Private Eye logo
in the back
From the Eye archives
The Lockerbie Files
Issue 1246, 29th September 2009

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:

Devonport dockyard, where Britain’s Trident submarines are serviced, is put on ‘special measures’ by nuclear regulators for another five years.

Disabled people who rely on the new Personal Independence Payment face arbitrary disqualification as the benefit comes up for its first annual review.

The government ignores advice and rejects a call to slash the sum punters can stake on notorious fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

A whistle-blower who lost her job after revealing ‘utter chaos’ in a South London health department will learn her fate at an employment tribunal.

The UK’s international development fund CDC may have cleaned up its act – but it’s still consorting with private equity funds based in tax havens.

News that the US giant Pfizer has been overcharging the NHS for anti-epilepsy drugs will embarrass some of its political chums in the UK

Despite fatalities and repeated warnings, councils are doing virtually nothing to fit sprinklers in tower blocks which are home to around 800,000 people.

Degrees from AC Grayling’s ‘world class’ New College of the Humanities will be accredited by lowly Southampton Solent, which doesn’t even have a humanities department.

London’s growing army of houseboat dwellers are having to share a tiny number of water taps and rubbish points – and nobody wants to help.

Fashion designer and self-styled ‘social activist’ Dame Vivienne Westwood continues to use unpaid interns… but now calls them ‘volunteers’ instead!

private eye issue 1399
To read more from issue 1246 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
More From This Issue
All the latest gaffes
more »
HP Sauce
Latest stories
more »
HP Sauce
Win a £100 prize
more »
Also Available Online
More From This Issue
Private Eye Issue 1399
private eye Only In The Magazine

10 Reasons Why Voting for Corbyn Will Lead to Civil War: Daily Mailograph Exclusive… It’s Brillo! The ‘Wedding of the Century’ Memorial Plate… Labour Demand Re-Run of General Election… Those Calais Songs of Praise Hymns They Didn’t Use… Santa Claus Handouts Probed by Accountants… A Level Gender Gap Widens as No Boy is Photographed Jumping for Joy

And also...

- Batman & Yentob: How neither got their stories straight in the Kids Company closure
- May day! Polls on why Labour lost the election still don’t tell the whole story
- PLUS: Fleeing Eritrea; a government gamble on super-fast gaming machines; and why the Corbyn tax figures don’t add up.
For all these stories you can buy the magazine or subscribe here and get delivery direct to your home every fortnight.
Next issue on sale: 1st September 2015.

Private Eye Issue 1398