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Tags Lockerbie bombing

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Old 9th June 2010, 05:58 PM   #201
Rolfe
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I certainly see your point about that day being memorable. The bomb exploded only about 3 hours after all this happened, and even people who had gone home would have heard something the same evening, probably even including the number of the flight by the 9 o'clock news. You'd think anyone who was involved with the baggage for that flight would start trying to remember, and hold the memory of what had happened at the loading. In fact, why wasn't there a contingency plan to debrief all relevant staff ASAP as soon as any incident like this happened? Never mind the PFLP-GC, we had the IRA to worry about. And at Frabkfurt too, come to that.

However, that assumes the ordinary Joes are reasonably bright. But then, if you're reasonably bright, are you lugging suitcases around an airport for a living? It also assumes the higher-ups actually want to find out what happened. But did they? Both here and at Frankfurt, there's at least a hint that the priority was blaming somewhere else.

I'll look at the detail you've posted though. Open mind, and all that.

olfe.
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Old 9th June 2010, 11:48 PM   #202
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I certainly see your point about that day being memorable. The bomb exploded only about 3 hours after all this happened, and even people who had gone home would have heard something the same evening, probably even including the number of the flight by the 9 o'clock news. You'd think anyone who was involved with the baggage for that flight would start trying to remember, and hold the memory of what had happened at the loading. In fact, why wasn't there a contingency plan to debrief all relevant staff ASAP as soon as any incident like this happened? Never mind the PFLP-GC, we had the IRA to worry about. And at Frabkfurt too, come to that.

However, that assumes the ordinary Joes are reasonably bright. But then, if you're reasonably bright, are you lugging suitcases around an airport for a living? It also assumes the higher-ups actually want to find out what happened. But did they? Both here and at Frankfurt, there's at least a hint that the priority was blaming somewhere else.

I'll look at the detail you've posted though. Open mind, and all that.

olfe.
There's something uniquely charming about Olfe. Seems like a great name for a wishnik troll.

Buncrana:
Quote:
Kamboj doesn't deny putting the 2 additional bags into container 4041, as Bedford claimed he had said on his return from his break, he states simply “he can't remember”.
Yes and no. At the trial he deferred to everyone else, while also standing beside what he said to the cops AND the Fatal "Accident" Inquiry. At least Walker had started lining up with Bedford by the FAI in late 1990. Kamboj still insisted he didn't and would never place such a bag [sic] in the tin.
Quote:
Q Did you ever put a bag in a container? Have you ever done that in the whole of your time with Alert?
A No, I don't, never.
Q You took a little time to think about it. Is it possible you may have done that?
A No, no.
Q Have you ever seen other Alert Security staff not only x-raying a bag but also putting it into a container?
A I have never seen.
[…]
Q If Mr. Bedford were to tell us at this inquiry that he went away from the interline area some time during the afternoon and that when he came back, you told him that you had put a couple of cases into the tin, might he be right in that?
A No, I can't say that would be right.
Q I am sorry.
A No.
Q You are not happy about that?
A No.
So that does still suggest the weirdness and suspicion are on his end. But really - it's all uncertain.

On the Heathrow image, that seems like a good guess, but I'm not even sure a current image like this is really relavant to 1988. I was surprised study the Pentagon end of the 9/11 attack that 2006 overheads were significantly different that 2001 imagery. I've always wanted to get a good image of the spaces involved, and it is described in the testimony. A good contemporary view should fit quite nicely with what's said.

If you get bored? I've got other fish to fry...
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Old 10th June 2010, 02:29 AM   #203
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In true fashion of this case folk might be best advised to ignore my post before last as it's simply a dogs breakfast of conjectures!

Weary and frustrated last night after reading some of statements at Zeist and desprately trying to make some sense of them..
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Old 10th June 2010, 04:14 AM   #204
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
In true fashion of this case folk might be best advised to ignore my post before last as it's simply a dogs breakfast of conjectures!

Weary and frustrated last night after reading some of statements at Zeist and desprately trying to make some sense of them..
I admit I just skimmed that one, but I'm sure there some good thoughts in there I missed doing so. It shouldn't be ignored.

Ah, 1737 sounds just about right.

I think it's fairly safe to presume the container was at build-up until 103A. everything points to that. And the time is clear - just before 5:00 to 5:37-45-ish. Bedford's time card is cited, punched at like 5:02 IIRC, a few minutes' walk up from the build-up shed.

The interline shed and the anonymity of the conveyor is compelling, but so is the abandoned container sitting around the corner from Walker's window and he plays Donkey Kong inside. I'm in no rush to figure it out exactly.

Excellent thoughts, everyone.
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Old 12th June 2010, 02:18 PM   #205
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By the way, I was toying with the idea that Bedford's recollections might have been influenced by already knowing that the bomb was in a maroon Samsonite suitcase. However, according to Paul Foot, he told his tale to a police interviewer on 3rd January 1989, less than a fortnight after the disaster. This was probably before most of the bits of brown Samsonite were even picked up, never mind identified as the bomb suitcase.

The break-in also was reported to the police within a few days of it happening. So, within two weeks of the bombing, the police knew that there had been a break-in at Heathrow the night before, and that a baggage handler saw a mysterious suitcase of the right description materialise in pretty mught the right location in AVE4041, before PA103A landed.

So they announced that the bomb "almost certainly didn't go on at Heathrow".

What on earth was that about? The plane was loaded from empty at Heathrow, so the bomb for sure did go on there. There was this one single baggage container that went out on the tarmac and fetched a relatively small number of cases from another plane directly. So we've decided this early (long before Bogomira took her souvenir out of her locker) that the bomb was in one of these bags, and that counts as "not going aboard at Heathrow". All the other luggage is in the clear, including the bags already in that container.

I'd dearly love to know who took that decision, and on what evidence.

Rolfe.
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Old 13th June 2010, 03:36 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
By the way, I was toying with the idea that Bedford's recollections might have been influenced by already knowing that the bomb was in a maroon Samsonite suitcase. However, according to Paul Foot, he told his tale to a police interviewer on 3rd January 1989, less than a fortnight after the disaster. This was probably before most of the bits of brown Samsonite were even picked up, never mind identified as the bomb suitcase.
I'm not leaning towards that thought myself, but not so sure it can be ruled out like that. As soon as pieces of the "primary" suitcase started turning up, they were suspected to have held the bomb. And they started turning up in late December. So that possibility is only in the who-said-what-to-whom category.

But even by that, Jan 3 is at about the edge of plausibility. And for some reason Kamboj was already on the 28th saying he always just put the bags through X-ray, suggesting the allegation was already on record.
Quote:
"throughout my tour of duty, and all I do, once I've x-rayed the baggage, is to put a security band round them."
So I'd venture we can pretty much rule out that possibility (besides there being no clear motive for such coaching). I think Bedford saw (or learned of) these bags - description, placement, etc. and seemed almost eager to say so.

Quote:
<snip> I'd dearly love to know who took that decision, and on what evidence.

Rolfe.
I'd wager it's the same evidence we've been looking at, and whoever it was, it had to be a few people.
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Old 13th June 2010, 05:30 PM   #207
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I've been trying to get my head round the thinking process of the enquiry.

Plane falls out of sky, very messily. The possibility that this was terrorism is in everybody's minds from the minute they hear about it. Within days, evidence has emerged to support that view, and indeed implicating a checked-in suitcase as the source of the explosion.

Police are on their way to Heathrow, we hear. Well about time. Neverthess, you'd think there shoud be some security procedure in place at the airport concerned to secure all baggage records and any possibly important evidence ASAP, but we never hear about that.

Police are also on their way to Frankfurt, we hear at the same time. Is that because we already know about AVE4041 and the origin of most of its bags, or just because PA103A was an official inline feeder flight, or because we're already thinking about Autumn Leaves?

So what happens? Police at Heathrow hear about AVE4041, and discover that while it was mainly filled with bags transferred straight from PA103A, it also contained a few bags interlined into Heathrow. Also, that one of the loaders saw a couple of (presumably interline) bags appear mysteriously in it, in about the position of the explosion, at least one of which matched the description of the bomb suitcase.

So they announce that the bomb almost certainly didn't originate at Heathrow. Almost true. It's virtually certain that the bomb bag wasn't checked in at Heathrow. However, it could have come from Frankfurt, or it could have been interlined from somewhere else (or it could even have been smuggled airside and mixed with the inerline baggage). In the first case the blame might reasonably be shoved back at Frankfurt, because of the way the transfer was done - quickly, plane-to-plane, with no x-ray but also bugger-all chance of getting anything in at that stage. But in the second case, blame would certainly apply to Heathrow, because the interline bags should have been properly x-rayed. And as for the third, well don't even go there - that break-in isn't even worth mentioning, it obviously had nothing to do with this incident.

Whatever, everyone seems to have been extremely keen to discount the Heathrow interline luggage (+/-the Bedford suitcase) from the get-go.

Why?

I'm surmising because of Autumn Leaves. Obvious culprits are obvious. There were all these warnings of exactly this being planned, pity we didn't pay more attention. But these guys were based in Frankfurt, and the container was mostly filled with bags from Frankfurt, so it's obvious, innit? (So why didn't the feeder flight blow up over Paris, or hadn't they figured that bit out yet?)

So for whatever reason, everyone is dementing on about Jibril and Khreesat and Abu Talb, and Frankfurt is in the firing line, and Heathrow is off the hook. (I've heard it said that Thatcher particuarly wanted Heathrow off the hook so that the investigation could be palmed off onto the D&G constabulary rather than the Met, the D&G being small and unused to major investigations of this nature, and so possibly less likely to make big breakthroughs, but who knows, that's just a bit more conspiracy theorising.)

So Frankfurt is the key. But at Frankfurt, despite everyine realising from the get-go that the flight had in a sense originated there, and knowing all about Jibril and the modus operandi, the baggage records vanish. Only stored for a week, oh sorry. But for goodness sake, what were airport security doing in that week? What were the police doing in that week? And what happened to the bloody backups too? Sorry, all gone, can't really explain it, too bad.



That's it, for eight freaking months. Nobody is investigating Heathrow because they're sure the case came in on PA103A. And all the relevant records at Frankfurt are unavailable. Stalemate.

Quite early on, the Erac printout surfaces. But still Frankfurt don't say anything. We're supposed to believe they spotted tray 8849, and realised it came from Malta, and presumably knew about the Maltese clothes, but they didn't say a word. Everybody is assuming Frankfurt security let a Khreesat/Jibril special through, and here's some evidence that in fact it may have interlined from Malta, and they say not a word.

Until August.

This is doing my head in.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th June 2010, 02:22 AM   #208
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By the way, on the subject of who knew what when, I note Paul Foot says Channon announced that the bomb had been in a suitcase and that this had almost certainly not originated at Heathrow, on 16th February 1989.

I can't honestly remember that far back, other than that I for one assumed it was probably a terrorist incident from the moment I heard about it (about 7.55pm that evening) and this was a common perception. So exactly when this was publicly confirmed I can't remember. It could well have been in the media before Paul Channon's announcement, but on the other hand 16th February is only about seven weeks.

What I'm pretty sure about is that the "brown Samsonite" part was not part of the public record at that stage. Yes, suitcase. It might have been public that the bomb was in a suitcase before 3rd January. I really don't think the words "brown Samsonite" were in the public domain at that stage at all.

I don't think it's possible for Bedford's evidence about the description of the suitcase he saw to have been informed by media stories about the nature of the fragments, if he said "brown Samsonite" to the police on 3rd January - which it appears he did.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th June 2010, 03:00 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
By the way, on the subject of who knew what when, I note Paul Foot says Channon announced that the bomb had been in a suitcase and that this had almost certainly not originated at Heathrow, on 16th February 1989.
Quote:
I don't think it's possible for Bedford's evidence about the description of the suitcase he saw to have been informed by media stories about the nature of the fragments, if he said "brown Samsonite" to the police on 3rd January - which it appears he did.

Rolfe.
Not media. I was considering behind the scenes coaching from police, but the motive would then be theirs and I'm not seeing why they'd want a Heathrow employee to have seen the bomb.

Oh, also I said "learned of," and by that I was thinking not the news, but from Peter Walker perhaps, in the scenario where he first saw the cases after his own lapse at baggage build-up. So on this outside chance, he'd learn from a more direct source than the media, but less direct than his own eyes. He's got some real knowledge either way, and it's a major clue.

You know, it's too bad none of these people were a little extra vigilant that day, considering the Toshiba warning that was supposed to go out, and cond considering the terminal three break-in warning that should have been issued. That was an absolute crap day to be business as usual at Heathrow.
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Old 14th June 2010, 03:43 AM   #210
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Oh, for goodness sake! Who do you think knew about the brown Samsonite by 3rd January?

The D&G constabulary were picking things up off the fields. Personnel from RARDE and the FBI were there too. If they already had sufficient pieces of suitcase to have made a decision that was what the bomb bag looked like less than two weeks after the crash, they were not going to be telling the world. And the world would include random Heathrow staff, and even the Met (who probably got the job of interviewing the Heathrow staff).

The main text of the Autumn Leaves warning seems still to have been lying on someone's desk at the DoT, waiting for better photographs of what to look for. Something may have been circulated but it's clear the Heathrow staff were not on the alert for Khreesat-style devices the way the Frankfurt staff were.

And you know, closing the airport because of a cut padlock on a door - dear boy, think of the disruption to travel, four days before Christmas! We couldn't justify such a thing, we'd be pilloried for over-reacting. (Then when a plane blows up, it's maybe best if we just don't mention it, can't have had anything to do with it anyway, it was many hours earlier....)

Assuming random and counterproductive interference with witnesses at this early stage is rabbit-hole material, you know.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th June 2010, 04:01 AM   #211
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Oh, I was just being open-minded. The Bedford story is a big aspect, and I wanted to consider all the possibilities before deciding it's the clue it seems. I retain the right to question whether it's as direct a clue as it seems, but it's a clue alright.

Or rather, we're down to clue or coincidence. And I can't buy the latter, that these two bags existed where and how he says but were moved to the Bermuda Triangle corner of the container and never able to just be shown. "Here they are, intact, tagged, and owned by ___" Never happened, for some reason.
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Old 14th June 2010, 04:25 AM   #212
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Bedford seems to have said the words "brown Samsonite" on 3rd January, and I'm damn sure the discovery of shards of brown Samsonite was not common knowledge outwith a few people close to the centre of the enquiry at that stage.

This is either a clue, or another coincidence as big as the Erac printout ostensibly fingering KM180 as the source of a mystery bag, and Megrahi having been right there when KM180 was checking in.

And I'm still wondering if that was a coincidence either.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th June 2010, 05:27 PM   #213
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I certainly see your point about that day being memorable. The bomb exploded only about 3 hours after all this happened, and even people who had gone home would have heard something the same evening, probably even including the number of the flight by the 9 o'clock news. You'd think anyone who was involved with the baggage for that flight would start trying to remember, and hold the memory of what had happened at the loading. In fact, why wasn't there a contingency plan to debrief all relevant staff ASAP as soon as any incident like this happened? Never mind the PFLP-GC, we had the IRA to worry about. And at Frabkfurt too, come to that.

However, that assumes the ordinary Joes are reasonably bright. But then, if you're reasonably bright, are you lugging suitcases around an airport for a living? It also assumes the higher-ups actually want to find out what happened. But did they? Both here and at Frankfurt, there's at least a hint that the priority was blaming somewhere else.

I'll look at the detail you've posted though. Open mind, and all that.

olfe.
Well, exactly. Even IF Walker himself was too much of a dullard NOT to make the most obvious of connections between his actions and the aircraft disintegration over Lockerbie,, certainly his superiors should have and dragged all and sundry into a debrief or Post Incident Review.
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Old 17th June 2010, 05:35 PM   #214
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
By the way, I was toying with the idea that Bedford's recollections might have been influenced by already knowing that the bomb was in a maroon Samsonite suitcase. However, according to Paul Foot, he told his tale to a police interviewer on 3rd January 1989, less than a fortnight after the disaster. This was probably before most of the bits of brown Samsonite were even picked up, never mind identified as the bomb suitcase.

The break-in also was reported to the police within a few days of it happening. So, within two weeks of the bombing, the police knew that there had been a break-in at Heathrow the night before, and that a baggage handler saw a mysterious suitcase of the right description materialise in pretty mught the right location in AVE4041, before PA103A landed.

So they announced that the bomb "almost certainly didn't go on at Heathrow".

What on earth was that about? The plane was loaded from empty at Heathrow, so the bomb for sure did go on there. There was this one single baggage container that went out on the tarmac and fetched a relatively small number of cases from another plane directly. So we've decided this early (long before Bogomira took her souvenir out of her locker) that the bomb was in one of these bags, and that counts as "not going aboard at Heathrow". All the other luggage is in the clear, including the bags already in that container.

I'd dearly love to know who took that decision, and on what evidence.

Rolfe.
I really think you've hit the nail on the proverbial head, Rolfe. You've crystallized the entire problem into one line and I think that is positively brilliant thinking.

Where in the published accounts do we first learn of the 'disavowment' of Heathrow as the place the bomb did not go on? By whom? Why did they make that statement? Who was directly responsible for making that statement?
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Old 17th June 2010, 06:00 PM   #215
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
By the way, on the subject of who knew what when, I note Paul Foot says Channon announced that the bomb had been in a suitcase and that this had almost certainly not originated at Heathrow, on 16th February 1989.

I can't honestly remember that far back, other than that I for one assumed it was probably a terrorist incident from the moment I heard about it (about 7.55pm that evening) and this was a common perception. So exactly when this was publicly confirmed I can't remember. It could well have been in the media before Paul Channon's announcement, but on the other hand 16th February is only about seven weeks.

What I'm pretty sure about is that the "brown Samsonite" part was not part of the public record at that stage. Yes, suitcase. It might have been public that the bomb was in a suitcase before 3rd January. I really don't think the words "brown Samsonite" were in the public domain at that stage at all.

I don't think it's possible for Bedford's evidence about the description of the suitcase he saw to have been informed by media stories about the nature of the fragments, if he said "brown Samsonite" to the police on 3rd January - which it appears he did.

Rolfe.
So it appears Charron was the lackey charged with the initial part of the disinformation campaign, allegedly at the behest of his American masters, with express permission from his Prime Minister.

"On November 2, 1989, the news leaked of a report on the Lockerbie bombing by Interfor, a New York corporate investigative company hired by Pan Am and its insurers. The report suggested that the Dalkamoni gang had got the bomb on the airliner at Frankfurt by exploiting a security loophole."1

Does any one know anything about this guy?

"...although too late for the submission, lawyers were planning to spring a witness called David Wright, an English builder who was on holiday in Malta and who is said to have information about the clothes shop."2

1. http://leninology4.blogspot.com/2007...tons-1995.html


2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...h-justice.html
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Old 17th June 2010, 06:08 PM   #216
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Snip...
And you know, closing the airport because of a cut padlock on a door - dear boy, think of the disruption to travel, four days before Christmas! We couldn't justify such a thing, we'd be pilloried for over-reacting. (Then when a plane blows up, it's maybe best if we just don't mention it, can't have had anything to do with it anyway, it was many hours earlier....)

Assuming random and counterproductive interference with witnesses at this early stage is rabbit-hole material, you know.

Rolfe.
I absolutely agree- I think you have it spot-on. Think of the 'cover your butt' justifications and fear of demotion if the cut lock had resulted in the closure of the airport for even the briefest length of time! I'm actually a bit amazed the information regarding the cut lock even made it to the investigators in the first place.
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Old 17th June 2010, 06:11 PM   #217
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Regarding David Wright- never mind.

"Mr Wright allegedly gave a "remarkably" similar description of a sale made at Mr Gauci's shop in Malta to the one used to implicate Megrahi. He gave a statement to English officers in December 1989.

A source said: "The new witness provides an account which is startling in its consistency with Mr Gauci's account of the purchase but adds considerable doubt both to the date of the purchase and the identification by Mr Gauci of Megrahi as the purchaser."1

1. http://www.heraldscotland.com/locker...ement-1.908707
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Old 18th June 2010, 01:19 AM   #218
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On Mr. Wright here was the last I saw anyone here mention him:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...0&postcount=62
This was the wrong thread, BTW.

On the early elimination of Heathrow, it was obviously reflexive and based on how obviously the bomb did first leave the ground there. Officially, however, the pre-printout reason was logical/forensic. I've ripped on the decision before, but it does have some points.

Leppard, P 60
Quote:
“Sir Peter Imberth, commissioner of the Metropolitan police, was naturally concerned about the possibility that the bomb had slipped through security at Heathrow […] The German BKA were to spend more than a year publicly claiming that the bomb must have been put aboard at London […] Certainly, if Heathrow had been to blame, the ramifications would have been severe: it would have meant that the bomb had probably been constructed in England by a new terrorist cell whose activities were unknown to the British security authorities […] Fortunately for the British, no such evidence was ever uncovered. All the political embarrassment would fall on the Germans. It was therefore a great relief when it was proved within the first weeks that the bomb had been inside a pallet containing luggage which had passed through Heathrow from other airports.”
So initially, it was "interline shed" that was key to saying it didn't first leave the ground there. Remember that fact was quite important at the time, with the Frankfurt busts and altimeter bombs such recent news. And it's true - Bedford's story has the bags appearing at the shed where normally all bags are coming in from another flight, not from the surface.

They eliminated Bedford's bags at interline by finding the blast wasn't against the floor, but one layer up with a case beneath it. They decided it's high enough up it must be from Frankfurt, which did fill the bulk of the container.

March 28 1989 SIO John Orr at the Lockerbie Incident Control Center (LICC):
Quote:
“Evidence from witnesses is to the effect that the first seven pieces of luggage in the container belonged to Interline passengers and the remainder was Frankfurt luggage. […] To date 14 pieces of explosive-damaged baggage have been recovered and enquiries to date suggest that on the balance of probabilities the explosive device is likely to be amongst the Frankfurt baggage items. Of all the currently identified explosion-damaged luggage all but one item originated from Frankfurt.” [emph in original]
It hardly seemed justified, but the printout proved them right all along. Leppard agreed and summarized the findings pointing to Franlfurt: "Kamboj was in the clear." So were a lot of other people.
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Old 18th June 2010, 08:40 AM   #219
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
snip...They eliminated Bedford's bags at interline by finding the blast wasn't against the floor, but one layer up with a case beneath it. They decided it's high enough up it must be from Frankfurt, which did fill the bulk of the container.

...snip...

It hardly seemed justified, but the printout proved them right all along. Leppard agreed and summarized the findings pointing to Franlfurt: "Kamboj was in the clear." So were a lot of other people.
So, given the effort already put into the 'Heathrow origin' by The Metropolitain Police, they just shrugged and left it at 'balance of probability'? I realize that at some point the investigation must halt somewhere, but was the possibility the Bedford bags were moved at any point in the loading procedure accounted for? We have the anomaly of the two Bedford bags, and my inclination is to ask some very pointed questions of anyone who had touched, seen, or been in the vicinity of the interline shed and baggage build up. However, the political situation demanded a shift of focus to Frankfurt, and the Heathrow situation, however promising it appeared, spun its investigative wheels.
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Old 18th June 2010, 04:05 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Well, exactly. Even IF Walker himself was too much of a dullard NOT to make the most obvious of connections between his actions and the aircraft disintegration over Lockerbie,, certainly his superiors should have and dragged all and sundry into a debrief or Post Incident Review.

Indeed. But this also applies to Frankfurt. There, we have a little window into the workplace the day after the bombing. Bogomira says everybody was talking about it. It was the sole topic of conversation.

She worked in the baggage department, specifically in the area of record-keeping. She was an early IT person. But all she describes is gossip and chit-chat. Not a single word about anyone asking any questions, or debriefing the staff concerned, or trying to establish which records should be preserved. Not even any initiative by any of the staff to do anything like that. She only made her printout from idle curiosity.

I find this deeply strange. Even stranger than the equivalent Heathrow situation. At least there we have Bedford talking to police and giving a witness statement by 3rd January. In contrast, all we hear about in Frankfurt is Bogomira, on about 25th January, saying to Berg, by the way is this any use to you?

Do you know what that's all about? Because I sure as hell don't.

Rolfe.
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Old 18th June 2010, 04:11 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
I really think you've hit the nail on the proverbial head, Rolfe. You've crystallized the entire problem into one line and I think that is positively brilliant thinking.

Where in the published accounts do we first learn of the 'disavowment' of Heathrow as the place the bomb did not go on? By whom? Why did they make that statement? Who was directly responsible for making that statement?

Baz tends to attribute this to a policeman called Orr, but I'm not quite sure how soon. Within a few weeks. Certainly, Channon didn't dream that up on his own, so if he was saying so on 16th February, it pre-dates that. It was probably something that had pretty senior approval, if they were going to feed it to a Cabinet Minister to publicise.

ETA: Re-reading Foot, I see that date of 16th February is incongruous in context. I suspect it may be a typo for 16th March, the date of the actual "lobby lunch" where Channon did all the blabbing that seems to have got him in such hot water.

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Old 18th June 2010, 04:37 PM   #222
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
So it appears Charron was the lackey charged with the initial part of the disinformation campaign, allegedly at the behest of his American masters, with express permission from his Prime Minister.

Not quite. Paul Channon was the Cabinet Minister with responsibility for transport matters. He would self-importantly if innocently pass on what he was told by the senior investigators. He was doing this quite unimpeded until mid-March, when he suddenly clammed up immediately after briefing a group of journalists about the PFLP-GC. Paul Foot's enquiries suggest that he gave that briefing the evening before the Thatcher-Bush telephone call during which it was decided not to go after the PFLP-GC. He seems therefore to have caught flak from the Iron Lady for this, and Foot believes that his sacking from his cabinet position 4 months later was a consequence of this.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
"On November 2, 1989, the news leaked of a report on the Lockerbie bombing by Interfor, a New York corporate investigative company hired by Pan Am and its insurers. The report suggested that the Dalkamoni gang had got the bomb on the airliner at Frankfurt by exploiting a security loophole."1

Does any one know anything about this guy?

Who, Juval Aviv? The best source for that is Trail of the Octopus. Aviv seems to have been the first person to have come up with the theory that the bomb was got past security at Frankfurt by substituting it for a bag containing heroin that Khalid Jafaar was carrying as part of a CIA-authorised drugs sting, and which was already provided with a loophole past the x-ray security. It's a fascinating theory, but there's a lot wrong with it. Francovich majors on it in The Maltese Double Cross, but again, it's pretty speculative. Relying on polygraph interviews doesn't add credibility either.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
"...although too late for the submission, lawyers were planning to spring a witness called David Wright, an English builder who was on holiday in Malta and who is said to have information about the clothes shop."2

He gets a mention in the second appeal papers. Either he saw the actual purchase of the clothes and his recollection is a lot different from Gauci's, or he saw a generally similar purchase, which suggests the circumstances Gauci describes were scarcely unique and so he's even more likely to be mistaken in his identification.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post

I haven't seen that before. It's a lot of what Foot put in his Private Eye report, but there's more detail about some of it. (But why did David Fieldhouse only admit to 58 bodies in his interview for The Maltese Double Cross if there was all that confusion about a 59th body?)

ETA: Now I read it in its entirety, a lot of it is indeed repeated in the Private Eye report, which was of course written after the trial. The big difference is, Foot had by then completely dropped any reference to Aviv, Interfors, Jafaar, Coleman and the whole Frankfurt introduction theory, in favour of an examination of Bedford's testimony and a Heathrow introduction. I think that when he heard about the Bedford bag and the significance of the 38-minute explosion, he realised that was the crucial point, and the the Jafaar bag-switch stuff was a red herring.

Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post

Mmmm.... The Daily Fail. Recent stuff. I read Fidelma Cook every week, but it's fluff journalism about her new life in the South of France. Her son is a JREF member by the way - Nietzsche. If this wasn't in the Herald, her regular (and respectable) paper, it's dubious. Still interesting though.

ETA: A lot of it is old stuff, but the business of the reporter who visited Megrahi in jail is I think a new one on me.

Quote:
From the start there was a determination to try to prevent this appeal being heard.
It opened but never got off the ground, with stall after stall as each month Megrahi weakened with the cancer that was killing him.
There was rejoicing in the Crown Office in Edinburgh when he was released and the appeal abandoned.
There may well be political manoeuvres behind his release but at the heart was a decision to save the face of the Scottish judiciary - in particular the Crown Prosecution, who would have been shown to have been involved in an abuse of process by non-disclosure of witness statements.’ [....]
Had this appeal gone ahead and witnesses recalled and cross-examined, I believe it would be shown that some had most definitely perjured themselves or deliberately misled the court.
It is no wonder that some people were hoping Megrahi would die before certain witnesses were called.
The release on compassionate grounds is a blessed release for them, as much as it was for him. [....]
I never believed, though, that he would give up the appeal after so many years of fighting for it. That was all we focused on in our meetings - his refusal to give up.
At the end, though, I agreed with his decision because, otherwise, he would not have been able to get what he most wanted - to live out his last days with his family. [....]
The Crown wouldn’t agree to transfer him unless he gave up his appeal and the longer they stalled the more fragile he became physically. In the end he just couldn’t continue. [....]
I felt he was being blackmailed but he never admitted it.

Which is what I have been telling people since day one is exactly the politics behind the release.

Quote:
Questions would have been asked as to how a fragment of cloth - believed to be from the clothing wrapped around the bomb - subsequently came to be packed with material linking it direct to the bomb.

Now, is that just the same informed speculation as we've been indulging in, or is there more actual evidence for it, I wonder?

Rolfe.
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Old 18th June 2010, 05:18 PM   #223
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Originally Posted by Leppard
The German BKA were to spend more than a year publicly claiming that the bomb must have been put aboard at London […]

If he's right about that (and of course he's not a primary source), the BKA were claiming the bomb went on board at Heathrow not only after Bogomira handed over the printout (late January 1989), but after they themselves had finally passed it on to the D&G police, complete with identification of tray 8849 as having come unaccompanied from Luqa....

Very strange.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
So initially, it was "interline shed" that was key to saying it didn't first leave the ground there. Remember that fact was quite important at the time, with the Frankfurt busts and altimeter bombs such recent news. And it's true - Bedford's story has the bags appearing at the shed where normally all bags are coming in from another flight, not from the surface.

They eliminated Bedford's bags at interline by finding the blast wasn't against the floor, but one layer up with a case beneath it. They decided it's high enough up it must be from Frankfurt, which did fill the bulk of the container.

It hardly seemed justified, but the printout proved them right all along. Leppard agreed and summarized the findings pointing to Franlfurt: "Kamboj was in the clear." So were a lot of other people.

Well, exactly. The idea that none of the Heathrow bags could have been on the second layer, or above a Frankfurt bag, was never strong. You can only get about six bags flat on the floor of that container. And according to the prosecution, at least one Frankfurt bag was among them. Which leaves it more or less certain that at least a couple of the Heathrow bags must have been higher up. Never mind that you have to assume the Bedford bag was moved to explain why it wasn't among the adjacent blast-damaged suitcases.

The implication of AVE4041 certainly exonerated the Heathrow check-in system as the source of the bomb. However, it didn't exonerate the interline shed. It absolutely left open the possibility that the bomb had been interlined into Heathrow in the very same way it was later alleged to have been interlined into Frankfurt. And Pan Am (who ran its own security at Frankfurt) still carried the can for that. (Or of course that it had been introduced into the interline shed and "hacked" into the interline baggage right there.)

It's not just the two mysteriously-appearing suitcases, it's the entire "interline" batch. Any of these could have been the bomb. So why were they all hand-waved away, and the Bedford bags with them? Just backside-covering?

That's why I'm curious about whether we can be sure the other bags in there were the Larnaca luggage. If that luggage was mostly the property of US government agents, could that be a reason for a firm "these are not the bags you're looking for" from the US authorities?

Rolfe.
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Old 18th June 2010, 05:21 PM   #224
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
So, given the effort already put into the 'Heathrow origin' by The Metropolitain Police, they just shrugged and left it at 'balance of probability'? I realize that at some point the investigation must halt somewhere, but was the possibility the Bedford bags were moved at any point in the loading procedure accounted for? We have the anomaly of the two Bedford bags, and my inclination is to ask some very pointed questions of anyone who had touched, seen, or been in the vicinity of the interline shed and baggage build up. However, the political situation demanded a shift of focus to Frankfurt, and the Heathrow situation, however promising it appeared, spun its investigative wheels.

They seem to have backed off Heathrow pretty quickly, whereas it seems that the political decision to back off from the PFLP-GC wasn't until mid-March....

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Old 18th June 2010, 09:44 PM   #225
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Indeed. But this also applies to Frankfurt. There, we have a little window into the workplace the day after the bombing. Bogomira says everybody was talking about it. It was the sole topic of conversation.

She worked in the baggage department, specifically in the area of record-keeping. She was an early IT person. But all she describes is gossip and chit-chat. Not a single word about anyone asking any questions, or debriefing the staff concerned, or trying to establish which records should be preserved. Not even any initiative by any of the staff to do anything like that. She only made her printout from idle curiosity.

I find this deeply strange. Even stranger than the equivalent Heathrow situation. At least there we have Bedford talking to police and giving a witness statement by 3rd January. In contrast, all we hear about in Frankfurt is Bogomira, on about 25th January, saying to Berg, by the way is this any use to you?

Do you know what that's all about? Because I sure as hell don't.

Rolfe.
So your curiosity vaults us into the land of the German police. They had the bombs from the Autumn Leaves raid, they had the information regarding the PFLP-GC, and they should have had a vested interest in discounting the very idea of a Frankfurt introduction of the bomb bag (s)

Is there any documentation of any German police investigation regarding the Frankfurt luggage processing system?
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Old 19th June 2010, 02:08 AM   #226
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It's remarkably vague. I think one news article is all I've seen saying the BKA had gone there to investigate. Hardly even worth digging up. The main thing we know is how little we know about why Bogomira's keepsake became THE hard copy of this crucial data. Explanations vary, covered in another thread.

A little more relavant here, some passages from another book, Emerson and Duffy, with my test added.

Quote:
One question the book never has investigators asking with dread is "Had the Bedford suitcases been stacked one upon the other?" But they probably did wonder just that, judging by the knee-jerk decision it could not be so - a separate brown Samsonite had come in from Germany and came to rest in that corner instead. The bad logic was applied swiftly and then seeded, and by Dec 31 1988, the book relates, the Times of London ran the headline
DISASTER BOMB WAS 'PLACED ON BOARD JUMBO IN FRANKFURT

The same day an FBI internal memo concluded the same thing - the bomb had “entered the Pan Am system at Frankfurt.” [p 160] This could only be based on the assessment that the bomb bag wasn't right on the floor, but the conclusion was systematically given more weight than it merited in what seems a planned, joint effort. The next day, Jan 1 1989, the first German response was heard:
“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]
On Channon's Feb 16 incident:
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]
In all this, the Germans “would still not admit the Frankfurt connection, and their refusal to do so only made things more difficult for the investigators.” These writers must have blown a gasket when they realized that from February to August 1989 the same authorities were supposedly sitting on a genuine miracle copy of the airport's loading files for 103.
http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/...mans-know.html

Check also the "assorted weird reasoning," making some voodoo dance show of 'reasoning' Frankfurt origin into being. The use of language, "attack," etc. is interesting here. Leppard's book is similar to this one in its tone, but with hints of parody I think. He lets the seams show a lot more, and was criticized for it. (I think "clunking" was used to describe its transition to Frankfurt over Kamboj, who like Bedford shouldn't have been named or even mentioned.)
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Old 19th June 2010, 02:22 AM   #227
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Quote:
Leppard
The German BKA were to spend more than a year publicly claiming that the bomb must have been put aboard at London […]

If he's right about that (and of course he's not a primary source), the BKA were claiming the bomb went on board at Heathrow not only after Bogomira handed over the printout (late January 1989), but after they themselves had finally passed it on to the D&G police, complete with identification of tray 8849 as having come unaccompanied from Luqa....

Very strange.
Leppard is an interesting source, as noted above. I'd like to learn more about the German side circa 1989, but it does seem to me they were never as convinced by the Printout - nor the crap that preceded it - as their British counterparts were.

Manfred Klink, BKA's then director of anti-terrorism, who named the "Autumn Leaves" op, gave an interview in 2008
“There was a possibility that – possibly – here I want to be very cautious – possibly there was a suitcase that went through to the PanAm 103.”
http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/...ie-mythos.html
He I think had a hand in handling Bogomira's paper. It may or may not go back as far as they say to January, but whatever delay there was passing it to Scotland is interesting. Was there some battle over where the hell this came from and whether it could be trusted?

Then we've got Gobel and the "ST33" report discussing the timing and the fit for a Khreesat bomb loaded at London. I'll let someone else dig that back up. It was kind of like a war, but the Germans never fought this one quite right, and were cheated into taking the fall. Prolly a bargain there somewhere. They both passed the worst on to Malta, of course.
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Old 19th June 2010, 10:44 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
So your curiosity vaults us into the land of the German police. They had the bombs from the Autumn Leaves raid, they had the information regarding the PFLP-GC, and they should have had a vested interest in discounting the very idea of a Frankfurt introduction of the bomb bag (s)

Is there any documentation of any German police investigation regarding the Frankfurt luggage processing system?

There's a thread looking at this. The disappearing records at Frankfurt are even weirder than the Heathrow goings-on. The real discussion probably starts about here.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...26#post5321826

It gets quite detailed from here.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...84#post5338684

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Old 21st June 2010, 09:17 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
There's a thread looking at this. The disappearing records at Frankfurt are even weirder than the Heathrow goings-on. The real discussion probably starts about here.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...26#post5321826

It gets quite detailed from here.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...84#post5338684

Rolfe.
Thanks for the links. As a relative newcomer, it's quite satisfying to be linked to relevant areas of previous threads, and I thank you for your immeasureable patience in your indulgence of my enquiries.

So can we close some evidentiary doors as regards Frankfurt? It doesn't seem so, given the highly suspicious way the BKA conducted whatever they classified as an investigation.

So, let's find the link between Frankfurt and Heathrow then.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 12:14 AM   #230
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
Thanks for the links. As a relative newcomer, it's quite satisfying to be linked to relevant areas of previous threads, and I thank you for your immeasureable patience in your indulgence of my enquiries.

So can we close some evidentiary doors as regards Frankfurt? It doesn't seem so, given the highly suspicious way the BKA conducted whatever they classified as an investigation.

So, let's find the link between Frankfurt and Heathrow then.
The basic link is container AVE4041. It was filled in London, but mostly with bags from Frankfurt. So in short form, I think that's about it - which portion of the luggage was the bomb in?

The lower portion was of course filled at interline, should be bags from other airlines' connecting flights. Officially nothing was smuggled in from elsewhere, and nothing at was added during the time at baggage build-up. They can support this by pointing to only one bomb, and that having come in from frankfurt.

Position: high in the container should mean Frankfurt, since the last and largest batch that filled most of AVE4041 came off that 727. Low is less clear and depends jut how many (apparent) interline bags were there before and how arranged. The bad call was concluding the Frankfurt batch started just ten inches up. That's a guess, and not a good one. But the Brits treated it as gospel as soon as that was deduced.

We've seen that within ten days both the FBI and whoever was the Times' source agreed the bomb had come from frankfurt. Emerson and Duffy cite that right-side luggage-in-engines issue, and even have the Scots and Americans arguing about it for a while. But more logically, these early pronouncements were based on the second-level clues from the recovered container fragments, and making the same call AAIB would make later, and that the Indian Head tests would confirm, and drawing the same unsound conclusion that layer 2 or higher MUST be from the 727. Really what they're seeing is how dangerously close to obvious it is that this was a bag from before the 727.

Can anyone figure out how to find a copy of that Times story? December 31, 1988, front page I'd guess. I'd love to see what they cite in announcing the eventual truth so very early on.

I don't know if that helps you any, but it's what pops to mind ATM.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 05:23 AM   #231
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I just read the appeal judgement on this bit, and while it doesn't add a great deal to the original, it's still fascinating. They consider most of the points we've been looking at.

First, positioning of the bomb seems to have been important, and Heathrow is the only place where any control at all could have been exerted on the positioning. Yes, but the defence rely on some repositioning of the Bedford suitcase, to the second layer, in their own submission, so rearrangement of the luggage at Heathrow is agreed by both parties.

It was given in evidence that rearrangement of existing luggage when PA103A was unloaded was commonplace, and that suitcases might end up pretty much anywhere after that. So really, the bomb could have ended up anywhere even with a Heathrow loading, so Heathrow isn't really any better than anywhere else, is it? (They do ask the question, but would this hypothetical terrorist have realised that, but then they don't really answer it.)

Then, well where was the Bedford suitcase if it wasn't the bomb bag? They just repeat the original mantra that once you accept that there was some rearrangement it's pure speculation to say this bag ended up on the second layer. There was quite a lot of undamaged luggage from the container, it could have been one of these. Or it could have completely vanished. Whatever.

They do have a slightly better point, in fact. Bedford saw two hardshell suitcases, and neither of them was identified after the crash. So even if one of them was the bomb bag, where was the other? Hmmm. The prosecution did attempt to shake Bedford on the appearance of the second suitcase, which seems to me to undermine that point, but nobody brought that up.

[As a complete aside, I wonder if the bomber, masquerading as an airport worker, managed to get hold of two interline suitcases destined for PA103, do a switcheroo on one of them and leave the genuine case behind, then swan up to AVE4041 (and Kamboj?) with the pair, one of which was perfectly genuine, and so get them into the container. This of course implies that the bomber was interfering with the interline baggage from Larnaca, belonging to the US government personnel, because it was one of these bags which was left behind. Hmmmm.]

Anyway, I'll quote here what seems to me to be the killer section.

Quote:
As the Advocate depute pointed out, the evidence bearing on the possibility of infiltration of the primary suitcase at Heathrow had to be weighed along with the evidence bearing on what he described as the “twin anchors” of the Crown case, the evidence supporting the carriage of an unaccompanied bag from Luqa to Frankfurt on flight KM180 and thence to London on flight PA103A, and the evidence of the presence of clothing of Maltese origin in the primary suitcase, as well as all the other evidence bearing on the whole issue. The outcome of that weighing exercise was expressed by the trial court in para [82] of its judgment. It was only then that the possibility of Heathrow infiltration was finally rejected.

In other words, they reckon that the other evidence (like the clothes in the suitcaseand the mysterious tray B8849) is pointing the way they want to go, so they can just hand-wave the Heathrow evidence away. And in law they are perfectly entitled to do that, so that ground of appeal falls. (Yes, they really do say that the Bedford suitcase could have been the bomb bag, but this wasn't definitely proven, and if you look at the Erac printout and the Maltese clothes, then it's quite reasonable to decide it wasn't.)

And about the break-in at Heathrow the previous night? Oh well, it could have been an airport employee who forced a lock while taking a short-cut. That happened from time to time. (Well, OK, this time it looked as if the break-in had been from landside, but what the hell....)

Anyway, there were two earlier PA flights to New York, why wait for PA103? And the baggage build-up area was closer than the interline shed, why bother going to the interline shed? Oh yes, and it was already accepted it would have been a piece of cake to get that suitcase into Heathrow airside by other means, especially if you had an airside accomplice, so pointing out that there was a broken padlock doesn't really add any extra evidence. (That's remarkably cunning, actually.)

And finally, again, "it's not a competition between Heathrow and Luqa". You have to look at all the evidence together. Maltese clothes and the Erac printout and "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad" all have to be taken into account. In view of all that, the court was entitled to decide the Bedford suitcase was irrelevant.

I can see why Hans Kochler practically burst a blood vessel.

Rolfe.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 05:36 AM   #232
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Actually, here's an example of a frequent line of reasoning of the appeal judges.

Quote:
We do not consider that it can be maintained, simply on the basis that there is no express mention of the submission in the trial court’s treatment of [Heathrow infiltration], that no account was taken of it. What can be taken from the trial court’s judgment is that it did not regard the point as lending such support to the theory [of Heathrow infiltration] as to merit specific mention. But that is not the same as failing to take the submission into account. As we have already said, the trial court was not obliged to go into such detail in its reasons as to review every fact and argument on either side. The fact that no express mention is made of the submission in the judgment is in our view an insufficient basis for a submission that the point was not taken into account.

Since most of the grounds of appeal were that the court hadn't taken a certain point into account, or hadn't given it sufficient weight, all the appeal judges had to do was look at the judgement, decide that the trial court had indeed taken note of that point, and say "rejected". This is because the appeal wasn't on the grounds that no reasonable jury could have come to that conclusion from that evidence. By putting up lots of individual points that "hadn't been taken into consideration", the defence opened the door to the response "yes they were", with no real overall scrutiny of the totality of the conclusions reached.

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Old 22nd June 2010, 01:41 PM   #233
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I hate those idiots right now. If I may use your characterizations to argue with them:
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
They do have a slightly better point, in fact. Bedford saw two hardshell suitcases, and neither of them was identified after the crash. So even if one of them was the bomb bag, where was the other?
If they're acknowledging two IED style bags in his story, that itself is interesting, as all other official and mainstream sources insist on turning it to one. But when it's convenient to suddenly remember there were two... and to ignore that the half-suitcase worth of debris we have seen is perhaps 10% of the bomb bag and 40% of the other Bedford case.

And I will read up on this myself, but later on. The "twin anchors" construct is something I'll have to cite derisively.

Quote:
(Yes, they really do say that the Bedford suitcase could have been the bomb bag, but this wasn't definitely proven, and if you look at the Erac printout and the Maltese clothes, then it's quite reasonable to decide it wasn't.)
It's a good thing our process is more imaginative than that.

Quote:
And about the break-in at Heathrow the previous night? Oh well, it could have been an airport employee who forced a lock while taking a short-cut. That happened from time to time. (Well, OK, this time it looked as if the break-in had been from landside, but what the hell....)
Yeah, workers ROUTINELY take bolt cutters with them to destroy property and leave the airport unsecured, just so they don't have to go the long way. In other news, security at Frankfurt is really bad, since the bomb came from there.

Quote:
Anyway, there were two earlier PA flights to New York, why wait for PA103?
Cause it's the flight they targetted, dummies? Last of the day, lots of young people, extra-aged and brittle skin - whatever reason they knew and picked, they had picked 103. Breaking in so long before was probably because less people are around to catch you at night. Who said the two events should be close together anyway?

Quote:
And the baggage build-up area was closer than the interline shed, why bother going to the interline shed?
Closer to what, the break-in point? Who said that's where the bags were stashed for the 18 hour hide?

Quote:
Oh yes, and it was already accepted it would have been a piece of cake to get that suitcase into Heathrow airside by other means, especially if you had an airside accomplice, so pointing out that there was a broken padlock doesn't really add any extra evidence. (That's remarkably cunning, actually.)
If it doesn't add anything to the permeability of Heathrow, then we have every reason - not just one - to suspect infiltration there, your Lorsdhips.

Quote:
And finally, again, "it's not a competition between Heathrow and Luqa".
Yes it is. Please note how you decided the competition.
Quote:
You have to look at all the evidence together. Maltese clothes and the Erac printout and "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad" all have to be taken into account. In view of all that, the court was entitled to decide the Bedford suitcase was irrelevant.
Again, at least we can rise above that. No matter how high you pile it up, a pile of infected dung is still just that. But bunch of crap accepted means Luqa wins the competition, appeal denied.

I've seen this failure blamed on the defense, and I'm sure itt was a tactical error to go that route. But these judges are not at all in the clear, in my book. Fair proper, legal, allowed, maybe. But reasonable, courageous, right, it was not.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 02:11 PM   #234
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The appeal judges were arguably correct in law, I think, IANAL and it would be interesting to have a lawyer's opnion on it.

There seems to be a very strong presumption against reversing a court's or a jury's decision. There has to be a compelling legal justification for it. The defence strategy of taking the points one at a time and saying that the trial court hadn't taken due account of this, failed. Because at every turn, the appeal judges looked at the trial court's deliberations and said, well look, they did take due account of this point. You just don't like what they decided about it, but they were perfectly entitled to decide that, after due consideration.

It's often been said, you go to court for the law, not for justice, and the appeal judgement is a beautiful example of that.

Actually, they explained the Frankfurt deliberations better than I'd seen them explained before. I started to wonder if all the disputed points were going to get the same treatment, and the trial court's decision was at least going to look a bit more reasonable. However it didn't work out like that with the London evidence. I understand their arguments slightly better, yes, but they still seem specious.

(I'm getting on to the Gauci part, and I think I will be needing the laughing dog.)

Rolfe.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 03:52 PM   #235
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
If they're acknowledging two IED style bags in his story, that itself is interesting, as all other official and mainstream sources insist on turning it to one. But when it's convenient to suddenly remember there were two... and to ignore that the half-suitcase worth of debris we have seen is perhaps 10% of the bomb bag and 40% of the other Bedford case.

To be precise, it appears Bedford didn't say anything was a "Samsonite" in January 1989. He described a "maroony-brown hardshell suitcase". Whether he said "Samsonite type" I'm not sure. Actually, I rather recall almost using "Samsonite" as a synonym for "hardshell" at that time (like "Hoover" and "vacuum cleaner") because it was by far the dominant brand in that area. So he saw two hardshell suitcases. The second may have been a different colour, we don't really know.

The court maintains that, even if the maroon one was the bomb bag, if the stuff hadn't been moved around then the second case should have been one of the damaged ones and there wasn't a suitable hardshell candidate among the damaged luggage. So, according to them, it's just as easy to imagine that both cases were moved out of blast range.

But again we come to the the two recurrent themes in the appeal judgement. First, that the trial judges did think about all this, and gave it due consideration when coming to their decision, so the appeal is unfounded in law. Second, the decision wasn't solely founded on the evidence relating to this particular item, but by the totality of the evidence as a whole. Thus, each disputable piece of evidence (the bag in tray B8849 may or may not have had the bomb in it, we decide that it did; the Bedford suitcase may or may not have been the bomb bag, we decide that it wasn't; Gauci's identification wasn't definite but we decide it'll do....) is decided in favour of the "Megrahi did it" theory as it comes up, partly because the other points have been decided in favour of the same theory - on pretty much the same grounds!

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
And I will read up on this myself, but later on. The "twin anchors" construct is something I'll have to cite derisively.

I recommend you read it. It's not as daunting as it seems, to someone well versed in the issues of the case. It gives further insight into a lot of the evidence. And these guys were senior Law Lords, it doesn't do to underestimate them.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Yeah, workers ROUTINELY take bolt cutters with them to destroy property and leave the airport unsecured, just so they don't have to go the long way. In other news, security at Frankfurt is really bad, since the bomb came from there.

Well, again I suggest you read it. The evidence was unclear whether the padlock had been expertly cut, or simply forced. Initially, I think Mr. Manly just said it was forced, and there had been some assumption by the people he'd reported to that it was just someone taking an unauthorised short-cut. There was some hearsay that this had happened from time to time, and there was resentment about being forced to go a longer way round when these doors were locked at night.

Mr. Manly insisted in court that the padlock had been "cut like butter", but he was apparently a poor witness, and bad on a number of details. If you read Kochler's report, he says Manly was almost incoherent because of some medication he was on for a medical problem, and the nature of all that hadn't ever been made clear.

Anyway, I did rather admire the get-out. It was never a ground of the prosecution case that it would have been impossible to get the bomb bag airside into Heathrow; they accepted it was possible. So the existence of the broken padlock doesn't actually alter the weight of the evidence at all. You need to have gone to the very best law schools to think of that one.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Cause it's the flight they targetted, dummies? Last of the day, lots of young people, extra-aged and brittle skin - whatever reason they knew and picked, they had picked 103. Breaking in so long before was probably because less people are around to catch you at night. Who said the two events should be close together anyway?

Oh, I can think of a few real goodies. I think PA103 was the only flight with the Frankfurt feeder coming in with the very tight connection. There could be all sorts of advantages to targeting the container designated for that baggage.
  • confusion about which airport the bomb originated from
  • possible extra confusion if the Frankfurt flight had been involved in officially-sanctioned drug smuggling
  • a bunch of CIA, DIA or whatever Yank spies on the plane (and maybe some reason their luggage can be used to facilitate the introduction?)
  • Bernt Carlsson
  • getting the positioning of the bomb just right
I think Patrick must have been apoplectic at one sentence, actually.

Originally Posted by appeal judgement
Yet there was no evidence that there was anything about flight PA103 or its passengers that singled it out as the target.



However, I want to mention one particular thing. The positioning of the bomb. We're frequently reminded that it was in the absolutely perfect place to destroy the plane, and we think of that as meaning its position in the container as regards height and closeness to the skin. However there's also the question of the positioning of the container itself.

I was reading the "Plane Truth" web site, which is just one more guy with a kooky theory, a book he'd like you to buy about it, and a badly-designed web site. However, on this page he has an interesting point I don't think I've seen discussed elsewhere, and which I don't think he himself quite appreciates.

He points out that the plane came apart vertically pretty much at the level of the bomb. He compares this to other incidents where the side of a plane has been blown out, and the plane has landed safely. He is postulating, with some reasonable evidence I think, that the 747 had a structural weakness at that level, which was where two large sections were joined during construction. Thus an explosion at this level caused the thing to break apart exactly as Maid of the Seas did, with the nose section becoming completely detached.

Jibril's group were responsible for a failed bombing in the past, where a plane landed safely with a hole blown out of a baggage compartment. Suppose they (or any bomber, really, but Jibril had the form) had realised about the weakness in the 747 and was looking for a way to get the bomb right at the section 41/42 fuselage join?

If the bomb was left in the baggage build-up area, it could have gone on any container. Even with an interline transfer (to a different flight), if a number of containers were waiting together to go on, as might happen when there was plenty time between the flights, you might not be able to predict where any one container might end up. However, PA103 was quite unusual, I think, in having that feeder flight with such a tight connection that one container of luggage was fast-tracked from one plane to the other on the tarmac, when they were on adjacent stands.

There would be a routine for this, and I imagine it happened the same way every evening. Bedford's evidence indicates that. He'd get a container, label it for the flight, and put any interline luggage in it. It would sit there until PA103A appeared, then go out to get this fast-transfer luggage. By this time I suspect the other containers from the build-up area would all be on board already. And I strongly suspect the routine saw that interline/Frankfurt container end up at the same place on the 747 every time.

Just suppose someone rather clever noticed this, and realised this was an ideal chance to get a bomb in the right horizontal position to break the plane in two?

Of course you could still fly it in from Frankfurt, but why risk it? You'd have to circumvent Maier, who was on the look-out for radio-cassette bombs. Some idiot baggage handler could put it on the wrong plane. Or leave it behind at Frankfurt. Or fail to get it off the 707 for the on-tarmac transfer. On the other hand, here is this container sitting in the interline shed, all labelled up for PA103, with a few bags in it, and it's going to end up right on the weak spot of the plane's structure. And we want the bomb low down in the container, so Heathrow is better for that, looks like an opportunity.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Closer to what, the break-in point? Who said that's where the bags were stashed for the 18 hour hide?

Who says the break-in was actually to get the bomb bag in anyway? Maybe it was to get the right tags. Or to get a terrorist airside. Who knows?

Another feature of that judgement is that if speculation suggests Megrahi didn't do it (for example, why send the bloody thing through three airports, why set the timer so early, why leave the tags on the clothes and so on) then it's just speculation and has no weight. But on the other hand if speculation might point the other way (for example, maybe the Bedford suitcase was moved to the other side of the container, maybe Maier just didn't notice the radio, why wouldn't the bomber just use a security pass to get into Heathrow and so on), then it's solemnly propounded as if it really influences the argument.

Seriously, read the judgement. It's a necessary insight.

Rolfe.
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Old 22nd June 2010, 05:08 PM   #236
Caustic Logic
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Refresher:
Jan 9: "They were hard suitcases, the type Samsonite make. One was brown in colour, and the other one, if it wasn't the same colour, it was similar. In size, they took up the remaining base area of the tin."

FAI 1990: "Q Did you see a bronze Samsonite case?
A A maroony-brown Samsonite case, yes."

http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/...s-primary.html

rest later...
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Old 22nd June 2010, 05:40 PM   #237
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Hmmmm. So not being entirely accurate in the recording of what the witness actually said? You need to read this stuff, boyo.

I suspect there is similar inaccuracy in the relaying of what Gauci said. The section dealing with that goes well beyond laughing dogs and into sadly shaking heads or even weeping quietly in a corner. Frankly, I'm almost speechless.

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Old 23rd June 2010, 04:05 PM   #238
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Hmmmm. So not being entirely accurate in the recording of what the witness actually said? You need to read this stuff, boyo.

I suspect there is similar inaccuracy in the relaying of what Gauci said. The section dealing with that goes well beyond laughing dogs and into sadly shaking heads or even weeping quietly in a corner. Frankly, I'm almost speechless.

Rolfe.
Looking at it finally. This issue interests me more ATM than the Frankfurt records. They do speak of two suitcases, but not two of the same style, at least that I've seen yet. Taylor's got it down, and I'll have to check out how he put the London evidence back at Zeist. This section comes close to addressing the cases question:
Quote:
[187] The position, Mr Taylor submitted, was therefore either (1) that the brown Samsonite-type suitcase introduced into the container in the interline shed at Heathrow and seen by Mr Bedford was the case which contained the explosive device, or (2) that (a) the explosive device was in a suitcase of the same description which was transferred from the Frankfurt flight PA103A into an almost identical part of the container, which happened to be the location most advantageous for the destruction of the aircraft, and (b) a second case of that description was introduced into the container at Heathrow, but the Crown had been unable to account for the existence of that suitcase at any time since Mr Bedford first gave a statement on 9 January 1989.
It's totally right on except for missing that the second such bag was mentioned right along with the first on January 9. Maybe I'm missing something after that that clarified the cases really were different, but I'm just baffled at how everyone just says "a brown Samsonite." It would make things simpler, but I can't shake that that's what Bedford said early on.

More later.
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Old 24th June 2010, 01:06 AM   #239
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Alright, here's someone acknowledging the color thing, finally.
Quote:
[190] <snip> At the trial, Mr Bedford had no recollection of the appearance of the suitcases, but adopted statements he had made to the police in January 1989 and at the Fatal Accident Inquiry. He did not identify the suitcases that he saw (or either of them) as being of the same make, model or size as the primary suitcase; at best his evidence was of hardshell suitcases of similar colour. The Advocate depute further reminded us that Mr Bedford’s evidence was of the introduction of two similar cases, both of the hardshell type and of the same or similar colour. That fact, the Advocate depute submitted, was significant in evaluating the appellant’s contention that the absence of recovery of parts of a second hardshell suitcase supported the inference that the explosive device must have been in one of the cases described by Mr Bedford.

The force of that contention was greatly diminished, the Advocate depute submitted, when it was appreciated that on Mr Bedford’s evidence there were two such cases in the container (if the primary suitcase did not come from flight PA103A), or three such cases (if it did). There was thus at least one hardshell suitcase unaccounted for, irrespective of whether the primary suitcase was infiltrated at Luqa or at Heathrow.

The absence of remains of a second hardshell suitcase therefore gave no very cogent support to the appellant’s contention. Moreover, the trial court accepted the evidence of the forensic scientists that cases in other parts of the container might suffer little or no damage. Apart from explosion damage, there was nothing to link recovered items with container AVE 4041, and the fact that minute parts of baggage were recovered did not mean that all baggage in the container had been recovered.
Two such bags, "such" being pretty similar or same to the IED style. As would be expected to follow this, the highlighted parts seem to say:
- the fact that only one such bag turned up goes against the London theory (the appealant's contention).
- the fact that NEITHER similar/matching, unharmed Bedford bag turned up, doesn't mean they didn't exist.

Anyone care to add some nuance to that?
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Old 24th June 2010, 03:02 PM   #240
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First, forget about Bedford's second suitcase. We know about one brown hardshell, call it the Bedford case #1. It was seen in about the position where the bomb exploded, but it might have been moved. We know about another brown hardshell, the bomb bag. The question Mr. Taylor is trying to address is, were there actually two suitcases, or is this the same one twice?

Essentially the prosecution seem to be saying, well, why should they be the same case? The loaders could move the cases anywhere they liked. The defence says, because they were both brown hardshell suitcases, and only (the remains of) one brown hardshell suitcase was found at Lockerbie, despite a fingertip search. Which is more parsimonious? That there was one case, which was never moved any great distance, and that is the one case that was found, or that there were two cases, one of which was in that position in the interline shed, but on the tarmac it was moved a long way away to be replaced by an extremely similar one, the one that was found at Lockerbie. And the first one was never found.

It seems to me that the court is treating these two possibilities as essentially of equal probability. While in fact they aren't. The scenario where the "two" cases are one and the same is by far the more likely, Occam's Razor and all that.

What happened at the store where all the passengers' luggage was being collected? Items were identified as belonging to particular passengers, and eventually they were returned to the relatives. Given that a suitcase was already known to be implicated in the bombing, is it really conceivable that all these suitcases were simply given back without their details being recorded? At least a record of size, colour and make. Surely a photograph! Didn't it occur to anyone that checking which suitcases were innocent passenger property might be important in eliminating potential candidates for the bomb bag?

Actually, as it happens, we're not even all that interested in the majority of the luggage. The passengers who checked in at Heathrow aren't really in the frame. We're interested in the luggage of two groups, the 49 passengers transferring from PA103A, and the Heathrow interline passengers. Are we really supposed to believe nobody made a detailed study of what was recovered and matched to passengers whose luggage would have been in AVE4041?

In particular, we're interested in the Heathrow interline group, because the Bedford bag belonged to one of these passengers if it wasn't the bomb bag. How many such passengers were there? I've never seen a definite list, which in itself is extremely strange. Most estimates seem to be less than about 15 though. I'm not even sure if the luggage for some of them went in a different container, though, as the highest estimate for cases in AVE4041 when Bedford went home seems to be ten (the appeal judgement).

There's a big chunk of stone in a garden about 60 miles from here, and there are 270 names on it. Surely we know which of these 270 were the 49 who travelled on PA103A, and which were the indeterminate number who interlined into Heathrow! Surely the investigators recorded whose luggage had been recovered, and what it looked like, and whose luggage appeared to have vanished!

Why are we not being told exactly who interlined into Heathrow, how many bags each was believed to have checked in, and how many of these bags had not been recovered? We're talking about less than 20 passengers, people!

I can't believe the prosecution didn't bust a gut trying to find that other brown hardshell. If it could have said, here this is, and it belonged to Fraulein Schmidt from Vienna, that could have killed the whole Heathrow theory stone dead. If it could even have enumerated the interline passengers and shown that one or two of them had had luggage that was never recovered, that would have been a plausible alternative explanation (at least, supposing nobody was able to declare that these people had never owned a brown hardshell suitcase....).

But they didn't. Nothing but handwaving about maybe the case ended up in a far corner of the container and maybe it was never recovered. Guys, there should have been plenty evidence available at Dextar to do a hell of a lot better than that!

I'm a bit surprised at the defence though. The defence is entitled to have access to all the evidence the prosecution has access to (apart from PII certificates, but that doesn't cover this aspect). So why don't we hear Mr. Taylor going through each of the interline passengers by name, and asking which one of these might have had a brown hardshell suitcase that was never recovered?

Detailed examination of this small number of passengers, the luggage that was recovered and matched to them, and any suspicion of suitcases that were never found, would have been favourable to somebody's case. So why the complete silence? Maybe this, maybe that - when the answers should have been available!

Enquiring minds want to know.

Rolfe.
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