Twenty-three people were slain and the return home of the body of a young girl to Barra was haunting. Many will be aware that the bomber from Libya died at the scene and his brother was later convicted of assisting him.
Case closed you might think? But no, there was an inquiry and much that remains unanswered to this day. For this seems to be a case of blowback. Actions taken by the UK and the West and, more importantly, people assisted in various endeavours that were supported by us turned on us and innocents paid the price.
Anyone looking for a fascinating documentary should watch Blowback: the Road to Manchester, a film made by Declassified UK. I’ve a cameo part given my involvement with Libya because of Lockerbie.
The history of UK/US relations with Libya saw Gaddafi go from number one terrorist target, to an ally against militant Islamism, and back again as Nato warplanes were unleashed.
That ‘in, out, shake it all about’ diplomacy and military support produced an explosive cocktail and one that would ultimately explode in Manchester.
When Gaddafi was out of favour, Manchester became home to a sizeable Libyan community. Many were liberal and secular, fleeing the despotic regime. But others were Islamist militants and with them the fuse was lit.
The bomber, his brother and others were going back and forth to Libya with the knowledge of the security services. Some had been rendered by us to Gaddafi when he was still the West’s ally and tortured by him.
But after attitudes changed they were assisted by us to overthrow him, even aided by us in struggles against regime militias we’d trained. You couldn’t make it up but it’s true and tragedy would follow.
There’ve been clear suggestions at the inquiry that Nato trained some involved with the Islamist group the bombers were associated with. There’s evidence they were coming and going to Libya just weeks before the bombing – and they weren’t tourists.
As the father of one of the victims says, the security services have not been candid at all. There’s much that’s been hidden. Blowback, watch it and see what we reaped.