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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Ahmed Jibril , Kenny MacAskill , Lockerbie bombing , Marwan Khreesat , Pan Am 103

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Old 8th January 2012, 11:23 AM   #601
Antony
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It seems most probable that the terrorists filled their suitcase with brand new, locally manufactured, easily traceable clothes bought conspicuously in a small owner-run shop in Malta as a bit of misdirection. Thanks to the coincidence of the Frankfurt coding anomaly, it succeeded probably beyond their wildest dreams.
Hardly an obscure point, but one too sophisticated for the investigators and for all too many commentators on the case, it seems.
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Old 8th January 2012, 02:41 PM   #602
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
You have an inadequate and limited perspective on such matters, it appears to me...
Originally Posted by Antony View Post
You have heard of Rule 12, haven't you?
Yes, I have. Though the question is a non-sequitur here, imo.

I'm alluding to the underlying reasons you're arguments fail, however if you wish to ignore the point and respond merely with gratuitous pedantry, I'll leave you too it.

Suffice it to say I find your arguments- particularly the laughably hindsight addled analysis of the clothing- to quite suitably reside here in the realm of the Conspiracy Theory.
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Old 8th January 2012, 03:08 PM   #603
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Sorry, come again? The clothes were bought from Tony Gauci. Nobody in this part of the thread is seriously disputing that. If you have some basis for thinking the purchaser was Megrahi despite all the information laid out for you, please present it.

If you have any evidence the bomb travelled on KM180, please present it.

Simply announcing you don't follow the arguments being made, therefore (for you) they fail, without giving any detailed reason for this judgement and frankly without showing the slightest sign you have any idea what the evidence actually is, doesn't cut it.

Rolfe.
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Old 8th January 2012, 03:28 PM   #604
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Originally Posted by Antony View Post
So was it the origin of the bomb suitcase clothes, or the fact that the flight from Malta was on the tarmac in Frankfurt at the "right" time, or a combination of these, that fixed the Maltese connection in the minds of the investigators?

I can just hear the clicking of the mental machinery: "clothes bought in Malta ... Libyan embassy a short walk away ... ha! This proves the bomb was assembled at the Maltese Libyan embassy!"

Duh ...

It wasn't the timing of the Malta-Frankfurt flight. There were dozens of flights from dozens of airports flying into Frankfurt that day, before PA103A left at 16.50. It was the unattributed tray recorded on Bogomira Erac's printout.

The printout showed 111 items of luggage. 86 of these came through the Frankfurt check-in desks, while 25 were transferred from incoming flights. The German analysts made a terrible hash of figuring out where the 25 transfer items had come from, but one of the items was linked to KM180 from Malta. KM180 didn't have any passengers for PA103A, so what was that entry all about?

Of course, that wasn't the only unattributed item on the printout, and at first no significance was attached to it - especially after preliminary inquiries by the Germans established that there was no evidence an unaccompanied item had travelled on that flight. However, after the clothes were identified as having originated on Malta, the investigators put 2 and 2 together - and got 6.

Actually, the prosecution alleged the bomb was assembled in the offices of Libyan Arab Airlines at Malta, not the embassy. Offices, apparently, with no private space and Maltese as well as Libyans coming and going all day. They didn't lead any evidence to support that assertion though.

People bang on and on about that bloody timer fragment as the crucial item of evidence in the case, but although it's interesting, it's not nearly as significant as it's given credit for. Tray 8849 on the Erac printout is without doubt the truly crucial item of evidence. It seems to have been a coincidental anomaly, but put together with the provenance of the clothes, it assumed a significance that turned the course of the entire investigation.

[It would be nice if Lane 99 said something about the actual evidence, or even showed he has some rudimentary understanding of what the evidence consists of. This closed-minded sniping from a standpoint of absolute ignorance is getting a bit wearing.]

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Old 8th January 2012, 04:29 PM   #605
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Yes, I have. Though the question is a non-sequitur here, imo.
Your comments on my (and Pete2's) alleged "inadequate and limited perspective" are a clear Rule 12 issue.
Quote:
I'm alluding to the underlying reasons you're arguments fail, however if you wish to ignore the point and respond merely with gratuitous pedantry, I'll leave you too it.
I have not ignored your point. It was that certain other terrorists have shown inept and irrational behaviour, as evidenced by terrorist attacks that failed; therefore we can't assume that the perpetrators of the PanAm bombing wouldn't have bought clothes from identifiably the nearest outlet to where they conducted the crime.

No we can't assume it; I'm just pointing out that it's unlikely. But it's not us who are making the assumption - it's the investigation that made the opposite one. And it's one in keeping with numerous other miscarriages of justice - an arbitrary and meaningless connection with the crime is taken by investigators as some kind of serious lead, or even concrete "evidence".
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Suffice it to say I find your arguments- particularly the laughably hindsight addled analysis of the clothing- to quite suitably reside here in the realm of the Conspiracy Theory.
Bluster.
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Old 8th January 2012, 04:36 PM   #606
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It wasn't the timing of the Malta-Frankfurt flight. There were dozens of flights from dozens of airports flying into Frankfurt that day, before PA103A left at 16.50. It was the unattributed tray recorded on Bogomira Erac's printout.

The printout showed 111 items of luggage. 86 of these came through the Frankfurt check-in desks, while 25 were transferred from incoming flights. The German analysts made a terrible hash of figuring out where the 25 transfer items had come from, but one of the items was linked to KM180 from Malta. KM180 didn't have any passengers for PA103A, so what was that entry all about?

Of course, that wasn't the only unattributed item on the printout, and at first no significance was attached to it - especially after preliminary inquiries by the Germans established that there was no evidence an unaccompanied item had travelled on that flight. However, after the clothes were identified as having originated on Malta, the investigators put 2 and 2 together - and got 6.

Actually, the prosecution alleged the bomb was assembled in the offices of Libyan Arab Airlines at Malta, not the embassy. Offices, apparently, with no private space and Maltese as well as Libyans coming and going all day. They didn't lead any evidence to support that assertion though.

People bang on and on about that bloody timer fragment as the crucial item of evidence in the case, but although it's interesting, it's not nearly as significant as it's given credit for. Tray 8849 on the Erac printout is without doubt the truly crucial item of evidence. It seems to have been a coincidental anomaly, but put together with the provenance of the clothes, it assumed a significance that turned the course of the entire investigation.

[It would be nice if Lane 99 said something about the actual evidence, or even showed he has some rudimentary understanding of what the evidence consists of. This closed-minded sniping from a standpoint of absolute ignorance is getting a bit wearing.]

Rolfe.
Thanks for this information. When it comes to nitty-gritty like tray numbers my knowledge is a bit sketchy. But the prosecution scenario of how the bomb allegedly got transferred between aircraft in Frankfurt was always too obscure to make sense to me.
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Old 8th January 2012, 05:10 PM   #607
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Originally Posted by Antony View Post
Your comments on my (and Pete2's) alleged "inadequate and limited perspective" are a clear Rule 12 issue.

Debatable. Members talking to CTers may say things like "your moronic arguments fail every time", because that's addressing the argument, no problem, not calling you a moron. And we count as CTers here. Just don't try that out on someone else, elsewhere in the forum.

Originally Posted by Antony View Post
I have not ignored your point. It was that certain other terrorists have shown inept and irrational behaviour, as evidenced by terrorist attacks that failed; therefore we can't assume that the perpetrators of the PanAm bombing wouldn't have bought clothes from identifiably the nearest outlet to where they conducted the crime.

If there was actual evidence the Lockerbie terrorists had actually set such a questionable plan in motion, and succeeded by sheer wild chance, then we'd accept that's what happened, of course. The problem isn't primarily that it's a daft plan, it's that there's no evidence it was ever on the agenda in the first place (and that shedload of evidence for quite a different and more rational plan having succeeded instead).

Once it has been realised that there's no evidence at all of an unaccompanied suitcase being transferred from Luqa, the observation that that would actually have been a pretty daft plan, with all sorts of ways of going wrong, follows naturally.

It seems Lane 99 thinks that a plan which wasn't carried out, must actually have been carried out because it was a daft idea - or something like that. Maybe we're just not allowed to point out that it would have been a daft idea because only CTers would say that, or something. He's not making a lot of sense to me.

Originally Posted by Antony View Post
No we can't assume it; I'm just pointing out that it's unlikely. But it's not us who are making the assumption - it's the investigation that made the opposite one. And it's one in keeping with numerous other miscarriages of justice - an arbitrary and meaningless connection with the crime is taken by investigators as some kind of serious lead, or even concrete "evidence".

Again, the problem isn't primarily that it would have been a daft plan, it's that there's no evidence that's what happened. The connection (the two different leads pointing to Malta - one real one not) was a reasonable one for the investigators to make. Their failing was in not reconsidering the theory when they could find no evidence to support it despite extensive, detailed and single-minded investigation over months.

Originally Posted by Antony View Post
Bluster.

So far, Lane 99 had shown no evidence at all that he has the first clue about the case. It's pseudosceticism or "duhbunking" at its finest. Latch on to a single, secondary point, insist that you think it's nonsense, and proceed to dismiss the entire thesis on that basis.

You see how easy it is? No need to find out anything about the case, no need to offer any detailed argument, just say "your arguments fail" and collect ten Randi-points.

I don't know why I bother sometimes.

Rolfe.
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Old 8th January 2012, 05:32 PM   #608
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Originally Posted by Antony View Post
Thanks for this information. When it comes to nitty-gritty like tray numbers my knowledge is a bit sketchy. But the prosecution scenario of how the bomb allegedly got transferred between aircraft in Frankfurt was always too obscure to make sense to me.

Frankfurt had an automated transit system taking suitcases from the check-in desks to the gates, and also from arrival gates directly to departure gates for passengers changing flights. If a suitcase had come off KM180 with a luggage tag filled out for PA103, the coder would have put it in a tray, and told the computer that what was in that tray should be delivered to the gate for PA103A.

There was a tray coded for PA103A at a time and place suggesting it contained luggage from KM180. However, that was just inference. There was also another tray loaded on PA103A whose provenance couldn't be established. The coding system was "good enough for government work" but subject to errors.

Actually, nobody knows what was in that tray - if anything. And there's no certainty it came off KM180, it could have been a stray item from another flight that just happened to be coded at the same time as the Malta flight. But the prosecution insisted that it must have been a ticking bomb from Luqa, even though it was manifestly impossible for any unaccompanied item, bomb or not, to have been carried on KM180.

In fact, intelligence from a year or two previously indicated that the Libyan secret service had looked at the possibility of getting a bomb on a plane at Luqa, and decided it wasn't feasible because the security was too good. I think it might have been possible if the bomb was Semtex that wouldn't be picked up by a sniffer dog, because Luqa didn't x-ray. But it would have been impossible to get it on unaccompanied.

The way to have done it would have been to book for Pan Am 103 at Luqa, get the suitcase tagged for the transatlantic flight, and board with it. Trusting it wasn't going to detonate early of course. Then the terrorist would have sloped off at Frankfurt, leaving the bomb to be loaded automatically according to its luggage tags.

That's what the investigators thought had happened. Except it didn't. All 55 items of luggage counted on to the flight were reconciled to legitimate passengers, and all the passengers reported collecting their luggage at their destinations with nothing astray. None of the passengers was Arab, or had any terrorist connections - all of them checked out as ordinary travellers who were who they said they were. None of these 55 items was tagged for PA103.

The investigators were forced to hypothesise a 56th item, with forged tags, added after the luggage had passed airside. Except the luggage was never out of sight of the Maltese staff, the repeated counting confirmed only 55 items loaded, and nobody was ever identified airside who might conceivably even have tried to pull that one off. Certainly not Megrahi.

Pan Am weren't reconciling luggage to passengers at that time, so theoretically an unaccompanied item might have slipped past. If there had been one. But they did x-ray everything that was loaded as a transfer item from a different carrier. If there was a suitcase tagged with Air Malta tags for PA103 in that luggage tray, it would have been x-rayed by Kurt Maier.

Kurt Maier at that time was on the qui vive for IEDs disguised as Toshiba radio-cassette recorders, because of the Autumn Leaves warning. He had been instructed to call his supervisor if he saw anything like that in a suitcase he was x-raying. He was held to be a careful and conscientious operator, at that time. He saw no radio-cassette recorder in the luggage he x-rayed for that flight.

That's just one of the things that would have made it a daft plan. Supposing they had got the suitcase past the check-in and past the Luqa sniffer dogs, and on to the plane without anyone noticing the discrepancy in the count, and supposing the thing hadn't gone astray as luggage so often does, Maier should have spotted the thing, any way you slice it. He didn't spot anything.

Rolfe.
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Old 9th January 2012, 06:52 AM   #609
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
All 55 items of luggage counted on to the flight were reconciled to legitimate passengers, and all the passengers reported collecting their luggage at their destinations with nothing astray. None of the passengers was Arab, or had any terrorist connections - all of them checked out as ordinary travellers who were who they said they were. None of these 55 items was tagged for PA103. [....]

Kurt Maier at that time was on the qui vive for IEDs disguised as Toshiba radio-cassette recorders, because of the Autumn Leaves warning. He had been instructed to call his supervisor if he saw anything like that in a suitcase he was x-raying. He was held to be a careful and conscientious operator, at that time. He saw no radio-cassette recorder in the luggage he x-rayed for that flight.

Just to contrast this with the evidence at Heathrow, I'll re-post a summary of the latter from earlier in the thread.
  • There were about ten items of luggage already on the bottom of the container before the Frankfurt baggage was added, items which it was Heathrow's responsibility to ensure were safe. *
  • One of these items was described as "a maroony-brown hardshell suitcase, the type Samsonite make".
  • Neither of the legitimate baggage staff remembers putting that item into the container, and the man whose specific job it was to load the container is adamant he did not put it there.
  • The explosion occurred only 10 inches from the floor of the container.
  • It is probable the baggage loader dealing with the tarmac transfer from the feeder flight would not have moved the original items very far, if at all, because the luggage was not sorted at this stage, and the transfer had to be done in less than 15 minutes because the feeder flight landed 45 minutes late.
  • The suitcase containing the bomb was a hardshell Samsonite, variously described by the forensic examiners as brown, maroon, burgundy and bronze.
  • No other luggage fitting the description of "a maroony-brown hardshell suitcase" was recovered at Lockerbie, damaged or undamaged.
  • None of the fifteen passengers whose luggage was or might have been in the container before the feeder flight landed was known to possess a brown or maroon hardshell case, and nobody who had had contact with these passengers before they boarded remembered seeing any of them with such a case.
  • A break-in into the airside area of Heathrow airport in question was reported as having occurred 16 hours before the mystery suitcase was sighted, with a padlock described as being "cut like butter".
  • The timing of the explosion, only 38 minutes into an on-time 7½-hour flight and well before reaching the open ocean, makes no rational sense in the context of its being triggered by an electronic timer, which might have been loaded anywhere. It is entirely consistent with the use of a barometric trigger, which would have had to have been loaded de novo at Heathrow.
  • As well as being in the right position to cause serious damage to the aircraft (that is, in the outboard part of the container), the suitcase was also in the right orientation (that is, with the side holding the IED right up against the skin of the aircraft).
If someone (let's call him Abu Elias), had been convicted of putting the bomb on board at Heathrow on the basis of that evidence, but we were certain he was innocent and instead we were advancing the case that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi had probably introduced it at Malta, on the basis of that evidence, would we be accused of promoting a ridiculous conspiracy theory?

I rather think we would.

Rolfe.

ETA: * That's not quite right. It was Pan Am's responsibility to make sure everything that was loaded into that container from incoming flights was safe. But if the IED got there by coming across the airport perimeter rather than having been flown in on an incoming flight (as it's likely it did), THAT makes it Heathrow's responsibility, probably jointly with Pan Am/Alert Security.
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Old 10th January 2012, 06:18 AM   #610
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Nope. It's interesting to tease out the way the investigation proceeded, as it becomes more obvious why the police were so convinced he was involved. Mainly, that they found out the most important thing LAST - that he was at the airport when KM180 departed.

I'm less clear what the US side was up to, from the very early attempts to blame Libya, to Indian Head and the MST-13 fragment, to the CIA supplying Megrahi's name to the Scottish police in January 1991. I'm not sure the US side really cared whether or not Heathrow was blamed, but having said that I don't think they were provided with all the evidence pointing to Heathrow that was swept under the carpet.

But no. Still no evidence that Megrahi did anything at all on 21st December 1988 but catch his plane for Tripoli. Still no evidence at all that the crew and passengers on KM180 that morning were sitting on a ticking bomb.

Rolfe.
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Old 11th January 2012, 05:07 PM   #611
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I suppose it's bye-bye to lane99 as well, now. The latest in an ignominious procession starting with McHrozni. I know nothing of your quaint Scottish investigation, but I spotted a secondary point in your argument I don't understand, so I'll say that's fatuous, therefore all your argument (which I haven't even read never mind understand) is fatuous, hey I win goodbye.

Pseudosceptic is such an ugly word. Duhbunker is another.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th January 2012, 06:03 PM   #612
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
....It seems most probable that the terrorists filled their suitcase with brand new, locally manufactured, easily traceable clothes bought conspicuously in a small owner-run shop in Malta as a bit of misdirection...
Probable? How absolutely precious

Yes, plotters who were mere mortals would probably not have given much thought to those few pieces of clothing, thinking it practically inconceivable that they would have been recovered after the plane had been blown into a billion pieces. But not villans this diabolical.

Genius. Sheer Genius. A plan so cunning it can only be described as Baldrickian.

My, my, the things you can't learn here.

p.s. Thanks to Anthony for bringing attention to the excerpt quoted above. Without having done so, I fear most (including yours truly) would never have seen it. And it's an absolute gem of confirmation and hindsight bias.
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Old 15th January 2012, 08:07 AM   #613
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Here we go again. Focus on a bit of speculation which is extremely secondary to the point that we don't have a bloody clue who bought these clothes except it was someone who wasn't Megrahi, and there is NO, zilch, zip, nada evidence of the bomb itself ever having been on the island of Malta, never mind being carried on KM180.

Given these conclusions, one speculates as to why clothes bought very conspicuously in a small shop on the island were found in association with the Lockerbie IED. That's my best guess, at the moment. Feel free to come up with something better.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th January 2012, 08:11 AM   #614
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You know, this is why I get a bit cross. A string of drive-by scoffers with no knowledge of the facts or the evidence, posting silly dismissive nonsense about secondary points they don't even understand in context.

Nobody prepared to take the trouble to become informed enough to make a sensible point.

Lane, unless you tell me what evidence you have that the IED went through the airport at Malta, and/or what makes you think it's even remotely likely Megrahi bought these clothes, I'm going to put you on ignore.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th January 2012, 10:33 AM   #615
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Probable? How absolutely precious

Yes, plotters who were mere mortals would probably not have given much thought to those few pieces of clothing, thinking it practically inconceivable that they would have been recovered after the plane had been blown into a billion pieces. But not villans this diabolical.
Paradoxically, Lane almost has a point here - but not because of any imaginary "billion pieces" of the aircraft after the explosion. The clothing would not be a factor, only if the plotters could have been confident that their device would explode over the Atlantic Ocean, when the debris from the disaster would never be recovered.

Of course, this in turn could only be the case if (as the evidence described by Rolfe shows) the bomb was an altitude-triggered device introduced at Heathrow. The 3-flight Malta scenario would have depended upon a timer, and the terrorists would have no way of being sure where it would be at the time of detonation.
Quote:
Genius. Sheer Genius. A plan so cunning it can only be described as Baldrickian.
Which is a good way of describing the official version of the bomb plot: the alleged 3-stage trip from Malta via Frankfurt.
Quote:
My, my, the things you can't learn here.

p.s. Thanks to Anthony for bringing attention to the excerpt quoted above. Without having done so, I fear most (including yours truly) would never have seen it. And it's an absolute gem of confirmation and hindsight bias.
If you would pay as much attention to the spelling of my name then you might have got it right. If there's any confirmation bias here, it's your own assumption that the terrorists would think it "practically inconceivable" that the clothes would be recovered - given that they would have been hopelessly wrong.
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Old 15th January 2012, 11:31 AM   #616
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Originally Posted by Antony View Post
Paradoxically, Lane almost has a point here - but not because of any imaginary "billion pieces" of the aircraft after the explosion. The clothing would not be a factor, only if the plotters could have been confident that their device would explode over the Atlantic Ocean, when the debris from the disaster would never be recovered.

Of course, this in turn could only be the case if (as the evidence described by Rolfe shows) the bomb was an altitude-triggered device introduced at Heathrow. The 3-flight Malta scenario would have depended upon a timer, and the terrorists would have no way of being sure where it would be at the time of detonation.

The plotters were both supernaturally clever and astoundingly stupid, simultaneously, according to the prosecution.

They pulled off a plan not only to get an unaccompanied IED on board a plane at the high-security Luqa airport, itself quite a trick, but they managed it in such as way as to render it impossible to discover how it had been done after the fact, or even that it had been done at all. This is going way beyond what was necessary for the successful achievement of their aims. It's the work of a mastermind, possibly one with supernatural powers (invisibility and levitation).

Then, with this amazing plan in place, they decided to fill the suitcase with brand new, locally manufactured, easily traceable clothes, bought in a very conspicuous manner from a small owner-run shop where the purchaser was the only customer in the shop just before closing time.

Then they forgot to cut the tags off the clothes, and sent the suitcase on a circuitous route where there was a high chance it would be intercepted by an x-ray operator (Kurt Maier), and also a finite chance that it might become misrouted or delayed, and explode harmlessly on the ground leaving the rags right there to be picked up at leisure.

Then they decided to set the timer to go off only about 45 minutes after the plane left the tarmac, according to its scheduled take-off time (at Heathrow, in December, don't make me laugh, it's a miracle it wasn't late). At a time when the high probability was that the aircraft would still be over land, completely spurning the opportunity to aim for the huge expanse of Atlantic Ocean ahead of it.

Oh, and they sent the same person to buy the clothes, without even a false beard, as was scheduled to show his face openly at the airport where he was well known when the bomb was placed on board. Though of course we can't say why it was necessary that he should be there, because he didn't have a suitcase and he didn't go airside and he certainly wasn't the person who put the bomb on the plane.

Originally Posted by Antony View Post
Which is a good way of describing the official version of the bomb plot: the alleged 3-stage trip from Malta via Frankfurt.

Is it possible that terrorists with such an incredibly (literally!) cunning plan to get the bomb on the plane could have been so stupid about the clothes, the routing and the timing? I guess it is. However, was anybody that stupid?

There's no evidence at all that anyone did that. None. The whole thing is simply a prosecution invention to try to explain the evidence so it incriminates someone they want to incriminate.

Originally Posted by Antony View Post
If you would pay as much attention to the spelling of my name then you might have got it right. If there's any confirmation bias here, it's your own assumption that the terrorists would think it "practically inconceivable" that the clothes would be recovered - given that they would have been hopelessly wrong.

Even if the terrorists weren't thinking at all, it's a strange way to acquire clothes for that job. There are innumerable ways to acquire untraceable clothes. To buy traceable items like that takes a special effort.

If they thought at all, they would have realised there was a high chance of identifiable items being recovered - if not from a disarmed device which was spotted on x-ray, or from the debris of an explosion on the ground in the baggage system, from the crash site on land which their chosen timer setting made highly probable.

You have to postulate that these people who thought up the untraceable Luqa introduction not only didn't even think about the clothes being traceable, they actually went out of their way to acquire clothes which would be traceable.

All theoretically possible of course, and if there was evidence that had happened, then fair enough.

However, there is NO evidence that's what happened. Therefore, pointing out that if would have been a bloody stupid thing to do is fairly reasonable in my opinion.

I don't suppose lane99 will even read this. I would like him to take on board that nobody is claiming the insane plot didn't happen because it's insane, we're claiming it didn't happen because there is NO evidence it happened, and a lot of evidence that something else happened.

Remarking that it would have been a crazy plan which could only have succeeded by the most appalling string of bad luck, is just a side issue.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th January 2012, 04:09 PM   #617
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Quote:
Of course, this in turn could only be the case if (as the evidence described by Rolfe shows) the bomb was an altitude-triggered device introduced at Heathrow. The 3-flight Malta scenario would have depended upon a timer, and the terrorists would have no way of being sure where it would be at the time of detonation.

I just noticed what you said here, I misread it the first time. Antony, you have this back to front.

With an altitude trigger, the time delay after reaching the crucial altitude was fixed by the nature of the capacitor, not something the terrorist making the bomb could control. And it was of necessity quite short - about half an hour. The trick was mainly intended to defeat the detection system which put suspect luggage into a vacuum chamber to trigger such devices - when the thing didn't explode immediately, it would be passed as safe. As a secondary point, the delay also allowed the target plane to get right up to cruising altitude before it blew up.

If the Lockerbie bomb was one of Marwan Khreesat's specials, the plane was fated to blow up 38 minutes after its wheels left the tarmac, irrespective of what time that actually was. So you could guess the likely crash sites by looking 38 minutes along the usual flight paths from Heathrow to JFK. Lockerbie was just unlucky that high winds caused the flight to be routed north that night, rather than the mare usual route over Ireland. Sherwood Crescent was doomed the minute the flight plan was finalised, no matter what time the actual take-off was.

On a calmer night, routed on a more southerly course it might have gone down in the Irish Sea, though even if it had the wide scatter of debris from 31,000 feet would have meant quite a lot of the light stuff would have drifted over land anyway. But there was always a good chance it was going to go down over land, and any terrorist using a device like that would have known that.

The great advantage to terrorists using such a device was that it wouldn't have mattered if the plane had been late, even an hour or two late. The delay timer wouldn't even start until the plane was climbing out of Heathrow. However, such a device must have been loaded at Heathrow. An altitude device loaded at Malta would have exploded somewhere over the Mediterranean - the available time delay wasn't long enough to do anything else. So the prosecution couldn't postulate such a device in their scenario.

Instead they postulated a simple countdown timer, set in Malta. Such a timer could of course be set late enough to skip the first two legs of the flight and go off on the transatlantic leg. So far so good. But the disadvantage was that there was no guarantee the device would be in the air at the time of the explosion, if something went wrong. Misrouted luggage and late planes are not exactly uncommon, let's face it. If the suitcase was in a lost luggage office, or in the hold of a plane still sitting on the tarmac, at the appointed time, it would go off. As rather a damp squib, being as the small device needed the resulting decompression to do the major damage.

This shouldn't have been an insuperable problem for terrorists trying this plan - not such a headache as getting it on KM180 with fake tags in the first place, or getting the thing past Maier at Frankfurt. The flight time scheduled for PA103 was 7½ hours. So long as the device got on the plane as planned, then you could build a pretty wide safety margin into that. Scheduled landing time at JFK was 01.40 GMT. Set the timer for midnight, say, and even if it's five hours late, it'll be in the air by then. If it's on time, it'll be over the western Atlantic or one of the remoter parts of Canada. And then, probably about zero chance of small crucial pieces of evidence being picked up.

PA103 blew up at 19.03 GMT. Bang on time for a Khreesat device loaded at Heathrow. Insanely early for a countdown timer set on Malta. Not only would such an early detonation obviously risk a swathe of evidence right there for the British or Irish police to recover, it would introduce a significant risk of the detonation occurring harmlessly on the tarmac at Heathrow, if the plane had missed its slot.

And I don't know how many times I have to say this, but I'll say it again. The reason for not believing this happened is not that it would have been an insane plan, which only succeeded by a string of flukes, it's that there is NO EVIDENCE it happened.

If you have evidence a terrorist gang put together a plan that was brilliant beyond belief in some parts but brain-dead stupid in others, and that it had in fact come off because of a series of unlucky flukes, then that is the scenario which must be considered.

If you have no evidence that such a plan was behind the atrocity, but hypothesise it happened like that anyway, then it is absolutely legitimate to point out that it would have been a pretty insane cunning plan for anyone to set in motion.

If you have a shedload of evidence that a device made by Khreesat or one of his associates was in fact introduced at Heathrow, then that also has to be considered.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd February 2012, 09:02 AM   #618
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...That's my best guess, at the moment.
Yes, that I believe.
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Old 3rd February 2012, 08:59 PM   #619
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Originally Posted by Rolfe
...That's my best guess, at the moment.


Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Yes, that I believe.
"...best guess at the moment" ...Totally agree w/ Lane99.
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Old 4th February 2012, 03:02 AM   #620
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Rolfe gives you several paragraphs of reasoned argument backed up by facts, and the best response you two can find between you is to take one line out of context and post some empty snark about it?

Is there someone else there we can talk to?
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Old 4th February 2012, 04:04 AM   #621
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Yes, that I believe.
Originally Posted by Bunntamas View Post
Originally Posted by Rolfe http://www.internationalskeptics.com...s/viewpost.gif
...That's my best guess, at the moment.




"...best guess at the moment" ...Totally agree w/ Lane99.
I agree with Kevin_Lowe. It would be a lot easier to take you people serious as participants in this discussion if you managed to present something more substantial than condescending snarkiness in reply to arguments you obviously do not agree with. You know, like, for example, arguments of your own.
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Old 4th February 2012, 05:07 AM   #622
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Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
I agree with Kevin_Lowe. It would be a lot easier to take you people serious as participants in this discussion if you managed to present something more substantial than condescending snarkiness in reply to arguments you obviously do not agree with. You know, like, for example, arguments of your own.

+1
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Old 4th February 2012, 09:25 AM   #623
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Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
...It would be a lot easier to take you people serious as participants...

condescending snarkiness in reply to arguments you obviously do not agree with...
I'm amused. You seem to think anyone would care whether you, whoever you are, take them seriously. Well, maybe someone does. And god bless 'em. But I don't.

To the contrary, you'll need to qualify for my time. And you'll do so by showing you have ever expressed the same objection to "condescending snarkiness" when it's contained in the interminable harangues proferred here by the Megadaffi Echo-Chamber Choir. Or, for that matter, your own posts.

If you can do that, I might take you seriously. If you can't, have a nice life.

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Old 4th February 2012, 10:19 AM   #624
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
I'm amused. You seem to think anyone would care whether you, whoever you are, take them seriously. Well, maybe someone does. And god bless 'em. But I don't.

To the contrary, you'll need to qualify for my time. And you'll do so by showing you have ever expressed the same objection to "condescending snarkiness" when it's contained in the interminable harangues proferred here by the Megadaffi Echo-Chamber Choir. Or, for that matter, your own posts.

If you can do that, I might take you seriously. If you can't, have a nice life.
This is a discussion forum. This means that threads like this one are for discussing things... you know, using arguments, like Rolfe does.

If you don´t want to do that... door, ass, way out, etc etc...
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Old 4th February 2012, 04:38 PM   #625
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I checked the thread for another reason, but, well....

I know where Bunntamas is coming from and I'm prepared to give her rather a lot of slack. Or as someone quoted from one of the US presidents, "she's a Gold Star Mother, she can say what she likes." Obviously I'd kind of prefer it to make sense, but that's clearly not gonna happen, so we work with what we have.

Lane99, now, there's a different matter. He's not the first, even in this thread. McHrozni at least paid superficial lip service to making an argument, though he knew nothing at all about the evidence either. If Lane99 has said anything at all about the evidence, I missed it.

If someone can tell me why the fact that the clothes purchase was a very peculiar thing for the terrorists to do means that my entire argument can be dismissed, would they mind explaining it to me?

Rolfe.
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Old 9th February 2012, 09:36 PM   #626
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Looks like the Justice For Megrahi Committee have a bit of egg on their faces, thanks to their beloved Megrahi.

http://www.scottishconservatives.com...ie-papers/1668

~B.
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Old 10th February 2012, 03:22 AM   #627
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Originally Posted by Bunntamas View Post
Looks like the Justice For Megrahi Committee have a bit of egg on their faces, thanks to their beloved Megrahi.

http://www.scottishconservatives.com...ie-papers/1668

~B.
The Scottish Conservatives aren't twisting things here of course....

Quote:
It has recently been wrongly reported that Mr Al-Megrahi refused to give his consent for the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to release documents relating to him, referred to in the Commission’s Statement of Reasons on his case, and its appendices, that he and his lawyers provided, either directly or indirectly, to the Commission.

The true position is that Mr Al Megrahi, through his Libyan lawyer, made it clear to the Commission in a meeting on April 12th 2010 that he was happy for the documents to be released, providing all the official bodies that provided documents to the Commission agreed to the release of all of those documents. These bodies include the police, the Crown Office, the Foreign Office, and the intelligence service, or services, which provided the secret documents referred to in Chapter 25 sources of the Statement of Reasons.

Mr Al Megrahi’s position has always been, and remains, that all information relating to the case should be made public.
http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/20...losure-of.html

See http://www.megrahiyouaremyjury.net/?p=159 for an exchange of correspondance regarding the scotcons press release.

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Old 10th February 2012, 05:21 AM   #628
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What is the position of the state organs that need to grant permission for the release of these documents?

If Megrahi knows that these state organs do not want to release the documents, then he has nothing to lose by saying that he has no objection to the release of said documents.
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Old 10th February 2012, 05:51 AM   #629
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Not true. There could be a change in policy at the next change of government, if not sooner.
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Old 10th February 2012, 05:57 AM   #630
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So what is the position of the current state organs?

Secondly, can a ruling party/or policy change force the intelligence services to make these documents public?
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Old 10th February 2012, 04:37 PM   #631
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Goodness, I thought it was a bit soon for the random drive-by trolling cycle to come round again.

JfM seems very content with the way events have transpired at the parliament, as of Tuesday. And Megrahi has always said he is very eager for all the documents to be released. It's amazing how many people are lining up to misinterpret everything and anything that guy says.

Rolfe.
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Old 10th February 2012, 08:55 PM   #632
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Did Abdelbaset al-Megrahi blow up Pan Am 103?

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Goodness, I thought it was a bit soon for the random drive-by trolling cycle to come round again.
.

Nice one Rolfe.
Why not try and anwer my question instead of dishing out vague insinuations.

Oh well, I suppose I am not worthy of your consideration.

As you were, back in front of your mirror.

Sent from the far side
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Old 11th February 2012, 03:08 PM   #633
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
People bang on and on about that bloody timer fragment as the crucial item of evidence in the case, but although it's interesting, it's not nearly as significant as it's given credit for. Tray 8849 on the Erac printout is without doubt the truly crucial item of evidence. It seems to have been a coincidental anomaly, but put together with the provenance of the clothes, it assumed a significance that turned the course of the entire investigation.

Rolfe - What is your best guess in regards to the timer fragment? Planted? Altered? Coincidence? If you think a barometric trigger was the most likely means of detonation, how does the timer fragment fit into that?

I've tried following the threads on the timer fragment, but it was hard for me to determine what your ultimate conclusion was, possibly because I think you were figuring it out yourself at the time.
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Old 11th February 2012, 05:28 PM   #634
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Originally Posted by Skwinty View Post
So what is the position of the current state organs?

Secondly, can a ruling party/or policy change force the intelligence services to make these documents public?

Originally Posted by Skwinty View Post
Nice one Rolfe.
Why not try and anwer my question instead of dishing out vague insinuations.

Oh well, I suppose I am not worthy of your consideration.

As you were, back in front of your mirror.

Sent from the far side

Sorry, that wasn't actually aimed at you. I came and looked at the thread about a day earlier, thinking about bumping it with a sarcastic remark about time for another round of drive-by trolling, but looking at the dates decided it was a bit premature for that.

The politico-legal position is quite complicated and I'm not sure I can give a concise explanation. It has all been chewed over in great detail in Robert Black's blog. My own feeling is that Salmond and MacAskill genuinely believe Megrahi is guilty, but are embarrassed that he was convicted on evidence that wasn't really strong enough. They can't understand why the whole thing just won't go away. They simply haven't figured out that the essential question is not, is Megrahi guilty, it is, at which airport was the bomb introduced. If you think the answer is Malta, of course you are going to think Megrahi must have been mixed up in it somehow. It's only when you figure out that Malta is a total red herring that the real questions become apparent.

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
Rolfe - What is your best guess in regards to the timer fragment? Planted? Altered? Coincidence? If you think a barometric trigger was the most likely means of detonation, how does the timer fragment fit into that?

I've tried following the threads on the timer fragment, but it was hard for me to determine what your ultimate conclusion was, possibly because I think you were figuring it out yourself at the time.

You're right, I was figuring it out in real time on the threads, so it's hard to follow.

The MST-13 is incongruous in the context of the 38-minute explosion. Irrespective of who the bombers were, nobody who had such a timer and was going to use it to blow up that plane would have set it for 7 o'clock. It's completely bonkers. Explanations for why this might have been the chosen modus operandi are also all bonkers. You have a timer like that, you set it for midnight or thereabouts, no question at all. It's a complete no-brainer. Whether your name is Abdelbaset al-Megrahi or Marwan Khreesat or Ahmed Jibril or Abu Elias.

So, what is the timer doing there? I think it was fabricated. I think it was fabricated initially to provide an explanation for the explosion that could have flown in on the connecting flight. RARDE were trying to absolve Heathrow by postulating that the barometric timer had malfunctioned on the PA103A leg, but got shook up during the tarmac transfer at Heathrow so that it actually went off on the second leg. This is tenuous in the extreme, as was their rationale for claiming the bomb bag couldn't have been one of the ones loaded at Heathrow. In the end, somebody was going to notice this. (Apart from anything else, this suggests the primary target was the Frankfurt-to Heathrow 727, with a relatively small passenger load, which seems quite unlikely. It's always been believed the transatlantic 747 was the primary target, for fairly obvious reasons.)

But then, in the autumn of 1989, just after the prevailing theory becomes a THREE-leg hop from Malta to Frankfurt to Heathrow, the first traces of the MST-13 appear in the evidence. Surely, they weren't proposing that the barometric timer had been intended to blow up the Air Malta flight over the Med? But then it malfunctioned, and by chance they had tagged the bag for Frankfurt-Heathrow-New York? And it malfunctioned TWICE, and by chance brought down the transatlantic jumbo? It's ridiculous.

It seems this must have been a theory at one time, because the MST-13 fragment wasn't identified as such for nearly a year. It's all a bit strange. Up till August 1989, the investigation was insisting that the bomb had come in from Frankfurt, and had malfunctioned, so instead of blowing up the 727 it blew up the 747 instead. Then they decided that in fact it had come Malta-Frankfurt-Heathrow. How? Nobody really explained that. They went on digging fruitlessly at Malta for a year, without even a clear idea of how the Malta cell of the PFLP-GC could possibly have used a Khreesat barometric device to blow up a flight from Heathrow.

But all the while the fragment which would answer that question was there, being trawled round Europe by Williamson, unable to identify it. Finally in June 1990, Thurman of the CIA got hold of it and identified it almost immediately. This of course seemed to vindicate the Malta theory.

However, if you examine the provenance of the fragment, and the incongruities surrounding it, there is a very clear possible explanation. Some time between April 1989 and September 1989 it became clear that a non-barometric timer was essential in order to avoid implicating Heathrow. Orkin had access to an archive of suitable timers, and the MST-13 was chosen as having a provenance traceable to Libya, which was the all-purpose scapegoat of choice at the time, and the culprit favoured in the early days of the inquiry before the clear leads pointing to the PFLP-GC and Iran were connected.

A suitable timer was acquired which could be cannibalised for a distinctive fragment, probably by Orkin and Thurman. This was introduced into the chain of evidence at RARDE, and the provenance back-dated from September to May by associating it with the collar of the grey shirt. It was then passed to Williamson, who was supposed to ID it fairly quickly. His failure either to do that or to call in the FBI to do it for him was causing a big problem, so that when Thurman got the chance in June 1990 he grabbed it and IDed it within 48 hours, from Orkin's files.

This is where the usual trolls scream, "Conspiracy Theory". Quite right too. Can't prove it. Would need access to the photographic records at RARDE to prove it. By showing that the red-circle photo was not taken on 12th May 1989. Hayes knew that, this is clear from his evidence, which is a masterpiece of evasion, and Keen backed off just before pinning him to the wall on it.

So, maybe this is all moonshine. Maybe so. But if it is, what is that timer fragment doing there in the context of the 38-minute explosion? It still makes no sense. No sense if Jibril's group did it, and no sense if the Libyans did it. It doesn't implicate Megrahi anyway, as his connection with the MST-13 timers was far too tenuous to be implicatory in any way.

Rolfe.
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Old 11th February 2012, 09:36 PM   #635
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Thanks Rolfe, your apology and explanation accepted. I contribute very little to this thread but I do read it.

When I do it is in the form of a question and thus easily construed as a drive by post trying to get a rise, although my intention is to get an answer.

Sent from the far side
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Old 14th February 2012, 08:19 AM   #636
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This may be of interest to posters in this thread.

http://www.megrahiyouaremyjury.net/

Rolfe.
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Old 14th February 2012, 08:28 AM   #637
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"Megrahi: You are my Jury will be available from all good bookshops and online outlets from Spring 2012, and will also be available as an eBook.
More details will follow closer to publication."


Not usually my cup of tea, but I will buy and read this book when it is released.


Thanks for bringing that to my attention.
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Old 14th February 2012, 08:43 AM   #638
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I've bought and read all the dead-tree books there are on this, with the exception of Crawford (a lot of which can be read for free in Google Books). The main fascination is trying to figure out how and when the investigation went so spectacularly off the rails that it followed the red herring of Malta down a blind alley and refused to come out until it had railroaded someone entirely unconnected to the atrocity.

Ashton is an odd cove, in that he apparently subscribes to the Frankfurt introduction theory. His book with Ferguson is actually quite flawed, and very frustrating as a result. Ferguson is also a difficult individual to get on with.

I hope Ashton's latest offering is an improvement on Cover-up of Convenience. I will certainly buy it to find out.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th February 2012, 03:53 PM   #639
Moss
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Something which makes you wonder about political relations post Lockerbie can be found at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...endition-guide I frankly found that somewhat astonishing to put it mildly.
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Old 14th February 2012, 08:01 PM   #640
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
My own feeling is that Salmond and MacAskill genuinely believe Megrahi is guilty
That appalls me. I just assumed that they were going along with the charade for misguided political reasons.

I don't know how anyone with a brain, who has read the media and watched the events unfold can believe that Megrahi is guilty. I took Salmond for an intelligent man. I must be wrong. Surely even he must see the 'coincidence' that after years with no mention at all of Libya for the first couple of years, the attention turns to them at exactly the same time that we need Syria 'on side' in the Middle East.


'Lockerbie: The Flight From Justice' by Paul Foot
Quote:
There was one set of suspects, the PFLPGC, and only two countries were implicated, Iran and Syria.

Also, he must know that a UN special observer seems to doubt Megrahi had a fair trial:
Quote:
8. As a result of this situation, the undersigned has
reached the conclusion that foreign governments or
(secret) governmental agencies may have been
allowed, albeit indirectly, to determine, to a
considerable extent, which evidence was made
available to the Court.

9. In the analysis of the undersigned, the strategy of
the defense team by suddenly dropping its “special
defense” and cancelling the appearance of almost all
defense witnesses (in spite of the defense’s ambitious
announcements made earlier during the trial) is
totally incomprehensible; it puts into question the
credibility of the defense’s actions and motives. In
spite of repeated requests of the undersigned, the
defense lawyers were not available for comment on
this particular matter.


10. A general pattern of the trial consisted in the fact
that virtually all people presented by the prosecution
as key witnesses were proven to lack credibility to a
very high extent, in certain cases even having openly
lied to the Court. Particularly as regards Mr. Bollier
and Mr. Giaka, there were so many inconsistencies in
their statements and open contradictions to statements
of other witnesses that the resulting confusion was
much greater than any clarification that may have
been obtained from parts of their statements. Their
credibility as such was shaken. It seems highly
arbitrary and irrational to choose only parts of their
statements for the formulation of a verdict that
requires certainty “beyond any reasonable doubt.”.

12. Furthermore, the Opinion of the Court seems to
be inconsistent in a basic respect: while the first
accused was found “guilty”, the second accused was
found “not guilty”. It is to be noted that the
judgement, in the latter’s case, was not “not proven”,
but “not guilty”. This is totally incomprehensible for
any rational observer when one considers that the
indictment in its very essence was based on the joint

action of the two accused in Malta.


I find it hard to believe that Salmond is arrogant enough to ignore the observer's comments. Maybe he is keeping quiet for political reasons. Misguided silence is less alarming than having an idiot in charge of the country.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
They simply haven't figured out that the essential question is not, is Megrahi guilty, it is, at which airport was the bomb introduced. If you think the answer is Malta, of course you are going to think Megrahi must have been mixed up in it somehow. It's only when you figure out that Malta is a total red herring that the real questions become apparent.
I thought the court case where Air Malta sued Granada had pretty much proved it wasn't loaded at Malta? And the testimony of the London luggage guy had shown that a samsonite case had 'appeared' for loading in London while he was on a tea break?

Apologies of all this has been covered before, I haven't read the whole thread yet.
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