[This is the headline over an editorial in today’s edition of the Maltese newspaper The Times. It reads as follows:]
When Jim Swire, father of one of the Lockerbie victims, visited Malta last November he told this newspaper the truth about the 1988 terrorist attack will one day come out. “The question is whether I will be in a box by then,” the indefatigable campaigner said.
While the truth over the atrocity that killed Dr Swire’s daughter and 269 others in 1988 might never be fully admitted by the powers that be, an Al Jazeera documentary, aired last Wednesday, made a strong case for the increasing number of those who believe Abdelbaset Al Megrahi was not the Lockerbie bomber.
The documentary squarely pointed fingers at Iran, which wanted to avenge the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by a US navy ship in July 1988.
The Al Jazeera investigation also debunked the official story, on the basis of which the late Mr Al Megrahi had been jailed, that the bomb was loaded at Malta before being transferred to the ill-fated aircraft at Heathrow.
The theory is that the Lockerbie bombing was commissioned to a Palestinian terrorist group, the PFLP-GC, which had a cell in Malta at the time. The terrorist attack could have been plotted from a St Julian’s flat but the bomb was loaded at Heathrow, not Malta, as the court concluded, according to the documentary.
It might be 25 long years since the bombing occurred but the questions are now more pertinent than ever.
Did high-level involvement put obstacles to the truth by shifting the blame onto Libya? Was the CIA aware of who the guilty party was but then decided to go for a small pariah State for its geo-political motives?
Did it work the case in reverse so that the wrong man would be convicted? Did it merely coerce a Maltese witness with money to point at Mr Al Megrahi?
The American and British governments will undoubtedly dismiss the new findings as conspiracy theories and stick to the Camp Zeist trial conclusions. Despite the source of these claims, Scotland’s Crown Office said it was unmoved.
But unless the Western world wants to make a mockery of justice, then the case should be reopened. The question is: who will instigate it?
The world cannot seriously expect the US or Britain to push to reopen the case. With the US and Europe desperate to reach a new nuclear deal with a seemingly more open Teheran regime, discussions about Iran’s role in the Lockerbie tragedy at this stage will not be politically welcome.
Why would the US government want to admit it helped put the wrong man behind bars for Europe’s worst terrorist attack? And what about the money Muammar Gaddafi was forced to pay to the victims’ families to work his way out through tough sanctions?
Even the Maltese government, whose foreign minister declared in no uncertain terms that Mr Al Megrahi was a scapegoat, said it would not push to reopen the case.
In reality, there are so many potentially embarrassing banana skins.
But the pieces which were unravelled this week fit too well to allow us to merely shrug and move on.
This means it is down to the victims’ families to take the case forward and file the appeal Mr Al Megrahi wanted to start before he was released from a Scottish prison and sent home to die.
While it is understandable that our government does not want to ruffle any allied country’s feathers, it should collaborate in any way possible to facilitate any information our police and security services might still be privy to.