June 5 2011
This rare update is spurred by an excellent video I just saw from Journeyman productions - not sure if they made it or who they are - it says 2003, which seems right - but it's a rare video on Libya and Lockerbie that gives real insight.
The $10 billion mentioned was never paid. It was set at 2.7 billion in 2003, and settled up by, I think, 2008 to a slightly different tune. I don't have the details handy, but lawyers got a lot of it.
The video mentions this as being no admission of guilt but rather the government's purchase of "a license" to simply be allowed back into the world economy (see 7:25). Further, Libya agreed to drop its own claims over the 1986 US bombing, by "mad dog" Reagan, of Tripoli and Benghazi, that killed around fifty innocents. This was in retaliation for another attack the Libyans have sworn they never carried out, and the effects are covered touchingly in the video. Note the contrast of the victims of that bombing in seeking justice compared to those whose case was against Libya, and who had it muscled through to amazingly painful effects for Libya, by the best of Anglo-American imperial might.
Of course, as Professor Black explains here in part, that case itself is weak and unreliable, the judgment confirming it perverse. See the rest of this site for a fuller exploration of the depth of unreliability dug out by the Lockerbie case. But they paid up anyway, because the sanctions rested on the perverse verdict and those were quite real.
Detente did follow from 2003-2011, greased along with Tripoli swearing off all terroorism, real or imagined, abandonimg all WMD programs, including a nuclear deterrent, promising reforms in Libya, and opening to foreign oil companies. But the companies weren't fully happy, the system was still too Libyan, and plots still simmered under the surface, and now ...
It's insane to think eight years later, all paid-up, the country is finally being destroyed completely anyways. At least $60 billion (perhaps more like $100 billion) in Libyan government funds - for military, civilian, and all uses - was just frozen by the US and a handful of other countries. And the NATO bombs are falling across non-rebel Libya. This is all officially based on some muddled humanitarian concern that can only be answered by Gaddafi "leaving" and taking his system - women empowerment, massive benefits for citizens at large, limited foreign control, etc. - with him. This is all being handed to us sewn together wrong, and I'm still working on fixing that, as much as I can, at my new blog The Libyan Civil War: Critical Views.