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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:

UK shell companies were used to help the laundering of billions of stolen roubles through London and New York, for which Deutsche Bank has been heavily fined.

Those behind Cardiff University’s ‘brutal’ restructuring, which saw its School of Medicine slump in the league tables, are all off to pastures new.

As expected, Cleveland Police did abuse anti-terrorist laws when it spied on two of its own officers, a lawyer and local journalists.

The convictions following the HBOS fraud scandal are a big win for Thames Valley police but an indictment of slow-witted regulators and watchdogs.

Shetland firefighters were sent to an incident two ferry journeys away in one of several blunders by the newly centralised control centre in Dundee.

The Midlands Engine, counterpart to the Northern Powerhouse, looks set to deliver as much for companies in offshore tax havens as for local people.

Capita, which runs PIP assessments, was unable to provide sign language interpreters for a crucial meeting with representatives of Deaf claimants.

After regional centre closures and a disastrous new group tuition policy, Open University boss Peter Horrocks announces a hasty root-and-branch review.

Just six school nurses will cover thousands of pupils at 152 schools in the East Riding of Yorkshire after £500,000 is cuts from local public health services.

MPs reopen the appointment process for the role of pub code adjudicator as the new man in the job, Paul Newby, loses the confidence of many pub tenants.

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Next issue on sale: 21st February 2017.
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21st February 2017
In This Issue private eye
Dans le Love Nest with Mlle Ferrutti & M Farrago… Humpty Dumpty Served With Bill for Wall – Nursery Times Exclusive… Historic Day of Hyperbole as MPs Ratify Legislative Triggering Mechanism… Abbottsenteeism: A Doctor Writes… 1.3bn Chinese Sign Petition Over Dictator Trump’s State Visit to Britain… Tabloid Joy as Maddie Story Found… Edward Heath – Was He a Europhile?... That Trump-Turnbull Phone Call in Full… Lucy Worsley’s Histwee Lesson, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Tosh ’n’ Becks: How the Times and Sunday Times were silenced
- Bankers are back! Slicker on dismantling the Dodd-Frank reforms
- Offshore wind: Tax haven businesses backing Britain's ‘Midlands Engine’

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Private Eye Issue 1436