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THE LOCKERBIE FILES
Issue 1246

The Libya ‘link’
So was Libya even involved in the Lockerbie bombing? The answer is that nobody knows. Libya certainly had a grim record in state-sponsored terrorism, but there was scant evidence to link it directly to Lockerbie at the Zeist trial. The links to Libya came from the suggestion that a fragment of a timing device which survived the blast was an MST-13 timer produced by a Swiss company, Mebo, which had supplied some to Libya. But it had also supplied them to East Germany; and in any event Libya could have sold them on. Libya could well have had links with the PFLP and PPF cells; but again there was no evidence of such a link.

So why, then, was all this evidence against the Syrian- and Iranian-backed PFLP and PPF ignored? As Paul Foot explained in Private Eye’s special report, Lockerbie: The Flight from Justice, initially they were pursued - for a solid 18 months, right up to the point of announcing that arrests were imminent. Then suddenly the political mood in the Middle East changed dramatically. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the US/UN forces needed Arab support beyond their usual friends in Egypt. The Syrians were themselves worried about Hussein’s expansion in the area, and in November 1990 deals were signed to both neutralize Iran and to bring Syrian forces into the combined operation known as Desert Storm to reclaim Kuwait.

As Paul Foot described it, Lockerbie was to be played down and President Bush snr declared: “Syria took a bum rap on this.” No wonder no one now wants a public inquiry and the question remains: who was really behind the biggest ever terrorist atrocity on British soil?

Why the wrong man was in the dock »

Read Paul Foot's definitive account, Lockerbie: The Flight From Justice »

More top stories in the latest issue:

HERE COMES THE BRIBE
The shady operators given taxpayer support by UK Export Finance as the government makes it easier to win backing for dubious contracts.

PASSING THE BUCK
Government failure to pursue huge sums of unpaid child maintenance leaves families trapped in poverty.

SUM MISTAKE SURELY
Primary school cuts classroom assistant while paying wads to a maths consultant who is married to the headteacher.

PRIZE CHUMPS
Does your prize ceremony deserve a prize? Conference firm launches awards for awards.

WYE-OH-WYE VALLEY
As bankrupt hospital chair steps down, the new man in the job has a worrying track record on waiting times.

SUB STANDARD
The Navy announces its departure date from Rosyth, but it will be leaving its nuclear waste behind.

WHITE OUT
Custody sergeant who faced prosecution over death in Brixton police station is cleared of perjury and returns to duties.

FARMING DATA
Essex police are forced to disclose internal documents about the investigation into a suspicious death on a farm linked to drug and gun crime.

LONG WAVE?
The new emergency services communication system will be far cheaper than Airwave but will it be ready on time? And will it work underground?

To read more from issue 1246 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here. For all the latest news you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

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Private Eye Issue 1431