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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:

LAUNDRY DAZE
The anti-corruption summit in London generated much hot air but little in the way of concrete measures to thwart the world’s money launderers.

BUILDERS CRACK
Hundreds of people blacklisted from work are denied their day in court as the construction industry belatedly coughs up £75m to settle their claims.

SILENCED WITNESS
The GMC is slammed for a ‘deeply flawed’ decision to strike off an expert neuropathologist whose court evidence disputes ‘shaken baby syndrome’.

LONDON LIVING RAGE
UCL threatens international students taking part in a rent strike with moves that could put their studies – and their visas – in jeopardy.

CHINESE TAKEAWAY
Having boasted of its Chinese teaching credentials just last year, Ulster uni shuts its modern languages department, including popular Chinese courses.

ARTS & CRAFTY
Despite a £1.5m Arts Council grant, the public Whitechapel art gallery has taken serious money from a Gulf emirate to display modern Arabic art.

LIQUID ASSET
Trebles all round at Macquarie Group as it sells its stake in Thames Water, having siphoned off billions in ‘management fees’ and dividends.

LONDON’S LIBERIAN CONNECTION
How Liberia in West Africa became home to thousands of mystery shell companies, some of which own some of the UK most expensive property.

SHE’S BEEN FRAMED
Hurrah! Five years after being ‘crudely framed’ and wrongly sacked, whistleblowing care home matron Vasanta Suddock finally clears her name.

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.

Next issue on sale: 7th June 2016.
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Dodgy Oligarch Embarrassed by Prince Andrew Link… Outcry as Nurseryland Broadcasting Corporation Withdraws Four-and-Twenty Blackbird Pie Recipe… Cannes Victory for British Austerity Drama ‘I Duncan Smith’… Caveman Invents ‘Golf’ Club – Neanderthal Times Exclusive… Editors Fret as Readers Grow Immune to Antibiotic Scare Stories… BBC Attacks Government Over ‘Tired Old Programmes’… Bruce Anderson: The Pleasures of the Table, as told to Craig Brown

And also...

- Two-tier privacy: Relief for the rich - but watch out, romping vicars.
- Laundry daze: Why the anti-corruption summit was all hot air
- Insider trading: Slicker on the Operation Tabernula convictions

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Private Eye Issue 1418