Editorial: Iran's Lockerbie

IssueJuly - August 2007
Comment by Milan Rai , Emily Johns

The British legal system has begun finally to re-consider the conviction of the two Libyans jailed for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which came down over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, causing the deaths of 270 civilians in all.

The suspicion at the time of the bombing was that the Lockerbie bombing might have been retaliation for the destruction of an Iranian civilian airliner, a year earlier, on 3 July 1987, by US sea-to-air missiles, causing the deaths of 290 civilians in all. The destruction of Iran Air Flight 655, twenty years ago this month, is generally referred to as a “mistake”.

However, there is overwhelming evidence that the shooting down of the airliner - flying in a civilian air corridor, at the scheduled time, and giving off civilian identification signals - was a deliberate act of terrorism. Flight 655 was destroyed out of a “need to prove the viability of Aegis”, a hi-tech missile system, in the view of US Navy commander David Carlson, who “wondered aloud in disbelief” as he watched from his own war ship 20 miles away.


This issue of PN, including its supplement, is about terrorism and its consequences.

The injustice that was done to Sacco and Vanzetti was part of a campaign of official terrorism, an attempt to reverse the radicalisation that swept North America after WWI.

The fact that Sacco and Vanzetti were despised Italian immigrants - as well as radicals - made it that much easier to frame them for a robbery and a murder they did not commit.

Just as today we are seeing a form of official terrorism against some Muslims, generally immigrants, such as the former Belmarsh detainees, who are being treated barbarically.

Abroad, Britain is involved in large-scale terrorism. And that terrorism erodes the national security of people in Britain.

Nothing can justify the terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow, or the terrorist attacks of 7/7. But, in the end, only truth and justice can bring us peace.

PN believes that nonviolence is the way to justice. Nonviolence must become more assertive, as Barbara Deming so rightly said so many years ago. And those committed to nonviolence must be willing to engage in dialogue and reflection about nonviolence, as she also said.

Topics: Iran, Terrorism