The legacy of Lockerbie: A good week for conspiracy theorists
What really drove the release of ‘bomber’ Abdelbaset al-Megrahi? Compassion – or politics and trade deals? Was he even guilty? David Randall investigates
Independent | Aug 23, 2009
It’s a very long time since conspiracy theorists had a week as good as this one. The saga of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was already murky enough, but now, to the doubts about the evidence against him, the alleged multi-million payouts to the prime prosecution witness, and the far-from-told story of US and British intelligence involvement, we can add suggestions of secret talks and trade deals, and the possibility that his release was not done in the name of compassionate justice, but that of oil, financial services and hotel-building.
This weekend, suspicious minds don’t have to seek very far for the material to construct explanations other than the official ones. There is the meeting in 2007 between Colonel Gaddafi and Tony Blair, then still Prime Minister. Oil and gas deals mingled with the fate of Megrahi (then yet to be diagnosed with cancer), according to the Libyans. There’s the meeting between Gaddafi’s son and Peter Mandelson in the inevitable setting of a Rothschild villa. The Duke of York, batting for Britain as ever, is involved. There may have been, say some sources, many more meetings between British and Libyan officials – something which, one might think, a simple release on compassionate grounds would not warrant. There are British business leaders now openly rubbing their hands together at the suddenly revitalised opportunity for UK banks, oil interests, security contractors, and stores to move in on Libya’s considerable available funds.