[I am grateful to Patrick Haseldine for the following, written in response to various recent press contentions that a high-powered South African delegation was "hauled off" Pan Am flight 103.]
Both Magnus Linklater in the The Times ("Lockerbie questions demand an answer") and David Maddox in The Scotsman ("Was Lockerbie suspect working for the US?") are making the same mistake. They refer to senior South African figures being "hauled off" the plane, which is demonstrably untrue.
Following the first screening of Allan Francovich's film The Maltese Double Cross, which first revealed a South African connection to Lockerbie, a Reuters news agency report of 12 November 1994 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:REUTERS12NOV94.jpg) clarified what actually happened. A 23-strong South African delegation - including Foreign Minister Pik Botha, Defence Minister Magnus Malan and Military Intelligence Chief C J Van Tonder - were travelling by South African Airways from Johannesburg. Their inbound flight inexplicably cut out a stopover at Frankfurt, which was SAA's European hub, and arrived early at Heathrow. The London embassy booked Botha and five of the party on Pan Am Flight 101 to New York for the signing of the Namibia Independence Agreement at UN headquarters on 22 December 1988. The remaining 17 members of the party returned from Heathrow on the SAA aircraft to Johannesburg.
UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, had been booked to travel by Sabena from Brussels (where he had addressed a Committee of the European Parliament) to New York for the same signing ceremony. However, Carlsson was persuaded by the South Africans to stopover at Heathrow and became the most high profile of the 270 Lockerbie victims.
Apartheid South Africa is thus intimately involved and might even have planned and executed the bombing without the involvement of any other country. This scenario neatly explains why Botha & Co did not need any forewarning by the CIA, and destroys the myth that they were "hauled off" the flight.
While it might be judicially and politically convenient now to shift the blame from the ailing Abdelbaset Megrahi to the dead terrorist Abu Nidal, we would be no nearer to the truth about the Lockerbie bombing. I continue to believe that, to get to the truth, a United Nations Inquiry into the death of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/UNInquiry/) is required. Let us hope that when the new US president takes office next January we will finally get this UN Inquiry.