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Old 3rd February 2010, 05:46 AM   #8
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I don't think the thread is a failure, I just think it's discussing something relatively uncontentious.

Having read more of the evidence, I'm clearer about what Mr. Bedford says he saw. He had put the first 5 cases on their spines, however the two mystery cases were actually lying flat. I think this may be why the court thinks these cases would inevitably have been on the bottom layer.

I just don't see this as being so inevitable at all. Likely, yes, but it's still perfectly possible that cases could have been rearranged a bit while the Frankfurt stuff was being stacked, so that one of these two cases ended up on the second layer. Indeed, one point I wonder about is whether any of the baggage loaders doing that job might have been part of the terrorist plot, and deliberately positioned that case with the bomb as close to the side of the container as possible. That could easily have involved putting it on top of another case.

The judges accepted that the Bedford suitcase had indeed been moved away from the position Mr. Bedford saw it in, because if it had remained there it would have been damaged by the explosion and so appeared in the forensic record. Nevertheless, while they decided it had probably been moved "to a far corner of the container" (yes, baggage handlers just love moving 20kg suitcases from one end of a container to the other for no good reason....), they continued with their assumption that it couldn't have been moved one layer up.

Looking at it simply, it seems bloody obvious the Bedford suitcase was "the primary suitcase". My only question is whether it would have been enough for the unknown person who put it in the container to have placed it where he did, or whether it would really have been necessary to have one of the loaders handling the Frankfurt baggage co-operating with the plan. If it was indeed moved from the bottom to the second-bottom layer at that stage, either one of the loaders was in on it, or the terrorists were very lucky it wasn't moved to the other (inboard) side of the container.

Nevertheless, when considering that point, we have to bear in mind that even the amount of control over positioning given by putting the bag in AVE4041 at Heathrow is more than would have been achievable if it had simply been sent on its journey at Malta or Frankfurt. The official version relies just as much if not more on the bag's lethal positioning having been pure chance.

The evidence suggests, we're told, that the primary suitcase was on the second layer, on top of an American Tourister suitcase that had come off PA103A. Some of the measurements contradict each other though (including Mr. Protheroe's calculations). I've seen references to estimates of the height of the explosion that would put it in the bottom layer. It's the lack of pitting and the state of the American Tourister that are used to argue against this. It's difficult to know which data-set is most reliable, given the state of the stuff after the explosion, the fall from 33,000 feet, and lying around the Scottish countryside for up a week or two before being brought in. Oh, and probably some of it never being found.

What I can't see, given that Mr. Bedford's evidence was accepted, is anything that conclusively, or even to a high degree of probability, prevents that suitcase being the bomb bag. And I'm just gobsmacked at the attitude of the judges on this point.

The only other point I was toying with was whether it was possible that the bits of bronze Samsonite recovered at Lockerbie could have been the Bedford suitcase, but not the bomb bag. That in fact the actual bomb bag had been more or less obliterated, and the items believed to be from the bomb bag were actually somewhat further away but their appearance misinterpreted. Several people have suggested this, but I don't really think it flies.

"The way we vote will depend, ultimately, on whether we are persuaded to hope or to fear." - Aonghas MacNeacail, June 2012.
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