[This is the headline over an article by Andrew Rosthorn published earlier this week on the website of Tribune magazine. It reads as follows:]
Robin Ramsay, editor of Lobster Magazine notes how former British ambassador Craig Murray can now confirm that the British government has known for twenty years that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan intelligence officer jailed in Scotland for the Lockerbie bombing, was innocent.
Murray saw secret documents in the Foreign Office confirming that the Lockerbie bombers were Syrian not Libyan-controlled.
Not until the information conveniently surfaced in the Daily Mail, conveniently after the death of al-Megrahi and conveniently after Syria ceased to be an ally in wars against Iraq, could Craig Murray write:
“The information on Lockerbie published in today’s Daily Mail from an Iranian defector, matches precisely what I was shown in a secret intelligence report in the FCO just around the time of the first Iraq war – that a Syrian terrorist group was responsible acting on behalf of Iran.
“It was decided that this would be kept under wraps because the West needed Iran and Syria’s quiescence in the attack on Iraq.
“I was at the time Head of Maritime Section in the FCO’s Aviation and Maritime Department. I was shown the report by the Head of the Aviation Section, who was deeply troubled by it.
“The UK authorities have known for over 20 years that Megrahi was innocent. The key witness, a Maltese shopkeeper named Tony Gauci, was paid a total of US $7 million for his evidence by the CIA, and was able to adopt a life of luxury that continues to this day. The initial $2 million payment has become public knowledge but that was only the first instalment. This was not an over-eagerness to convict the man the CIA believed responsible; this was a deliberate perversion of justice to move the spotlight from Iran and Syria to clear the way diplomatically for war in Iraq.
“It will of course be argued, probably correctly, that now Syria and Iran are the western targets, it is in the interests of the CIA for the true story to come out, (minus of course their involvement in perverting the course of justice). That is why we now hear it was Syria and Iran. But it so happens that is in fact the truth.
“Even the security services and government can tell the truth, when the moment comes that the truth rather than a deceit happens to be a tactical advantage to them.”
Ramsay notes in the current Lobster that evidence to support Murray’s claim was immediately provided by the SIS / FCO man on the Daily Telegraph, Con Coughlin, in a piece on 11 March:
“The West should come clean about who really bombed Pan Am flight 103 in 1988 – we owe it to the victims’ families.
“It seems a long time ago, that dreadful December night in 1988 when fire and aeroplane debris rained down on the Scottish village of Lockerbie. A generation of Britons has been born unaware of the sense of foreboding we all felt that night, when news broke that a civilian passenger flight had been blown up in mid-air, killing 270 people, by a terrorist bomb concealed in a radio cassette player.
“It is easy to see why a younger generation finds it hard to understand that we need to be wary of Iran and its nuclear ambitions. But, back in 1988, few people were in doubt about Iran’s malign intent towards the West. Even though no conclusive proof could be found to link Tehran directly to the worst terrorist atrocity committed in Britain, few – myself included – were under any illusions that Iran’s Islamic republic was the centre of global terrorism…
“Syria was involved throughout this anti-Western campaign. By supporting Damascus, Moscow had a rare opportunity to heap humiliation on the US. Then, as now, Syria also enjoyed a close alliance with Tehran based on their mutual hatred of their neighbour, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. So Syria was more than happy to facilitate Iran’s terrorist operations in Lebanon while funding its own agenda, which focused on dissident Palestinian bodies, such as Ahmed Jibril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
“It is hardly surprising, therefore, that in the aftermath of Lockerbie, investigators should concentrate their efforts on the two states most closely associated with sponsoring international terror – Iran and Syria. To put it bluntly, the Iranians had the motive, while the Syrians had the expertise. After the Americans mistakenly shot down an Iranian civilian Airbus, killing 290 people, Iran felt it had good reason to seek revenge. If the evidence of a former Iranian intelligence officer is to be believed, the revenge attack was authorised by Ayatollah Khomeini, who ordered that the bombing “must copy exactly what happened to the Airbus”. As Iranian intelligence officers were already working closely with Syrian and Libyan counterparts in Malta on plots to attack the West, once the Ayatollah had authorised retaliation, it was just a question of hiring the right people for the job.”
The Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph ran the new spooks line on Lockerbie within three months of Dr Jim Swire’s remarkable address at the 25th anniversary memorial service in Westminster Abbey on December 22, 2013, when he denounced successive British governments: ‘I claim habeas corpus as I say in this ancient abbey that I do not believe that our governments have told us all the truth they know about this terrible tragedy.
‘If we are not granted an inquiry – and for goodness sake we’ve been trying for 25 years to force an inquiry out of them with no results at all – we’ll have to go to the European courts and take our own government to court for not meeting their obligations under human rights legislation.’