Bush Administration Trades Terror Victim Families for Libyan Oil

Saturday, December 27, 2008

On September 19, 1989, a terrorist bomb destroyed the French-operated flight UTA 772, flying from Chad to Paris, killing all on board. Among the 170 victims were seven Americans, including Bonnie Barnes Pugh, the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Chad. Under the auspices of the 1996 Anti-Terrorism act, which allows individuals to sue countries that sponsor terrorism and collect damages in a U.S. court, Federal Judge Henry H. Kennedy in January 2008 found Libya responsible for the explosion of flight 772, and declared the Libyan government financially liable for $6 billion in damages. In August, Libya’s dictator, Muammar al-Qaddafi, cut a deal with the State Department, offering $1.5 billion in return for the right to renew business with Western oil companies and others. However, the State Department has decided to allocate only $10 million to the estate of each victim, and establish a commission to deal with further claims. The State Department notes that the payments are equivalent to the amount given to the families of the 180 Americans who died in the more infamous explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. In 2007, the United States imported almost $3 billion worth of oil from Libya.

Families Who Sued Libya See Their Victory Voided (by Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post)


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