be sitting on millions of dollars of New Jersey real estate. The compound would serve the people of Libya by being sold, with the money going to the new government who will need every penny to rebuild after the damage of a devastating civil war.
Then there is Natural Selection, the Los Angeles-based film production fund founded by Matty Beckerman which accepted a $100 million investment from another Gadhafi son, Al-Saadi Qaddafi. In February, Bloomberg News reported that money was being used to finance a film called “The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer,” starring Mickey Rourke. The fund was also backing “Isolation,” a thriller with Susan Sarandon’s daughter, Eva Amurri. Will we all be entertained with this blood money, or will it be returned to the Libyan people?
And then there is Louis Farrakhan, the obsessively anti-Semitic head of the Nation of Islam. He condemned the United States in March for taking military action against Gadhafi and defended the murderer of the Libyan people. At a press conference in Chicago, Farrakhan said, “It is a terrible thing for me to hear my brother called all these ugly and filthy names when I can’t recognize him as that. Even though the current tide is moving against him…, how can I refuse to raise my voice in his defense? Why would I back down from those who have given so much?”
In September 2009, I spoke outside the UN at a Libyan dissident rally attacking Gadhafi while he was inside giving a rambling address to the UN General Assembly. That address included, among other absurd allegations, the charge that the Israelis were involved in the murder of John F. Kennedy. The anti-Gadhafi rally was all but drowned out by hundreds of Nation of Islam followers, who were bused in to support Gadhafi.
Will the Nation of Islam be forced to pay a price for supporting this tyrant and murderer, or will we who are responsible for speaking for his victims be silent even as his friends now go mum?