Thursday, 6 July 2017

None of the journalists I worked with on the story ever believed that Libya was guilty

[What follows is excerpted from an article by Arthur MacDonald published on this date in 2008 in the Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) which draws parallels between the Piper Alpha disaster and the destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, both in 1988:]

The Lockerbie disaster was triggered by a bomb, planted on the plane (...).

One of my happier memories of covering this awful event was speaking to a press officer from the US Central Intelligence Agency, who, when I first called them assured me they did not know who killed John F Kennedy, even before I asked them.

How did they know I was going to pose this question? All you Limeys ask that, I was told.

At the time, the UK officially did not have a secret service so instead of talking to MI5 or MI6, journalists were left to deal through PC Plod from Glasgow.

Exactly when everyone decided Libya was responsible for this outrage I can't actually remember. Mr Gadaffi seemed to be everybody's whipping boy at the time, so that could explain it.

What I do know is that none of the journalists I worked with on the story ever believed that Libya was guilty. Nor did most of the victims' relatives.

Today only one man has been convicted of being involved in what was the worst airline terrorist attack before 9/11.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohammed Al Megrahi has been rotting in a Scottish jail since his show trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands. He was simply accused of being a Libyan intelligence officer and that was that.

Anyone who knows anything about what happened to Pan Am flight 103 knows that delivering the bomb onto the aircraft was a highly complex operation and it was certainly not carried out by one person.

It was almost certainly not carried out by Libyans either.

But just as the people who were behind the Piper Alpha disaster have never been brought to justice, neither have the people responsible for Lockerbie.

And for some reason I just don't understand, no one is bothering to do anything about this.

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