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Tags Juval Aviv , Lockerbie bombing , Pan Am 103

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Old 24th June 2011, 03:19 PM   #41
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Oh come on! Is nobody interested? If I'm a day late and a dollar short, someone just tell me!

I'm reading Ashton and Ferguson, and they report in more detail on the Frankfurt security as presented to the Pan Am civil liability trial than I've been able to find in the Zeist transcripts. They report that the 13 items thing was clearly brought out by Maier himself. That 12 of these were linked to passengers, leaving a 13th that was alleged to be the bomb. However the defence was that the 13th item was John Hubbard's unaccompanied "rush tag" bag which had been re-routed because it missed the flight it was supposed to catch. (The judge refused to allow that explanation to be led in evidence.)

They're going into a lot more detail which I propose to go on reading, but so far I'm not getting it. How many bloody interline passengers were there for PA103A? Was Booth wrong about the 49 part? Could be, but 13 items seems far too small a number. And what about the item noted on the printout that appeared to be from Warsaw? That should have been x-rayed too, if the "Malta" item was x-rayed.

Help, I'm confused.

Oh yes and Richard says there were only six interline passengers at Heathrow. Which may well fit with the small number of items in AVE4041, but is definitely wrong. Thanks to Crawford we know who the famous First Fifteen were, and even if we can't be sure about all of them, more than six definitely interlined into Heathrow.

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Old 24th June 2011, 07:51 PM   #42
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Indeed, WTHGOAF?

The place seems like a complete seive. I've focussed on Saviour Mallia.

He declined the invitation to appear at Zeist, but did agree to be interviewed ( and x-examined ) in Malta. In all he gave 4 statemnts to the police and the interview related to the trial tries to zero in on the discrepancies between his first statement 18sep1989 and his second statement 28sep1989. He objected to any/all of his statements being produced to the court.

The interview produced was allowed to be pondered upon by the judges. However, it was read out to fill a small gap in proceedings that would take everyone nicely up to lunchtime ( after which, apparantly they'll deliberate on the Jafaar episode )

And whaddya know? Another slippery type when it comes to what he's letting on about.
[7930] onwards is where you'll find it.

The most curious aspect of it, and pertinent to this thread, is the way he's spurred on to recall that he actually took 3 'luggages' on KM180, but only two were his. The other was for a friend and colleague ( Edwin Caruana ), but he doesn't remember if he gave it to Caruana or another acquaintance and colleague ( Olensio, a Portuguese national from Goa, according to Mallia )

Anyhow, the Maltese police phone him up for an appointment, and volunteers the 3rd suitcase info because his girlfriend had reminded him about it, not because anyone had noticed a discrepancy.

He doesn't remember anything about the suitcase apart from the fact it was locked. He doesn't remember who he gives it to at Frankfurt. He doesn't seem to recall a whole lot about a holiday with his future wife when transporting luggage that isn't his. Maybe it's run-of-the-mill for Air Malta employees.

I don't think the suitcase is the bomb. I do think it casts a whole heap of doubt on the unaccompanied bag angle. Air Malta can account for all the bags checked-in on km180, but certainly not for the provenance of them.

"Did you pack this bag yourself, sir?" is a question I've always been asked at check-in. I always thought it a reasonably ridiculous question and remember laughing and joking about it with friends on school trips ( I left school in 1987 )

An entire airports records go missing and it seems like there are as many reasons for this as there are passengers at the airport.

Mallia seems to have come real close to being 'put in the frame' and I bet he still thinks about that to this day.


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Old 25th June 2011, 01:56 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by CTB View Post
Indeed, WTHGOAF?

The place seems like a complete seive.

I'm currently reading Ashton and Ferguson, and it gets worse, really. They take note of the vanishing luggage records more specifically than anyone else, though they don't actually hazard any guesses as to who vanished them.

Heathrow may be where the bomb entered the luggage system, but I'm damn sure Frankfurt is the locus of the cover-up. And as far as Khalid Jafaar goes, while I don't think he was a mule for the bomb, there's so much smoke there I can't imagine there's no fire.

As regards Saviour Mallia, that's a fascinating little cameo. I hope you don't mind me moving that part of your post to the "unaccompanied bag from Malta" thread, because it seems to belong there more than here.

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Old 26th June 2011, 06:37 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

As regards Saviour Mallia, that's a fascinating little cameo. I hope you don't mind me moving that part of your post to the "unaccompanied bag from Malta" thread, because it seems to belong there more than here.

Rolfe.
I'm happy for it to be moved to whichever thread it fits best. I'm still trying to find my way around the discussions. There are hundreds of interesting digressions to be pondered, most of which are swimming around inside my head at any given time. if only they'd all stop splashing around and get some lane discipline. I'll do my best to stay on-topic

I think I put it here as an example of how un-superduper and tightly controlled baggage movements at Frankfurt really were. Airline luggage tags also seemed ( possibly still are ) to be a freeflowing currency.

Frankfurt Am Main strikes me as the sort of transit point for all sorts of spooks and agencies. Hell, some of 'em might have been on nodding terms with each other when not 'observing' discreetly from behind a newspaper.

I would venture the guess that any number of hugely embarrassing ( to governments, police forces, airlines, etc ) operations might have been jeopardised by a thorough investigation. So, as long as no-one can really be pinned for a bomb being introduced to all this intrigue then it's huge sighs of relief all round.
Even if that means admitting not one single investigator thought to grab a copy of the airport's records.

And by sheer luck, a souvenir scrap helpfully pointing to something vaguely not-quite-right towards little ol' Malta.

The judges bought the notion that everything was tickety-boo and upright about operations at Frankfurt am Main. They were not led to consider ( or just didn't think much of ) any hint otherwise. I'll need to read the judgement again to remind myself if they really thought anything important about the place.

I'm mostly convinced that a cover-up, which is screamingly obvious, at Frankfurt is not directly related to the explosion aboard panam103, drug-trafficking and 'sewing needles' not withstanding.


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Old 26th June 2011, 07:43 AM   #45
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I started a post to go in the "unaccompanied bag" thread last night, when I had one of those moments of insight and started down a completely different train of thought. I'm still on it, but I also saved my infant post on Mallia.

Coming back soon....

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Old 26th June 2011, 03:55 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by CTB View Post
I'm happy for it to be moved to whichever thread it fits best. I'm still trying to find my way around the discussions. There are hundreds of interesting digressions to be pondered, most of which are swimming around inside my head at any given time. if only they'd all stop splashing around and get some lane discipline. I'll do my best to stay on-topic.

Lane discipline! I like it. That's why there are several threads, though they do overlap a bit obviously. The WTHWGOIF? thread (this one) is mainly about the machinations and cover-up. Examination of the Erac printout as such is more for the unaccompanied bag thread, because that is the only evidence there ever was for an unaccompanied bag.

Until we get on to deciding it might have been faked, I suppose....

Saviour Mallia and his travelling companions are definitely about unaccompanied bags. Or even accompanied bags that might not have been what they seemed. But as you say, Frankfurt and Heathrow made a nice pair when it came to putting down the red carpet for any damn thing anyone liked to do there.

Originally Posted by CTB View Post
I think I put it here as an example of how un-superduper and tightly controlled baggage movements at Frankfurt really were. Airline luggage tags also seemed ( possibly still are ) to be a freeflowing currency.

Frankfurt Am Main strikes me as the sort of transit point for all sorts of spooks and agencies. Hell, some of 'em might have been on nodding terms with each other when not 'observing' discreetly from behind a newspaper.

I would venture the guess that any number of hugely embarrassing ( to governments, police forces, airlines, etc ) operations might have been jeopardised by a thorough investigation. So, as long as no-one can really be pinned for a bomb being introduced to all this intrigue then it's huge sighs of relief all round.
Even if that means admitting not one single investigator thought to grab a copy of the airport's records.

And by sheer luck, a souvenir scrap helpfully pointing to something vaguely not-quite-right towards little ol' Malta.

The judges bought the notion that everything was tickety-boo and upright about operations at Frankfurt am Main. They were not led to consider ( or just didn't think much of ) any hint otherwise. I'll need to read the judgement again to remind myself if they really thought anything important about the place.

I'm mostly convinced that a cover-up, which is screamingly obvious, at Frankfurt is not directly related to the explosion aboard panam103, drug-trafficking and 'sewing needles' not withstanding.

Totally agree, except slightly on the last part. I think the sewing needles are what they seemed at face value and someone has just gone off on one. But the rest of it? I'm not convinced one way or another. I think it's on the cards the spooks were mixed up in all sorts of shenanigans trying to get close to the revenge bomb plot they knew was underway. So much so that there may have been an almighty moment of "Oh, !!" when that plane fell out of the sky.

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Old 28th June 2011, 06:48 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think the sewing needles are what they seemed at face value and someone has just gone off on one.

Rolfe.

I agree with that. I'll chuck in my tuppence worth on the thread where it came up, although the discussion there may have moved on.


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Old 1st July 2011, 05:16 PM   #48
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from September 2010

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

Contemporary press reports have the Frankfurt police starting investigations at the airport within a couple of days of the crash. And yet, somehow, all the baggage records for that day vanished.


<snip>

Other records were also missing - the loading plan for PA103A was missing, and there were no records of the unloading of KM180, how many bags came off and so on.


Rolfe.


from June 2007


Was going to type the URL, but I haven't hit the 15 posts mark, yet.




Mr Miles writes an interesting thing or two: If an appeal takes place, al-Megrahiís defence team will produce important evidence that was not available at the time of the first appeal, evidence that seems likely not only to exonerate al-Megrahi but to do so by pointing the finger of blame at the real perpetrators of the Lockerbie bombing and revealing some inconvenient truths.

Apparently the Crown had a whole heap of stuff.

Mr Miles continues: Since al-Megrahiís last appeal, many thousands of pages of reports, detailing freight and baggage movements in and out of Frankfurt airport, have been handed over to the defence. Largely in German and many handwritten, the papers were translated by the Crown at the taxpayerís expense, but the Crown refused to share the translations with the defence and left it no time to commission its own.


These docs might not detail the day in question, but I'll bet they make for informative reading.


CTB


the source is lrb, the author Hugh Miles, the article title is Inconvenient Truths.
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Old 2nd July 2011, 04:12 AM   #49
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Thanks for that, CJB. In fact you can type urls if you just disguise them so that they aren't rendered as links, for example replace www with xxx. Pointless post-count boosting may be carried on in the Community section!

My impression (though of course I can't prove it) is that the BKA hoovered up everything in Frankfurt airport within a few days of the disaster. All this stuff about nobody realising they needed to save the computer records is poppycock - especially since the man who designed the system says that routine backups would have been taken anyway, so where did they go, pray tell me?

I think they then decided to release only the selected items they thought would advance the case for their airport not being culpable. Note we seem to have all the interline coders' worksheets, and the interline writers' records, although at first only those relating to KM180 and station 206 were produced.

In The Maltese Double Cross, Michael Jones declares

Quote:
I went to Frankfurt airport on the 23rd of January 1989 to look for the documents in relation to the preparation of flight 103 from Frankfurt to London, in particular the cargo and baggage loading plan, who was responsible for loading the plane and what their duties were. But these documents were missing from the daily file. If the original documents had been taken by the authorities, and by that I mean the police, then it would be normal practice for a copy to be retained in the Pan Am file.

These documents definitely appear at Zeist. Roland O'Neil's evidence has him being taken through the loading plan. I think this supports my interpretation that the cops did indeed take the documents, but didn't leave any copies for other people to start playing detective with. Then they produced what they wanted to produce.

Initially they were hoping that Heathrow would be fingered as the point of introduction of the bomb, based on the timing of the explosion. I'll just bet nobody told them about Bedford's evidence, or they'd have clung to that position a lot more tenaciously! However, the Brits would have none of it, apparently because they'd decided that the bomb suitcase was on the second layer, and there was no bag on the second layer when Bedford last saw the container. So when Frankfurt started to reveal evidence, they made sure that it was evidence that would implicate an item of transfer baggage, because it was Pan Am which was responsible for that category of baggage, not Frankfurt airport. It's perfectly possible they already knew about the Maltese clothes (or at least the Babygro) before the printout was produced.

What I don't know is whether the printout is completely legitimate as to its provenance and content, or not. I can't find a flaw in it, on the contrary there is evidence that a Maltese connection was present in it from the beginning, but it seems too damn convenient to be true. I'd dearly love to know more about Miss Bogomira Erac, IT technician from Slovenia who moved to West Germany in her twenties but went back to see her folks on the other side of the Iron Curtain every Neues Jahr. And who gave evidence only as "Madame X" at the 1992 US hearings.

Your link seems to support the suspicion of all information being secured and only selected details being released. I think I read it before, actually. I don't see any suggestion that the entire computer file has been found, which is a pity!

Rolfe.
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Old 2nd July 2011, 02:20 PM   #50
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yeah, Madame X. I wonder what was going on there. It suggests protected witness status.
I'm assuming Mrs Erac married a West German. Slovenia was one of the first to reject it's Cold War legacy, starting with popular demos in 1987 - I'm not sure when the fighting broke out with the Yugoslav National Army - but who's arm needed twisting for regular jaunts to and fro?

Mostly, I'm pondering the Crown and it's reputation for deciding what was useful for the defence or not and telling porkies about it ie the CIA's Giaka cables.

I mean, it had translations, but didn't share.

Mr Miles is writing between the appeals and appears to be talking about a whole bunch of different stuff.

Whether or not they would point to the real perps ( every journo seems to be just one more paragraph away from revealing this ) I'm not sure.
'm speculating that we would have a much clearer picture of how many erroneous looking, but perfectly legitimate, items would be swirling around the system on any given day.

And, yes, it sure is amazing that there was such a clear lead to Malta, allowing the whole 'magic suitcase' inference to fly in the minds of the judges.

The apparent bad blood between Frankfurt and London makes zero sense to me. For sure, nobody wants their team looking like it slipped up badly, but the finger-pointing and intransigence is primary school stuff. There are no senior investigators capable of banging a few heads together? In all other respects of the investigation the agencies and departments involved seemed to have had a pretty good working relationship.


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Old 2nd July 2011, 02:29 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by CTB View Post
Mr Miles is writing between the appeals and appears to be talking about a whole bunch of different stuff.


CTB


ah, yes. I get it now. Not new stuff, just unseen by the defence

Which kind of makes it new
( he says trying to rescue himself from looking a bit dippy.)

Must.....concentrate.....

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Old 2nd July 2011, 03:40 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by CTB View Post
yeah, Madame X. I wonder what was going on there. It suggests protected witness status.

Hmmm, yes. I don't really know what that implies though.

Originally Posted by CTB View Post
I'm assuming Mrs Erac married a West German. Slovenia was one of the first to reject it's Cold War legacy, starting with popular demos in 1987 - I'm not sure when the fighting broke out with the Yugoslav National Army - but who's arm needed twisting for regular jaunts to and fro?

I'm not assuming she married anyone at all, not with that surname, which sounds very Slav to me. Bear in mind her salutation is a translation from the German, and a lady of her mature years (she was 57 when she gave evidence) would not be addressed as "Fraulein" even if she had spent her entire life in a nunnery.

Indeed, Slovenia was pretty open from way back. However, Bogomira moved to West Germany in 1966. I'm struggling for politically-aware memories that far back that don't have the words "Hamilton" and "Ewing" in them, but wasn't that the height of the Cold War?

Originally Posted by CTB View Post
Mostly, I'm pondering the Crown and it's reputation for deciding what was useful for the defence or not and telling porkies about it ie the CIA's Giaka cables.

I mean, it had translations, but didn't share.

Mr Miles is writing between the appeals and appears to be talking about a whole bunch of different stuff.

Whether or not they would point to the real perps ( every journo seems to be just one more paragraph away from revealing this ) I'm not sure.
'm speculating that we would have a much clearer picture of how many erroneous looking, but perfectly legitimate, items would be swirling around the system on any given day.

Indeed, that. Much like what I was suggesting for tray 5620 being Hubbard's case from PA637 (Berlin), but nevertheless appearing to be an unaccompanied item from LH1071 (Warsaw).

But also, what the hell else was going on that might have been spotted which wasn't the bomb but which might either have been appallingly embarrassing for other reasons, or indeed be of evidential value in itself? I keep reading about Khaled Jafaar's two items of luggage. He's supposed to have checked in two items. And two items of his luggage were found on the ground, with no blast damage. But these two items were small carry-on luggage. I don't know if this sort of conundrum might have been clarified by the full dataset, but who knows what it would have shown. It might even have yielded evidence suggesting that the PA103A dataset had been tampered with.

Originally Posted by CTB View Post
And, yes, it sure is amazing that there was such a clear lead to Malta, allowing the whole 'magic suitcase' inference to fly in the minds of the judges.

Among the "what if?" questions in this case, "what if Bogomira had binned that printout as she says she nearly did?" is near the top. (Along with "what if Taylor had appealled on the grounds that no reasonable jury would have reached that decision on that evidence?" and "what if Taylor had presented expert witness testimony to blow the Gauci identification out of the water?")

Without that printout I don't think there could have been any case. Part of the circular chain of reasoning was, we've determined there was an unaccompanied bag on KM180, and we know Megrahi was at the airport when KM180 departed, so we use that to bolster the partial and tentative identification Gauci made. As reasoning goes, that one gets three



Could they still have held that there was such an item, without tray 8849? Am I being too naive here?

Originally Posted by CTB View Post
The apparent bad blood between Frankfurt and London makes zero sense to me. For sure, nobody wants their team looking like it slipped up badly, but the finger-pointing and intransigence is primary school stuff. There are no senior investigators capable of banging a few heads together? In all other respects of the investigation the agencies and departments involved seemed to have had a pretty good working relationship.

Oh, read Marquise and Crawford. Childish does not begin to describe it. I realise now that both books are vanity publishing, I just didn't catch on to Marquise at first because he's a bit brighter than Crawford, and less illiterate. The type of people that sometimes go into law enforcement, God help us.

Originally Posted by CTB View Post
ah, yes. I get it now. Not new stuff, just unseen by the defence

Which kind of makes it new
( he says trying to rescue himself from looking a bit dippy.)

Must.....concentrate.....

Well, the good stuff from the second appeal remains hidden because they hadn't got to it get when Kenny twisted Megrahi's arm to drop the proceedings. And for some reason that has not really been explained, Megrahi has not published it.

Alex says he will, but I'm not holding my breath.

Rolfe.

ETA: No he doesn't quite say that. He says he'll publish the SCCRC report (hopefully before I drop off my perch....), but the defence were going off-piste as well in what they were going to bring up. And then Tony Kelly started showing every sign of being got at. Weird.
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Old 2nd July 2011, 05:45 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm not assuming she married anyone at all, not with that surname, which sounds very Slav to me. Bear in mind her salutation is a translation from the German, and a lady of her mature years (she was 57 when she gave evidence) would not be addressed as "Fraulein" even if she had spent her entire life in a nunnery.


True, very true. It's certainly not our place to know of any potential Herr Erac. It's borderline comedy on the Madame X thing, though. As the giver of a link to Malta airport, however tenuous, I guess she is pretty important. She's the only witness that isn't working from ulterior motives, too ( Gauci and Giaka for cash, Bollier for heaven knows what )


Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Well, the good stuff from the second appeal remains hidden because they hadn't got to it get when Kenny twisted Megrahi's arm to drop the proceedings. And for some reason that has not really been explained, Megrahi has not published it.

Alex says he will, but I'm not holding my breath.

Allow me a brief drift off-topic...

Mr Salmond's chutzpah is unquantifiably large. It's kinda why I like him, even though he's a {insert your own unflattering, full of swear words view of politicians here }
As I understand it, the Scottish establishment, if such an entity can be thought of existing, insists the conviction is safe. Should the poo start hitting the fan, however, the splatter range is going to be extensive. I don't remember any real consequences for those involved in the Shirley McKie affair, but on this one? There isn't enough teflon in the world.



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Old 2nd July 2011, 08:54 PM   #54
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This has probably been covered in other threads, but there's a lot of information there to go through.

If the bag was loaded at Frankfurt, would the bomb have gone off on the flight to London? Or would the jet simply not have had time to get to that altitude before beginning its descent into Heathrow?
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Old 3rd July 2011, 02:44 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
This has probably been covered in other threads, but there's a lot of information there to go through.

If the bag was loaded at Frankfurt, would the bomb have gone off on the flight to London? Or would the jet simply not have had time to get to that altitude before beginning its descent into Heathrow?


Yes, but only if a barometric switch, ie one that triggers at a certain air pressure, had been used in the detonation.

The prosecution need the timer to be Mebo's MST-13 which can be set for many hours hence, allowing the fairly convoluted Malta origin and a baggage transfer or two.

I reckon on shenanigans aplenty at Frankfurt Airport, not necessarily connected to the bomb itself. However, those shenanigans had a massive weight on the direction of the investigation and the eventual conviction of al-Megrahi.


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Old 3rd July 2011, 05:26 AM   #56
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A Khreesat bomb in the form discovered by the BKA would definitely have gone off on the Frankfurt-Heathrow leg. The flight time is about an hour and ten minutes, and cruising altitude is reached. The Lockerbie explosion happened 38 minutes after take-off.

There has been speculation over the years that something was added to the Khreesat design to allow it to skip a leg, so to speak. I imagine that must be theoretically possible, but no evidence of such a modification has ever surfaced. I'm not entirely sure what the point would have been, really. The more complications you introduce, the more there is to go wrong. And if you're going to use a long-countdown timer, then the more sensible thing would surely be to do what the Libyans were accused of doing, but rationally, setting the timer for 22.00 or 23.00 GMT when the plane would be highly unlikely still to be on the tarmac.

I'm just reading Richard Marquise's utterly terrible book, and noticed an interesting little wrinkle.

Quote:
The next morning, Hendershot and I flew from Geneva to Paris to Washington. It was December 21 1990, the second anniversary of the Pan Am bombing. Security was especially tight, not due to any new intelligence but because of the date. [....] Because of security and weather, the flight was about 5 hours late getting to Washington.

Even without heightened security (and there should have been heightened security in 1988 too, because the the Autumn Leaves findings, and because of the Helsinki warning) that sort of delay isn't that unusual. That's what the altimeter bombs are designed to circumvent. So, if you have an altimeter device, fine. If you're relying on a timer, set it for late in the flight time. The fact that the Lockerbie device went off very early in the flight time screams "altimeter device".

But why go in for complications to skip a leg? If they wanted to load it at Frankfurt, then just load it on a direct transatlantic flight! Except, the strongest evidence says it was loaded at Heathrow anyway.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd July 2011, 09:03 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by CTB View Post
Yes, but only if a barometric switch, ie one that triggers at a certain air pressure, had been used in the detonation.

The prosecution need the timer to be Mebo's MST-13 which can be set for many hours hence, allowing the fairly convoluted Malta origin and a baggage transfer or two.
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Thanks, CTB and Rolfe. Now I know why the MST-13 timer is so important to the investigation: it allowed the prosecution to claim the bomb was introduced at Malta or Frankfurt without going off until after the flight departed from from Heathrow.

But that doesn't answer other questions, such as the possibility of something going wrong with the transfer at Frankfurt (assuming a Malta origin) or again at Heathrow (which would be the case for both Malta and Frankfurt origins.) And the curiously short time after the Heathrow departure for the bomb to explode, especially on a flight of several hours. All that in addition to the fact the bomb was placed so as to cause the maximum amount of damage for the relatively small amount of explosives it carried: they were either extremely lucky, or the bag with the bomb was carefully placed when the container was on the ground at Heathrow.

If you're not familiar with Air India Flight 182, you might want to read up on it. In that bombing, which occurred three years prior to Lockerbie, digital timers were used to time the detonation of two separate bombs. One blew up on the ground in Tokyo, while the other detonated while the aircraft was in flight over the Irish Sea, killing all 329 on board.It is assumed the bomb went off early in Tokyo because the person who set the timer did not account for the fact Canada was on Daylight Saving Time.
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Old 3rd July 2011, 09:22 AM   #58
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Yes, that's been brought up a few times in the thread where we're discussing whether the timer fragment was a fabrication. One of the possibilities as regards the irrationally early detonation time is a mistake in setting the timer.

There was no daylight savings time going on at Lockerbie of course - it happened on the winter solstice. The only possibility would be mistaking the hour's difference between European time (Malta and Frankfurt) and GMT (Heathrow). Nothing's impossible, of course, but for people who worked in the airline industry and were used to crossing time zones and allowing for this to have made such a mistake seems unlikely. And that would still just take us just over an hour and a half into the 7Ĺ hour flight. As we've just seen, 5-hour delays happen, especially at that time of year. All common sense says go for the end of the flight time, or if you really don't want the explosion to happen over land (the last couple of hours of the flight could have been over Canada and the USA) then 4 or 5 hours into it.

There is actually a discussion of this in the other thread - in fact I think several people brought it up, at various times, as a "gotcha", but then left without really looking at the full context.

I'm going to bump that anyway, because a new allegation has surfaced with respect to the fragment being a fabrication, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

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Old 5th July 2011, 01:03 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
It is assumed the bomb went off early in Tokyo because the person who set the timer did not account for the fact Canada was on Daylight Saving Time.

If a timer is set to activate in x hours, does local time, incorporating daylight savings, etc, really come into it? I mean x hours is x hours, yeah?

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Old 5th July 2011, 01:27 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

I'm going to bump that anyway, because a new allegation has surfaced with respect to the fragment being a fabrication, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

Rolfe.


Would this be de Braeckeleer's article?

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/38099


All the witnesses and experts regards this fragment, and where it came from, come across as a bit snotty and/or smug. That could just be me reading with bias, of course. We know stuff about our forensic pals that everybody else at the trial had no idea about.

At the end Dr de Braeckeleer jumps to a conclusion. I don't think he's proved definitely what he writes he's proved. It's possible I've not read his article correctly, though.


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Old 5th July 2011, 01:33 PM   #61
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I've actually started a discussion about that in the thread about the timer fragment being fabricated, because that's where it seems to fit. I agree, de Braeckeleer's conclusion doesn't follow at all. I still think there's something fishy there though.

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Old 5th July 2011, 01:45 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by CTB View Post
If a timer is set to activate in x hours, does local time, incorporating daylight savings, etc, really come into it? I mean x hours is x hours, yeah?

Well, no. If it's seven in the morning on Malta, and you decided you wanted the bomb to go off at eight in the evening on PA103, you might if you weren't thinking properly set the time elapsed to 13 hours. When of course it should be 14 hours to allow for the time zone difference. Setting for 13 hours would get you seven in the evening, ship's time.

There are a few things wrong with this though. The first one is that this is Megrahi and Fhimah we're supposed to be talking about, who worked in the airline industry and might be expected to remember a time zone difference - or even just work in GMT all the time.

The second is that even a single hour isn't enough to make this plot sane. Certainly, if the bomb had gone off at eight, with the plane leaving on time as it did, the explosion would have been over the ocean. But that's not the point. It's about minimising he risk of it going off on the tarmac. Marquise's experience shows that even five hours delay can happen. The question with a timer bomb like that isn't how soon you can set it off after take-off, it's how late do you want to leave it. Do you really want to aim for mid-Atlantic, if so go for ten or eleven GMT, or if you don't mind an explosion over land, go for midnight or one in the morning. Even eight is an unnecessary risk of a tarmac damp squib.

The third is that the 38-minute explosion falls right in the window where you'd expect a Khreesat-style barometric device to explode. Fancy that. What a coincidence.

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Old 5th July 2011, 07:30 PM   #63
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Goofing by an hour when there's the entire Atlantic Ocean to aim at? nah. I think even I'd have added on a few extra hours.

Having digested a few of the other discussions and threads the most obvious conclusion, for me to draw regards the actual event over Lockerbie, is a Kreeshat-style IED loaded at Heathrow. By who and for what reason I'll leave for others to theorise about.


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Old 6th July 2011, 02:29 PM   #64
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I'm reading Emerson and Duffy (The Fall of Pan Am 103, published 1990) at the moment, and this thing about the flight being late seems to become a meme really early.

Quote:
At 6.00 P.M., its scheduled departure time, Flight 103, the clipper Maid of the Seas, had been pushed back from Heathrow's newly remodelled Terminal 3. Under its own power, it had begun taxiing toward the airport's main east-west runways to await a takeoff slot from the air traffic controllers in the tower. Heathrow is typically a mess at that time of night, with too many planes coming and going. Many evenings, the 103 to New York is held up on the taxiway. It had happened again tonight, the result a twenty-five-minute delay. [....]

Since he had arrived in Lockerbie, Boyd had been given more information about the Pan Am flight. He had learned of the twenty-five-minute delay at Heathrow. A student of police work, Boyd had recalled the downing of an Air-India jet some years earlier. Sikh terrorists had placed he bomb on board in Vancouver, but it had not detonated until it was over water. No one was ever prosecuted.
"If Flight 103 had left Heathrow on time," Boyd said later, "it would have blown up in the sky over the Atlantic, and there would have been no evidence."

This is so full of wrong I hardly know where to start. The flight was scheduled to depart (that is, push off from the stand) at 6pm. Its wheels didn't leave the runway until 6.25pm. Correct. That means it was 25 minutes late? What are these guys smoking?

This reasoning implies that normally, planes magically levitate into the air the very minute they push off from the stand. We know that doesn't happen. Richard Dawson, the air traffic controller at Heathrow, was asked about this at Zeist.

Quote:
Q Can you tell us, please, what the average time is that an aircraft might take from leaving the gate to being airborne?
A It very much depends on where the gate is in relation to the departure runway. But on average you can say a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 25 -- 20 to 25. But it also depends how many aircraft there are taxiing for departure at any one time.

So, common sense tells us that an aircraft takes some time to become airborne after pushing off from the stand at its scheduled time. ATC confirms this to be at least 15 minutes, with 25 minutes still within the normal range. Emerson and Duffy even say, while they're trying to claim that the on-time PA103 was 25 minutes late, that it was commonplace for the flight to be "held up on the taxiway". What do they think they're trying to say?

Then, even agreeing that this is being said before the words "Khreesat" or "barometric timer" have been uttered, why does anyone think this is a sensible line of argument? This wasn't a quick inter-island hop, it was a flight of SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS. E&D (and John Boyd) think it's perfectly reasonable to set a timing device for only an hour after the scheduled departure time, on the assumption that it will inevitably sprint off the blocks (even though it usually doesn't), and be "in the sky over the Atlantic" by then? Really?

Look at the bloody flight path, people! The orange dot is Lockerbie.



Whether it had been 10 minutes earlier or 25 minutes earlier, there is no chance at all that that plane would have been "over the Atlantic" at 7.03pm.

But hey, that wasn't the most usual flight path for transatlantic jets to JFK. Most of them take a course closer to the Great Circle route, over Ireland. This one took the more northerly course that night because of the weather. Here's the commoner course.



Might have dropped in the Irish Sea. Maybe. That would have been split-second timing though, and the long debris trail would still have been largely over Wales. No way would it have been "over the Atlantic" on that course either.

Now look at the full length of the most common route to JFK.



On what planet does it make any sense at all to set a timer for the first hour of the flight time?

And yet we get this rubbish about the terrorists expected the plane to vanish over the ocean, and that's why they were careless about the labels on the clothes and so on.... Even the BBC Conspiracy Files programme, which seemed to figure out that a plane scheduled to depart at 6pm and getting its wheels off the runway at 6.25pm isn't "25 minutes late", still claimed it was ten minutes late, and that made all the difference, another ten minutes and it would have crossed the coastline....

The plane WASN'T LATE. And even if it had got away as early as was humanly possible, it couldn't have been over the Atlantic, on that course. Nor could it have been over the Atlantic on the Shannon (Ireland) course. Look at that huge expanse of ocean that was in front of it. Hours and hours.

But we're supposed to believe there's nothing at all strange about the time of the explosion?

Rolfe.
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Old 6th July 2011, 04:01 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm reading Emerson and Duffy (The Fall of Pan Am 103, published 1990) at the moment, and this thing about the flight being late seems to become a meme really early.

Rolfe.


The 'late departure' makes it's first appearance, AFAICT, on the morning of the 22nd December 1988. It's one of the things told to the audience of BBC's Breakfast Time at 8.00am.

It's on Youtube: http://youtu.be/RLOovFTMlBo

at about 3'45" in.


It's one of these things that's easy to repeat and without recourse to the transcripts, or know people that have, there are not many folks who are going to find out these details otherwise. What may appear common knowledge to those clued-in can often be an obscure triviality to the wider world at large.

Perhaps it's known that the Frankfurt flight to Heathrow was late. It still doesn't add up because PA103 pushes off the stand on schedule.

I would venture a guess that books about terrible suffering are sold on the basis of the quantity of suffering involved and are not so much bothered about the minutaie of the accident/disaster.


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Old 6th July 2011, 04:59 PM   #66
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I note that one of the questions David Johnston asked Pan Am for his 1989 book was, was PA103 late, and if so by how much. The answer was that PA103 left on time. Which is absolutely true. There isn't the slightest suggestion at Zeist that the plane was late, and Dawson's evidence nips any such suggestion in the bud. The timing of the explosion is simply not raised as an anomaly in relation to the MST-13 timer.

But still it goes on. Jim Swire keeps saying the plane was "a little bit late". I was talking to David Benson in an Edinburgh pub, and told him the plane left on time. He said, what, you mean it took off at six o'clock?



I explained that no, it left the stand at 6.03 and its wheels left the runway at 6.25. This is not "late" within the meaning of the term, when considering a transatlantic flight. Indeed, it's quite notably punctual. In fact, so bloody punctual that they left without a passenger, who was running to the gate at that very minute.

I have no idea if he dropped the part about the plane being late from subsequent performances of his play though.

I hadn't realised it went right back to the first hours of the disaster. It's an urban myth - you just can't dislodge it. Maybe it needs an entry on snopes.com!

Rolfe.
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