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Diana's Death - Unanswered Questions Remain

With the 2nd Anniversary of Princess Diana's death just days away, France's state prosecutor has recommended the dismissing of charges against nine photographers and a press motorcyclist implicated in the car crash that killed Princess Diana, stating the car's drunk driver, Henri Paul, was totally to blame. John Howard reports that unanswered questions still remain.

No competent investigation can be concluded into the events in Paris on August 30 -31, 1997, until a number of vital, unanswered questions have been resolved and with full public disclosure.

1. Before closing the investigation will Judge Herve Stephan admit fresh evidence that throws doubt on the validity of Henri Paul's blood tests?

2. What was the role of the still-missing white Fiat Uno, which forensic evidence and eyewitness accounts have confirmed, collided with the Mercedes 280-S causing the fatal crash? The Fiat sped out of the Place de l' Alma and disappeared along with the driver. At least one qualified police witness saw the Fiat waiting at the entrance to the Place de l' Alma tunnel seconds before the crash.

3. What factors contributed to the delay of two hours in getting Princess Diana, still very much alive, to the La Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital? She died moments before being wheeled into surgery. High-ranking French police and Interior Ministry officials were on the scene directing the emergency response and the initial investigation.

4. What role, if any, did three senior British intelligence officials, alleged to have been in Paris prior to and after the crash, play in the August 31 events? Newspaper accounts in Britain, published before the crash, reported that a campaign had been ordered against Princess Diana's companion, Dodi Fayed.

5. What is contained in the more than 1,000 pages of U.S. files of the National Security Agency, CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency on Princess Diana's death? A Federal District Court Judge in Washington D.C. has ordered the CIA and Defence Intelligence Agencies to turn over the relevant files to lawyers acting for Dodi's father, Mohamed Al Fayed. However, a protracted court battle is expected before any of the classified material is released.

6. What caused Princess Diana to report her fears and concens about the way she was being treated to Al Fayed in St. Tropez? There were many others in whom she confided in a similar vein - including Andrew Morton, Martin Bashir, Maggie Rae, and Debbie Frank.

Her concerns related to the royal household's antipathy to her; its habitually close links with the security service; the manipulation, interference and control, as she saw it, exercised by officials of the household; her conviction, based on what she said she had been told, that the motorcycle death of her former bodyguard and personal friend, Barry Mannakee, was not an accident; and her apprehension that she might be assassinated.

7. What were the operational duties of the undeclared MI6 officers in Paris at the time of the tragedy?

8. What records of telephone messages, telegrams, email and memorandums exist on MI6 files concerning the events before and immediately after the crash?

On July 2, 1999, a Paris appeals court rejected a petition from Mohamed Al Fayed to compel Judge Stephan to expand his investigation into the crash.

Now, with some important allegations emerging, the Judge has decided to shut down his probe without questioning three possibly key witnesses or attempting to access classified U.S. government documents which could shred further light on the event of two years ago.

The decision by the Paris appellant court to allow the Judge to submit his final report and recommendations - unless reversed by a higher court - will almost certainly, in the eyes of the world, wed the French government to allegations of a monumental cover-up.

There are a great many more pertinent questions that should be openly and frankly dealt with perhaps in some form of British parliamentary inquiry. A full airing of what is known about the August 31, 1997, events would transform the European political landscape, very much for the better.

After her death, Princess Diana was given a solemn burial by her family, accompanied by unprecendented mourning for her from the world's population.

If it is finally proved there has been a cover-up, the final internment of those responsible will be much less generous.

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