THE mystery of the Lockerbie disaster has never been solved but, according to a South African newspaper the “shocking truth is that Western intelligence agencies were complicit in the murders” of the 270 people who died.

In an article reprinted on Professor Robert Black QC’s The Lockerbie Case blog, The Star claimed that many analysts believed that the late Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – whose family is appealing to clear his name – was framed and the Scottish Government was involved in the subsequent cover-up.

A new suspect – Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud – has been charged 32 years after the atrocity with building the bomb that destroyed Pan Am flight 103 and working with Megrahi to carry out the attack.

“Malta has been dogged over the past 32 years by the Lockerbie prosecution’s contention that the bomb responsible for one of the most heinous terrorist acts in history began its deadly flight on an Air Malta flight out of Luqa,” The Star article stated.

“Many nations have conspired to cover up the true identities of those responsible for planning and executing the Lockerbie crash.”

On its claim of Western intelligence complicity, it said: “From the moment the plane went down, a supposedly impartial investigation was distorted to conceal this dark reality from the victims’ relatives and the public … No one in authority has the guts to reveal the truth about the bombing.

“The British government, in effect, blackmailed Megrahi into dropping his appeal as a condition of his release.”

The Star said Megrahi’s trial was “a politically influenced sham from the start”, with key witnesses “bribed and coached” and “crucial evidence tampered with”.

Had his appeal gone to a higher court, new and suppressed evidence would have shown that a fragment of a bomb and timer, said to have been in Megrahi’s suitcase, were planted. New evidence would have shown it was “impossible” for him to have bought the clothes, scraps of which were found in in the wreckage.

“The accused was convicted on the word of a Maltese shop owner who claims to have sold him the clothes, then gave a false description of him in 19 separate statements,” said the paper. “During the course of our lifetime, someday, someone will reveal the ultimate truth.”

The Crown Office would not comment as an appeal is in progress.