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From the Eye archives
The Lockerbie Files
Issue 1246, 29th September 2009

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:

PARTIAL VICTORY
The MoD withdraws permission for a US treasure hunting firm to plunder the wreck of HMS Victory, which sank near the Channel Islands in 1744.

HSBC CARD SHARPS
Ripping off customers struggling with store card debt is yet another financial crime to be added to the HSBC charge sheet.

SILENT WITNESSES
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are criticised for delaying an investigation into safeguarding procedures, potentially putting children at risk.

DEVO MANC, ANYONE?
Why devolving NHS spending in Greater Manchester to the council creates serious worries over funding and the quality of care.

AMERICAN PIE
US generals may fret about UK defence spending, but cutbacks mean the US will become an even bigger supplier of kit to the UK than it is already.

WATERED DOWN BEER TIE
How the Tories dragged their feet on changes that should eventually free pub landlords from the pubcos’ ruinously expensive beer ‘tie’.

LONDON’S LAUNDRY
The 40,000 London properties owned by foreign companies (36,000 of them in tax havens) that help keep the capital’s dirty money laundry in business.

LUPUS DEATH
The surgeon who for eight months failed to spot what was wrong with a severely ill patient will not face disciplinary action, the GMC decides.

BATTLE OF BOTTON
Disabled people in the community of Botton win a legal stay to stop a charity replacing their volunteer helpers with paid carers.

private eye issue 1388
To read more from issue 1246 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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Private Eye Issue 1387
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