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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:

WILL SCHILLINGS COIN IT?
When a blogger in an obscure country writes about obscure things, it usually remains obscure. But not when defamation specialists Schillings get involved.

FOSSIL FUELS
UK Export Finance's PR material suggests its pledge to back green technologies is going well. Examining its records reveals a different picture.

ROYAL NAVY LARK
The Ministry of Defence is about to spend more than £1bn on a botch-job that will not even address the main issue with the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers.

BRASSED OFF
A Companies House paper obtained by the Eye gives a glimpse of how Britain's corporate wild west remains the heart of world money laundering.

TO RUSSIA WITH BROTHERLY LOVE
How the Candy brothers split their business into offshore and onshore arms in 2004, and how that might continue to interest the taxman.

BRIBE FUTURE AHEAD
An OECD report on the UK's efforts to tackle corruption confirms what the Eye has long said: the government has talked a good game but played a poor one.

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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- Libel News: Justice Warby's hard line on Katie Hopkins' lawyers
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Private Eye Issue 1441