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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Ahmed Jibril , Kenny MacAskill , Lockerbie bombing , Marwan Khreesat , Pan Am 103

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Old 12th March 2011, 07:30 AM   #361
Buncrana
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There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi bought clothes from Tony Gauci.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi loaded a suitcase and bomb onto a flight at Malta.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi bought or owned a brown samsonite suitcase.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi bought an MST timer.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi was in possession of a Toshiba Radio.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi bought, used or was seen in possession of Semtex.


There is EVIDENCE of an unaccompanied Brown Samsonite suitcase loaded at Heathrow.

There is EVIDENCE of that the bomb detonated 38mins into the flight – matching Khreesat's devices.

There is EVIDENCE of payments made, or bribery, of witnesses.

There is EVIDENCE of the suppression of information directly connected to the investigation.

There is EVIDENCE that the forensics scientists providing testimony lacking credibility.


The judges at Zeist conclusions were demonstrably based on vicious circular reasoning.

It was determined that Megrahi bought the clothes, therefore the bomb was loaded at Malta. And as the bomb was loaded in Malta, it was Megrahi whom bought the clothes.

Despite there being NO EVIDENCE that the bomb was loaded at Malta, as Megrahi was the clothes buyer, then it inescapably means the bomb went on at Luqa.

Despite Gauci's EVIDENCE implied the date of sale was on a day Megrahi wasn't in Malta, and despite the Gauci's descriptive EVIDENCE of the buyer not matching Megrahi, because the bomb was loaded in Malta, he was therefore the buyer.




Bunntamas, despite her claims, has not and cannot, provide any EVIDENCE whatsoever that the suitcase was loaded at Luqa. And that's not as any result of bullying or any other preposterous notion or allegation she might attempt to make. No one has tried to deny her the opportunity to present the facts that she alleged she could offer. Indeed, on the contrary, she has been invited and encouraged to provide and state the facts supporting her belief of Megrahi's guilt.

No one has simply 'hand waved' away any of the facts or evidence that she has expressed, as none has actually been offered. Only inference, suggestive, third-hand (or worse) and tenuous premises that because either Gadaffi, or Libya, have been accused of other transgressions, that means they (and by mere association, Megrahi) were the perpetrators of the 103 bombing.

I'm not entirely sure what LGR is trying to allege. Because Rolfe is wholly unsatisfied with the claims of Bollier and Lumpard (whom told a different story in a Scottish court from the account he gave in a Swiss court), then this is deliberate disinfo?? Eh?

I've no idea what is being alleged by LGR either in respect of the Radio Manual. Which “respectable Scottish citizens” are you referring to? If it's Mrs Horton and her husband who recovered 'a page of manual', they're not Scottish and don't live in Scotland. During the trial this what she told the court when presented with the page of manual:

Originally Posted by Zeist Court Transcripts

“Q Right. I wonder if you would look, please, at Label 24. You'll see there is a bag which contains items there. Do you recognise anything?

A Well, not in its present state. I'm sure when I handed it in, it was in one piece.

I think we're all, including Rolfe, quite dissatisfied with the manner the manual page was presented to the court, and it's significance in linking the bomb device to Libya. The inference being that the page found by Mrs Horton, which is entirely plausible, was not the same page she was presented with in the court alleged to be part of the bomb and thereby inches away from the explosion.


.

Last edited by Buncrana; 12th March 2011 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 12th March 2011, 07:43 AM   #362
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Originally Posted by Bunntamas View Post
Here's how Bunntamas reacts: WOW. Comparing me to a convicted terrorist, with a seemingly veiled threat. You are WAY out of line with that one. Consider yourself reported. And then some.

No, I was asking how you would react to an accusation that you must be guilty of a particular crime, not because of any evidence, but because of who your relations or acquaintance were. That's all you ever say about Megrahi - you don't talk about any evidence, and when we ask you about evidence you start talking about which tribe he's a member of or who his brother-in-law is. I was trying to illustrate how bankrupt that argument is.

I thought you said you didn't require to be handled with kid gloves, or to have people walk on eggshells around you? Oh well.

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Old 12th March 2011, 08:17 AM   #363
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Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
Great, Rolfe. But seriously who cares what you believe if you have no evidence for it? Mebo saying the circuit board in evidence was not provided by them to Libya and appears like a fake is evidence. It is a statement from people in a position to know. An affidavit from a Mebo employee sworn before a Swiss judge that he stole parts and provided them to a British or American official is evidence - he is in a position to know. Your views on "John Orkin" are not evidence.

If you want to look at the evidence, I laid it out in this post. http://www.internationalskeptics.com...postid=6186356

I don't think you know very much about this case, which is a pity.

The circuit board Lumpert is now saying he supplied to the Lockerbie investigation, was brown. Of course, under oath in court he swore he had destroyed that board. So as Ambrosia says, he is a liar one way or the other.

The circuit board presented in evidence is consistently described as being green. Are you trying to suggest that it was actually brown all along but everybody just pretended it was green? Because if that's your position, I'd like you to expand on it.

The only thing you seem to be arguing about is where the CIA and the FBI got the circuit board from that they used to fabricate the evidence. You think it was from Lumpert. I doubt that, because of the colour, and because of other things in the Lumpert/Bollier statements that are quite clearly lies. I think they got an actual green board from somewhere else.

Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
Except we have some very respectable Scottish citizens who quite clearly remember finding it and finding it in almost completely undamaged state. And have been interviewed on TV swearing blind that it must have been damaged during police custody prior to being presented to the court. Or are they disinfo agents too?

No, the Hortons are English. Mrs. Horton remembers finding something she recalls as undamaged. She was presented with a very damaged item in court, and said she didn't recognise it. It was the police who claimed it must have been damaged by forensics testing. Mrs.Horton is simply very unsure that it was the same item at all, which is what the TV interview was about.

I don't think you understand your own position, to be quite honest.

Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
Why would Ferady have to go to Japan to acquire materials to fake up a radio manual page? You have taken a very simple story, with lots of evidence and replaced it with wild unsubstantiated rubbish.

Maybe you could tell us what you see as the "simple story" then? Do you believe the radio manual right next to the bomb really did survive almost intact to be picked up by Mrs. Horton? And then she simply didn't recognise it because the forensics testing damaged it? Even though it wasn't damaged by being only a couple of inches from exploding Semtex?

So you're quite happy the radio the bomb was concealed in, was a Toshiba RT SF-16, just as the prosecution claimed, and that was its paper manual, packed beside the bomb, that Mrs. Horton picked up almost undamaged 60 miles away in Northumberland?

Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
It is because you constantly spew out such demonstrable nonsense when the true facts are so strong is the reason you are very easy to spot.

What are these true facts then? And in what way can you demonstrate that my points are nonsense?

Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
He was an engineering company that sold components across the Iron curtain, as was quite legitimate. I do not know the specific details of his commercial dealings but it was normal practice for STASI to create front companies not just for dealing with Western companies and individuals - but also for dealing with their own citizens. Alternatively, they might use a genuine firm or state owned enterprise as a front when they wanted to source something. None of this rules out that Bollier was a Stasi agent, but it is not a necessary explanation.

But gee, it so much easier to breathlessly say "Stasi agent" wink wink nudge nudge, "GLPC" wink wink nudge nudge, "Oil contracts" wink wink, nudge nudge and pretend your wild rantings actually have some substance behind them.

Look, Bollier was a Stasi agent. That isn't speculation, that's fact. His code name was Rubin and his handler was one Joachim Henzschel, codenamed Wenzel. This was all examined in evidence in court, and can be read in the trial transcripts.

Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
Of course he if did sell components to the East Germans - quite possibly they ended up in the West Berlin disco bombing and that was how he came into the orbit of the CIA in the first place.....wink wink, nudge nudge

Yes, wink and nudge. Bollier was a Stazi agent and has been credibly suggested as possibly being a CIA asset. That's what I said, in the context of your insinuations that I'm an MI5 or CIA agent or something. Wink wink nudge nudge.

Rolfe.
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Old 12th March 2011, 03:54 PM   #364
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Bunntamas
Originally Posted by Bunntamas
Here's how Bunntamas reacts: WOW. Comparing me to a convicted terrorist, with a seemingly veiled threat. You are WAY out of line with that one. Consider yourself reported. And then some.
Actually, that's a very useful answer, despite its glaring disconnect with reality and show of [removed personal observation/attack]. I imagine Megrahi felt a bit the same, except he wasn't being just "compared" to a convicted terrorist, and had no one to report it to.

Well, other than the appeal judges and the SCCRC.
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Old 13th March 2011, 02:29 AM   #365
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi bought clothes from Tony Gauci.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi loaded a suitcase and bomb onto a flight at Malta.

There is NO EVIDENCE that Megrahi bought or owned a brown samsonite suitcase.

<snip>
Well, bolding the word I just noted we aren't all defining the same might seem unhelpful, this helps us understand your definition of evidence, and I pretty much agree.

But definitions vary. To some, a conviction is evidence of guilt. That is, for example, the West Memphis Three really did kill the younger kids in a satanic ritual, as evidenced by sittin' in jail for it. To others, an inference from other evidence is called evidence. Some pose theories and call them evidence. I hear that includes some or all of us, but I'd dispute that. There's a class called "planted evidence," which suggests that adherence to reality isn't a pre-requisite for all uses. And so on. There's a class that Mr. Marquise calls evidence to the exact effect of the points you cite no evidence for, said evidence being strong enough in his mind to follow right to Megrahi and Fhimah.

Just trying to be helpful.

Last edited by Caustic Logic; 13th March 2011 at 02:34 AM.
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Old 13th March 2011, 03:42 AM   #366
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Chaos View Post
Not sure if this has been covered before, but wouldn´t the bolded part be a reason to frame Megrahi, from the US point of view - after all, with him out of circulation, that whole operation would be dealt at least a serious setback, if it isn´t stopped outright.
I just wanted to comment on that belatedly. the reasons Megrahi were framed are worth discussing if we accept his possible innocence (of these charges) and note that it's hard to be that wrong on accident. Personally I never figured out if this smuggling-type job was pre or post-Lockerie. IF it was pre, I'd credit it as a possible secondary consideration and/or another radar he might've popped up on to become extra present in the replacement considerations.

Firstly, I suspect the actual truth, for many possible reasons, was too ugly or inconvenient to tackle. That is they didn't leap from a comfy case to blame Libya out of SUCH an intense desire to blame them. But they apparently came out on top once it was decided an alternate was needed.

Then, I personally suspect it all fell together quick. I'm not decided if any Malta clues are legitimate, but let's presume the clothing is. As of January 89 the CIA knew about al-Megrahi's presence on Malta, and might well have learned he was there under a false identity anytime thereafter. The clothing was having the Scottish cops look at the island in about March, to no avail at first.

Other clues that would pop up whenever: his tribe/clan affiliations as mentioned here might have made him an attractive candidate. His past record of known terrorist activities (zilch) clearly wasn't it. He did some high-level meeting and traveling with JSO bigwigs, certainly a plus. And so on ... But mainly I just think he was the only Libyan agent under a pseudonym on Malta at a time that could be linked with a connecting flight to PA 103.

In either early February or before August 16 (depending on how accurate the date on paper is), the Air Malta link was established, firming up that lead and helping them decide to find Gauci's shop in September. The timer identity as MST-13 emerged later in June 1990, giving reason to look for a Libyan there on Malta. A TV movie on the two-year anniversary finalized the Malta shift without mention of Libya (and pressured Maltese authorities to let the Brits and Yanks back in). Six weeks later Tony Gauci was finagled into pointing at a photo of Megrahi, and then "Puzzle-Piece" Giaka was strip-mined that summer for all the pressure-cooked info he could fabricate against both accused. Then Grand Jury in October and credulous indictments in November.

So I guess that's the why and the how in rough outline. And this is a theory, not evidence, although it's a theory that accounts for all the evidence pretty well.

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Old 13th March 2011, 04:02 AM   #367
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As I said, I don't think they realised he was at the airport at the time until much later - late 1990. We may be able to find more clarification in the detail of the transcripts.

I find it hard to believe they would have let the Scottish cops spend months trying to get Tony Gauci to identify Abu Talb as the buyer of the clothes if they knew they wanted him to identify Megrahi in the end.

Rolfe.
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Old 13th March 2011, 04:07 AM   #368
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Fair 'nuff, and this is the kind of informed side-quibble that shows active critical thinking on a very complex subject trying to synch up.

But on the why he was selected, whenever it was, we're in rough agreement, right?
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Old 13th March 2011, 04:16 AM   #369
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Oh yeah. He was in the right place at the right time, that's all. Whichever "suspicious character" was catching LN147 that morning was going to be framed if at all possible, given the departure time of the flight.

But the investigation was convinced the bomb travelled on KM180 long before they latched on to Megrahi. That was the way round it happened.

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Old 13th March 2011, 04:29 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post




No, the Hortons are English. Mrs. Horton remembers finding something she recalls as undamaged. She was presented with a very damaged item in court, and said she didn't recognise it. It was the police who claimed it must have been damaged by forensics testing. Mrs.Horton is simply very unsure that it was the same item at all, which is what the TV interview was about.
And yet more clouds of confusion come out of Rolfe's mouth. In the TV interview I saw she was very clear and she was very clear on the witness stand
“Q Right. I wonder if you would look, please, at Label 24. You'll see there is a bag which contains items there. Do you recognise anything?

A Well, not in its present state. I'm sure when I handed it in, it was in one piece.

When she handed it in, it was presumably recorded against her name, which is why she called to give evidence on it. It was a traumatic event so if she clearly and without hesitation states on the witness stand that it had been extensively damaged in police custody we should put strong weight on that testimony - as unless you were sure, you would hesitate to make such a claim.

Yet again, Rolfe tries to make confusion where the facts are very clear.

Quote:
Maybe you could tell us what you see as the "simple story" then? Do you believe the radio manual right next to the bomb really did survive almost intact to be picked up by Mrs. Horton?
Edited by LashL:  Removed breach.

I have dealt with the best disinfo agents, the very best. And now I have to deal with this rubbish.

Quote:
So you're quite happy the radio the bomb was concealed in, was a Toshiba RT SF-16, just as the prosecution claimed, and that was its paper manual, packed beside the bomb, that Mrs. Horton picked up almost undamaged 60 miles away in Northumberland?
I neither know nor care would brought down the Pan Am flight, I only care about systemic police corruption. And I don't blather on with invented fantasies about secret flights to Japan to pick up manuals.


Quote:
Look, Bollier was a Stasi agent. That isn't speculation, that's fact. His code name was Rubin and his handler was one Joachim Henzschel, codenamed Wenzel. This was all examined in evidence in court, and can be read in the trial transcripts.
No, an anonymous person hiding behind a screen said he was a Stasi agent - and ex-Stasi are notorious for doing anything or providing any information for money. If all Bollier was doing was selling components in a legal fashion for a profit - which is the commercial objective of an engineering company - then he wasn't an agent. If you want to say he was an agent, you have to say what illicit activities he was involved in.

I was reading a book recently about the search for the Amber Room in post war Germany and Russia, and it described how a West German hobby historian, George Stein, became involved. He ended up in extensive contact with a Stasi employee, Paul Enke, but the entire time George Stein thought he was dealing with a curator at a museum. Doubtless Enke described himself as his handler and gave him a code name - he even gave codenames to people who provided information quite legitimately (and then was rather surprised when that codename which Enke knew was fake appeared in rather genuine looking documents in West Germany mentioning the Amber Room). In neither case do we have any indication that George Stein or codename Rudi were doing anything other that what they wanted to do - find the location of the Amber Room. Just because a Stasi employee thinks he is your handler and gives you a code name, it does not make you an agent. If Mebo was just selling legal components for a commercial profit to an East German front company, then he is not an agent - regardless of the lies that a corrupt Scottish prosecution presented in court.

Last edited by LashL; 13th March 2011 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 13th March 2011, 04:34 AM   #371
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Then again, perhaps Mrs Horton was a Stasi agent providing disinfo.

What we really what to hear is how CIA agent Bob "Bullroar" McTaggert, previously of the Panama Drugs Squad, was seen exiting a Lebanese nightclub with a Toshiba radio manual tucked under his right arm and whispering "the snow is on the ground in Stalingrad".

I mean I am sure that is what Rolfe thinks.......
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Old 13th March 2011, 05:25 AM   #372
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Well, bolding the word I just noted we aren't all defining the same might seem unhelpful, this helps us understand your definition of evidence, and I pretty much agree.

But definitions vary. To some, a conviction is evidence of guilt. That is, for example, the West Memphis Three really did kill the younger kids in a satanic ritual, as evidenced by sittin' in jail for it. To others, an inference from other evidence is called evidence. Some pose theories and call them evidence. I hear that includes some or all of us, but I'd dispute that. There's a class called "planted evidence," which suggests that adherence to reality isn't a pre-requisite for all uses. And so on. There's a class that Mr. Marquise calls evidence to the exact effect of the points you cite no evidence for, said evidence being strong enough in his mind to follow right to Megrahi and Fhimah.

Just trying to be helpful.


Well, by anyones standards, and especially those who champion, rest and rely on the democratic values of the West's judicial system, in condemning and convicting Megrahi on the basis of no solid evidence of any kind: forensic, circumstantial or even testimonial, is untenable.

No discernible personal motive, no previous record of terrorist activity or intent and no accomplices. He had no reason for doing it, yet he did it.

Evidence, or truths, allow us to adopt and accept beliefs, and more importantly allow us to understand, explain and defend our beliefs. Any such inability to illustrate such support and defence, renders such beliefs as a dead dogma.

A 'conviction' is not evidence of guilt. It is evidence of an opinion of other human beings, in this case the judges. Most certainly this should be arrived at as a result of verifiable evidence, information and opinions presented to a court by investigators, experts and witnesses.

Belief in Megrahi's guilt is manifestly not concluded on the basis of evidence.

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Old 13th March 2011, 04:29 PM   #373
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
Then again, perhaps Mrs Horton was a Stasi agent providing disinfo.

What we really what to hear is how CIA agent Bob "Bullroar" McTaggert, previously of the Panama Drugs Squad, was seen exiting a Lebanese nightclub with a Toshiba radio manual tucked under his right arm and whispering "the snow is on the ground in Stalingrad".

I mean I am sure that is what Rolfe thinks.......
Edited by jhunter1163:  Edited for civility.

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Old 13th March 2011, 06:05 PM   #374
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Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
And yet more clouds of confusion come out of Rolfe's mouth. In the TV interview I saw she was very clear and she was very clear on the witness stand
“Q Right. I wonder if you would look, please, at Label 24. You'll see there is a bag which contains items there. Do you recognise anything?

A Well, not in its present state. I'm sure when I handed it in, it was in one piece.

When she handed it in, it was presumably recorded against her name, which is why she called to give evidence on it. It was a traumatic event so if she clearly and without hesitation states on the witness stand that it had been extensively damaged in police custody we should put strong weight on that testimony - as unless you were sure, you would hesitate to make such a claim.

Yet again, Rolfe tries to make confusion where the facts are very clear.

Here is the entirety of Mrs. Horton's testimony at Zeist. I've copied it all so there can be no mistake.

Quote:
MR. CAMPBELL: My Lord, the next witness is number 334, Gwendoline Horton.
WITNESS: GWENDOLINE HORTON, SWORN
LORD SUTHERLAND: Advocate Depute.
EXAMINATION IN CHIEF BY MR. CAMPBELL:
Q Mrs. Horton, what is your full name?
A Gwendoline.
Q And what’s your address? [963]
A Southward Edge, Longhorsely, Morpeth, Northumberland.
Q And do you live there with your husband, Robert?
A Robert Geoffrey, yes.
Q Do you remember coming to learn that there had been a crash of an aeroplane in the Lockerbie area on the 21st of December 1988?
A Yes.
Q When did you first learn of that?
A I think, if I remember rightly, we heard it on the news that night. And then the following morning a neighbour confirmed that this had happened.
Q On that following day, did you notice something around the area where you lived?
A We did.
Q What did you notice?
A Just what we thought was just debris, possibly from a passing car or something.
Q Yes.
A Until we were aware that there was also a lot of debris in the fields surrounding our house. Yes.
Q And was there a suggestion made to you as to where that debris might have come from? [964]
A Yes. Our neighbour, who had come up for a coffee, said it was -- she understood it was from the plane that had crashed, and that all the local farmers were collecting it in the fields.
Q So having learned that, what did you yourself and your husband do?
A We went out with the specific idea of collecting this stuff, because this neighbour had said to hand it in to the police. So we went out to collect what we could.
Q And did you hand material in to the police on that day?
A I can’t remember if it was that day or the following day.
Q How many times did you hand material in to the police?
A Twice.
Q And how did you carry this stuff once you’d gathered it?
A Just in a carrier bag, I think, at the time.
Q I would like to ask you about one item in particular. Do you remember coming upon a document of some sort that made reference to a radio cassette player? [965]
A Yes, I do.
Q Can you describe what that item was like?
A Well, from what I remember, it was possibly about -- I know I’m supposed to say it. About that kind of size, you know, about possibly eight by eight, or something like that, inches.
Q Could you see writing on it?
A I could see writing, because I remarked to my husband, “This appears to be from a cassette player,” or something like that. I do remember it was something electrical.
Q And did you hand that item in to the police?
A Yes, that went into the bag as well.
Q Right. I wonder if you would look, please, at Label 24. You’ll see there is a bag which contains items there. Do you recognise anything?
A Well, not in its present state. I’m sure when I handed it in, it was in one piece.
Q Yes.
A Yes.
Q Perhaps -- I wonder if it could be put on the document imager, to see if we can see it. You can see within the police plastic bag, I think as [966] you’ve described, more than one piece of a document. And you can at least see writing on it?
A Yes.
Q Do I understand you to say that when you handed it in, it was in one piece?
A It was in one piece, sir. I am practically sure of that, yes.
Q But apart from that, you recognise the item?
A Yes. Uh-huh.
Q Whereabouts did you find that item?
A In the fields -- we are a private house on the roadside. In the field opposite, they are known as the glebe fields, and it was in the bottom glebe field, down beside the burn, down in the bottom. In the dean.
Q Thank you very much.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Mr. Taylor.
MR. TAYLOR: If Your Lordship could give me one moment, please. My Lord, I have no questions for the witness. Thank you.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Mr. Macleod.
MR. MACLEOD: I have no questions, My Lord.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Thank you, Mrs. Horton. You [967] are free to go. Thank you for coming.
THE WITNESS: Thank you.

Now would you like to explain where exactly she "clearly and without hesitation states on the witness stand that it had been extensively damaged in police custody"? How would she know what had happened to it in police custody anyway? All she knows is that she remembers finding an intact sheet of paper and now they're showing her something torn to bits.

Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
I neither know nor care would brought down the Pan Am flight, I only care about systemic police corruption. And I don't blather on with invented fantasies about secret flights to Japan to pick up manuals.

It wasn't secret at all. It's all in the evidence. Feraday went to Japan to the Toshiba head office, immediately after the Indian Head tests, probably on the way back to England. There, he discovered exactly which models of radio used the chip number found by Claiden in the data plate. He got very interested in the RT SF-16, and came back to England with samples of both the radio and the instruction manual.

It's all in the evidence.

And you know what? I'm a bit peeved about the systematic police corruption myself.

Originally Posted by little grey rabbit View Post
No, an anonymous person hiding behind a screen said he was a Stasi agent ....

You really, really need to read the evidence in this case, I think.

Rolfe.
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Old 13th March 2011, 06:35 PM   #375
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So, LGR, I'd quite like to know what your problem is. We agree that the MST-13 timer fragment was planted. My interpretation of the evidence is that the planted fragment was green, because that's how it is described by everyone who sees it. You think it was brown. Can you explain this discrepancy?

Now as we know, there were two items allegedly found in the wreckage that pointed to Libya. One was the timer fragment, and the other was the radio manual page. The radio was alleged to be a Toshiba RT SF-16, but the only definite confirmation of the exact model was that front page of the manual Mrs. Horton said she found intact, but was later damaged far more by the forensics people than it had been by being only an inch or so from a Semtex explosion. That particular model of radio was sold in large numbers to the monopoly supplier in Libya. How convenient.

That's the official police version of course. You seem to believe it, despite the problems we can all see with the story. (And there are a couple more problems as well, that I'll just bet you haven't spotted.)

Never mind, you believe the police. That means the bomb is still linked to Libya, then.

Do you think Megrahi really did put the bomb on the plane, or what?

Rolfe.

ETA: And while we're at it, there's a metric ton of systematic police corruption evident in this case. Care to mention any of the other examples? And then maybe explain why you're so trusting of the police version of the radio manual story?
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Old 14th March 2011, 07:31 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
A 'conviction' is not evidence of guilt. It is evidence of an opinion of other human beings, in this case the judges. Most certainly this should be arrived at as a result of verifiable evidence, information and opinions presented to a court by investigators, experts and witnesses.

Ii think that's getting to the heart of some of the misunderstandings surrounding this debate.

My own most pressing concern, and what motivates my outrage most, is the fact that a Scottish court delivered a guilty verdict on such manifestly threadbare evidence. I don't care if the convicted man was Libyan, Syrian, Iranian, Irish or Tasmanian. It's the perverse verdict that is the starting point for me.

Examining the perverse verdict leads on inescapably to the examination of the investigation, and the glaring flaws, errors, fabrications and corruption. Naturally a lot of the discussion centres on those aspects. Nevertheless, the real heart of the matter is that the evidence presented at Zeist demonstrates that Megrahi actually had an alibi for the crime. Where he was that day, was not where the crime was committed.

This is why repeated cries of "but the judges found him guilty!" are just so missing the point.

Rolfe.
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Old 30th March 2011, 02:48 PM   #377
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Mousa Kousa, the alleged architect of the bombing, has quit the Gaddafi regime and fled to London. If he continues to maintain that Libya is innocent of the bombing, then he is hardly going to be welcomed by the British authorities, so it will be interesting to see what he says now.

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Old 30th March 2011, 05:08 PM   #378
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With that development, this lot has gone so far into bizarro-land that I'm not quite sure which way is north any more.

Rolfe.
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Old 31st March 2011, 02:27 AM   #379
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Indeed. Terse responses only seem appropriate, given ... I'll have to wait and see what comes of that all on its own, too many other bizarre things on my plate already to try and meet this one halfway.

Hey, I wonder what Bunntamas thinks of this?

Deny, no. IF he's defecting, it's from the regime, which means demonize like crazy and be sure to blame someone other than yourself.

Abdel-Jalil: it was Gaddafi
Moussa Koussa (imagined): It was, uh, Gaddafi, via Senoussi
Senoussi, on defecting: No, not me, it was, uh ... Gaddafi himself.
Gaddafi (upon capture): It was all those other guys! They did it under my nose and framed me!

Man, I would be confused by all that if I didn't know what the actual evidence has always said - none of them nor anyone Libyan had anything to do with it. But it makes for fun watching, in a very black and bleak sort of way.
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Old 31st March 2011, 06:29 AM   #380
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I don't trust any of them. These guys are all falling over themselves to curry favour with the West. They know the West wants Lockerbie pinned on Libya, and saying stuff that supports what the West wants to hear is likely to be the way to gain favour.

I was listening to a lot of the news at lunch time, and it kept coming up again and again that Koussa was suspected of involvement in Lockerbie. But nobody could specify any evidence at all against him. The accusation seemed to be based on assuming that Lockerbie was a Libyan operation, and observing the Koussa was high up in the Libyan hierarchy and likely to be involved in any atrocities being planned, QED. That's it.

It's a fair enough observation so far as it goes. If Lockerbie was a Libyan operation, then Koussa very probably had a major hand in it. It's the first part of that which requires to be proved.

By all accounts he was an evil murdering bastard anyway, and I feel a bit sick seeing William Hague cuddling up to him.

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Old 31st March 2011, 07:39 AM   #381
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I hesitate to jump into this, and I'm probably going to get schooled, but here goes.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
How might that purchase be better explained though?

If you're planning on smuggling a bomb on board a plane at Heathrow, then making such a purchase in a shop on a Mediterranean island a thousand miles away might make some degree of sense. It's a deliberate red herring. If the clothes are found and traced, maybe it will send the police off on a wild-goose chase, waste a bit of time at least.

Seems like a rather elaborate subterfuge. And one that could leave a trail. And was it blind luck that the shopkeeper they picked identified the purchaser as Libyan (nevermind that he ultimately identified Megrahi)? Or did they hire a Libyan specifically for this piece of misdirection? Once again, seems rather elaborate.

Quote:
Malta is a good choice, precisely because of its situation at the time. More than one terrorist group using the island as a base. Cosy and profitable relationship with Libya, a pariah terrorist state whom the US authorities will be only too happy to blame for any sort of mayhem, and Libyans on and passing through the island all the time. Who knows what the investigators might find on the island to distract them?

I think it worked beyond someone's wildest dreams.

LN147 from Luqa to Tripoli left about the same time as KM180, the Frankfurt flight that would conceivably connect with PA103. A flight which might well have had a JSO officer or other suspicious Libyan on it any day you cared to investigate. It was Megrahi's bad luck that it happened to be him, that day.

Spectacular bad luck. Or spectacular good luck on the part of the unknown conspirators. We can presume that they would have no idea who would be in the Malta airport that day. And look at the patsy that just fell into their lap:

1. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, Libyan intelligence officer
2. Travelling under a false passport
3. Former head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines
4. Travelling on a flight that left at roughly the same time flight KM180 left for Frankfurt.
5. That KM180 was unloaded at the station and approximate time for one of its bags to be loaded onto PA103.
6. That a printout would surface (albeit under odd circumstances) that showed that an unaccompanied bag was routed from KM180 to PA103..
7. Megrahi had known dealings with Mebo Telecommunications, a Swiss firm that manufactured timing devices to be used for IED's (including 20 MST-13 devices that were provided to the Libyan army)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but all of the above would have been completely out of the control of the unknown, and extraordinarily fortunate, terrorists.
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Old 31st March 2011, 07:51 AM   #382
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Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong
You are, and Rolfe will (Or you could just read the thread, which shows where you are wrong) However the main flaw in your reasoning is that since the bomb couldn't have gone on at Malta, what else could it be but coincidence that Megrahi was there?

Or was it a cunning Libyan double bluff to distract attention from the real perpetrators?!!!??
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Old 31st March 2011, 08:58 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
I hesitate to jump into this, and I'm probably going to get schooled, but here goes.

Oh, why not? It's all been covered in other posts of course, ad nauseam, but the threads are long and the salient information not necessarily easy to find.

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
Seems like a rather elaborate subterfuge. And one that could leave a trail. And was it blind luck that the shopkeeper they picked identified the purchaser as Libyan (nevermind that he ultimately identified Megrahi)? Or did they hire a Libyan specifically for this piece of misdirection? Once again, seems rather elaborate.

There are a number of facts relating to the whole clothes purchase story that have to be explained. I'm trying for the most parsimonious explanation (or maybe explanations) that I can find. If you have a better one, I'm all ears.

Tony Gauci tells a tale of selling certain items of clothing to a man, a few weeks before the disaster. The man he describes is nothing like Megrahi (older, taller, more heavily built and darker-skinned). That's almost all we can be sure of.

Were these clothes the clothes in the bomb bag? It seems likely, and I've been working on that assumption, but there is a perfectly reasonable school of thought that says the match between what was found blast-damaged and what Tony says he sold isn't nearly as close as it appears - that Tony's story was massaged a bit to fit the items found, and that the items found were reclassified to fit the story Tony was telling, so that the two sets converged.

However, let's assume these clothes were really the clothes in the bomb bag. The purchaser looked nothing like Megrahi. Tony never identified Megrahi as the purchaser either - he merely said first that this picture....



.... resembled the purchaser, although it was about ten years too young. This was only one of about four pictures he picked out as "resembles the purchaser but too young", the others included Abu Talb and Mohamed Salem, men with Palestinian terrorist connections.

The circumstances of this photo-pick are worth describing. It happened in February 1991, which was well over two years after Tony sold the clothes to the man. For the first nine months of that period Tony was blissfully unaware he might have any knowledge of use to the police. For the next year after that he was shown dozens of potographs, and made a photofit and an artist's impression (two pictures that look like two different people), and picked out at least three different ones as showing some resemblance to the purchaser. In my opinion it's very unlikely he had any memory left of the actual purchaser's face by 1991, if he had even remembered it in the first place (which is unclear - his spontaneous description was all about body size and shape, not facial features).

On the day he picked the above photo, he at first refused to identify any of the pictures, but was told to go back and try again. This is completely contrary to proper procedure. At least three people in the room knew which of the photos was the one the police were interested in, which is also contrary to proper procedure. The photospread was big enough that the policemen could see which picture Tony was looking at at any particular moment. And the photo (said to be of Megrahi but such a bad likeness it's actually unrecognisable) was qualitatively different from the others, being blurrier and more grainy.

And as I said, Tony didn't say "that's the man", he merely said there was a resemblance, as he'd said about Abu Talb and Mohamed Salem and others. He actually said it wasn't such a good resemblance as Abu Talb's photo! However, the police got very excited, which they hadn't done about his earlier picks, and Tony realised he'd hit the jackpot.

But look at the photo. Does it look like Megrahi? No, it doesn't. Here's what Megrahi actually looked like in 1987 (the clothes purchase took place in 1988).



The police had that picture, but didn't show it to Tony. Why not is unclear, but would it be any coincidence that the grainy B&W bad likeness happens to look a bit like the photofit Tony produced in 1989? The police discussed showing him the good photo later, but decided not to, "for fear of tainting what he has already given us". Yeah, for fear of Tony failing to pick out the better photo, in my opinion.

Eight years passed. In all that time, Tony had only identified the blurry bad likeness as resembling the purchaser. However, during that time Lockerbie was in the news, and a lot of newspaper and magazine articles were published containing better, more recent photos of Megrahi. Tony's brother Paul collected them, and showed them to Tony. He had one such article for four months, which was only taken from him by the police four days before he picked Megrahi out of an identification parade.

Such was the level of publicity that by the time of the identity parade, anyone who had been reading the press could have easily picked Megrahi out of an identity parade even if they'd never seen him in their lives before. But just to be sure, most of the other men in the identity parade were much younger than Megrahi, even though he was 14 years younger than Tony's original estimate of the age of the purchaser. Tony said he saw a man of about 50 in 1988, when Megrahi was 36. By 1999 Megrahi was 47, but they should have been looking for a man in his early 60s. Most of the other men in the line-up were much younger, and some would have only been teenagers in 1988.

Oh yes, and in that lineup all the "foils" were wearing trainers, but Megrahi was obliged to wear a pair of bright red shoes.

There's no doubt at all that Tony knew very well which man he was supposed to pick. That man looked like this.



Remember, the picture Tony had identified was the black-and-white one above. Do you really think he was identifying from the same memory? He was identifying from all the photos of Megrahi he had seen in the mean time, which probably included that one I've just posted in fact.

And yet again, he didn't say "that's the man!" He said, not the man I saw in my shop, but the man who looks a little bit like him is [Megrahi]. The prosecution were happy.

It got even worse in the dock identification, where everybody in court including Tony could see exactly who Megrahi was (the guy in the dock without the handlebar moustache), but he had to be prompted shamefully before he would accede to the suggestion that this was the same man.

Do you call that identifying Megrahi as the man who bought the clothes, beyond reasonable doubt? Because I don't.

Why did Tony pick out Megrahi at all, even so tentatively, if he didn't recognise him as the purchaser? Two reasons. One, he was probably persuaded that the man indicted was actually guilty, and reluctant to destroy the prosecution case by failing to pick him out. And two, to be brutally honest, the prospect of the $3 million which he and his brother were paid for getting the right answer.

But we haven't touched on the real killer part. This much leaves Megrahi as possibly the purchaser, if Tony 's original statement, made when the encounter was fresh in his mind, was flat wrong about almost everything about the man (age, height, build, skin colour). The rest of it is, though, that the purchase appears to have taken place on a day when Megrahi was nowhere near Tony's shop.

And finally (sorry, I've been accused of walls of text, justifiably, but the trouble is there's so much information about this that it's hard to be concise), what about the "Libyan" thing? Tony Gauci called pretty much all Arabs Libyans. Unless they spoke French to him, when he said they were Tunisian. There are a lot of Libyans in Malta, and Arabs are commonly referred to as Libyans whether they are or not.

I'll do the rest in a separate post.

Rolfe.
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Old 31st March 2011, 10:33 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
Spectacular bad luck. Or spectacular good luck on the part of the unknown conspirators.

Spectacular bad luck, in the way that winning the lottery is spectacular good luck. It's likely to happen to somebody, just luck it happens to one particular person.

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
We can presume that they would have no idea who would be in the Malta airport that day. And look at the patsy that just fell into their lap:

1. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, Libyan intelligence officer
2. Travelling under a false passport
3. Former head of security for Libyan Arab Airlines
4. Travelling on a flight that left at roughly the same time flight KM180 left for Frankfurt.
5. That KM180 was unloaded at the station and approximate time for one of its bags to be loaded onto PA103.

I had typed quite a lot about this, but then realised it was probably superfluous. Not to mention repeating what has been said in earlier posts.

What you are proposing is the sharpshooter's fallacy. You're proposing that a terrorist who planned to smuggle a bomb into a baggage container at Heathrow actually thought through a specific plan to frame someone specific at Luqa airport that day. As it happened, the Malta connection did lead to a specific person being accused and convicted of the crime, however I certainly didn't suggest, and don't imagine, that was planned.

I said, "I think it worked beyond someone's wildest dreams", and that's what I meant.

I suggested that the terrorist group which was planning the crime, instead of sourcing the clothes for the bag in an anonymous way (which would have been extremely easy), chose to purchase traceable clothes in a conspicuous manner simply as a misdirection, to distract the police from the main action (which was at Heathrow). It might have worked, it might not. Maybe the clothes would never be traced, or never even picked up. But on the other hand, so long as the purchaser was someone Tony Gauci had never seen before and would never see again, why not?

I have wondered, idly, if someone might actually have been trying to pin the blame on Abu Talb - because Abu Talb had a house full of similar clothes bought in Malta, which it had been suggested to him might be the basis of a business venture. But maybe not. Maybe it was just a general piece of misdirection that happened to work an awful lot better than expected.

Your points above are simply that there was a Libyan present at Luqa airport at an appropriate time to be related to a flight that eventually connected to PA103, and that that Libyan's background looked distinctly suspicious. Is this so unlikely on the face of it? Malta was the gateway to Libya at the time, and Libyan passengers were travelling in and out and through all the time. What percentage of them might possibly turn out to have suspicious backgrounds? Hey, this is Libyans we're talking about, and the sort of Libyans who were in a position to travel abroad. What do you think?

This is not really a terribly unlikely chain of events. That there was a flight leaving Malta that connected to PA103. That there was an LAA flight leaving for Tripoli at about the same time. And that one of the passengers on that flight was a Libyan with a background that made him stand out to security forces. I'm not suggesting it was planned that way - just that it so happened it turned out that way, and that what happened wasn't especially unlikely. If it hadn't been Megrahi it could easily have been somebody else. Moussa Koussa, maybe?

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
6. That a printout would surface (albeit under odd circumstances) that showed that an unaccompanied bag was routed from KM180 to PA103.

That printout is the really striking, unexplained phenomenon. If it's on the level, it's just a coding anomaly. These happened all the time at Frankfurt - it was accepted that the record-keeping in that airport was shoddy, slap-dash and often retrospective.

Against that you have to place the absolute cast-iron absence of any unaccompanied bag at the Luqa end, and the fact that whatever was in tray B8849 was x-rayed by Maier who didn't see anything suspicious (and he had been warned about Khreesat's bombs, which this one resembled in an uncanny way), and the whole business with the Bedford suitcase at Heathrow. On the overwhelming weight of the evidence, tray B8849 was a coding error.

But a helluva big coincidence under the circumstances, I have to agree with you.

There was something very very peculiar going on at Frankfurt airport that day, and I don't know what it was. For that printout to surface under these weird circumstances, from that black hole of "lost" vanished and deleted records, is beyond strange.

It was a coding error. Or maybe it was something a lot more sinister. I don't know. What it wasn't, was the bomb coming through from Malta.

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
7. Megrahi had known dealings with Mebo Telecommunications, a Swiss firm that manufactured timing devices to be used for IED's (including 20 MST-13 devices that were provided to the Libyan army)

Mmmm, yes. The timer that may not have had anything to do with the Lockerbie bomb at all. The timer which has such bizarre provenance that it would be a miracle of biblical proportions if it wasn't planted....

But beyond that, this is just another point in the first category. Lots of people knew Edwin Bollier. Lots of Libyans knew Edwin Bollier. Megrahi wasn't involved in buying these timers, and never had one in his possession as far as is known. His connection to Bollier was over different matters.

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but all of the above would have been completely out of the control of the unknown, and extraordinarily fortunate, terrorists.

Yes. If they had laid such a detailed plan, it would indeed be quite incredible. But there's no suggestion they did. That's what happened. The cops got a look at the wrong man, and went hell-for-leather to get a conviction. It happens. Usually, though, this is not something planned by the real perpetrator - or not outside the works of Agatha Christie.

You might as well say that Ronald Castree surely couldn't have planned out in great detail that Stefan Kizsko would be in exactly the right place at the right time to be convicted of the murder Castree committed. No, quite right, he didn't. The police got the wrong man all on their own.

What I'm suggesting here isn't much different.

Rolfe.
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Old 31st March 2011, 01:36 PM   #385
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You know, boooeee, it's a real treat to have someone who is prepared to discuss on the basis of the actual evidence, and has some familiarity with the evidence. I was probably too wordy in my previous posts, so feel free to skip if you're glazing over.

I think what you said was in effect, it's too big a coincidence to believe that something a group of terrorists may have done as a "kite-flying" distraction from their own modus operandi actually led to the police fixing on a spurious suspect. But why not? The police can fix on the wrong man without any help from anyone. They do it all the time. Why should it be so incredible that a sketchy and speculative false trail led to just that outcome?

And what's the alternative?

The overwhelming weight of the evidence says that Megrahi was not the man who bought those clothes. You can go through it any way you like - even without the discrepancy on the dates, Tony's original, untainted description of the purchaser is nothing like Megrahi. The "identification" of the photo is a farce, and the identity parade is a howling scandal. Everything Tony and Paul said about the day of the purchase is a best fit for 23rd November, and it was only decided it must have been 7th December because it had to be 7th December or else it wasn't Megrahi. Despite the absence of the rain and the presence of the Christmas lights and the timing of the football match and so on.

How does "but it's too big a coincidence!" stack up against that? You think it must have been Megrahi all along just because it's too big a coincidence the police found a plausible suspect who didn't actually do it?

The other major point to consider is that there is a very very compelling case that says the bomb was smuggled into the baggage container at Heathrow before the flight from Frankfurt landed. I've gone over this before. Any coincidence surrounding Megrahi's movements that morning pales into insignificance beside the "coincidence" of what John Bedford saw. If that wasn't the bomb suitcase, what was it, for goodness sake? The coherent, rational, evidence-based case for the Heathrow introduction sits four-square beside the total absence of any evidence of the bomb travelling Malta/Frankfurt/Heathrow. I can't stress this enough. There is NO EVIDENCE of the bomb having taken that route, and "considerable and quite compelling evidence that that could not have happened".

That being so, the remaining evidence has to be looked at in a different light. That's what I'm trying to do.

Rolfe.
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Old 31st March 2011, 04:09 PM   #386
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In fact, as far as I can tell, there are only three pieces of evidence that stick out as possibly incongruous, in the context of a Heathrow introduction (of an IED with a barometric timer). The clothes purchase, the timer fragment, and the Erac printout.

The clothes purchase

This is incongruous no matter who the terrorists were. The suitcase had to have stuff in it, clothes, and these clothes had to come from somewhere. The incongruity isn't that clothes were acquired, but that traceable clothes were bought in a way that seems positively designed to be remembered. Why is that more believable in the context of Megrahi having been the bomber, than (for example) Abu Elias getting the bomb past Heathrow security?

Actually, the opposite is the case. If you had an almost supernatural method of getting an extra suitcase on to an Air Malta flight, without the surprisingly good Maltese security ever spotting it and leaving no trace at all after the event - would you fill that case with brand new, traceable clothes bought very conspicuously in a small shop only three miles from the airport? It's insane.

Do you then formulate this plan so that the same person who carried out the conspicuous clothes purchase also shows his face (without even a false beard!) at the airport when the bomb is being smuggled on board - and for no readily apparent reason, come to that? That's even more insane, quite frankly.

Common sense says that you fill that case with clothes picked up in a second-hand shop, or at least from a large chain store on a busy day, cash on the nail. The problem is, that doesn't seem to be what happened. We're stuck with the apparently deliberate conspicuous purchase.

It's bonkers in the context of a Megrahi-led plot. It's somewhat less than bonkers in the context of a Heathrow introduction - not because the real terrorists had a detailed plan to implicate Megrahi, but simply as a general piece of misdirection. Maybe even misdirection aimed at suggesting Libyan involvement, who knows - Malta was full of Libyans at the time, and the USA was known to be very keen on blaming every random terrorist attack on Libya. That the investigation then latched on to an individual Libyan doesn't seem that unlikely per se.

Unless you have a better explanation?

The timer fragment

Again, that's incongruous no matter who the terrorists were. The plane blew apart only 38 minutes after take-off - and contrary to popular myth, it wasn't late. The suggestion that anyone who was in possession of a digital timer like the MST-13 would set it for so early in the flight is again completely bananas. Not so much that an explosion on land thus became quite likely, and so scattering all these traceable clothes where they could be picked up, but that there was a fair possibility that the explosion might have happened on the tarmac, if the plane had missed its slot.

That plane nearly missed its slot twice over. First, because the feeder flight from Frankfurt was about 45 minutes late. In the event the luggage and passengers were shunted on to the 747 in only 15 minutes, and the plane was ready to leave on the dot - but if the feeder flight had only been a little later, that wouldn't have been possible. Then second, because a checked-in passenger was a no-show at the gate, with his luggage in the hold. They should have held the plane, but they didn't, they let it go anyway and stranded the late passenger.

This was December, in northern Europe. Fog, ice, snow, gales, mechanical failure - how many people would bet a plan like this on a particular flight not missing its slot, when there was a six-hour window of clear flying ahead that would have given ample leeway? It's insane. And it's insane no matter who the terrorists were. That timer fragment simply doesn't belong in the evidence at all.

And then when we look at its provenance in the chain of evidence, we find anomaly upon anomaly. If that item isn't a fabrication, with that history, it would be a miracle of biblical proportions. Altered labels, renumbered pages, undateable polaroid photos, item ignored at a time when circuit board fragments were at a premium, and the rest.

[As I type, Jim Swire is on TV explaining how the 38-minute explosion points inexorably to a Syrian-made barometric timer and the PFLP-GC....]

Yes, if the Archangel Gabriel came down from heaven and provided irrefutable proof that the timer fragment was genuine, we'd have to think again. Was it a timer malfunction? Did the terrorists intend the device to go on an earlier flight? (None of that was suggested at Zeist - Megrahi's conviction depended on assuming he or his associates were simply idiots, apart from the parts where they were geniuses.) But as things stand, no. Occam's razor says certain bent forensics officers, whose names we all know, introduced that bit of evidence into the case.

The Erac printout

Coincidence, or more than coincidence? The evidence for the bomb being introduced at Heathrow is multi-stranded and compelling. The evidence for the bomb being carried on KM180 is non-existent, to the point of excluding the possibility. Other evidence for the bomb having been present at Frankfurt (suspicious x-ray findings, a sighting of a brown Samsonite, anything like that) is absent. That bizarre printout can't outweigh all that and prove a Malta ingestion, no matter how many impossible things the Zeist judges managed to believe before breakfast.

So what is it?

It could easily be a coding anomaly. It would have been perfectly easy for Frankfurt baggage handlers to hurry stray bags into the system by adding them into loads being coded, without bothering to make a separate record of each one. There's no way to tell how often this happened, and every reason to think it was common. It's certainly more likely than a magic invisible suitcase at Luqa.

And recall that there were two anomalies, not one. The other seemed to show an unaccompanied item coming from Warsaw. Where is the investigation to see if the bomb came from there? Oh wait there isn't one. A Warsaw introduction didn't suit the investigation so they didn't follow it up. So, two anomalies, of which one pointed to Malta. Less of a coincidence than we thought, actually.

And recall that we have no idea what was in those two trays. A brown Samsonite suitcase? Who knows. A case of wine, a bag of golf clubs, a backpacker's rucksack, a baby buggy? We don't know. Also recall that whatever the items were, we don't know that either of them went anywhere near Pan Am 103. The majority of luggage items on that flight didn't, after all, with their owners disembarking at Heathrow. The only reason for concluding that the B8849 item was the bomb was that it suited the prosecution's narrative.

But still, what a coincidence.

Was it just a coincidence that all the luggage records at Frankfurt vanished the minute the German police started their inquiry? Was it just a coincidence that the German police sat on this printout for more than six months before deigning to tell the Scottish police about it?

I can't point to glaring anomalies in the printout's provenance in the way I can with the timer fragment. But the whole story stinks to high heaven.


So that's the discussion of the only pieces of evidence that don't fit into the Heathrow introduction like a well-made jigsaw. There may be other things I haven't spotted, but I don't think so. Does any of them, or even all of them together, outweigh the evidence for a barometric-timer device loaded at Heathrow? Not on a bet.

Rolfe.
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Old 1st April 2011, 03:11 AM   #387
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Sigh. Once again it seems I'm having a soliloquy thread on this. It's a bit strange, really. Lockerbie was all over the TV news again last night. (I wanted to gloat over the coverage of Jim Devine's come-uppance, but blink and you missed it.) This morning's front page newspaper headline is "Tell us the secrets of Lockerbie", in huge print.

If Megrahi didn't do it, if the bomb was actually smuggled into the baggage container at Heathrow by person or persons unknown, this is hardly an academic observation. It has huge implications for all those front-page headlines today. The assumption that Moussa Koussa was the mastermind behind the bombing depends entirely on Megrahi being the bomber. If Megrahi did it, it's a no-brainer he was working under instructions from Koussa and Gadaffi. But if he didn't? Where are we then?

So, if Megrahi didn't do it, why is it that only a small handful of posters here find that even slightly interesting? On the other hand, if we're wrong, if all our carefully-thought-out posts have some huge flaw in them, where are the debunkers?

Right now, this is a far far hotter topic than 9/11. And we're getting little more than crickets. I just don't get it.

Rolfe.

ETA: There's also Jim Swire's position I suppose - that Megrahi didn't do it as advertised, but that Libya was still involved somehow. Jim thinks that Koussa may have information about how the bomb was smuggled into Heathrow, in an operation which the Libyans were connected to. He may be right, but I have no idea what evidence he's basing this suggestion on.
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Old 1st April 2011, 03:55 AM   #388
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Not really surprising but the State Department cables give clear evidence that the admission of guilt by the Libyan Government was just for show in order to be readmitted to the world community
Quote:
¶13. (S/NF) Saif acknowledged that he was disconnected for a long time from the bilateral relationship and recognized that the hero’s welcome for Megrahi had set engagement back. He reiterated that he was “back” on the scene and could serve as the “trouble-shooter” for any future problems. He urged the Ambassador to contact his office directly in times of crisis. He also promised to resolve the visa issue, stating that he understood the importance of a transparent and reliable system of issuance. In their one-on-one discussion afterwards, the Ambassador asked Saif to explain his actions when he accompanied Megrahi back to Tripoli. Saif said he knew what the reaction in the West would be, but that it did not constitute an “official” welcome. He had worked on the release for a long time, he was not a public official, and there were no international media like Al Jazeera present. In addition, Saif claimed that the Libyans would someday find a way to show that Megrahi was innocent. The Ambassador reiterated the damage the welcome had done and said no amount of justification could undo that.
http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/11/09TRIPOLI941.html

I guess the moral is if you sup with devil be sure to bring a long spoon.


[Not sure what that means actually, but it sounds cool]
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Old 1st April 2011, 04:17 AM   #389
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There's a fairly long interview with Saif that was broadcast in a slightly cut version by BBC2 a couple of years ago, in which he specifically states that the letter "accepting responsibility for the actions of our agents" was merely playing with words, in order to satisfy the demands of the Americans for an admission of responsibility, which was essential in order to be readmitted into the international community. The transcript is online somewhere.

This has been an accepted fact pretty much since the letter was written. You only have to read it to see that Libya doesn't admit that Megrahi planted the bomb, or even that Megrahi was a Libyan agent. It was simply judged to be "good enough" for public consumption, to support headline claims that Libya had accepted responsibility for the atrocity.

Saif al-Islam al-Gadaffi is a snake, and I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. There's stuff in that interview that is clearly weaselling. But there's no reason to doubt what he says about the letter, because it merely reiterates what everybody who has actually read the letter knew from day one.

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Old 1st April 2011, 05:51 AM   #390
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Quote:
In an August 2008 BBC TV interview, Saif said that Libya had admitted responsibility (but not admitted guilt) for the Lockerbie bombing simply to get the sanctions removed. He admitted that Libya was being "hypocritical" and was "playing on words" but had no choice in the matter. According to Saif, a letter admitting responsibility was the only way to end the embargo imposed on Libya. When asked about the compensation being paid to the victims' families, he repeated that Libya was doing so because it had no other choice. He describe the families of the Lockerbie dead as "trading with the blood of their sons and daughters" and being very "greedy".

He said: "They were asking for more money and more money and more money."
Monday 7 September 2009 - Guardian online
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Old 1st April 2011, 07:07 AM   #391
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Thanks. I still can't find the link to the complete transcript, which is annoying. There are stacks of links to articles about the interview though.

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Old 1st April 2011, 07:52 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Oh, why not? It's all been covered in other posts of course, ad nauseam, but the threads are long and the salient information not necessarily easy to find.

I did my best to get up to speed on the issue by going through the threads here. But holy crap, there are a lot of them (I was also surprised by how often my google searches would return JREF threads in the first page of results). I apologize in advance for anything I bring up that has been thoroughly addressed elsewhere on the forum.

Quote:
There are a number of facts relating to the whole clothes purchase story that have to be explained. I'm trying for the most parsimonious explanation (or maybe explanations) that I can find. If you have a better one, I'm all ears.

(snip)
I agree that the clothes purchase story, and Gauci's identification of Megrahi are problematic. If I had to come up with an explanation that fits within the official story, it would be that an unknown Libyan accomplice, working with Megrahi, purchased the clothes. If Megrahi was behind this, he would have needed more than Fhima's help to pull it off (somebody had to build the bomb, etc.).

However, at the risk of appearing to think "All Arabs look alike", I do see a resemblance between the grainy black and white photo at the beginning of your post and Megrahi.

Gauci's testimony is key, because without it, I don't think there is any way you can convict Megrahi. But I am less concerned with the legal niceties of this case, and more concerned with trying to figure out who the most likely perpetrator is. In my opinion, that is still Megrahi, but your "lucky terrorist" scenario has given me a lot to consider, and was the main reason I jumped into this thread. All the other various scenarios I had seen seemed to require such a broad circle of co-conspirators, across various levels of government, law enforcement, and industry, that it seemed unlikely that such a broad group of people would go along with knowingly deflecting blame for the premeditated murder of 270 people.
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Old 1st April 2011, 10:17 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
I did my best to get up to speed on the issue by going through the threads here. But holy crap, there are a lot of them (I was also surprised by how often my google searches would return JREF threads in the first page of results). I apologize in advance for anything I bring up that has been thoroughly addressed elsewhere on the forum.

This forum seems to have a very high ranking on Google. You can type absolutely anything, and google it five minutes later, and it'll come up at the top of the returns.

There are quite a few Lockerbie threads. It would be very difficult to read through them all without going a bit mad I suspect. So sure, there's no problem about going over stuff again. It's great to encounter someone who has some familiarity with the evidence at all!

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
I agree that the clothes purchase story, and Gauci's identification of Megrahi are problematic. If I had to come up with an explanation that fits within the official story, it would be that an unknown Libyan accomplice, working with Megrahi, purchased the clothes. If Megrahi was behind this, he would have needed more than Fhima's help to pull it off (somebody had to build the bomb, etc.).

If Megrahi was involved in this, it was a Libyan government-sponsored operation, on Gadaffi's orders - I really don't see how it could be otherwise. The official reason for Libya having done it is that it was revenge for the 1986 air strikes in which Gadaffi's adopted daughter was killed.

If Megrahi was involved in this, he wouldn't even have been the prime mover. Actually, it's difficult to see what role he did play, even by the Official Theory. He didn't put the bomb on the plane - he didn't have any luggage with him that morning, and he didn't go airside. The reason for his being at the airport that morning was never explained. Just, he was there, and we assert the invisible magic suitcase was put on the plane at the same time. Guilty as an accessory.

Fhimah was supposed to have put the bomb on the plane, I think. Except, Fhimah wasn't even at the airport that morning. Fhimah doesn't even seem to have been a JSO member - just an ordinary little man doing an ordinary little job, who happened to be friendly with Megrahi and had worked at the airport, and got caught in the net.

Originally, Vincent Cannistraro boasted that the investigation had "excruciating detail" going way back before Malta, about how and where the bomb was made, and transported to Malta, and smuggled on board the plane. However, absolutely none of that was presented in court. It seems he was whistling in the dark.

It appears very much as if the whole point of the indictments wasn't to bring anyone to trial, or to convict anyone, but to hammer Libya with the sanctions. That had the desired result of (among other things) cutting off the IRA's main supply of armaments. It put Gadaffi in a box which he wasn't supposed to get out of.

But the box was so uncomfortable that Libya wanted out, and the only way out was to agree to an actual trial, which in the end happened. Only then did it become apparent how spurious the prosecution case actually was - particularly when Giaka was discounted. The real scandal about all this, for me, is that a bench of three Scottish judges brought in a guilty verdict after issuing an opinion which pretty much explained that Megrahi didn't do it.

But as you say, this was inevitably a multi-man operation, whoever did it. Why on earth would the same person buy these clothes, and then show up at the airport on D-day? It's the most improbable plan I've ever heard of, and that's just one of the smaller improbabilities.

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
However, at the risk of appearing to think "All Arabs look alike", I do see a resemblance between the grainy black and white photo at the beginning of your post and Megrahi.

Well, so there should be, because it's supposed to be a photo of Megrahi. Nobody has ever challenged that, and Megrahi himself has never said it's not actually him. It's supposed to be a photo from a passport he used. I merely observe that it's a terrible likeness, and I'm surprised they let him travel on it! What I was really getting at was first that the investigation chose to show that poor B&W photo to Tony rather than the good likeness in the colour photo, and maybe that had something to do with the B&W photo looking a bit like Tony's photofit, even though it didn't look much like Megrahi. And second, I was highlighting the marked difference between the man Tony picked out of the identity parade, and the original photo-ID he made.

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
Gauci's testimony is key, because without it, I don't think there is any way you can convict Megrahi.

Indeed, that is the point. If Megrahi didn't buy those clothes, the entire chain (or rather circle) of reasoning falls apart. The way the court reasoned it went like this.
  1. We find beyond reasonable doubt that the clothes were bought on 7th December
  2. Although Tony's identification of Megrahi was not unqualified, we note that Megrahi was on Malta on the day the clothes were purchased, so we find that he was indeed the clothes buyer, beyond reasonable doubt
  3. Although the evidence for an unaccompanied suitcase having travelled on KM180 is tenuous in the extreme, we find that that actually happened beyond reasonable doubt, because the man who bought the clothes was at the airport when the flight departed
  4. Although there is a heap of compelling evidence to say the bomb actually went into the luggage container at Heathrow, we find that's all just an irrelevant coincidence, because we already decided it came in from Malta as unaccompanied luggage.
Why did the judges decide the purchase occurred on 7th December? We have no idea (although we know why DI Bell decided it was 7th December - because that was the only day it could be, and implicate Megrahi, you see what I mean by circular reasoning). 23rd November was a far better fit for the circumstances described by the Gaucis, especially the weather.

What did the SCCRC have to say about this?

Quote:
.... there is no reasonable basis in the trial court’s judgment for its conclusion that the purchase of the items from Mary’s House, took place on 7 December 1988. [....]

In the Commission’s view, [the] evidence indicates that the purchase of the items took place prior to 6 December 1988. In other words, it indicates that the purchase took place at a time when there was no evidence at trial that the applicant was in Malta.

The court's finding about the date of the purchase has been described as perverse. The SCCRC agrees. The date of the purchase was the foundation for the rest of that tenuous chain of (for want of a better word) reasoning, which led to the guilty verdict. Without that, there's nothing left.

Add to that the huge discrepancy between Megrahi's actual appearance and Tony's original description of the purchaser, and the extraordinarily tenuous and tentative nature of his eventual "identification" of Megrahi, and really, there's no serious question that Megrahi could have been the purchaser of the clothes.

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
But I am less concerned with the legal niceties of this case, and more concerned with trying to figure out who the most likely perpetrator is. In my opinion, that is still Megrahi,

You see, I just don't understand that part. Megrahi didn't buy the clothes, someone else did. What reason at all do you have for thinking that the someone else was an associate of Megrahi's? You'd need some other evidence linking Megrahi to the crime, and that simply doesn't exist.

It comes back to the inescapable fact that the only reason at all for believing that the bomb travelled on KM180 that morning was that Megrahi was at the airport when the flight departed. And the only reason that was significant was that Megrahi bought the clothes....

If you weigh up the balance of evidence for the bomb travelling KM180-PA103A-PA103, against its having been sneaked into baggage container AVE4041 while John Bedford was on his tea break, it just isn't a contest. The Heathrow evidence is multistranded, solid and compelling.

So if Megrahi didn't buy the clothes, and Megrahi was verifiably in Tripoli (having flown there earlier in the day on LM147) when John Bedford was having that infamous tea break, and John Bedford's tea break at Heathrow was where the crime occurred, doesn't it therefore follow that Megrahi has an actual alibi?

Originally Posted by boooeee View Post
but your "lucky terrorist" scenario has given me a lot to consider, and was the main reason I jumped into this thread. All the other various scenarios I had seen seemed to require such a broad circle of co-conspirators, across various levels of government, law enforcement, and industry, that it seemed unlikely that such a broad group of people would go along with knowingly deflecting blame for the premeditated murder of 270 people.

Hmmm. How lucky was the terrorist, that's the question. Was this simply another example of what others have termed the "Chicago cop" syndrome, where the cops go after anyone handy they think they can pin the crime on, or was there more to it?

Usually the Chicago cop syndrome happens because the cops don't have a decent lead to the real perpetrator. This wasn't the case in this crime. There were solid leads pointing elsewhere that were repeatedly ignored.

Why might that have been? One reason was that there was an extreme aversion to the possibility that the crash could have been caused by someone getting through Heathrow security, right from day one. At first, it seemed as if Heathrow was in the clear, because the explosion happened in the container that had held the Frankfurt luggage. Press releases were issued to that effect. But then the evidence began to stack up otherwise, except that was ignored and covered up one piece at a time to hold the "no, it wasn't Heathrow" line. In the end, they were ignoring a pretty unanswerable case for Heathrow as the origin of the bomb, but they went right on ignoring it anyway.

There are other reasons. Politically, Libya was a very very convenient scape-goat. They were bad guys, it could easily have been them! And if we blame it on them, we can castrate the regime and so cut off arms supplies to the IRA. And so on.

And there's more, too, but will that do for now?

Rolfe.
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Old 1st April 2011, 12:30 PM   #394
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I am uncomfortable with the argument that it doesn't make sense for Megrahi to have bought the clothes at Tony Gauci's boutique (because it was not inconspicuous), but the clothes were bought there none the less. Please can you (Rolfe) clarify where they were likely to have been purchased, if indeed the clothes in evidence were in fact in the hold.

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Old 1st April 2011, 01:03 PM   #395
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Originally Posted by ffs View Post
I am uncomfortable with the argument that it doesn't make sense for Megrahi to have bought the clothes at Tony Gauci's boutique (because it was not inconspicuous), but the clothes were bought there none the less. Please can you (Rolfe) clarify where they were likely to have been purchased, if indeed the clothes in evidence were in fact in the hold.

Oh dear. I can't have been so clear as I thought I was being. I'm sorry.

I have never tried to assert that Megrahi didn't buy the clothes because it didn't make sense for him to do that. I am pointing out that Megrahi didn't buy the clothes because Tony Gauci's description of the purchaser doesn't match Megrahi at all and Megrahi wasn't even on the island of Malta on the day the clothes were purchased.

I am arguing entirely from the assumption that the clothes were bought from Tony Gauci on 23rd November 1988 exactly as he described to the police on 1st September 1989. I merely observe that Megrahi was not the man who bought them. Because he wasn't there, and because he wasn't 50 years old, six feet tall, heavily built and dark-skinned.

This observation of course raises the question of who did buy them, which is open to speculation. Some of my suggestions have met with the retort that that would have been a strange and/or silly thing for someone to do. I then observe, of course, that it would have been an even sillier thing for Megrahi to have done.

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Old 1st April 2011, 02:19 PM   #396
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For boooeee. This is the summary of the evidence supporting a Heathrow introduction I posted in another thread.
  • There were about ten items of luggage already on the bottom of the container before the Frankfurt baggage was added, items which it was Heathrow's responsibility to ensure were safe.
  • One of these items was described as "a maroony-brown hardshell suitcase, the type Samsonite make".
  • Neither of the legitimate baggage staff remembers putting that item into the container, and the man whose specific job it was to load the container is adamant he did not put it there.
  • The explosion occurred only 10 inches from the floor of the container.
  • It is probable the baggage loader dealing with the tarmac transfer from the feeder flight would not have moved the original items very far, if at all, because the luggage was not sorted at this stage, and the transfer had to be done in less than 15 minutes because the feeder flight landed 45 minutes late.
  • The suitcase containing the bomb was a hardshell Samsonite, variously described by the forensic examiners as brown, maroon, burgundy and bronze.
  • No other luggage fitting the description of "a maroony-brown hardshell suitcase" was recovered at Lockerbie, damaged or undamaged.
  • None of the fifteen passengers whose luggage was or might have been in the container before the feeder flight landed was known to possess a brown or maroon hardshell case, and nobody who had had contact with these passengers before they boarded remembered seeing any of them with such a case.
  • A break-in into the airside area of Heathrow airport in question was reported as having occurred 16 hours before the mystery suitcase was sighted, with a padlock described as being "cut like butter".
  • The timing of the explosion, only 38 minutes into an on-time 7˝-hour flight and well before reaching the open ocean, makes no rational sense in the context of its being triggered by an electronic timer, which might have been loaded anywhere. It is entirely consistent with the use of a barometric trigger, which would have had to have been loaded de novo at Heathrow.
Two of these points were deliberately concealed from the Zeist court - the break-in, and the fact that the reconciliation of the legitimate passenger luggage had revealed that none of the passengers was carrying a suitcase answering to the description of the bag Bedford described. The rest of it was handwaved away on the grounds that since the court had decided the bomb came in on KM180, this must have been nothing more than an odd coincidence.

Some coincidence. A suitcase exactly matching the description of the bomb bag, seen within inches of the eventual position of the explosion, which didn't belong to any of the passengers, and which simply vanished after the crash (even though the bomb suitcase itself was recovered, as were the suitcases immediately adjacent).

Rolfe.
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Old 1st April 2011, 04:59 PM   #397
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The implausibility of the Official Version bears highlighting.

We have to suppose that the terrorists have devised a fool-proof way of getting the bomb suitcase on board KM180 with the right tags for PA103, as unaccompanied luggage, and that this is so good it doesn't just do the trick but it remains impossible to detect after the event, even when strongly suspected and subjected to intensive police investigation. So how does that play out?
  • The first problem is the sourcing of the clothes, as discussed above. Why blow the whole thing by buying new traceable clothes in a conspicuous manner in a small shop only three miles from the airport? It's insane. Remember, if these clothes hadn't been in the suitcase, it's possible nobody would have looked seriously at Malta.
  • The second problem is using the same person to buy the clothes and to perform some unspecified role at the airport that necessitated him potentially being traced to the airport at the time of the bomb being planted. It was this (alleged) dual role that allowed the case to be put together against Megrahi.
  • The next one is the routing of the bomb. However undetectable the Malta introduction was, the bomb should have been stopped at Frankfurt. Anything passing through Frankfurt on to PA103A was x-rayed by Maier, and he was on the lookout for Semtex bombs disguised as Toshiba radio-cassette players. It was a huge risk to take, simply to assume he wouldn't spot anything suspicious about that suitcase. Not only that, if all the baggage records had been preserved at Frankfurt, and who could have imagined they wouldn't be, the Malta origin of the bomb would be expected to be discovered after the event.
  • The next one is the baggage system in general. This routing required the bomb to travel unaccompanied on a three-flight hop, never being lost, misrouted or otherwise buggered up in that process. Would anyone familiar with airline baggage systems bet their house on that?
  • The next one is the placing of the suitcase in the baggage container that would be loaded into PA103. The bomb wasn't very powerful and really had to be close to the aircraft skin to bring the plane down. An unaccompanied routing gives no opportunity to influence the positioning of the bag - it would be entirely down to where the loaders happened to throw it. There was a better than 50% chance the case would have ended up inboard, and the explosion not causing sufficient damage to bring the plane down.
  • And the last one is the setting of the timer. With a 7˝-hour flight to JFK, and the ever-present possibility of that plane losing its slot for some reason and so being delayed an hour or more (who hasn't had that experience at Heathrow or Gatwick in winter?), and knowing that an explosion on the tarmac would provide nothing more than a scare all round, the timer was set for only an hour after the scheduled gate departure time (that is, at most 45 minutes from actual take-off).
Two brain-dead things were done for no reason at all - the clothes purchase and the timer setting. The rest of it just illustrates the rather low chance that waving goodbye to that suitcase at Malta was going to result in a plane breaking up in mid-air, 350 miles out of Heathrow. Possible success, yes. Probable success, no. Probable outcome, a non-lethal explosion allowing the plane to land at Prestwick or Shannon or somewhere, or an explosion somewhere on the ground - either on the tarmac or in a baggage store somewhere. (And then of course, all these traceable clothes just sitting right there to be picked up.)

Did the terrorists just feel real lucky, or did they not especially care whether or not they managed to bring a plane down?

The attitude seems to be, well, that's what happened, so obviously it worked. That's a bit like saying, I won the lottery, so obviously buying that ticket was going to make me a millionaire. Maybe, but you wouldn't use that as the main basis for your retirement planning.

The reason I'm pointing all this out is that when alternative possibilities are examined, often the objection is made, but nobody would do that, there's a chance they might have been discovered, or there's a chance it wouldn't have worked. My point is that all these objections apply, and much more reasonably, to the Official Version.

Imagine the boot was on the other foot. Imagine Abu Elias was in custody, accused of having smuggled that suitcase into the baggage container at Heathrow, on exactly the same set of evidence as we have at the moment. He's the official version.

Now imagine for some reason we don't agree with the official version. We're passionately convinced Abu Elias is innocent, for some reason I can't quite imagine. Instead, we're convinced by the way the evidence stacks up against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was on Malta that morning.

We describe that plan as being far more probable than the Heathrow loading, and far better supported by the evidence. How many laughing dogs would that get, I ask you?

Rolfe.
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Old 1st April 2011, 05:23 PM   #398
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It's a bit like a jigsaw. We've all got the same pieces, and we have to decide what picture we're making from them. But we don't have the box, and we're pretty damn sure we don't have all the pieces either.

The picture the Official Version decided to make of them is a bit like Picasso crossed with Escher. It makes a sort of sense, but it's a surreal sort of sense. Pieces are next to each other that don't seem to belong together, corners are jammed into curves, and the furniture seems to be hanging in mid-air.

On the other hand we take the pieces we have and make a much simpler, figurative picture out of them. Pieces that go together fit together, and the picture flows from one piece to another. It forms a scene that makes normal, realistic sense.

Looked at on an equal footing, it's pretty obvious which one is the way these pieces really fit together. The only problem is a ten-year, multi-million pound investigation and a trial before three judges, where the Picasso/Escher version was chosen. We're now being subjected to people insisting that the Picasso/Escher version is the default position and the realistic, figurative picture that actually works is the far-out conspiracy theory.

If the realistic version were the generally accepted story, and we were putting forward the Picasso/Escher version here in the forum, we'd be laughed out of court, frankly.

Rolfe.
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Old 2nd April 2011, 10:43 AM   #399
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It's a bit like a jigsaw. We've all got the same pieces, and we have to decide what picture we're making from them. But we don't have the box, and we're pretty damn sure we don't have all the pieces either.

I think that's a good way to put it. And whether you believe the Heathrow scenario or whether you believe the Malta scenario, you're going to have to accept some pretty odd coincidences (but coincidences do happen).

Under the Malta scenario, you have to accept that the Heathrow break-in, the Bedford suitcases, and the timing of the explosion (consistent with a pressure-activated device) were just coincidences (among other odd occurrences, but I think those three are the oddest). Note - I'm not trying to undersell how odd this is under the official scenario.

Under the Heathrow scenario, you have to accept the following coincidences and/or odd events:

1. The conspirators had somebody fly all the way to Malta for the purposes of a rather elaborate piece of misdirection that, a priori, would seem to have little chance of success (though, in hindsight, seems absolutely brilliant).
2. That there just happened to be two suspicious Libyans (or at least one) at the Malta airport that day with specific knowledge as to how to subvert airport security. And that the timing of their flights were consistent with the Malta to Frankfurt to Heathrow bomb path.
3. The Frankfurt printout surfacing supporting the "inference" of the bomb being transferred to the Frankfurt feeder flight to Heathrow.

Ultimately, this may come down to a difference of opinion that we can't reconcile. You seem to peg the likelihood of having "suspicious Libyans" travelling out of Malta that day as being much higher than my estimation. And there's really no way to answer that definitively. What keeps me with the Megrahi scenario is that these were not just any random "suspicious Libyans", but the exact type of people you would need in order to pull off the Malta to Frankfurt to Heathrow transfer. Megrahi was former head of security at Libyan Arab Airlines and Fhimah was a station manager at Luqa airport in Malta. And Megrahi had traveled to Malta just the night before and returned to Tripoli with Fhimah the next day.

And either scenario has a brilliance to it that would be worthy of a Ludlum novel. The Malta scenario has the advantage of getting a bomb into the luggage system at a "soft point" in the security system, and at a point that would be difficult to trace back to the perpetrator. As you said, without the clothes, they probably would have never looked at Malta. But they did leave a lot to chance, given the circuitous route the bomb would have had to take in order to get on PA103. A lot could have gone wrong, and it didn't. The only thing that you could argue went wrong is that there is probably no way they intended for the bomb to go off over land. Maybe the timer malfunctioned, or they did the time zone conversion wrong.

The Heathrow scenario has the "Malta subterfuge" (even sounds like a Ludlum novel) that succeeded so spectacularly. And it too targeted a "soft point" in the security system (at a point where the bags had already been screened and x-rayed). But just like the Malta scenario, they seemed to leave a lot to chance. For one, the risk of capture seems far greater under the Heathrow scenario. Megrahi and Fhimah were at "home base", so to speak, while the Heathrow conspirators were staging active break-ins, most likely procuring stolen uniforms and security badges, and mingling in with baggage handlers and hoping nobody notices them. They also seemed particularly fortunate that nobody acted on the broken padlock in the 17 or so hours between its discovery and when the bomb was actually placed on PA103. I did read through Caustic Logic's hypothesis as to how this was done, and while an impressive and plausible piece of speculation, it still seems awful risky.
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Old 2nd April 2011, 11:00 AM   #400
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Rolfe - I appreciate the detailed replies to my posts. Although I haven't been replying to your points specifically, that doesn't mean that I'm ignoring them. In general, there's not much that I necessarily disagree with in your posts. A lot about the London break-in theory makes sense (especially when judged by the standards of this subforum). But I still find the official story more plausible (feel free to view that as stubbornness).
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