In a documentary set to be released tonight, Al Jazeera America claims to have unearthed new evidence that Iran was behind the 1988 bombings of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
“Lockerbie: What Really Happened?” will air tonight at 9:00 EST, and purports to show that the group responsible for the bombings was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command (PFLP-GC). The group was supposedly responding to requests from Iran to avenge the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 by the USS Vincennes in July 1988, which killed 290 people. The US government shot down that civilian plane after mistaking it for an Iranian military F-14 Tomcat.
AJAM claims that the George H. W. Bush administration chose to target the Libyan government for the Lockerbie bombing instead, despite initially fingering the PFLP-GC and Iran, because Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi was politically weak and because there was a desire at the time to accommodate Syria, which was a sponsor of the PFLP-GC.
This is the third documentary in recent years by Al Jazeera on the Lockerbie incident aimed at casting doubt on the case against Abdel Baset Mohamed Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan who was charged with the bombing. For his part, Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the bombing in 2003, though he claimed he didn’t give the order to do it. Megrahi always maintained his innocence – he died in 2012.
In 2011, during the Libyan Civil War, a former government minister named Mustafa Abdel-Jalil said that Gaddafi had, in fact, personally ordered the bombing.