- The Sunday Times says it has been prevented
from publishing detailed evidence which allegedly shows the Libyan leader
Colonel Gadaffi personally ordered the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing.
- The paper says the evidence shows that
the bombing of the jumbo jet was ordered in revenge for an American air
raid on Tripoli two years earlier.
- But the newspaper says it was unable
to publish full details after the intervention of the government's Treasury
- It says the government issued a last-minute
"gagging order" against the paper, preventing it from publishing
details of an intelligence operation that produced clear evidence of Gadaffi's
- 'Evidence kept secret'
- All 259 people on board the Pan Am 103
plane died, as well as 11 people in the Scottish village of Lockerbie.
- The trial of two men accused of planting
the bomb will take place before a Scottish court sitting in Holland.
- The newspaper quotes an unnamed former
senior intelligence officer as saying: "We have known for a long while
that Gadaffi gave the order. It is a sham for him to pretend otherwise
and it is an even bigger sham for the British Government to let him off
- Its report states that during the three-year
joint British and American investigation into the bombing, which took place
in December 1988, there was speculation that Iran and Syria were also involved.
- These suspicions persisted, it says,
partly because evidence was kept secret.
- But it states that the security services
believe Libya was solely responsible, and that Gadaffi ordered the bombing
after the raid on Tripoli.
- The newspaper also quotes a letter from
the Treasury solicitor, warning that its information "plainly came
from a member of the intelligence community", and if published could
"be extremely damaging".
- The letter warned that the government
would seek an immediate court injunction against the newspaper unless it
was assured that details of the intelligence or how it was obtained would
not be printed.
- The Sunday Times says its revelations
come as Foreign Secretary Robin Cook is preparing to rehabilitate Gadaffi
after the decision to hand over the two Lockerbie bombing suspects for
- 'Government is very foolish'
- The paper's report includes angry reaction
from opposition MPs to the government's handling of the revelations.
- David Wilshire, Conservative MP for Spelthorne
and a member of the foreign affairs select committee, is quoted as saying:
"If there is the slightest bit of truth in this, then the government
is very foolish to start normalising relations with Libya.
- "Some of us would argue that Gadaffi
should be on trial as well."
- A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We
cannot comment on any intelligence matters and we never do.
- "On the Lockerbie case, that is
a matter for the Scottish courts and is sub judice, so there is no way
we can comment on that."