Accusations cloud the truth behind Lockerbie wreck -
Alan Francovich's film about the Lockerbie disaster, The Maltese Double Cross (Channel 4), opened with a similarly baleful sense of ineluctable collision - a suitcase and a plane full of people, fated to meet. But where Hardy lays the blame on the Spinner of the Years (current whereabouts unknown) Francovich has more earthly agencies in mind. That terrible explosion was entirely eluctable, he suggests, so much so that several potential victims changed their travel plans after specific warnings from intelligence sources. Worse, he alleges, the bomb was actually placed on the plane with the assistance of DEA officials, protecting a drugs-for-intelligence operation in the Lebanon. The Libyan connection is simply a front, a cynical attempt to turn a political profit from the disaster and to conceal the murky dealings of American intelligence.
This is airport novel stuff, a convoluted story traced through a swamp of mendacity and impure motive. It might even be true - after all, Iran- Contra sounded like a Hollywood fantasy. But it doesn't greatly help your confidence that Francovich's film almost immediately adopted the conspiracist's unshakeable conviction that nothing is quite what it seems. "Americans" were on the scene very quickly, noted various witnesses, hinting darkly at foreknowledge. The CIA was there and the FBI, interfering with the work of Scottish policemen, combing those low hills for evidence. This seems "odd" to Tam Dalyell - but it doesn't seem very odd to me. It's explicable in a number of ways - management panic, jurisdictional squabbles, even the sick crowd instinct generated by such an event. Intelligence officers aren't immune from the impulse that makes people pull over to stare at traffic accidents and they have much better excuse at hand.
It was clear too that Francovich wasn't exactly a dispassionate seeker after truth. At times the script buckled beneath the weight of sarcastic insinuation. What about this, read over footage of night-time Tripoli? "Oliver North. Lieutenant-Colonel US Marine Corps. His commander-in-chief the Honourable Ronald Reagan and still sleeping the sleep of the just, as he had in cabinet meetings, had his three presidential obsessions - hostages, Contra and Gaddafi." Come again? Scorning the official explanation that a fragment of microchip proved Libyan guilt, Francovich showed you the pine forest where it was notionally found and "where it is as dark as it must have been before time began, with the first big bang". I guess the searchers needed torches. Later we travelled to Zurich - "Where money grows in banks. Where the hand that steals is not cut off, just grows other hands."
This sort of portentous nonsense is all very well, but it is not a good idea to stoke up such a generalised sense of double-dealing if your own film has been partly financed by Libyan money and if one of your principal witnesses was also employed by Pan-Am lawyers, hoping to stave off huge payments in damages. Francovich's film raises some real questions about the official account, about it's political convenience and expedient omissions. But it didn't replace it with any reliable truth of its own. You switched off, thinking you couldn't trust anything but the continuing grief of the bereaved.
Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandalbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness – including don’t try to convert other people
- 3 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 4 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
Game of Thrones actress begs for 'other princess work' after Myrcella Baratheon part is recast
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming August 2014
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy
Star Wars Episode 7: Simon Pegg hints at role
Palestinian artists transform smoke-filled Gaza into symbol of resistance
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >