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Tags Lockerbie bombing

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Old 16th July 2010, 06:24 AM   #281
Buncrana
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Following on, maybe the Indian Head Tests, carried out in April 1989, produced results beyond the stated intention of just simply discovering where the bomb had been positioned within the body of the aircraft?

The "cloth" originally discovered by Gilchrist is modified to "debris" and apparently the fragment is discovered in May '89. Although most likely much later than May really which is why Dr Hayes's notes have to be also mysteriously modified. The Scottish Crown office make the declaration that 'fragments of circuit board consistant with that as discovered by Feraday/Hayes' are also found as a result of the Indian Head tests - yet this test had absolutely no bearing, we are told, of determining anything but the positioning of the bomb bag with 103's luggage hold.

The 'almost intact' page of a Toshiba manual discovered by Mrs Horton somehow manages to have become shredded almost beyond all recognition by the time it's required at Zeist. Almost. There is enough information for this Toshiba manual to be ascribed to a model ordered predominantly by Libya.

Must go at the moment, more later.
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Old 16th July 2010, 02:27 PM   #282
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Is there any correlation between the assertion made earlier in this thread (and a few other sources, namely poster Baz's claims) that US State Dept official, Daniel O'Connor's bag(s) were not loaded onto Pan Am 103 at Heathrow, and were found after the crash in a Heathrow baggage room, the reports that AVE4041 and the bags initially loaded by Bedford, would have likely to have been belonging to CIA agents who had travelled via Cyprus, and the unsettling statement given by PC Mary Boylan?

Mmmm, I'd forgotten about that one. Might be a connection, as you suggest.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
So, aside from the very serious allegation, which AFAIK has never been refuted, about the destroying of police log books relating to the discovery and information on evidence recovered, there appears to be have been an early suggestion, once again, that the bomb had been inserted into the system by using someone else's luggage who did actually travel on 103 as oppose to the introduction of an unaccompanied bag? And the suggestion is one of the bags that was assigned to one of the US officials travelling on 103 was either planted with the bomb device or substituted for a identical bag containing the device.

The rest of Mary Boylan's comment is her pointing out that on the Lockerbie memorial the name Joseph Patrick Curry has the annotation "killed in the line of duty". What that means I have no idea, but it could be worth bearing it in mind.

Considering that this is absolutely all we ever hear about this, a second-hand remark from a Fiscal, I wouldn't die of shock if it was a simple mistake on the part of the Fiscal, who had got the names mixed up or something. However, every little helps as they say, as we try to figure out what's boat and what's barnacle.

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Old 19th July 2010, 02:18 PM   #283
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I'm reading the first of David Leppard's Sunday Times Insight columns, and I note something interesting. Comparisons with the Air India disaster in 1985. That landed in the sea, but a lot was recovered and the sequence of events worked out. The bomb (put on board by Sikh terrorists) had been placed at station 41 in the fusalage of the 747. This was a crucial part of the aircraft structure, and a blowout there rendered the plane unflyable.

Exactly the same thing seems to have happened to PA103. Randomly, said the investigators, the bomb ended up in the same place.

But how do we know that was random? If the routine was the same every day, with a container waiting with a few interline bags to have the Frankfurt luggage added, and this always went in the same place (likely, if it was the last container loaded), it seems like a great opportunity. Crucially, anyone reading the reports of the Air India disaster would know exactly where to put the bomb, and if they were in a posiiton to observe loading routines at an airport like Heathrow, they might be able to identify such an opportunity deliberately.

I was going to quote a bit more, but he's actually a fair bit off-beam on the specifics, compared to what we learned later. However, if Bedford's container was lying around for quite a while in the interline shed, and then regularly loaded at station 41, what a gift!

This strengthens the theory that the bomb went on board at Heathrow. Indeed, if the bags from Frankfurt could be relied on to go in there (some of them went elsewhere, but it may have been predictable by class or eventual destination), that might also be a method. However, the intimate knowledge of Heathrow procedures necessary to spot that opportuity very much suggests a Heathrow operation.

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Old 19th July 2010, 02:33 PM   #284
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Oh, and another point, the possibility of a bag-switch. Just brainstorming. Is it possible there were two cases lying flat because the bomber pulled out a couple of cases Bedford had already put there, in order to substitute one? Was Bedford sure all the cases he placed in the container were still as he had left them?

Maybe he was disturbed before he could replace them as he found them. Or maybe the two flat cases were intended to maximise the possibility that the outboard one would remain in position?

If it's true that Karen Noonan's suitcase ended up in that position, and the bomb suitcase on top, then indeed there was an element of luck. I'm still not sure how certain that is though.

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Old 28th July 2010, 04:05 AM   #285
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Here's an article, and I realise it's still very early into the investigation, but is very interesting, and appears to come from credible sources in terms of what they appear to anticipate the size and strength of the bomb used to bring down a Jumbo Jet aircraft.

Quote:
The New York Times

December 29, 1988, Thursday, Late City Final Edition

Experts Say Bombing Showed Technical Skill and Resources

BYLINE: By MALCOLM W. BROWNE

SECTION: Section A; Page 10, Column 3; Foreign Desk

LENGTH: 621 words


The bomb that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland last week was so perfectly timed and so devastating that its makers must have had both technical skill and considerable resources, experts said yesterday.

The main ingredient of the bomb, the British authorities said, was an explosive probably belonging to the group known as plastics, explosives that can be molded by the user to any desired shape.

A specialist at the Center for Explosives Technology Research in Socorro, N.M., estimated that up to 30 pounds of plastic must have been used to blow the Boeing 747 jumbo jet apart at 31,000 feet.

The quantity of explosives in the bomb suggests that the attackers were determined to destroy the plane. Small bombs are sometimes smuggled into airliners concealed in flight bags or briefcases, but the quantities of explosives such packages can contain do not insure major damage. They may merely puncture an airplane's skin and cause it to lose pressurization. Casualties and damage may result, but the airplane and most of its passengers are likely to survive, experts say.

Can Withstand a Great Deal
Modern airliners have very hardy fuselages engineered to withstand the enormous stresses created by repeated cabin pressurization and depressurization, as well as the force of wind moving over the aircraft at nearly 500 miles an hour. Even the relatively primitive aircraft of World War II often returned to base after sustaining hits by high-explosive artillery shells.
Plastic explosives are not part of the inventory of commercial blasters, but are common on battlefields, including those of the Middle East.

A favorite weapon during the Vietnam War was the Claymore antipersonnel mine, which was filled with plastic explosive. The explosive could be easily removed from the mine and was often used as an emergency cooking fuel. Plastic has found similar uses in Lebanon.

A large quantity of plastic explosive could be packed in a container inside a suitcase, experts point out, and the contents would probably pass through an airport X-ray inspection machine without attracting attention.

Maximum Damage
The device used to destroy the Pan American World Airways jet was almost certainly set off by an altimeter or the bellows mechanism from an aneroid barometer, some experts say. To achieve the greatest killing power with a bomb in a checked suitcase, an attacker would want to make sure that the bomb would explode in flight and not on the ground. For this, a simple timing device would not suffice since a departure delay would lead to a premature blast.

Until an airliner takes off, the pressure of the air inside it is the same as that outside. But soon after the crew seals the plane's doors for takeoff, air is pumped out of the cabin and baggage hold to create pressure equivalent to that at an altitude of about 5,000 feet; no matter how high the plane subsequently flies, the pressure inside the aircraft is kept at about this level.
A simple altimeter trigger would sense the change of cabin pressure that accompanies takeoff, and would start a mechanical or electronic timer clock. After a certain period, the timer would close an electrical circuit between a small battery and a common blasting cap embedded in the plastic. The explosion of the cap would initiate the detonation shock wave needed to set off the main charge.

The mechanical elements in such a bomb are common to many innocent devices and would scarcely arouse the suspicion of an X-ray operator. Federal Aviation Administration officials and other experts agree that at present, the only certain way to detect bombs intended for airliners would be to examine the contents of each suitcase and package visually.
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Old 28th July 2010, 06:20 AM   #286
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This and similar reports seems to be the basis for Charles's CT, which he explained in more detail on one of the Scotsman comment pages last week. He thinks the "Iranian gent" attached a small Semtex device to the actual baggage container the night before the flight, at the time of the break-in. (People have tried to tell him that it would have been impossible to identify which container was going to be used for PA103A/PA103 luggage as early as that, but he ain't listening.)

Then, he has decided, actual CIA operatives put a much larger device, not an IED but military ordnance, in the airframe itself, because they were concerned that the Iranian device wouldn't destroy the plane. He has decided that because the AAIB report states clearly there was only one IED, that means they're covertly implying there was also something else, just not an IED. The logic seems to be that the revenge had to be by Iranian hands (scratch the idea of just paying Ahmed Jibril to do the job), but that the CIA had agreed to LIHOP as a quid pro quo for the Iranians not going after any more aircraft. The Americans warned the important people not to travel, but college students were expendable and Tiny McKee they actively wanted rid of. The CIA wanted to be sure the plane really did go down spectacularly, to make sure the Iranians need for revenge was satisfied, so they gave it a helping hand.

This is CT logic of prime twoofer grade.

Personally, my own view is that very early reports like this assumed a large device because of the wholesale break-up of the plane. However, further investigation revealed that the break-up had really been triggered by a small device in exactly the wrong place to weaken the plane's structure and allow decompression and wind effects to do the rest.

Inevitably there is selection of evidence to fit the scenario that has been decided on. However, I don't have serious doubts about the eventual description of the small-but-perfectly-placed device. There were far too many AAIB scientists and engineers crawling all over this for anything blatant to be pulled as regards covering up a larger explosion.

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Old 30th July 2010, 09:31 AM   #287
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I wouldn't subscribe to the theory that Charles seems convinced of, but I do wonder about Bedford's bags and their contents.

If we are to assume, quite reasonably, that one of the bags noted by Bedford was likely to have contained the bomb device, there was still the risk that the bags placed on the floor of 4041 would be moved possibly scuppering the whole intended mission. Granted, the risk is considerably diminished relative to putting the thing on in Malta and certainly the best possibility of that we can see of succeeding in bringing down a jumbo without taking the thing on the aircraft yourself.

No samsonite was loaded in Malta via Frankfurt, certainly not one containing a bomb, but Bedford claimed he possibly saw two samonsite's, without doubt one, and there was the remnants on one which was recovered and determined to be the primary suitcase. However, I do wonder what became of the other bag Bedford witnessed. A suitcase, bronze or similar colour, and a Samsonite style or similar. There are no accounts of another similar bag being recovered, damaged or not. This bag apparently was never recovered, didn't exist and Bedford was mistaken, or was reduced to nothingness in the explosion. The latter is not possible given the Lordships acrobatics in determining that both of Bedfords bags came to be relocated.

I don't know if all the baggage, specifically relating to 4041, was subsequently matched to it's appropriate passenger and returned to the victims family, or whether there was a number of bags that were never recovered from the Scottish hillsides after 103 came down. Neither am I sure about what other baggage or contents were shown to have blast damage, aside from Karen Noonan's suitcase and clothing which was determined to have been the bag directly underneath the primary suitcase. We do know some of one Samsonite was recovered, but what of the other one, thought to be ever so similar in colour and style?

I had considered the possibility that the remnants recovered and determined to be the primary suitcase, could possibly be the second suitcase observed by Bedford, while the actual primary suitcase was simply obliterated in the explosion, with Noonan's suitcase being thenext nearest baggage to take the impact of the initial explosion. I have also given consideration to the possibility that if, at least one of the bags observed by Bedford was the primary suitcase, the terrorist who gave them to Kamboj to place in te container, or indeed if they had managed to do this themselves, what was the other bag containing? Even if not a bronze samsonite, as Bedford wasn't completely sure of, then this second bag was still inserted into 4041 while Bedford took his break and at the same time as the primary suitcase was put into 4041, and what exactly would it's purpose be? If we accept that Bedford saw two unknown bags, even allowing for his uncertainty of colour and style, was it simply a supplementary bag that the terrorist thought would look more plausible for someone in the airport to be carrying two bags as oppose to one? Because it would seem this second bag was certainly brought to Kamboj, and possibly placed, into 4041 by the same individual.

I don't imagine it was just an empty case, but there are no reports of another samsonite, or similar recovered, no reports of any other badly damaged clothing and no reports of unclaimed baggage recovered from 4041 or baggage thought to be in4041 was never found in the debris. So what became of this mysterious bag, and what could the contents have been?

Last edited by Buncrana; 30th July 2010 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 30th July 2010, 02:33 PM   #288
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
I wouldn't subscribe to the theory that Charles seems convinced of, but I do wonder about Bedford's bags and their contents.

If we are to assume, quite reasonably, that one of the bags noted by Bedford was likely to have contained the bomb device, there was still the risk that the bags placed on the floor of 4041 would be moved possibly scuppering the whole intended mission. Granted, the risk is considerably diminished relative to putting the thing on in Malta and certainly the best possibility of that we can see of succeeding in bringing down a jumbo without taking the thing on the aircraft yourself.

Whoever these terrorists were, they weren't stupid. I don't see how the bomb could possibly have come in on PA103A, because of the positioning problem. One problem we have is, we're thinking about this problem in a different way from the investigators, so there are some questions we have that nobody has answered. One of these is, what percentage of suitcases in AVE4041 were in a position where an explosion in them would have caused the crash?

It's got to be less than 50%, because the ones in the inboard half of the container wouldn't have done it. I'm not sure about the ones in the outboard half - the ones nearer the top might also have been too far from the hull also. I think 30% of the cases altogether is probably a generous estimate. If you were hatching this plot, would you go for it?

The judges hand-waved this away by noting that even putting the case in the container at Heathrow wouldn't guarantee correct placing, as the loaders on the tarmac might rearrange it all. (I imagine they're right to exclude the tarmac loaders from complicity, it's just too far-fetched.) So, said the Noble Lords, there's no advantage to a Heathrow introduction. It was a pure fluke either way.

I think they're wrong. I think the probability of the correct placing can be significantly improved by a Heathrow loading. Mr. Taylor apparently had a theory about the pattern of suitcase stacking used by the loaders, which suggested that a case the size of the Primary Suitcase, if among the original bags in the container, would tend to end up in the "right" place, but the judges handwaved that away as well, so I don't know how plausible it was.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
No samsonite was loaded in Malta via Frankfurt, certainly not one containing a bomb, but Bedford claimed he possibly saw two samonsite's, without doubt one, and there was the remnants on one which was recovered and determined to be the primary suitcase. However, I do wonder what became of the other bag Bedford witnessed. A suitcase, bronze or similar colour, and a Samsonite style or similar. There are no accounts of another similar bag being recovered, damaged or not. This bag apparently was never recovered, didn't exist and Bedford was mistaken, or was reduced to nothingness in the explosion. The latter is not possible given the Lordships acrobatics in determining that both of Bedfords bags came to be relocated.

I'm fairly sure there was luggage that wasn't recovered. There were bodies that weren't recovered, presumably having fallen into Sherwood Crescent with the engines and being obliterated along with the families who lived there.

I would be extremely surprised if the luggage found on the ground wasn't documented to the nth degree. It was realised very early on that this was a suitcase bomb, so this would be imperative. The cops weren't stupid either, and they would understand the necessity. I suspect the judges' handwaving away of the missing Samsonite was just another example of them using any loophole they can see to support the version they want to support. Oh there were some suitcases never recovered. Oh well that's OK then. (A bit like, Mr. Borg said it wasn't absolutely impossible for an unaccompanied bag to have got on that plane, oh well that's OK then.)

What we don't have is a complete set of documentation of what should have been in AVE4041, and what was found and what wasn't. It might have been slightly complicated because some of the baggage from PA103A didn't go in the container, and I'm not sure if it was sorted - it might have been, first class and standard, also whether it was getting off at New York or going on to Detroit.

I'd have thought such documentation would exist. It's possible that once tray B8849 was identified, they lost interest, but that didn't happen till August so they should have had time to do the work. I just wonder of the political pressure that "the device did not originate at Heathrow" was sufficient to keep the investigation low key. But the defence was proposing this theory, so I'd have thought they would have asked for that information.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
I don't know if all the baggage, specifically relating to 4041, was subsequently matched to it's appropriate passenger and returned to the victims family, or whether there was a number of bags that were never recovered from the Scottish hillsides after 103 came down. Neither am I sure about what other baggage or contents were shown to have blast damage, aside from Karen Noonan's suitcase and clothing which was determined to have been the bag directly underneath the primary suitcase. We do know some of one Samsonite was recovered, but what of the other one, thought to be ever so similar in colour and style?

It's difficult to know what to make of the second suitcase without knowing how sure Bedford was about its description. He doesn't seem all that sure - at one point he seems to have acceded to the suggestion it was blue with red stripes or something!

I had another thought about this. What if the other bag was one of those Bedford had previously loaded, but moved? He doesn't seem sure how many he loaded to begin with, or if they were all still there when he saw the mystery Samsonite. If it was a legit bag, then it would disappear back into its expected provenance. And I don't think we're at all sure what it looked like.

Supposing the terrorist was in the process of rearranging the luggage when Bedford returned, and scarpered quick, leaving it half done? He might have struck it lucky anyway, or come back and finished the job when the container was unattended later. Alternatively, what if the idea was to put the bomb suitcase on the floor on the outboard side, and one of the interline cases was relocated to the corresponding inboard position, in the hope or expectation that they would stay in these positions? Maybe the terrorist thought the tarmac loaders wouldn't disturb anything that was already flat. (Maybe he was almost right, but someone lifted the smaller Samsonite to get Karen Nooonan's larger case underneath it, then shove the smaller Samsonite into the overhang?)

I'm assuming that the key to this plot was having a conspirator who worked or had recently worked in baggage in that area of Heathrow. It really does look as if that container was selected with care, probably for its eventual position at the point of vulnerability of the airframe more than the potential misdirection value of most of its contents being from the Frankfurt flight. Knowing where to put the bomb would seem to be crucial with such a small amount of expolsive.

I always wondered why Bedford put the interline bags on their spines rather than flat, but it's likely this was to enable the tarmac loaders to choose where each bag was placed - like a game of Tetris I think. But if the bags were already flat and reasonably packed, would anyone bother moving them? If I were planning something like this, I'd perhaps want all these bags flat when the container went out to the tarmac, taking what was probably a good bet that nobody would bother rearranging them at that stage.

Maybe what Bedford saw was the start of that exercise, and when he interrupted it the terrorist just got lucky with the final arrangement. Or maybe the terrorist went back to the container when it was unattended after 5 o'clock. I don't know if anyone asked the loaders what configuration the bags were in when the container was passed over to them. If they were used to them all being on their spines, I'd have thought they'd remember if they were presented with them all flat one day.

I'm just brainstorming, but it's an important part of the narrative.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
I had considered the possibility that the remnants recovered and determined to be the primary suitcase, could possibly be the second suitcase observed by Bedford, while the actual primary suitcase was simply obliterated in the explosion, with Noonan's suitcase being thenext nearest baggage to take the impact of the initial explosion. I have also given consideration to the possibility that if, at least one of the bags observed by Bedford was the primary suitcase, the terrorist who gave them to Kamboj to place in te container, or indeed if they had managed to do this themselves, what was the other bag containing? Even if not a bronze samsonite, as Bedford wasn't completely sure of, then this second bag was still inserted into 4041 while Bedford took his break and at the same time as the primary suitcase was put into 4041, and what exactly would it's purpose be? If we accept that Bedford saw two unknown bags, even allowing for his uncertainty of colour and style, was it simply a supplementary bag that the terrorist thought would look more plausible for someone in the airport to be carrying two bags as oppose to one? Because it would seem this second bag was certainly brought to Kamboj, and possibly placed, into 4041 by the same individual.

I don't imagine it was just an empty case, but there are no reports of another samsonite, or similar recovered, no reports of any other badly damaged clothing and no reports of unclaimed baggage recovered from 4041 or baggage thought to be in4041 was never found in the debris. So what became of this mysterious bag, and what could the contents have been?

Well, see my points above. I did wonder if two cases might just have been more plausible, but it's a bit tenuous. I'm sure baggage handlers walk around with single cases all the time. One of the genuine interline bags, used to try to fix the position of the bomb bag?

Gauci's clothes must have been bought by or for the terrorists. If that had been an innocent purchase, maybe someone with more money than time buying Christmas presents, surely the connection would have been made. Either someone who had been in Malta in late November was killed on PA103 after travelling in from Frankfurt, or the person who bought the clothes and passed them on to a dead passenger would surely have come forward.

It would also suggest wholesale fabrication at RARDE, because the presence of bomb fragments in the clothes really must suggest they were in the same suitcase as the bomb. I think the bronze-Samsonite-with-Gauci-clothes-and-Toshiba-radio-with-added-Semtex theory is quite difficult to knock over, and the other suitcase has a different explanation.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd September 2010, 06:17 PM   #289
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I was thinking of reviving this thread anyway, because with Charles making such a Charlie of himself as regards sabotage at London, a number of relevant points have come up. However, this is a different point.

Buncrana recently posted the link to the findings of the Lockerbie FAI, which I hadn't seen. http://www.gla.ac.uk:443/lockerbie/fai.htm This actually gives a very different account of the distribution of luggage in the container. The inquiry ran from 1 October 1990 to 13 February 1991, and took evidence from quite a few of the usual suspects, so to speak.

The sheriff concluded quite definitely that the bomb suitcase came off PA103A, and was probably interlined in to Frankfurt. However, his reasons were based on significantly different evidence from that given to the Zeist court, and there as some quite important stuff missing altogether.

One part that is useful though is this statement.

Quote:
I am also satisfied on a balance of probabilities that it was not associated with any of the passengers who boarded Flight 103 at Heathrow. This decision is based upon the evidence of Detective Constable Henderson who analysed the baggage which was recovered and those pieces which were not recovered and where possible linked each piece with the person accompanying it. He gave evidence to the effect that none of the descriptions given by relatives of the baggage which they expected the victims to have been carrying fitted this suitcase.

This confirms what I thought must be the case, that there was a comprehensive exercise to account for all the luggage that was found and match it to its owners. It also suggests that no passenger had a suitcase that matched the description of the Bedford suitcase!

The reason the suitcase is supposed to have come off PA103A is fairly definite. The sheriff has been told that there were 4 or 5 cases upright in the back of the container and two more lying flat in front of them, before PA103A landed. This is Bedford's evidence, obviously. However, there's no mention of one of them being a brown Samsonite, or of there being anything unusual in the way they appeared or any doubt about them having been x-rayed.

We know that Bedford said all this to the Met on 3rd January 1989, so how did the FAI manage to gloss over it like that? Certainly, the FAI findings explain why nobody picked up on the Bedford evidence until Zeist - there's simply no hint there. (Now I want to see the actual transcripts, which I gather requires a physical trip to Airdrie....) The sheriff simply gives not the slightest hint that there could be anything suspicious about any of these cases.

So he concludes that the bomb bag was one of the Frankfurt cases, precisely because he finds that the Heathrow cases Bedford describes were not moved. He says he finds they stayed where they were and the Frankfurt luggage was simply laid on top of this. And since he does accept that the bomb bag was on the second layer (or possibly sitting vertically in the overhang section), then it must be part of the Frankfurt batch.

No explanation of whether or not the cases on their spines were laid flat, which I imagine they would have been - but that could have implied that one of these cases ended up on top of one of the mystery cases - and so in the right position to be the bomb bag. Also, no explanation at all about any American Tourister belonging to Karen Noonan who came in on the Frankfurt flight being on the floor of the container, and under the bomb bag.

In an inquiry kicking off in October 1990. Over 21 months after the disaster. Did Feraday (for Hayes had left RARDE by then) not come up with the Noonan theory till more than two years after the crash? Is it possible this was dreamed up specially for the Zeist trial? Does anyone have any idea when the Noonan suitcase story first emerged?

The other big surprise is that a search through the document gives precisely zero returns for "Malta". In October 1990, more than a year after the Erac printout appeared, and the Maltese origin of the clothes was revealed, and the D&G detectives became convinced of the Luqa origin of the bomb. Obviously the Erac printout was not presented to the FAI at all.

Originally Posted by FAI findings
WAS THE BOMB BAG INTERLINE AT FRANKFURT?

It is [....] necessary to scrutinise the evidence on the point. Mr Gill argued that the evidence of Detective Constable Henderson established that the bomb bag had not been checked in at Frankfurt according to the documentation there and indeed had not been checked in anywhere in the Pan American system. Had the bag been treated as originating baggage or as an online bag it would have shown up in the documentation. In any event, had it been checked in by a passenger originating at Frankfurt or come in as an online bag it would have been identified as unaccompanied when the passenger failed to show and would have been offloaded. Only if it had come in as interline baggage would it have been allowed to fly in reliance on the x-ray screening. The evidence of Miss Milne showed that this would be one way of getting a piece of baggage into the Pan American system without checking in as a Pan American passenger. The incidence of explosive contact among Frankfurt interline bags as compared with bags originating at Frankfurt indicated that the bags nearest to the site of the explosion were loaded at Frankfurt as interline bags. This was sufficient to establish on a balance of probabilities that the suitcase in question came to Frankfurt as an interline bag. [....]

I have examined the evidence and although I do not think that that of Miss Milne goes as far as Mr Gill suggests, I consider that the probability is that had this suitcase been treated as originating as online baggage it would have been identified as being unaccompanied and offloaded at Frankfurt. Only if it had been interline would it have been allowed to fly unaccompanied. In that situation, I do not think that the possibility of its insertion into the interline system wholly negatives the effect of the explosives statistics, where there is no evidence as to how far such insertion would have been possible. In these circumstances, I am prepared to find that the Samsonite suitcase came into Frankfurt as an interline bag as set out in finding (10) of the determination.

Er, WHAT???? We know from the automated system at Frankfurt that there was no physical separation of interline baggage from the rest of it at Frankfurt. It was all randomised in its bar-coded trays in the belly of the conveyor system, and spewed out at random at gate B44 when the luggage was called for at 15.21. Some time later the gate was changed to B41, and all the luggage had to be carried there by hand. It was loose-loaded. At Heathrow it was unloaded on a rocket, and packed into AVE4041 in some sort of Tetris-like arrangement. We're told that even the Heathrow interline bags could have ended up anywhere after that. Any suggestion that the Frankfurt interline bags might in any way still be segregated is insane. These cases were better shuffled than a Las Vegas pack of cards.

We're also being expected to believe that any online baggage would have been off-loaded by Pan Am at Frankfurt if there had been a no-show passenger. Yeah, right, pull the other one. But that's another reason for blaming an interline bag, all the while never mentioning the words Erac, priintout, Malta or KM180.

Why might it have been important to imply to the FAI that the Bedford bags had remained in place in AVE4041 with the Frankfurt bags piled on top, but then to imply to the Zeist court that the Bedford bags were probably moved to "a far corner of the container" with Frankfurt luggage appearing on the bottom layer?

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Old 4th September 2010, 04:02 AM   #290
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Buncrana recently posted the link to the findings of the Lockerbie FAI, which I hadn't seen. http://www.gla.ac.uk:443/lockerbie/fai.htm

One part that is useful though is this statement.
Originally Posted by FAI findings
Mr Gill argued that the evidence of Detective Constable Henderson established that the bomb bag had not been checked in at Frankfurt according to the documentation there and indeed had not been checked in anywhere in the Pan American system. Had the bag been treated as originating baggage or as an online bag it would have shown up in the documentation.
What documentation? What baggage check-in records from Frankfurt is Henderson using as part of his attempt to match bags with passengers?

Is there other documentation, besides the Erac printout and accompanying cards etc the BKA handed over in August 1989? Taylor makes a point while talking to the Zeist court that the mystery interline bag from KM180 that the crown is making out is the bomb bag that was interlined from Luqa cannot be identified from baggage records. All that the baggage records amount to is that a tray that had a piece of luggage on, could be a suitcase, a cello, a set of golf clubs, was loaded onto the plane.

I'd love to pore through those transcripts as well. I hope one might be allowed to make copies of them somehow to use for further study.

Quote:
It also suggests that no passenger had a suitcase that matched the description of the Bedford suitcase!
More weight to the evidence pile that the Bedford case was the bomb bag, was put into the container in the Heathrow luggage loading area by someone unknown, and that it had probably not been on any flights at all until it took off aboard PA103.

Information about the break-in at Heathrow the previous night was not available until after the Zeist trial had concluded. It's reasonable to make the assumption that if this bag was not from a Heathrow boarding passenger, then it must have been interlined from a connecting flight, if you assume that security is good at Heathrow.

In December 1988 during the Christmas rush, security at Heathrow by all accounts was pretty shoddy. I wonder who covered up the Heathrow break-in and why.

It would seem that not wanting to get blamed and have to foot a multi-million compensation bill is a powerful motive. As is the potential cost of prospective passengers discovering that your security arrangements are poor.
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Old 4th September 2010, 05:25 PM   #291
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
What documentation? What baggage check-in records from Frankfurt is Henderson using as part of his attempt to match bags with passengers?

Is there other documentation, besides the Erac printout and accompanying cards etc the BKA handed over in August 1989? Taylor makes a point while talking to the Zeist court that the mystery interline bag from KM180 that the crown is making out is the bomb bag that was interlined from Luqa cannot be identified from baggage records. All that the baggage records amount to is that a tray that had a piece of luggage on, could be a suitcase, a cello, a set of golf clubs, was loaded onto the plane.

I think he's talking about the Pan Am check-in desk records. Coleman certainly indicates these existed. They're implying that anyone checking anything in through a Pan Am check-in desk and then not showing up to fly would trigger the removal of their luggage from the plane (unless their name was Basuta I suppose....).

So far as I can see, nobody is making them prove this at the FAI. The witnesses are stating in evidence that this is the case, and that is being accepted.

This is probably reasonably kosher - there would be no real reason for anyone to want to disappear these records. On the other hand Coleman indicates that there were discrepancies and the check-in records couldn't disclose how many suitcases there should have been on that plane.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I'd love to pore through those transcripts as well. I hope one might be allowed to make copies of them somehow to use for further study.

Although Bedford gave evidence, they seem to have completely side-stepped any suggestion that there was a bag in that container earlier in the afternoon that could have been the bomb bag, and that might not have been x-rayed. I'd like to know how that was done.

In addition, the forensic evidence was wildly different from at Zeist. The cases Bedford saw definitely didn't move, and the Frankfurt luggage was loaded on top of it. No suggestion of a Frankfurt bag on the bottom layer. And even, the interline and online baggage from Frankfurt was somehow segregated, so you could tell that the explosion had been among the interline Frankfurt baggage!

I'd like to know who gave that forensic evidence and what they actually said. It seems to me that the forensic evidence was scripted to allow the FAI to determine that the bomb had interlined into Frankfurt while at the same time concealing everything that might identify Malta as the origin. Oh yes, and whatever happens, it didn't go on at Heathrow.

This may have been done for defensible reasons (not revealing evidence that would compromise the investigation at Malta), but I don't think it's in any way defensible. It's misleading a court.

And then, when we get to Zeist, and suddenly there's a bag from Frankfurt under the bomb bag and actually these babies were shuffled like a pack of cards out on the tarmac - do we have any better assurances that the forensic experts are playing a straight bat this time, rather than just having re-written the script to suit the changed circumstances?

Ask the Maguire Seven.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
More weight to the evidence pile that the Bedford case was the bomb bag, was put into the container in the Heathrow luggage loading area by someone unknown, and that it had probably not been on any flights at all until it took off aboard PA103.

Yes. It shows that the luggage was extensively reconciled. Presumably Henderson could tell us how many cases were never recovered altogether. And with his records, it should have been a piece of cake to say, well look, this passenger had a brown hardshell that was a bit different, but it could easily be what Bedford saw. Instead, it seems that definitely wasn't the case.

The really bizarre thing is that it should only be a handful of passengers who had to be looked at in that context. The Heathrow interline passengers. The FAI says there were only six or seven cases in the container at Heathrow, the Zeist trial says ten. Whose should these have been? McKee, Gannon, LaRiviere, O'Connor, Carlsson, plus others. I simply don't know how to distinguish Heathrow interline passengers from the rest, on the passenger list. But the investigation should have been able to do it.

Why doesn't Bill Taylor identify these passengers and tell us one by one what luggage they had, if it was found, and what their relatives thought they were carrying? Is it because at least four of them were US spooks of one sort or another? All you have to do is go through the list, and it's a short one, and say here's what they appear to have had, here's what their relatives thought they were carrying, here's what was found, no brown Samsonite and nothing to suggest a legitimate but missing brown Samsonite.

This baffles me entirely.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Information about the break-in at Heathrow the previous night was not available until after the Zeist trial had concluded. It's reasonable to make the assumption that if this bag was not from a Heathrow boarding passenger, then it must have been interlined from a connecting flight, if you assume that security is good at Heathrow.

In December 1988 during the Christmas rush, security at Heathrow by all accounts was pretty shoddy. I wonder who covered up the Heathrow break-in and why.

It would seem that not wanting to get blamed and have to foot a multi-million compensation bill is a powerful motive. As is the potential cost of prospective passengers discovering that your security arrangements are poor.

It could have been interlined into Heathrow just the way it was supposed to have been interlined into Frankfurt, if you can figure a way to prevent the barometric timer going off. Or if you're assuming there was only a digital timer anyway. So why have we no evidence on that point at all? The information appears to exist, but nobody seems to have led it.

It's inexplicable.

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Old 6th September 2010, 08:32 AM   #292
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There was something else that struck me about this "shuffled baggage" theory of the Zeist judges. One of the reports I read said that the bomb was believed to be in the Frankfurt baggage because of the first 15 blast-damaged items of luggage identified, all but one were of Frankfurt origin.

We don't know for sure how many cases were in the container altogether but it was about 45. We don't know how many cases were placed there before PA103A landed, but it seems to have been between seven (FAI) and ten (Zeist judgement). On balance, roughly, we can estimate that between 15% and 20% of the cases in the container were of Heathrow origin.

At the FAI, the sheriff wanted the Heathrow cases to remain undisturbed, so that he could declare the bomb came from Frankfurt. How he got away with this isn't entirely clear to me. The possibility that either the right-hand flat case or one of the cases on their spines had been shifted on top of the left-hand flat case is obviously open, and impossible to refute without positive evidence from the tarmac loaders (which the sheriff did not appear to have). One of the representatives at the FAI stated that he/she was unconvinced that these cases hadn't been moved, but as far as I can see the sheriff just ignored her. So, as the explosion was determined to have been on the second layer, and there was only one suitcase flat on the floor at that point, that'll do.

At Zeist, the situation was different. One suspects that leaving the Heathrow cases undisturbed was a no-no, because that would leave the Bedford suitcase in the position of being immediately below the position where the detonation had been determined to occur. It hadn't been recovered damaged but innocent. It would have been way too easy for the defence to cast doubt on the conclusion that the bomb suitcase hadn't been on the bottom layer, and had indeed been the Bedford suitcase.

In addition, holding to the line that the Heathrow cases couldn't have been moved at all would have been exceedingly difficult at Zeist. I believe the tarmac loaders were called at that hearing, though I haven't read their testimony. But obviously they weren't going to say they never, ever moved a case from where Bedford had placed it! This immediately leaves open the possibility (indeed likelihood) of a degree of rearrangement at Heathrow leading to most of the Heathrow cases being in the bottom two or three layers, thus the primary suitcase being likely to be one of these.

Their best bet at this point seems to have been to determine that the luggage was randomly shuffled during the tarmac transfer, with the Heathrow bags thus appearing anywhere at all, possibly "a far corner of the container". This is probably the best that could have been done as regards handwaving away the Bedford suitcase, because if it was close to its original position, and wasn't among the identified blast-damaged luggage (which it wasn't), that suggests it's been blown to smithereens.

I'm now rather doubtful how strong the forensic evidence really was that Karen Noonan's suitcase was definitely under the bomb bag. If it was a reasonably compelling inference, why hadn't it been made by the time of the FAI (2 years after the incident)? On the other hand, if it's becoming clear before the trial that suggesting the Bedford suitcase had definitely been moved, and possibly quite far away, is the way to go, what better way to achieve that inference than for there to have been one of the Frankfurt bags in the position it was originally seen? I think Caustic Logic has looked at the primary evidence for this in more detail, perhaps he could comment?

However, if we do assume the Heathrow luggage was randomly distributed after the tarmac transfer, the finding that of 15 blast-damaged bags only one was of Heathrow origin doesn't help either.

There's really no way to suggest that the Heathrow bags would have been selectively removed from the location of the eventual explosion. (Probably the contrary, as these bags were there first they're more likely to have been near the bottoom, and the explosion occurred near the bottom.) So if only one of 16 (the 15 identified blast-damaged bags plus the bomb suitcase itself) was of Heathrow origin, this doesn't really compute. That's only 6% of that group of bags being of Heathrow origin, when we know 15-20% of the bags in the container were of Heathrow origin. If on the other hand the bomb bag was also of Heathrow origin, that's 12.5% of that group being of Heathrow origin, which is in fact more in accordance with the random distribution theory.

The blind determination not to consider the possibility that the bomb was one of the cases Bedford saw in the container before PA103A landed, is really striking.

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Old 6th September 2010, 09:40 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm now rather doubtful how strong the forensic evidence really was that Karen Noonan's suitcase was definitely under the bomb bag. If it was a reasonably compelling inference, why hadn't it been made by the time of the FAI (2 years after the incident)?
Good question.

Originally Posted by Zeist Judgement
it appeared to Mr Claiden that, assuming that an explosive device was contained in a piece of luggage in the container, the likelihood was that that piece of luggage was not lying on the floor of the container but was lying probably on top of a case on the floor and projecting into the overhang of the container. Ascertainment of the precise
location of the explosive device was assisted by consideration of the damage to the adjacent container AVN 7511. ... Combining that information with the damage to AVE 4041, the likely position of an explosive device was about 13" above the floor of AVE 4041. ... We found the evidence of
Mr Claiden wholly credible, reliable and compelling so far as it went. He was not however an expert on explosives or the effects of explosives.

The conclusion reached by Dr Hayes and Mr Feraday as to the position of the explosive device coincided with that of Mr Claiden, and in addition Mr Feraday was present at tests in the USA.
These tests involved the use of luggage filled metal containers and the placing of plastic explosives within Toshiba radio cassette players in a garment filled suitcase.
The tests confirmed the opinion he expressed as to the position of the explosive device and the quantity of explosive involved. [link]
I am not an explosives expert either, but my lay-understanding from reading the AAIB report is that the basic configuration of bomb case not being on the floor of the container but on top of a n other bag, and that bag projecting into the overhang section is pretty much spot on.

I've spent a bunch of time this summer loading trucks with equipment, some of it in varying sized boxes, and some of it loose. I work with another guy and between the two of us we have a highly honed loading procedure, we are loading the same stuff each time more or less into the same trucks.

I'd suggest as far as loading of luggage containers goes, that once an employee has loaded a container a number of times then there will emerge a "best way" of loading it, seeing as most luggage is of the same basic design. Some of the luggage will be bags, some will be suitcases, some will be wheely grandma trolleys, some will be ruck-sacks etc. Baggage loaders presumably want to load as much as they can into each container to save time, and also want to load it in such a way so the contents don't get smashed by the time the plane gets to where it's going.

I have no problem with bags being moved about a bit to put a bag beneath one so that it fits better and uses the space more effectively. Wholesale shuffling around of the entire container seems very unlikely. That would have taken time, and they were loading this plane quickly once PA103A came in to ensure the plane departed on time.

Originally Posted by Zeist judgement
It was argued on behalf of the accused that the suitcase described by Mr Bedford could well have been the primary suitcase, particularly as the evidence did not disclose that any fragments of a hard-shell Samsonite-type suitcase had been recovered, apart from those of the primary suitcase itself. It was accepted, for the purposes of this argument, that the effect of forensic evidence was that the suitcase
could not have been directly in contact with the floor of the container. It was
submitted that there was evidence that an American Tourister suitcase, which had travelled from Frankfurt, fragments of which had been recovered, had been very intimately involved in the explosion and could have been placed under the suitcase spoken to by Mr Bedford. That would have required rearrangement of the items in the container, but such rearrangement could easily have occurred when the baggage
from Frankfurt was being put into the container on the tarmac at Heathrow. It is true that such a rearrangement could have occurred, but if there was such a rearrangement, the suitcase described by Mr Bedford might have been placed at some more remote corner of the container, and while the forensic evidence dealt with all the items recovered which showed direct explosive damage, twenty-five in total, there were many other items of baggage found which were not dealt with in detail in the evidence in the case.
That's the Zeist judgements take on the shuffling. They are saying in other words, that the defense argued that the Bedford case was the bomb case, and some re-arranging occured during loading, and that the Bedofrd case almost had to be the bomb case as no other brown samsonite was ever found.

The judges then say that as none of the other luggage was looked at in detail during the case that they don't accept this argument, and further that because during such re-arranging as must have occured for the Noonan case to end up under the Bedford case, then it might be so that the Bedford case was moved to a far flung corner of the baggage container and was simply lost and never found at all. In fact it must have been moved such that it was no longer intimately involved with the explosion (else it would have been examined in detail), or it must have been totally vapourised during the explosion for the Zeist judgements view on what happend to be the correct one.

That strikes me as a staggering torturing of the evidence in order to make the Luqa story and thus the case against Megrahi stick.
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Old 6th September 2010, 02:57 PM   #294
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I am not an explosives expert either, but my lay-understanding from reading the AAIB report is that the basic configuration of bomb case not being on the floor of the container but on top of a n other bag, and that bag projecting into the overhang section is pretty much spot on.

Fair enough. I note it was only 10 inches at the FAI though. Ten inches is about the average depth of a suitcase. I just wonder whether one would necessarily expect the pitting they were looking for on the floor of the container if the bag had been on the floor - if maybe a thick tweed jacket or something was under the radio?

I'm just not sure how far a desire not to implicate Heathrow might have infiltrated the investigation even from an early stage.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I've spent a bunch of time this summer loading trucks with equipment, some of it in varying sized boxes, and some of it loose. I work with another guy and between the two of us we have a highly honed loading procedure, we are loading the same stuff each time more or less into the same trucks.

I'd suggest as far as loading of luggage containers goes, that once an employee has loaded a container a number of times then there will emerge a "best way" of loading it, seeing as most luggage is of the same basic design. Some of the luggage will be bags, some will be suitcases, some will be wheely grandma trolleys, some will be ruck-sacks etc. Baggage loaders presumably want to load as much as they can into each container to save time, and also want to load it in such a way so the contents don't get smashed by the time the plane gets to where it's going.

I think it must be a bit like a game of Tetris, and obviously you get better at it with practice. I believe Mr. Taylor tried to show that a case such as Bedford described would have been likely to end up in the position of the bomb bag, but this wasn't accepted.

Interestingly, one suggestion at the FAI was that the bomb suitcase could have been upright within the overhang section, with its base partially resting on the bottom case in the flat stack. In that case, Karen Noonan's case wasn't beow it.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I have no problem with bags being moved about a bit to put a bag beneath one so that it fits better and uses the space more effectively. Wholesale shuffling around of the entire container seems very unlikely. That would have taken time, and they were loading this plane quickly once PA103A came in to ensure the plane departed on time.

They were doing it faster than usual too, because PA103A was quite a bit late, and yet PA103 still left on time. Why would they pull cases out that were already in the container? They'd be far more likely just to rearrange what was there maybe with some of the earliest bags off the rocket on the bottom layer. I suspect most of the Heathrow bags were on the lower layers and the upper layers were nearly all Frankfurt bags,

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
That's the Zeist judgements take on the shuffling. They are saying in other words, that the defense argued that the Bedford case was the bomb case, and some re-arranging occured during loading, and that the Bedofrd case almost had to be the bomb case as no other brown samsonite was ever found.

The judges then say that as none of the other luggage was looked at in detail during the case that they don't accept this argument, and further that because during such re-arranging as must have occured for the Noonan case to end up under the Bedford case, then it might be so that the Bedford case was moved to a far flung corner of the baggage container and was simply lost and never found at all. In fact it must have been moved such that it was no longer intimately involved with the explosion (else it would have been examined in detail), or it must have been totally vapourised during the explosion for the Zeist judgements view on what happend to be the correct one.

That strikes me as a staggering torturing of the evidence in order to make the Luqa story and thus the case against Megrahi stick.

Staggering is about it.

Either that suitcase was the bomb bag, or Bedford was simply mistaken and completely mis-described the suitcase he saw, or there was no suitcase, or it was all a different day or something. I suspect the court would have liked to say he was mistaken, but couldn't make it stick. If he really told that tale to the Met only 13 days after the bombing, before anyone in the investigation had cottoned on that the bomb bag was a brownish Samsonite, it's awfully hard to handwave away.

The report from the FAI that all the luggage was reconciled as far as possible with the passengers and there was no missing suitcase of the description of the bomb suitcase is pretty damning. Even if all that meant was that there was no missing 26" Samsonite of exactly the same model as the bomb bag, given that this information existed it should have been fairly easy to show that there was another suitcase sort of matching Bedford's description either recovered undamaged, or reported missing by a relative. Or even that a specific passenger's luggage hadn't been recovered, and wasn't known not to have been a brownish Samsonite.

The really baffling part is, if the Bedford suitcase wasn't the bomb bag, it was innocent luggage belonging to one of the Heathrow interline passengers. There seem to have been very few of these. How come we don't hear all about who they were, what luggage they had, and who might have had a brownish Samsonite that ended up in Sherwood Crescent? From Bill Taylor, if nobody else! Or is this in the transcripts, and we haven't come across it yet?

And another point. I see the judgement just says Karen Noonan's case was probably under the bomb suitcase. Maybe Caustic Logic can tell us how probable that was really held to be? Just a Feraday deduction, late in the say, maybe? I'm just remembering an apocryphal story that Bernt Carlsson's girlfriend never got any of his belongings back, but was shown a very badly damaged case that was supposed to have been under the bomb bag. Bernt Carlsson was of course one of the Heathrow interline passengers. If the case under the bomb bag was on of that group of cases, it once again opens the possibility that the terrorist managed to return after Bedford had gone on his break and push things around so that the bomb suitcase was exactly where he wanted it....

This is just brainstorming, but realising that the investigation was presenting this evidence any which way it liked according to how best to present the inference that the bomb was interlined into Frankfurt has made me question the luggage arrangement all over again.

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Old 9th September 2010, 04:48 PM   #295
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I'm still thinking about the sorting of the luggage coming off PA103A. One or two sources say this happened - it wasn't just a blind shoving of everything that came off that plane bound for the USA into AVE4041. This seems to be where Charles got his idea about the container just being for first class luggage, although he's wrong about that. I also think there was some sorting at Frankfurt, so that New York and Detroit luggage was segregated.

One of the articles Buncrana unearthed goes into this a bit. It's the Sunday Times Insight article from 1st January, only ten days after the crash, so I'm not quite sure how accurate the facts are going to be - there are in fact some obvious errors in the article. But the luggage sorting should have been ascertainable, and why print it if it's wrong? As an aside, it reads as if the reporter doesn't know for sure this was the container with the bomb in it, which is probably what you'd expect at this very early stage.

Originally Posted by Sunday Times
The Frankfurt baggage was manhandled off the 727 and moved across the tarmac to the 747, where it was divided. Baggage bound for Detroit and a few pieces for New York were put in a container and loaded in the rear cargo hold with the baggage checked in at Heathrow. The rest of the baggage bound for New York and first-class luggage was loose-loaded on to a pallet and placed in the forward cargo hold.

The author must have got the forward and rear holds mixed up, because we know the container went in the forward hold. He does say, however, that first class baggage definitely didn't go on, and that the container was mostly Detroit stuff.

Given that NY was the first stop, it would make sense to have the NY baggage near the top, as well as separating out the first class baggage. That way they woudn't have to disturb the deeper areas of the container at all at New York. However, there would be little point to this is there was either NY or first class stuff at the bottom, having been pre-loaded from interline flights.

We know three Heathrow interline passengers who were definitely flying first class - Carlsson, McKee and Gannon. I don't know who was going to Detroit. Judging by their addresses I'd have guessed McKee, LaRiviere and O'Connor were all headed there. Carlsson lived in New York and wasn't the conference he was headed for on the east coast?

So I'm wondering, would the interline baggage already in the container have been deliberately taken out fo it could be sorted by class and destination along with the Frankfurt stuff? What would be the point of having first-class luggage for NY on the bottom of that container, if the frankfurt luggage was sorted like that?

But if this was the case, that would surely have been known about by the time of the FIA, so why on earth would the sheriff have deliberately ruled that the Heathrow baggage wasn't disturbed? But then, apparently the Zeist trial was told that the bags could have been moved.

Only could. The judges were so desperate to consign that bloody case to "a far corner of the container" that I'm pretty sure they'd have highlighted it if they'd been told the Heathrow luggage would have been sorted along with the Frankfurt stuff. Especially as that might have implied that the suitcase might not even have ended up in AVE4041, but on the loose-loaded pallet.

Or is it possible that the Heathrow interline luggage was pre-sorted at Heathrow, in the interline shed? And that the stuff in the container was in fact the Detroit stuff and/or the pleb class stuff? So it could just be left there rather than sorted with the rest on the tarmac?

That could explain why there were so few cases. But it that case, where did the others go? Bedford never mentions this. And this sorting would definitely have left McKee's case not in the container - first class passerger, as far as we know bound for NY), sorry Charles. But then, wasn't his case a bit blast-damaged? And an apocryphal story says that Carlsson's case (also first class NY) was blasted to bits.

Maybe someone could show me where to read Mr. Taylor's speech on this, the 20 points saying it was a Heathrow loading? Paul Foot says he went into a lot of detail, and surely he describes the sorting or whatever in the course of that.

ETA: If there was going to be any sorting at that stage, then the bomb bag, if it was loaded at Heathrow, must have had a tag.

Rolfe.
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Old 9th September 2010, 05:45 PM   #296
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Just for comparison.

Originally Posted by FAI, 1991
The evidence of various loaders was to the effect that six or seven bags from the interline shed were put into the container there and that four or five of them were probably placed standing upright at the back of the container with two lying flat on the floor towards the front of it. The container was then taken to the departure area where it was left outside the office of Pan American Airways. At about 1745 hours the container was taken out to Pan American Flight 103A which had arrived from Frankfurt and baggage from that aircraft destined for New York was added to the bags already in the container until it was full. On all the evidence I consider it is probable that bags from flight 103A were placed on top of the two interline bags lying flat at the front of the container. It is, of course, possible that one of these interline bags was removed from the container and later replaced in the container on top of the bottom layer of bags but I consider this to be the less likely situation.

Originally Posted by Zeist judgement, 2001
It was accepted, for the purposes of this argument, that the effect of forensic evidence was that the suitcase could not have been directly in contact with the floor of the container. It was submitted that there was evidence that an American Tourister suitcase, which had travelled from Frankfurt, fragments of which had been recovered, had been very intimately involved in the explosion and could have been placed under the suitcase spoken to by Mr Bedford. That would have required rearrangement of the items in the container, but such rearrangement could easily have occurred when the baggage from Frankfurt was being put into the container on the tarmac at Heathrow. It is true that such a rearrangement could have occurred, but if there was such a rearrangement, the suitcase described by Mr Bedford might have been placed at some more remote corner of the container, and while the forensic evidence dealt with all the items recovered which showed direct explosive damage, twenty-five in total, there were many other items of baggage found which were not dealt with in detail in the evidence in the case.

What the hell was going on here? Did they deliberately conceal the true evidence from the FAI, or was the whole Tourister and rearrangement of the luggage only dreamed up after 1991?

Rolfe.
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Old 9th September 2010, 06:41 PM   #297
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

Maybe someone could show me where to read Mr. Taylor's speech on this, the 20 points saying it was a Heathrow loading? Paul Foot says he went into a lot of detail, and surely he describes the sorting or whatever in the course of that.
Taylors speech runs day 80 through to some of day 84. Paul Foot is right, it's a lot of detail.

He gets into the loading IIRC on day 82.
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Old 9th September 2010, 07:00 PM   #298
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Whilst looking over Flight from justice again looking for a refernce to help find Taylors speech part,this jumped out at me.

Originally Posted by Flight from Justice, quoting Zeist trial
Lord Sutherland: Thank you very much, Mr Salinger. That’s all.

Salinger: That’s all? You’re not letting me tell the truth. Wait a
minute. They’re not letting me tell the truth. I know exactly who did
it. I know exactly how it was done. You have to do that here.

Lord Sutherland: Mr Salinger, we will run the court in accordance with
our normal principles. We rely upon counsel in this court to ask
the questions that they think are relevant, and we will deal with
that information. If you wish to make a point somewhere, you may
do so elsewhere, but I’m afraid you may not do so in this court.
This is Pierre Salinger, he gave evidence on day 72 [pg8856 of the transcripts] about interviews he conducted in Libya with Fhimah, Megrhahi, and Ghadaffi which were organised via Ibrahim Bishari, Libyan foreign minister and happened on 26th/27th November 1991.

Salinger was press secretary to JFK, and chief foreign correspondent for ABC news for 15 years, 5 of which he spent investigating the Lockerbie case.

According to Wikipedia "In a 1989 ABC Prime Time Live Special, he and his producer, Lex Coleman named the so-called "Kenyan Three" as the masterminds of the bombing. The program won an Emmy Award"

That's Lex Coleman of 'Trail of the Octopus'.

At the risk of branching out into a new thread, has anyone come across the "Kenyan Three" or Salingers theory? and is it possible to get hold of a copy of his ABC 1989 program, and or any of ABC programs circa late Nov 1991 onwards that include any of the interview footage he told the court he made in Libya?
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Old 10th September 2010, 02:58 AM   #299
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Whilst looking over Flight from justice again looking for a refernce to help find Taylors speech part,this jumped out at me.

This is Pierre Salinger, he gave evidence on day 72 [pg8856 of the transcripts] about interviews he conducted in Libya with Fhimah, Megrhahi, and Ghadaffi which were organised via Ibrahim Bishari, Libyan foreign minister and happened on 26th/27th November 1991.

Salinger was press secretary to JFK, and chief foreign correspondent for ABC news for 15 years, 5 of which he spent investigating the Lockerbie case.

According to Wikipedia "In a 1989 ABC Prime Time Live Special, he and his producer, Lex Coleman named the so-called "Kenyan Three" as the masterminds of the bombing. The program won an Emmy Award"

That's Lex Coleman of 'Trail of the Octopus'.

At the risk of branching out into a new thread, has anyone come across the "Kenyan Three" or Salingers theory? and is it possible to get hold of a copy of his ABC 1989 program, and or any of ABC programs circa late Nov 1991 onwards that include any of the interview footage he told the court he made in Libya?

Hmmm, this is the Pierre Salinger who was making a documentary in the 1990s and went to Libya to interview Megrahi, who must have been under house arrest at that time (ah, you've posted the details I see, it was immediately following the indictments). Megrahi took the "deny everything" option, which seems understandable to some extent under the circumstances. Parts of that were dredged up and incorporated into the recent STV documentary, to show what a bad lot Megrahi is.

One of the things that shocked me about the court judgement was that the judges decided that his having lied to Salinger was evidence against him! If he'd lied in court, I could have seen their point, but last time I looked it wasn't a crime to tell lies to a journalist, especially with the motive of self-preservation. (Duggan is going round declaring that Megrahi lied on oath, but as he never took the witness stand, that's another spurious allegation.)

I think Foot highlighted that quote to show how intransigent the judges were. I can sympathise with them to some extent though. Salinger was a prosecution witness, and it was hardly his role to tell the court of his personal alternative theory to the prosecution case. It's for the defence to present the defence case, and for him to approach the defence lawyers if he thinks he has material that will be helpful to them.

I suppose it's the same Coleman - Lex, Lester, and I know Lester Coleman worked in TV. But there's nothing in Trail of the Octopus about any "Kenyan Three" that I recall, and indeed, was Coleman even involved with the Lockerbie affair as early as 1989?

Rolfe.
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Old 10th September 2010, 05:41 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
(Duggan is going round declaring that Megrahi lied on oath, but as he never took the witness stand, that's another spurious allegation.)
I try and just flat out ignore Duggan entirely. I can't express how I feel about him without giving the autocensor a good workout.

Quote:
I think Foot highlighted that quote to show how intransigent the judges were. I can sympathise with them to some extent though. Salinger was a prosecution witness, and it was hardly his role to tell the court of his personal alternative theory to the prosecution case.
I agree with the judges here, I just find it odd that there is little to no mention of any "Kenyan Three" which was Salingers theory assuming wikipedia is accurate, anywhere in all of the documentation available, and that having been told to go make a TV program in effect by the trial judges, that despite Megrahi being found guilty he seemed to have done little to nothing about telling anyone who "really did it".

Quote:
and indeed, was Coleman even involved with the Lockerbie affair as early as 1989?
As far as I can tell yes he was. He had an "o ****" moment when the plane went down according to Octopus, and was pretty sure that the DEA drugs op was somehow responsible from then on.

According to the book:
Originally Posted by Trail Of the Octopus
The day after the disaster, Lester Coleman was interviewed by Tom Brokaw on the NBC network's 'Nightly News' as an expert on Middle East terrorism. Although it had yet to be shown that Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb, the media had assumed from the start that a Palestinian terrorist group was responsible, and Coleman shared that opinion.
FWIW part of the reason that I find Coleman to be a reasonably credible source is the fact that he was used by major US networks as a TV pundit on the middle east. Maybe I am being naive, but I don't think you get that position without having a reasonable knowledge of what is actually going on there.
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Old 10th September 2010, 06:36 AM   #301
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Yes, but going on from your quote,

Originally Posted by Chapter 2
The Libyans probably had a role in it, he told Brokaw, because they had a large cache of Semtex explosives and about 20,000 pounds of C4, its American equivalent, supplied by CIA renegade Edmund Wilson. They also had access to electronic timers and other components, and the necessary expertise to construct a sophisticated explosive device. For some years, he said, the Libyans had acted as quartermasters for terrorist groups around the world.
Coleman went on to suggest that the Iranians had probably inspired the attack and commissioned Syrian-backed terrorists to carry it out, but that part of the interview was not aired.
If Brokaw had asked him how they had managed to get a bomb aboard Flight 103, Coleman would have had to pass, because he didn't know he knew.

It wasn't till April 1989 that Sheila Hershow contacted him about Jafaar, and he immediately realised that a DEA drug courier had been on the plane.

Originally Posted by Chapter 3
'Okay,' she said. 'I'm going to send you a picture. And I want you to tell me if you know who it is. If you ever saw him before. Will you do that for me?'
'Sure. Why not? Is it somebody I knew out there?'
'I don't know. You tell me.'
The picture was faxed to him two days later. It was of a young man, an Arab, about 20 years old, and, after penciling in a moustache, Coleman recognized him at once.
'That's Khalid Nazir Jafaar,' he told Hershow. 'Nice kid. We used to call him Nazzie.'
'Well, well,' she said. 'That's interesting. You mind telling me how you know him?'
'Nazzie was one of the boys, one of Hurley's people. The DEA had a front operation in Nicosia, down the street from the embassy. The Eurame Trading Company. That's where I worked. And that's where I met Nazzie. Saw him there several times.'
'Well, well,' she said again. There was a funny note in her voice. 'The Jafaars -- they're into heroin, right?'
'Biggest in the Bekaa. Or they were until the Syrians moved in. The Jafaars were Lucky Luciano's heroin connection. They go back a long way in the dope business.'
'This kid, Nazzie -- are you saying he worked for the DEA?'
'Oh, sure. And probably for the CIA as well. Seemed like the whole damn family were CIA assets.'
'But why? I mean, why would they want to work for the US government?'
'Why? Hell, the Jafaars'll work for anybody against the Syrians -- they hate 'em so bad. They'd do anything to get Assad off their backs.'
'Okay. So what did he do?'
'Nazzie? Well, he was under age to be an informant, so he was probably on the DEA books as a subsource. I know for a fact he ran two or three controlled deliveries of heroin into Detroit.'
'You mean he was a DEA courier?'
'Among other things. But how come you're interested in Nazzie?'
'You don't know?'
'No, I kind of lost touch with those people when I got back here, you know how it is. I've no idea what he's doing now.'
'He's dead,' she said.
'Yeah? Oh. Well, I'm sorry to hear that. Like I say, he was a nice kid. But I'm not surprised. It's a tough business.'
'Yeah. He was on Flight 103 when it went down.'
Coleman chewed that over.
'No ****,' he said.
That probably explained everything.
And when she went on to say that at least two intelligence agents had also died with Nazzie Jafaar, having switched to Flight 103 through RA Travel Masters of Nicosia, the DEA's travel agents on Cyprus, he knew without a doubt that his life was in danger.

[And as an aside, if this is all so dynamite and the book was suppressed, I'm not entirely sure why it's now public domain, free to reproduce, with no interference that I can see.]

That's still early enough to have been making TV programmes about the matter the same year. However, why nothing about any "Kenyan Three" in Trail of the Octopus then? Is it possible the wiki statement is just disinfo from someone? As far as I remember, Coleman thinks it was the Palestinians, just like the rest of us, and his main point of difference is simply that he believes Jafaar's bag was switched at Frankfurt (a la Aviv) rather than the bomb being loaded at Heathrow as the Bedford suitcase.

Odd.

Coleman is a lot of the reason I don't believe Mama Jafaar or the other people who declare that Khalid was just a very lucky 20-year-old who got to fly to the Lebanon a lot, to visit his old grandparents or something. Or the people who declare that the farmer who reported finding the suitcase containing heroin was just mistaken, and had agreed that during a surprisingly confidential police interview.

Rolfe.
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Old 11th September 2010, 08:07 AM   #302
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Yes, but going on from your quote,

It wasn't till April 1989 that Sheila Hershow contacted him about Jafaar, and he immediately realised that a DEA drug courier had been on the plane.
You're probably right, it's been a while since read the whole thing and I was likely mis-remembering.


Quote:
[And as an aside, if this is all so dynamite and the book was suppressed, I'm not entirely sure why it's now public domain, free to reproduce, with no interference that I can see.]
Way back in ye dimme and distante past ... linky

The meat of which is:

Quote:
The publication of Coleman's book "Trail of the Octopus" was halted by U.S. federal courts because of DIA claims of libel. ... While attempting to clear his book for publication, Coleman submitted an affidavit that a bag of heroin, bound for a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) drug sting, was switched for a bag of explosives on Pan Am 103. A federal judge declared it false and ordered Coleman arrested for perjury. He was released several months later and fled to Sweden where he was granted political asylum. Coleman was later subpoenaed to testify at the Lockerbie trial, but was prevented since he had been found guilty of perjury as part of the court proceedings to block the publication of his book. He was later cleared of perjury by a court of appeal. The judges issued a sealed ruling, which meant that Coleman and his lawyers couldn't read why his conviction was overturned.

Since publication was blocked in the USA, Coleman declared his book public domain ...
Interestingly from that (assuming of course that it is accurate) we learn that Coleman was found guilty of perjury because of his book, in a sealed ruling he was cleared of this charge, but in the time that had elapsed for that to work through the system, he was prevented from testifying at the Zeist trial entirely.

It strikes me that since his book was released to all and sundry as public domain, that the US could not put the cat back into the bag, so went about discrediting him entirely, eventually he was incarcerated for the passport charge. As far as I know he is still presently behind bars.

Quote:
However, why nothing about any "Kenyan Three" in Trail of the Octopus then?
I wonder the same thing, and would love to watch the program from which wiki claims the "kenyan Three" is sourced.

Quote:
As far as I remember, Coleman thinks it was the Palestinians, just like the rest of us, and his main point of difference is simply that he believes Jafaar's bag was switched at Frankfurt (a la Aviv) rather than the bomb being loaded at Heathrow as the Bedford suitcase.
Thats how I remember Colemans take on things as well.
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Old 20th September 2010, 05:10 AM   #303
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I've often wondered about this coincidental break-in at Heathrow, around the Pan Am gate no less in the early hours of 21st December, the spotting of the suitcases by Bedford, the cover-up going on at Frankfurt to conceal something that was obviously going on over there. Is there any connection between these three apparently unconnected events, and Mr Taheri's note book containing an address of a PLFP safehouse? Coincidentally, again.

Nevertheless, as I'm quite confident that the bomb was ingested at Heathrow, Mr Taheri's journey on 103A, and that aircraft's quick transfer of baggage onto Clipper Maid of the Seas, would imply if he had managed to take the device onto the Frankfurt leg of the flight, there still remains a large element fortune in hoping the bag (Taheri is asked about luggage but we don't seem to have a concise answer) would be placed in the hold where it would have to be in order to exact the damage required to a Jumbo Jet.

Although I do wonder about the possibility that the elements of the bomb and suitcase arriving separately at Heathrow. At the moment it's nothing more than speculation, but it has been niggling me for some time. Is it possible the bomb and radio cassette arrived at Heathrow via the break-in, and the suitcase and clothing arrived later in the day by some other method - perhaps from completely unconnected flight arriving at Heathrow? If there is a connection between the break-in and the bombing, would this perhaps explain the unusual period of time between the two events, and the apparent near miss by all those who boarded Pan Am 101 to Washington a few hours before 103?

Would it make sense for the radio cassette bomb, and the suitcase (containing otherwise innocent garments) would arrive by different methods and then be put together at Heathrow, before being dropped off at the Interline shed manned by Kamboj, and then spotted by Bedford? Certainly, the break-in avoids the usual risks of detection by security, baggage handlers or x-ray, if you're looking solely at a bomb or it's components, although in order for it to pass the final required check in order to be inserted into 4041, at the interline shed, then some concealment is still required, hence the suitcase, radio and innocent looking clothing.

It's the extremely tight schedule between the arriving flight from Frankfurt, and the departure of 103, that makes me think highly unlikely that there would there be any possibility of either altering the baggage from the Frankfurt flight, or the risk that a bag from Frankfurt, if containing the device, would be placed exactly where desired on 103? Of course, if it were even shown that the bomb was actually considerably more powerful than was originally concluded, then all the assumptions of the bag needing to be pretty precisely positioned, are all out the window, and indeed I would find Frankfurt ingestion theory far more plausible, although on balance still favouring a Heathrow introduction.
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Old 20th September 2010, 03:56 PM   #304
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For reference, I brought up Mr. Taheri in the other thread. Weird case.He's in that class with Abu Talb that had the defense considering him in their specialdefense of incrimination. It didn't seem to go anywhere other than "isn't that odd?"

What do you think of the idea that he was part of a decoy operation, perhaps incorporating the Helsinki warning? By distracting from Heathrow and to Frankfurt, it would support London intro, wouldn't it?
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Old 21st September 2010, 04:54 AM   #305
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
For reference, I brought up Mr. Taheri in the other thread. Weird case.He's in that class with Abu Talb that had the defense considering him in their specialdefense of incrimination. It didn't seem to go anywhere other than "isn't that odd?"

What do you think of the idea that he was part of a decoy operation, perhaps incorporating the Helsinki warning? By distracting from Heathrow and to Frankfurt, it would support London intro, wouldn't it?
Hmm..it would seem slightly odd that on his return from Heathrow was when he was initially questioned and the address in his notebook was one of the houses raided in the Autumn Leaves operation. To me, this would immediately alert me towards Heathrow, rather than away from it. Although, as his journey started at Frankfurt, it would also draw attention there. However, we don't seem to know if his luggage was simply hand luggage or was it a suitcase and loaded into the hull?

Plane explodes after leaving Heathrow, and Iranian man who flew from Frankfurt on main feeder to downed flight then returns from Heathrow 4 days later with known bomb makers address in pocket?.. That's more than just a bit strange.

Quote:
Q Did you learn that one such passenger was called Parviz Taheri?
A Yes.

Q Did you also come to learn that he was due to return to Frankfurt from London on the 25th of December of 1988?
A Yes.

Q Did you go to meet him on his return at Frankfurt Airport?
A I knew which flight he was arriving on, and I met him at the airport.
Going to meet him at the airport? This sounds rather curious indeed.

Did the German investigators use this kind of method as standard in interviewing people who were originally on 103A and who returned to Frankfurt after the bombing? Obviously, I'd expect the passengers on 103A who had travelled to Heathrow and due on a return flight would be interviewed and investigated, but where the Germans already aware of his possible connection to the PLFP cell disrupted in October hence meeting him on his return at the airport, when I would have thought an arrangement or appointment to meet the passenger would be at their local police station at their convenience?

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Old 21st September 2010, 05:10 AM   #306
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Actually reading that testimony from Fuhl simply stretches the incredulity beyond breaking point if you consider that here we have a German investigator aware of a certain passenger arriving back from Heathrow and waiting at Frankfurt airport on Christmas Day to question him no less. No hanging about there by the Germans.

But no one had thought to secure Frankfurts baggage and loading records relating to just four days previous?

Honestly, do they think we have 'MUG' written across our foreheads?

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Old 21st September 2010, 06:05 AM   #307
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Came up the Clyde on a banana boat, did we?

It's dawning on me just how much there is in these transcripts that hasn't made it out. Having a readable, searchable copy is just amazing. It's still 3,139 single-spaced A4 pages in the version I've made, which isn't exactly a light bed-time read, but it's possible to get through it. And look at what I found out about the KM180 passengers just in one morning!

Do you want pdfs, WordPerfect or MS Word? (Couldn't vouch for quality of that last, because I avoid that one like the plague, but I do have a "save in .doc format" option.) Do you want seven files of about 450 pages each, or one humungous file of all 86 days for one-click searching?

My pleasure.

Rolfe.
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Old 21st September 2010, 03:58 PM   #308
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Came up the Clyde on a banana boat, did we?

It's dawning on me just how much there is in these transcripts that hasn't made it out. Having a readable, searchable copy is just amazing. It's still 3,139 single-spaced A4 pages in the version I've made, which isn't exactly a light bed-time read, but it's possible to get through it. And look at what I found out about the KM180 passengers just in one morning!

Do you want pdfs, WordPerfect or MS Word? (Couldn't vouch for quality of that last, because I avoid that one like the plague, but I do have a "save in .doc format" option.) Do you want seven files of about 450 pages each, or one humungous file of all 86 days for one-click searching?

My pleasure.

Rolfe.
You're an absolute star! Whichever is most suitable to you Rolfe, but I'd happily receive one humungous file in PDF format.

I was having a hunt for a few hours earlier for some of the Malta passengers questioning at Zeist in the other pdf I have, but couldn't find anything. Until I realised the days I was searching didn't cover these testimony's!!
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Old 21st September 2010, 04:36 PM   #309
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I realised today that the humungous file isn't as bad as I thought. If you perform a search on it, it seems slow, but it's because Acrobat is indexing the document. Once you've done one, the rest go very fast. I'm a fan!

Rolfe.
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Old 5th October 2010, 03:04 PM   #310
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I've been meaning to update a blog post, or one of these two, I worked up about the time delays in Khreesat-style bombs.

http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/...t-minutes.html - "35-45" minutes, German analysis, earlier post with a few less-informed spots
http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/...ice-cubes.html - technical details on the bombs, from Khreesat and German sources - the radios used, altimeters, timers. Later post, nothing wrong I know of.

The info in there is relevant to questions emerging at the "Did Abdelbaset ..." thread. It's an old conundrum: why on Earth would Megrahi or anyone with half a brain set the timer for 7:03, just 38 minutes after takeoff, while nearly all normal departure routes would have the plane over land for nearly an hour? Everyone admits burial at sea would be wiser, and most presume that's what they were trying for. But they had the gigantic picture window of opportunity of the Atlantic, where any one of about six tops of the hour would suffice. Yet they chose to ignore the middle of the window, aim for just over the windowsill, and then miss?

Sure, it's possible, and a counter-argument to Libyan blame, this one is circumstantial.

But of course there's more to it than that. If the alternate villains, the PFLP-GC working for Iran, had done the bombing, it would most likely be with the fifth device described by double-agent bomb maker Marwan Khreesat. His work is said to fit "perfectly" with the takeoff time, if it were first loaded, or primed, at London. It's widely said these were all set to explode 35-45 minutes after takeoff.

But it is a little more complex than that.

These bombs have been described previously - an altimeter that at some pressure level will trigger a capacitor ice-cube "timer." The size of the metal coil inside it determines how long it builds up a charge before discharging and causing the detonation. So both altimeter setting and the timer size determine just how long after takeoff it will blow. From Khreeesat's interview with the FBI, Nov 1989:

Originally Posted by Ed Marshman, FBI
One of the timers was a half-hour timer, one was for three-quarters of an hour, and one was for one hour. Khreesat does not recall what time the fourth timer was set for. None of the timers were for more than one hour.
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Khreesat himself built four devices, all live despire orders. He explains this as from the fear that "Abu Elias" would spot his duds and ... something bad. I could buy that. Khreesat also described the fifth device, similar to his own but sloppier. It had an altimeter in it, and needed only two wires soldered. Khreesat did this, and then it disappeared again with Dalkamouni, presumably handed back to its apparent maker, Abu Elias. This agent, a nephew of Ahmed Jibril, had studied Khreesat's handiwork in 1987. We don't know what kind of timer it had in it, so it may or may not fit in with his neat 15-minute intervals up to 60 minutes.

It's also possible that on any point above, either Khreesat or Marshman has fudged the truth, so a grain of salt may be needed.

The first post suggested the trigger alt was reached only two minutes into the flight, making it a 35 or 36-minute ice cube timer. But that altitude of 2400 feet is not certain (something Leppard reported) and the altimeter on the mysterious fifth device might be set for higher, triggered after 8 minutes not 2, and was then a 30-minute Fatah factory timer running at full length (not tested for at least 24 hours prior).

Originally Posted by Ed Marshman, FBI
Khreesat advised that the times are not exact and the time changes depending upon how long the timers have been tested after last being used. They usually reset to zero after a day. He used to test the timers three times in a row before installing the timer in a device. He found that in each test the time decreased. When this happened, he put the timers aside, and the next day when he tested them, they would run for the same time as when he had first started them.
[Marshman report, p 32 ]
So there is some uncertainty and wiggle room here to suggest a Khreesat-style bomb wouldn't work, but also plenty to suggest it would or did fit. Considered next to the conumdrum about alleged Libyan timing, I think it compares favorably. That doesn't prove anything in itself, but it is a worthy point to take note of.

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Old 5th October 2010, 05:03 PM   #311
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The time window certainly seems possible to me. A few other points to consider.

Would the PFLP-GC have cared much whether the detonation was over land or sea? As regards the alleged Libyan plot, the objections were first that with no altimeter involved the plane might still have been on the tarmac at that point if it had missed its slot, and second that the clothes were traceable to a conspicuous purchase in a shop only three miles from the completely concealed introduction - by Megrahi himself no less. So scattering evidence all over the countryside was pretty stupid. And that anyone with an MST-13 would almost on reflex aim for the middle, or left of the middle.

From the point of view of the PFLP-GC, the altimeter device wasn't gong to explode on the tarmac even if they'd waited for Basuta and missed their slot. So that didn't matter. And as far as the clothes go, well, quite a neat trick really. Bought a thousand miles away from the point of introduction, and on an island with a lot of weird going on that might lead the investigation who the hell knows where - even to Libya, the US's favourite bogey-man.

So really, would they care where the crash happened to the point where they tried for the longest possible timer setting and a possible ocean ditching if they were lucky with the route, or would they just think, airborne at cruising altitude, good enough?

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Old 5th October 2010, 05:31 PM   #312
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Thanks for that Marshman file CL! I had certainly never read, in that detail, the conversation or interview conducted with Khreesat before.

And just quickly for reference, since while we're on this subject, here's a (poor quality) photo I had kicking about on an old floppy from years ago of one of the Khreesat devices confiscated during Autumn Leaves -


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Old 6th October 2010, 04:00 PM   #313
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Thanks, dude. That's a better pic than any I had yet of that radio. That's the BomBeat 453 seized. I don't see the modifications in there, at least the shapes I'm looking for - barometer/altimeter and ice cube timer. I guess it was gutted before the photo?
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Old 26th October 2010, 02:17 AM   #314
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Originally Posted by [B
Zeist Transcripts p2567[/b]]

[...] Again, Mr. Talb, this will not mean much to you, but it's important for us. This is a certificate of authentication by one Miltiades, Michael, who works for Cyprus Airways at Larnaca, and he hands over a document and authenticates that as -- those documents, rather, as true
copies of the originals which were in the possession and control of Cyprus Airways. And it's dated the 1st of November of 1999.

And if we could look also at CRT2, please. There we can see Miltiades, Michael, the same man, certifies that these are business documents and
included in the business [8306] documents is the manifest that I've referred to. And that is also dated the 1st of November of 1999.

Now, just so that you know, Mr. Talb, that little exercise is simply to demonstrate that these are documents that speak for themselves, without the need of witnesses.

Now, can we now go to CY 1364, please. Let's go to image 2, please.

We can see in the top left-hand corner, this is CY 1354, is it, or 64. And if we scroll down, we can see that this is a flight from Cyprus to London Heathrow. And I want to find passengers 211 to 214, which I think we'll find on image 5. We see that 211 through to 214 were passengers called Mougrabi. Do you see that?

A Yes, I can see that.

Q And they flew from Cyprus to London Heathrow on the 21st of December of 1988.

Can we also look at passenger number 208. You can see it's conveniently underlined. He is described as Mr. D. O'Connor, also flying to London Heathrow. Do you see that?

A Yes.

Q And Your Lordships know that he died on board Pan Am 103. [8307]

You can close that image.

Do you know why it was that members of your wife's family flew from Cyprus to Heathrow on [2568] the 21st of December of 1988?

A I don't know whether they flew at the time. And this is not correct anyway.

Q All right.

I think this small but possibly crucial passage speaks for itself. Nevertheless, let me expand.

Mougrabi, brother-in-law of Talb, who had visited Abassi in Neuss in October 1988, just prior to the sweeping arrests made under the Autumn Leaves operation. Mougrabi is also sentenced along with Talb by the Swedish authroities in 1989 for unrelated terror attacks in Denmark in 1985/86. The supposed coincidences in this case are almost beyond ridiculous, but Mougrabi boards the same flight from Cyprus to Heathrow as US Special Agent Daniel O Connor on December 21st 1988.

Nothing unduly notable about this coincidence perhaps, until presented with the knowledge that Daniel O Connor's luggage wasn't actually loaded onto Maid of the Seas that evening and is discovered still in the baggage shed at Heathrow after 103's bombing, and we know John Bedford noted two extraneous suitcases appearing in AVE4041 a couple of hours before 103 left for JFK.
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Old 26th October 2010, 12:58 PM   #315
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My head hurts too.

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Old 26th October 2010, 05:06 PM   #316
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Well, we're in Conspiracy Theories section, so we can run riot here with speculation can't we?!

Talb's testimony at Zeist is utterly compelling reading. But, I'd dearly love to have some other confirmation about O'Connor's bag being left behind at Heathrow. As far as I know, it's mentioned in a few articles or webpages, but these all appear ro be sourced from either De Braeckeleer or Baz's website. Anyway, bear with me..

Mougrabi, using Talb's old Samsonite suitcase(s), packed with clothing samples given to Talb and purchases from Mary's Shop in Oct/Nov 88, leaves Cyprus on the morning of 21st December seated beside 3 PLFP associates and someway behind US agent O'Connor, headed to Heathrow. Earlier, the break-in at Heathrow has facilitated the smuggling of a Toshiba Radio, perhaps armed or readied to be, to a PLFP sympathiser or asset working within Heathrow airport.

It is to be stored somewhere secure for a few hours, which given Heathrow were not yet aware of the warnings received at Frankfurt or radios uncovered at Neuss, and consider the popularity of these makes of radio in the 80's, then perhaps it wouldn't arouse any suspicions anyway. Would airport/baggage workers be regulary seen with radio players brought in to listen to whilst working? Would the building works at Terminal 3 see workers in that capicity with blaring radios while working?

With the woeful security and lax procedures evident at Heathrow, would anyone have raised an eyebrow at a baggage worker with a radio? Maybe, maybe not in 1988..

Mougrabi and his completely innocent suitcase(s) of assorted clothing, arrive at Heathrow, along with O'Connor and his luggage. O'Connors cases are assigned to 103, and possibly marked as US property. Meanwhile Mougrabi exits Heathrow having left his suitcase(s) uncollected.

The same PFLP sympathiser (perhaps even another!) then collects Mougrabi's cases as they sit unclaimed, and the baggage worker being familiar with Heathrow and it's standard procedures (as well as it's failings) secures Mougrabi's suitcase(s) in a known quiet or currently unused area/unit/cabin at Heathrow. If this PFLP assocoiate could also retrieve O Connor's cases, then that would enable the crucial transfer of Tag's for re-insertion into the baggage system later and destined for 103 and JFK.

The radio is placed inside Mougrabi's suitcase, and leaving O'Connor's suitcases behind, the Heathrow baggage worker heads towards the build-up shed and passes the suitcases to Kamboj to screen and then insert into AVE4041, or indeed if he had previously chatted or got to know Kamboj, allows him to put the cases straight into 4041 as he so wishes.....

Okay, at the moment it's nothing more substantive than someone putting a device on the outside of the container, but I thought it worth jotting down here while I've been going through some of the transcripts. Maybe? Maybe not.

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Old 27th October 2010, 12:12 AM   #317
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Abu Talb's wife flew to London 21 December? Huh, now that is odd.

As you may know I'm not a big fan of the argument that he was the bomber or involved. It seems to me the main role he played, whetehr scripted or not, was being the link to Malta. The one branch of the tree they'd started out looking at that also reached into Malta. And that's where Megrahi would (coincidentally?) be found looking suspicious on zero day. By my existing hunch that he served as a segue, and was named once by an investigation I suspect did NOT want to name any true culprits. At its most innocent, I suspect the Talb sideline is just something investigators toyed with while still thinking Palestinians but looking on Malta.

There are a few things that do suggest a possible connection to the relevant plotters, but Tony's supposed ID isn't one of them. I doubt the Mary's House clothes are linked to him (unless by a third party), and the calendar with 21 Dec circled.

[I explain some of my reasoning in the two posts linked here. ]

Unless we had something else that's my best guess, but this new thing might be enough. It alone is a better link to the actual scene of the crime than Megrahi had...

What exactly it means, or could mean, I don't know. I'll read your posts more carefully and give it some thought.

On Dan O'Connor, I think I looked this up once before and Baz was wrong on it being two bags, and even mixes singular and plural ("bags was" or something). But his bag was left behind say my two books.

cite Emerson and Duffy, p 71-72
one bag left back, Dan O'Connor

and Leppard (trail...) p 117 - brown American Tourister, his sole and only bag, left at Heathrow.
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Old 28th October 2010, 01:52 PM   #318
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Not being actual investigators, we can't get the information I'd think was important. How much globe-trotting did the various suspect Palestinians actually do? That would illuminate how significant these journeys were.

It's like Megrahi at Luqa. Seems like a coincidence. But in that case, we just have to ask, what were the chances of there being a frameable JSO officer in the airport no matter when the connecting bomb flight was supposed to leave? My feeling is, quite high. In particular, given that LN147 left at about the same time as KM180, it seems likely that any day of the week, there might have been a suitable candidate boarding that flight. And because of the departure times, anyone boarding that flight was going to be in the frame.

Same with the Palestinians. If they were flying around all the time, then it might be no real surprise that some of them were in the air that day. But to be honest, I think this is less likely. It does seem as if it's likely to be significant.

I can't help feeling that there's some sort of huge monster in the middle of this case, something we're not seeing directly, but we're seeing the shape of it by the way it bends the visible evidence out of shape.

So many things. The release of the Autumn Leaves suspects. The immediate appearance of the US security forces in Scotland within such a short time of the crash. What they were doing there. The vanishing Frankfurt records. Khaled Jafaar. The CIA passengers (remember, Lester Coleman thought McKee had been deliberately booked on a doomed flight). O'Connor's suitcase. The persistent turning away from the PFLP-GC. And more.

I have a horrible feeling that as soon as that plane went down, a number of people quite high up in the US security forces said, "oh ****," knew exactly what had gone horribly wrong, and jumped immediately into CYA mode. I just can't quite see what shape the monster is.

Rolfe.
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Old 29th October 2010, 05:46 PM   #319
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Love the new Avatar, Rolfe. Très Apropos.

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Old 30th October 2010, 11:15 AM   #320
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Basement Rolfe. Halloween-ised avatar courtesy of another forum member, last year.

Wait till you see Santa Rolfe!

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