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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:

LOCKERBIE: THE NEXT CHAPTER
Questions over Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s conviction for bombing Lockerbie won’t go away, despite a new book by ex-Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill.

GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER?
Will police now take action after a TV documentary effectively destroys the alibi of Hubert Spencer, widely suspected of the 1978 murder of newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater?

DEEPCUT DEATHS
The attorney-general gives consent for the family of a second young private who died at Deepcut barracks to apply to the high court for a fresh inquest.

A LIGHT ON DELOITTE
The accountancy regulator belatedly investigates how Deloitte approved Serco’s accounts while it was fiddling contracts with the Ministry of Justice.

BAD CASE OF THE SHEIKHS
The emirate rulers who own vast chunks of prime central London via offshore companies – and with not too many impertinent questions asked.

HIGH PRINCIPALS
Falmouth University presses on with an unpopular expansion even as some of its most respected courses are shutting down.

MORE ARGY-BARGEE
Live-aboard boaters without permanent moorings fear the Canal and River Trust’s new approach to cruising rules aims to drive them off the water.

PUBS & PUBMEN
Why delays in introducing the new Pubs Code are leaving pub landlords bitter and potentially out-of-pocket.

MOVEABLE FAMILY FEAST
Sir Philip Green’s performance before MPs raises questions beyond BHS – not least about his and wife Lady (Tina) Green’s offshore tax arrangements.

QUESTIONS OF TRUST
Embarrassment for government academies adviser Elizabeth Sidwell, who was chief exec at a schools trust while its accountant stole nearly £4m.

DEFENCE HOUSING
Military families are still living in damp, rat-infested homes, MPs hear, while billions of pounds have been sent to the estate’s offshore owner.

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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Private Eye Issue 1420