[What follows is taken from an article by novelist and journalist Paul Thomas published on 15 March in The New Zealand Herald:]
It was grimly coincidental that, as the world's media embarked on a frenzy of speculation over the fate of MH370, drawing parallels with previous out of the ordinary disasters, the 1988 Lockerbie bombing was back in the headlines.
The only person convicted of the bombing of Pan Am 103 in which 270 people died was Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
Now an Iranian intelligence agent who defected to Germany is claiming that the bombing was conceived and financed by Iran and contracted out to a Syrian-backed terrorist group as revenge for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner with 290 people on board by the US guided missile carrier Vincennes. (Journalist Robert Fisk, an old and expert Middle East hand, put forward this very scenario some years ago.)
The facts of the matter are profoundly depressing. The US has never admitted wrongdoing or issued an apology; when the captain of the Vincennes retired, he was awarded the Legion of Merit. The conduct and outcome of al-Megrahi's trial were deplored by independent observers and criticised by a review panel.
The CIA apparently knew early on who'd masterminded and carried out the Lockerbie bombing, but for obscure geopolitical reasons, the US and Britain chose to blame Libya.
And the only uplifting chapter in the whole wretched story - the Scottish government's decision to release the terminally ill al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds - was greeted with widespread condemnation.