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From the Eye archives
Lockerbie Latest
Issue 1245, 15th September 2009
megrahi.jpg
Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi

The break-in at Heathrow
It was supposedly a Scottish prosecution, but two US prosecutors sat alongside the prosecution team and appeared to Dr Kochler to be “supervisors” influencing what was released into open court and what was kept secret. Said Dr Kochler: "It was a consistent pattern during the whole trial. As an apparent result of political interest considerations, efforts were undertaken to withhold substantial information from the court.”

More evidence has since emerged – such as a break-in at Heathrow near the Pan Am bay shortly before the flight took off, which was concealed from the trial. This might have explained evidence that was given at the trial by a baggage handler who said he saw that an extra Samsonite briefcase (like the one experts said contained the bomb) had been placed on top of a baggage container destined for the flight while he had left it unattended when he went for his tea.

Governments are still influencing the case
Further evidence, which the Scottish criminal cases review commission (SCCRC) has seen, and which formed one of the six grounds that it cited pointing to the fact that the wrong man had been convicted, remains secret. Even now, 20 years down the line, the government is still claiming public interest immunity on evidence that the SCCRC said should never have been withheld.

With Megrahi’s agreement to drop his appeal and his resulting release, it is clear that governments are still influencing the case. If Britain’s new best friend, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and his government have been welcoming Megrahi back in a way that seems to have offended so many commentators, it is because they owe him. He was a step in their country’s rehabilitation with the west.

As the Eye has said ever since we predicted that the appeal would not be heard, it suits none of the administrations – the US, the UK or Libya – to have the case reopened. The forthcoming release of the papers by Tony Kelly, Megrahi’s Glasgow-based solicitor, should prove that the Libyan was not responsible for the atrocity in the skies over Lockerbie. The papers will not prove, however, who was responsible, nor why the chance to bring the real bombers to justice was so evidently botched – or, worse, deliberately sabotaged. That is what the politicians should really be shouting about.

More top stories in the latest issue:

PARTIAL VICTORY
The MoD withdraws permission for a US treasure hunting firm to plunder the wreck of HMS Victory, which sank near the Channel Islands in 1744.

HSBC CARD SHARPS
Ripping off customers struggling with store card debt is yet another financial crime to be added to the HSBC charge sheet.

SILENT WITNESSES
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are criticised for delaying an investigation into safeguarding procedures, potentially putting children at risk.

DEVO MANC, ANYONE?
Why devolving NHS spending in Greater Manchester to the council creates serious worries over funding and the quality of care.

AMERICAN PIE
US generals may fret about UK defence spending, but cutbacks mean the US will become an even bigger supplier of kit to the UK than it is already.

WATERED DOWN BEER TIE
How the Tories dragged their feet on changes that should eventually free pub landlords from the pubcos’ ruinously expensive beer ‘tie’.

LONDON’S LAUNDRY
The 40,000 London properties owned by foreign companies (36,000 of them in tax havens) that help keep the capital’s dirty money laundry in business.

LUPUS DEATH
The surgeon who for eight months failed to spot what was wrong with a severely ill patient will not face disciplinary action, the GMC decides.

BATTLE OF BOTTON
Disabled people in the community of Botton win a legal stay to stop a charity replacing their volunteer helpers with paid carers.

private eye issue 1388
To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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Private Eye Issue 1387
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