[This is the headline over an editorial in today's edition of the Maltese newspaper, The Times. It reads in part:]
A new revelation about the downing of the Pan Am 103 that killed 270 people over Lockerbie in 1988 would have had far more news coverage than it did had Muammar Gaddafi not opted to turn on his own people in an uprising that is threatening to further undermine peace and security in the Mediterranean.
When the Gaddafi regime’s Justice Minister, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, stepped down a few days ago he was reported telling a Swedish tabloid he had proof the Libyan leader had personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing. The problem is he did not describe the proof but, according to The Sunday Times (of London), the man convicted of the bombing, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, had warned Col Gaddafi he would “reveal everything” about the downing of the airliner unless he was rescued from the Scottish prison where he was being held.
The story, which is, of course, of direct interest to Malta because the bomb that killed the passengers was said to have started its journey from the airport here – a claim the government has consistently strongly denied – once again opens wide the whole debate over who actually ordered the downing of the aircraft, the motive behind the order and the real perpetrator of the heinous crime. There are analysts who still believe the Pan Am was downed by a Palestinian faction acting in concert with Iran. (...)
It is very important now for the former Libyan Justice Minister to come out with the evidence of the claim he made, if he has any, because if he does not, it would remain just an allegation. Not that Col Gaddafi now needs an allegation of this sort to tarnish his image; his determination to crush his own people for demanding freedom from tyranny is more than enough to stir deep revulsion among the international community, which has unequivocally called for his stepping down.
Even so, the Lockerbie story has not been concluded yet and, with the situation now being so uncertain, it would seem unlikely it would be picked up again any time soon.