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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:

CHEQUE MATE
More on Specsavers’ attempts to hush up the costly fallout from legal cases in which it was accused of bullying opticians out of their businesses.

FROM DUDLEY TO DAMMAM
Dudley College cuts courses and jobs in the West Midlands, but salaries offered at its Saudi Arabian branch suggest it is swimming in money.

ON THIN ICCE
Advertising watchdogs ban a fundamentalist Christian exam board from exaggerating the value of its International Certificate of Christian Education.

NUDGE-NUDGE, WONK-WONK
Policy wonks cash in as the Cabinet Office ‘Nudge Unit’ is mutualised and becomes Behavioural Insights Ltd – with a £5m Cabinet Office contract.

DONE OVER BY DUNBAR
Dunbar Bank, owned by a group that pays Tony Blair a reported £1m a year, makes 71 customers bankrupt after deciding to pull out of property loans.

SEEING RED
NHS England’s decision to delay the release of a life-saving drug is a further cruel blow to victims of the contaminated blood scandal with hepatitis C.

SIGN OF THE TIMES
Why Deaf people and sign language interpreters are on tenterhooks over a delayed announcement affecting public sector sign language provision.

CO-WORKERS UNITE!
Trade union Unite now joins the battle on behalf of disabled residents and co-workers in the unique Yorkshire village community of Botton.

SARK ATTACK
The mystery island visitor who turned out to be spying for those associated with the weirdo Barclay twins, owners of nearby Brecqhou.

private eye issue 1392
To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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