Rethinking the conspiracy theory

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The Independent Culture
Warnings are issued about a doomed flight on an American airline. A number of VIPs cancel their seats shortly before take-off, but the public is not alerted to any risk. Alleged US Drug Enforcement Agency-approved narcotics smuggling, international terrorism and a workaholic Swiss timer supplier all have their parts to play. This isn't the plot of some new thriller, but what Allan Francovich claims is the "true" story of Pan- Am Flight 103, which crashed over Lockerbie in December 1988 killing all 270 people aboard.

Francovich's film of the disaster, The Maltese Double Cross, is broadcast for the first time tonight (9.30pm C4), following its sudden withdrawal from the London Film Festival last November, "on legal advice".

Its claims, includingthe assertion that Iran and not Libya was behind the bombing, and its allegations about what the British and US governments knew at the time, are compounded by a cast list including CIA agents, a former president of Iran and both of the Libyans accused of the bombing.

But controversy also surrounds the funding of the film, by the Metropole Hotels group - two-thirds owned by Tiny Rowland's Lonhro (Rowland himself is seen as a staunch defender of Colonel Gadaffi) and one-third by the Libyan Arab Finance Company - raising questions about the independent nature of its conclusions. Now that it's finally being aired, you have the chance to decide for yourself.

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