The Guardian reports on the controversy caused by revelations in leaked US cables that the UK government was concerned about "harsh and immediate action" from Libya if it failed to release one of the men convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombings, Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi, on compassionate grounds.
But as Gareth Peirce, human rights lawyer and author of Dispatches from the Dark Side, points out in an interview with the Irish Independent, the real controversy should be about Al-Megrahi's conviction
This week has seen student demonstrations and occupations across Italy as well as more in the UK. Amongst the students protesting Berlusconi's proposed education reforms, some of the most colourful took the form of the 'Book Bloc,' a group using painted shields representing works of literature against police in Rome.
Q, the first novel (written under the nom de plume Luther Blissett) by Wu Ming, the authors of Manituana, was, much to their satisfaction, on the frontline:
This afternoon, in Rome, students confronted the cops while carrying shields with book titles on them. The meaning was: it is culture itself that's resisting the cuts; books themselves are fighting the police. It was in this incendiary midst that our novel Q showed up, and in good company to boot: Moby Dick, Don Quixote, Plato's The Republic, A Thousand Plateaux ... It goes without saying that, whatever will happen, we're proud of what our novel is doing in the streets. Omnia sunt communia!
Tariq Ali visited the SOAS occupation—occupying students report:
Despite having earlier said that he would only come if he could climb in through the window, Ali entered through the door to rapturous applause. Expressing his solidarity with the student activists he said that progress has never been made without struggle and dismissed government claims that higher education, public housing and other public services are not affordable as lies.
As students at the London School of Economics are the latest to go into occupation, Dan Hind, author of The Threat to Reason and The Return of the Public, comments on the significance of the new student movements and the prospects for radical change:
The events of the last few weeks far exceed the student demonstrations in Britain in 1968, in terms of their scale and arguably their significance. The students now have the potential to develop and popularise, in partnership with other groups, a program to tackle Britain's many economic and social problems. Their insistence that education is a