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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:

DEVONPORT DANGERS
Devonport dockyard, where Britain’s Trident submarines are serviced, is put on ‘special measures’ by nuclear regulators for another five years.

KICK IN THE CRUTCH
Disabled people who rely on the new Personal Independence Payment face arbitrary disqualification as the benefit comes up for its first annual review.

FOBBED OFF ON FOBTs
The government ignores advice and rejects a call to slash the sum punters can stake on notorious fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

NHS WHISTLEBLOWING
A whistle-blower who lost her job after revealing ‘utter chaos’ in a South London health department will learn her fate at an employment tribunal.

DEVELOPMENT AID
The UK’s international development fund CDC may have cleaned up its act – but it’s still consorting with private equity funds based in tax havens.

OVERCHARGING AND OVER HERE
News that the US giant Pfizer has been overcharging the NHS for anti-epilepsy drugs will embarrass some of its political chums in the UK

TOWERING INERTIA
Despite fatalities and repeated warnings, councils are doing virtually nothing to fit sprinklers in tower blocks which are home to around 800,000 people.

FLAILING GRAYLING
Degrees from AC Grayling’s ‘world class’ New College of the Humanities will be accredited by lowly Southampton Solent, which doesn’t even have a humanities department.

FLOATING REVOLTERS
London’s growing army of houseboat dwellers are having to share a tiny number of water taps and rubbish points – and nobody wants to help.

FROCKY HORROR
Fashion designer and self-styled ‘social activist’ Dame Vivienne Westwood continues to use unpaid interns… but now calls them ‘volunteers’ instead!

private eye issue 1399
To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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