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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , Scotland cases

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Old 15th February 2015, 07:29 AM   #241
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Oh that fragment. I don't have a problem with this being genuine. We don't know how Khreesat made the bomb exactly, we know there was approximately 500g (?) or however much of it there was in the radio and the circuitry of the bomb is built in such a way that it looks like the normal circuitry of a radio to a cursory x-ray inspector, we don't know how the semtex was arranged inside it.

All of the mockups I've seen assume there was a big blob in the middle somewhere but why can't it have been packed on the other side of the white lettering, or maybe a scrap of tinfoil or a wire or something shielded some of the radio circuit board from the full effects of the heat.

If you look at the way the radio was put together, the circut boards were right at the top under the switches, with the writing on the lower sides. I can't see why someone would move these boards when rigging the things up as a bomb, they're not in the way or anything.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
If it was planted then why are the planters wanting to point to a Toshiba radio, isn't it better for them if the bomb is a generic one wired to a simple MST-13 timer. There are security warnings about Toshiba radios circulating so wouldn't you want to point away from that and not towards it if you were fabricating evidence?

If you're working on the assumption that evidence is being fabricated to steer the investigation toward Libya, then in my mind evidence that shows a Toshiba radio points towards Khreesat.

Good point, and one I hadn't fully considered. But the fact is, that radio was the only one that would point to Libya. It was the model that was set there in bulk. Someone on Bob Black's blog explained how that came to be, something of a command economy and goods being acquired in bulk.

Khreesat's collection of other assorted household appliances he was rigging up as bombs is a bit of a mystery. Not just the mono Bombeat, but a computer monitor and a hifi tuner among other things. And then later they found a huge stash of radios and stuff, some of them with suspicious holes drilled in them.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
There was another suitcase bombing not long after Lockerbie, UTA772. That was semtex hidden in the lining of a Samsonite case with a simple timer, and was also pinned on Libya. (there's a whole plethora of parallels between the 2 bombings, but lets not go there) So if you've planted the MST-13 timer so that the real honest investigators will eventually find it and go off in your preferred direction, you wouldn't want to also plant other stuff unless it pointed the same way.

If you were going to plant stuff at all, surely you'd want to do so as little as possible.

Agreed on that last point. But I'm not sure how minimalist that actually works out at. Certainly the people who assert that every piece of evidence you show them was tampered with or fabricated are barking mad.

A lot of people think Libya didn't do UTA772 either, but I'm no expert on that.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I'd love to see the workings out for that. Like the arrangement of the explosive in the radio itself, we have no idea how the case was packed, we can make educated guesses as to the location of the centre of the blast, but there's always margins of error, you never get a "it was exactly here" answer you always get a "it was somewhere between here and there" answer. We don't know how the clothes were packed in the case next to the bomb so how can anyone be sure about how the clothes might have shielded or shaped the explosion in the first few milliseconds of the thing going off?

I can't find the precise passage - 8 million words in that transcript - so I can't remember who it was. But one of them was asked straight up, have you considered the structure of the bomb suitcase itself and the clothes packed in it, and did you take that into account when assessing whether there was another case in the way? And the barefaced answer came back, yes. I think it was perjury, but I don't see how you could prove it. I mean, what if he'd said, well no, I can't be sure it wasn't just the rest of the contents of the bomb case? Ten years of work, based on the "bomb on second level" assumption, down the drain.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Hell, why can't whoever made the bomb had designed it as a shaped charge. If you're going to the trouble of placing the case in just the right spot of the luggage container why not also build the thing so the main thrust of the blast is directed towards the skin of the aircraft?

Not my area of expertise, but as you say, if you're going to be able to put the case exactly where you want it, it's a reasonable thing to do. But look at Claiden's drawing and the photos of the airframe. The airframe under that part of the container floor has taken a hell of a blast.
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Old 15th February 2015, 07:42 AM   #242
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Diverting a little, has everyone seen Bob Black's blog today? It records three short pieces about the case, published in the Sun on Sunday (average reading age, 7 years).

Quote:
Three years ago [actually, September 2012 to March 2013 in stages, so two years really], Dr Swire, 78, and the Justice for Megrahi campaign group submitted nine claims of wrongdoing to Holyrood.

Now a police dossier is expected to prove several key points.

A source said yesterday: “Investigators set about testing them.

“It seems some are broadly true but were the result of incompetence and could not be said to be criminal. But that doesn’t appear to be the case across the board.”

The report could uphold accusations that false evidence was given in Megrahi’s 2001 trial.

It will go to Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland in the summer, who will then decide if criminal charges should be brought.

This shouldn't have been in the hands of the press. Someone in JFM has been going off-piste, and it's not hard to see who. Jim Swire was not involved in the allegations of criminality process, and in fact at one point wasn't copied into correspondence for fear of leaks. Sigh. We have a very good relationship with the police who are currently dealing with the allegations, and the last thing we want is the gutter press getting hold of half-baked rumour and running around with it. Sigh again.

Now a couple of people with cooler heads and a decent grasp of strategy and tactics are going to have to meet with the police and smooth over this (if they can) and try to explain that the group in JFM who are dealing with the allegations of criminality didn't leak this and are kind of horrified that it has been leaked.

It all sounds promising, if it's true, but I don't think it is. The leak has come from the imagination of someone on our side with peripheral access to the information, and he doesn't know anything we don't know. He's interpreting our hopes as fact. Only someone within the police would know such a thing, and I do not believe the police have been leaking.
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Old 15th February 2015, 09:14 AM   #243
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I don't know whether everyone is au fait with the allegations of criminality thing. Whereas only "interested parties" can apply for an appeal on behalf of a deceased convicted person, anyone at all can report suspected criminal acts to the police. In 2012 Justice for Megrahi had a meeting and decided to try this route to get something happening in the case. Bear in mind Megrahi himself had died earlier in the year and there was at that time no sign of anyone who was in a position to apply for another appeal actually doing so.

We identified four broad areas of the case where we felt there was sufficient evidence to support a belief that criminal acts had been committed either by the original investigators (police and forensics) or the prosecution lawyers at Camp Zeist. These four broad areas were:
  1. The Giaka cables, where the court was assured by the prosecution that there was nothing in the redacted sections which could impinge on the credibility of the witness. When the redacted sections were revealed, they shot Giaka's credibility to shreds, and it's inconceivable that anyone who had read them could have been in any doubt about that.
  2. The concealing and ignoring of the evidence showing the bomb to have been introduced at Heathrow. This topic actually includes all three categories of accused - the police investigation for ignoring Bedford's evidence and the evidence that corroborated it, the forensic scientists for perversely declaring that the bomb could not have been in the case on the floor of the container, and the prosecution at Camp Zeist for repackaging the case to conceal this after they realised that the factual evidence they were dealing with actually showed the bomb had started at Heathrow.
  3. The concealing of the knowledge that there was a crucial discrepancy between the fragment PT/35b and the control items it was being compared with, that is the metallurgical analysis of the coating on the circuitry. The Crown definitely knew, and concealed this from the defence, and one witness certainly appeared to perjure himself at the trial to maintain the deception.
  4. The grooming of Tony Gauci. Essentially, the police operation in Malta from 1991 on was geared not to figuring out who actually bought these clothes from Tony, but to acquiring statements from Tony that could be represented as identifying Megrahi. The witness was handled in a grossly inappropriate manner, being given treats and hints about promises of riches if he came good, and being prodded in the desired direction.
In my opinion, all four areas demonstrate huge and crucial holes in the case.

Giaka, who was the original star witness who was going to tie Megrahi and Fhimah into the bombing, was a greedy, venal, lying scumbag. The fact that this was realised by the court doesn't excuse the blatant attempt by the Crown to prevent the court finding this out. I think it's a slam-dunk for a criminal charge. Rumour tells me that the lawyer concerned was shaking in his boots afterwards, convinced that he was going to be disciplined by the Law Society of Scotland, and he was absolutely astonished when the expected knock on the door never came in 2001.

The bomb was introduced at Heathrow. That's demonstrable fact. Whether or not the turning of the investigation away from this evidence was attributable to malice really comes down to an argument from incredulity. Is it really possible that an investigation team with an average IQ above that of a geranium could have missed such obvious clues and made so many fatal errors, all in the same direction? Personally, I'm far more concerned with getting it over to the police that the bomb went on at Heathrow, than with seeing anyone in court over it.

PT/35b was not part of one of the 20 MST-13 timers sold to Libya, as the Crown claimed it was. And the Crown knew about the discrepancy. This isn't as slam-dunk as the first point, but in my opinion there is evidence of perjury and probable collusion to mislead the court that should probably stick.

The identification evidence is more of a technical police matter. The allegation is that the handling of the witness fell far short of the standards in place even in 1989, never mind modern practice. I'm not qualified to judge whether anything that happened amounts to criminal behaviour, but the person who is co-ordinating that allegation is.

So, two out of the four areas complained about seem likely to lead to further proceedings. The other two are more problematic, but fundamentally it doesn't really matter.

The facts the allegations are based on destroy Giaka, the Malta introduction, the MST-13 timer connection, and the clothes purchase. The entire case is a smoking crater.
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Old 15th February 2015, 11:01 AM   #244
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Quote:
Tray 8849
I've just reread your Appendix for Anoraks, and I'm still confused. I can understand Fuhl losing the will to live.

As I understand it - 8849 does not have any items in it from KM180 - all of that's accounted for, whatever it's got in it has the wrong tag on it, or was put into the wrong tray, and winds up being loaded onto PA103 along with all the other baggage from Frankfurt. It could even be an empty tray for all we know that hasn't got anything in it.


Looking at this from the other side of things. How much luggage that was in AVE4041 was never found? the official line is that the bomb case was a brown samsonite case that came into Heathrow on the Frankfurt flight and so would have been loaded into AVE4041 on top of the 7 or 8 cases that had accumulated in it already. One of which was another brown samsonite case seen earlier that day by Bedford.

Only thing is according to the official line the Bedford case is ever seen again, how much other luggage from AVE4041 is never seen again? If the Bedford case was moved when the remainder of the luggage was added it's vanished without a trace, if it wasn't moved and the bomb case from Frankfurt is placed flat on top of it then is it possible for the remains of both cases to be mixed up so what the evidence found that is thought of as the bomb case is actually both?

Lots of effort has been expended to work out where each case that went into AVE4041 came from and whose it was, how many items of luggage were recovered on the ground?

Also while I'm asking unanswerable questions, why on earth does the investigation not try and rule out all the baggage that was loaded into AVE4041 before the Frankfurt stuff arrives?

Why and how was the Bedford case ruled out as the bomb, and why is there no record of that happening?

Bedford is one of maybe half a dozen people who actually loaded baggage into AVE4041, the only thing anyone knows for certain is that a bomb was put into that container, so he should be pretty high on the list of important witnesses.

Yet despite the fact that presumably fairly early in the investigations they have figured out that the bomb case was a brown Samsonite type, despite the fact that Bedfords statement (before anyone would have known that) was: "I saw a brown Samsonite case there, and I didn't put it there" there doesn't appear to be anything about it at all.
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Old 15th February 2015, 04:23 PM   #245
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I've just reread your Appendix for Anoraks, and I'm still confused. I can understand Fuhl losing the will to live.

I know what you mean. Be grateful I didn't include the Appendix to the Appendix, with all the details of the rest of the transfer passengers, and their luggage, and then all the cases that might have been sent to PA103 because they missed an earlier flight.

You would be gnawing your leg off at the knee.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
As I understand it - 8849 does not have any items in it from KM180 - all of that's accounted for, whatever it's got in it has the wrong tag on it, or was put into the wrong tray, and winds up being loaded onto PA103 along with all the other baggage from Frankfurt. It could even be an empty tray for all we know that hasn't got anything in it.

Yes. But just look at it. The coding records actually make sense. There are odd little glitches, but sense can be teased out of them. And the way the rest of it matches up, you can tell the times are basically right. You don't have to postulate much of a clock error to make 5620 something that was coded immediately after the LH1071 wagon was finished with, and I'd take a moderate bet that something had Francis Boyer's toothbrush in it.

So here we have this one single anomaly in the printout, and it points to an item being coded for PA103 right in the middle of the KM180 coding window. That's KM180, that left from the airport only three miles from where these clothes were bought.

What's the chance of that?

How did it happen? Koca is standing there coding cases - what a lot for Cologne - and for one item he presses the code for PA103. Why? He didn't mis-code any of the legitimate items, because none of these were misrouted. If something random for another flight had got mixed in there somehow, and he coded it for PA103 in error, that's a huge coincidence. And such a mis-coding would be expected to be caught by the guys at the departure gate, but nothing was. An empty tray, and Koca just happened to code it for PA103? Why?

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Looking at this from the other side of things. How much luggage that was in AVE4041 was never found?

Whatever was in 8849 didn't even need to go on the transatlantic leg. It's perfectly possible (and I believe quite likely) that it was something coded for Heathrow only.

Forget PT/35b. Tray 8849 was the big breakthrough of the inquiry. The thing that convinced them Malta was the place to look. The only thing that seemed to contradict the bomb-proof security at Luqa. And it's all down to Koca seeing something in front of him at 13.07 when coding a wagon of luggage from Malta, and as a result of what he saw, entering the code for PA103. What did he see? Why did he do it?

If this is a coincidence, it's the coincidence of the millennium. Against stiff opposition.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
the official line is that the bomb case was a brown samsonite case that came into Heathrow on the Frankfurt flight and so would have been loaded into AVE4041 on top of the 7 or 8 cases that had accumulated in it already. One of which was another brown samsonite case seen earlier that day by Bedford.

Only thing is according to the official line the Bedford case is ever seen again, how much other luggage from AVE4041 is never seen again? If the Bedford case was moved when the remainder of the luggage was added it's vanished without a trace, if it wasn't moved and the bomb case from Frankfurt is placed flat on top of it then is it possible for the remains of both cases to be mixed up so what the evidence found that is thought of as the bomb case is actually both?

Lots of effort has been expended to work out where each case that went into AVE4041 came from and whose it was, how many items of luggage were recovered on the ground?

Also while I'm asking unanswerable questions, why on earth does the investigation not try and rule out all the baggage that was loaded into AVE4041 before the Frankfurt stuff arrives?

Why and how was the Bedford case ruled out as the bomb, and why is there no record of that happening?

Bedford is one of maybe half a dozen people who actually loaded baggage into AVE4041, the only thing anyone knows for certain is that a bomb was put into that container, so he should be pretty high on the list of important witnesses.

Yet despite the fact that presumably fairly early in the investigations they have figured out that the bomb case was a brown Samsonite type, despite the fact that Bedfords statement (before anyone would have known that) was: "I saw a brown Samsonite case there, and I didn't put it there" there doesn't appear to be anything about it at all.

You appear to be channelling a document I have just compiled for Police Scotland to look at. Loads of good questions. Adequately explained by stupidity?

There is a full reconciliation of the stuff found at Newcastleton against what was believed to have been loaded into AVE4041. Some individual items weren't found, but shreds of everything that was close to the explosion were found. With these items, it's not about missing one whole case, it's about missing all of what would have been a hell of a lot of bits.

Once a case is blown apart like the bomb suitcase and the Tourister were, there are a lot of pieces. Only a small-ish proportion of both cases was found, lots of bits weren't found, but given how many bits there were, inevitably lots were. The same would have been true for anything under the bomb. Were these bits special snowflakes that all blew away?

All the bits of the apparent bomb suitcase recovered were looked at in detail, and all matched bits of a Samsonite Silhouette 4000 in antique copper. There was nothing to suggest a second brown Samsonite, or that there were two identical ones. (Unless you want to raise the seven orphan fragments of grey hardshell A again, but face it, they're just more bomb suitcase missing the bronze coating.)

The reconcilition makes no attempt to suggest which item was the case Bedford saw. It's possible Henderson didn't know about the Bedford case. He does list the six legitimate Heathrow interline items that were in it, for the convenience of anyone wanting to check if any of them was either a brown Samsonite hardshell, or was damaged in a way consistent with its having been under the bomb. Answer, no and no.

It's also perfectly clear that the reconciliation doesn't and cannot say anything about where the bomb suitcase came from. Only that none of the legitimate passenger luggage appears to reconcile to the bomb suitcase. The ONLY thing preventing the Bedford case from being the bomb was the baseless assertion that the explosion wasn't in the case on the floor of the container.

I'll post it again, to illustrate how baseless the assertion was, and to show how pointless any attempt to identify a case that was under the bomb is fated to be.



There's no way the lining panel of the Carlsson case or the bottom corner of the McKee case would have been blast-damaged in the way they were if the cases had been protected by another case under the bomb.

Also refer to the amount of blast damage to the airframe under the floor of the container.
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Old 16th February 2015, 03:14 AM   #246
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Lockerbie Trial architect calls for Lord Advocate to step back from case

Originally Posted by Marcello Mega
Professor Robert Black QC, a former law academic at Edinburgh University, said it was particularly important that Scotland's top prosecutor, Frank Mulholland QC, step aside given revelations that a Police Scotland investigation appeared to have unearthed cause for concern.

Three years ago, the Justice for Megrahi group, which believes the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing was innocent, submitted nine allegations of criminality on the part of police, Crown officials and expert witnesses in the case.
A police report is expected to be submitted to the Crown Office in the summer, and it will then be for the Lord Advocate to decide whether to take further action.

Well-placed sources have indicated that at least some of the allegations appear to stand up to scrutiny, so Mr Mulholland, who as recently as the 26th anniversary of the bombing in December publicly defended the safety of the conviction, would face a difficult decision.

Prof Black said Mr Mulholland must avoid that scenario and step aside before the police report is submitted.

He added: "Given that any charges would be against police officers subject to direction by the Crown Office; forensic scientists instructed and called as witnesses by the Crown Office; and members of the Crown Office's prosecution team at the Lockerbie trial, there is an obvious conflict of interest involved in the current head of the Crown Office being the person to decide whether prosecutions should be commenced."

Hmm. Things appear to be hotting up. Or warming up, anyway. Something is going on.
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Old 16th February 2015, 04:17 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by Rolfe
I suppose I should put in a plug for Independence Live, who have rashly asked to do an hour-long interview with me about the case tomorrow evening, 7 pm GMT.
Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
No. It will be available to watch later, and an edited version will go on YouTube in a day or two.
Do you perhaps know of a youtube link for this interview yet Rolfe?
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Old 16th February 2015, 11:47 AM   #248
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There isn't one yet. I'll try and chase it along.
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Old 16th February 2015, 12:52 PM   #249
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Regarding my post 246 above, it's difficult to know what to make of these reports.

".... revelations that a Police Scotland investigation appeared to have unearthed cause for concern...."

"Well-placed sources have indicated that at least some of the allegations appear to stand up to scrutiny...."

This is news to me. I can truthfully say that the police investigation in 2014 appeared to me to be doing a good job and to be treating the allegations seriously. It's also my opinion that a couple of the allegations appear very hard to refute. But the police themselves have been pretty tight-lipped up till now.

It's not really been three years. It's only been two years since the full dossier with the extra section on the suitcase jigsaw was submitted. But that's still quite a long time to be investigating something like this.

2013 was effectively lost when the investigation was put in the hands of a senior policeman who was due to retire in about six months time. He was going to be able to put it all to bed in that time. I had one meeting with him and it was extraordinarily depressing. He wasn't interested in finding out if there was any substance to our allegations, merely in cherrypicking points to argue against them, and if all else failed he simply stonewalled and asserted the contrary.

This dragged on and at first we were told that he would continue working on the matter even after his retirement, to get the job done. That didn't happen. For a while there was nobody looking at it at all. Then we found out that the section of the allegations dealing with the timer fragment had been mothballed because someone thought it conflicted with the ongoing farce of an "investigation" in Libya supposedly aimed at identifying Megrahi's accomplices. Assurances got more and more threadbare, and we realised the allegations weren't being investigated at all.

There was an intimation that there was a "difficulty" with one of the allegations, interpreted as meaning that there was one they were having difficulty putting to bed. It all got very confusing and very complicated. Frankly I think the authorities thought they could bat the whole thing out of the pitch, and that job was given to the retiring cop to polish off before his retirement. But in spite of his evident determination not to consider the allegations seriously, he failed to accomplish that and the whole thing was just left sitting there.

In 2014 a brand new investigating group was appointed, based in a different town. I've met with them a couple of times, and what a difference! They're professional, not condescending, and they seem to have realised there is a serious problem with the case. Several serious problems in fact. (I pointed out to them that they could make all the allegations in the section I was responsible for, the Heathrow loading, go away forever simply by showing how I was wrong or even probably wrong or even possibly wrong about the explosion being in the case on the bottom of the pile. They kind of smiled and shook their heads.)

So here we are. Two or three times the Lord Advocate has gone to the press and called us conspiracy theorists, said our allegations are deliberately false and defamatory, and at an early stage appeared to imply (falsely) that he'd had a QC look at it all and this person had concluded that the conviction was sound. In December 2014 he announced via Magnus Linklater in the Times that a police investigation had looked into the case and concluded that Megrahi was definitely guilty. I don't know what he was talking about, but that was a lie too. Certainly our police have concluded nothing of the sort.

Now we're getting crypic leaks from goodness knows where saying that our allegations appear to stand up to scrutiny. The subtext seems to be that while some areas are true as regards fact, no actual wrongdoing has been proved, but that in other areas actual wrongdoing may well have occured. (I'll settle for them accepting the facts we found our case on, and letting the perpetators off, quite honestly.)

I don't know where this is all coming from, or even whether it's true. But things certainly seem to be moving in the right direction.
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Old 16th February 2015, 04:55 PM   #250
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Compare and contrast.

The Times, 20th December 2014. Lockerbie conviction is upheld by review

Originally Posted by Magnus Linklater
A review of the Lockerbie bombing case by Scottish investigators has concluded that there is “not a shred of evidence” to support claims that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted.

Not only have investigators confirmed beyond doubt that the Libyan was the man responsible for the deaths of 270 people on December 21, 1988, they believe his fellow accused, Lamin Fhimah, who was acquitted, was almost certainly involved as well.

The findings will come as a blow to those, such as Jim Swire, whose daughter was one of those killed, and Robert Black, QC, who maintain that prosecutors advanced a flawed case and that judges presided over a miscarriage of justice. Ever since Megrahi was convicted in 2001 there have been allegations that evidence was manipulated to implicate Libya, steering suspicion away from Middle Eastern states.

Scottish prosecutors have been accused of deliberately ignoring evidence that the bomb was put aboard Pan Am Flight 103 at Heathrow rather than at Malta, and that the timer fragment, the principal piece of forensic evidence against Libya, was planted or altered.

The claims have been examined in detail in the course of the investigation by the Crown Office and Police Scotland, which have been working on the case with the FBI to identify others who were involved in the bombing.

Sources close to the investigation said there was “not a shred of evidence” to suggest the prosecution got it wrong.

The Herald, 16th February 2015. Lockerbie trial architect calls for Lord Advocate to step back from case

Originally Posted by Marcello Mega
Professor Robert Black QC, a former law academic at Edinburgh University, said it was particularly important that Scotland's top prosecutor, Frank Mulholland QC, step aside given revelations that a Police Scotland investigation appeared to have unearthed cause for concern.

Three years ago, the Justice for Megrahi group, which believes the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing was innocent, submitted nine allegations of criminality on the part of police, Crown officials and expert witnesses in the case.

A police report is expected to be submitted to the Crown Office in the summer, and it will then be for the Lord Advocate to decide whether to take further action.

Well-placed sources have indicated that at least some of the allegations appear to stand up to scrutiny, so Mr Mulholland, who as recently as the 26th anniversary of the bombing in December publicly defended the safety of the conviction, would face a difficult decision.

The wording of the earlier article implies very strongly indeed that it's referring to the police inquiry into the Justice for Megrahi allegations. It's pretty much stated in clear. And there's hardly likely to have been a misunderstanding as Magnus Linklater is Frank Mulholland's tame mouthpiece in all this. When that article was published, friends were asking me for comment, and how was I coping with the news and so on.

Obviously I knew it wasn't true. JFM has a liaison group in regular communication with the police group who are handling our allegations, and the police would certainly notify us before the press if they had come to a definite conclusion that the allegations were unfounded. Not only had they not done this, we were aware that their inquiries were still progressing (apparently satisfactorily from our point of view), and they wouldn't be reporting until later in 2015.

So my reaction was along the lines of, for goodness sake what is that lying bastard Mulholland up to this time. (We soon found out. He was enlisting US relatives to try to influence Lady Dorrian to rule against the European relatives as regards who could be recognised as an interested party able to apply for a posthumous appeal.)

Now we seem to be getting something trickling out from the actual police inquiry. Possibly. And it's not saying what Mulholland was saying at all. What the hell is he up to and how can he possibly defend the story he planted in the Times if the leaks now being reported in the Herald are remotely true?
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Old 18th February 2015, 01:50 PM   #251
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Anglolawyer said something interesting in the Knox/Sollecito thread.

Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Interestingly (to me anyway) the Californian jury instructions in the case of Scott Peterson actually go into this question in great detail, running on for pages and pages of almost indecipherable stuff about 'essential facts' having to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Logically, if the entire case hangs on one fact and that fact cannot be proved BRD then the whole case must fail, even though it is only one fact among many. Thus, in the David Gilroy case in which the body was never found, it would have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt that his former lover was dead. You couldn't win the case by proving everything else to the highest standards but not that one fact.

OK this isn't California, but isn't the fact of the bomb having begun its journey at Malta the "essential fact" that has to be proved in this case? And yet it was never proved to anything like a BRD standard. If the defence in this case had pushed harder on the requirement for the prosecution to prove that their basic theory of how the crime was committed, would they have made a better impact?

Instead, the point of introduction of the bomb became just one of a number of points that were supposedly "proved" simply because the jueges decided that taking them all together they provided a "real and compelling scenario". Basically, petitio principii.
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Old 18th February 2015, 02:30 PM   #252
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Anglolawyer said something interesting in the Knox/Sollecito thread.




OK this isn't California, but isn't the fact of the bomb having begun its journey at Malta the "essential fact" that has to be proved in this case? And yet it was never proved to anything like a BRD standard. If the defence in this case had pushed harder on the requirement for the prosecution to prove that their basic theory of how the crime was committed, would they have made a better impact?

Instead, the point of introduction of the bomb became just one of a number of points that were supposedly "proved" simply because the jueges decided that taking them all together they provided a "real and compelling scenario". Basically, petitio principii.
I recuse myself as being hopelessly biased against the crown. The beyond reasonable doubt thing gets stress-tested beyond breaking point when a court is faced with a prosecution of limitless resources, backed by 'intelligence' (magic voodoo word) and mighty western governments all pushing in the same direction to get their man. They needed a South African judge. Or Solomon.
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Old 18th February 2015, 02:37 PM   #253
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Well, they had Sutherland, Coulsfield and Maclean. And a right pig's ear they made of it.

Are you going to get round to reading their "Opinion of the Court"? It's worth it, as they say.

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/d...t.pdf?sfvrsn=2
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Old 18th February 2015, 03:24 PM   #254
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Well, they had Sutherland, Coulsfield and Maclean. And a right pig's ear they made of it.

Are you going to get round to reading their "Opinion of the Court"? It's worth it, as they say.

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/d...t.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Yes, although I know what I will find, I think. Thanks for the link again.
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Old 18th February 2015, 03:53 PM   #255
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Sorry Rolfe. I just saw your invitation over at the Knox thread. I agree that if it's an 'essential fact' that the bomb went on in Malta then that fact had to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. I am not sure whether that enlightens us much in this case though.

Let me ask you this:

assuming the 'Malta-based' evidence (for want of a better expression) is not compelling enough to do more than suggest a prima facie case of loading at Luqa (I am sure you dispute even that but let's pretend) what is there outside Malta that might shore it up?

I am just enumerating, not evaluating, but we seem to have:

1 Maltese clothes in the bomb suitcase
2 Megrahi's undoubted connection with the Swiss suppliers of the timer thing
3 the alleged discovery of the timer thing fragment in the shirt collar
4 the Frankfurt evidence about a Maltese bag going onto 103A

Anything else?
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Old 18th February 2015, 04:49 PM   #256
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It's not that the Malta-based evidence wasn't compelling, the problem was that it was non-existent. How would the world look if there had never been a bomb suitcase at Luqa airport? Exactly as it does look. Worse than that, there is no way I could think of whereby the bomb suitcase could have been introduced into that plane, without leaving some evidence behind retrospectively. There was none.

The Luqa security was astonishingly good. Airside and check-in staff didn't know which flights they would be assigned to until they came on-shift, so you couldn't bribe any individual in advance to do anything in respect of a specific flight. Planes were under armed guard (Maltese military) and there were armed military personnel patrolling the airport. All luggage was inspected by the military for explosives using some sort of hand-held sniffer device (that may not have worked, mind you).

The aircraft used for KM180 was being worked on overnight and nobody could have known it would even be flying that morning, never mind which flight it would be allocated to. The hold was inspected before loading started, and it was empty.

As luggage was loaded on to the plane, the head loader had to count the items. At the same time the flight dispatcher radioed the terminal building and asked how many items were checked into the computer for the flight. The two compared their numbers and if they didn't match they had to start counting again. If the counts didn't reconcile, luggage had to be unloaded and passengers asked to come down to the tarmac and identify their own luggage. For KM180 that morning, 55 items were logged into the computer as checked in and 55 items were counted on to the plane.

All passengers were contacted. Everybody was (more or less, if you ignore Saviour Mallia for now) on the level. Everyone reported picking up their luggage at their destinations with nothing going astray. Yes, Saviour Mallia might have been up to something but it's pretty certain that something wasn't a bomb and it was Megrahi in the dock not Saviour Mallia.

So, if it was done, how was it done? You tell me, because I can't figure it out.

The only two actual pieces of evidence pointing to Malta were the clothes in the suitcase, and that tray (8849) in the Frankfurt baggage transfer records.

The clothes were bought at least two weeks before the disaster. They could have been round the world twice in that time. In addition, if you are the sort of mastermind who has the ability to levitate an invisible suitcase on to KM180 at Luqa, are you really going to give yourself away by putting brand new, locally-manufactured, locally-purchased clothes in with the bomb?

Tray 8849 was only one of several transfer trays in the Frankfurt system that couldn't be matched to legitimate passenger luggage for PA103. The records were a mess, and almost impenetrable. See Ambrosia's comment above about losing the will to live.

Does the combination of these clothes being bought on Malta (with all the qualifiers) and one of the mystery transfer trays seeming to have come from a flight from Malta, provide proof beyond reasonable doubt that the bomb suitcase travelled on KM180 despite the evidence from Malta pretty much excluding that possibility?

You need to read the Opinion of the Court, then you can tell me.
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Old 18th February 2015, 05:08 PM   #257
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and I will read it.

So there is nothing to add to my list. I know the timer fragment comes from the twiglet zone but I was only enumerating ...
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Old 18th February 2015, 06:10 PM   #258
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We're talking about Malta, and whether it's necessary to prove the bomb went on board there. The timer fragment has virtually nothing to do with that.

Do clothes in the suitcase bought on Malta, and one tray in the garbled mess that was the surviving Frankfurt baggage records seeming to reconcile to the Malta flight trump the evidence to the contrary from Malta itself?
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Old 19th February 2015, 12:24 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
We're talking about Malta, and whether it's necessary to prove the bomb went on board there. The timer fragment has virtually nothing to do with that.

Do clothes in the suitcase bought on Malta, and one tray in the garbled mess that was the surviving Frankfurt baggage records seeming to reconcile to the Malta flight trump the evidence to the contrary from Malta itself?
The reason I mentioned the fragment is that it provides a link to Megrahi because he rented office space (or something, I forget) from the guys in Switzerland (Bollier?) who made/sold timers from which this fragment may have come. That is an important off-island link. Another point to add to my list is the fact Megrahi was a Libyan agent of some kind, not just anybody. What are the odds of his having a close link to the guys who made the bomb timer and being on Malta the day the flight to Frankurt took off?

Another question, assuming the plan is to put the bomb on at Malta intending to bring down Pan Am 103 (i.e. after two changes of aircraft and an uncertain time interval) what tags and/or associated procedures are required at Luqa to ensure that it gets transferred at Frankfurt? How was the system supposedly persuaded to recognise this suitcase as ultimately needing to be on a flight to New York from Heathrow (minus a passenger to whom it is supposed to belong)? Is the idea that they somehow got airside and chucked it on with a fake tag saying 'take me to Heathrow and from there to New York on Pan Am 103'. How is that even possible without a passenger and the associated audit trail of computer records and suchlike?

Does the crown say 'we don't know but it must have happened this way' or 'it happened this way'?

ETA if the former then the Gauci evidence, already very fragile (from what I've read so far) is bearing a very heavy load in proving not only that Megrahi bought the clothes but also that he fooled the systems at Luqa.

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Old 19th February 2015, 03:49 AM   #260
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Please ignore the previous post. The ID evidence is uncorroborated crap furnished by a well-paid witness. It's worthless IMO but the sort of thing we see over and over when judges are stretching for a result they want. It's very odd because the problems with ID evidence are well known and, in England, subject to specific guidance given in R -v- Turnbull

Whenever the case of an accused person depends wholly or substantially on the correctness of one or moreidentifications of the accused which the defence alleges to be mistaken, the judge should warn the jury of thespecial need for caution before convicting in reliance on the correctness of the identification. He shouldinstruct them as to the reason for that warning and should make some reference to the possibility that amistaken witness could be a convincing one and that a number of witnesses could all be mistaken. Providedthat the warning is in clear terms, no particular words need be used. Furthermore, the judge should direct the jury to examine closely the circumstances in which the identification by each witness came to be made. If inany case, whether being dealt with summarily or on indictment, the prosecution have reason to believe thatthere is a material discrepancy between the description of the accused given to the police by the witnesswhen first seen and his actual appearance, they should supply the accused or his legal advisers withparticulars of the description the police were first given. In all cases, if the accused asks to be givenparticulars of any description, the prosecution should supply them. Finally, the judge should remind the jury of any specific weaknesses which have appeared in the identification evidence.

Cases are legion where this or similar guidance is either forgotten or misapplied e.g.

Barry George
Sam Hallam (a case of almost no evidence at all)
Nyki Kish
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito
Megrahi

Very often (this applies to all the above cases) the verdict is upheld on appeal/review in the most specious terms that fly in the face if common sense and seem to support an opposite principle, namely that any ID evidence, no matter how bad, is actually good evidence.
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Old 19th February 2015, 03:57 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
The reason I mentioned the fragment is that it provides a link to Megrahi because he rented office space (or something, I forget) from the guys in Switzerland (Bollier?) who made/sold timers from which this fragment may have come. That is an important off-island link. Another point to add to my list is the fact Megrahi was a Libyan agent of some kind, not just anybody. What are the odds of his having a close link to the guys who made the bomb timer and being on Malta the day the flight to Frankurt took off?
Ah Bollier. He's the particular type of pondscum that will sell anything to anybody, for the right price. Who appears to have no morals of any kind. Megrahi works for Libyan Security services and his main job is to acquire stuff for Libya and circumvent sanctions. Mebo and Megrahi both have offices in the same building, though no stronger links between them than that were ever proved. There's a link for sure, but calling it a close link is a bit of a stretch.

At the time of the trial the crown case is that the timer fragment is an MST-13 and did link to Libya (newer evidence* shows this is not the case, but at the time of the trial this is not known to the judges)

Malta is a frequent destination for Megrahi so for him to be at Luqa airport on any given day isn't that unusual.

Quote:
Another question, assuming the plan is to put the bomb on at Malta intending to bring down Pan Am 103 (i.e. after two changes of aircraft and an uncertain time interval) what tags and/or associated procedures are required at Luqa to ensure that it gets transferred at Frankfurt? How was the system supposedly persuaded to recognise this suitcase as ultimately needing to be on a flight to New York from Heathrow (minus a passenger to whom it is supposed to belong)? Is the idea that they somehow got airside and chucked it on with a fake tag saying 'take me to Heathrow and from there to New York on Pan Am 103'. How is that even possible without a passenger and the associated audit trail of computer records and suchlike?
Fhimah. That was his half of the plot. Megrahi used to work as head of security for Luqa airport. Fhimah was his "man on the inside" and the evidence against Fhimah amounts to a page in his diary that could be read as "luggage tags" underlined twice on the day in question, and the long and detailed testimony of a CIA informant(Giaka). The crown regarded the informant as their numero uno star witness. The Crown allege that Megrahi prepared the case and gave it to Fhimah, Fhimah put the case onto the plane and put the right tags on it it so it got routed to PA103. Unfortunately the Crown know that their star witness is a lying eejit, they fight tooth and nail to block handing detailed evidence to the defense about his testimony, they lose that fight and *very* shortly after this is handed over, Giaka is exposed as an eejit who will tell the CIA anything he thinks they want to hear in exchange for money, and obviously so.

It's also worth noting that computer controlled baggage records didn't really exist in 1988. Supermarkets were only starting to implement barcodes, the Frankfurt system was waaaaaaaay ahead of it's time and had obvious flaws other airports were still using manual systems for luggage.

In the late 1980's many airlines didn't care whether an item of luggage had an associated passenger travelling with it, if it got past the security scans and it had the right label, it got on the plane. That was the fundamental "lesson" that the airline industry learned from Lockerbie. Luqa did care, both Heathrow and Frankfurt didn't.

Luqa airport won two civil cases prior the the Zeist trial, proving to the satisfaction of those courts that the bomb could not and did not get introduced at Luqa and their luggage system was very good. Granted civil trials and criminal trials have different standards of evidence.


* technically re-interpretation of existing evidence. It's the "tinning" or plating of the circuit tracks. On the trial fragment the plating was in 100% tin on the commercially made Libyan timers the plating is 70%tin/30%lead and the main forensic expert witness who noticed this and should expected to know the difference and what it meant stated in court the fragment and the Libyan timers were identical in all respects, which is a lie at best.

You can leave aside all of the "other" objections about the timer fragment that I go on about a lot, conclude that it's genuine, and there is physical evidence that proves it not to be what the Crown says it is *and* that the crown were aware of this at the time of the trial.

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Old 19th February 2015, 04:17 AM   #262
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Fhimah. That was his half of the plot. Megrahi used to work as head of security for Luqa airport. Fhimah was his "man on the inside" and the evidence against Fhimah amounts to a page in his diary that could be read as "luggage tags" underlined twice on the day in question, and the long and detailed testimony of a CIA informant. The crown regarded the informant as their numero uno star witness. The Crown allege that Megrahi prepared the case and gave it to Fhima, Fhima put the case onto the plane and put the right tags on it it so it got routed to PA103. Unfortunately the Crown know that their star witness is a lying eejit, they fight tooth and nail to block handing detailed evidence to the defense about his testimony, they lose that fight and *very* shortly after this is handed over, Fhima is exposed as an eejit who will tell the CIA anything he thinks they want to hear in exchange for money, and obviously so.
Giaka Shirley?
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Old 19th February 2015, 04:18 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Please ignore the previous post. The ID evidence is uncorroborated crap furnished by a well-paid witness. It's worthless IMO but the sort of thing we see over and over when judges are stretching for a result they want. It's very odd because the problems with ID evidence are well known and, in England, subject to specific guidance given in R -v- Turnbull

Whenever the case of an accused person depends wholly or substantially on the correctness of one or moreidentifications of the accused which the defence alleges to be mistaken, the judge should warn the jury of thespecial need for caution before convicting in reliance on the correctness of the identification. He shouldinstruct them as to the reason for that warning and should make some reference to the possibility that amistaken witness could be a convincing one and that a number of witnesses could all be mistaken. Providedthat the warning is in clear terms, no particular words need be used. Furthermore, the judge should direct the jury to examine closely the circumstances in which the identification by each witness came to be made. If inany case, whether being dealt with summarily or on indictment, the prosecution have reason to believe thatthere is a material discrepancy between the description of the accused given to the police by the witnesswhen first seen and his actual appearance, they should supply the accused or his legal advisers withparticulars of the description the police were first given. In all cases, if the accused asks to be givenparticulars of any description, the prosecution should supply them. Finally, the judge should remind the jury of any specific weaknesses which have appeared in the identification evidence.

Cases are legion where this or similar guidance is either forgotten or misapplied e.g.

Barry George
Sam Hallam (a case of almost no evidence at all)
Nyki Kish
Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito
Megrahi

Very often (this applies to all the above cases) the verdict is upheld on appeal/review in the most specious terms that fly in the face if common sense and seem to support an opposite principle, namely that any ID evidence, no matter how bad, is actually good evidence.

I'm not going to ignore the previous post because it says some quite interesting things. I'm interested in getting a lawyer's take on it even if it's not the same jurisdiction.

You're right though, the Gauci evidence is uncoorroborated crap. If the 2009 appeal hadn't been abandoned, Megrahi was set to be acquitted on the basis that Gauci's identification was worthless. It's probably even more worthless than you realise, and never mind the eye-popping bribe reward he was given. Bear in mind though that this case pre-dates most if not all of the ones you're referencing.

The purchase took place either on 23rd November or 7th December (something about football matches). On all the independent metrics, especially meteorological data and the date the Christmas lights were switched on, it was the former day. The judges found, apparently arbitrarily, in favour of its being the latter. Megrahi was in the neighbourhood on the latter day but not on the former.

Gauci saw the man for about half an hour. He was one of many customers in his shop, though obviously one he remembered because his behaviour wasn't quite natural. He was first alerted to the fact that this was an important encounter nine months later. He gave a description of the man which differed markedly from Megrahi in terms of height, age, general build and skin colour.

Over the following months he was shown multiple photospreads of mugshots of scores of people to try to figure out who it might have been. He tentatively picked out a few, but always saying that the pick resembled the man, but was too young. He said the customer was about 50, and they kept showing him pictures of younger men. (Megrahi was 36 at the time.)

Once or twice he reported to the police that he thought he'd seen the man in Malta, but then said he'd seen him again and it wasn't. Does this sound like someone who is going to be able to be certain of his identification even if the right guy does show up? One problem seems to have been that Gauci was sizing the man up for the fit of colthes, and most of the description was about height (over six feet) and body shape (burly). By the way Megrahi was 5 feet 8 inches and medium to slight build. He probably didn't remember the man's face very well in the first place, but all they did was show him face shots and these just confused him further.

Finally, over two years after the encounter in the shop, the Scottish police were given a very bad mugshot photo of Megrahi by an FBI agent, with the suggestion that they should try to get something on this guy. In fact the photo is a bad photocopy of a bad passport photo, with the aspect ratio changed. It doesn't actually look like Megrahi! Anyway, they made up a photospread including that photo and managed to manipulate Gauci into picking it.

But yet again he said the man was too young, and again he said it resembled the purchaser, not that it was him. He mentioned at the time there was another photo he had seen that looked even more like the man. (That was of Abu Talb. Abu Talb didn't buy the clothes either, but it shows how uncertain he was.)

By the time Gauci saw Megrahi in the flesh it was eleven years after the clothes purchase. Megrahi was now 47, getting close to the age of the actual purchaser in 1988. His photo had been in the press and he had been on TV several times in the intervening period. Gauci had a magazine article with a good photo of him, that was taken from him only four days before the ID parade. Many people have commented that the way the ID parade was set up they could have picked Megrahi out themselves, even though they'd never seen him before. (The actual purchaser would have been in his early sixties by then, but none of the men in the line-up was over 50 and several were very young.)

And the, what were Gauci's first words? "Not the man I saw in my shop." He then went on to say that "he resembles him a lot", and kept stressing the resembance part. (Bear in mind Gauci is European and Megrahi is Arab.)

I think Gauci was conflicted. I think he genuinely hadn't a clue what the clothes purchaser had looked like even by 1991, never mind 1999. The memory was too distorted by continual attempts to remember, and all the pictures he was shown. On the other hand he had been led to believe that the police thought they had the right guy and he was needed to clinch the deal and make sure the bomber didn't get off.

But lookie here, I was trying to establish, California-style, how strong the evidence was for the bomb having travelled on KM180 that morning.
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Old 19th February 2015, 04:25 AM   #264
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Giaka Shirley?
Yes. Doh! - have fixed my post, thanks for spotting that.
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Old 19th February 2015, 04:28 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
The reason I mentioned the fragment is that it provides a link to Megrahi because he rented office space (or something, I forget) from the guys in Switzerland (Bollier?) who made/sold timers from which this fragment may have come. That is an important off-island link. Another point to add to my list is the fact Megrahi was a Libyan agent of some kind, not just anybody. What are the odds of his having a close link to the guys who made the bomb timer and being on Malta the day the flight to Frankurt took off?

Now this is interesting. You seem to me to be falling into the same petitio principii reasoning the Zeist judges employed. Bear in mind I'm trying to look at whether the "essential fact" of the bomb having been introduced at Malta could be regarded as having been proved. Care to explain how you can use Megrahi's presence at the airport to do that?

Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Another question, assuming the plan is to put the bomb on at Malta intending to bring down Pan Am 103 (i.e. after two changes of aircraft and an uncertain time interval) what tags and/or associated procedures are required at Luqa to ensure that it gets transferred at Frankfurt? How was the system supposedly persuaded to recognise this suitcase as ultimately needing to be on a flight to New York from Heathrow (minus a passenger to whom it is supposed to belong)? Is the idea that they somehow got airside and chucked it on with a fake tag saying 'take me to Heathrow and from there to New York on Pan Am 103'. How is that even possible without a passenger and the associated audit trail of computer records and suchlike?

The allegation was that the brown Samsonite had been provided with an Air Malta luggage tag which had an itinerary written on it directing it to fly to Frankfurt on KM180, and then to be transferred there to PA103 (feeder flight) and thence to the transatlantic leg of the flight at Heathrow.

Pan Am at that time did not check whether each item of transfer luggage was accompanied by a warm body actually sitting on the plane. They relied on their x-ray screen to catch anything untoward in the luggage. The Crown theory was that the case was x-rayed at Frankfurt but the x-ray operator missed it.

Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Does the crown say 'we don't know but it must have happened this way' or 'it happened this way'?

The Crown says, we can't show you any evidence from Malta that this happened, but hey look at all the other evidence. (Sound familiar?)
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Old 19th February 2015, 04:34 AM   #266
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Monster posts Ambrosia and Rolfe. Thanks.

Rolfe, R -v- Turnbull was decided in 1976. I myself have got cases chucked out by citing it and that was in the early 80s.

You say:

But lookie here, I was trying to establish, California-style, how strong the evidence was for the bomb having travelled on KM180 that morning.

Then you need to show that an 'essential fact' (without which Megrahi cannot possibly be guilty) has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Is the Gauci ID an essential fact? It probably is but I am not completely sure. Paul Foot thought it was but he was 'only' a journo so what would he know? That is what I was trying to an analyse and, further, I was looking for circumstantial corroboration of Gauci's ID and I don't think I found any yet.

Next, I need to read the judgment to see if it's really as bad as you guys say it is.
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Old 19th February 2015, 04:41 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
The reason I mentioned the fragment is that it provides a link to Megrahi because he rented office space (or something, I forget) from the guys in Switzerland (Bollier?) who made/sold timers from which this fragment may have come. That is an important off-island link. Another point to add to my list is the fact Megrahi was a Libyan agent of some kind, not just anybody. What are the odds of his having a close link to the guys who made the bomb timer and being on Malta the day the flight to Frankurt took off?

As I said, this is arguably petitio principii. But is it actually correct or relevant?

Bollier made the MST-13 timers, and the entire batch of 20 was supplied to the Libyan military. Megrahi had nothing to do with the deal, which happened a couple of years before, and before Megrahi entered into his business connection with Bollier.

Bollier did a lot of business with Libya, and Libya is a small country. The fact that he had dealings with different Libyans in different contexts isn't all that surprising. The fact that Bollier featured on the list of foreign contacts a Libyan who did business abroad made use of is not that surprising. By the time Megrahi was dealing with Bollier, the MST-13 timers were already in Libya, in the hands of the army.

Also, where's the evidence that Megrahi was a Libyan agent? He was a wheeler-dealer, a bit of a spiv, making money acquiring foreign goods and selling them in Libya. He had been a flight dispatcher who had become head of airline security for Libyan Arab Airlines, and in that context he had been temporarily seconded to the Libyan security forces in connection with training ex security people to be airline security guards in the employ of LAA. (That's where Giaka came in.)

But that was in the past. Internal politics had gone against him in the airline and he realised it was a dead-end job. He left, and had this part-time thing with the Centre for Strategic Studies, and he was importing ambulances and police cars and pistachio nuts.

There were plenty bad guys in Libya in the 1980s and there still are. Megrahi was even related to some of them (that tribe thing again). But he doesn't seem to have been one of them. If Gaddafi was going to bomb an airliner, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi does not seem to be an obvious choice.

Also bear in mind that Malta was the normal jumping-off point for Libyans travelling into Europe and further abroad. It was also the western fleshpots handily situated only half an hour's flight from Tripoli. Libyans of all descriptions were in and out that airport all the time. Megrahi was catching a flight to Tripoli, as he often did. It left shortly after KM180. I'll bet there were several other Libyans on that flight too. This "what's the chances" thing isn't very persuasive you know.
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Old 19th February 2015, 04:44 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Monster posts Ambrosia and Rolfe. Thanks.

Rolfe, R -v- Turnbull was decided in 1976. I myself have got cases chucked out by citing it and that was in the early 80s.

The only "Turnbull" in the Zeist court was one of the PFs. English cases don't count.

There's no way a jury would have accepted that identification. The trouble was, the judges had a guid conceit of themselves, and didn't think they needed to be careful about being misled the way an ordinary pleb would. Their thinking seemed to be along the lines of, we need these things to be true in order to convict this guy. Can we find a way where we think we're entitled to rule these things are true? Well that's OK then.

Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
You say:

But lookie here, I was trying to establish, California-style, how strong the evidence was for the bomb having travelled on KM180 that morning.

Then you need to show that an 'essential fact' (without which Megrahi cannot possibly be guilty) has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Is the Gauci ID an essential fact? It probably is but I am not completely sure. Paul Foot thought it was but he was 'only' a journo so what would he know? That is what I was trying to an analyse and, further, I was looking for circumstantial corroboration of Gauci's ID and I don't think I found any yet.

Next, I need to read the judgment to see if it's really as bad as you guys say it is.

It's back to the petitio principii again. I think Gauci is an essential fact, and I think it wasn't proved, which is why as I said the 2009 appeal was going to succeed. I'm inclined to take that as read. However, I'm trying to look at the route of the bomb suitcase as an essential fact. We are looking at the conviction of a man for complicity in introducing a suitcase on to a particular flight at a particular airport. Isn't it quite essential to prove that actually happened?

It's getting uncomfortably close to saying, we can't prove that case was smuggled on to that plane other than by introducing the fact that you were at the airport at that time and it's you we want to convict.

You mentioned Suzanne Pilley. I think we are entitled to believe she is dead beyond reasonable doubt without even mentioning David Gilroy.

She was living a normal life right up to the moment she disappeared. She had broken up with someone but she had a new man in her life and she slept with him (possibly for the first time) the previous night. She loved her parents and her cat and her tropical fish and she didn't have any money worries or depression or anything that might cause her to do a runner. She vanished between the pavement outside her office, and her desk.

Her home showed no evidence of any intention to leave. Her passport was still there, no money was taken out of her account, and she hadn't even made any arrangement for someone to feed the cat. No clothes or luggage were missing. I think we may conclude that she did not disappear voluntarily.

So, she has been murdered or abducted, in those few minutes between being seen on the CCTV camera yards from the office door, and reaching her desk where she was undoubtedly heading at that time. Now I will invoke the "corpse smell" dog having done its furry little nut when shown the concealed under-stairs storage bay adjacent to the office basement car parking area.

Someone diverted her from her intended route to her desk that morning, and she was killed before her body left the premises. And I haven't had to invoke Gilroy's subsequent behaviour at all to infer that.

Now, tell me about how that bomb suitcase can be proved to have flown on KM180.
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Old 19th February 2015, 05:19 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The only "Turnbull" in the Zeist court was one of the PFs. English cases don't count.

There's no way a jury would have accepted that identification. The trouble was, the judges had a guid conceit of themselves, and didn't think they needed to be careful about being misled the way an ordinary pleb would. Their thinking seemed to be along the lines of, we need these things to be true in order to convict this guy. Can we find a way where we think we're entitled to rule these things are true? Well that's OK then.




It's back to the petitio principii again. I think Gauci is an essential fact, and I think it wasn't proved, which is why as I said the 2009 appeal was going to succeed. I'm inclined to take that as read. However, I'm trying to look at the route of the bomb suitcase as an essential fact. We are looking at the conviction of a man for complicity in introducing a suitcase on to a particular flight at a particular airport. Isn't it quite essential to prove that actually happened?

It's getting uncomfortably close to saying, we can't prove that case was smuggled on to that plane other than by introducing the fact that you were at the airport at that time and it's you we want to convict.

You mentioned Suzanne Pilley. I think we are entitled to believe she is dead beyond reasonable doubt without even mentioning David Gilroy.

She was living a normal life right up to the moment she disappeared. She had broken up with someone but she had a new man in her life and she slept with him (possibly for the first time) the previous night. She loved her parents and her cat and her tropical fish and she didn't have any money worries or depression or anything that might cause her to do a runner. She vanished between the pavement outside her office, and her desk.

Her home showed no evidence of any intention to leave. Her passport was still there, no money was taken out of her account, and she hadn't even made any arrangement for someone to feed the cat. No clothes or luggage were missing. I think we may conclude that she did not disappear voluntarily.

So, she has been murdered or abducted, in those few minutes between being seen on the CCTV camera yards from the office door, and reaching her desk where she was undoubtedly heading at that time. Now I will invoke the "corpse smell" dog having done its furry little nut when shown the concealed under-stairs storage bay adjacent to the office basement car parking area.

Someone diverted her from her intended route to her desk that morning, and she was killed before her body left the premises. And I haven't had to invoke Gilroy's subsequent behaviour at all to infer that.

Now, tell me about how that bomb suitcase can be proved to have flown on KM180.
Could you explain your petitio principii point at idiot level? [ETA I know what it means but I'm asking you to apply to it to my faulty thinking so I can see what I am doing wrong]

I agree Suzanne Pillay was proved to be dead beyond reasonable doubt. That's why it's a good illustration as the fact of her being dead was clearly 'essential' and thus carried its own high standard of proof. Normally, that cannot be said of individual bits and pieces of the case but the Californian logic is that sine qua nons (if you will forgive an ugly plural) must have the same standard as that required to convict of the full offence.

We don't burden our juries with such things, rightly in my view, but the Californian way is a useful tool of analysis sometimes.
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Old 19th February 2015, 06:12 AM   #270
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Megrahi was accused of facilitating the introduction of the brown Samsonite on to KM180 at Luqa airport. As you say, the California thing doesn't necessarily apply, but it's a useful debating tool.

So, to convict him of doing that, is it not necessary to prove that it was done at all?

I say that the evidence suggesting the Malta introduction is two-fold.
  1. The clothes packed with the bomb (one item at least) were proved to have been purchased in a shop only three miles from the airport. Caveat: the purchase took place at least two weeks before the bombing, so at least in theory the clothes could have been taken anywhere.
  2. A line in a computer printout of a selected part of the Frankfurt airport baggage records reconciled (by the normal means of interpreting these documents) to an item of luggage that was transferred from the wagon of transfer baggage unloaded from KM180 to the departure gate for PA103. Caveat: Most of the records were lost when the computer file was over-written, and the remaining records were very difficult to interpret. There were at least half a dozen lines in that printout that couldn't be reconciled to documented legitimate luggage for PA103, from four different airports (Bombay, Berlin Tegel, Malta and Warsaw).
To counter that we have the positively impenetrable Malta baggage security system. No doubt that system could be breached, but I simply cannot see how it could have been breached that day, for that flight, without any trace of the breach being left in the documentation.

To try to square this circle, you introduce Megrahi's presence at the airport, as if that somehow strengthens the case for the bomb having flown on KM180. That point is only applicable however if you have already identified Megrahi as the bomber! There's your petitio principii.
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Old 19th February 2015, 06:32 AM   #271
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Megrahi was accused of facilitating the introduction of the brown Samsonite on to KM180 at Luqa airport. As you say, the California thing doesn't necessarily apply, but it's a useful debating tool.

So, to convict him of doing that, is it not necessary to prove that it was done at all?

I say that the evidence suggesting the Malta introduction is two-fold.
  1. The clothes packed with the bomb (one item at least) were proved to have been purchased in a shop only three miles from the airport. Caveat: the purchase took place at least two weeks before the bombing, so at least in theory the clothes could have been taken anywhere.
  2. A line in a computer printout of a selected part of the Frankfurt airport baggage records reconciled (by the normal means of interpreting these documents) to an item of luggage that was transferred from the wagon of transfer baggage unloaded from KM180 to the departure gate for PA103. Caveat: Most of the records were lost when the computer file was over-written, and the remaining records were very difficult to interpret. There were at least half a dozen lines in that printout that couldn't be reconciled to documented legitimate luggage for PA103, from four different airports (Bombay, Berlin Tegel, Malta and Warsaw).
To counter that we have the positively impenetrable Malta baggage security system. No doubt that system could be breached, but I simply cannot see how it could have been breached that day, for that flight, without any trace of the breach being left in the documentation.

To try to square this circle, you introduce Megrahi's presence at the airport, as if that somehow strengthens the case for the bomb having flown on KM180. That point is only applicable however if you have already identified Megrahi as the bomber! There's your petitio principii.
Ah, thanks. I was not quite doing that (I think but I may be confused by now) but I agree it is begging the question to say Megrahi bought the clothes, therefore he placed the bomb at Luqa without also proving the bomb was placed at Luqa whether at all or by the same person who bought the clothes.
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Old 19th February 2015, 08:06 AM   #272
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I'm still at a more basic stage than that. I want to know if it can be proved that the bomb was placed on board at Luqa, at all, without having to drag in the fact that a suspect was at the airport at the time.

Megrahi is just some guy.
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Old 19th February 2015, 11:28 AM   #273
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I want to know if it can be proved that the bomb was placed on board at Luqa, at all.
Not unless you can also prove that the clothes in the case were bought at Mary's house on the morning of the attack.

The only evidence that links the case to Malta are the clothes that are in it, and Gauci puts the sale date of those 3 weeks prior at the latest.

I have another theory about the luggage that might hold water.

All of the luggage loaded into AVE4041 was recovered on the ground, (for items destroyed by the bomb at least some identifiable pieces were recovered), all other items would have been recovered whole.

Can that be proved beyond reasonable doubt?

PA103 was torn apart at 31000ft by explosive decompression. The bomb blew a hole in the side of the plane and the resulting pressure difference between the outside atmosphere and the inside of the aircraft was so violent that the plane quickly tore itself to pieces. The bomb severely damages items in close proximity to it and blows the side of the luggage container open and a hole in the side of the cargo hold. It does little actual damage apart from that, and this means that the luggage in AVE4041 are the very first bits of debris to exit the plane and fall to earth, most of it would have fallen intact.

It took 3-4 seconds for the plane to start to breakup and it was travelling at 220m/s so ~500m from the moment the contents of AVE4041 were sucked out of the cargo hold before the plane starts to break up. Luggage from AVE4041 should be at the tip of the debris fields and should be all within a fairly tight area. Bits of luggage and contents of opened cases would have been blown on the wind significantly, though whole cases should have fallen more directly. none of this first debris, that which was ejected in the initial explosion would have been involved with fire the fires at Lockerbie would have been a result of fuel fires started as the main structure of the plane broke apart and impacted

Luggage stored further back in the plane would have got more mixed up in the rest of the aircraft wreckage and some of that may well never be found. (destroyed in later fires)

All of the recovered items were logged with date and grid reference so it might be possible to piece together a map showing the found locations of recovered items of luggage. Given the amount of searchers involved in search and recovery and the quality of searching, items the size of an intact suitcase are very unlikely to be missed.

Which eventually leads to:

If no other Samsonite case, or fragments of samsonite case are found to be among the recovered items, apart from that IDed as the bomb case - then that 100% positively identifies the Bedford case as the bomb case. Without requiring any other evidence.

We know that luggage from PA103A (the Frankfurt leg) was loaded into AVE4041 and also once AVE4041 was full the remainder of the luggage from 103A was loaded loose into the rear of the cargo hold, which would explain why some of the luggage from 103A is missing and not recovered (it was destroyed in the resulting fires)

the trial judgement dismisses the Bedford case as "might have been placed at some more remote corner of the container" Logically there is no good reason to assume any of the luggage in AVE4041 would not subsequently be found (and AVE4041 is hardly big enough to have remote corners in any case) and every reason to assume all of it would have been recovered.
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Old 19th February 2015, 04:04 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Not unless you can also prove that the clothes in the case were bought at Mary's house on the morning of the attack.

The only evidence that links the case to Malta are the clothes that are in it, and Gauci puts the sale date of those 3 weeks prior at the latest.

Two weeks. 7th December according to the Court. (Actually four weeks, 23rd November.)

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I have another theory about the luggage that might hold water.

All of the luggage loaded into AVE4041 was recovered on the ground, (for items destroyed by the bomb at least some identifiable pieces were recovered), all other items would have been recovered whole.

Can that be proved beyond reasonable doubt?

Nope. Because it's not true.

Derek Henderson's comprehensive report lists nine items which were believed to have been in the container which weren't recovered. Viz.
  • Frankfurt originators
  1. Blue Tourister suitcase
  2. Brown tweed "Amelia Earhart" suitcase
  3. Green duffle bag
  4. Bright coloured backpack
  5. Brown attache case
  • Frankfurt interline
  1. Cardboard carton (Mr. Walker's ophthalmological instruments, which Kurt Maier mistook for six bottles of wine!)
  • Frankfurt online
  1. Maroon suit carrier (Ken Gibson's, from Berlin Tegel. Not listed on the passenger manifest but assumed to be one of the 11 items coded 11.59-12.00)
  • Frankfurt unaccompanied luggage
  1. Beige Samsonite suitcase, soft material over wooden frame (One of Mr. Weinacker's cases)
  • Heathrow interline luggage
  1. Yellow/orange duffle bag
This last is interesting. That item belonged to Bunntamas's stepfather, who flew directly to Heathrow from Pisa. Remember Bunntamas? Intermittently shrieking harpy who was banned for sending a threat of legal action to Darat? In one of her more lucid and co-operative periods she happened to mention that the duffle bag had been returned to her mother very recently. I'm not sure how recently is recently, but my guess was after 2005 anyway. Which is odd. But that piece of information means that none of the Heathrow interline luggage went missing at all. (The duffle bag wasn't actually in AVE4041, DC Henderson's other report makes it clear it was one of the items that arrived late and was loose-loaded in the rear of the plane.)

No brown or maroon Samsonite hardshell. Fancy that.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
PA103 was torn apart at 31000ft by explosive decompression. The bomb blew a hole in the side of the plane and the resulting pressure difference between the outside atmosphere and the inside of the aircraft was so violent that the plane quickly tore itself to pieces. The bomb severely damages items in close proximity to it and blows the side of the luggage container open and a hole in the side of the cargo hold. It does little actual damage apart from that, and this means that the luggage in AVE4041 are the very first bits of debris to exit the plane and fall to earth, most of it would have fallen intact.

It took 3-4 seconds for the plane to start to breakup and it was travelling at 220m/s so ~500m from the moment the contents of AVE4041 were sucked out of the cargo hold before the plane starts to break up. Luggage from AVE4041 should be at the tip of the debris fields and should be all within a fairly tight area. Bits of luggage and contents of opened cases would have been blown on the wind significantly, though whole cases should have fallen more directly. none of this first debris, that which was ejected in the initial explosion would have been involved with fire the fires at Lockerbie would have been a result of fuel fires started as the main structure of the plane broke apart and impacted

Luggage stored further back in the plane would have got more mixed up in the rest of the aircraft wreckage and some of that may well never be found. (destroyed in later fires)

All of the recovered items were logged with date and grid reference so it might be possible to piece together a map showing the found locations of recovered items of luggage. Given the amount of searchers involved in search and recovery and the quality of searching, items the size of an intact suitcase are very unlikely to be missed.

Which eventually leads to:

If no other Samsonite case, or fragments of samsonite case are found to be among the recovered items, apart from that IDed as the bomb case - then that 100% positively identifies the Bedford case as the bomb case. Without requiring any other evidence.

It was all done. DC Henderson did it. The items that were in AVE4041 landed mainly in I sector, around Newcastleton, 20 miles east of Lockerbie. The ten or a dozen pieces of transfer baggage that were loaded in the rear of the plane (five items that arrived in the interline shed after Bedford had moved the container, plus about half a dozen that Sidhu couldn't fit into the container) were found in C sector, which was the north part of Lockerbie town itself, where the main fuselage part landed. (Rosebank Crescent? There are pictures of the fuselage there.)

It all fits. Perfectly. No bloody wonder the prosecution buried Henderson's work.

There were only two legitimate brown Samsonite hardshells in AVE4041. One belonged to Francis Boyer (and I think it was tray 5620). The other was John Hubbard's misrouted rush-tag case en route to Seattle. Both of these were found without any blast damage on them. And they both came off the feeder flight. (There is a twist where the Hubbard case could have got to Heathrow earlier and been sent to the interline shed and been the case Bedford saw, but it doesn't fly. It wasn't under the bomb, so it would have had to have been moved, and anyway the baggage handlers all agreed there was no Pan Am tagged luggage in that group, nor were there any rush tags.)

Actually, since Bedford saw his case before the feeder flight landed, you don't even need to go through all this. There were only six items recorded as being sent to the interline shed and loaded in AVE4041. We know what they were and whose they were and none of them was a brown Samsonite hardshell and they were all found and none of them was in the under-the-bomb position.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
We know that luggage from PA103A (the Frankfurt leg) was loaded into AVE4041 and also once AVE4041 was full the remainder of the luggage from 103A was loaded loose into the rear of the cargo hold, which would explain why some of the luggage from 103A is missing and not recovered (it was destroyed in the resulting fires)

I don't think the loose-loaded items went into Sherwood Crescent. I think they landed with the fuselage in and around Rosebank Crescent, C sector anyway, in the town. The five Heathrow interline items in that group were all recovered (even the yellow duffle bag). I don't actually know how many of the feeder flight items were discovered in C sector, but if that was known it could be compared with the number of items Sidhu thought he had left over when the container was full.

I think the eight unrecovered items might have landed in a loch or somewhere. Police divers did search the water, but a suitcase would be easier to miss than a body. Or maybe they really were found after all and sent back to the owner's relatives in 2005 like the duffle bag. It's pure JREF chance that we know about that.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
the trial judgement dismisses the Bedford case as "might have been placed at some more remote corner of the container" Logically there is no good reason to assume any of the luggage in AVE4041 would not subsequently be found (and AVE4041 is hardly big enough to have remote corners in any case) and every reason to assume all of it would have been recovered.

Look stop trying to take short-cuts, you. I know the Bedford bag can be proved to have been the bomb. I'm trying to explore the possible lines of reasoning if you don't know that for sure.

What is the best proof we can manage to support the idea that the bomb went on at Luqa? In the Californian style. We need to prove that actually happened before we can convict anyone of doing it.

The clothes are very weak. As you say, if they'd been bought early in the morning of 21st December, that would be a point. Weeks in advance makes them as very tenuous thread indeed. I simply can't understand the commentators - apparently including one of Megrahi's own legal team - who make such a big deal about this. International terrorists travel, man.

You're left with 8849. Which is a hell of a coincidence in the context of the clothes, but does anyone want to run with that?
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Old 19th February 2015, 04:13 PM   #275
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You know, I think some hapless junior PF got the job of going through the luggage evidence with particular emphasis on Henderson's reports, and was asked to come up with a reasonable story to explain the Bedford case. I think he or she figured it all out. I just wonder how sinking was the feeling for whoever realised this.

And damn to hell those who decided to try to rescue their otherwise doomed case by hiding half the evidence from the court, and playing games to pretend the Tourister was under the bomb.
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Old 19th February 2015, 06:03 PM   #276
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Two weeks. 7th December according to the Court. (Actually four weeks, 23rd November.)
Gaucis evidence puts an upper limit of 5th December on the purchase as the Christmas lights were turned on on the 6th. Even if you don't know that, it still couldn't be the 7th because he never positively IDs Megrahi as the buyer, states on multiple occasions that Megrahi definitely is *not* the buyer and the twisted logic used by the court to say it was the 7th uses the "fact" that Megrahi was in fact the buyer to infer that.

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Nope. Because it's not true.

Look stop trying to take short-cuts, you. I know the Bedford bag can be proved to have been the bomb. I'm trying to explore the possible lines of reasoning if you don't know that for sure.
Just trying to think of an alternative way to prove the Bedford case has to have been the bomb that doesn't need to rely on it's position in the container.

Quote:
What is the best proof we can manage to support the idea that the bomb went on at Luqa? In the Californian style. We need to prove that actually happened before we can convict anyone of doing it. [...]

You're left with 8849. Which is a hell of a coincidence in the context of the clothes, but does anyone want to run with that?
There isn't any.

8849 is either:
  • A real piece of luggage from KM180 on Dec 21st that was routed to Heathrow via PA103A
  • A piece of luggage from a different flight also designated KM180
  • A piece of luggage from a n other flight that has the wrong label on it
  • A piece of luggage from a n other flight that has the right label on it but the coder made a mistake entering the details/or the code itself was faulty.

It has to be one of those 4.

We can look at the other luggage records from KM180 that day and pretty much rule out the first one. 55 items of luggage all accounted for.

In order for 8849 to be an actual piece of luggage loaded onto KM180 at Luqa that morning then the luggage counters at Malta have made the error and not the luggage system at Frankfurt. Possible but given their systems less likely than one of the other 3 possible alternatives.

Which of those 3 it is is hard to determine, may even be unanswerable given what evidence remains, and yes it's a coincidence given that the bomb case had Maltese clothes in it and the originating flight was from Malta. 2 of the alternatives rule it out of being the bomb as neither a coding error or a label error will result in the bag getting to Heathrow at all, which leaves only the possibility that this item was from an earlier flight KM180 that got held up at Frankfurt for some reason and got added to this particular KM180s batch of luggage to finish off it's journey.

If it's from an earlier KM180 then that rules out Megrahi entirely too, so the investigators might be less inclined to chase that lead.

If you have other very convincing evidence that tells you that the bomb must have originated from Luqa then you might look closely at ways the Luqa system was circumvented. There's no reason to go that far though. the luggage system at Frankfurt was complicated and there are many more ways a semi-automated complicated system can screw up than ways a simpler one can.

Chances are that whatever 8849 was it's an anomaly caused by Frankfurts system. Computers aren't infallible, they only do what they are programmed to.
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Old 19th February 2015, 06:16 PM   #277
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I don't actually know how many of the feeder flight items were discovered in C sector, but if that was known it could be compared with the number of items Sidhu thought he had left over when the container was full.
You could compare how many items typically fit into such a container and make a close educated guess, there's several "fully loaded" mockups.

You get somewhere in the region of 30 bags into one of these things would be my uneducated guess.

While you might be able to squeeze a few extra in in ideal conditions, if you're rush loading one at night, in winter, and have to get things done quickly so the flight can take off on time and you have obviously too many items to go in then you'd probably put an extra couple of items loose in the rear in the interests of time.
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Old 20th February 2015, 02:02 AM   #278
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Sidhu said how many he had left over, I just don't remember right now. Less than ten. Other people who helped get them on the plane confirmed. They were combined with the stuff that arrived in the interline shed after 4.45 (5) and all that was loose loaded in a pallet at the rear of the plane. And found in C sector. Two more cases from the interline shed were left behind and found at Heathrow the following morning.
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Old 20th February 2015, 02:10 AM   #279
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I think the evidence from Malta excludes 8849 being something that was unloaded from KM180. (Especially when you know it wasn't the bomb.) So what did Koca see in front of him at 13.07 that made him key in the code for PA103?

I think some of your options aren't possible, but I'm typing on my phone so maybe later. I can think of another possibility though, which isn't a coincidence.
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Old 20th February 2015, 10:37 AM   #280
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Gaucis evidence puts an upper limit of 5th December on the purchase as the Christmas lights were turned on on the 6th. Even if you don't know that, it still couldn't be the 7th because he never positively IDs Megrahi as the buyer, states on multiple occasions that Megrahi definitely is *not* the buyer and the twisted logic used by the court to say it was the 7th uses the "fact" that Megrahi was in fact the buyer to infer that.

That's absolutely true, I was just trying to do it on the information the court was accepting without our additional knowledge. It doesn't make any difference anyway. Even a week would be easily long enough for the clothes to have gone almost anywhere.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Just trying to think of an alternative way to prove the Bedford case has to have been the bomb that doesn't need to rely on it's position in the container.

That was how I approached the matter originally. What did he see if it wasn't the bomb? It wasn't anything belonging to one of the known Heathrow interline passengers, unless he was wrong in his description of the case. And we know that there was one more case in there than there should have been.

If something else non-explosive found its way there, nothing found on the ground was ever reconciled to it. There were items found that weren't identified, or so John Ashton has said, but you'd think the investigators would have been keen to make such a reconciliation if there had been a possible candidate.

The problem really is, if you don't consider the positioning, you could possibly claim that Bedford actually saw one of the known Heathrow interline items and mistook the colour. Then if you allow the possibility that the thing was moved, it's all completely up in the air.

Anglo (who seems to have wandered off) said he likes uncertainty and keeping things vague when defending. But this is one example where absolute clarity is a huge win.

What Henderson did pretty much excluded the possibility that the exploding suitcase was something checked in by a passenger on the plane. What his reconciliation can't reveal is whether or not it came off the feeder flight. That does require positioning information.

It's also only when we add the positioning information that we can be sure that Bedford didn't see one of the legitimate interline suitcases and mistake the colour.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
8849 is either:
  • A real piece of luggage from KM180 on Dec 21st that was routed to Heathrow via PA103A
  • A piece of luggage from a different flight also designated KM180
  • A piece of luggage from a n other flight that has the wrong label on it
  • A piece of luggage from a n other flight that has the right label on it but the coder made a mistake entering the details/or the code itself was faulty.
It has to be one of those 4.

No, I don't think these options are right. I think we need to look at it a bit differently, considering what actually went on at the coding stations.

I agree with you on the first point. Luqa was investigated very closely and despite what the investigators went on believing, and persuaded the judges of, I can't see any way there was a 56th item on that flight which was coded for PA103.

On the second point, the only other flights also designated KM180 would be that flight on earlier days. No luggage left over from 20th December would be left lying around for 24 hours and then added to the container from the following day's flight. The system didn't work like that.

Could a piece of luggage from a different flight have got into the container with the KM180 luggage? It's extremely unlikely.

First, consider interline luggage which was really intended for PA103. There isn't any. There is simply no known piece of luggage destined for that plane which could have been coded at 206 at 13.07. The only possibility would have been a mis-routed piece of unaccompanied luggage, but all misrouted luggage was re-coded in the central hall, not in V3.

Second, consider luggage that wasn't intended for PA103, but was sent there by a coding error. First, it wasn't anything from KM180, as we know none of that luggage was mis-coded. So we could only postulate some random item found lying around the V3 area and chucked in with the KM180 luggage, which was then accidentally mis-coded for PA103. This is getting improbable already. The other problem is that the baggage handlers at the departure gate were supposed to check the tags on the stuff coming out of the automated system to make sure anything that had been miscoded in this way wasn't loaded on the aircraft. Nothing like that was identified when loading PA103 that day.

Could it have been a clock error, and something was coded outside the KM180 window? All the same caveats above apply. What was it, how did it get there, and if it was a miscoding, why wasn't it left behind at the departure gate?

However, I don't think it was a clock error. All the timings on the other flights studied match. The two 11.31 items were probably put through in the seconds before the coding of the wagon from AI465 began, as its start time is recorded as 11.31. Looking at 5620, that was coded at 13.44, and the coding of LH1071 was recorded as ending at 13.45. That only requires a small error, if the item (the Boyer case, I suspect) was coded immediately after the coding of the LH1071 wagon finished. Only a few seconds discrepancy would do it.

8849 was right in the middle of the KM180 coding window. You need a three-minute discrepancy either way. The rest of the evidence doesn't support that being likely.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Chances are that whatever 8849 was it's an anomaly caused by Frankfurts system. Computers aren't infallible, they only do what they are programmed to.

Whatever this was, going round all the possible permutations above, it was something bloody unlikely, in the context of an entry pointing right to the place where the clothes were bought.
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