THE LOCKERBIE FILES
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?
Read Paul Foot's definitive account, Lockerbie: The Flight From Justice »
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FINE BY THEM…
Too few regulators in the British Virgin Islands, Caymans and elsewhere mean pledges to reveal who really owns what offshore are just a charade.
TAX IS FOR LITTLE (ELDERLY) PEOPLE…
The authorities may be useless at catching big tax evaders, but woe betide you if you’re a 96-year-old care home resident who’s never dodged a penny.
Campaigners won’t lament the departure of Scotland’s chief prosecutor as they continue to fight for justice for the one man convicted for the bombing.
Why no one should have been too surprised by the chaos that ensued when private firm Coperforma won a patient transport contract in Sussex.
PFEYE: A REPEAT OFFENDER
Why George Osborne’s national infrastructure plan’s reliance on PFI Mark II is set to repeat costly fiscal blunders of the past.
The closure of 17 Edinburgh schools due to storm damage is a reminder of who picks up the bill when private finance initiative deals go wrong.
More than a quarter of the specialist ‘studio schools’ set up by the coalition have already closed – yet more are due to open, despite the warnings.
A KING’S RANSOM
Why the finance director of King’s College London wants to keep the whopping salaries of senior university bosses a secret.
COMMON ROOM TOUCH
After a £136m campus refurb, lecturers at De Montfort University now have to pay a membership fee to have a cup of tea in the staff common room.