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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 DANGERS
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KICK IN THE CRUTCH
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FOBBED OFF ON FOBTs
The government ignores advice and rejects a call to slash the sum punters can stake on notorious fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

NHS WHISTLEBLOWING
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.

DEVELOPMENT AID
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.

OVERCHARGING AND OVER HERE
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

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

FLAILING GRAYLING
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.

FLOATING REVOLTERS
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FROCKY HORROR
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
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