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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:

ASK NO QUESTIONS
How British special forces are operating in Libya and elsewhere without Westminster approval, under the guise of carrying out humanitarian work.

DISRUPTED BLOOD FLOW
The Scottish government is trying to compensate victims of the contaminated blood scandal –but it can’t do it while Westminster dithers.

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
An inquest rules that failures at a jail contributed to another young prisoner’s death – but the government is dropping a plan to address the problem.

DO US A FAVIER
More deals are being done to restructure ailing company pension schemes, at great cost to employees. The man behind them is doing just fine, though…

CASTLE CRISIS
The National Trust for Scotland is facing financial ruin and as many as 142 staff may lose their jobs, less than a decade after a disastrous restructuring.

FABRIC SOFTENERS
Why there’s rather more to the fight to save London’s Fabric nightclub than meets the eye.

ARCHITECTURAL FLAWS
The architect who won a high-profile constructive dismissal case last year is unlikely to see the vast majority of the £404,000 she was awarded.

HIGHLAND STING
A blind lecturer had to leave his job in the Highlands after useless bureaucracy prevented him from getting the support he needed.

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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Trump congratulates the leader of pneumonia… Hiddleswift ‘no longer an item’… ‘Fat-astic Mr Fox charms no one’...‘I am genuinely sorry’ says Vaz… Yet another triumph for post-Brexit Britain… Reading about statins ‘is safe’… Mr Bumble ‘to overhaul workhouse’… Trial of the century: was Radio 4 guilty?

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- Special cases: The operations that Westminster ignores
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- PLUS: Labour’s conference clash; Sparky on a gas crisis; cartoons galore & more

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Private Eye Issue 1426