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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , Pan Am 103

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Old 15th June 2010, 03:00 AM   #1
Rolfe
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Lockerbie appeal documents to remain secret

Might as well start this thread here, because it'll be a conspiracy theory before page 2 anyway.

Megrahi appeal documents to remain secret

Quote:
There was a clamour from politicians and relatives for the information to be released last year following the controversial early release of Megrahi on compassionate grounds. The Lybian had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a panel of three Scottish judges sitting in a special court at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands in 2001.

Edited by Locknar:  Edited, breach of Rule 4/


“Over the last four months, there has been ongoing correspondence and discussions with the main parties concerned, but to date none of them has provided their unqualified consent to publication of the documentation. The commission continues to correspond with those parties, but is obviously not in a position at this time to disclose the documents concerned.”

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: “The Crown remains in discussion with the SCCRC and police on this matter, which raises a number of complex legal issues, and the suggestion that the Crown has refused permission is not true.”

Truth of Lockerbie must be disclosed

Quote:
The questions over how Pan Am flight 103 came to be blown up over Lockerbie in December 1988, killing 270 people, have multiplied over the past two decades, with no definitive answers.

Hopes that information gathered by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) in its investigation of grounds for appeal by Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Libyan found guilty of the atrocity, would finally shed light on the murky background to the bombing have been dashed by a refusal to disclose the information.

It follows numerous delays to the appeal itself, the most significant one due to the refusal on grounds of national security to release a top secret document from an undisclosed third country thought to contain vital information about the timer that detonated the bomb. The mass of evidence gathered by the SCCRC during its three-and-a-half year investigation cannot now be subjected to examination and challenge in the Appeal Court because Megrahi dropped the case to improve his chances of returning home to Libya. With the commission finding six grounds for believing that Megrahi may have suffered a miscarriage of justice, that leaves far too many questions unanswered. [....]

Despite the SCCRC’s continuing discussion on disclosure with the Crown Office, the Foreign Office and the police, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it is keen to avoid re-opening the diplomatic and political issues surrounding the Lockerbie bombing. The UK relatives seeking a public inquiry were told that was not possible while a criminal investigation was continuing. When that concluded, the Scottish Government and Foreign Office each said only the other had power to call an inquiry.

Sigh. Why am I not surprised about this?

When Megrahi was induced to abandon his appeal last year, we were told that the documents would be released. Then, a few ifs started to appear. So, no documents.

This is obviously quite complicated, but there's certainly stuff in here that the Crown wants to keep secret. Six grounds for appeal were stated, but we were only told what four of them were. What were the other two?

What about the top secret document or documents that were the subject of all the legal wrangling in 2007, culminating in a public interest immunity certificate, and not even the defendant's legal team being alowed to see the material? What about the findings of the years of enquiry by the SCCRC, involving dozens of witnesses being interviewed, all at public expense by the way. Sorry, all secret.

And for an extra topping of CT, let's announce this decision on the day the report into the Bloody Sunday massacre is finally published.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Locknar; 16th June 2010 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 15th June 2010, 05:15 AM   #2
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A good day to bury bad news? Well, indeed.

The Bloody Sunday families have waited 38 years for some of the facts behind the awful events that day, so perhaps the families of Pan Am 103 can comfort themselves that they might only have another 16 years to wait for some explanations on the events that led to the deaths of their loved ones and the subsequent investigation and trial that has aroused so much controversy since.

Much like the actual facts behind the Lockerbie tragedy, I fear this thread will soon disappear into obscurity, not even reaching page 2. Maybe had you entitled the thread 'Sexy Troother Documents [not] Revealed', it would muster up greater interest.
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Old 15th June 2010, 05:53 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Herald editorial
It follows numerous delays to the appeal itself, the most significant one due to the refusal on grounds of national security to release a top secret document from an undisclosed third country thought to contain vital information about the timer that detonated the bomb. The mass of evidence gathered by the SCCRC during its three-and-a-half year investigation cannot now be subjected to examination and challenge [....]

Despite the SCCRC’s continuing discussion on disclosure with the Crown Office, the Foreign Office and the police, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it is keen to avoid re-opening the diplomatic and political issues surrounding the Lockerbie bombing.

Not my words, mate, direct quote from the leading national broadsheet newspaper, in today's top editorial.

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Old 15th June 2010, 06:25 AM   #4
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I'd like to know what Megrahi would have to gain by not acceding to the request to make these public. Maybe he's not in a fit state to do so, of course.
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Old 15th June 2010, 09:47 AM   #5
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I'd have thought he had agents, authorised representatives who could have given permission. However, look at this little part.

Quote:
.... to date none of them has provided their unqualified consent to publication of the documentation.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: “The [....] suggestion that the Crown has refused permission is not true.”

So, the SCCRC says nobody has given permission, defined as "unqualified" consent. At the same time the Crown states that it is not true that it has refused permission. One wonders what is actually required, to count as "unqualified" consent.

Quote:
Despite the SCCRC’s continuing discussion on disclosure with the Crown Office, the Foreign Office and the police, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it is keen to avoid re-opening the diplomatic and political issues surrounding the Lockerbie bombing.

Er, quite.

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Old 15th June 2010, 02:11 PM   #6
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Unqualified consent. eh? "Sure, release it BUT I want a copy?" Does that mean everyone gave some type of qualified consent? Cause if not wouldn't they say not everyone has given their consent, period? I don't know the details here, does EVERYONE have to agree?

I wouldn't suspect the authorities of giving any consent at all. But Megrahi - naturally it would be in his interest and MO, having already unilaterally released his appeal papers. But his decisions are suspect. Why the hell did he drop the appeal that was allowed by the SCCRC? It's small potatoes compartively to refuse permission for this, the explanation why that appeal was granted.

I suspect he's been told not to agree, to make the secrecy unanimous, rather than something else foisted on Megrahi by the authorities. "See, he was allowed to drop his appeal, probably cause he knows he's guilty, and now he wants to put the whole thing behind him, just like the rest of us. Once he's dead it's chapter closed and time for a new day with reformed Libya! Just so long as Megrahi doesn't get too fancy a grave marker or too many flowers on it..."
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Old 15th June 2010, 02:19 PM   #7
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He dropped the appeal because he was pressurised to do so, by the heavy implication that this "woud greatly facilitate his early return to Libya". What one of his lawyers said on TV. I think he said so himself, to Lucy Adams.

It's not impossible he's too sick to give some necessary complex permissions. Or there is some little condition he feels is necessary, that makes it not "unqualified". We may well find out, journalists have ways of getting to these things.

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Old 16th June 2010, 05:55 AM   #8
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On the matter of this 'secret' document,

Originally Posted by The Herald
It follows numerous delays to the appeal itself, the most significant one due to the refusal on grounds of national security to release a top secret document from an undisclosed third country thought to contain vital information about the timer that detonated the bomb.
it does in certain respects parallel the reasons behind the PII raised by David Miliband in the Biyam Mohamhed case, and we all know that was simply a fudge by the New Labour govt in a vain attempt to cover it's knowledge and consent on Mr Mohamhed's treatment. Miliband used the same rhetoric that it would be, essentially, detrimental to the UK security and intelligence cooperation. Only difference is that in Megrahi's case, clearly the contents of this document are immeasurably more serious given the background of the document and subsequent circumstances regarding the UK govt raising of the PII.

Norman McFadyen, a leading prosecutor for the crown at Zeist, signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA on June 1, 2000 pertaining to this particular document. This serious breach of fundamental judicial process and right to a fair trial also appears to have zero consequences.

During their 3 year investigation, the contents of this document were then known by the SCCRC, and formed the basis as one of the reasons why the considered Megrahi may have suffered a miscarriage of justice, and referred the case back to the appeal court in June 2007.

During the submission of the PII by the UK govt during Megrahi's second appeal, it was revealed that the document was in the possesion of D&G police, and given that 'no consent' had been agreed with the country with whom the document originated, then it would remain undisclosed.

So, here we have a document relating to a crime from two decades ago, which has been in the possesion of the D&G police, the CIA, the crown, the UK government and the SCCRC have viewed it's contents - yet we are to believe that release of this document to the defense team of Megrahi would, only then, constitute a serious threat to the UK national security and adversely affect joint security matters with foreign countries??

Well, yes, I can uderstand it may prove a threat to the UK, and some of it's 'partners', but not in the manner David Miliband alludes to.
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Old 16th June 2010, 12:54 PM   #9
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Here's Robert Black's blog post about the efforts to have the secret document disclosed.

http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/20...earing_11.html

Quote:
For technical reasons of no particular interest in the overall scheme of the Lockerbie case, the Advocate General for Scotland was also represented; as also was the Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway (because copies of the documents that Megrahi's lawyers are seeking to have disclosed to them are in that police force's possession).

The principal subject of debate was Megrahi's application to have disclosed a document relating to timers that is in the possession of the Crown and that was seen by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, and the non-disclosure of which to the defence was one of the Commission's reasons for holding that a miscarriage of justice might have occurred. The only major surprise in the hearing was the Crown's revelation that the foreign country from which the document in question emanated was not the United States of America. The general assumption amongst commentators (myself included) had been that the source of the document was the CIA or the FBI.

This doesn't quite square with it having been the CIA which insisted on the non-disclosure agreement with the prosecution at Camp Zeist. If the USA isn't the country of origin of the document, and it's the country of origin which is refusing disclosure, where does the CIA come in?

I wondered whether the USA wasn't the country of origin, but was nevertheless now in control of the document, and was refusing dsclosure. Weasel words about "country of origin" to conceal this. But if it has been clearly said both that it is the country of origin which is refusing disclosure, and the country of origin is not the USA, I'm baffled.

If all these parties have had sight of the document and nobody has squealed, one does wonder just how revealing it actually is. If this was really evidence that anyone involved in the investigation might have fabricated evidence, I'm doubtful that everyone concerned would have agreed to keep quiet.

I'm just really, really confused.

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Old 16th June 2010, 05:33 PM   #10
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I had considered that this 'non-disclosure' claim itself to be somewhat ambiguous, much like the alleged harm that was claimed by Miliband in the other case involving the government raising the PII.

On that occassion it was shown that the FCO had themselves requested that the 'foreign country' (in this case the US state dept), despite their consent to the courts demand of disclosure, should issue a contrived letter claiming harm to national security and intelligence coorperation if the document were to be revealed. So, perhaps in this particular raising of the PII in the Megrahi case, we are simply witnessing another piece of realpolitik where the country of origin has been solicited to deny disclosure. Essentially, I think you're right, it is the US who control the document, that has originated from a foreign source, and although has no objections (yeah, but also "no consent"), the judicial host country wishes 'no disclosure'.

As the country of origin seemingly would already be aware that it was also in the possession of the CIA (since 1996 I believe I've read it's been known about), then you'd imagine, with the knowledge that's it's no longer exactly sensitive national material, then it's already 'disclosed' really. Apparently, and this is coming from Lucy Adams one the better sources amid the vast array, this document related specifically to the MST timers.

Whether it was connected to their assembly, colour, size, distribution etc etc, was never made clear AFAIK. If this were true, I would speculate it would severely undermine the prosecutions assertion that this timer was almost, or wholly, exclusively Libyan. During Zeist it was shown that, aside from Mebo and Bollier who were up to all kinds of business shenanigans involving the Palestinians, the East Germans and Libya, once again great credence was given by the judges that the particular timer found by Hayes/Feraday/Thurman had been exclusively Libyan by order, thus with Horton, Erac and Gauci, cemented Megrahi's, and Libya's, guilt.

I agree, it would appear that perhaps the information may have leaked given the circulation that this document has apparently had over the years, but you've got to ask, in these days of swathes of political and judicial pliant drones, who would step out from the bunker into the open, most likely risking not just possibly their career, but probably some element of credibility? Christine Graham has been a lone voice (coming from a legal background perhaps more inclined to this case) slowly fading away in a dark corner. Admirable, however futile, in the face of overwhelming indifference and denial.

Any facts that lend far greater weight and logic, but to another theory, the 38mins, Bedford bags, Heathrow break-in and Air Malta's records are simply discarded, while the spurious and inconsistent are accepted and applied to a guilty verdict. The politicians and those within the judicial system are all too aware of the gaping holes, not to mention this wholly irregular withholding of evidence, that exist in the biggest, most expensive and highest profile case ever undertaken by the Scottish investigators and justice system all under the auspices of the UK and US governments. You're facing a huge legal and political beast before you're even off the blocks.

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Old 17th June 2010, 03:59 AM   #11
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I think you're right. I think the country in control of the document is the USA, and I think it's quite possible the UK government is just as keen on non-disclosure as they are.

Assuming it is about the timer, which I think is fairly well established, it's more likely that it concerns the provenance of the timers sold by MEBO and the possibility that other agencies apart from Libya might have had possession of the items. Maybe even information that might specifically suggest the PFLP-GC could have acquired one. Hard evidence that the fragment was a fabrication seems a lot less likely.

So much of this affair seems to hinge on active discouragement of any line of enquiry that might incriminate the PFLP-GC. Although the press seemed to think that group were the prime suspects (and indeed about to be arrested) right through to the autumn of 1990, Paul Foot's analysis reveals that the high-level political decision to back off on that line dates from March 1989.

Much of the disconnect in the trial was the blind eyes that were being turned to highly suggestive circumstantial evidence pointing at the PFLP-GC, in favour of hyping up the much weaker evidence pointing to Megrahi's involvement. But it clearly goes further than that, and again I'm a bit hazy about this part.

Initially, Megrahi's defence was supposed to have two parts. One was obviously to show that the evidence against him was unreliable - for example that Giaka was making stuff up for money, and that Gauci's identification was highly unreliable, and that tray 8849 could have other explanations than an unaccompanied bag from Malta. Mr. Taylor did pretty well on all these fronts, though he only succeeded in convincing the court of the first one. He also did pretty well on the general issue of the Bedford suitcase, and showing that there was better evidence that the bomb could have been introduced at Heathrow.

However, the other plank was supposed to have been a "special defence of incrimination" to show that actually, it was the PFLP-GC that did it. This is where I'm not really up to speed, because there's no doubt some evidence to that effect was led. Talb gave evidence at Camp Zeist, as did the CIA agent who interviewed Khreesat. However, Köchler's report is fairly hair-raising on that issue.

Quote:
7. [....] The most serious case, however, is related to the special defense launched by defense attorneys Taylor and Keen. It was officially stated by the Lord Advocate that substantial new information had been received from an unnamed foreign government relating to the defense case. The content of this information was never revealed, the requested specific documents were never provided by a foreign government. The alternative theory of the defense − leading to conclusions contradictory to those of the prosecution − was never seriously investigated. Amid shrouds of secrecy and "national security" considerations, that avenue was never seriously pursued − although it was officially declared as being of major importance for the defense case.

9. In the analysis of the undersigned, the strategy of the defense team by suddenly dropping its "special defense" and canceling 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.

There is an implication here that the Defence team were actively leaned on not to pursue the case against the PFLP-GC, even though they were free to try to knock holes in the prosecution case. I'd really like to know more about all this.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th June 2010, 09:03 AM   #12
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You should put some of your analysis to the Uk media, Rolfe. (Perhaps even write a piece for one of the broadsheets)

I worked in it (UK media) for 10 years, and still have very well placed contacts. Everyone who is slightly smart knows that the Lockerbie inq. was a whitewash. Most people realised it after Paul Foot wrote his Private Eye piece more than a decade ago.

Don't expect anything to happen though. There is a sort of blackmail war going on between the UK's permagovernment and the media. They are all scared ******** (monopoly laws for the privates, licence fees for the BBC, and disturbing stories about politicians)
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Old 17th June 2010, 11:57 AM   #13
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I don't have a secure enough handle on this to write anything for the permanent record. I've only been reading round the subject for about 10 months.

It's been very rightly said that one needs a PhD in Lockerbie Studies to follow this. I think the remark was meant as a joke, but it's perfectly true. I think I had a smaller body of literature to review for my actual PhD, way back when. People have had theses accepted on far smaller and better understood subjects. I wonder if anyone would ever get funding for such a project?

I'm starting to put stuff together just for online viewing. The thing is, that can always be modified as understanding grows. You know, we really need more people looking into this. 9/11 has been done to death. Lots of effort, and I'm not saying it was wasted at all, but really only to confirm the narrative that is already in the public domain against a bunch of nutters. There's genuine mystery here, but very few people seem to be interested.

Almost makes me think the twoofers have a point when they call the CT forumites "debunkers". Only interested in supporting the Official Story, and shooting fish in a barrel. The Official Story on this one is the nearest thing to fish in a barrel, and it needs a bit of effort to get a handle on the issues. Oh well.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th June 2010, 04:27 PM   #14
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I don't have a secure enough handle on this to write anything for the permanent record. I've only been reading round the subject for about 10 months.
Oh bollocks. Most of the journalists who have written on it didn't probably put in more than ten hours (or minutes) study. You'd be head and shoulder above the rest by default, methinks. Consider it.
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Old 17th June 2010, 04:57 PM   #15
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Oh yes, there's some bad stuff out there. Which is no reason to add to it....

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Old 18th June 2010, 03:54 PM   #16
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I don't have a coherent theory. Maybe I will have, but not yet. I just have a collection of snapshots of the investigation, quite high-resoluton, but not much of a clue how they fit together into a bigger picture. Essay on the MST-13? Another essay on the vanishing Frankfurt baggage records? And so on. Not gripping reading as they stand.

Stuff I don't know includes how Gauci was identified as the vendor of the clothes and who first spoke to him about them, whether any of these clothes is really definitely certain to have come out of Mary's House, when the investigation first knew that Megrahi (or even just an incognito JSO operative) had travelled on LN147 that morning, and so had been at the check-in desk at Luqa while KM180 was checking in.

I'm virtually clueless about any possible involvement of the US security forces in this. There's a rabbit-hole waiting whereby the CIA wasn't just involved in a cover-up, but had some involvement in the actual bombing, perhaps in the form of rogue operatives or some sort of sting gone spectacularly wrong. I haven't really got that far yet.

Mostly, I've got the paradox of the coincidences. If Megrahi didn't do it. there are strange coincidences in there. Principally the Erac printout pointing unerringly right at the spot where he happened to be, coded passport and all. But if he did do it, there are different coincidences. Why would anyone in his right mind set the MST-13 for only an hour after the scheduled departure time, and by so doing just by chance hit the spot that a barometric timer introduced at Heathrow would hit? Bedford reports seeing a brown or maroon Samsonite in pretty much the exact position of the bomb bag, less than two weeks after the crash, and before the identity of the bomb suitcase as a bronze Samsonite had been established. And so on. Maybe interesting, but hardly satisfying without a denoument.

That's the thing about internet sleuthing. Amateurs can take their time. Check the facts and synthesise the information far more rigorously than a journalist with a deadline and a mortgage to pay can afford to do these days. And internet publication of the results, if any, allows for the whole thing to remain a work in progress.

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Old 19th June 2010, 05:08 PM   #17
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I suppose there's one interesting point we've established that contradicts accepted wisdom - even as promoted by the great Paul Foot.

Received wisdom is that the investigation was chasing pell-mell after the PFLP-GC, who were paid to do Iran's dirty work, in revenge for the IA655/Vincennes incident earlier in 1988. That this was single-minded until the autumn of 1990 when there was a sudden volte-face, the PFLP-GC were dropped like last year's fashions, and it was all about Libya. This is explained as being prompted by the fallout from Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, and the looming Desert Storm campaign. According to this theory, the USA and its allies couldn't afford to piss off Iran at this time, but on the other hand consigning Libya to the Outer Darkness was highly expedient. Foot's article sticks to this theory, even though the actual evidence he presents seems to contradict it.

First, he makes an excellent case for Bush and Thatcher having agreed to back off on the pursuit of the PFLP-GC as early as March 1989. Also, he demonstrates that the MT-13 timer fragment was absolutely crucial to the volte-face, but it appeared to have existed in the chain of evidence from well before the summer of 1990. If the timer fragment was indeed planted to lead the investigation to Libya, as is frequently hypothesised, this suggests the intent must have preceded the invasion of Kuwait by a fair bit.

Foot doesn't identify the Erac printout as being in the same category, but it is. It points to Malta, and who was at the airport in Malta at exactly the right time on 21st December? The printout is at least as important as the timer chip in this respect, even though it has received much less attention.

When we look at the histories of these two items, we find an interesting similarity. Both are attested to as being present in the chain of evidence at a very early stage - Bogomira making the printout on 22nd December, and Gilchrist picking up the shirt collar at Blinkbonny on 13th January. Both are then specifically confirmed by the investigators - the printout by being handed to the BKA by Berg in late January and the timer fragment by being (apparently) photographed by Hayes on 12th May.

You could decide this provenance actually shows the evidence was genuine all along, but it just took the investigation a while to recognise its significance. (Or you could, if you were prepared to ignore the huge amount of circumstantial evidence that still points to the PFLP-GC, the evidence that no unaccompanied bag was carried on KM180 from Malta that morning, and the evidence that the bomb suitcase was actually introduced into the baggage system in the interline shed at Heathrow in the late afternoon of 21st December.) However, even with the earlier provenance, both items still appear extremely suspect.

Instead of being immediately followed up as hugely significant, both items drop right out of sight, as if completely unimportant. Hang on a minute, a fragment of the missing Frankfurt baggage records that apparently demonstrates an unaccompanied item of luggage going on to PA103A from a flight from the airport on the island where the clothes already determined to be in the bomb suitcase were manufactured, and the biggest piece of circuit board found, with a distinctive pattern on it, in an investigation where circuit board identification was utterly crucial from the very earliest days. And both of them drop right out of sight. What's that all about?

Both then show up, months later, being handed to the D&G police by people who unaccountably didn't think till then that they had anything important; the printout handed over on 17th August by the Frankfurt BKA, and the timer fragment (or a photo of it) on 15th September by Feraday.

It seems incontrovertible that these items were really there on these later dates. However, was either of them really there, in the form presented to the court, before then? As we've seen, not only is it possible the January and May appearances of the timer fragment (or its shirt collar) were retrospective fabrications, there is quite strong evidence to suggest this could be the case. The printout is more problematical, as Bogomira seems to be genuine, but even if she is, I can't see any definite barrier to the thing having been doctored to add tray B8849 some time in August - just as a genuine piece of debris picked up in Scotland might have been doctored at about the same time to provide provenance for the timer fragment.

This timetable actually fits much better with Foot's tale of the Thatcher/Bush phone call in March being the beginning of the decision to change direction. This leaves time for Cannistraro to decide what to do about it, and the meetings of the three investigators with form in frames and fabrication (Hayes, Feraday and Thurman) at Indian Head to refine the details and perhaps produce some suitable "evidence".

This removes the first Gulf War as the proximate cause of the change of direction, though no doubt the basic issues of not wanting to tangle with Iran while at the same time being quite glad of a fight to pick with Libya still applied. The more I look at the situation though, the more I get the impression that it was at least as much about not implicating the PFLP-GC as it was about implicating Libya. Was this simply because of not pissing off Iran, or was there more to it than that?

It's odd, of course, that the public face of the investigation went right on chasing the PFLP-GC for a full year after the point the doctored evidence seems to have been introduced. However, it's not hard to figure out. Despite having been pointed at KM180, the D&G police simply decided that was how the PFLP-GC had got their device into the system, rather than Frankfurt. It's clear they didn't know anything about the significance of "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad", who was checking in for LN147 at the adjacent desk to the KM180 check-in, at the same time.

If the US authorities (well, Cannistraro at least) didn't know this either, the whole thesis gets very shaky, because it implies that KM180 was fingered with fabricated evidence before any particular suspect was identified, and the presence of a JIC agent in exactly the right place at exactly the right time was a huge stroke of luck for the investigation. I don't believe in that sort of luck. Megrahi simply being present when a feeder flight from Malta to PA103 was leaving is quite enough of a coincidence for me, and the idea that the CIA investigators didn't know about it until after the Erac printout was in place is simply too far-fetched. Giaka had been feeding stuff about Megrahi's movements to the CIA from before the plane even exploded. He told them about the visit to Malta on 7th December, shortly after it happened. It's perfectly possible he also told them about the 21st December visit at an early stage, and this coincidence was a major factor in deciding how to go about the shifting of blame from Iran to Libya.

So if the CIA wanted everyone to go after Libya, why didn't they just feed the Scottish investigators the information about "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad"? I think, because this wasn't supposed to be the pivotal piece of evidence. The timer fragment was supposed to be that. Finding the timer fragment, then deciding to look at Libyan involvement, and then finding out about Megrahi's very convenient journey that morning, OK. Identifying Megrahi as a suspect, then finding the timer fragment pointing to Libya, might just have looked a little contrived. Particularly if the timer fragment wasn't authentic. So they pretty much had to bite their tongues and let the cops try to persuade Gauci that Abu Talb was the mystery shopper at first.

I think the SCRB were supposed to track their way to MEBO within a few weeks or a couple of months of being given the timer fragment, or if they didn't, then to call on the FBI for help, at which point Thurman would dutifully "identify" it. But they didn't. They ran around all over Europe, to Siemens and other places, and got nowhere. Even at the January 1990 case conference they refused to show it to Marquise, although he knew of its existence.

This continued right through to June, and another case conference, where by Marquise's account Thurman practically forced his way into the issue, and obtained a photograph of the fragment. Why he identified it quite so fast - two days - is hard to guess. Couldn't he have hung on for a decent interval of at least a week or two? Saddam hadn't invaded Kuwait yet, although the warning signs were there. Maybe he'd just had enough. But his identification at the end of June was the green light for the whole thing to start moving. It still took time, MEBO had to be tracked down and Bollier interviewed, to establish the Libyan connection, but by September 1990 the first press report blaming Libya appeared (a French journal, apparently because of the involvement of Senegal in the tracing of the timers), and by December the Sunday Times was dutifully telling the whole tale, prompted by its contacts in the security services. The fact that the US moved against Iraq in January 1991 is thus more coincidental than causative, although the impending Gulf War may have been one reason for hurrying events along in June.

Precisely when the Scottish investigators found out about "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad" I don't know. It's quite possible Marquise and the FBI didn't find out until then either, which might explain why Dick is so certain Megrahi is guilty. However by February 1991 the D&G constabulary, bless its little cotton socks, was trying to persuade Gauci that it was actually Megrahi who bought these clothes, not Talb.

This is actually beginning to look like an essay. Some essential information is missing, however. Did the CIA know about the incognito JSO officer checking in for LN147 at an early stage? And did they keep this information to themselves until after Thurman had managed to get hold of the timer fragment and the link to Libya was established that way? I'm not sure this information is available.

Huh. I'll go to bed and see how this reads in the morning.

Rolfe.
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Old 20th June 2010, 02:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
This is actually beginning to look like an essay.
With a little trimming-down, sure.

I do like where it's going. The question of when Megrahi was IDd as at the airport is a good one. I haven't figured out how to find that in the transcripts, and I doubt it's there. Lost in a sub-realm of internal memos between FBI and CIA that we'll never see, most likely. I dod suspect this link was found and latched onto by Americans. I suspect it was early, pre-dating the Erac printout, whenever that really did surface.

I think I'm already on record thinking the set-up was almost fully in place well before the anniversary, and the plan had to be there before that, and the intel before that. Giaka probably gave the first tip that he was there on 12/20 anyway, and they could check embarkation (?) records or whatever, and see him leaving the next day. I fear we may have to imagine just when, or settle for a window of possible times. All I can say is that window probably starts in 1989, and isn't more than maybe 6 months wide.

Sorry I'm not commenting here much. This discussion is pretty heady. In case I get up the steam to try and catch up, Buncrana, what's PII and FCO?
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Old 20th June 2010, 09:10 AM   #19
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Plasma inorganic iodine? (Sorry!)

OK, tl;dr for a post maybe, but you do seem to have rather a short attention span sometimes. I sort of moved from facts into speculation and one wouldn't do that in a formal article, but some of it started to make sense. I seem to be unable to accept the Erac printout as genuine and untampered-with, but that's a bit of a leap of faith. I honestly think we have a framework here that takes account of the main issues, and it will be interesting to see if the less central things can also be incorporated.

Otherwise, crickets and tumbleweed. Hey, I just outlined in all seriousness a complete CT in which I proposed that President George Bush and Prime Minister Margart Thatcher colluded in a plot to shield the real perpetrators of a terrorist outrage on a US airliner in which 270 people were killed, and fabricate evidence to frame an innocent party. That this plot was planned in detail by the Chief of Operations and Analysis of the CIA counterterrorist unit (Cannistraro) and executed by a CIA agent ("Orkin"), an FBI agent (Thurman) and two English forensic officers (Hayes and Feraday).

Where are the debunkers? This thread should be full of people explaining exactly how I'm wrong about this. Bring it on, as they say.

Rolfe.
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Old 20th June 2010, 03:59 PM   #20
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Plasma inorganic iodine? (Sorry!)

OK, tl;dr for a post maybe, but you do seem to have rather a short attention span sometimes. I sort of moved from facts into speculation and one wouldn't do that in a formal article, but some of it started to make sense. I seem to be unable to accept the Erac printout as genuine and untampered-with, but that's a bit of a leap of faith. I honestly think we have a framework here that takes account of the main issues, and it will be interesting to see if the less central things can also be incorporated.

Otherwise, crickets and tumbleweed. Hey, I just outlined in all seriousness a complete CT in which I proposed that President George Bush and Prime Minister Margart Thatcher colluded in a plot to shield the real perpetrators of a terrorist outrage on a US airliner in which 270 people were killed, and fabricate evidence to frame an innocent party. That this plot was planned in detail by the Chief of Operations and Analysis of the CIA counterterrorist unit (Cannistraro) and executed by a CIA agent ("Orkin"), an FBI agent (Thurman) and two English forensic officers (Hayes and Feraday).

Where are the debunkers? This thread should be full of people explaining exactly how I'm wrong about this. Bring it on, as they say.

Rolfe.
Lol. Too true. I get tired and still have other reading, so a long post will sometimes just say "later." It is later. A few points:

Quote:
He told them about the visit to Malta on 7th December, shortly after it happened. It's perfectly possible he also told them about the 21st December visit at an early stage, and this coincidence was a major factor in deciding how to go about the shifting of blame from Iran to Libya.
That would probably do it. All I remember is knowing Megrahi was first mentioned in December. Where did you get that particular?

I agree with the rundown of involved people. All these guys had to be at least complicit for the cover-up to work. I'm also pretty sure Harry Bell at least, probably Williamson, Hendershot, and others were involved, based on "strange" decisions they made.

Originally Posted by Buncrana
Norman McFadyen, a leading prosecutor for the crown at Zeist, signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA on June 1, 2000 pertaining to this particular document. This serious breach of fundamental judicial process and right to a fair trial also appears to have zero consequences.
That sounds quite interesting. PII is public interest, what, Immunity? Sorry, I still keep getting sidetracked - the busy spell has trailed me longer than I expected. Maybe tonight i can get in here better.
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Old 20th June 2010, 04:15 PM   #21
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I'm not convinced the Scottish police were in on it - not because I think they are or were incorruptible (ask Shirley McKie), but because it looks very much as if the conspiracy was mad as hell that the Scottish police didn't either identify the timer fragment promptly, or call in the FBI to help. If some of them had been in on it, it would have been easy to move that along.

I think there are two levels here. Those actually in the know as regards fabrication of evidence, and those who simply know this investigation is supposed to go in a certain direction. I would put the Scottish cops in the latter category. However, do tell me which decisions you think are strange enough to cast suspicion on them.

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Old 20th June 2010, 04:19 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic
That would probably do it. All I remember is knowing Megrahi was first mentioned in December. Where did you get that particular?

Paul Foot.

Quote:
Majid Giaka [...] originally approached the American embassy in Malta in August 1988, four months before the Lockerbie bombing. His long series of meetings with American intelligence officials in Malta began in September 1988, the same month he started getting regular payments from the CIA.

His information was patchy and unreliable. He pretended he was a senior official in the Libyan intelligence organisation JSO though in reality (as the Americans quickly realised) he was a former garage mechanic who helped to maintain JSO vehicles and had graduated to the exalted position of assistant station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines.

The CIA kept him on their payroll with increasing reluctance. They had few other direct human contacts with Libyan intelligence, and in view of the American hostility to Libya and the fear of terrorism from there, any source, even if unreliable, was better than none.

Scraps of information passed on by Giaka during 41 clandestine meetings between August 1988 and July 1991 were duly logged. In October 1988 he revealed that a managerial colleague at Luqa airport, Lamin Fhimah, had kept explosives in his desk drawer. In December 1988, the month of the Lockerbie bombing, he was asked about the movements of JSO officials through Luqa airport. He replied that a man he regarded as a senior JSO officer, Abdelbasset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi, had passed through Luqa airport on 7 December. These two men eventually became the suspects for the Lockerbie bombing.

Rolfe.
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Old 21st June 2010, 02:38 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm not convinced the Scottish police were in on it - not because I think they are or were incorruptible (ask Shirley McKie), but because it looks very much as if the conspiracy was mad as hell that the Scottish police didn't either identify the timer fragment promptly, or call in the FBI to help. If some of them had been in on it, it would have been easy to move that along.

I think there are two levels here. Those actually in the know as regards fabrication of evidence, and those who simply know this investigation is supposed to go in a certain direction. I would put the Scottish cops in the latter category. However, do tell me which decisions you think are strange enough to cast suspicion on them.

Rolfe.
I can buy that characterization. In fact, it's what meant - people I suspect of less than the professional, ethical conduct they all lay claim to. That's not even that ol' triumph of evil good men doing nothing axiom, this is active accomplice territory, if not direct fabrication of evidence, and several folks seem to fit the bill.

The decisions, off the top of my head only:
- Bell's decision to pretend the Gaucis said Dec 7
- Williamson's complicity in Feraday's continuing charade re: PT/30 (perhaps he was just confused...)
- Bell's involvement with refuting ST33's report on 38 minutes=heathrow (rebuttal consisted of endless "maybes" - forthcoming explanation)
- Whoever exactly messed things up with the Gaucis in off the record interviews, agreeing to a photo lineup as soon as Tony showed he knew Magrahi's face from the news, and any earlier decisions to steer him towards Abu Talb (who's also clarly not a real fit for mystery shopper)
- Hendershot probably knowing Giaka's past stories, hearing a whole new batch on that boat in mid-91 and saying 'sound's good.'
- That's without ever racking my brain the slightest. Several people at least had to be compliant, I suspect. The last is FBI, not Scotcop of course.

Crap - right-o on Foot then. I had confused a mental summary with a vague original source. Yeah, movements were on record, Giaka was struggling to give anything useful, so I'd guess the CIA knew of Megrahi's presence within days. It was on file well before it became useful.

- Adam

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Old 21st June 2010, 06:40 AM   #24
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"This is the suspect, now we gotta nail him" is SOP for police all over the world, and I don't believe the D&G are any exception to that.

If I was the D&G, and I'd been presented with the news that Megrahi had been present at the check-in for KM180, plus the timer fragment and the manual of the radio both suggested a Libyan origin, I'd be slavering after him too. That doesn't mean complicity in fabricating the crucial line of the printout that pointed to KM180, or the timer fragment, or the Horton fragment though.

Interesting point. When the D&G were first presented with the printout and its implications, and that apparently led pretty quickly to Gauci (interesting sequence in itself I'd like to know more about), their first impulse was to try to shake an IDing of Abu Talb out of him. This continued for months, indeed over a year, starting September 1989.

They only changed tack and started trying to get him to pick out Megrahi in February 1991. Why Megrahi? Not just because the MST-13 timer ID indicated Libya, surely. There are a lot of Libyans in the world, why this particular one? It seems inevitable he was fingered because they had now discovered that he linked up beautifully with KM180.

Who told them, and when, and how long had they known about it?

Rolfe.
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Old 21st June 2010, 08:26 AM   #25
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CL, yeah PII is Public Interest Immunity , an application to restrict disclosure of evidence on national security grounds, and the FCO is the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (or simply Foreign Office) headed by the foreign secretary of the sitting government.

Rolfe, your post #17 is pretty awesome.

You've succinctly encapsulated what exactly is wrong, not simply with the evidence that was presented at Zeist, but is exhibited through the grand incompetence of the actual investigation and those involved. So much so that this sheer apparent incompetence eventually manifests itself as incredulity. And it should be noted, this doubting arises, not from the very fact that human frailties exist in us all, but that the significant inconsistencies involved in this investigation, are most obvious at the most critical stages.

Inconsistencies, incompetence, mistakes and coincidences we can all accept - to a point. However, when all these factors have played a significant role in all of the critical points of evidence, it's irrational not to suspect there may well be an ulterior agenda at play.

Given the information that has emerged over the last 20 years, it is safe to conclude that all the intelligence and security depts of the US expected retaliation from Iran to avenge the IR655 shoot down. It wasn't a case of if, it was a case of when. The disdain of the US response to that particular tragedy merely exasperated the whole situation, and imo, assured some sort of revenge attack.

Meanwhile, Khreesat, I feel, is another key aspect as to why exactly, not only was the investigation steered away from any Iranian involvement, but also was disconnected from the BKA's uncovering of the PFLP cell in Germany, and the BKA'S subsequent inexplicable release of, someone who almost without fail is acknowledged as a 'master bomb-maker', after his arrest. Lord Fraser even made the absolutely astonishing admission in Lockerbie: Revisited that as far as the Scottish investigation was concerned Khreesat was simply off-limits for questioning due to the fact that he appeared to be coactively working for the Jordanians, the Palestinians and the Americans, at the same time, in some capacity. That suggestion itself would infer it was, or would be, essential that the investigation not to be hot on the trail of the PLFP cell in Germany. In short, I fear it may well have been accepted and realised by senior sources within the US and UK govt., almost immediately, that Iran had raised the contract and gave the order for the bombing of an American airliner, while it was to become clear that, indeed the very group Khreesat had been working with, carried out the revenge mission.

So, in essence, not essentially LIHOP, but an acute awareness by those on both sides of the Atlantic, that an event, an attack, was imminent, and in all truth there would only be a limited amount that could be done by the security and intelligence services to prevent a professional, experienced, state funded and determined group carrying out the revenge attack.
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Old 21st June 2010, 01:04 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Where are the debunkers? This thread should be full of people explaining exactly how I'm wrong about this. Bring it on, as they say.

Rolfe.
Indeed - like that Haseldine guy. Why isn't he here promoting his South African CT?
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Old 21st June 2010, 01:30 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Giaka probably gave the first tip that he was there on 12/20 anyway....

Look, this happened in Europe. The offence was in Scottish jurisdiction. If we can put up with you guys' "9/11" nonsense (what happened on 9th November anyway?), you can at least follow generally-understood conventions. In fact, just type out the month by name, so there's no ambiguity.

At work, I date everything (e.g.) 21-6-10. Second nature. I know what the Yanks are like though, so to save misunderstandings, on the internet I say 21st June 2010. I recommend it. (We already had a date I don't know whether it was before or after the Thatcher/Bush phone call, because it was notated 3/4/89.)

ETA: It was 21st December anyway. Or technically you're right, he arrived on the 20th and left on the 21st; it was the outgoing flight that was supposed to be the scene of the crime though. The crash happened on the 21st. "The Year's Midnight", as some poetic person noted. Today being The Year's High Noon", I suppose. For us northern hemisphere types.

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Old 21st June 2010, 01:45 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
Indeed - like that Haseldine guy. Why isn't he here promoting his South African CT?

Huh, Charles wanted me to give him my email address. When hell freezes over.

Rolfe.
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Old 21st June 2010, 04:03 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
You've succinctly encapsulated what exactly is wrong, not simply with the evidence that was presented at Zeist, but is exhibited through the grand incompetence of the actual investigation and those involved. So much so that this sheer apparent incompetence eventually manifests itself as incredulity. And it should be noted, this doubting arises, not from the very fact that human frailties exist in us all, but that the significant inconsistencies involved in this investigation, are most obvious at the most critical stages.

Inconsistencies, incompetence, mistakes and coincidences we can all accept - to a point. However, when all these factors have played a significant role in all of the critical points of evidence, it's irrational not to suspect there may well be an ulterior agenda at play.

Well, thank you kind sir!

Have you read the judgement of the first appeal? I was shying away from it because it's 200 pages, but actually it's not so bad because of the double spacing, also it's very explanatory in its legalese, and repetitive, so I'm not grinding to a halt.

It deals in a lot more detail with the precise areas we're interested in, and clarifies quite a lot. Sometimes it explains why in fact Mr. Taylor's point is not valid, and then other times it just says, well you're accusing the trial court of not giving this point due consideration, but hey look they did consider it, they just didn't agree with you and they're entitled to do that. Nevertheless they do illuminate a lot of detail while they're doing that.

I'm still on the Frankfurt baggage evidence, and if there's one thing for sure, it's a dog's breakfast. I'd rather deal with the detail in the appropriate thread, if only other people would join me there. But it's tending to make me less and less inclined to believe that tray B8849 was genuine, though not containing the bomb, and more inclined to believe it's an interpolation.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Given the information that has emerged over the last 20 years, it is safe to conclude that all the intelligence and security depts of the US expected retaliation from Iran to avenge the IR655 shoot down. It wasn't a case of if, it was a case of when. The disdain of the US response to that particular tragedy merely exasperated the whole situation, and imo, assured some sort of revenge attack.

Meanwhile, Khreesat, I feel, is another key aspect as to why exactly, not only was the investigation steered away from any Iranian involvement, but also was disconnected from the BKA's uncovering of the PFLP cell in Germany, and the BKA'S subsequent inexplicable release of, someone who almost without fail is acknowledged as a 'master bomb-maker', after his arrest. Lord Fraser even made the absolutely astonishing admission in Lockerbie: Revisited that as far as the Scottish investigation was concerned Khreesat was simply off-limits for questioning due to the fact that he appeared to be coactively working for the Jordanians, the Palestinians and the Americans, at the same time, in some capacity. That suggestion itself would infer it was, or would be, essential that the investigation not to be hot on the trail of the PLFP cell in Germany. In short, I fear it may well have been accepted and realised by senior sources within the US and UK govt., almost immediately, that Iran had raised the contract and gave the order for the bombing of an American airliner, while it was to become clear that, indeed the very group Khreesat had been working with, carried out the revenge mission.

So, in essence, not essentially LIHOP, but an acute awareness by those on both sides of the Atlantic, that an event, an attack, was imminent, and in all truth there would only be a limited amount that could be done by the security and intelligence services to prevent a professional, experienced, state funded and determined group carrying out the revenge attack.

It's possible they were trying to stop it, but this went dreadfully wrong and they ended up facilitating it. Which is rather less inflammatory than what some people believe, which is that the US agreed to allow Iran to down one airliner as retaliation, so long as they stopped at one (an eye for an eye being better than five eyes). That's a genuine LIHOP, to the point where some say the bombing was even facilitated by Western intelligence. The corollary of this is that some people "in the know" were able to warn some intending passengers (like Pik Botha), and even that the Helsinki hoax warning was deliberate, to provide a plausible excuse for some diplomatic-leve pulling out of flights (the staff of the US embassy in Moscow, for example).

So there really is a whopping enormous CT here, way beyond anything we've seriously proposed. I started off trying to construct an explanation whereby nothing was fabricated and it was all a misconstruction of genuine evidence, willful perhaps, and not understanding that coincidences happen. I'm less and less inclined to credit that idea, though.

Rolfe.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 06:09 PM   #30
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On the refusal to disclose these document(s).

I agree Rolfe, there is seemingly a contradiction in so much as a non-disclosure agreement was signed with the CIA with the crown in 2001, but this document actually emanates from a foreign source, who may, or may not, have actually acceded to it's disclosure. An interesting snippet from the hearings during Megrahi's second appeal was a short comment made by the advocate-depute, Ronnie Clancy, QC,
Quote:
"The documents were passed on the basis they were regarded as being confidential by the authority that passed them over. That being so, the Crown has taken the position that, if possible, confidentiality should be respected and there are public interest considerations in regard to keeping the confidentiality of information coming from a foreign source."

Legal experts expected the reasons for non-disclosure to centre around the foreign country's refusal to hand over the documents on national security grounds. This does not appear to be the case.
I think this vidicates the suggestion that the foreign source of the document has not raised, nor sought, non-dislosure of the document, but the authority, I posit the CIA, has requested non-disclosure and the UK govt has duly oblidged (without much encouragement obviously) in raising the PII.

Crown refuses to reveal secret Lockerbie paper
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