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Old 11th February 2010, 06:08 AM   #41
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Yes, indeed, thanks to Buncrana for that summary.

I hadn't realised both bags Bedford saw probably fitted the description of the bomb bag. I was misled by all that stuff about one of them maybe being blue. I'm also realising the container is smaller than I had been imagining. Possibly smaller than it appears in Caustic Logic's diagrams. Look at that mock-up to see how few suitcases actually fit on the floor area available.

So Bedford's initial statement indicated that one or both of the mystery suitcases were pretty much in the position of the bomb bag when he saw them? That's what I had surmised from the court judgement. I'm now a bit hazy about just when the interline bags were shifted to be placed flat, though. I thought they were still on their spines when Bedford knocked off, but Buncrana thinks they were flat by then?

The oddity is the conclusion that the suitcase under the bomb bag was one of the Frankfurt ones. If that is accepted, it suggests a fair bit of rearranging when PA103A was unloaded, because otherwise all the Frankfurt bags would have been on top of the Heathrow ones. I know they had reasons for believing the Tourister was in that position, but I wonder just how well-founded that conclusion actually is? If it wasn't for that, the whole sequence plays out virtually perfectly.

I've always felt that Kamboj was the person in a questionable position. And no, I don't think speculation is libellous - and that's all we're doing, we're not accusing him of anything. He was the x-ray operator, as far as I recall. I don't see how he could have been part of the terrorist gang - if he had been, he'd have vanished in the following 11 years. And I agree, it's hard to see how someone not part of the gang could have been bribed to put these suitcases in exactly that position. However, could someone - Kamboj for example - have been bribed simply to be looking the other way for five minutes? Or he could simply have been dozy and inattentive - except I think the terrorists wouldn't want to leave the placement of the suitcase(s) down to the chance of getting a dozy operative at the crucial moment.

It does seem as if whoever put these suitcases in the container did position them in the crucial spot. That, I think, is key. Yes, it's always possible they might be moved when the Frankfurt baggage is added, but on the whole probably not, and that seems like a chance worth taking. Certainly far more reasonable than sending a bag merrily on its way from Malta or even Frankfurt, to be placed anywhere at all. Were they moved again, or weren't they? Depends on whether the story about the Tourister being underneath is reliable, and I have some doubts about that. But even if there was some rearrangement, there's no reason the bomb bag(s) would have been moved to a safe position. I think, if there was rearrangement, that unfortunately the crucial bag simply wasn't moved sufficiently.

Rolfe.


ETA: so giddy it's finally page two - we've made WAY too much progress for one measley page, c'mon! So I'll share on AI 100. It's only mentioned in the one day and then only twice. Claiden says:
Quote:
"Q Was any of the panel which would have occupied the right-hand side of the diagram recovered?
A I think the straightforward answer is no, but there was one fragment we did recover, which was small, and it's labelled AI 100, which I had strong suspicions may have come from that part, or indeed the panel above. Because those areas were missing, it was very difficult, if not impossible, to be absolutely positive.
Q Was there any other part of panel to fracture-match it to?
A No. Well, there was the edge. I did look, but it didn't appear to fit.
so it came from the middle, a spot maybe 8" and (presumably) unshielded from the detonation center? :confused"

He explains his suspicions:
Quote:
Q Yes. So that's a small portion, described in your report as AI 100, about which you had suspicions but were not able to take those further?
A Yes. The suspicions were generated from -- really from the shape and the size of the fragment. As you can see, generally, from the panels on this reconstruction, they tend to be fairly large sections, damaged, bent, whatever, that tear a small, roughly circular -- it wasn't circular, but very roughly circular."
Did that actually explain anything?

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Old 11th February 2010, 10:57 AM   #42
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Just at a wild guess, maybe the large fragment of Toshiba manual? That somehow one relatively big chunk was blasted away, with the pages sandwiched in there?

I don't know that anyone made that inference though. It all seems pretty irrelevant to me.

Rolfe.

PS. Remember, people have different numbers of posts per page. t's been on page two for quite a while, for me.
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Old 11th February 2010, 04:51 PM   #43
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I think the thesis that the IED was introduced into the system at Heathrow is compelling, for a number of reasons. John Bedford's and Ray Manly's testimonies provide powerful support. However, we're on shakier ground when we try to figure out exactly how it was done.

It's tempting to assume that the bomb bag was taken into the airport the previous night, through the door with the broken padlock. However, this doesn't really jell for me. Remember, the whole placing problem is caused by the relatively small amount of Semtex used. If the bombers could simply have put a couple of kilos of Semtex in a box and put that into the case, it would have obliterated the entire baggage container and ruptured the hull no matter where it was placed. However, they didn't do that. They went to a lot of trouble to hide the Semtex in a radio, even though that seriously compromised the amount they could use.

So why go to all the trouble of constructing a small bomb concealed in a radio, if you're just going to put the unexamined suitcase directly into the baggage container? You're restricting your explosive power (and possibly jeopardising the success of the enterprise) for no good reason.

Baz thinks the bomb came to London on the Stockholm ferry, which of course eliminates the problem of stopping the barometric trigger from blowing up on an earlier leg. In that case, maybe the radio disguise was simply a precaution in case they were searched at customs. That could fit in with the thing simply being taken into the airport through the broken padlock. Maybe I'm being too clever, thinking that if they had plenty opportunity to re-jig and re-pack the entire thing off-site, as it were, with no x-ray to circumvent at the airport, they could have made that bang a lot bigger. I wonder, though.

It's more likely the reason for the radio was to allow the suitcase to pass an x-ray inspection. As far as I can make out, while it would be easy to see there was a radio in the case, it would be extremely difficult to spot that it was a bomb. This is the point that is often lost about Maier's testimony from Frankfurt - not that he would have spotted there was a bomb there, but that he was looking out for radio-cassette players (because of the warning following the PFLP-GC raid) and didn't see any. Heathrow was in a different situation - the warning about the Khreesat devices hadn't been circulated by 21st December.

I suspect the method of introduction did involve passing an x-ray inspection - just not at Frankfurt. I suppose it's possible Kamboj did x-ray the thing, as he originally said to Bedford, but either forgot all about it, or remembered seeing a radio and decided to "forget" about it because of that. However, that seems less likely, if we believe one of the terrorists must have placed the suitcase in the container to get the positioning right.

Another possibility is that the method of transportation of the bomb to Heathrow was itself by air. It could have been one of the other interline bags of course, but that introduces all the same problems as the Frankfurt/Malta theory. More likely, perhaps, it was brought as ordinary accompanied luggage on a flight we've never heard of. Whether it was claimed or not I can't guess, but I do wonder if it might have been snagged from the arriving plane, relabelled, and redirected within the airport to PA103. In that case, what was the break-in for? I think the main purpose of that might have been to obtain a PA baggage tag, not necessarily anything to do with introducing the bomb itself.

If the device was flown in and never taken out of the airport, then it would make complete sense that the radio disguise was an absolute constraint, however. If the device was accompanied it wouldn't have been particularly difficult to arm it once it was on the ground in London (push in the jack plug, according to the evidence). Or on the other hand there's my tentative theory that the MST-13 might have been incoporated to prevent the barometric timer from triggering on the earlier leg.

But you know what? I don't think it matters enormously. Everything points to a Heathrow introduction. Figuring out exactly how isn't really essential, so long as we can see that there is at leat one way it could have been done. If someone can see any reason for doubting this, any reason to say, no, there's no pausible way it could have gone on there, then obviously we'd have to re-think that. But as it is....
  • Surface transport to London and introduction through the broken padlock
  • Accompanied passage on a feeder flight, with the passenger claiming the bag which is later re-introduced through the broken padlock
  • Accompanied passage on a feeder flight, with the passenger claiming the bag then passing it to an accomplice to take airside again
  • Accompanied passage on a feeder flight, with the accomplice intercepting and relabelling the bag before baggage reclaim
Have I missed any?

If I was Jibril, I'd quite like the look of this. It's a helluva lot less risky than sending the thing on its way through the baggage system in winter with a change of planes, it avoids Frankfurt, which was on the alert for radio-cassete bombs, and it saves having to get too compilcated as regards stopping the thing exploding over Paris.

I'd just like to know from simple curiosity whether that timer fragment was planted or not, but the more I think about the tall tale of the Toshiba manual, the more I think it probably was.

Rolfe.
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Old 11th February 2010, 05:08 PM   #44
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Great thread!
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Old 11th February 2010, 05:31 PM   #45
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Another point. How come there wasn't a complete record (description and photographs) of every single suitcase recovered from the ground at Lockerbie? Surely, given that the bomb was understood to have been in a suitcase from an early date, that information should have been recorded and tabulated, to allow cross-checking and elimination to be carried out.

Simply announcing that you have no idea what happened to the suitcase Bedford saw because you only kept a note of the 25 or so items of luggage with discernible blast damage? It's ridiculous. What sort of investigation was this?

Rolfe.
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Old 12th February 2010, 12:21 AM   #46
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Just at a wild guess, maybe the large fragment of Toshiba manual? That somehow one relatively big chunk was blasted away, with the pages sandwiched in there?

I don't know that anyone made that inference though. It all seems pretty irrelevant to me.

Rolfe.

PS. Remember, people have different numbers of posts per page. t's been on page two for quite a while, for me.
Miscommunication can be funny. No, the material was aluminum, I presume. It would be funny though if he tried to have the middle of the panel made of paper, and recovered. That's only one step dumber than some other findings in this case.

Your summary post is too big and good to add much to. No answers here I can clearly grasp and type ATM. Other than this:
Quote:
Everything points to a Heathrow introduction. Figuring out exactly how isn't really essential, so long as we can see that there is at leat one way it could have been done.
I'd add that it needs to be pretty plausible asides from possible. Is it possible to convince an airport worker to set two certain bags in a certain spot? Yes. Is it plausible? Somewhat... throw some big money in and there seems little reason to doubt it at all.

Oh, and I'm seeing how another person makes most sense. They'd step in to the shed, looking plausibly official, and slip the guy a ton of cash simply to let him place the bags. Yes, better than explaining to him. Unless HE tries to move them, as people with something to hide might be tempted to do.

Hmmm... scratching a hole clear through my head. I'll let it lay then for now.

Jiahd Jane, thanks! I was wondering where the outsiders were (all but us few in the Lockerbie club, that is).

Quote:
Another point. How come there wasn't a complete record (description and photographs) of every single suitcase recovered from the ground at Lockerbie? Surely, given that the bomb was understood to have been in a suitcase from an early date, that information should have been recorded and tabulated, to allow cross-checking and elimination to be carried out.

Simply announcing that you have no idea what happened to the suitcase Bedford saw because you only kept a note of the 25 or so items of luggage with discernible blast damage? It's ridiculous. What sort of investigation was this?
I would guess there was such a list, and it offered no help, so they never mentioned it. Plausible deniability. I am of course thankful they didn't make up two fake brown Samsonites to recover. That would have been quite easy to do and would have shut us up pretty quick, and still been untrue. So no, it wouldn't shut me up. I guess they had their hands full with other fakery, but we now have a case where they insist the Bedford bags were moved elsewhere and unharmed, but they're unable to produce either to prove that, and we're to believe the assertion anyway and accept that a third such bag was placed in the same corner among the first few Frankfurt bags and that leads back to Malta, etc...

Sometimes I suspect this case was meant to fall apart eventually, and that we're playing water carriers by dismantling it now. That's five-steps ahead paranoia, so I'm probably wrong...

Okay, so... anyone want to run-down what we've left to cover of he London origin theory? Any debunkers care to point out what we've got wrong, why this theory is just more baseless CT fantasy? It absolutely rules out Megrahi as the hands-on guy, and tends to argue against Libyan involvement at all. It shows the official story, so widely hailed as "reality," to be ... well, wrong, somehow.

Puzzler of the day: Would Richard Marquise class the Bedford bags as "evidence" or "intelligence?"
(clues on his definitions can be found here)
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Old 12th February 2010, 11:01 AM   #47
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I suppose my thinking on the basic procedures which were not adhered to at Heathrow, such as Bedford and Kamboj's contradiction of how the two unknown bags came to be in 4041 in the first instance, an apparent lack of conscientious work practice, combined with the pitiful security in general around Heathrow and the baggage interline and build-up areas, leaves me feeling a determined and experienced terrorist would not necessarily encounter any questioning once the device was airside.

I can quite easily envisage, a 'worker', possibly a baggage handler from another airline or another area of the airport entirely would be able to simply wander up to the baggae build-up shed, and with little or no reservation from those actually appointed to examine, load and secure the baggage, simply place the baggage into the container as and where they saw fit.

It had been remarked in the FBI report back to Washington in Sep '89 about Frankfurt, they themselves had witnessed a baggage loader simply walk up to the coding station and introduce baggage, while neither noting or recording these bags into the system. I think that may well be indicative of the procedures that could be witnessed at most of the major international airports at the time. Heathrow and Frankfurt certainly fall into this catergory, unlike Luqa, where records and security appeared particulary meticulous in comparison.

I can appreciate that does leave the question about why then bother to conceal the device inside a radio, thereby restricting it's power, and therefore requiring it to be placed quite precisely in the baggage container. I had thought, if the Manly break-in was in order to introduce he device to someone airside, perhaps it would be just a risk too far to simply not expect that even the lax baggage loaders would not x-ray the bag before permitting you to insert it into the container. In this possible scenario, some disguise is still essential. You surely couldn't rely on all the workers at Heathrow being completely incompetent or derelict in their work?

Perhaps, even if you had managed to circumvent the standard x-rays taken by Kamboj, and placed the device in the container by stealth, you couldn't gamble someone else wouldn't notice the new bags (as Bedford himself did) and possibly decide to x-ray them at that point. Once again, the radio disguise would be essential, and most importantly sufficient to have it likely returned to the container, given the problems in noting the bomb when concealed in the radio.

I also imagine that simply disassembling the bombs from the Toshiba radio would not be as straightforward, and indeed as discovered by the German bomb disposal expert, could prove fatal. I would expect that apart from maybe one or two of Khreesats associates, only he could actually disarm, and disassemble the device safely. That could be another purpose that the device would simply remain, as constructed, contained within the radio even allowing for it by-passing all security and x-rays.

In the fact that the judges at Zeist simply passed off Bedford's bags as immaterial to the explosion, (since it had come from Malta!) they also waved away the crucial question to Kamboj: Who, either gave them to you the place in the container, or did you allow to simply place in the container? Someone who appeared as another baggage loader? Another worker from airside at Heathrow? An airline looking person? Someone completely unknown but wearing a Heathrow pass?

Who, what height, hair, build, language, uniform..???

I know Kamboj had latterly denied he had told Bedford that he had placed the two unknown hardshell suitcases into container 4041, but the judges did accept Bedford's version of events and yet (although I'll again need to double check the transcripts) Kamboj was not more severely questioned on this matter during the trial. I assume, once again, because they had already decided these bags noted by Bedford had no bearing on 103's crash.

So, just to add some more about the positioning of the device and the amount of semtex possibly used, the article I linked to in the Gauci thread also has some very interesting points made to Professor Peel, a scientific expert, who had helped determine some of the measurements in terms of the strength of the bomb, and it's location in the container 4041.

Quote:
The witness told the specially-convened Scottish court sitting at Camp Zeist in The Netherlands that he had used an analytical model, devised by himself, in addition to Government software to calculate the ''stand-off'' distance and weight of the device. A 450-gramme bomb was responsible for the blast which resulted in the New York-bound Boeing 747 plummeting from the skies above Lockerbie.....

The stand-off distance was 24 inches from the skin of the fuselage, he concluded. His calculations were backed up by a number of tests, including experiments with computer modelling. But defence barrister Richard Keen, QC, accused the professor of changing his view of the facts in order to fit in with his theory. ''You are changing your view to the factual position. You are changing your view as to the causes of the damage to the fuselage skin. ''You have not simply developed an analytical model, but gone back and altered your view of the facts in order to apply that analytical model,'' said the QC.
Herald Article Link

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Old 14th February 2010, 01:53 PM   #48
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Thanks for that link, Buncrana. I hadn't seen these estimated of 450 grams semtex that Ambrosia (IIRC) mentioned. Most sources say 312, which is a bif difference. 450 grams might completely disappear one suitcase and leave the one under it looking pretty "primary"

I've finished my analyisis of the container floor analysis in Appendix F. What does anyone think? Did this or anything rule out the Bedford bags to any meaningful degree? And if not, then why do all official decision-makers agree that they were eliminated? I'd consider a genetic defect if they were all related...
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Old 15th February 2010, 10:20 PM   #49
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Certainly it would've been very difficult to introduce a new bag via the broken padlock at Heathrow so where does that leave us? Pure speculation on my part here but i imagine that whilst they had an inside man somewhere in the cargo area, he/she would not have been able to influence the positioning of the bomb suitcase without raising a lot of suspicion. So perhaps he/she would've been able to report on the original placement of the case. If it was favorable, no further action was needed. If not, then Plan B as it were, was to break in and reposition it in the container.
Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 15th February 2010, 11:18 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by travelingoz View Post
Certainly it would've been very difficult to introduce a new bag via the broken padlock at Heathrow so where does that leave us? Pure speculation on my part here but i imagine that whilst they had an inside man somewhere in the cargo area, he/she would not have been able to influence the positioning of the bomb suitcase without raising a lot of suspicion. So perhaps he/she would've been able to report on the original placement of the case. If it was favorable, no further action was needed. If not, then Plan B as it were, was to break in and reposition it in the container.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Hey, you broke an almost rule around here to ignore the Lockerbie stuff, since we all "know" just what happened and must avoid re-considering at all costs.

Thank you for doing that, travelingoz.

There's a problem with this re-break-in, which is that, well, I hink it's less plausible during busy daytime hours, especially maybe if there was some vigilance after the first breach. And that came 18 hours before the plane left, in the wee hours of no one much around. We haven't really covered that aspect yet.

If there's a connection between the break-in and the Badford bags, I'd guess they'd almost have to be hidden somewhere no one would x-ray them with extra suspicion. Because I'd be looking around, and depending how many there were, I'd wonder if one was slipped in and order them all re-scanned or whatnot. Instead these two would be stuffed in an air duct or something, out of view.

Whoever the insider was, he'd slip in hours later and manage to retrieve them when no one was looking, I guess. I admit I don't have a full narrative worked out just yet. So these other thoughts are helpful. It's interesting though, huh?
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Old 16th February 2010, 04:04 PM   #51
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I'm not sure it's going to be possible to work out a narrative of how these cases got into that luggage container. We just don't have enough information. Speculation is all very well, but it has to have some basis.

I have a vague sketch of a theory in which the bomb suitcase is legitimately loaded onto a Heathrow-bound plane as accompanied luggage, with some arrangement to stop the explosion happening on that flight. Instead of picking it up at baggage reclaim, however, the passenger simply walks away.

Meanwhile, terrorist gangster #2 has gained entry into the Pan Am loading area during the night, through the broken padlock, and is wearing the sort of overalls that wouldn't attract suspicion if the wearer was seen moving suitcases around. After hiding for a bit, this guy comes out to intercept that suitcase while it's still airside. He switches its tag for one consigning it to PA103, and just walks up and places it in the appropriate container at the appropriate time.

I don't know enough about security to know whether it would have been desirable to bribe Kamboj to turn a blind eye (maybe on the pretext of drug smuggling), or whether procedures were lax enough that it was a fair enough bet the manouvre would go unchallenged in any case.

However, that theory allows for the MST-13 to be a genuine part of the bomb, and thus for Hayes, Feraday and Thurman to be completely unimpeachable - possibly for the first time in their collective careers. I'm not at all convinced of that part, especially in view of the even more suspicious Horton fragment.

Rolfe.
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Old 16th February 2010, 04:48 PM   #52
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm not sure it's going to be possible to work out a narrative of how these cases got into that luggage container. We just don't have enough information. Speculation is all very well, but it has to have some basis.
I totally agree, in that we'll never know what happened, but it is always useful to tinker around and see if there are any plausible narratives. If we had photographs of the whole area at the time, or other insider knowledge, maybe we could make more headway, but ultimately I guess you're right. There are ways it could happen unless someone can show otherwise, and we should presume on the awareness that we've got too many clues to ignore.

Quote:
I have a vague sketch of a theory in which the bomb suitcase is legitimately loaded onto a Heathrow-bound plane as accompanied luggage, with some arrangement to stop the explosion happening on that flight. Instead of picking it up at baggage reclaim, however, the passenger simply walks away.

Meanwhile, terrorist gangster #2 has gained entry into the Pan Am loading area during the night, through the broken padlock, and is wearing the sort of overalls that wouldn't attract suspicion if the wearer was seen moving suitcases around. After hiding for a bit, this guy comes out to intercept that suitcase while it's still airside. He switches its tag for one consigning it to PA103, and just walks up and places it in the appropriate container at the appropriate time.
That's good. It covers getting the bags in, inconspicuous with real (unaccompanied) interline bags. But it uses the breach to introduce the accomplice, well, hiding a whole person for (??) hours is maybe harder to see than hiding bags.

Maybe the accomplice 1 who sent the bag on, rather than walking away, managed to slip airside himself and do the placement of his own unaccompanied bag. There's not much need for the break-in there, but coincidences do happen.

Quote:
I don't know enough about security to know whether it would have been desirable to bribe Kamboj to turn a blind eye (maybe on the pretext of drug smuggling), or whether procedures were lax enough that it was a fair enough bet the manouvre would go unchallenged in any case.
If placement is important, that's a problem. All I can see is accomplice laying them down and telling Kamboj, AS he hands him a wad of hundreds, "do NOT touch those bags. They need to stay right there, and our New York guys can read your fingerprints. Your home address is written in a scrap in there. Don't test us." ??

Quote:
However, that theory allows for the MST-13 to be a genuine part of the bomb, and thus for Hayes, Feraday and Thurman to be completely unimpeachable - possibly for the first time in their collective careers.
Lol! Yeah, that would kinda make it straw grasping of the kind the Zeist Judges did so much of. No, there may have been a timer in there as per this theory, but it would be vaporized, unlike the piece they found.

Quote:
I'm not at all convinced of that part, especially in view of the even more suspicious Horton fragment.

Rolfe.
Yeah, if you can arrange it there, why not just place it there? An added timer means less room for semtex, and you only need one if you decide for some numbnut reason you need to send an airplane bomb in on an airplane you DON'T want to blow up. Better yet - it don't leave the ground until it's on the right plane and ready to blow.

It is good to play devil's advocate and consider all the alternatives, but sorry, I don't have the patience to do it in detail. I've just got no reason to seriously consider these twists put in by ridiculous Conspiracy Theorists. And that itself is a fairer treatment than the average JREF forum acceptance of unfounded ideological beliefs.
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Old 16th February 2010, 05:21 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
I would guess there was such a list, and it offered no help, so they never mentioned it. Plausible deniability.

I think there must have been more information than we have, certainly. If you read Trail of the Octopus, you'll see Coleman talks about several other bags that were on the plane, in various conexts - mostly speculating about what might actually have been in tray 8849 at Frankfurt.

He mentions suitcases full of Christmas presents, one of which was inexplicably left behind, the other being found on the ground at Lockerbie. He mentions the pilot John Hubbard and his unaccompanied "rush tag" luggage that was recovered also (I'm not sure if that's the same thing twice but I don't think so).

Surely, there must have been a list of all the luggage recovered, who it belonged to, where they were found, and what the suitcases looked like. There were only a few interline bags coming in at Heathrow, and I think most of these belonged to the CIA operatives in fact. Surely it was possible to figure out whose these bags were and what they looked like?

If Bedford really saw one (or two) brown Samsonite suitcases in that luggage container, and they were genuine interline bags, surely it would have been fairly easy to show who they belonged to, and that they were recovered? If he really saw them, and there's no record of them showing up innocently on the ground, what are we supposed to think?

If I was trying to knock this part of the story down, I'd try to postulate that Bedford was mistaken when he described the bags, and neither of them was a brown Samsonite at all. The fact that they don't seem to have tried that suggests to me that he was fairly sure about it and difficult to shake. Maybe it was easier to handwave the bag(s) away to "a far corner of the container" than to try to argue down Bedford's certainty and in so doing merely highlight the fact that these bags have never been traced satisfactorily.

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Old 16th February 2010, 05:42 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
I totally agree, in that we'll never know what happened, but it is always useful to tinker around and see if there are any plausible narratives. If we had photographs of the whole area at the time, or other insider knowledge, maybe we could make more headway, but ultimately I guess you're right. There are ways it could happen unless someone can show otherwise, and we should presume on the awareness that we've got too many clues to ignore.

Fair enough.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
That's good. It covers getting the bags in, inconspicuous with real (unaccompanied) interline bags. But it uses the breach to introduce the accomplice, well, hiding a whole person for (??) hours is maybe harder to see than hiding bags.

Maybe the accomplice 1 who sent the bag on, rather than walking away, managed to slip airside himself and do the placement of his own unaccompanied bag. There's not much need for the break-in there, but coincidences do happen.

I'm not sure it would be all that hard to hide for that length of time. I'm presupposing that the terrorists had some sort of inside knowledge of procedure, particularly relating to which container to put the bag(s) on, and so on. Places and/or ways to hide would come with the territory. I'm guessing one of them got a job airside for a while, kept his nose clean so that he wasn't investigated at all, and left in good standing when he'd got all the necessary information and shortly before the attack itself.

Alternatively, the break-in was only done in order to get hold of a Pan Am tag for PA103.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
If placement is important, that's a problem. All I can see is accomplice laying them down and telling Kamboj, AS he hands him a wad of hundreds, "do NOT touch those bags. They need to stay right there, and our New York guys can read your fingerprints. Your home address is written in a scrap in there. Don't test us." ??

Why the drama? The higher-stake you make this, the more chance of spooking someone into blowing the whistle. I've a fair idea smuggling is fairly endemic in places like that - more so in these days well before 9/11. Maybe one of the things the insider reported on was that Kamboj was lax, or would happily take a bribe to let a contraband suitcase past. That could be one reason for waiting till PA103 - wait for the right person to come on duty.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Lol! Yeah, that would kinda make it straw grasping of the kind the Zeist Judges did so much of. No, there may have been a timer in there as per this theory, but it would be vaporized, unlike the piece they found.

Mmmm, I had this nice honest-Tom scenario where the MST-13 was only used to prevent premature detonation and thus wasn't as intimately apposed to the Semtex as the primary detonator, making it more likely that a little bit would have survived. I was almost prepared to believe that little bits of radio and associated parts might have been blasted into a shirt collar. It's a stretch though. My incredulity is proving hard to conquer.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Yeah, if you can arrange it there, why not just place it there? An added timer means less room for semtex, and you only need one if you decide for some numbnut reason you need to send an airplane bomb in on an airplane you DON'T want to blow up. Better yet - it don't leave the ground until it's on the right plane and ready to blow.

That's Baz, and the Stockholm ferry. No reason why not, except that flying the bag in gets it airside with no effort on your part.

My thinking is that I'd want each step of this plan to be as innocent-looking as possible. So I disguise the bomb as a radio to get it through the initial x-ray and on to a Heathrow-bound plane at an airport where (unlike Malta) procedures might be less than stellar. I get on the plane with it, to prevent any alerts about unaccompanied luggage. Then I just walk away at the other end. An arriving passenger changing into overalls (got from where, exactly? - remember I don't have any checked luggage any more and any hand luggage is liable to have been hand-searched) and going airside is way too suspicious.

I may have to break in airside at some point. But I do it in the middle of the bloody night, when I'm least likely to be spotted. And far enough in advance that if the break-in is going to cause the airport to be closed there's still time to abort the plan completely. And I don't have a suitcase with a bomb in it in my hot little hand. If I'm caught, I'm a petty thief.

And when I'm airside in my inconspicuous overalls, all I'm doing is carrying suitcases around. I don't have to open the case at all.

Well, Charles did say we had to think ourselves into the terrorists' minds. I'm trying....

Rolfe.
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Old 17th February 2010, 03:22 AM   #55
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The judges considering Megrahi's appeal in 2002 [PDF] had to give the London into theory a listen - they had the Bedford bags AND the break-in to consider. They did some thinking about this too:

[244] In assessing whether the additional evidence supported the hypothesis that the break-in at T3-2A provided the route by which one of the Bedford suitcases was infiltrated, the Advocate depute made a number of points. First, he submitted that an individual carrying a suitcase and, presumably, lock-breaking equipment would be rather conspicuous in Terminal 3 between 2200 and 0030 hours, since normally no members of the public would be around at that time. Secondly, setting aside speculation, for a suitcase brought airside through the forced door at T3-2A to be one of the Bedford suitcases, it required to be infiltrated into the baggage handling system at the interline shed. For that purpose it would require an interline tag. That was particularly so if it was accepted, as the Advocate depute submitted it should be, that the Bedford suitcases were probably placed in the container by Mr Kamboj. He would not have placed them in the container if they had not been bearing appropriate interline tags. In this connection the Advocate depute relied on a submission which he had originally advanced in connection with ground of appeal B9, but which we did not find it necessary to discuss in that context. This was that, despite the fact that the trial court’s preference of Mr Bedford over Mr Kamboj (on the question of whether Mr Kamboj told Mr Bedford that he had placed the suitcases in the container) did not constitute evidence that Mr Kamboj had in fact so placed them, the natural inference was that the cases were put into the container by Mr Kamboj, whose job it was to x-ray PanAm interline baggage, rather than by some interloper. Why would an intruder through T3-2A choose to introduce a case containing an explosive device at the interline shed? He had, on the hypothesis under examination, broken in to airside at a point adjacent to the very area (the baggage build-up area) where most bags were handled. Yet he had spurned the opportunity of introducing the case into the baggage handling system there, andhad opted for the interline route which introduced the additional risk of detection when the interline baggage was x-rayed. Moreover, although readily discoverable evidence of the break-in had been left behind in the form of the damaged padlock, the hypothesis involved that the case was not introduced into the interline shed until some fifteen hours later. Unless the risk of opening the case airside to set the timer was to be undertaken, the timer would have had to be set before the break-in. No method of arranging for the bag to pass through the system to the interline shed had been identified. [walking?] The intruder would have required either to wait for fifteen hours himself, or to have the assistance of an accomplice. No place of concealment for the intruder or the suitcase had been identified. There was nothing in the evidence to explain why a suitcase, brought through T3-2A between 2205 and 0030 hours, would not be placed in the interline shed in time for either of the two earlier PanAm flights. On the hypothesis under examination, the suitcase had been tagged for flight PA103, although there were two earlier flights that would have involved a shorter period of concealment of a suitcase containing an armed explosive device. Yet there was no evidence that there was anything about flight PA103 or its passengers that singled it out as the target. Moreover, if an accomplice with airport identification, genuine or false, was involved, there was no need to break in to airside. All that was required was to smuggle the components of the explosive device through an access point, such as T3-2A, where persons with appropriate identification were not searched. The effect of all these points, the Advocate depute submitted, was to show that the hypothesis that the break-in at T3-2A was the means of infiltrating one of the Bedford suitcases was so weak and flawed that the additional evidence could not pass the Cameron test.

[245] The third stage at which the Advocate depute suggested the significance of the additional evidence might be tested was in the context of all the other evidence led at the trial, not merely the other evidence bearing on events at Heathrow airport. The critical issue at the trial was not a simple competition between infiltration at Heathrow and infiltration at Luqa. It was in any event wrong to say, as Mr Taylor did, that the evidence of Heathrow infiltration was no worse than the evidence of Luqa infiltration. There was evidence, which the trial court had accepted, that an unaccompanied and unaccounted for bag had travelled from Malta on flight KM180, had transferred at Frankfurt to flight PA103A, and had thence been loaded on flight PA103. There was evidence associating the bag containing the explosive device with Malta. On the other hand, in respect of Heathrow there was evidence that a door from landside to airside was forced, and evidence that a suitcase matching the description of the primary suitcase was placed in container AVE 4041. There was no evidence that the explosive device was in that suitcase. [that corner being blown up by a bomb in that kind of case?]
[246] There were nine components in the evidence before the trial court, the Advocate depute submitted, which were unaffected by the additional evidence. They were:
(1) The clothing in the primary suitcase was purchased by a Libyan, and the timer was supplied to the Libyan secret service. The trial court concluded that the plot was promoted by the Libyan secret service.
(2) The clothes were purchased in Malta, showing that a Libyan had gone to Malta in furtherance of the plot.
(3) The records of Frankfurt airport were shown to be capable of allowing the origin of baggage transferred there to be tracked.
(4) Those records demonstrated the carriage of an unaccompanied bag from Malta on flight KM180. The evidence of Mr Borg did not rule out the possibility of that happening. It was to be remembered that the Crown case was that the security measures at Luqa had been deliberately circumvented by a criminal act. [and no proof save that lonely printout?]

[...]
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Old 17th February 2010, 04:12 AM   #56
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That's just so much hand-waving. The hypothesis of the appeal was that security at Heathrow had been "deliberately circumvented by a criminal act", and the evidence for that was a damn sight stronger than the equivalent evidence regarding Luqa.

There's a strong element of circular reasoning there. The Erac printout pointed to Malta. And the clothes came from Malta. And Megrahi was in Malta that morning. QED. I agree that level of coincidence needs to be viewed with a fishy eye, but no way does it consititute proof of guilt "beyond reasonable doubt". Certainly not without more evidence - of which there is precisely none.

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Old 18th February 2010, 05:45 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
That's just so much hand-waving. The hypothesis of the appeal was that security at Heathrow had been "deliberately circumvented by a criminal act", and the evidence for that was a damn sight stronger than the equivalent evidence regarding Luqa.

There's a strong element of circular reasoning there. The Erac printout pointed to Malta. And the clothes came from Malta. And Megrahi was in Malta that morning. QED. I agree that level of coincidence needs to be viewed with a fishy eye, but no way does it consititute proof of guilt "beyond reasonable doubt". Certainly not without more evidence - of which there is precisely none.

Rolfe.
Too true. I can't imagine them doing that much hand-waving without suffering some serious wrist problems later.

I've got some useful posts up about the Beford/Kamboj evidence:

Bedford and Kamboj statement: Primary Evidence

Interline shed chronology
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Old 22nd February 2010, 02:18 AM   #58
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I just got hold of Leppard's book and its effusive words for that other forensic proof of bag-not-right-on-the-floor. It's obnoxious as hell how he goes off on the German insistence Heathrow had to be it. Oh no, Thurman and Ferraday blow up five containers and find the same inconclusive thing Claiden's report shows - the right-hand Bedford suitcase was put on top of the left hand one and slid left to make room for the Frankfurt bags' loading.

Instead, they take "layers" as some almost religious inviolable rule - if it went in first, it MUST touch the floor even after any and all re-arrangements. For this to <i>prove</i> anything at all, one must accept it's impossible for a bag once on the floor to ever picked up and put on another bag. Here's a mostly complete post giving the details of these stupid little tests:
Quote:
Leppard, a Sunday Times reporter and early investigation insider, called the tests “all-important,” “critical to the entire Lockerbie investigation,” and “unequivocal” in their indication the bomb came in from Frankfurt. They proved, he and others feel, that “the mysterious brown Samsonite [sic] reported by [Bedford] … could be ruled out; it was not the bomb bag. Kamboj was in the clear.” [p 141]
Also:
I was wondering if anyone could help me out - I'm wondering if Bedford should be in the clear. I know Kamboj's story has changed and been dodgy (see statements post above), but that <i>can</i> be caused by other things than knowing you placed the bomb(s). I found it only mildly odd, in itself, that Bedford recalls the container number in 2000 but professes a blank on almost all other details.
Quote:
Q Do you, by any chance, remember the number of the container that you selected?
A Yes, sir.
Q What is it?
A It consisted of the numbers 4041. [Day 44, p 6443]
I could swear I've read that he selected the container FOR its number, as it refelcted his and his wife's birth years. I can't find the source but I'm not sure I made it up. He does give his age as 60 when testifying in 2000, so he would be born in 1940. Wives are usually a similar age.

If I can get that verified it might be a clue - does one do that on a normal day, or more like on an anniversary, or a big pay day, or some such? New retirement plan decided that day for you and the missus?

Just asking questions.
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Old 23rd February 2010, 01:52 AM   #59
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Oh, I seem to have gotten it from Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investi..._Am_Flight_103
Quote:
...a series of tests in the United States, ... were said to have proved AAIB investigators' theory concerning both the position of the bomb and the quantity of explosive involved.[5] The results of these tests would be used as evidence at the eventual trial to determine the origin of the bomb suitcase. John Bedford, one of Pan Am's loader-drivers at Heathrow, was able to give evidence about the precise location within PA 103 of the baggage container, as well as the location of suitcases inside it, all of which helped investigators piece together how the bomb suitcase came to be there. Bedford particularly remembered handling container AVE4041, he told investigators, because he was born in 1940, and his wife in 1941.
Hmm, no source given and wrong on the other points. He never saw moth of the bags that would go in there, nor its loading on the plane. Just the bomb bag(s)and their location, not that it was accepted as such. Bedford's story in fact proved a hindrance to the course of the investigation, necessitating these tests and some bad reasoning after.

So, hmmm... is that based on something, or a good guess, or a bad guess? Any guesses? I think it's an interesting possible clue.
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Old 25th February 2010, 07:21 AM   #60
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Does this explain it then?
Steve Emerson and Brian Duffy explain how investigators first though the plane had ruptured on the right side (bad guess based on more luggage in the right engine, forgetting cross wind). Therefore, the authors deduce
Quote:
the bomb … must have been placed on the right side of the plane […] That meant the bomb had almost certainly been sneaked aboard at Heathrow.
??
Also “Iran Air was at Heathrow,” and one U.S. official said any point of intro ther than Heathrow was "much too complicated.” But then, miracle of miracles, they found the blast was on the left forward side after all, in “cargo bay 14L.” Therefore, they reason:
Quote:
So much for the London theory. There were almost no bags from Heathrow in 14L.
???

The book makes NO mention of Libyans, tons of good and bad mixed pointing at the GC, bizarre altimeter logic, Malta and gauci but no Frankfurt printout, and tons of early Anglo-German rivalry over bomb origin, back to Dec 88. Bad reasoning and confusion at every step. It's worse than Leppard, I think.

Emerson, Steven and Brian Duffy “The Fall of Pan Am 103: Inside the Lockerbie Investigation” New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons. 1990. [p 156-57]
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Old 25th February 2010, 08:58 AM   #61
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Any idea of a time scale on any of that? I'd quite like to know when they decided it wasn't Heathrow.

Of course, there were some suitcases from Heathrow in that container, nevertheless. That's not the same as there being none. Is there any suggestion of how they ruled out the interline bags?

Baz gets very aerated about the "error" made by the court in describing all the suitcases seen by Bedford in AVE4041 as "interline baggage". It's not really an error though. The extra two cases were either the bomb bag or bags, or they were legitimate interline baggage. If you're ruled out the former, then it's correct to include them in the latter category.

I still don't know when they ruled out these cases, and why. Was in nothing more than believing the Tourister case was under the bomb bag? If so, that's just ridiculous. If they can torture the evidence so they're sure it rained on 7th December despite no weather reports of rain, and they're sure there was an unaccompanied bag on KM180 despite sound evidence that flight was checked and clean, surely they can imagine a bit of rearranging of luggage at the last minute in the container!

Oh wait, they did imagine that. They just decided it could only have resulted in the Bedford suitcases being moved away from the crucial corner.

Surely there's more to this than that?

Rolfe.
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Old 25th February 2010, 02:06 PM   #62
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Yay, someone else! Y'know, I miss Dan O. But anyway

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Any idea of a time scale on any of that? I'd quite like to know when they decided it wasn't Heathrow.
As soon as they suspected it might be Heathrow I'm sure they wanted to decide it wasn't, and took the first opportunity. They had enough of the container by the last days of January to figure out what Claiden did about the floor damage. This book explains Thurman (who does have a Masters in forensic science and add'l FBI training past that, they were told) was sent along with FAA's Korsgaard, within hours of the crash, same night. Anyway, here's the news for New Year's Eve 1989 - the book cites the Times of London running the headline “Disaster bomb was ‘placed on board jumbo in Frankfurt." Same day FBI internal memo concluded the same - the bomb “entered the Pan Am system at Frankfurt.” [p 160]

The battle started early. Next day, Jan 1 1989:
Quote:
“West German Interior Ministry spokesman Michael Andreas Butz was convening a news conferencet to respond to the Times account of the day before. “There is no indication,” Butz declared stiffly, “that the explosives could have been put on board at Frankfurt airport.” In fact, he added ominously, “there is evidence which is contradictory.”

What did the Germans know that the Americans and the Scots didn’t?

Butz went on to assert, with some vehemence, that German agents had determined that the “Disaster Bomb” had been smuggled aboard the 103 in London. The German agents had proof of it, Butz said. Smarting from the accusation that sloppy West German security had allowed this terrible act of terrorism, which had resulted in 270 deaths, Germany would begin to strike at the British with a vengeance.” P 161
It continues: Jan 6 Reuters in London, citing “West German security sources,”
Quote:
"...reported that an airport worker at heathrow had planted the bomb in the forward luggage hold of the 103. According to the sources quoted by Reuters, investigators had arrived at the Heathrow link because of the “fact” that the bomb that had blow up the 103 weighed “at least sixty-six pounds.” Luggage restrictions limited carry-on bags to seventy pounds, but the sources cited in the Reuters account said that the bomb was loaded aboard by an airport worker. What the sources evidently didn’t say is why the airport worker couldn’t have been in Frankfurt instead of London.

Charges and counter-charges continued to fly.” [p 165-66]
Paul Channon, conference in Montreal, Feb 16
Quote:
“In the prepared text, Chanon’s original statement read thus: “The reconstruction of the baggage container suggests that the explosive devide may have been among the baggage from the Frankfurt flight.” In another, larger typeface, two lines had been inserted before that sentence: “it has not yet been firmly established where the bag which contained the device was originally loaded, but…” The night before Channon’s statement, Bonn’s minister of transport, Jurgen Warnke, had asked that there be no reference made to Frankfurt. The most he had been able to get from Channon was the hasty two-line insert.

It was strange that no one asked any questions about it.” [175-76]
And again, this is ALL based on container damage and dumb reasoning, without even knowing about the printout. At least Leppard and the Scottish police had that, and the six-month delay over it, to get mad about hiding the German link.

Originally Posted by Rolfe
Of course, there were some suitcases from Heathrow in that container, nevertheless. That's not the same as there being none. Is there any suggestion of how they ruled out the interline bags?
The inviolable levels - it was too high up to be London interline. This book won't help - they just cite there was a forensic examination of "container 14L" and it suggested the Frankfurt luggage. The authors didn't understand how, but we do, and it's a huge unwarranted leap.

Quote:
Baz gets very aerated about the "error" made by the court in describing all the suitcases seen by Bedford in AVE4041 as "interline baggage". It's not really an error though. The extra two cases were either the bomb bag or bags, or they were legitimate interline baggage. If you're ruled out the former, then it's correct to include them in the latter category.
Yes and no. Kamboj's statements supported interline, in that they were normal interline shed bags, so interline. Bedford couldn't say. So yeah, interline is the expected (but premature) conclusion.

Of course an altimeter bomb blew up one or both as soon as they got up high, so I'm guessing they were NOT interline.

Quote:
I still don't know when they ruled out these cases, and why. Was in nothing more than believing the Tourister case was under the bomb bag? If so, that's just ridiculous. If they can torture the evidence so they're sure it rained on 7th December despite no weather reports of rain, and they're sure there was an unaccompanied bag on KM180 despite sound evidence that flight was checked and clean, surely they can imagine a bit of rearranging of luggage at the last minute in the container!
It's just the not on the floor thing, again in this book, but more vaguely. On studying container "14L,"
Originally Posted by Emerson and Duffy
American authorities … were pretty confident that the bomb was in a bag loaded in Frankfurt. But because so many baggage handlers in London gave confused statements about the loading of 14L, the Heathrow connection had not been ruled out, and it remains a plausible theory. [268]
I'm sure they knew Bedford's story and could visualize them stacked together. indeed and the image scares the bejeezus out of them. They then pretend not to be able to consider it. But reall all layer 2 means is you can't safely call it either airline's bag.

Quote:
Oh wait, they did imagine that. They just decided it could only have resulted in the Bedford suitcases being moved away from the crucial corner.
And yet somehow must have flown against the bomb's force out the hole in the plane and been eaten by an engine, because they never did the right forensic elimination - show us the other two brown Samsonites and maybe we can accept there were three. Next time, huh?

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Old 25th February 2010, 04:11 PM   #63
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I thought Thurman's degree was in political science, and he had no formal forensic qualifications?

Makes you wonder just how much of the conclusions from the debris reconstruction canbe relied on at all.

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Old 25th February 2010, 04:47 PM   #64
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On Thurman, either the political science meme popped up somewhere on its own, or he was passing off fake creds that were believed back in the day. Undecided here.

But I think what they're saying about the container is true - the bag was not flat on the main floor, the damage is pretty clear. It's the eagerness the assume what that means that's so troubling. The other way to look at it is it was darn close to the floor, aft outboard corner, very very close to where Bedford's bags were, in the best spot to pierce the hull. They can't deny this.

Ah, it goes on an on, huh?
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Old 25th February 2010, 05:25 PM   #65
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How sure are they that the Tourister was underneath, and not on top, say?

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Old 26th February 2010, 05:01 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
How sure are they that the Tourister was underneath, and not on top, say?

Rolfe.
They don't, I don't think. I'm not sure why the judges decided that either. FWIW David Leppard wrote of it as "Karen Noonan's tourister suitcase, which had been stacked directly on top of the bomb bag" and got a piece of circuit board (PT/30) melted into it. There was something under it apparently is all they can really say.

My own guess is the second (left-hand) Bedford bag, its own bomb radio destroyed through 'contact ignition' I'll call it, when the one stacked on top blew. That's my guess for what was found and called the primary case, while the real primary one - in the second layer now - was obliterated. If you really looked through the stores at Dextar you might find a couple duplicate bits showing they got slightly more than one bomb damaged Samsonite.

Eh?
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Old 26th February 2010, 07:26 AM   #67
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It's a thought. Definitely. However, I think the bits of Samsonite they showed to the court were about all they had. Not much, and it would be hard to prove that you had the same bit twice.

I was misled by the question about "could it have been blue with a red trim", or whatever it was Bedford was asked in court. I'm now realising that was just something the advocate made up on the spot. I thought in fact there was a serious suggestion there was a blue suitcase with red trim there. However, it seems to have been one of these ploys simply to point out that the witness isn't sure.

You say you think this box was green. - Yes. - Could it have been yellow? - Well I suppose so.

Doesn't mean anybody said it was yellow, just a way to show that the witness isn't sure. And since this questioning was all 11 years after the fact, of course Bedford wasn't sure. Which is why I'm inclined to place most weight on what he said in 1989, which seems to be that both cases were of a brown Samsonite type.

The thing is, if both cases had bombs, and if the right-hand case was moved on top of the left-hand case, that still leaves a bomb bag on the floor of the container, and you have said you believe the evidence that suggests that wasn't the case.

Both bags being bombs. But still, I thought there was only 450g Semtex overall? Worth thinking about though.

Rolfe.
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Old 26th February 2010, 02:47 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It's a thought. Definitely. However, I think the bits of Samsonite they showed to the court were about all they had. Not much, and it would be hard to prove that you had the same bit twice.

I was misled by the question about "could it have been blue with a red trim", or whatever it was Bedford was asked in court. I'm now realising that was just something the advocate made up on the spot. I thought in fact there was a serious suggestion there was a blue suitcase with red trim there. However, it seems to have been one of these ploys simply to point out that the witness isn't sure.
And I didn't get that you didn't get that. I didn't realize it might have been a specific case, which maybe it was. Hmmm... But more likely just "you don't remember, do you?" Blue is almost the opposite of reddish, a bright color is different from brown, trim is the opposite of main color, sorta. And if you look, he did remember up until that point - at the beginning he does, and the end no more - it might've been "any colour you like," sir, to paraphrase Pink Floyd.
Quote:
"Q Can you recall whether on 21st December, 1988 any of the luggage that you dealt with or saw at the interline shed destined for Pan Am 103 was a bronze Samsonite case?
A Yes, sir.
Q Did you see a bronze Samsonite case?
A A maroony-brown Samsonite case, yes. [specific enough to correct a slightly wrong question]
...
Q Now, I wonder if I could get in a bit more detail of the colour. What is your recollection about the colour of the case lying in that position?
A I think it was a brown or maroony colour, hard-backed suitcase.
...
Q But as far as colour is concerned, can you be any more precise than you have been in your evidence?
A No, sir, I am sorry. [he's being as specific as he can be with his memory]
...
Q And as far as the colour of that particular case is concerned, have you always expressed the same view as to what the colour was?
A To my knowledge, I have.
Q Isn't it fair to say that on different occasions you thought it was brown or maroon, and at one point you were quite certain it was maroon?
A Yes.
Q Again this is no criticism of you, but I am anxious to know what the state of your evidence is about colour. In view of the different expressions of view over the period, are you able to be clear at all as to what the colour of that case was?
A No.
Q With regard to the suitcase that you saw lying down flat to the left side of the container, I would like you to think back as best you can. Could that suitcase have been a blue suitcase with a maroon or brown trim?
A I couldn't say.
Q You don't know whether it was or not?
A No, sir.
Q But it could have been?
A It could have been.
I know I imagine things into the evidence sometimes, but I can't help but read that as Bedford's memory being broken. Thereafter and up to 2000 he could not remember the color. At the beginning of the exchange he did.

Quote:
You say you think this box was green. - Yes. - Could it have been yellow? - Well I suppose so.

Doesn't mean anybody said it was yellow, just a way to show that the witness isn't sure. And since this questioning was all 11 years after the fact, of course Bedford wasn't sure. Which is why I'm inclined to place most weight on what he said in 1989, which seems to be that both cases were of a brown Samsonite type.
Indeed, the non-broken initial memory is best. And to be clear, that questioning was at the Fatal Accident Inquiry in 1990, so the memory was only about 2 years old at the time. What luck that it broke right there so they could dismiss the bag as too confused on color to be helpful. The Zeist Judges did accept his story without badgering it like that, but then dismissed its relevance based, as we've seen, on "could haves."

But the main point you make, which I'll need to consider:
Quote:
The thing is, if both cases had bombs, and if the right-hand case was moved on top of the left-hand case, that still leaves a bomb bag on the floor of the container, and you have said you believe the evidence that suggests that wasn't the case.

Both bags being bombs. But still, I thought there was only 450g Semtex overall? Worth thinking about though.

Rolfe.
Well, they were looking for signs of proper detontation, and there would only be one in this case. Clearly if they're right, a damaged suitcase was pushed through the floor. Its case would be penetrated and at least some contents in contact would tear up, burn, melt, etc. If one material was another pat of Semtex, it might ignite but only from one side rather than the optimlal inside-to-out detonation. I wish I could ever see photos of the bag they recovered. I suppose the transcripts mention the sizes and conditions anyway...

But if there was even an ingition directly beneath that, just 4 iches and the bottom side of a suicase away from the aluminum, it does though seem the floor would get more exposure to chemical pitting, etc than we see. And there comes in a possible Frankensteining of the floor - if the center was so high up and even the floor was pitted, that would mean two bomb bags, one detonating and one igniting, and require a large clean chunk from elsewhere be stitched in to hide the fact. Consider what was shown, lower left, the straight edge chunk labeled No. 9 looks like would have been right under the lefy-hand Kamboj bag. That chunk doesn't feel totally right to me:

(note - the center of damage along the left side here is a bit further in (app 20") than I'd suspect for the Bedford bags, but if they'd been turned 90 degrees, and the container titled somewhere so all bags slid forward, that could explain it.)

Two bombs is unusual, a little elaborate and not necessary for anything and I'm not married to it. But as you say, worth a thought. Maybe the bottom case was a non-bomb bag partner, or sheer coincidental in its similarity and time of introduction to the bomb bag. But the fact is we're thinking one Bedford bag in that corner was the bomb, but the other one didn't turn up damaged, so that's my attempt to explain that - one was vaped, the other damaged bad enough it could look like the bomb.

And on the force, there was 250-300-450-680 grams depending on your source. The Indian Head tests concluded that high range was the best fit (454-680 grams). Most other official sources just don't say. And that could be one bomb detonation or a bit more, but probably not two full explosions.

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Old 26th February 2010, 05:16 PM   #69
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Damn, I just lost an entire post.

Quote:
Steve Emerson and Brian Duffy explain how investigators first though the plane had ruptured on the right side (bad guess based on more luggage in the right engine, forgetting cross wind).

That's impossible, by the way. Both engines went into Sherwood Crescent, one on top of the other. They only knew that both were in the same crater because they counted the number of nuts and bolts they sieved out.

Rolfe.
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Old 27th February 2010, 11:19 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Damn, I just lost an entire post.

That's impossible, by the way. Both engines went into Sherwood Crescent, one on top of the other. They only knew that both were in the same crater because they counted the number of nuts and bolts they sieved out.

Rolfe.
It seems you've forgotten, and I know I had, but it's a four engine craft, the 747, whatever difference that makes. The book cites the inboard right engine having luggage in it, the others I guess none (as if they could say one way or the other in all cases?). I'm not sure where if they all wound up in the same place or not or in what shape, but I wouldn't be surprised if the authors weren't just horrible confused like usual on technical issues.

Very much a side point though.
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Old 2nd March 2010, 02:32 AM   #71
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Well I try butting out for a bit, and that still doesn't help get anyone else commenting. [ETA: Aside from Rolfe, and oh well] Not to jabber too much, but I did find an interesting thing looking for details on primary suitcase fragments. Looking for abnoramlly large chunks, this:
Quote:
"suitcase (part of), brown colour, charred edges, found in K Sector, CAD Longtown." "It appeared to be part of a -- what may be a Samsonite suitcase. It's plastic material that appears charred and ragged around the edges. It's about 10 or 11 inches long, brownish coloured on one side and black on the other." [pp 827-28]
I was seeing quite a few other damaged suitcase chunks, mostly brown/Samsonite/normal, a few nearby bags (navy blue, violet, black), and lots of material that would seem ED in size, hardness of material, etc, but it was [/b]gray.[/b]

Then I happened to read this passage in Emerson and Duffy:
Quote:
“The fragments were a whitish blue. But that hadn’t been the original color of the bag. Further examination showed that the bag had been a Samsonite, a hard-sided suitcase. Purchased new, it had been copper-colored. In the heat and violence of the explosion, the copper had been bleached out to a pale blue. Specialists at Fort Halstead determined conclusively that the copper-colored Samsonite had contained the bomb in a radio-cassette player. They had found the bag that contained the bomb.” [p 191]
Hmmm!!!

So I made a list of all possible IED Samsonite material, brown and gray or gray/white, maybe told once as blueish in hue. One has an interesting note:
Quote:
[police no. PH/773] "we can see is grey/white material, suitcase interior ... Underneath are the words "Joseph Patrick Curry" in red?
A That is not my handwriting.” [Witness no. 127, Findlay, p 1074-75]

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Old 2nd March 2010, 03:58 AM   #72
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Oh, wasn't there some strange story about a policewoman having told one observer that he'd be hearing a lot about the name "Joseph Patrick Curry" at the trial (or perhaps the FAI, I'm not sure), and then the whole thing disappeared without trace?

It's quite possible there was a mistaken inference or dead end lead there that seemed important at the time. I can't off-hand remember what was so important about Curry. Can you remember who he was?

Going off at a bit of a tangent here, I suppose looking more closely at the whole brown Samsonite thing does in the end lead back to the Gauci evidence. Maybe I'm being unreasonable, but I deeply, deeply distrust the whole idea that one of the terrorists went into that shop and intentionally bought brand new clothes to pack round the bomb in quite such a conspicuous manner. So I think the brown Samsonite and its location and the surrounding bags and just exactly what blew up as opposed to what was right next door are quite important here.

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Old 2nd March 2010, 02:16 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Oh, wasn't there some strange story about a policewoman having told one observer that he'd be hearing a lot about the name "Joseph Patrick Curry" at the trial (or perhaps the FAI, I'm not sure), and then the whole thing disappeared without trace?

It's quite possible there was a mistaken inference or dead end lead there that seemed important at the time. I can't off-hand remember what was so important about Curry. Can you remember who he was?
Yeah, just didn't have the energy to go into it last night.

Appeal decision, grounds of appeal 1 & 2 make no mention of "Curry" FAI only to give his birthdate (57) and address (Massachusetts).

But here's the good link:
http://i-p-o.org/lockerbie_dalyell.htm
Quote:
Mary Boylan, the ex-police constable, states:

"A short time later, while searching in field F72"—

this happened on 28 December 1988—

"I recovered the handle and rim of a brown coloured suitcase (Production Label No. unknown to me). This was entered in my notebook. PC Forrest corroborated the find and signed my notebook and production label."

26 Mar 2002 : Column 725

Her statement continues:

"Towards the latter part of 1999 . . . On attendance at Dumfries Police Station I was asked to describe some of the debris from memory. I was then shown the suitcase rim with handle I had found and was asked to identify it, which I did. The Production Label with my signature and that of PC Forrest, and of others whom I did not know, was still attached. A photograph was then shown to me of the said suitcase rim I had found, plus other pieces of the suitcase material. I recognised the rim but not the material. I asked the Fiscal about the significance of the suitcase and he said he could not tell me. What he did say was that the owner of said suitcase was a Joseph Patrick Curry and that I would be hearing and reading a lot about him at the time of the trial."

Mary Boylan continues:

"After giving my statement I left Dumfries and drove to Lockerbie's Garden of Remembrance to pay my respects. I noticed a brass plaque there with the inscription 'Joseph Patrick Curry, Captain US Army Special Forces. Killed in the line of duty'."
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Old 2nd March 2010, 04:52 PM   #74
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That post I lost.

If we suppose both Bedford suitcases were placed by the terrorist, flat on the floor of the container, but the bomb bag ended up on top of the other one later, this suggests the terrorist placed the bomb bag on the right. This doesn't seem sensible, since the left-hand-side was the position he'd be wanting it in. Why would he deliberately place it on the right?

I rather think two suitcases being handled as a job lot might be a little less suspicious than one though. I'm just not sure why he wouldn't put them one on top of the other, on the left.

Rolfe.
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Old 2nd March 2010, 05:08 PM   #75
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Ok,that's interesting. Is it going somewhere? I have trouble believing the investigators who saw the actual bits got it wrong and we can spot the truth just by reading stuff, but there's wrong stuff here whatever, so what the hell.

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Old 3rd March 2010, 01:11 AM   #76
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On the Curry connection:
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Ok,that's interesting. Is it going somewhere?
I'm not sure, and not ready to put it together and see what fits. Not a lot of info about Mr. Curry around. It would be releavant to know how he got on PA 103. Did he come in on 103A, oor from elsewhere? I don't know that yet...

FWIW, another Joseph Patrick Curry has ties right around my neck of the woods, smuggling drugs cross-border in connection with the "United Nations Gang" I imagined I had seen something suggesting his dad was our J.P.C. senior. But if so, I'm not finding it now - right age (30ish in 1988) but Canadian. If so, what, some family business of Special Ops drug smuggling gone awry - a crashed plane in 2007 and a bombed one in 88? The power of imagination, huh?

But back to the suitcases themselves
Quote:
I have trouble believing the investigators who saw the actual bits got it wrong and we can spot the truth just by reading stuff, but there's wrong stuff here whatever, so what the hell.

Rolfe.
I know whatcha mean. I'm not confident myself we can just look at what's there and figure it out, but it's worth a try at least, and it seems like it might be coming into focus a little.

Quote:
So I think the brown Samsonite and its location and the surrounding bags and just exactly what blew up as opposed to what was right next door are quite important here.
I was going to argue with that until I read it better. Indeed, it's interesting to see what can be sorted out. I'm not too intereseted in the tangential bags at the moment, but anything that's hardshell Sasmsonite suitcase material, fragmented and burnt, is of interest. If the Kmaboj bags were left where they were, other than stacked together, perhaps turned or shunted a few inches, that explains the bomb height and outboard position, but we'd need to see the remains of more than one brownish hardshell Samsonite.

So we are seeing two different colors of just that material, both frequently thought o be the IED bag. Emerson and Duffy call the light-blue material the bomb case, while most IED case finds related at trial were identified by their brownness. It is possible that's all from one case, with parts bleached out and fragmented small, and other parts left colored and in bigger chunks. But it's possible we're seeing both Bedford suitcases turning up in the evidence.

Quote:
That post I lost.

If we suppose both Bedford suitcases were placed by the terrorist, flat on the floor of the container, but the bomb bag ended up on top of the other one later, this suggests the terrorist placed the bomb bag on the right. This doesn't seem sensible, since the left-hand-side was the position he'd be wanting it in. Why would he deliberately place it on the right?

I rather think two suitcases being handled as a job lot might be a little less suspicious than one though. I'm just not sure why he wouldn't put them one on top of the other, on the left.

Rolfe.
Okay, good thoughts. If we've got one bomb, that's definitely sub-optimal. Wit two, not so much. Now in my stacked scenario, with both cases having bombs, the top one blows first, by chance or from being 6" higher (altimeter, right ). The bottom one was about to detonate, but can't since it's all messed up from being 6" from the other's detonation.

Also, I'm not certain Bedford's story is totally accurate. The faint possibility he placed the bags himself and just blamed "Camjob." He might have reason to only pin half the blame there, and let "who knows" take responsibility for the stacking... or something, I don't know! Witnesses are tricky - psychology enters the picture, hidden motives sometimes, etc...
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Old 3rd March 2010, 02:24 AM   #77
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Regarding Curry, I think it was the wording on the memorial that got the WPC all curious. "US Army Special Forces. Killed in the line of duty." Would they put that if he was just returning on the plane from a tour of duty somewhere? On the other hand, if he was really up to something majorly clandestine, actually on the plane, would they stick such an obvious clue right in public sight?

I still intend to pay a visit to the memorial when the weather gets a bit more spring-like. I might take a picture of that. I might go to Blinkbonny Farm and photograph that field too, just to counter the "Kielder Forest" rubbish.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th March 2010, 05:44 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Regarding Curry, I think it was the wording on the memorial that got the WPC all curious. "US Army Special Forces. Killed in the line of duty." Would they put that if he was just returning on the plane from a tour of duty somewhere? On the other hand, if he was really up to something majorly clandestine, actually on the plane, would they stick such an obvious clue right in public sight?

I still intend to pay a visit to the memorial when the weather gets a bit more spring-like. I might take a picture of that. I might go to Blinkbonny Farm and photograph that field too, just to counter the "Kielder Forest" rubbish.

Rolfe.
That and the explosives involvement of it (bomb bag or near) and the word that he'd be talked about a lot (just for having a case near the bomb?). Maybe confusion. I'm not riled up on that aspect at the moment.

Check the coordinates - it looked to me like the foot of BB height, around what looks like a wooded creek area. Or near there. But it was at the edge of Newcastelton Forest, just yards off, which turns into Kielder across the border, right?

I can't imagine a piece of primary suitcase is still stuck up in some tree there now? That would be interesting to find. Create a powerful plastic magnet... on my to do list.
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Old 4th March 2010, 08:18 AM   #79
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I suspect anything still stuck up in these trees is cloth or similar, not anything too solid. And no, I'm not going tree-climbing. Actually, most of that is commercial forestry. I wonder if there has been any concerted effort to check for stuff when plantations in the line of fire were felled?

If you superimpose the map of the debris trails of aircraft bits from the AAIB report on to the OS map, you realise that the field where the timer fragment was allegedly found is right at the end of the trail. These trails seem to represent where everything heavy enough not to have been whipped away by the wind fell. The wind was very strong that night, and the trail is about 20 miles long, but I do think that grid reference represents the end of the heavy stuff.

The things that made it all the way to the North Sea were mainly paper - what Mrs. Horton described, Christmas cards and so on, and I imagine loose clothing from the cabin and stuff like that. And the infamous Toshiba manual pages.

Indeed, the edge of Newcastleton Forest is only yards off. Though it's not all that dense there, and there are a lot of tracks and cycle runs and picnic areas and so on. It's a fair bit further on before you get to the Kielder Forest though. I'm just gently mocking The Maltese Double Cross on the subject.

Rolfe.
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Old 13th March 2010, 05:07 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
If we suppose both Bedford suitcases were placed by the terrorist, flat on the floor of the container, but the bomb bag ended up on top of the other one later, this suggests the terrorist placed the bomb bag on the right. This doesn't seem sensible, since the left-hand-side was the position he'd be wanting it in. Why would he deliberately place it on the right?

Sorry, tired now, going to bed. (Mother's day tomorrow, taking Mamma out to lunch, which is good because I get lunch too! )

I've been thinking about this. It's probably an unnecessary complication, but the container was unattended again after Bedford went off duty, wasn't it? What's the chances of the bomber coming back and arranging the cases to his liking?

Speculation. He wanted the bomb suitcase on the second row to get it right innto the overhang. Your diagrams have shown that placing was spot-on perfect. So he brought two cases, one being innocent, so as to have one spare to go under the bomb one. Just in case there was nothing else in the container, or nothing he could plausibly move. And as I said, carrying two cases probably looks more natural than one, for someone in baggage-handler's clothing.

He got to the container and was putting the cases down when he was disturbed - possibly by Bedford returning from his tea break. He didn't have a chance to position them as he wanted. He merged into the background but kept an eye on it. When Bedford went off duty and left the container again, he simply took his chance and arranged the bags as he wanted them. The innocent bag was on the bottom and later Karen Noonan's bag went on top of the bomb bag.

I'm still not sure why they didn't find the remains of the innocent but presumably unaccompanied bag with the rest of the damaged stuff. And I suppose that applies no matter what theory we apply to the exact arrangement of the bags. So this isn't a perfect explanation, for sure.

Rolfe.
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