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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:

KENSINGTON PALACE COO!
How some of London’s most valuable properties, owned by the Queen, have been sold via a series of leases to sunny offshore tax havens.

SHEIKH YOUR BOOTY
Endurance GB, which governs long-distance horse racing, gets its reward for keeping quiet about scandals linked to the family of wealthy devotee Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai.

TTFN, TTA…
The Tutors’ Association may speak up noisily for private academic tutors, but it turns out it’s neither an official regulatory or professional body.

PENSION UN-WISE
Why millions of people who cash in private pensions will be left seeking advice from a bunch of amateurs under the Pension Wise initiative.

NHS COMMISSIONING
Clinical commissioning groups set up to give GPs control of health budgets offer rich pickings to consultants – often with nothing to show for their services.

RIP-OFF LENDING
As payday lenders are squeezed, ‘rent to own’ firms that sell household goods to low-income families are cashing via high-cost credit.

CHARITY NEWS
The government is at last considering taking action over landlords who use fake charity tenants to avoid paying rates on empty properties.

CAMPHILL COMMUNITIES
Mediation fails to resolve problems in the village of Botton, where disabled people share homes and work alongside their able-bodied co-workers.

private eye issue 1384
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 1383
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