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Old 21st May 2010, 01:37 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
But if this were checked luggage, it would indeed require a modification to prevent the first triggering. If it were carry-on, he could push in the headphone jack, etc. to arm it, and then just wander off and forget it.

That one doesn't fly in respect of Lockerbie at all. We know the suitcase was checked luggage.

Taking a disarmed bomb on as hand luggage (assuming you could get it past security), putting it in the overhead compartment, then calmly opening the bag to push in the jack plug once the plane had touched down at the intermediate destination, and leaving it in the overhead compartment while walking off the plane - well, that might have worked in the more innocent days of 1988. But not only was the suitcase with the PA103 bomb in a luggage container not the overhead compartment, there was an actual change of planes.

So that one's a bit academic.

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Old 22nd May 2010, 09:59 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
I'm going to be brief and skim a little time off Lockerbe to look at the Cheonan sinking story tonight.

On the Jia thing, you seem to have some worthwhile ideas, though I'm still leaning to coincidence. Introducing a whole other person who'd have to disembark to arm it seems silly if it's already there. If the break-in is coincidence, maybe he brought the bomb(s) in and set them up somehow, but someone else would have to get them in the container.

As far as a timetable, my site has a chronology of the Beford story, though all you need to know is he says the bags appeared there before 4:40 pm, but after app. 4:00.

I'll come back to the transcripts later and check if there's anything interesting/useful on the Jia angle and post it here.



Interesting. I'm hazy on the details of their other planned attacks (seen allusions to this and another plane besides 103, plus a nightclub and some trains). But if this were checked luggage, it would indeed require a modification to prevent the first triggering. If it were carry-on, he could push in the headphone jack, etc. to arm it, and then just wander off and forget it.

Which German material did you want? I've got none in original, but some might be read in court or some clues in testimony (translated and transcribed real time). There are some good insights on Khreesat's bombs, from the maker, in this PDF:
http://www.4shared.com/document/RnGR...shman_FBI.html



Yes we could, and what you outlined sounds about like what I expect. We have about zero specifics, and that alone makes it feel real to me, unlike Juval Aviv's cartoon version.

Keep it up.
Just a quick note as it is quite late (early a.m.) here now...

Aviv seemed to have a definitive reason for hanging his hat on his version as it assisted the legal situation with Pan-Am.

I'd be interested in seeing the info the German police had on Dalkamoni and Mobdi Goben regarding Abu Elias, Mohtashemi, Reza Khalili et al.
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Old 22nd May 2010, 11:07 PM   #123
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So my road trip was cancelled due to car troubles and here I am again.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
That one doesn't fly in respect of Lockerbie at all. We know the suitcase was checked luggage.

Taking a disarmed bomb on as hand luggage (assuming you could get it past security), putting it in the overhead compartment, then calmly opening the bag to push in the jack plug once the plane had touched down at the intermediate destination, and leaving it in the overhead compartment while walking off the plane - well, that might have worked in the more innocent days of 1988. But not only was the suitcase with the PA103 bomb in a luggage container not the overhead compartment, there was an actual change of planes.

So that one's a bit academic.

Rolfe.
Well my scenario was to show how a non-modified Khreesat bomb could have worked for the Iberia flight. In fact I'm looking at Marshman's report, on Khreesat's own statements about the plansfor his bombs:
Quote:
The plan for the Iberia flight would be to have someone
get on the flight in Madrid with the BomBeat 453 IED and then get off at
Barcelona. Just before getting off the plane in Barcelona, the courier
would arm the device by inserting a pin into the radio to arm it. The
device would then detonate on the Barcelona to Tel Aviv leg of the flight.
And it's academic, relative to 103, for the reasons you give. But if it were modified past what Khreesat is known to make, all bets are off. Obviously adding a MST-13 timer would count for that. Timer set to an hour before 103's takeoff, set to blow following next prolonged ascent past 950 millibars. Could start from Malta, Tehran, Washington, anywhere.

Of course, if a MST-13 was added, that fails to explain why the planted fragment PT/35(b) just so happened to match the evaporated original they couldn't have known.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 05:58 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
...snip...

Of course, if a MST-13 was added, that fails to explain why the planted fragment PT/35(b) just so happened to match the evaporated original they couldn't have known.
Yes, wasn't it proven that all bits of the circuit board 'found' would have been pulverized to dust in the initial explosion?

Regardless, that still leaves the intro at Heathrow alive, as, unless there is any proof of any modification to the Khreesat device preventing explosion on the Frankfurt/Heathrow leg, what is left- that the bomb was planted airside at Heathrow. I hate making logical jumps like that without substantive proof, but indulgent speculation sometimes spurs thinking.

Is there a possible scenario involving Jia (or someone else?), arming the bomb at Heathrow, and then getting it into the interline area, or perhaps an interception and switch of an identical bag to the one checked through Frankfurt?
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Old 24th May 2010, 02:55 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Yes, wasn't it proven that all bits of the circuit board 'found' would have been pulverized to dust in the initial explosion?
Oh, Dr. Wyatt said it "wasn't impossible," brags Mr. Marquise. The emphasis on the IMpossible and the general context makes it clear he means "not literally, totally impossible, but otherwise, effectively, impossible." He did 20 tests with amounts of Semtex it seems even smaller than what was used on 103. I'd like to see his results is detail, but he says no appreciable fragments from the radio or its modifications, nothing remotely like PT/35(b), appeared ever.

Quote:
Regardless, that still leaves the intro at Heathrow alive, as, unless there is any proof of any modification to the Khreesat device preventing explosion on the Frankfurt/Heathrow leg, what is left- that the bomb was planted airside at Heathrow. I hate making logical jumps like that without substantive proof, but indulgent speculation sometimes spurs thinking.
There's so much pointing there, not to be cult-ish about it. Just the placement in the deadliest part of the container (lower, outboard) should make it the top choice. Placed by a pro, right there, for just what happened.

I've seen one website dismiss this as unlikely since there's no guarantee someone wouldn't move it. That site decided it came from Frankfurt, with a near-guarantee of failing due to random placement.

Quote:
Is there a possible scenario involving Jia (or someone else?), arming the bomb at Heathrow, and then getting it into the interline area, or perhaps an interception and switch of an identical bag to the one checked through Frankfurt?
Possible, sure. I don't have the inclination to work one out, but I'd look over anyone else's proposal. I know I still haven't gotten to the transcripts on that, but will eventually. Hey, doesn't anyone else here have these things?

Cheers.
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Old 24th May 2010, 03:13 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Yes, wasn't it proven that all bits of the circuit board 'found' would have been pulverized to dust in the initial explosion?

I don't know about proved, but there does seem to be serious doubt that such a fragment could have survived the explosion. Jim Swire thinks it couldn't, and he was an explosives boffin in the army before he trained as a doctor. Also, there was that recent set of trials in which just about everything that close to the Semtex was found to be vaporised.

Personally, I'm unsure about that. I could just about believe in some slightly freakish chance that allowed a little bit of circuit board to survive. But then you have the freakish chance that it happened to be a part which was identifiable (looking at the entire board, it's just about the only part where the circuitry is distinctive enough to allow the board to be identified). Then again, there is the freakish chance that it was actually recovered. While the heavy stuff all seems to have fallen short of the border, mostly on heathland where a fingertip search got a high proportion of it, lighter stuff was blown away eastward. They acknowledge that a lot was lost in the canopy of the Newcastleton and Kielder forests - this part was found just 100 yards short of the forest boundary.

Put that with the freakish chance that allowed the Erac printout to survive, and the freakish chance that "an-apple-short-of-a-picnic" Gauci (apparently) could recall a customer he'd served nine months earlier, and you do have to wonder a bit....

But anyway, maybe we could allow the freakish chance that this uniquely identifiable little fragment survived and was recovered.

But what about the Horton fragment? Even if a scrap of fibreglass survived, are we really supposed to believe a piece of paper that was right up against the explosion survived in such a way that the make and model number of the radio were still legible?

Gimme a break.

My natural instincts are to assume that the investigators were honest, even if possibly mistaken or misled. However that Horton fragment leaves me gasping. And if the Horton fragment was manipulated, then all bets are off as regards manipulation elsewhere.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Regardless, that still leaves the intro at Heathrow alive, as, unless there is any proof of any modification to the Khreesat device preventing explosion on the Frankfurt/Heathrow leg, what is left- that the bomb was planted airside at Heathrow. I hate making logical jumps like that without substantive proof, but indulgent speculation sometimes spurs thinking.

Is there a possible scenario involving Jia (or someone else?), arming the bomb at Heathrow, and then getting it into the interline area, or perhaps an interception and switch of an identical bag to the one checked through Frankfurt?

I think it's well-nigh impossible for anything which arrived from Frankfurt to have been substituted at Heathrow. The connection was tight anyway, and on that day PA103A was running a little late. It didn't land at Heathrow until 17.40 GMT, with PA103 scheduled to take off at 18.00 GMT.

The net result sems to have been a bit of a mad scramble to get the New York luggage off PA103A and on to Maid of the Seas in treble-quick time. The bags had been loose-loaded at Frankfurt, and a "rocket" transporter was used to shoot them out of the hold of PA103A and into AVE4041, where they were stacked by the baggage handlers.

As far as I can make out, this is the one stage of the proceedings where the luggage was not x-rayed. (I'm not completely sure, but I haven't seen a reference to an x-ray system out on the tarmac at that point.) However, I can't see how it would have been realistically possible for anyone to substitute anything in that 20-minute period where so many workers were all swarming around trying to make the 6pm departure time for the transatlantic leg. In fact they made it - Maid of the Seas pushed off from the gate only a couple of minutes after six.

I'm for the Bedford suitcase(s) being the bomb bag. It was the late arrival of PA103A that led to there being quite an opening there - Bedford had labelled up AVE4041 for PA103, intending that it be used to receive the New York luggage coming in from PA103A, but also used it for the small number of interline bags which had arrived on earlier connecting flights into Heathrow. The result was that this container was sitting around unattended (or pretty much unattended) for a while, with only a few pieces of luggage in it, waiting for PA103A to land. This is when the mysterious brown Samsonite suitcase(s) materialised in it. I don't know who did the materialisation, but Jia could be a candidate.

If the MST-13 timer was ever an integral part of the device, I believe its purpose was to prevent detonation on an earlier, unknown leg into Heathrow from an unknown airport - possibly when it was accompanied luggage. I don't think it came in on PA103A, or substituted for anything that came in on PA103A.

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Old 25th May 2010, 11:03 AM   #127
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The legal assistance I was counting on has evaporated, so I'm still poring through transcripts on my own. Patience has its rewards.

Perhaps the simple availability of AVE 4041 at Heathrow was the only reason 103 was targeted. It had Pan Am markings, and that was all it was about- simple opportunity to place THE bomb bag in THE correct spot in ANY Pan Am container.

SO, it seems both the Horton fragment and the circuit board fragment if they were planted were designed to lead right to Khreesat and the others. However, I am getting too far ahead of myself here.

I'll continue to look at transcripts.
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Old 25th May 2010, 12:13 PM   #128
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As an aside, I have quoted Clare Connelly above, but did not provide bona fides;

Clare Connelly joined the School of Law in 1995 as a Lecturer. She graduated from the University of Glasgow MA (Soc. Sci.) (Hons) (1989), LL.B. (1991), Dip.L.P. (1992) and was admitted as a solicitor in 1993. She was a Parson’s Scholar at the Law School, University of Sydney in December 2001 and from February – August 2005.
She was also the Director of the Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit.
"The Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit was established within the School of Law of the University of Glasgow in the autumn of 1998 to provide a resource for those with an active interest in the trial of the two Libyan suspects in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988. The School of Law determined that it should apply its expertise to assisting those with a professional or personal interest in the trial to understand its legal dimensions. This was, after all, destined to be the international trial of the decade and the Scottish trial of the century. The trial was regularly attended by members of the unit."

Here is more of her trial review regarding Talb;

"The cross-examination continued with Richard Keen suggesting that Talb had collected a bomb from a house in Germany shortly before the Lockerbie disaster"

And from July 14, 2000;

"The defence referred to a reservation that Abu Talb had on a flight to Malta from Stockholm which was valid until November 1988."
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Old 25th May 2010, 04:54 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
The legal assistance I was counting on has evaporated, so I'm still poring through transcripts on my own. Patience has its rewards.

Many hands make light work, but I'm not sure if a lawyer is a help or not. It's the evidence that's important, not the legal niceties.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Perhaps the simple availability of AVE 4041 at Heathrow was the only reason 103 was targeted. It had Pan Am markings, and that was all it was about- simple opportunity to place THE bomb bag in THE correct spot in ANY Pan Am container.

I think that's a very possible scenario. Of course it's all a bit odd when you consider what else was going on with that plane - CIA agents and alleged drug smuggling for a start - but it's perfectly possible that any US carrier flight bound for the USA would have done.

This is the beauty of the barometric trigger, of course. It doesn't matter a bit how long you have to delay while waiting for the opportunity, the thing won't blow until the plane is airborne. Playing that game with a simple timer would be verging on the insane.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
SO, it seems both the Horton fragment and the circuit board fragment if they were planted were designed to lead right to Khreesat and the others. However, I am getting too far ahead of myself here.

No, I don't think so. These items were both specifically linked to Libya, especially the timer fragment. A great deal was made in the trial of the exclusivity of these timers to Libya. Of course, Libya was supplying all sorts of terrorist groups with munitions (notably including the IRA), and there's no compelling reason the PFLP-GC couldn't have acquired one, but the official line was clear MST-13 = Libya did it.

I'm not convinced these items were planted - I baulk at the sheer enormity of the accusation. However, there is a lot to suggest they might have been, and we also have to consider the other stuff known to have happened in relation to the Birmingham Six and so on.

The oddity seems to be the timing. If you read all the theses about how the direction of the case suddenly altered at the time of the invasion of Kuwait and Desert Storm, you imagine the very idea of blaming Libya instead of Iran/Syria only arose in late 1990 or early 1991. However, if there was deliberate manipulation of the evidence in this case, it seems to have happened in the late summer of 1989 - long before Saddam turned his beady eyes on Kuwait.

Of course, Libya and Libyan agents were of intense interest to the CIA anyway, Lockerbie or no Lockerbie. Giaka was trying to sell information before the plane even crashed. As I said in the other thread, I'd love to know when the CIA realised that Megrahi was right smack there at the check-in desk when KM 180 was boarding for Frankfurt, and that flight connected fairly neatly with PA 103A.

This could be a bust of an idea, but given that we know Bush and Thatcher were seriously unkeen to implicate the Palestinians as early as March 1989, that could have been the handy little factoid used to fix on an alternative scapegoat - and the fact that this was highly convenient in 1991 just a bonus.

Rolfe.
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Old 28th May 2010, 11:11 AM   #130
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That's why I like the research and the discussion on this incident- it has so many facets.

The difficulty appears to be sticking to the thread, as it is so easy for the discussion here to flow to the strictly political angles, or any one of many other talking points.

Regarding lawyers, I had requested my legal friend to examine the appeal documents to tell me what wasn't said, and why. I've learned (through osmosis- as she has an amazing legal mind) that there are often reasons to leave out certain things, depending on which way one wishes to present other things.

I may yet be able to cajole her into it, but until then, I'm happy to plug away.
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Old 28th May 2010, 11:52 AM   #131
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Ah yes. An interesting angle. I can think of a few things that weren't said in the original trial. Why didn't Heathrow get a more serious investigation at the outset? What happened to the Frankfurt baggage records? How was Gauci first identified as having sold some interesting clothes (maybe that's available, I need to do more reading).

Maybe you can pump your friend a bit more, later?

We could bump the other threads if you like. I bumped the Frankfurt baggage thread the other day, and there's one about Gauci and one about the MST-13 timer fragment. I just think it helps to try to separate the topics a little bit.

Rolfe.
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Old 29th May 2010, 02:57 PM   #132
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I haven't really studied the first appeal, but it's said that it didn't say the right things. Apparently too heavy on the London theory replacement without first knocking down the original story. So the appeal judges said London doesn't fit with Megrahi who was convicted, etc. and appeal denied.

I had a couple of interesting thoughts about Khreesat, PFLP-GC/Abu Elias, recurring radios and a matching set (?) of matching sets of brown hardshell Samsonites.
http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/...khreesats.html
The luggage itself is most interesting - Leppard at least writes that Khreesat and his wife brought a matching set of such bags to germany in October 88. Such a matching set occurs again in Bedford's statements. Hmmm...

I've already been leaning towards a clever PFLP-GC co-option of the Western infiltrator. Of the Khreesat devices, the one that might have gone on 103 was apparenltly built by Abu Elias. It was based on Khreesat's work, and only passed by him for a simple soldering job. Using a copy (?) of his luggage would also fit that pattern.

Speculative, but, hey, huh?

I will bump other threads.
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Old 29th May 2010, 10:04 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
...snip...

I've already been leaning towards a clever PFLP-GC co-option of the Western infiltrator. Of the Khreesat devices, the one that might have gone on 103 was apparenltly built by Abu Elias. It was based on Khreesat's work, and only passed by him for a simple soldering job. Using a copy (?) of his luggage would also fit that pattern.

Speculative, but, hey, huh?

I will bump other threads.
Regarding co-opting an unsuspecting accomplice, and speculation, what about any one of the Iranian Air employees accessing the interline baggage area to place the bomb bag? A quick in and out... make sure you're not seen... and a few thousand in your bank account for a minute or two... and seriously, would they EVER come forward and admit that THEY were the one who planted the bomb? Not likely.
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Old 29th May 2010, 10:08 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
I haven't really studied the first appeal, but it's said that it didn't say the right things. Apparently too heavy on the London theory replacement without first knocking down the original story. So the appeal judges said London doesn't fit with Megrahi who was convicted, etc. and appeal denied.

...snip
I am studying the appeal documents now, as well as the second appeal documents. Not being a lawyer, I am cross-referencing a lot to the trial synopsis, so it might take a bit of time to be thorough enough to report here on anything which might be worthy of a post or two.
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Old 30th May 2010, 02:48 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Regarding co-opting an unsuspecting accomplice, and speculation, what about any one of the Iranian Air employees accessing the interline baggage area to place the bomb bag? A quick in and out... make sure you're not seen... and a few thousand in your bank account for a minute or two... and seriously, would they EVER come forward and admit that THEY were the one who planted the bomb? Not likely.
Previously I suspected Abu Elias himself, but lately I'm more in favor of some Iranian working through Iran Air at Heathrow. It's quite a logical choice, all things considered.

IIRC Trail of the Octopus says Abu Elias handed the bomb off to an Iranian contact in Lebanon after leaving Germany. Could be. Maybe he also included a set of luggage for them to use, so they could help implicate the West's own agent. Could also be a coincidence, I'm just not a fan of presuming that.

Whaddya think?
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Old 30th May 2010, 06:54 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Previously I suspected Abu Elias himself, but lately I'm more in favor of some Iranian working through Iran Air at Heathrow. It's quite a logical choice, all things considered.

IIRC Trail of the Octopus says Abu Elias handed the bomb off to an Iranian contact in Lebanon after leaving Germany. Could be. Maybe he also included a set of luggage for them to use, so they could help implicate the West's own agent. Could also be a coincidence, I'm just not a fan of presuming that.

Whaddya think?
The 'implicate Khreesat' theory seems to be gaining momentum, but, other than pure speculation, there doesn't appear to be much in the way of proof that Abu Elias knew, or much less suspected Khreesat was the Jordanian double agent. He made the bombs, his work was verified at the behest of Jibril, and all seemed quite satisfied.
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Old 30th May 2010, 07:16 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Previously I suspected Abu Elias himself, but lately I'm more in favor of some Iranian working through Iran Air at Heathrow. It's quite a logical choice, all things considered.

IIRC Trail of the Octopus says Abu Elias handed the bomb off to an Iranian contact in Lebanon after leaving Germany. Could be. Maybe he also included a set of luggage for them to use, so they could help implicate the West's own agent. Could also be a coincidence, I'm just not a fan of presuming that.

Whaddya think?
'Trail of the Octopus' also says this;

"What Pan Am was saying was that, good, bad or indifferent (and they were certainly bad), its security arrangements at Frankfurt were probably irrelevant. Intelligence information strongly suggested that the bomb suitcase had been put on the conveyor after the baggage for Flight 103 had been cleared through the airline's security checks."

I'm presuming it actually means 103a, if it's referring to the Frankfurt to Heathrow feeder.

However, that raises the entire question, again, of the arming of the device after the 103a flight from Frankfurt, and the general pell mell of the baggage loading situation at Heathrow.

So, it can't be both ways. Can it?
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Old 31st May 2010, 03:17 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
'Trail of the Octopus' also says this;

"What Pan Am was saying was that, good, bad or indifferent (and they were certainly bad), its security arrangements at Frankfurt were probably irrelevant. Intelligence information strongly suggested that the bomb suitcase had been put on the conveyor after the baggage for Flight 103 had been cleared through the airline's security checks."

I'm presuming it actually means 103a, if it's referring to the Frankfurt to Heathrow feeder.

However, that raises the entire question, again, of the arming of the device after the 103a flight from Frankfurt, and the general pell mell of the baggage loading situation at Heathrow.

So, it can't be both ways. Can it?
Alright, I'll respond to that now. Yeah, 103A is often simplified as 103 (subset of), and that book, while it's bound to get some things right, does center on Frankfurt intro, based on a lot of people saying things. In fact, when I was more focused on Abu Elias and his airport security skills, and fair complexion, I got stuck on the image of him AT Heathrow doing the placement. So for two reasons I dismissed Coleman's claim of a Beirut handoff to some Iranians to take back to Frankfurt.

But being open-minded, I wonder if the handoff part is actually based on something. In fact, Coleman cites the PLO's report, which doesn't suffer the same credibility problems (diff. ones, maybe).
Quote:
According to the PLO's sources, the Toshiba radio-cassette bomb used to destroy Flight 103 had been built by Khaisar Haddad, also known as Abu Elias, a blond, blue-eyed Lebanese Christian member of the PFLP-GC, who passed the completed device on to an Iranian contact in Beirut.
And from there to a contact with iran Air at Heathrow?

There's still a lot of just throwing ideas around to do.
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Old 31st May 2010, 03:48 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
'Trail of the Octopus' also says this;

"What Pan Am was saying was that, good, bad or indifferent (and they were certainly bad), its security arrangements at Frankfurt were probably irrelevant. Intelligence information strongly suggested that the bomb suitcase had been put on the conveyor after the baggage for Flight 103 had been cleared through the airline's security checks."

I'm presuming it actually means 103a, if it's referring to the Frankfurt to Heathrow feeder.

However, that raises the entire question, again, of the arming of the device after the 103a flight from Frankfurt, and the general pell mell of the baggage loading situation at Heathrow.

So, it can't be both ways. Can it?

Both Trail of the Octopus and The Maltese Double Cross are very hot on the Frankfurt luggage substitution theory, apparently first raised by Juval Aviv and Interfors. I think it's smoke and mirrors - Aviv has never produced the evidence he has claimed to have. The sheer amount of detail presented, with none of it ever having been substantiated, rather screams fiction to my mind.

Of course, the wholesale disappearance of the Frankfurt baggage records could be precisely aimed at covering all this up. But I'm far more inclined to think it didn't happen like that. Possibly the Frankfurt cover-up was partly motivated by a fear that that's exactly what happened, and maybe PA103 was chosen for the bomb because it was known that drug smuggling on that flight would confuse the investigation nicely. But I don't honestly think the bomb went on board at Frankfurt.

If it did, the 38-minute detonation makes no sense. If it was an altimeter decive, it should have trashed Paris, not Lockerbie. And if they had a timer like the MST-13, they'd have set it to detonate much later, maybe midnight GMT.

Also, a Frankfurt introduction leaves it entirely to chance where in the contained the bomb bag fetches up. It really had to be pretty much where it was, or the plane would not have been catastrophically damaged. Heathrow is the only place where there was even the possibility of influencing the placement of the suitcase.

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Old 31st May 2010, 07:12 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...snip

Also, a Frankfurt introduction leaves it entirely to chance where in the contained the bomb bag fetches up. It really had to be pretty much where it was, or the plane would not have been catastrophically damaged. Heathrow is the only place where there was even the possibility of influencing the placement of the suitcase.

Rolfe.
I think you've hit upon two things in the paragraph above which, for many reasons, lends credence to the Heathrow plant and the PFLP construction.

First, how would one know that the bomb had to be near the outer skin of the aircraft? I have zero experience in blowing aircraft out of the sky, and for me, a placement next to a cargo area frame support might be just as good or better, as opposed to the outer skin placement. To go to the trouble to ensure that exact placement infers detailed knowledge gained through either intimate engineering experience with structural integrity of the Boeing 747, or prior experience in blowing aircraft out of the sky, which Jibril and Co. had.

Secondly, to ensure maximum destructive power, the baggage not only had to be near the outer skin, but low in the container. How best to ensure that? Introduce the bomb at the last possible location where potential placement could be compromised, right?





Look at 'Detail B' in the diagram above. To me, an untrained person, as HIGH in the container where the container wall intersects with the floor above it and skin of the aircraft might be where I'd want the bomb. That might break up the aircraft faster if that floor panel was destroyed.

As well, the bomb maker had to know that a hole of just 18- 20 inches in diameter in the outer skin, at that altitude and speed, would tear the plane apart. That sort of knowledge isn't gained from reading technical manuals.

So, experience in destroying aircraft had to be a pre-requisite, although I'm not as convinced as most that Abu Elias could reverse engineer Khreesats device to construct one of his own.

Photo from from AAIB 2/90 AAR.
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Old 31st May 2010, 07:48 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Both Trail of the Octopus and The Maltese Double Cross are very hot on the Frankfurt luggage substitution theory, apparently first raised by Juval Aviv and Interfors. I think it's smoke and mirrors - Aviv has never produced the evidence he has claimed to have. The sheer amount of detail presented, with none of it ever having been substantiated, rather screams fiction to my mind.

Of course, the wholesale disappearance of the Frankfurt baggage records could be precisely aimed at covering all this up. But I'm far more inclined to think it didn't happen like that. Possibly the Frankfurt cover-up was partly motivated by a fear that that's exactly what happened, and maybe PA103 was chosen for the bomb because it was known that drug smuggling on that flight would confuse the investigation nicely. But I don't honestly think the bomb went on board at Frankfurt.

If it did, the 38-minute detonation makes no sense. If it was an altimeter decive, it should have trashed Paris, not Lockerbie. And if they had a timer like the MST-13, they'd have set it to detonate much later, maybe midnight GMT.

Also, a Frankfurt introduction leaves it entirely to chance where in the contained the bomb bag fetches up. It really had to be pretty much where it was, or the plane would not have been catastrophically damaged. Heathrow is the only place where there was even the possibility of influencing the placement of the suitcase.

Rolfe.
Wait a second. Why use the barometric device at all, IF one wanted to blow the plane up over the DEEPEST part of the Atlantic, ensuring wreckage would sink to depths where it would be unrecoverable?

If you're planting the bomb at Heathrow, and detection is a non issue, why not use a LARGER bomb, filling the suitcase, and use a simple countdown timer set for say, 120 minutes, ensuring the aircraft is west of Ireland and over deep, deep water? So, if I'm the bomber, I use the conveniently broken padlock to introduce my suitcase to the interline area, where the Iran Air accomplice places it into the baggage container. NO need for the bomb to be camouflaged, and a simple timer could be used without issue.

Does the fact that ONLY 450g of Semtex was used, camouflaged in a radio, imply the bomb, at some point, had to undergo some sort of scrutiny?

Could I make the point that the bomb was designed to go off on the Frankfurt/Heathrow leg, on 103A, and malfunctioned the first time, and detonated on the SECOND depressurization?

Prove me wrong.
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Old 31st May 2010, 08:02 AM   #142
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Another thought;

So let's say Iran wishes to make a VERY, VERY public point about retribution for the Vincennes attack. Why bring down a plane over an empty stretch of the Atlantic, where no one might ever figure out what happened to the aircraft?

If the aircraft data recorders sink to unrecoverable depths, it might never be proven the aircraft was destroyed by anything other than a design flaw, like the cargo door issue, or some other type of engineering malfunction.

No, if I want the world to fully understand this is revenge, I NEED the wreckage to be recoverable, and it fully publicized that a bomb brought down the aircraft. Wit hthis in mind, I need the airplane to come down over land, and this lends credence to a detonation in the Frankfurt/ Heathrow leg, on 103A.

Given this line of thought, doesn't a Frankfurt introduction seem quite likely? Doesn't this theory lend credence to the idea that the bomb had to pass some sort of scrutiny?
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Old 31st May 2010, 08:12 AM   #143
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Here's more from my overactive brain.

Didn't Khreesat say, in the Marshman interview, that the barometric timers needed 12 or 24 hours to 'reset' themselves after being tested? He may have said 'overnight'. So, IF Abu Elias constructs the bomb, based on Khreesat's device, and DOESN"T KNOW this critical piece of info, and tests the timer a couple of times prior to it's introduction at Frankfurt, this may explain why the bomb failed to detonate on the 103A leg. JUST enough time passes for the device to 'reset' itself, and up goes 103, with the device now working perfectly. Perhaps no one realizes one depressurization and repressurization might just reset the timer on its own.

The fact that 103 went boom instead of 103A could have been a surprise to Elias and the PFLP both. For Iran, dumb luck having the flight stay over land just that little extra time ensured the wreckage was recoverable.
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Old 31st May 2010, 09:42 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
I think you've hit upon two things in the paragraph above which, for many reasons, lends credence to the Heathrow plant and the PFLP construction.

First, how would one know that the bomb had to be near the outer skin of the aircraft? I have zero experience in blowing aircraft out of the sky, and for me, a placement next to a cargo area frame support might be just as good or better, as opposed to the outer skin placement. To go to the trouble to ensure that exact placement infers detailed knowledge gained through either intimate engineering experience with structural integrity of the Boeing 747, or prior experience in blowing aircraft out of the sky, which Jibril and Co. had.

Secondly, to ensure maximum destructive power, the baggage not only had to be near the outer skin, but low in the container. How best to ensure that? Introduce the bomb at the last possible location where potential placement could be compromised, right?

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...3c2b9ca135.jpg

Look at 'Detail B' in the diagram above. To me, an untrained person, as HIGH in the container where the container wall intersects with the floor above it and skin of the aircraft might be where I'd want the bomb. That might break up the aircraft faster if that floor panel was destroyed.

As well, the bomb maker had to know that a hole of just 18- 20 inches in diameter in the outer skin, at that altitude and speed, would tear the plane apart. That sort of knowledge isn't gained from reading technical manuals.

So, experience in destroying aircraft had to be a pre-requisite, although I'm not as convinced as most that Abu Elias could reverse engineer Khreesats device to construct one of his own.

Photo from from AAIB 2/90 AAR.

This raises two interesting points. One is that Jibril and his merry band had form in blowing up aircraft. They didn't always get it right, and there is a report of one incident where a plane limped back to base with a hole in its baggage compartment. If it was indeed essential to use the radio-cassette to conceal the bomb on PA103, and so the amount of Semtex was limited, careful placing was important and Jibril knew that.

There were three big airports within limping distance of Lockerbie (Prestwick, Abbotsinch and Turnhouse), and this one could easily have been a repeat of that earlier incident. Some of it may have been luck but there's an awful lot of luck and coincidence involved here and some people make their own luck.

The other point is the lack of evidence of know-how on the part of Megrahi and Fhimah. Sure, Megrahi was a Libyan spy, but he seems to have been an educated man pretty high up the food chain. He wasn't a TV repairman soldering away in a seedy flat. he was Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies in Tripoli. I'd have thought he would have had people to do that sort of job for him (and to put the bag on the plane too come to that) if this was a Libyan operation. Fhimah wasn't JSO at all, as far as we can make out. He was just a mate of Megrahi's because they had worked together at the airport previously.

Neither man had any history of making bombs or working with explosives or anything like that (if you discount Giaka, which I rather think you do). And yet they were supposed to have made that bomb with their own hands, in the Libyan Arab Airlines office in Malta. Without ever being seen by the local employees, or anyone ever being able to trace a Toshiba radio, or a Samsonite suitcase, or Semtex, to their possession.

Rolfe.
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Old 31st May 2010, 11:15 AM   #145
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One thing, Rolfe, is that IF IF IF the bomb was placed in Frankfurt, we have no idea of where that bomb bag was placed vis-a-vis the skin of Flight 103A. Perhaps it was right next to the skin on 103A, and when it didn't go off on that flight, it was sheer dumb luck it gained a similar position on 103. Or, because it didn't go off, ANOTHER bomb bag identical to the first was placed aboard 103 in Heathrow to ensure success, lending credence to the two similar bags seen together on 103? I think there might be a hole in that theory though... as weren't the two similar bags observed in the 103 container before 103A landed? Hmmmm....
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Old 31st May 2010, 01:56 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Secondly, to ensure maximum destructive power, the baggage not only had to be near the outer skin, but low in the container. How best to ensure that? Introduce the bomb at the last possible location where potential placement could be compromised, right?
Actually, due to the law of superposition, to come out low it'd have to be placed first. To clarify, the luggage container AVE4041 was AT Heathrow empty and filled there. So the bomb would have to be placed early, while the bottom rows are still open. Just from the cross section I'd guess where the bomb wound up is best - the skin is tin and frangible, a weak spot. That sloped floor panel at the lower outboard corner is closest to the skin, so the best spot esp. if one isn't sure how much punch the bomb really has.

In all honesty, it doesn't seem the PFLP-GC (at least via Khreesat) had much experience in bringing down planes. I know of one other (Swiss Air 330) and two failures. (what I have compiled) So maybe they bought some info, or reasoned it out... any rate it worked if they did it.

Also, I guess I'm not convinced of the Abu Elias build. It is compelling and coherent enough to run with and see what happens. My main problem is it involves trusting Khreesat's word too much. (or rather, agent Marshman's word about Khreesat's word).



http://www.internationalskeptics.com...3c2b9ca135.jpg

Look at 'Detail B' in the diagram above. To me, an untrained person, as HIGH in the container where the container wall intersects with the floor above it and skin of the aircraft might be where I'd want the bomb. That might break up the aircraft faster if that floor panel was destroyed.

As well, the bomb maker had to know that a hole of just 18- 20 inches in diameter in the outer skin, at that altitude and speed, would tear the plane apart. That sort of knowledge isn't gained from reading technical manuals.

So, experience in destroying aircraft had to be a pre-requisite, although I'm not as convinced as most that Abu Elias could reverse engineer Khreesats device to construct one of his own.

Photo from from AAIB 2/90 AAR.[/quote]
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Old 31st May 2010, 02:11 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Didn't Khreesat say, in the Marshman interview, that the barometric timers needed 12 or 24 hours to 'reset' themselves after being tested? He may have said 'overnight'. So, IF Abu Elias constructs the bomb, based on Khreesat's device, and DOESN"T KNOW this critical piece of info, and tests the timer a couple of times prior to it's introduction at Frankfurt, this may explain why the bomb failed to detonate on the 103A leg.
No, all testing does is shorten the trigger time a bit. Repeated tests will shorten it like ten minutes. Pretty much the opposite effect. "Reset" just means it returns to its baseline (long) time. In all cases the end result is discharge after __ minutes.

Plus I would think testing the timer in an assembled bomb is pretty dangerous, if not suicidal. Testing should be done on separate units, or the whole system aside from the detonator, which would require disassembly.

Your previous posts are good thought exercises. The desirable time of detonation is tied to what the perp wants. The buried at sea option is the best logical fit with Libyan guilt, since they've denied (hidden??) their role from day one and they had a long timer.

But with Iran it's a different story. Who cares if a PFLP-GC fingerprint is found, with money trails back to you, etc. All the better. Iran is too big to hit, and the world knows their vengeance, and the U.S. probably won't even want to admit it. And the GC is already underground. But Libya is just sitting there, waiting to be sanctioned or bombed if they're caught. So they have the window of the Atlantic to hide the clues in, a giant picture window, and aim only for the window sill and miss. Oops?

Not buying it.
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Old 31st May 2010, 03:31 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Wait a second. Why use the barometric device at all, IF one wanted to blow the plane up over the DEEPEST part of the Atlantic, ensuring wreckage would sink to depths where it would be unrecoverable?

Exactly. If you have an MST-13, why not set the timer for about midnight? The fact that the explosion happened so early very much argues against that. Not that the bombers might not have been reasonably content to have the explosion happen over land, but if you're relying on the timer with no barometer, setting it so early is taking a very serious risk that it will simply go pop on the tarmac at Heathrow if the plane is delayed.

Better to set the timer for as late as you can while still being sure the plane won't have landed. Thus, if it's on time, you trash the destination city, which has the added advantage of being in America. (This was the essence of a very recent plan that was foiled, according to the news media.) And if it's late, you still get your plane-lost-over-the-ocean.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
If you're planting the bomb at Heathrow, and detection is a non issue, why not use a LARGER bomb, filling the suitcase, and use a simple countdown timer set for say, 120 minutes, ensuring the aircraft is west of Ireland and over deep, deep water? So, if I'm the bomber, I use the conveniently broken padlock to introduce my suitcase to the interline area, where the Iran Air accomplice places it into the baggage container. NO need for the bomb to be camouflaged, and a simple timer could be used without issue.

Does the fact that ONLY 450g of Semtex was used, camouflaged in a radio, imply the bomb, at some point, had to undergo some sort of scrutiny?

Yes I think so. I don't think that bomb was necessarily introduced through the broken padlock. I think there was at least a chance it might be searched or x-rayed, either when coming into Heathrow on another feeder flight, possibly accompanied, or on a surface journey.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Could I make the point that the bomb was designed to go off on the Frankfurt/Heathrow leg, on 103A, and malfunctioned the first time, and detonated on the SECOND depressurization?

Prove me wrong.

Not much proving going on anywhere I fear. However, I don't think that one flies. PA103A was a relatively small plane, with only 128 passengers. 79 of these got off at Heathrow, and I imagine most of these people weren't American. Only 49 of the passengers on PA103A actually transferred to Maid of the Seas, and some of them would be non-US citizens anyway.

Would blowing up a smallish European intercity flight, with ony 49 passengers bound for the USA, have been a suitable revenge for any US atrocity? Even if the carrier was Pan Am? The whole impact of this atrocity was the US kill score - 179 passengers and 11 crew. Plus 80 other people of course. For that, you need to get a transatlantic flight.

Rolfe.
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Old 31st May 2010, 03:46 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Another thought;

So let's say Iran wishes to make a VERY, VERY public point about retribution for the Vincennes attack. Why bring down a plane over an empty stretch of the Atlantic, where no one might ever figure out what happened to the aircraft?

If the aircraft data recorders sink to unrecoverable depths, it might never be proven the aircraft was destroyed by anything other than a design flaw, like the cargo door issue, or some other type of engineering malfunction.

No, if I want the world to fully understand this is revenge, I NEED the wreckage to be recoverable, and it fully publicized that a bomb brought down the aircraft. Wit hthis in mind, I need the airplane to come down over land, and this lends credence to a detonation in the Frankfurt/ Heathrow leg, on 103A.

Given this line of thought, doesn't a Frankfurt introduction seem quite likely? Doesn't this theory lend credence to the idea that the bomb had to pass some sort of scrutiny?

Uh, no. It doesn't follow.

Remember, the beauty of the altimeter timers is that whenever the damn things go off, you know the plane is actually in the air. It doesn't matter if it's only half an hour out of the departure airport, it's flying. As it was, if that was an altimeter bomb, it might have come down in the Irsh Sea in fact. But it didn't, the flight plan went north to avoid some bad weather, and Lockerbie was the wrong place at the wrong time.

On the other hand, if you're going to use a simple timer, while you have a much longer and more variable range, you have no way to be really sure the thing won't explode on the tarmac. The only way to guard against that is to set the timer for a long time after take-off, to allow for delays.

Take it from me, the chances of a plane being an hour or more late leaving Heathrow on a December evening are not something to bet your life against. That plane blew up only about 50 minutes after the very earliest time it could possibly have taken off, as it was timed to leave the gate at six. It could easily still have been on the ground.

As I said above, if you have an MST-13 and a penchant for a crash on land, aim for the destination airport. That way if the plane is on time you trash a chunk of America, and if it isn't, you still get your crash, albeit over the ocean. What you don't get is a load of incriminating evidence in a plane with only a small hole in its baggage compartment.

Oh yes, and if the plane even might come down on land, you don't pack a load of brand new clothes that can be traced through the manufacturer to a shopkeeper who remembers you as a noticeably kenspeckle customer. But that's a topic for another thread.

(And if you were still thinking that an explosion over Paris was the plan, see above. I just can't see PA103A having the impact factor these terrorists were looking for.)

Rolfe.
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Old 31st May 2010, 03:57 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Here's more from my overactive brain.

Didn't Khreesat say, in the Marshman interview, that the barometric timers needed 12 or 24 hours to 'reset' themselves after being tested? He may have said 'overnight'. So, IF Abu Elias constructs the bomb, based on Khreesat's device, and DOESN"T KNOW this critical piece of info, and tests the timer a couple of times prior to it's introduction at Frankfurt, this may explain why the bomb failed to detonate on the 103A leg. JUST enough time passes for the device to 'reset' itself, and up goes 103, with the device now working perfectly. Perhaps no one realizes one depressurization and repressurization might just reset the timer on its own.

The fact that 103 went boom instead of 103A could have been a surprise to Elias and the PFLP both. For Iran, dumb luck having the flight stay over land just that little extra time ensured the wreckage was recoverable.

I think you're letting your imagination run away with you. I don't think that's how these timers work anyway.

I merely repeat, PA103A had only 120 passengers, the majority of whom weren't American. The majority of the US nationals boarded at Heathrow. Most of PA103A's passengers were Europeans, going to London. I don't think bloeing up that plane would have sent the desired message at all.

This is a variation on the "wrong plane" theory, most variations of which are designed to explain the ridiculously early detonation on the assumption that the MST-13 was the trigger. One version says the bag should have gone on an earlier flight out of Frankfurt directly to JFK (which ironically did have a family on it who flew in on KM180, but who checked out as clean). That flight was indeed right out over the Atlanric at 7pm GMT. Another version says the bombers made a mistake and thought PA103 was itself a direct JFK flight. The explosion is still a bit early for that, but it's a better fit. Another version says the bomb was supposed to go on PA101 at Heathrow, leaving about 1pm. That again would have been in the right place at 7pm.

The only problem with all of these is that they're pure guesswork with no evidence at all to back them up. And they leave the 38-minute detonation as just one more big fat coincidence, and I'm ODing on coincidences in this story.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
One thing, Rolfe, is that IF IF IF the bomb was placed in Frankfurt, we have no idea of where that bomb bag was placed vis-a-vis the skin of Flight 103A. Perhaps it was right next to the skin on 103A, and when it didn't go off on that flight, it was sheer dumb luck it gained a similar position on 103. Or, because it didn't go off, ANOTHER bomb bag identical to the first was placed aboard 103 in Heathrow to ensure success, lending credence to the two similar bags seen together on 103? I think there might be a hole in that theory though... as weren't the two similar bags observed in the 103 container before 103A landed? Hmmmm....

Earth to Snidely! Earth to Snidely! You're brainstorming. Nothing wrong with that, but paranoid fantasy has taken over. There's no reason to blow up PA103A. All the rumours and all the logic say transatlantic, with nearly 200 US citizens on board.

And if something went wrong on the PA103A leg, the chances of there being someone at Heathrow ready with a substitute bomb bag.... Landing strip is thataway....

Rolfe.
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Old 31st May 2010, 04:30 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Actually, due to the law of superposition, to come out low it'd have to be placed first. To clarify, the luggage container AVE4041 was AT Heathrow empty and filled there. So the bomb would have to be placed early, while the bottom rows are still open.

Just to be clear, I think Snidely meant placed last, as in Heathrow rather than Malta or Frankfurt. Heathrow is the only place where you have any hope of influencing the positioning.

Either you have someone in the loading team doing the transfer to Maid if the Seas in your gang, ready to grab the bag and position it as soon as it comes off PA103A, or you put it in AVE4041 before PA103A lands. The former is very chancy, because you can't control when the bag comes off PA103 - if it's buried and one of the last ones, you'll have no chance to get it where you want.

Everything points to the Bedford bag(s), and Frankfurt being the reddest herring I ever saw.

Rolfe.
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Old 31st May 2010, 07:16 PM   #152
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Excellent replies to my paranoid fantasy brainstorming! LOL!

Okay- Let's then positively rule out the bomb designed to explode on 103A, for the good reasons you've related. So Iran wants a big bang for their buck (or 10 million bucks) and they want a high profile transatlantic target- either PA101 or PA103.

When Haffez Dalkamoni was arrested with Khreesat;

"In the boot of Dalkamoni’s car was a Toshiba cassette recorder with Semtex moulded inside it, a simple time delay switch and a barometric switch."1

So, if the bomb was an identical copy of Khreesat's, or actually one of Khreesat's, it included a simple time delay switch. This tells me that a timer exclusive of the barometric switch is in play. Does the barometric switch only activate after the timer has been set and expired, or do both have to be set to run concurrently? (Khreesat would know, but he isn't talking.) That would allow the bomb to be armed well in advance (given the timer limitation), and it to sit and await the appropriate drop in air pressure to arm the barometric timer.

Regardless, the only sure way it seems, to have the bomb placed exactly where one wishes it, would be at Heathrow, and the Bedford bag(s)(one or two?), seem to be the most logical, defensible conclusion.

I'd still like to unearth some sort of evidence to lend credence to how the spot nearest the skin was chosen, and how one would know a 20 inch hole (plus the sudden decompression forces) would be effective enough to bring down the aircraft. Was it just pure chance, or was there some PFLP-GC experience driving this exact placement of the bag containing the device? I realize that a piece of the fuselage falling off the plane, for example is not the same as a bomb going off. (See mach stem wave.)2

So, that leaves us with AVE4041. Who knew it was destined for PA103? if you or I walk into a baggage handling area, it is a jumble of containers, seeming random baggage cart placements, and other contraptions. I wouldn't know if AVE4041 was destined for Singapore or Sydney, let alone New York. Who could procure this information for the PFLP-GC? An Iran Air representative, conveniently located right next door to Pan Am at Heathrow?

So, the PFLP-GC has the idea all worked out, but they need to ID the container, and place the bag.(s) So, that means constant surveilance of whatever container is going to be used, as well as an opportunity to place the bags. Was Khamboj lured away from his post by somebody flashing loose cash? Would you want to wait all day long shepherding a bomb bag, and waiting to place it, when you could lure the guy nearest the container to leave the area unattended for a few minutes?

1. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n18/gareth-...-of-al-megrahi
2. http://plane-truth.com/Aoude/geocities/mach.html
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Old 31st May 2010, 08:10 PM   #153
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Regarding a bomb being exploded in an aircraft, BBC Two did a program duplicating the Northwest Flight 253 scenario IF the bomb had exploded as intended.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8547329.stm

The above is just the video of the blast section. The writeup is here;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00r902b

This test gives a small idea of the ripple effect in the skin of a 747 when the bomb explodes.
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Old 1st June 2010, 02:51 AM   #154
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kenspeckled - I want to use that word so bad I don't even care what it means.

Rolfe, interesting rundown of the wrong plane possibilities. Clearly side-notes, but interesting. (I do like to play with those sometimes)

Snidely, thanks for being like fiber and making slowed threads move again. I'm simply kenspeckled about it!

Quote:
So, if the bomb was an identical copy of Khreesat's, or actually one of Khreesat's, it included a simple time delay switch. This tells me that a timer exclusive of the barometric switch is in play. Does the barometric switch only activate after the timer has been set and expired, or do both have to be set to run concurrently? (Khreesat would know, but he isn't talking.) That would allow the bomb to be armed well in advance (given the timer limitation), and it to sit and await the appropriate drop in air pressure to arm the barometric timer.
The bombs go like this - nothing happens until the barometer/altimeter unit reads a certain pressure (app 950 milibars it's said). I don't think that requires any power, but it trips the battery to charge a capacitor, which by structure will resist (build-up) the current for a certain time. Then somehow it discharges and activates the detonator. The boom.

It's that resistor thing that's called the timer. It's not really the best words for it, but it's got a delay. It's set by the structure - unchangeable but predictable. Does that make sense?

Quote:
Regardless, the only sure way it seems, to have the bomb placed exactly where one wishes it, would be at Heathrow, and the Bedford bag(s)(one or two?), seem to be the most logical, defensible conclusion.
So long as the target was PA103 London to NY, which seems to be the case, the only place is Heathrow. One or two bags is a little tricky. But still, considering its/their accepted presence before the bombing, its/their total absence after, no good evidence for a replacement, and bits of that type of bag turning up blasted, well it's not tricky at all, in general terms.

Quote:
So, that leaves us with AVE4041. Who knew it was destined for PA103? if you or I walk into a baggage handling area, it is a jumble of containers, seeming random baggage cart placements, and other contraptions. I wouldn't know if AVE4041 was destined for Singapore or Sydney, let alone New York. Who could procure this information for the PFLP-GC? An Iran Air representative, conveniently located right next door to Pan Am at Heathrow?
Yeah, me neither. But there are tricks to the trade, and context you'd know from in the field. Abu Elias was supposedly an expert in airport security. Someone else could know procedures. Know which terminals handle which flights, how many flights a day to here or there are usual, get timetables direct...
Quote:
So, the PFLP-GC has the idea all worked out, but they need to ID the container, and place the bag.(s) So, that means constant surveilance of whatever container is going to be used, as well as an opportunity to place the bags. Was Khamboj lured away from his post by somebody flashing loose cash? Would you want to wait all day long shepherding a bomb bag, and waiting to place it, when you could lure the guy nearest the container to leave the area unattended for a few minutes?
There we go. That's about what I see as the most direct explanation. With or without cash, just the right costume and demeanor MIGHT convince a guy to step aside and let a bag be placed in the container. With cash, he might allow himself to believe it's just drugs for junkies in NY he didn't care about.

But suddenly it's hitting me that I don't fully believe Bedford's story after all. I think he knows of these bags but there's an outside chance he concocted the "Camjob did it" story to cover for something else a little after that, perhaps in collusion with Peter Walker.

But then it stopped hitting me, so I dunno. Kamboj was quite evasive when questioned. And either way, why the hell was it never investigated further?

On your video, that's interesting. Indeed, it seems to be pretty tricky to really damage a plane much with the kinds of bombs one can sneak through. It happens so rarely, I can see why people suspect some larger device loaded by the CIA or whatever.

Here's a simulation that to me makes sense (sorry if repeat) - add to that ripple hundreds miles cross winds and an initial actual rupture of any size:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5naaWe3nLI
And you realize it's maybe difficult but not impossible. It just takes enough punch, and incredible luck or some direct hand in placement.
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Old 1st June 2010, 04:37 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Excellent replies to my paranoid fantasy brainstorming! LOL!

Okay- Let's then positively rule out the bomb designed to explode on 103A, for the good reasons you've related. So Iran wants a big bang for their buck (or 10 million bucks) and they want a high profile transatlantic target- either PA101 or PA103.

When Haffez Dalkamoni was arrested with Khreesat;

"In the boot of Dalkamoniís car was a Toshiba cassette recorder with Semtex moulded inside it, a simple time delay switch and a barometric switch."1

So, if the bomb was an identical copy of Khreesat's, or actually one of Khreesat's, it included a simple time delay switch. This tells me that a timer exclusive of the barometric switch is in play. Does the barometric switch only activate after the timer has been set and expired, or do both have to be set to run concurrently? (Khreesat would know, but he isn't talking.) That would allow the bomb to be armed well in advance (given the timer limitation), and it to sit and await the appropriate drop in air pressure to arm the barometric timer.

I think Caustic Logic already explained this. Someone else gave us the info in a different thread. The "simple" timer attached to the altimeter is usually called an "ice-cube" because of its appearance. These things work on capacitance. Nothing happens until the timer is triggered. This was done by the altimeter, when the pre-set pressure was reached. (Even though the plane is pressurised, cabin pressure isn't maintained at sea level values, they compromise on the equivalent of about 8,000 feet, which is comfortable enough if you're not indulging in a lot of exercise. As Jibril liked to point out later, the bombs would also go off if someone drove up a mountain road. Us, deliberately targeting planes? Why would you think that?)

So, the plane climbs and the pressure inside falls low enough to trigger the altimeter. This takes a few minutes I believe. Once that happens, the battery starts charging the capacitor. While it's charging, nothing goes right on happening. When the capacitor is fully charged, it discharges, and that discharge triggers the detonator. Bang.

The time a particular capacitor takes is sort of fixed, and can't be varied by the operator. It will vary a bit depending on how often it's been tested out beforehand, as Caustic Logic described, and with temperature. Around half an hour (nominal) is about the longest time you can get with this type of device, hence, like it or not, if you're using this method you can't aim for "way out over the Atlantic" even if you want to. But you will not get a detonation on the tarmac.

A lot of experiments were done with similar devices, and I think the actual window for detonation is rather wider than the 35 to 45 minutes (after takeoff) usually quoted, but that's about it. Either Maid of the Seas was the victim of a device like this, or else some wild coincidence with a timer either malfunctioning, or set far too early, or accidentally getting routed on to the wrong plane, just happened to mimic the ice-cube timer pretty much exactly. And as I said, I'm ODing on coincidences.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Regardless, the only sure way it seems, to have the bomb placed exactly where one wishes it, would be at Heathrow, and the Bedford bag(s)(one or two?), seem to be the most logical, defensible conclusion.

Yup. Total agreement.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
I'd still like to unearth some sort of evidence to lend credence to how the spot nearest the skin was chosen, and how one would know a 20 inch hole (plus the sudden decompression forces) would be effective enough to bring down the aircraft. Was it just pure chance, or was there some PFLP-GC experience driving this exact placement of the bag containing the device? I realize that a piece of the fuselage falling off the plane, for example is not the same as a bomb going off. (See mach stem wave.)2

Well, the PFLP-GC at least had some experience in the field. The calculations are all straightforward for people who understand these things, and they had the people. They also had the motive, and the reward, and the Semtex and the Toshiba radios and a brown Samsonite suitcase and a shed-load of clothes sourced from Maltese factories. (Fhimah and Megrahi had precisely none of these things.)

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
So, that leaves us with AVE4041. Who knew it was destined for PA103? if you or I walk into a baggage handling area, it is a jumble of containers, seeming random baggage cart placements, and other contraptions. I wouldn't know if AVE4041 was destined for Singapore or Sydney, let alone New York. Who could procure this information for the PFLP-GC? An Iran Air representative, conveniently located right next door to Pan Am at Heathrow?

Bedford in his evidence describes selecting that container and labelling it up for that particular flight. I imagine he did that every day, though not necessarily always the same container of course. I think he would have placed a fairly clear mark on it to show which flight it was for, almost certainly labelling it "PA103" in a reasonably prominent position.

To us, it would all look confused and random, but to someone working there it would all make sense and things would be where they were supposed to be. A container labelled "PA103" would be expected to be about there, every day at that time, with a few bags in it, waiting for PA103A to land. That, I would say, is an opportunity.

You could be right about the Iranair personnel, but I'm not sure. Not every Iranian is a terrorist, and this job needed a terrorist. It also needed someone familiar with the baggage handling system specifically, which is not as far as I know done by individual airlines as a rule, but by handling companies like Servisair. I think, rather than infiltrating the Iranair ground staff, it might have been that a terrorist got a job as a baggage handler and was able to identify exactly where and when an opportunity would present itself.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
So, the PFLP-GC has the idea all worked out, but they need to ID the container, and place the bag.(s) So, that means constant surveilance of whatever container is going to be used, as well as an opportunity to place the bags. Was Khamboj lured away from his post by somebody flashing loose cash? Would you want to wait all day long shepherding a bomb bag, and waiting to place it, when you could lure the guy nearest the container to leave the area unattended for a few minutes?

1. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n18/gareth-...-of-al-megrahi
2. http://plane-truth.com/Aoude/geocities/mach.html

I counsel against paying too much attention to Gareth Pierce. She has come very lately to this affair, due to her reputation as a human rights lawyer in England, and she seems merely to be hypothesising based on the same information we have. She even trots out some aspects that we've discounted on closer examination of the evidence. Also, although the Plane Truth site has some useful factual evidence, aren't they a CT web site? I'm always a bit wary of CTers in this context.

However, Kamboj. I suggested exactly the same thing a few pages back. Bribing anyone to put a case in a very precise location is far too risky, because it doesn't take a genius to figure out the probable reason. Bribing someone to be somewhere else for five minutes is far more likely - they're going to assume it's drug smuggling, and they may not have a problem with that. The only thing is, you'd have to be fairly sure Kamboj was bribable in that way. Again that could suggest a terrorist having worked in the area and having made an assessment of his character. Or it could simply have been the terrorists were fairly confident of that container being unattended for a few minutes.

Rolfe.
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Old 1st June 2010, 04:38 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
kenspeckled - I want to use that word so bad I don't even care what it means. .

Kenspeckle adj.

It means someone who stands out in a way that will be easily recognised. I don't think there's an English word for it. (It is sometimes used in in a way that connotates eccentricity, as in "He's a kenspeckle figure.")

Rolfe.
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Old 1st June 2010, 05:30 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
If you're planting the bomb at Heathrow, and detection is a non issue, why not use a LARGER bomb, filling the suitcase, and use a simple countdown timer set for say, 120 minutes, ensuring the aircraft is west of Ireland and over deep, deep water? So, if I'm the bomber, I use the conveniently broken padlock to introduce my suitcase to the interline area, where the Iran Air accomplice places it into the baggage container. NO need for the bomb to be camouflaged, and a simple timer could be used without issue.

Does the fact that ONLY 450g of Semtex was used, camouflaged in a radio, imply the bomb, at some point, had to undergo some sort of scrutiny?

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
But suddenly it's hitting me that I don't fully believe Bedford's story after all. I think he knows of these bags but there's an outside chance he concocted the "Camjob did it" story to cover for something else a little after that, perhaps in collusion with Peter Walker.

But then it stopped hitting me, so I dunno. Kamboj was quite evasive when questioned. And either way, why the hell was it never investigated further?

Let's look at this further, and think about x-ray operatives. There has been a lot of scrutiny of the Frankfurt x-ray system, and Kurt Maier. Maier appeared in person in the case against Pan Am in 1993 (or whenever). When it was alleged that he wasn't trained to spot a radio that had been rigged with Semtex, he explained that he had been instructed to call security if he saw a radio, full stop. This because of the recent Autumn Leaves discoveries. He would call security, and the case would be opened and the radio examined. That hearing fully accepted that if there had been a radio there, he would have seen it, and he said he saw no radio.

In contrast, when the time came for the camp Zeist trial, Maier was ill, and only his statement was presented to the court. The idea that he wasn't trained to spot a radio that had been rigged with Semtex was trotted out again, and because he wasn't there to explain, the judges bought it. They had to buy it, really, because Maier x-rayed all the baggage that came through the conveyor system for PA103A, and that would have included tray 4489.

Heathrow was different. The all-points warning about Toshiba Bombeat radio-cassette players issued by the BKA after the Autumn Leaves raid had reached Heathrow but was still sitting on someone's desk waiting for a better photograph to attach to it. The Heathrow x-ray operatives had not been instructed to call security at the mere sight of a radio in a suitcase.

Kamboj was the x-ray operative responsible for AVE4041. He wasn't quizzed about what he saw or what he would have pulled out if he'd seen it, as far as I know. According to Bedford, he said he'd x-rayed the two mysterious bags. According to him, he didn't remember a thing about it. Not much point asking him anything else, then!

I don't believe Bedford is at all suspicious. Consider. Bedford is the only reason we know about these two mysterious suitcases. If he had said nothing about them, we'd be completely in the dark. If he was involved in any sort of underhand dealings, all he had to do was say nothing.

Kamboj's poor memory is in the nature of things more suspicious. But I forget that sort of thing all the time. Routine work, did you do this or that or deal with this or that case? Don't think so, don't remember it at all. Then we find the paperwork and there's my handwriting and my signature.

Was he investigated? It's hard to believe he wasn't. Anyway, he was still there, 12 years later, and showed up in court. I tend to think a terrorist would have been long disappeared by then. Someone who took fifty quid to look the other way for five minutes? Maybe not. Which would explain the bad memory. But then, maybe bad memory explains the bad memory.

My point is, maybe he x-rayed the two bags just as he said he did. And not having been warned about Autumn Leaves or shown the details of what Khreesat had been constructing (which Maier had been), he didn't think anything at all about the radio he saw. And went right back to thinking about Arsenal's chances for the cup or whatever, and forgot all about it.

If it was done this way, it would have been essential to use the radio disguise, and limit the amount of Semtex.

Rolfe.
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Old 1st June 2010, 08:21 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
<snip>

Kamboj was the x-ray operative responsible for AVE4041. He wasn't quizzed about what he saw or what he would have pulled out if he'd seen it, as far as I know. According to Bedford, he said he'd x-rayed the two mysterious bags. According to him, he didn't remember a thing about it. Not much point asking him anything else, then!

I don't believe Bedford is at all suspicious. Consider. Bedford is the only reason we know about these two mysterious suitcases. If he had said nothing about them, we'd be completely in the dark. If he was involved in any sort of underhand dealings, all he had to do was say nothing.

Kamboj's poor memory is in the nature of things more suspicious. But I forget that sort of thing all the time. Routine work, did you do this or that or deal with this or that case? Don't think so, don't remember it at all. Then we find the paperwork and there's my handwriting and my signature.

Was he investigated? It's hard to believe he wasn't. Anyway, he was still there, 12 years later, and showed up in court. I tend to think a terrorist would have been long disappeared by then. Someone who took fifty quid to look the other way for five minutes? Maybe not. Which would explain the bad memory. But then, maybe bad memory explains the bad memory.

My point is, maybe he x-rayed the two bags just as he said he did. And not having been warned about Autumn Leaves or shown the details of what Khreesat had been constructing (which Maier had been), he didn't think anything at all about the radio he saw. And went right back to thinking about Arsenal's chances for the cup or whatever, and forgot all about it.

If it was done this way, it would have been essential to use the radio disguise, and limit the amount of Semtex.

Rolfe.
I have to say your penultimate paragraph, to me, seems the most plausible, with just one point to add. The positioning of the bag(s) within the container is clearly absolutely critical to this 'revenge mission' being a success, (unless we've all been utterly mislead by those determining the amount of semtex used in the bomb) and it would therefore be essential that either Kamboj, or another 'airport employee', would ensure that the bag(s) were placed precisely where required in AVE4041.

Simply dropping the suitcases with Kamboj, allowing him to x-ray them and hoping he doesn't 1. spot the radio or 2. place the cases in some obscure corner of the container thus rendering the bomb possibly ineffectual, would seem a minimal risk, but a chance that wouldn't be taken given the efforts that would be obviously already made in getting the bomb-laden case that far down the line.

Unless, whoever it was who gave the cases to Kamboj, appearing as a legit Heathrow worker, requested Kamboj place those cases exactly where required. Perhaps even Kamboj would allow someone with official airport credentials to place the bags themselves into the container in exactly the position they knew was required.

Little wonder really that Kamboj would deny all knowledge of Bedfords claims given the consequences this lapse in working and security procedures resulted in, and the implications this would present to him personally, and the airport itself.
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Old 1st June 2010, 09:32 AM   #159
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The more we examine this, the more it seems compelling that there was a terrorist gang member in Heathrow airport that day, airside. Someone in the right uniform, who knew his way around sufficiently well not to attract attention, and there you have it. Maybe someone who had been legitimately employed there in the recent past, possibly having changed his appearance enough not to be recognised if he'd already left his job by then. Or maybe someone drilled and grilled by a current or recent employee.

There's a huge turnover in these manual baggage handling jobs, and a lot of people floating around. Nobody can know everyone. It's like putting on a white coat and walking into a hospital, I suspect. You just look like part of the furniture.

So someone like that has a couple of brown Samsonite suitcases. Somehow, a pair of suitcases seems less suspicious than a single one to me! Walks up to Kamboj at his x-ray machine, says, "these are for in there, aren't they" and places the bags after they've been through the x-ray. Maybe he was prepared to lurk and move the bags if Kamboj insisted on placing them and put them in the wrong place. Maybe he even did that - the container was unattended after Bedford went home, for several minutes or more. If seen (which he presumably wasn't), have pre-prepared story about checking something on the tags.

I'm wondering if the break-in was actually to get this person in, airside, rather than the suitcases. Though it could have been either, or both. I don't know where they'd have got the tags, but I don't imagine that's rocket science for terrorists.

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Old 2nd June 2010, 07:24 PM   #160
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Anyone here ever heard of a James Shaughnessy? He is (or was) an Americam lawyer, and a partner of the Manhattan law firm Windels, Marx, Davies and Ives at that time.

The reason I bring up his name is that back in 2000, he was involved in certain claims which are directly involved in this thread.

Can anyone tell me what is known about him?
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