[The following reflections come from Dr Jim Swire, who has kindly permitted me to publish them here.]
In seeking to defend his decisions over Iraq, Mr Blair emphasised to Chilcot how the atrocity of 9/11 instantaneously changed the 'tolerance of risk' for the government and people of the USA, even venturing to suggest that sooner or later the same approach might be used upon Iran.
9/11 was of course the 11th of September 2001. In England it was a beautiful autumn day with the sun streaming down on the open French-windows of a house in Worcestershire. In the grounds of that house stood a 'satellite van' with its dish aligned on a satellite positioned over Madagascar, designed to transport the local scene to the studios of Sky TV for transmission instantly to a world audience.
Sky TV was there to discuss the significance of a new and startling development following the verdict reached in Zeist, Holland, against the Libyan intelligence agent al-Megrahi. That verdict had claimed that in a bizarre and complex conspiracy, Megrahi, from Malta, had used a sophisticated Swiss timer, well capable of being set to explode over mid Atlantic, to thread his bomb's route through three airports and two changes of aircraft, to litter the peaceful fields of Lockerbie with the debris of 259 human beings and a gigantic aircraft, and to murder 11 of Lockerbie's people, all just 38 minutes after it had left the Heathrow tarmac.
Sky TV were there, more than 12 years later, because they had only just heard that, unknown to the Zeist court, that there had been a break-in at Heathrow in the early morning of the disaster, giving access through the perimeter to the baggage assembly shed where the PanAm baggage container, shown at Zeist to have contained the bomb, was loaded that evening.
They were also there asking the question why this information had lain hidden for more than 12 years till after the verdict was reached at Zeist.
Our families had climbed aboard a flight at Heathrow which our Fatal Accident Inquiry, although also ignorant of the break-in, had found to be under the host state protection of the UK while being loaded from empty there. It was a valid question to ask of our government. Particularly when one realises that the same Zeist court had heard full details of a type of bomb built in Syria, which was available in 1988 and stable indefinitely at ground level, yet designed always to explode approximately 37 minutes after take off.
The Lockerbie plane managed just 38 minutes of flight.
Hollow indeed now rang the trumpeting of Paul Channon, Thatcher's Transport secretary, to the House of Commons on 22 December 1988 that we should be proud that at least Heathrow's security was known to be amongst the best in the world.
Throughout the day of 21st December 1988 Heathrow authorities knew that there had been a break-in, yet they did not know who had broken in, nor what the motive might have been. At a time of known increased terrorist threat they continued the lucrative flow of outgoing flights until the bomb exploded on PanAm 103 that evening.
When criticising an accepted theory, it is useful to produce a simpler and more credible alternative.
So what if the Heathrow break-in was indeed the route for getting a bomb onto the Lockerbie aircraft? For a start the Iran/Syria grouping with their pressing revenge motive and their unique possession of this technology would be centre stage, Malta Frankfurt and Megrahi would be irrelevant.
Such a theory is unexplored: why is that?
Why did the news of the break-in lie hidden for 12 years?
Who was complicit in concealing it?
What was their motive for doing so?
We know that the Metropolitan police (and therefore presumably the Thatcher government) knew of it, why did they keep quiet?.
Why were the Metropolitan police excluded from the [Lockerbie] investigation, turned over by Thatcher to a Scottish force?
Does this throw any light on why Thatcher and every Prime Minister since, including Blair and Brown, has for 21 years refused us the inquiry to which we have an inalienable right?
Did the Crown Office know about the break-in? They have claimed that they didn't.
Did the investigating Scottish police know about it? They haven't said. Of course a Heathrow break-in was a simple but potent threat to their complex Malta hypothesis.
As the sun still shone through those French windows, the Sky TV reporters heard through their phones that a second plane had struck. Now there was no doubt: this was a huge planned terrorist outrage on America's trophy city New York. For a US public which had never had to bear the outrage of enemy bombing of its home territory, as Blair said to Chilcot, the 'tolerance of risk' in America had changed for ever.
Like the morning dew, the Sky reporters and their technology melted away to cover this new atrocity. The coincidence of 9/11's timing had disabled the power of a free media to question the received wisdom.
But the questions remain and shall be professionally addressed.
Unlike Blair, many affected by the Lockerbie atrocity have avoided the idea of retaliation by force against the responsible country, pressing for the use of justice. They see that the atrocity was an act of revenge, and that to seek revenge for it in turn is to abandon the intellectual high ground, and to sink to the philosophy favoured by some terrorists. So long as Blair and all who have shared his office and establishment continue to rely blindly upon a solution to the worst terrorist atrocity ever to occur in their country, which seems fatally flawed, they put at risk more civilised routes through international justice. Their way stands to bring a blight upon all our futures.
In the end history, not Chilcot, will judge them.