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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Abdul Giaka , Lockerbie bombing , Pan Am 103 , Tony Gauci

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Old 30th June 2010, 12:53 AM   #1
Caustic Logic
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Lockerbie: Timelie of Libyan Blame

I realize there was a previous thread dedicated to a timeline analysis. For this, however, I think a dedicated non-merged thread would be better. Plus I like the title. I spelled it that way on purpose.

In other threads the question of when Libya, and when Megrahi and/or Fhimah, were identified as fit for framing, has come up repeatedly. I've always leaned towards an early decision, within no more than two months of the attack. A point popped up the other day suggesting someone in the US wanted to float a baseless theory of some Libyan "link" as early as Feb 3 1989. Herald Scotland:

Quote:
“INVESTIGATORS believe that employees of Libyan Arab Airways in Frankfurt planted the bomb which destroyed a PanAm Jumbo jet four days before Christmas, killing 270 people in and around Lockerbie, according to the American television network CBS News.”

This is far too early for any of the clues against Megrahi to have emerged. It’s also far too early to be motivated by Gulf War alliances meaning turn a blind eye to Syria. It doesn’t appear to be based on any evidence (see below), but it must have been based on something or it wouldn’t have been said.

“CBS said that at least 100 Libyan airline employees are intelligence operatives under the command of Abdullah Senoussi, who is related to the country's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Senoussie reportedly has a printing plant which produces forged luggage tags, among other documents.”

That certainly would not explain accused Fhimah’s later plot to flat steal Air Malta tags for the bombing, a clue that wouldn’t emerge for nearly two years. In fact, these sounds like hollow points of speculation, maybe just a handy occasion to again draw attention to Frankfurt while floating a novel solution to the embarrassing truth. Of course, only a few people would know this soon just how embarrassing that would be.

“The bomb, said by CBS to contain 20lbs of plastic explosives, was in a suitcase falsely labelled to fly to New York, via London, on flight 103. It was not searched, x-rayed, or even weighed-in at Frankfurt airport, where it was smuggled in through a ''back door,'' the TV report said, citing an American source.

CBS said the device was believed to be identical to a suitcase bomb found by West German police, in the days before the Lockerbie disaster, when they arrested 14 members of Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command.”
(My blog post)
The bolded is a ridiculous attempt to segue this in with existing certainties. 20 lb is not the same as the 450 grams the evidence shows. The official Anglo-American stance, that a Khreesat bomb had in fact flown from Frankfurt, is the same, but without a specified packet size.

So, we could start by debating how reliable a clue this is of any actual designs to frame Libya. Just random mumbling? I'm for including it as an accepted point, but then, it fits with my preconceived notion.

We could also discuss a timeline of reasons to frame (embarrassing clues popping up - Khreesat, etc.) Maybe later developments, but I think most issues re: blaming Libya will fall prior to the 1991 indictments. I think the earliest clues will be the most interesting, and we just might chase them right to the day zero event horizon and find them predating the attack, which means "LIHOP" and other dreads. I don't suspect so, but we will get down to days after (probably double-digit at least).
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Old 30th June 2010, 12:56 AM   #2
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Oh, and I'm working on an extract from testimony regarding Bollier's Jan 5 1989 letter to the CIA blaming Libya for the bombing. I'll bring that here when it's formatted and I've absorbed it.
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Old 30th June 2010, 03:48 AM   #3
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This is indeed a crucial consideration, and it's well worth its own thread.

The stock argument beloved of journalists doing Lockerbie "exposes" is that the investigation was hell-for-leather in pursuit of the PFLP-GC until the autumn of 1990, after the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein, and in the run-up to Desert Storm. The rationale is held to be that it was politically essential to have Iran as an ally in the upcoming Gulf War, and thus pursuing the theory that Iran had paid the PFLP-GC to take down Maid of the Seas wasn't a tenable position. In contrast, it was politically expedient to consign Libya to the Outer Darkness, and especially attractive from the British point of view as Libya had been the main source of the IRA's munitions for many years (largely paid for with money supplied by the USA, but that's a different argument). Thus, so the story goes, the focus of the investigation shifted abruptly in about September 1990, apparently as a result of the "discovery" of the MST-13 timer fragment in the Lockerbie debris by Tom Thurman in June of that year. (Note that we've already pushed three months back; June was before the invasion of Kuwait (August), and getting a bit early for decision to change the direction of the investigation based on Gulf War considerations.)

Paul Foot is a major proponent of that theory, and I suspect that his highly readable and mostly extremely perceptive analysis is actually the source for a lot of the rest of the coverage. However, even on the evidence Paul presents, the case for a summer 1990 change of direction heralded by the appearance of the timer chip doesn't stand up.

The timer chip, and its alleged strong tie-in to Libya, is generally agreed to be the main cause of the change of direction. The PFLP-GC used barometric timers, nothing like the MST-13, and the timing of the Lockerbie explosion strongly suggested the use of such a barometric timer. Discovery of the MST-13 therefore pointed away from the Palestinians and towards the country which had taken delivery of the electronic timers. The implication usually attached to this is that the MST-13 fragment was planted in the evidence in order to implicate Libya and turn the attention away from the PFLP-GC and Iran.

There is certainly ample reason to suspect the timer fragment of being planted. The documentation of its discovery is riddled with anomalies and suspicion. However, it most certainly wasn't planted in June 1990. It was identified in June 1990, but there is indisputable evidence that the Scottish police were hawking this unidentified piece of circuit board around Europe at least from January of that year, trying unsuccessfully to find its manufacturer, and the totality of the evidence suggests it was in existence at least from mid-September 1989. A full year before the public change of direction.

The other specific Libyan tie-in in the recovered debris is the identity of the radio-cassette model used to disguise the bomb. This was determined to be a model of which a large consignment had been supplied to Libya (in fact to a high official of the Libyan intelligence agency, who was also a director of a large electronics retailer) in the autumn of 1988, not long before the bombing.

Again, the evidence used to determine the identity of the radio reeks of suspicion. Initially the RARDE investigators had fixed on a different model, with a white casing. However, after a visit to the Toshiba HQ in Japan, where it appears the information about the batch of black-casing radios having been sold to Libya was discovered, they changed their minds. The subsequent identification of black plastic fragments in the debris, and then a remarkably-preserved large fragment of the instruction manual bearing the exact model number, all date from after the Japan visit. However, this potentially pushes the date of any decision to massage the evidence in favour of Libyan involvement even earlier, probably to the late spring of 1989.

Paul Foot also recounts an apparent spring 1989 incident suggesting a change of direction of the investigation. In mid-March 1989 (less than three months after the disaster) there was a phone call between Thatcher and Bush in which it was agreed to soft-pedal the case against the PFLP-GC for political reasons. Subsequent to this call, politicians (principally Paul Channon but also Cecil Parkinson and others) who had been very gung-ho about the great job our boys in blue were doing and how we'd soon have the PFLP-GC terrorists arrested and charged, backed off and clammed up and started behaving as if they had something to hide.

The timeline that makes sense in the light of all that is that in March 1989 the political decision was taken that the role of the PFLP-GC in the bombing, and the inevitable link to Iran, would not be examined in court. And as early as that, the ground-work began to be laid for Libya to emerge - all following the evidence of course - as the real perpetrator. The presence of Vincent Cannistraro, the White House's "make up about Libya" man for many years, as the head of the CIA investigation into Lockerbie, is probably relevant here. (Cannistraro retired from the investigation and the CIA at the time the "it was Libya wot done it" meme finally became public.)

The main question in the light of all this is more "what took them so long"? The evidence suggests that any fabrication that went on to implicate Libya was done in the spring and summer of 1989, with the results being delivered to the Scottish police in the early autumn (17th August for the Erac printout and 15th September for the timer fragment). However, it appears that PC Plod of the D&G constabulary simply didn't make the necessary deductions. The Erac printout led them to Malta, from where they were swiftly led to Tony Gauci (that's a section I'd like to know more about), but they merely started to try to persuade Gauci that it was Abu Talb of the PFLP-GC who had bought the clothes in the bomb bag, and construct a route whereby the bomb components had been smuggled by the PFLP-GC from Frankfurt to Malta to be put on the feeder flight there. And DC Crawford spent months trailing round Europe trying and failing to identify the timer fragment, without getting anywhere near MEBO and Edwin Bollier.

There is clear evidence in Marquise's book that the US side of the investigation was irritated beyond measure by the Scottish police's unwillingness to call in the US investigators to help identify the timer fragment. Thurman appears almost to have hijacked a photograph of it in June 1990, and identified it within 48 hours. It's perfectly possible, indeed likely, that the switch of the investigation to Libya was supposed to happen much earlier, either in late 1989 or early 1990.

Given that these people were hardly psychic, this implies that the association of the sudden change of direction of the investigation with the start of the Gulf War was coincidental rather than causative. It was the culmination of a lot of ground-work which had been prepared up to 18 months previously. And that's just the start of it.

Rolfe.
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Old 30th June 2010, 04:53 AM   #4
Caustic Logic
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Awesome! I certainly didn't read that all just now, but what I did is the kind of background and context we need here. Point is, we're I think all coming around to an earlier decision than revisionists have reached before. It deserves to be sifted out some more.

On the above, I meant to credit Baz for pointing out the possible Bollier link with this Feb report. It was addressed to "the CIA," typed with a Spanish typewriter on hotesl stationery, and delivered via the Vienna embassy in mid-January 1989. Still wading through transcripts - sadly, very few direct quotes. Bollier is constantly being reminded to shut up and answer yes or no please.

And in relation to Vince's early February musings to CBS, the same article i cied (link) also mentions a contemoraneious report from Radio Forth and a Johnston guy. As Buncrana pointed out elsewhere, and perhaps could again here, that construct he claimed eerily presages that running distraction the drug swap theory.

So something quite like the two major storylines that would collude to bury the truth first appeared on about the same day, and an early day. I thank the Herald for placing them side-by-side like that. Very useful in retrospect. It's the kind of synchronicity that can make one wonder if there's a relation. I don't know anything about Radio Forth, if they tend to pass on CIA hoaxes or what. Anyway, that will be all for me for now.
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Old 30th June 2010, 06:47 AM   #5
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Sorry about the tl;dr, but the start of a new thread like this seemed to be the right place for a summary of where we've got to date.

I've been less than clear about where the Erac printout and Gauci fit in, partly because I'm not as yet convinced that the former was manipulated, and in some ways Gauci isn't that relevant. Even if he did sell the clothes in the bomb suitcase to one of the terrorist gang, we have no idea who it was. Only that it does not appear to have been Megrahi. (He did say that the purchaser was Libyan right from the get-go in September 1989 though, and that might be important.)

There are really two questions here. One is, as I've discussed above, how did the decision to implicate Libya arise, and did it involve the introduction of fabricated evidence. The other is, how did the investigators come to fix on Fhimah and Megrahi in particular. This is much less clear, and a truly fascinating topic.

It appears from the court proceedings that there was essentially no evidence against Fhimah apart from what Giaka said, and a single, ambiguous entry in a diary Fhimah voluntarily gave up to the police a couple of years after the event. Once Giaka was exposed as simply making stuff up to please the CIA (who were paying him), there was nothing left and Fhimah was acquitted.

Megrahi is more complicated. He was never shown to have had an MST-13 timer or a Toshiba BomBeat SF-16 radio in his possession (though he knew Bollier, the manufacturer of the timers), or a bronze Samsonite suitcase for that matter, so these items of evidence don't implicate him personally at all. Lots of people, indeed lots of Libyans, knew Bollier. Gauci eventually managed (after much coaching) to identify Megrahi as the purchaser of the clothes found to have been in the bomb suitcase, however that identification is entirely the wrong way round. Gauci was coached by the investigators to pick out Megrahi after they had identified him as a suspect.

Giaka was certainly saying a lot about Megrahi as well as Fhimah to the CIA, however again the timing seems off. According to Paul Foot, who was at the trial and seems to have been listening to this part with great care, while Giaka was reporting on Megrahi and Fhimah's doings even before the disaster, he doesn't seem to have linked them with Lockerbie. Foot says that in fact Giaka said not a word about Lockerbie to the CIA right up until July 1991, despite being asked about the incident on numerous occasions. He only started implicating Megrahi and Fhimah in July 1991 after he was threatened with the loss of his retainer fee if he didn't come up with something worth paying him for.

We know that the Scottish police started trying to get Gauci to identify the clothes purchaser as Megrahi in February 1991. Thus, if Gauci only started implicating him the following July, he didn't become a suspect as a direct result of Giaka fingering him for the crime. It looks more as if the pressure put on Giaka to implicate these two men was the same sort of thing as the pressure put on Gauci to identify Megrahi - please provide us with evidence to implicate this person we have already decided is a suspect.

The crucial aspect in this case seems to have been Megrahi's presence at Luqa airport around 9am on 21st December 1988, using a coded diplomatic passport in the name of Abdusamad, checking in for his return flight to Tripoli (LN147), at the adjacent check-in desk to the check-in for KM180 to Frankfurt, which was open at the same time.

This by itself is not so remarkable. Megrahi was a Libyan intelligence officer, and he'd had the coded passport for several years and used it on a number of occasions. Probably every airport in Europe and North Africa had a flight leaving that morning that would have connected to PA103 with a couple of changes of plane. The fact that Malta was also the source of the clothes found in the suitcase is intriguing, but in itself doesn't necessarily add up to much.

This is what makes the Erac printout so crucial - probably the crucial piece of evidence, surpassing the timer fragment and all the rest. After all the routine records of baggage movements through Frankfurt airport that day had mysteriously vanished, back-ups and all, in spite of the FDR police having started their investigations at the airport within a few days of the disaster, a privately-produced printout of only the baggage coded to be sent to flight PA103A surfaced in the possession of one of the computer operators. This was (allegedly) given to the German police at the end of January, however they did nothing about it and only passed it on to the Scottish police on 17th August.

When analysed, there were a couple of pieces of luggage on the printout that appeared to have come from flights which had no passengers connecting into PA103A. One of these flights was KM180 from Luqa, the flight that was checking in at the same time Megrahi (as Abdusamad) was checking in for Tripoli. This seems to me to be the real smoking gun, and it is, for what it's worth, the only genuine piece of evidence against Megrahi. He really was there, that is not disputed, and he really was using his coded passport. (And he has never actually told anyone what he was doing there that morning.)

The main piece of information I'd like to have is, when did the Lockerbie investigation discover that Megrahi was at Luqa airport that morning? This seems to be shrouded in mystery. We do know that Giaka told the CIA that Megrahi travelled through Luqa on 7th December 1988, quite soon after that happened - certainly before the 21st. Presumably the CIA weren't that interested at the time, as no aircraft had yet blown up. However, given that this was the sort of information Giaka was passing on, and that he was going by observation (not by passport records, which wouldn't show Megrahi's name), I have a fair suspicion that he also passed on the information that Megrahi was seen at Luqa on the 21st, and that he did that fairly soon after the event. As soon as anyone matched this information with passenger lists and passport details, they would also realise Megrahi wasn't using his own name.

We seem to have no information at all on when this was all discovered and followed up. I have a crawling suspicion this happened before the Erac printout was handed over to the Scottish police, possibly some time before. Which is why I harbour serious doubts about the provenance of that printout, and even of the integrity of Mrs. Erac, shining example of pure innocence though she appears to be.

I've no idea if this is heading for a LIHOP. My only comment is that if I was going to set Megrahi up as a fall guy for this even before the event, I'd do a better job of implicating him!

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 30th June 2010 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 30th June 2010, 06:55 AM   #6
Buncrana
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Quote:
The Guardian (London)

December 29, 1988

US turns on Libya for revenge after Lockerbie

BYLINE: By MARTIN WALKER

LENGTH: 475 words

DATELINE: WASHINGTON

The confirmation that a bomb was responsible for the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 has unleashed a powerful demand for revenge across the US, and prompted new calls for a military strike against what Washington alleges is a Libyan chemical warfare plant.

There is no evidence that Libyan-backed groups planted the bomb. However, President Reagan last night extended US trade and economic sanctions against Libya, saying it 'continues to use and support international terrorism, in violation of international law and minimum standards of international behaviour'.

'Such Libyan action and policies pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and vital foreign policy interests of the US,' he added. The sanctions were first applied in January 1986, three months before the US airstrike against Tripoli.

The first official reaction was to dispatch an FBI squad to Britain to scour every possible clue to the identity of the terrorists, to support British and US intelligence investigators.

'We are going to follow every lead, use every source that we can to find out all that we can about this. We do not have a particular theory as to which organisation or individual might have committed the act of sabotage at this point,' the State Dept spokeswoman, Ms Phyllis Oakley, said yesterday. 'We are not going to jump to conclusions until we have the information that we need.'

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Authority announced tough new regulations including intensified screening of all hand and checked baggage. New electric gas sniffers which can detect most plastic explosives and dynamite, once rejected for their high cost, are being considered again.

The urge to strike back against terrorism has coincided with mounting concern over what US officials allege is a Libyan chemical warfare plant. Libya has said the facility in question is a pharmaceutical plant.

President Reagan announced last week that a military strike against the plant was being considered.

'The first thing to do now is to take out that Libyan chemical warfare plant.

In a sense it does not matter who was responsible for the bomb. It might not stop Libyan sponsorship of terrorism, but it would certainly put a dent in it,' a senior government adviser on terrorism, Dr Robert Kupperman, argued yesterday.

US and British intelligence investigators have been focusing their inquiries on the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and on the May 15 orgnaisation, a Palestinian group responsible for the sophisticated plast bomb aboard a Pan Am flight from Tokyo to Honolulu in 1982.

The original tip-off from Helsinki that a bomb would be planted by the Abu Nidal group aboard a Pan Am flight from Frankfurt to New York has now been 'totally discredited', the FBI said yesterday.
Plus ça change. Libya was on the hit-list, who cares about who bombed the plane?

So, little more than a week after the bombing of 103, reprisals are being sought, and indeed sanctions are intensified, with no, or very little, basis on the evidence known at that time. Playing to prejudices rather than on received wisdom it would seem.
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Old 30th June 2010, 06:59 AM   #7
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From the London Origin thread,

Quote:
As if to prod me, Vincent Cannistraro popped up on Radio 2 this morning offering his take on the Russians arrested in the US yesterday, accused of spying. I'm hoping to have a further browse around some of those old articles again this afternoon - I'll see if I can narrow the search to The Herald Rolfe, and see what turns up - hopefully dropping a few more clues about a timeline of the investigation path taken.

Here's an article dealing with Radio Forth's David Johnson, who's interviewed in Maltese Double Cross, and his impromptu meeting with security officials.

Quote:
:
The Guardian (London)

February 3, 1989

Police silent on Lockerbie 'clue'

BYLINE: By PETER MURTAGH

LENGTH: 387 words

Police investigating the Lockerbie air disaster refused to confirm or deny a report yesterday that Palestinian terrorists may have smuggled the bomb which destroyed the plane into the luggage of an American CIA agent.

Radio Forth, quoting Scottish police sources, said investigators believed that 1.4 kilograms of Semtex explosive and a timing device were slipped into the agent's luggage by Palestinian terrorists who infiltrated the CIA's Beirut mission. Sources said the bomb was placed in luggage that carried 'quite sensitive documents.'

There has been speculation since the crash on December 21, in which 270 people died, 11 of them in Lockerbie, that three of the passengers were working for the CIA.

The US State Department in Washington has confirmed only that three of the victims were 'civilian security advisors' to the US government which could mean they worked for the CIA, the National Security Council, the National Security Agency, or one of several other US intelligence bodies. Two of the 'advisors' are understood to have been working in Beirut, the other in Cyprus.

Mr David Johnson, head of the news department at Radio Forth, reported the CIA officer was returning from Beirut with five colleagues after a mission to negotiate release of the nine American hostages in Lebanon had failed. Radio Forth said the baggage was shipped from Beirut via Helsinki to Frankfurt, West Germany, where the agents caught the flight bound for New York.
The timer was believed to have been activated during the stop in Helsinki, the report said. It was in Helsinki that police warned the US authorities that a terrorist attack might be launched against a Pan Am transatlantic flight beginning at Frankfurt.

The spokesman for the Lockerbie investigation, Chief Inspector Gordon Ferrie, said he had no comment on the report.

In America, CBS television news quoted 'sources in the international terrorist movement' saying that the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command was responsible for the bombing.

CBS said the PFLP leader, Ahmed Jibril, a former Syrian army intelligence officer, masterminded the attack with the backing of Libya and Syria. The Secretary of State, Mr James Baker, said on Wednesday that he could not confirm the CBS report.
So, contrary to most opinions, only 6 weeks after the event, the theory that would later become evolve into Aviv 'bag-switch' theory was nascent 2 years about 10 months before Aviv and 5 before Coleman's and Francovich's claims.

Of course, 'quite sensitive documents' would eventually morph into a suitcase of contraband as part of a covert operation that had went horribly awry. But, it is interesting that so early into the investigation, this theory is raisng it's ugly head, and clearly it causes enough disquiet to merit Johnson's report to be enquired further by senior security members.
It's certainly a theory which seems to up and running when the official investigation barely have their boots on. The bag-switch theory, with varying accounts of it occurring via Helsinki or originating at Frankfurt permeates throughout many of the reports in the months after the disaster, and only when Aviv presents his 'new' triple-bluff switch story, does it then appear to be slammed as utter nonsense and fabrication. Hmmm...
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Old 30th June 2010, 01:18 PM   #8
Caustic Logic
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Edwin Bollier talking about his Jan 5 letter
Transcripts, day 26
Quote:
Q And then just perhaps a matter of a week

4079

or two after the bombing, did you write another letter?
A That is correct. Yes.

Q Who did you write that letter to?
A I'm not quite sure about the date. I wrote a letter on the 30th -- no, on the 5th of January, if this is the letter you are referring to, and then another letter to Mr. Ezzadin. The date must be right around there, but I cannot quite remember the exact date.
Which letter are you referring to? I wrote one on the 5th of January --

Q Let's talk about the one on the 5th of January. Who did you write that to?
A The one written on the 5th of January, well, this letter was written to the CIA.

Q I see. Can we see on the screen, please, Production 323. Image 1, please. Now, this is written on a hotel notepaper, isn't it?
A That is correct.

Q And how did you deliver it?
A This letter?
Q Yes.
A Well, I have to give you additional

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information. On the 30th --
Q [Microphone override] --
A Yes, okay. I delivered it myself. When I travelled to the G.D.R., I took it with me on my journey, from the 19th to the 20th, where I flew via Vienna. At that time, I went to the American embassy in Vienna, and I deposited the letter.

Q That's all I wanted to know. Now we can return to the letter. Did you mention in this letter -- and we'll talk about the reasons why in a moment. Just tell me if this is right. Did you mention in the letter anything about the bombing of Pan Am 103?
A That is correct. Yes.

Q All right. Now, you tell us, then, why= you wrote this letter to the CIA, and then we'll have a look at the letter.
He tells the story of the mystery stranger, presumably CIA, who visited him on Dec 30 and told him to write this letter or else. Other than blaming Libya for PA103, and using a typewriter with Spanish keys, he wasn't instructed specifically, and just made stuff up. Says five hundred times that it's all nonsense and the "mystery man" made him do it. "This gentleman just told me that I had to indicate Gadhafi and Senussi in that letter." [4086]
Quote:
Q Let's just stop there for a second. So with that explanation, then, Mr. Bollier, you are perhaps going to go on and tell us that you managed to obtain an appropriate typewriter, were you? Just yes or no will probably do to that.
A Yes.

Q All right. And can we now, then, have a look at the letter, having understood why it was that you wrote it. Could we scroll down a little further, please.
And do we see that the letter suggests that there can be contact between you, using a code name, and sets out how that contact can be initiated? We don't need the details. Just tell me if I'm right about that.
A That is correct.
paragraph 8 and on:
Quote:
Q And it says: "The first short information concerning the Pan Am Flight 103." That's what it says?
A That is correct.

Q And then there is some information. And perhaps we could see the next image. And more information is then given on the second page; is that right?
A Correct.

Q And reading the matter shortly, does it indicate that Libya and the people mentioned in the letter have an involvement in the bombing of Pan Am 103?
A That is correct.

Q All right.
A This is what he requested.

Q All right. And were you saying in that letter that Libyans and some of the people mentioned here were to blame for the bombing?
A That is correct.

Q All right.

4084
A This is what this unknown man requested me to do.

Q All right. Can we go back to the previous image, please. You say, at the bottom of that page, that what had happened was Gadhafi had called for a secret conference; is that right?
A This is what I am saying in the letter. But that is not correct. I invented it.

Q And you mention somebody by the name of Ibrahim Senussi.
He had the first name wrong - but sawSenussi in Abdelbaset's office.
Quote:
"in the office of Mr. Abdelbaset. I believe this is where I saw him, after I had seen photographs that the police had shown to me."
Quote:
Q Go to the letter where it says, "In the following days, these people ..." Do you see that?
A Yes, I see this text.

Q All right. Well, just read on to -- yourself -- that sentence and the next sentence.
A "Bundles of dollars would have been put in the suitcase, together with explosive material."

Q Let's just stop there. So does that help you now to answer the question of what you said in the letter about where the explosive was located?
A In a suitcase.

Q Thank you very much. How did you know


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to say in this letter that the bomb had been in a suitcase?
A Well, I made it up. I had heard that a suitcase had been found in Lockerbie with timers; and that influenced me at that time. There was a suitcase found with lots of money, I think, or there was money from a suitcase, or money had fallen out of a suitcase.
That is what I included in the letter.

Q I see. Now, there is something else that you said in the letter that I wanted to ask you about. In the next paragraph, there's a sentence that begins: "On December 20th, 1988 ..." Do you see that?
A Yes, I see that paragraph.

Q Yes. And does it go on to say: "They checked in at the Tarabulus Airport," and then somebody's name from Germany?
A Karl Heinz, yes.

Q And the suitcase with explosives to Zurich in Switzerland on an early --
A That is right.

Q So are you explaining there that a suitcase was checked in at Tarabulus Airport and that that suitcase went somewhere?
A That is correct, yes.

Q Why did you choose 20th December?

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A Because I was flying home on that day.

Q I see. So you've explained that a suitcase containing explosives left Tripoli by air on the 20th of December; is that correct?
A That is correct. Yes.

Q And you selected that date just because that was the day you were flying home?
A That is correct.

Q Well, how does the date that you are flying home explain why you chose to say 20th December in the letter?
A Well, it's sheer chance. There is no meaning attached to it.

Q And so this letter, then, was written by you, for the reasons you've given. Did it contain any of the truth?
A Not at all
On the purpose of the letter:
Quote:
Q I see. And your explanation for writing it is because you were told to?
A Well, in part I was told, but only in part. And I made up the rest of it, because this mystery man, as I said before, gave me a few pointers as to what I was to put in this letter. And the remainder is something I made up. And at the same time, I was flying a kite. I wanted to find out who

4093

was behind all of this.

Q I see. Can I ask you to look with me, please, at Production 1530, which is your interview at the Zurich district attorney's office on the 14th of January of 1991. And I'd like you to look at page 36 with me, please. And again to the bottom of the page. Do you see question 215?
A Yes.

Q And in question 215, were you asked why you wrote this letter?
A That is correct.

Q Can you read to us your answer, please.
A "The purpose of this letter was to get the investigators away from the wrong track and to bring them onto the Libyan track."

Q How did you know the investigators were on the wrong track?
A I didn't know that. The media spoke about this, and they were talking about possible tracks of the PFLC.

Q Why did you explain, then, in January of 1991, that your reason for writing this letter was to get the investigators from the wrong track?
A At that time, I didn't want this letter -- or, rather, at that time, I didn't want to refer to

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the CIA as to who had given the orders for this letter to be written.

Q So you were just pretending that this was the reason you had written the letter?
A That is correct.
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Old 30th June 2010, 02:23 PM   #9
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You know, sometimes we ignore the really bizarre aspects of this case, and then sometimes they come by and slap us in the face.

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Old 1st July 2010, 01:13 AM   #10
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Quote:
The confirmation that a bomb was responsible for the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 has unleashed a powerful demand for revenge across the US, and prompted new calls for a military strike against what Washington alleges is a Libyan chemical warfare plant.

There is no evidence that Libyan-backed groups planted the bomb. However, President Reagan last night extended US trade and economic sanctions against Libya, saying it 'continues to use and support international terrorism, in violation of international law and minimum standards of international behaviour'.

'Such Libyan action and policies pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and vital foreign policy interests of the US,' he added. The sanctions were first applied in January 1986, three months before the US airstrike against Tripoli.
Plus ça change. Libya was on the hit-list, who cares about who bombed the plane?

So, little more than a week after the bombing of 103, reprisals are being sought, and indeed sanctions are intensified, with no, or very little, basis on the evidence known at that time. Playing to prejudices rather than on received wisdom it would seem.
Very interesting. It's not ever really argued as a retaliation, just seemed a convenient time that people would support more bombing - it does offer a chance to tie the two together, to remind everyone what a threat Libya is, terrorists number 1. Intentional or no it belongs in the timeline as the earliest entry I've yet seen.
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Old 2nd July 2010, 03:50 AM   #11
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Someone should make a short bullet point timeline now that we can add to later. I'll make version two in a while, or version one if no one else has yet.

For now, I followed up on Bollier's "Catch-letter" as his name for it translates. Made a nice little post, not too bloated, and got some Ebol comment action going on. It's fairly interesting. http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/...ch-letter.html

A juicy part:
Quote:
The January letter had mentioned, in passing, “We've heard that you will pay for classified information. Your payment, after success only, covered on a later date." Regarding this, a 1991 FBI interview summary stated: "Bollier put the information about payment on delivery to show that he was not a conman." Conmen usually have ways of doing just that.

That document further stated "Bollier sees three possibilities for Bollier to receive money from the United States government." These were listed as making electronics for the U.S., becoming a “covert operative” for them, or simply getting an appropriate chunk of the “reward money for providing information” about the recent bombing. Such a fund would eventually exist, but Bollier denies begging or even asking for money. In fact, the FBI tried to force him to accept $4 millions to lie, he said in 2008, but he refused. [see video 33:45]
Ooh, and my response to his critique that I had ignored a vital factor (I''m not sure which)
Quote:
Yeah, Ebol, hi. I've spent a few hours on it, off and on, and that's all I can do, Sorry. The relevant parts:

on 13 September 1996 a document under 'reacts; National Security' (PII), the lord Advocate in Scotland

Is that your letter then?

Which Bollier has; *Fang-Brief and *Dokument (PII) with one another add? Both documents should actually as proofs, Libya and the accused Al Megrahi, at correct legal proceedings in " Lockerbie Fall" relieve?

Sorry...

The two *Discharge-proofs [Entlastungs-Beweise] are used obviously by the Scottish Justice, around Libya and Al Megrahi for the Lockerbie tragedy legally further within the responsibility zuhalten!

Yes, that can happen.

First reason: Above article "catch letter" from Caustic Logic, tries with purposeful intent to tie Bollier' s letter in with Libya’s blame in the Lockerbie Tragedy. For this doubtful project Caustic Logic suppressed a crucial factor!

Okay, I got that. The factor:

On his part Bollier had a meeting with the FBI in the middle of January 1991 in Zurich, with legal Attaché OD. Marshman, who in 1989 conveyed the " Catch Brief” to the CIA, in all details and background.

FBI's Edward Marshman, huh? The only FBI legal attache I've seen in your testimony is Fanning, stationed at Bern. At about the same time, before meeting Marquise in Quanitico in February, you say Mr. Fanning offered you two million if you could help resolve the case. You say just wanted names and information (cue Patrick MacGoohan), but the FBI "claimed" you were asking for money.

Did you ever receive money from the Americans, directly or indirectly? Did you ever find out who Mr. Whiteman was? Do you feel bad that you helped get Megrahi convicted along the way?

Thus it could be accepted that "catch letter" was no longer of any importance in the further investigations? It was unfortunately confirmed [??] Untrue contents of the letter were inserted deliberately into the falsified and manipulated Scottish evidence chain as clues against Libya and 11 months later, on 14 /15 November 1991, both Libyan citizens were accused for the destruction of the PanAm 103.

I think this is saying "does it matter?" This letter didn't implicate them or get them blamed. Giaka, and the timer fragment PT/35(b) and the Erac printout, and Gauci's "identification" and so on did that...

True, but at the moment, I'm looking at the first bogus information that turned up, in the weeks after the crash, as people started looking to find an alternate truth. In the early days, your fang-briefes sticks out like a sore thumb. And you pointed to Megrahi, just like Giaka did and the fake airport paper from Germany would. And you had timers, that were connected to Libya.

Really, Edwin, how could you NOT get paid from all that?

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Old 2nd July 2010, 05:05 AM   #12
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Just a thought, how credible is Edwin's atrocious English? I've been in Switzerland, quite often. Many if not most people speak pretty good English. In particular, those who have to deal with foreign tourists on a regular basis speak very good English.

Bollier was an international electronics dealer, involved in the armaments trade. He dealt with people of all nationalities, including Libyans. While I don't discount the possibility that he might have good Arabic, I find it very difficult to believe he did all he did in his life without managing to acquire reasonable fluency in English.

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Old 29th July 2010, 02:24 PM   #13
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When I laid out the arguments for Megrahi having been framed, in a new thread, I didn't make any claims of fabricated physical evidence. This just isn't necessary - as I said earlier, Megrahi didn't do it even if all the physical evidence is exactly as per the claimed provenance.

The narrative then corresponds to the usual take on the timeline - that the investigators didn't seriously consider Libya as the culprit until the autumn of 1990. While those looking in from outside might suggest the motivation for this was the Gulf War as is so often claimed, insiders point to the identification of the MST-13 timer fragment in the summer of 1990 as the critical tipping point. The fact that blaming Libya was politically expedient in the context of the invasion of Kuwait was purely serendipitous.

However, the timer fragment wasn't the first clue leading to Liibya by a long chalk. Paul Foot says that there were only two others - the erronious description of Mobi (the Professor) Goben as a Libyan when he wasn't, and Tony Gauci's opinion that the mystery shopper was Libyan. This isn't correct though.
  • 28th December 1988: Reagan extends sanctions against Libya and there is talk of bombig the place, despite no evidence of Libyan involvement
  • 30th December: Edwin Bollier claims to have been visited by a mystery stranger, probably CIA, who told him to write a letter to the CIA claiming that it was a Libyan operation and Gadaffi and Senoussi were involved.
  • 20th January 1989: Bollier actually delivers the letter, by hand, to the embassy in Vienna.
  • Same day (I think): Reagan hands the presidency of the USA over to Bush.
  • mid-March: George Bush persuades Margaret Thatcher to back off on accusations this was a PFLP-GC/Iran operation. (Might be relevant!)
  • mid-May: Discovery of the SF-16 manual and pieces of black plastic, leading to the conclusion that the radio-cassette player was of a model sold mainly to Libya.
  • 1st September: Tony Gauci says he believes the purchaser of the clothes was Libyan.
  • 12th February 1990: Relatives' meeting with the PCAST in London at which Martin Cadman was told "Your government and my government know exactly what happened. But they are never going to tell."
  • 30th June: Thurman and Orkin identify the timer fragment as being something associated with Libya.
I have my doubts about Tony's idea that the mystery shopper was Libyan. He merely seems to be indicating, Arab and not Tunisian (didn't speak French). But he did say it. And that was after the Toshiba had been pegged as an SF-16. Not to mention the vaguer hints from the first few weeks.

Reagan's overt belligerence against Libya doesn't seem to have been continued by Bush. Both the early sanctions and sabre-rattling, and Bollier's letter, seem to sink without trace, and I wonder if this is related to the handover of the presidency.

However, by May and even more by September, it's surprising more isn't being made of the Libya thing, with the provenance of the radio model recognised (though not the timer), and Tony's little remark, both hinting at Libya. Especially given the early anti-Libya posturing.

It could be they were just slow. And/or far too enamoured with the evidence against the PFLP-GC to pay attention. If they knew about Abdusamad by this time, then it's really quite strange, unless something is being choreographed.

If we go on the assumption that the timer fragment was planted by Thurman/Hayes/Feraday, and if that was planted then the rado manual was too, I think this must have been done in the knowledge of Abdusamad's presence. It's just too fortuitous otherwise. And in that case, my suspicions about tray B8849 get very strong.

In that case, the intent to blame Libya goes right back to April 1989, probably to the March phone call, and it's possible that itself was simply where Thatcher was included in something that had started just a week after the crash.

I wonder if this was an initial Reagan/Cannistraro idea, which was knocked back a bit by the changeover of the presidency, if Bush was unwilling to continue making aggressive gestures to Libya at this stage. By March it was on again, but softly-softly. The Bollier initiative just got forgotten about. Let's do this the clever way. (Bush didn't have Alzheimer's.) So a bit of thinking gets done about exactly what small pieces of evidence might punch above their weight as regards pointing Libya-wards.

But everything is in place by mid-September, and bolstered by Tony's remark. Why didn't the Libya nudge happen then? Why was it necessary to wait another nine months for the timer identification? In particular, if they knew about Abdusamad, why let Bell and Armstrong piss about trying to get Tony to identify Abu Talb? Why wait till February 1991 to go with that one?

If Giaka told the CIA about Abdusamad soon after the event, then it wasn't in those cables, unless they were able to withhold some. Come to that, if it was him who told them at any time, it should have been there. In a way it seems to have been the other way round. Five months after the cops started showing Tony Megrahi's picture, the CIA explicitly told Giaka to make stuff up to incriminate him.

Something about this doesn't gel, and I'm not getting it. Sat up too late last night. Maybe the vanilla version is for real. In which case I never saw a legitimate piece of evidence with so many provenance problems as that bloody timer.

Anybody else got any ideas about this?

Rolfe.
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Old 5th August 2010, 02:02 PM   #14
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Oh well, that last post is a week old. Nobody got anything else to add?

I've been having a re-think. I had believed Megrahi's presence at Luqa that morning was far too big a coincidence to be natural. That any plot that turned out the way this one did, must have been looking at "Abdusamad" at the far end of the fabricated trail all along. So the framing of Megrahi would have been an intimate part of the plan from the start.

However, this scheme to blame Libya seems to have started very early, if it was indeed a conscious intent. May 1989 is the latest, the insertion of the Horton fragment into the evidence at RARDE, and that implies a plan that was hatched probably in April (the time of the first Maryland tests). And yet the Scottish police seem to have had no idea of Abdusamad's existence until the beginning of 1991.

While it's not impossible the American instigators didn't want to precipitate anything until the timer fragment was identified, the period from autumn 1989 to summer 1990 was very dangerous, because the Scottish police were actively trying to get Tony to identify Abu Talb, which would not have been a good idea if the eventual aim was to implicate Megrahi. Which all rather suggests the Americans didn't know about the potential fall guy either. I had imagined that Giaka had told the CIA that Megrahi was at the airport that morning, as he had told them about him being there on 7th December. However, if it was in those cables then nobody has mentioned it. Which suggests it's not there. Which suggests he didn't tell them that. So they probably found out simply be looking at passenger records for the flights that morning. When we don't know.

The narrative of the framing of al-Megrahi actually works as a stand-alone exercise. It doesn't rely directly on the timer fragment or the radio manual - these were never linked to him but simply suggested a Libyan origin in general. The only things that implicated Megrahi were his presence at Luqa that morning in conjunction with tray B8849, and that it was possible to frame him as the clothes buyer.

Well, the clothes thing isn't really relevant as he didn't buy them and wasn't even on the island the day they were sold. He was at the airport that morning though. I thought that was a big coincidence, but was it really? Was it perhaps quite common for JSO officers to be passing through Luqa airport, perhaps to catch that very flight LN147? In which case it could just have been Megrahi's rotten luck he was the one who happened to be there that morning.

So, having separated out the framing of Megrahi specifically as something that didn't happen till 1991, does the timeline of the generic Libyan blame get any clearer?

On one hand we have the real terrorists, buying clothes from Mary's House as a bit of a red herring to lure the attention of the police away from Heathrow. And of course Malta is very near Libya, and if the cops start snooping round Malta they might start to get ideas, because Libya are bad people too and quite plausible culprits. Finding a Libyan to blame, well, who knows. Maybe they got a completely unconnected Libyan to buy the clothes, just in case.

On the other hand we have the supposed conspirators, who planted the MST-13 fragment and the manual page, also trying to implicate Libya and also, by introducing the idea of a digital timer, breaking the link between the PFLP-GC produced by the 38-minute explosion and the implication of a Heathrow introduction.

And tying it all together we have the Erac printout and tray B8849.

That's really essential for the frame-up of Megrahi, not nearly so much for the generic Libyan blame. And yet, the frame-up of Megrahi started in 1991, and tray B8849 was present in the evidence by 17th August 1989. Did it even pre-date the realisation that the clothes in the bomb bag were bought from Malta?

Why does everything come back to Frankfurt and that bloody printout?

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Old 7th August 2010, 03:31 PM   #15
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I tend to imagine that Megrahi would have pinged the radars of the CIA, together with several other intelligence and security agencies, in the course of his work. Especially given the nature of his frequent jaunts around Europe, and the high tensions that existed between Libya and much of the West throughout the 1980's. Reagan had already sent fighters into bomb Gadaffi, while imposing sanctions on the country, so I think to suppose that tabs weren't been kept on as many Libyans able to move around various European countries, especially with the contacts Megrahi appears to have been linked with (Bollier...), and most likely known to be working in some capacity for the Libyan govt, would be unrealistic. As a sanctions buster, or any other mission he may have been assigned to, he must've attracted some very interested parties. Most likely the CIA, quite probably MI6, possibly the Israeli's would have some interest, and perhaps even the BKA themselves.

It seems Malta had become (perhaps had always been) a hive of activity during the latter part of 1988. The BKA were reported to be keeping watch on the PFLP group that were known to have contacts working there, with both Dalkamoni and Talb having visited Malta and Cyprus. Both were well known to presumably not only the BKA, but several other intelligence services. The BKA presence must have been even more alert after the discoveries at Neuss – not to mention the host of warnings that were been issued. Even the CIA had their 'man' Giaka working in Malta.

So, god only knows who else of dubious character was using Malta as a stepping stone between the Middle East, North Africa and a route into Europe while staying and travelling in and out of Luqa on numerous occasions in 1988. Going by some reports, combined there must have been as many police and terrorists as there was citizens of Malta on the island in the latter months of 1988.

I'm as sure as I can be, supported by the evidence that is available, that the bomb suitcase was introduced and inserted into AVE4041 at Heathrow and that Megrahi definitely wasn't the buyer of the clothing from Tony Gauci, and is therefore not only innocent of the bombing of 103, but is also innocent of being involved in the bombing of 103.

So, it really then begs the question, how did it come about that so much of the evidence presented by the German and US investigators, however tenuous, did apparently, inadvertently and through painstaking investigation, point towards Megrahi?

The MST timer, discovered by the intrepid Tom Thurman, and tray B8849, discovered by the plucky and diligent Frankfurt programmer, after the BKA had lost all of the most critical information relating to the flights to and from Frankfurt on the fateful day. Their appearance into the investigation, and provenance of how these particular pieces of evidence were realised, are something worthy of a John Le Carré novel. Would the Scottish Police do their part with Gauci and get him to remember the buyer of the clothes?

An albeit slight association between Bollier and Megrahi, seemingly pressed the significance of the highly surprising use of an MST-13 timer within the bomb, which was then reinforced with Libya's hasty order for 20 such timers weeks before 103 was blown-up, and although specialist explosive experts had had the crucial bit of timer circuit board in their hands and photographed in May 1989, they didn't realise it's importance or know of these photographs until 4 months later when they then sent a polaroid of it to investigators. Not only was the discovery and identification of this fragment quite miraculous given it's journey from 31,000 ft and through 120knot winds as Pan Am 103 fell from the sky, but many have asserted since, not least the UN explosives expert John Wyatt, that it really shouldn't have survived the initial intimate explosion it was part of at all never mind the rest of it's journey to discovery.

On that printout. B8849, the snapshot printout that was miraculously saved from all the other disappearing and self-destroying records at Frankfurt. However, this was not the only miracle of this printouts survival that tests incredulity, but this baggage printout showed just enough of the baggage movements towards the 103 feeder that could infer an unaccompanied bag arriving from that very hub of intelligence and terrorist activity. The stumbling block would be evidence from Air Malta that investigators would fail to support during subsequent and intensive enquiries into an unaccompanied bag that was present on KM180 – which left Luqa the same morning Megrahi was catching another flight out of Malta.

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Old 8th August 2010, 02:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
I tend to imagine that Megrahi would have pinged the radars of the CIA, together with several other intelligence and security agencies, in the course of his work. Especially given the nature of his frequent jaunts around Europe, and the high tensions that existed between Libya and much of the West throughout the 1980's. Reagan had already sent fighters into bomb Gadaffi, while imposing sanctions on the country, so I think to suppose that tabs weren't been kept on as many Libyans able to move around various European countries, especially with the contacts Megrahi appears to have been linked with (Bollier...), and most likely known to be working in some capacity for the Libyan govt, would be unrealistic. As a sanctions buster, or any other mission he may have been assigned to, he must've attracted some very interested parties. Most likely the CIA, quite probably MI6, possibly the Israeli's would have some interest, and perhaps even the BKA themselves.

I would tend to agree with you, were it not for the unfeasibly long time it took for Megrahi to become linked to the investigation. If they knew he was there, then once the Scottish detectives had made it as far as Malta, I can't see any reason for not leaking them the information about Abdusamad. They had the radio model to link to Libya, even without the timer fragment being identified. Supposing Bell had managed to convince Tony that the purchaser was Abu Talb, so strongly that he couldn't be un-convinced?

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
It seems Malta had become (perhaps had always been) a hive of activity during the latter part of 1988. The BKA were reported to be keeping watch on the PFLP group that were known to have contacts working there, with both Dalkamoni and Talb having visited Malta and Cyprus. Both were well known to presumably not only the BKA, but several other intelligence services. The BKA presence must have been even more alert after the discoveries at Neuss – not to mention the host of warnings that were been issued. Even the CIA had their 'man' Giaka working in Malta.

So, god only knows who else of dubious character was using Malta as a stepping stone between the Middle East, North Africa and a route into Europe while staying and travelling in and out of Luqa on numerous occasions in 1988. Going by some reports, combined there must have been as many police and terrorists as there was citizens of Malta on the island in the latter months of 1988.

Malta was a British possession from 1884 to 1964. You can see the British connection in the names of the clothing brands - Anglia, Big Ben, Yorkie. Crawford explains that there was a president just before the Lockerbie disaster who was very anti-British, and is seems to have been during his tenure that the terrorists were having a field day.

The people as a whole aren't and weren't anti-British though, and it seems inconceivable that any sizeable number of (Christian, Catholic, ex-Empire) Maltese people could have concealed their knowledge of an unaccompanied suitcase having been smuggled on KM180 to cause death and destruction in Scotland.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
I'm as sure as I can be, supported by the evidence that is available, that the bomb suitcase was introduced and inserted into AVE4041 at Heathrow and that Megrahi definitely wasn't the buyer of the clothing from Tony Gauci, and is therefore not only innocent of the bombing of 103, but is also innocent of being involved in the bombing of 103.

So, it really then begs the question, how did it come about that so much of the evidence presented by the German and US investigators, however tenuous, did apparently, inadvertently and through painstaking investigation, point towards Megrahi?

But did they? How much specifically pointed to Megrahi in person? Not a lot, I suspect.

Megrahi didn't buy the clothes, and it can't be anything but a coincidence that he was similar enough to the actual purchaser for Tony to be persuadable of a resemblance.

The timer fragment, the radio - yes they point to Libya, but not really to Megrahi. He knew Bollier, but he never had a timer in his possession, and how many JSO officers who globetrotted as he did would have known Bollier? Possibly most of them. The CEO of the company that bought the radios was a JSO boss (or something like that), but again that gives him a connection to the entire service, not just Megrahi.

Presumably nobody sent Megrahi to Malta that day, to travel on LN147, in order to implicate him. So actually, the only thing that points directly to Megrahi in and of itself is the Erac printout. And I have no idea what to make of that.

I have an open mind, and finding out more about the printout would be a help. However, it seems to me to work a bit better if the plot isn't quite so deliberate.

Malta was a bit of a hotbed of trouble at the time as you say, and in partcular it was a bit of a foothold to the West for Libya. If we postulate that quite independently Reagan and then Bush decided it would be quite a good idea if Libya could be blamed for this, and the real bombers decided that rather than source anonymous clothes for their bomb suitcase (to be introduced at Heathrow) they would plant a potential red herring clue to Malta in the bag, a lot of it just flows from there.

On the one hand we have investigators planting generic clues to Libya in the wreckage, and on the other hand we have the cops following the trail of the clothes to Malta and Gauci.

At this stage, I suspect the Libya connection was more designed to turn suspicion away from the Frankfurt connection than to finger Libya for sure. Once the cops were sniffing round Malta, which was well away from whatever was being covered up, maybe it didn't matter too much if they were still looking at PFLP-GC connections.

Then the timer fragment was finally identified, and someone figured out who Abdusamad was, and they had to go to Giaka for fabricated evidence.... I'm wondering if it was actually not unlikely that some hapless Libyan with a dodgy background was going to be found in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Megrahi was just the unlucky one who drew the short straw.

This isn't working too well for me either. There's something we're not getting, and I think it's in Frankfurt, and I don't know where either Bogomira or her souvenir come in.

Where's Ambrosia when you need him? Or Reardon? We need more people with different perspectives on this, knowledge of different aspects, to try to move this ahead!

Rolfe.
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Old 8th August 2010, 05:29 PM   #17
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I'm just thinking aloud here, so bear with me...

The BKA raid Neuss flats in mid-October discovering electrical equipment being used as IED's, including a Toshiba radio fitted with barometric timers. Alarm bells ring as Iran are known to have threatened an attack on an US flag carrying airline. 103 explodes just before Chrismas after departing from Heathrow, although, to the horror of the German's, this flights feeder started in their own backyard - just as they had been warned about, and worse, had also let the 'master bombmaker' go home.

As the investigation starts, UK authorities are directing the blame Frankfurts way, down to the 'balance of probabilities' of baggage placement in thhe container that housed the device, despite they have knowledge of a break-in at the Pan Am gate and one of their loaders is telling them about 2 unknown suitcases being placed in that very container. Meanwhile Frankfurts records have all vanished and they are telling everyone that the bomb likely went on at Heathrow, given it's presumed to be a barometric timer in the IED and if loaded at Frankfurt it would have detonated before arriving in London.

Bollier claims to be already implicating Libya, and by association probably Megrahi is mentioned along with all the other Libyan's he was doing business with or had had an acquaintance with, and was apperently already nknown to the CIA, Stasi and god knows who else.

Back in Lockerbie, the investigation is going well as evidence is being amassed from all across the border hills around Lockerbie, and by March the radio has been partially identified, and an actual identity of the bombers is about to be announced to the World. Reports at the time suggest the PFLP and Talb are the likely perpetrators and one of the airports will have to accept and admit their ineptness in allowing the device to be loaded onto the aircraft. Both governments and security agencies will also face some degree of criticism, while the warnings received and the letting of Khreesat go will create a serious problem to explain. However, this announcement was all shelved, and with the discovery of the clothes from Malta, the investigators then headed there with nothing else to go on, and then were stumped to find the clothing thought to be around the bomb was manufactered in Malta, but was distributed all over Europe.

The summer of 1989 provides nothing of note to work on, and it seems the clothing from Malta is at a dead-end. However, it is noted that Libya has it's close contacts with Malta, although all the evidence so far appears to indicate the palestinians working out of Frankfurt and someone utilizing one of their devices, likely to have introduced at Heathrow, or if it could be possible, from Frankfurt, but using a combination of timers. Neither Heathrow nor Frankfurt are showing their hands though, with the break-in and the 2 mysterious suitcases loaded in Heathrow being suppressed (or at least discounted) and all records at Frankfurt have went missing.

What esle was happening at Malta? Anyone of dubious nature, preferably not anyone to do with the PFLP, or Khreesat, and most certainly preferably of Libyan connection doing business in Malta around the time it is thought Talb or associates had been there, or even better on the day 103 was attacked. The name of Megrahi crops up

Bingo. In August another piece of clothing from Malta is identified, and this time we can find exactly where this exclusive batch of clothing was sold from. One shop actually on Malta, and perhaps there's more than just the clothing that could be traced to Malta. Hey-presto the investigation is now also furnished with the Erac printout from Frankfurt, which as it happens, suggests an unaccompanied bag possibly arriving at Frankfurt airport from, well who'd have thought it, but Malta. The Scottish police now seem to have the strongest lead to date. The clothing almost certainly looks to have been bought in Malta and the bag with the bomb could very well have been this tray B8849 which has no passenger assigned to it when arriving at Frankfurt. At this stage, it's the latest point where Megrahi's name must have been mentioned. Raking over the records of flights departing from Malta, at a point when a bag could have been placed onto KM180 narrows down the search, and at this stage Megrahi's name would've popped up.

However, the fact that Megrahi is at the Luqa airport as KM180 leaves for Frankfurt isn't enough for the Scot's police to follow-up because Gauci has been making statements that indicate Talb (again!) and further enquiries show Megrahi wasn't in Malta at the end of November as Gauci seems to recollect. However, the summer of '89 had also yielded another piece of evidence the Scottish police were finding hard to identify: a fragment of timer circuit board that RARDE's Hayes and Feraday had determined to be intimately associated with the bomb due to it's damage.

Throughout late '89 and into 1990, Gauci keeps giving his statements which are becoming more and more confusing in his decription of the buyer, the events surrounding the sale and of the actual clothing that was puchased.

The summer of 1990 would produce a new breakthrough, and Megrahi's name would have popped up again given his association with Mebo. The Toshiba's are pinpointed to be of almost exclusively Libyan order, the MST is of Libyan order,we have clothing bought in Malta and B8849 points towards a Libyan agent at Luqa on the day 103 was bombed.

It's a tenous line of enquiry that had become much more suggestive of not only a Malta implication, but of Libya and possibly one of it's agents. Problem is Luqa airport offers no possible indication of how a bag circumvented their records and all other security allowing the bomb go on-board. This is a real stumbling block for the investigators, and Gauci still isn't picking the right build for Megrahi, or the correct day that would coincide with Megrahi, but he did mention 'Libyan', so perhaps there is something there.

Giaka is providing further information, and the investigation notes that Fhima is working out of Luqa airport. Perhaps that's the way the bomb was introduced? Megrahi now had an accomplice, and this convinces the investigators Megrahi may well have been the bomber. Is Gauci mistaken not only of the buyer, but also the day and date of purchase?...If he is persuaded that Megrahi could be the buyer and the date was actually 2 weeks after he'd initially thought, well, we could have this nailed.

Last edited by Buncrana; 8th August 2010 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 9th August 2010, 10:55 AM   #18
Caustic Logic
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For my part, without digging in too dep, I think Megrahi was tagged early on, since he could be.The evidence that points to him I believe wasdesigned for that, if not everyone who handled it knew that.

The long delay before identifying him publicly- or rather specifically considering him a suspect - is a bit of a mystery then. Perhaps they just wanted it to look natural or not too rushed.Perhaps some piece behind the scenes wasn't quite ready. Maybe Tony/Paul Gauci was slowing things down. I've wondered before if he was being purposefully vague or disagreeable to try and elicit a payment for something clearer and more useful.

But I have a hard time seeing how anyone really in the know would decide to point tnings to Malta without a target in mind. To justsuggest a place that small and then presume you'll find a fit in there somewhere would be daft. In fact Malta fits the pattern of other evidence:

- The timer was from a tiny, easy-to-identify batch of 20 sold only to Libya.
- The Yorkie trousers were from a small run (what was it, two dozen pair?) sold only to Mary's House.
- Small Island nation with a limited population and little room to hide that itself suggests Libya. Clothes and printout point here, one pointing straight to where Megrahi was, the other clearly not but oh well. It's the big picture what matters.
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Old 9th August 2010, 02:17 PM   #19
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There was stuff about the identification of "Abdusamad" on the documentary just broadcast on STV (hatchet job, by the way). I'm inclined to believe them that they really didn't know until later, to be honest.

I agree the timer fragment stinks to high heaven. However, I can't see any way the clothes can have been fabricated. If you have any other ideas, explain them, because I'm not seeing it.

How this makes sense to me is that the real bombers, not intending to have any other connection with Malta, got someone to make a conspicuous purchase of locally-manufactured clothes as a potential red herring to lead the police on a wild goose chase if the clothes were ever traced.

Once you're in Malta, there's probably a fair chance there might be some Libyan or other suspicious nationality going about his business at the airport at a useful time. I just wonder, if you check the morning rush period at Luqa, on how many days whould there have been a plausible suspect passing through that airport? And given the geography, the chances were it would be a Libyan. Sucks to be Megrahi, it happened to be him.

The really bizarre thing is the Erac printout. Tray B8849 that could quite easily be a coding anomaly. If it's a choice between a coding anomaly, and Cannistraro's conspiracy theory about Maltese corruption, the coding anomaly wins it every time.

Maybe it's not as unlikely as it seems. I've speculated that three or four coding anomalies might be present on any flight, so the fact that one of PA103's anomalies seemed to point to KM180 might not have been so big a stretch. But I still have trouble getting my brain round it.

I deeply, deeply suspect that of being faked in some way. Which must have been done before mid-February 1989. That's the crucial point as far as I can see it.

Rolfe.
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Old 27th May 2011, 03:04 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
I tend to imagine that Megrahi would have pinged the radars of the CIA, together with several other intelligence and security agencies, in the course of his work. Especially given the nature of his frequent jaunts around Europe, and the high tensions that existed between Libya and much of the West throughout the 1980's.

I've just been reading an article that throws a bit more light on the question of Megrahi being fingered. We tend to think of his 20th December trip to Malta as being clandestine. He was using the Abdusamad passport, and so presumably he was up to no good, which is presumably why he wouldn't explain what he was actually doing there that day.

However, even though he used the coded passport, he wasn't exactly hiding. He was well known in Malta and at Luqa airport, so if he thought simply using the Abdusamad passport would be enough to keep his presence secret he was assuming a lot.

But it goes further than that. While he was there he stayed at the Holiday Inn, the hotel he usually stayed at when he visited Malta, and where he was known personally. (The hotel which was very close to Tony Gauci's shop, I think.) And although he had used the Abdusamad passport, he registered at the hotel in his own name! To make it even more conspicuous, he claimed a staff discount as an LAA employee (which I don't think he actually was at that point, but whatever, he still had the credentials).

For one thing this lot tends to support his own account of that trip, which was that it was utterly mundane, no more than a shopping trip primarily aimed at finding a Maltese joiner who would supply and fit a wooden bannister rail in his house in Tripoli, wood being hard to come by in Libya. And that he had simply picked up the Abdusamad passport because it was the first one that came to hand.

It does, however, make it quite difficult to see how Western intelligence could have been blissfully unaware of his presence until late in 1990. It's possible they didn't pass the information on to the Lockerbie investigation until later, but general surveillance surely couldn't have failed to spot him. As Buncrana said, surely he was on the radar on general principles?

There's something important here that we're just not getting.

Rolfe.
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Old 27th May 2011, 06:43 AM   #21
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I think anyone, even with the most tenuous connection as with Megrahi, who have had any kind of association with Bollier and Mebo would naturally attract the attention of any number of security and intelligence agencies.

The Maltese Double Cross illustrated the dubious and unsavoury activities and clients involved with Mebo, and given Edwins involvement in the immediate aftermath of 103, I think he's a significant cog in the Megrahi/Libya fit up. Wherever the $$ lay is the truth for the Swissmeister. I think it's only when he realised that he himself may well become an accused component (possibly indicted along with Megrahi/Fhimah) that he decided a volte face, now claiming intimidation, tampering of the MST and now Megrahi's innocence while reaffirming his loyalty to Gaddafi.

Nevertheless, as you show above Rolfe, Megrahi's presence on Malta hardly strikes of a man who has already bought locally sourced clothes 2 weeks earlier, and with them, is about to construct a bomb and load it at Malta intending to blow up a 747 from London.

Who trained Megrahi as this super seekrit terrorist, Frank Spencer?

Oh no of course, I forgot, virtually the island of Malta in it's entirety would provide the necessary cover and lies for the dastardly deed he was about to commit..which is why there would seem to be no evidence of him buying clothes or loading a bomb.

Deary me.

It seem to me it might be simply that even although Megrahi would have been known to various intelligence agencies, much like the tracing of the timer fragment, rather than pushing the investigation down a particular path, they would lead the investigation towards the desired path in the hope the Scot's police would find the connection themselves. No pressures, no interference. Good ole honest investigation, and when the police found the elements of evidence they had been led to didn't quite fit, well things can become pliable when it comes to getting Megrahi and Libya.

They must've been all sitting tearing hair out while the Scot's spent months and months hunting high and low for a match for their 'fragment' of timer, until persuaded to hand over a photograph of it to Thurman, and it was matched with days. Meanwhile, the Scot's are hot on the trail of the PFLP gang, but bit by bit, Megrahi's name comes into the frame, contemporary photo's of Megrahi become available but no joy. However, then an older photo become available, and as it happens this one is somewhat more similiar to the photofit given, and Gauci's second attempt and prompting at an 'identification' is taken. The dates, times and actual identification of height, age and build are merely incidental. They've got their man, the Libyan, working for the govt and around Malta where the clothes cames from.

Well, perhaps that's somewhat stretching fantasy in most scenarios, but in this case what might appear at first utter fantasy is consequently found to be quite firmly based in horrible reality.


.

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Old 27th May 2011, 01:17 PM   #22
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On one hand we have Megrahi, known to the security services shall we say, certainly Giaka had drawn the attention of his CIA handlers to him even before the bombing, in Malta that day with the most flimsy disguise imaginable. Never mind that the Abdusamad passport was traceable to him, all they had to do was check the hotel registers to find him.

Didn't they do that anyway, for the date of the bombing and the possible days of the clothes purchase? If they had, wouldn't Megrahi's name have popped out at an early stage?

And Megrahi was Libyan and we have this constant thread of Libya running through the affair right back to Reagan on 28th December wasn't it? Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, but looked at in that light it almost seems negligent. Or wilfully blind.

On the other hand we have absolutely not a whisper of a suggestion that anyone called Megrahi was of any interest to anyone, right through into early 1991.

As you say, it's as if nobody could press the button on Megrahi until after the timer chip had been identified, even though it hardly seems necessary. Reagan wants to blame Libya by day 7. On day 30, Bollier delivers a letter blaming Libya. In May, the radio is identified as being one likely to have been bought in Libya. In September, Gauci obligingly describes the mystery shopper as Libyan.

By that stage, examination of hotel records could have established that Megrahi was on the island on the fateful day. They already knew he'd been there on 7th December thanks to Giaka.

Was this just idiocy, or was it some sort of deliberate strategy?

Can you make any sense at all of Edwins's story suggesting that he was being set up to go through Luqa airport that morning, but avoided the trap by rearranging his own itinerary on flights he'd been told were full? By this CT, Megrahi was deliberately set up, and Edwin was supposed to have been caught with him. Which is back to the MIHOP rubbish. If it is rubbish.

I've ordered Richard's book, though it chokes me to inflate his sales figures. I hope it might give a bit of insight as to just where the Megrahi connection actually came from, and when.

Rolfe.
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Old 28th May 2011, 09:16 AM   #23
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According to RM,
Quote:
When Henderson and I met with the CIA and BSS [in December 1990], the names of a number of suspects were surfaced. One name provided by the CIA that day was Abdel Baset Ali al Megrahi. According to the Maltese immigration records, he had been in Malta on December 7, 1988, the day the clothing was purchased at Mary's House. He had also been there on other dates, but had not been there on December 20 and 21, 1988. We had not yet located a photograph of Megrahi to show Tony Gauci. Megrahi had connections to Bollier, but that area had not yet been fully explored. Megrahi was alleged to be a member of the Libyan Intelligence Service.

In the meantime Bob Fanning, the FBI Legat in Bern, developed some interesting news. [He linked Bollier to his Fang-Brief of Jan 1989.]
(p73)

The following quotes show the discovery of the link to 'Abdusamad':

Quote:
Although I was to leave for Switzerland late in the day on Monday, February 25, I was at work early, as was my practice. In the mid-morning my secure phone rang and it was Dick King, an analyst from an american intelligence agency near Washington...
King said his analysis concerning Megrahi showed connections to a man named Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad. He did not have much more information. This was a new name and since I had no idea how to access the computer system, I asked the name be run in the Maltese immigration database. The name Abdusamad hit immediately.

Abdusamad traveled from Tripoli to Malta on December 20, 1988, and returned the next morning. Here was a name worth exploration...

When I arrived at the LICC later [February 27], the place was vibrant. I learned from Henderson that the name Abdusamad, the one I had gotten from Dick King days before, had opened a new lock. A review of the embarkation cards in Malta determined that he stayed at the Holiday Inn on the night of December 20, 1988. The next morning Abdusamad had made one telephone call, to the Mosta area of Malta. Henderson said they did not have much else to go on at that time...
(p87)

Quote:
[Thursday, March 17] The call Abdusamad placed on he morning of Dec 21 from the Holiday Inn was to the residence of Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, 3 st John Spring Street in Mosta. Fhimah had been not only an employee of LAA in 1988; he was the station manager at Luqa Airport in Malta. Fhimah had been the station manger in 1988, but had left Malta on Dec 29, 1988. Immigration records indicated Fhimah arrived in Malta on the night of Dec 20, 1988, on LAA (LN) flight 231, the same flight as Abdusamad. This could be the link to prove how the IED bag was introduced into the aviation system. What better way than to use an airline employee, who would know everyone and have access to luggage tags and the aircraft themselves?
...

[about a week later] Jourdan also told me the Scots were of the opinion that Abdusamad and Megrahi were the same person...
(p91)

Quote:
[At the end of May] Tony Matthews of the BSS told me the status of the immigration and hotel record handwriting and fingerprint analysis. He had become an indispensable part of the investigation team. He said the handwriting analysis had been completed with a preliminary assessment that the cards filled out by Abdusamad and Megrahi were completed by the same person.
(p116)

Quote:
On November 16, McCulloch briefed the FBI on his trip to Libya; he believed they had been surveilled (sic) there. When the Scots presented a list of persons with whom they wanted to speak, they denied knowing who some of them were. It was only after McCulloch told them these men were high ranking Libyan officials did they allow them to be interviewed. The most interesting revelation had to do with their investigation at the passport office. The records for Fhimah and Megrahi contained routine information. The file for Abdusamad contained only one document, a letter from the Libyan Intelligence Service to the Passport Office. This single piece of correspondence requested a coded (false) passport for Megrahi and requested it be in the name of Abdusamad.
(p190)

Some interesting points emerge from this. Firstly, on February 15, Henderson was already celebrating the solution of the case with a wee dram, based on Megrahi being a Libyan agent who knew Bollier and on Tony Gauci's supposed identification of him. The later discovery that Megrahi passed through Luqa as Abdusamad must have sent their imagination into overdrive. And, can you believe it, he's travelling with Fhimah, who still has his airside pass, which means that in a small airport he can walk right up to any plane with a bomb (one of the round black ones with a fuse sticking out of the top) and no-one will notice.
It just shows how easy it is to back up a completely wrong theory by looking determinedly in the wrong place.

Secondly, the link with Abdusamad was made without ever seeing the passport, which, according to RM, they saw for the first time when Megrahi brought it with him to Zeist. (A strange thing to do if he had anything to hide concerning its use.)

(Quotes from Evidence and the Scotbom Inquiry extracted, sometimes painfully, from Google books.)
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Old 28th May 2011, 09:51 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I've ordered Richard's book, though it chokes me to inflate his sales figures.
I wish you well. I've read quite a bit of it online, and it's hard work at times. Richard's style is unrelentingly staccato, and it's very repetitive. It is informative, though, when it's based on his diary.

On the other hand, Richard isn't above a bit of dissembling. The best bit I've found is his account of Major Joseph Mifsud's evidence at Zeist:

Quote:
Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese meteorologist, was called in to dispute Gauci's testimony that it was raining on the day Megrahi was alleged to have bought the clothing contained in the IED suitcase (December 7). The defense had always contended the purchase had occurred on a date when there was no documentary evidence Megrahi had been on Malta, specifically November 23, 1988. Mifsud testified that there had been constant rain at Luqa on December 8, 1988, but on the previous day there had been only light rain, a trace in the morning. There could be differences in rain accumulation on different places on the island. The forecast for December 7 was a 90% chance of showers, but no rain. The judges would have to decide whether to believe the recollections of Gauci, who said it had been raining in the late afternoon when the clothing and umbrella were purchased.
Twice Richard says that Mifsud was called in order to discredit Gauci, whereas of course the starting point was Gauci's statement that it had rained that evening. A weather forecast can be unreliable, but Maj. Mifsud referred to the records of what actually took place. To most readers, 'showers but no rain' would sound like intermittent (but possibly heavy) rain, as opposed to continuous rainfall. Mifsud had actually said it had not rained in Sliema; when pushed he allowed a 10% chance that there may have been light drizzle. Richard manages to make a 90% chance that there was no rain sound like a 90% chance of rain of some sort.
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Old 28th May 2011, 01:28 PM   #25
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Thanks very much Pete. The book arrived this morning, along with the new one just published, The Truth Never Dies. I read the latter first, and it's garbage. The author is all over the place and factually inaccurate in a lot of important places. He almost has a different theory for each chapter, and never tries to reconcile them. So when he does come out with things that seem interesting, I'm inclined to suspect they're just more inaccuracies or speculation.

One representative example. His account of how the cops got hold of the Erac printout is wildly confused, and he actually states that the printout contained a list of the passengers' names. He does reproduce a picture of part of the thing, but he doesn't seem to know what it is - it's captioned "Flight board numbers".

The book has a publisher, but I'm beginning to suspect Melrose Books of being a vanity publisher. Certainly the book appears to be print-on-demand, and it's riddled with misprints and formatting errors. The hand of an editor (badly needed) has quite obviously never been near the text. Don't waste your money.

So, I'll lay it aside as a bad buy, and start on Richard.

I realise he's wildly partisan, but I know there are factual gems in there, the significance of which he doesn't seem to have realised. I hope to find some more.

Rolfe.
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Old 30th May 2011, 01:30 PM   #26
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I've only started Richard's book, but in terms of competent writing and general production values, it's a joy compared to Booth. Either he has a competent editor, or he's a lot more rigorous than the average memoirs-scribbler.

One thing I noticed when perusing the Google Books version was that where testimony varies, he cherry-picks like mad. It's worst with Gauci of course. I take the view that the earlier Gauci said something, the more likely it is to be reliable. But then of course he kept changing his story, at first to please these nice policemen, and latterly with a sniff of a share of $4 million to inspire him. And item after item changed to suit the case against Megrahi.

The Christmas lights weren't up, then they were. At first it was simply raining, no qualification, then it was just dripping. The man was six feet tall or more, then he was under six feet. He didn't buy a shirt, then he bought two. And so on. Richard just "forgets" the original versions, and claims the later ones as Tony's unbiassed recollection.

One thing really leaped out at me though, just leafing through the book. He says in chapter 14 that they had had no clue that Megrahi was Abdusamad at the time they showed Tony Gauci the photospread. He even has them still trying to prove it as late as the run-up to the trial.

This is what you've quoted above of course, but I hadn't quite twigged. Your 25th February is 1991 - the photospread was on 14th February.

But this doesn't make sense with what we know now about the availability of the photographs. This is from the appeal documents on Megrahi's web site.

Quote:
Extract from DCI Bell Diary (22/1/91) (HOLMES version) "They, the FBI, have supplied photocopies of photographs of Abdelbaset [....] and in the margin the summary: "Reference to Americans having photocopies of Abdelbaset's photograph.”
The Manuscript Version suggests that 2 photographs of the appellant were supplied: “… they have supplied photocopies of photographs of Abdelbaset (2)”

Extract from DCI Bell Diary
(11/2/91): “Attended US Embassy with McAdam. Met with SA Reid who produced a number of photos… Two photos of Abdelbaset one with collar/tie, one with open shirt. [....]

Memo M2618 from SIO to WMFO (11/2/91): [....] It is imperative to determine which photograph of Abdelbaset is the best reproduction of how he looked in December 1988 before the photograph selection is shown to Gauci. Is it the one with the collar and tie or the one with the open neck shirt? [....]

HOLMES Statement S609BG
DC John Crawford (14/2/91): Compilation of photospread DC912 and covering portion of photographs to conceal fact that appellant’s photograph shows him wearing a tie.

Extract from DCI Bell Diary
(15/2/91): [....] Reid has been worried in case there is no identification made by the witness because [the photo]of Baset we have is too young. I explained that as we have no other and no indication that we will ever get one, then we can only proceed with what we have. If no identification is made and we later get a better photograph showing his true age and appearance in December '88, then the Lord Advocate may accept an argument for showing this to the witness.

There's no doubt in my mind that the photo with the open shirt must be the Abdusamad picture, "supplied by the Americans". The other one is obviously the one used in the photospread, because it can be seen it has been cropped to remove the collar and tie. There is reference to both being photocopies so perhaps the difference in quality wasn't as marked as it seems to us, with what we're seeing as a good colour photo also being a black-and-white photocopy.

This could perhaps excuse the choice of photo a bit, if they were of similar quality and the investigators didn't know what Megrahi actually looked like. But the fact remains that they had the Abdusamad photo, and they were presenting it as a pic of Megrahi. So how come they didn't know Megrahi was Abdusamad again?

Rolfe.
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Old 30th May 2011, 04:35 PM   #27
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Wow, cool stuff here. Thanks or the book review, Rolfe. I was wondering about the new one by the hotelier (is it?) in Lockerbie. I'm too broke to buy anything much, let alone something less than amazing. I agree Melrose looks at least unimpressive, and vanity publisher seems likely.

On the timeline, I've said before I think they started with Megrahi on Malta and fit everything else together, early on, with the intent of pointing right to him. Per the above:
Quote:
it's as if nobody could press the button on Megrahi until after the timer chip had been identified, even though it hardly seems necessary. Reagan wants to blame Libya by day 7. On day 30, Bollier delivers a letter blaming Libya. In May, the radio is identified as being one likely to have been bought in Libya. In September, Gauci obligingly describes the mystery shopper as Libyan.

By that stage, examination of hotel records could have established that Megrahi was on the island on the fateful day. They already knew he'd been there on 7th December thanks to Giaka.

Was this just idiocy, or was it some sort of deliberate strategy?
I usually say strategy, and with good reason, in cases like this. Same here.

It is as if they had all they needed for the case early on, except physical evidence connecting to Libya directly. After the radio and the timer were IDd, a crucial point was passed. It wasn't just intel, names and numbers and stories put on paper, that put it all together. By the middle of 1990, "hard science" also linked debris "from the IED" with Libya in two fairly clear ways. Only then does it seem really justified to discover (re-discover) the guy on Malta, his alias, movements, and so on - all these leads are Libyan, and fit the luggage track evidence from Malta, AND the science of the bomb says Libyan is most likely, just like Tony Gauci did for the clothes.

It might not be necessary to go this far, but it's pretty clear that it helps a lot. People routinely cite the hard-science timer fragment as the smoking gun proof of Libyan involvement, and to be honest, I can't think of any Libyan agents who fit the (alleged, Malta-centered) crime better than he does.

ETA:
Quote:
This could perhaps excuse the choice of photo a bit, if they were of similar quality and the investigators didn't know what Megrahi actually looked like. But the fact remains that they had the Abdusamad photo, and they were presenting it as a pic of Megrahi. So how come they didn't know Megrahi was Abdusamad again?
I'm pretty sure that's an excellent question. And if I'm reading the excerpts right, Bell records in his own diary receiving and seeing both photos, and then later he himself explains to SA Reid how there's only the one, and there won't be any more, so they have to show this cropped collar photo to Gauci?

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Old 30th May 2011, 04:43 PM   #28
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I don't know, but I hope reading Marquise will help. The trouble is, he was being fed stuff from the CIA, and I don't see Orkin writing his memoirs in much of a hurry. We know the CIA only passed on what they wanted to pass on.

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Old 31st May 2011, 07:16 AM   #29
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Fascinating thread with some really compelling stuff. I love it. I'm torn on getting the Marquise book. I have zero little trust in what he says.

I know this probably isn't the most appropriate thread for the following, but I just wanted to get this idea on the record.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...s-2258900.html

Given the ideas postulated in this thread and others, is it worth noting that it's the UK offering a home to as many Libyan spies as they can fly in on private jets?

IF Libya were the architects (as a UK court DID convict them, BTW) of the bombing of Pan Am 103, why would the UK want to offer the possible mastermind of the plan a home, along with his lapdogs? In the context of Lockerbie, it seems like a very strange turn of events. Either the U.K. wishes to mine the information the Libyans can offer, or bury it.
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Old 1st June 2011, 01:35 PM   #30
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Or "persuade" them to sign statements confirming that Megrahi (and probably Fhimah as well) really did do it, I think.

And for a bonus point, pay out even more millions to the bereaved families.

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Old 1st June 2011, 02:41 PM   #31
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I'm beginning to catch on, maybe. The CIA fed the investigation (including the FBI) the name of Megrahi in December 1990. In January 1991 the FBI also passed over two photocopied pictures said to be of Megrahi, leaving Bell et al. with the problem of deciding which one to show to Tony.



The left-hand image is the Abdusamad photo, in a form which is kicking around in several places on the net. I believe it was published in the Italian magazine Il Torca in February/March 1999, and was one of the images Tony was said to have seen before he went to Zeist. (He would also have had access to the 1992 press photos from Megrahi's arrest in Libya, the interview in The Maltese Double Cross (1994), and the 1998 Raef/Alsheikhly interview which is on YouTube. Just to make it easier for him.)

I wondered why that degraded version was around, but it's now pretty obvious it was the second picture Bell didn't use in February 1991. I have little idea why he said at the same time that he only had one picture, although it could perhaps be that he meant that he didn't have anything better, as in an obviously older picture.

This makes the choice of the Czech photo rather less inexplicable, as the quality difference is nowhere near so marked as it is when the colour original of the Abdusamad photo is available. And Pete says they never saw the Abdusamad passport until Megrahi brought it with him to Zeist. Yeah right. They had a photocopy of the Abdusamad passport photo in 1991, and they knew it was Megrahi - though it looks as if they later tried to conceal that.

It wasn't until ten days after the successful Clever Hans exercise that US intelligence agencies then passed over the name Abdusamad, saying there was some connection with Megrahi.

It seems to be as Buncrana suggests. They (the CIA) had fed PC McPlod the faked-up timer fragment, and expected it to be identified within a reasonable time frame, or if it wasn't, for it to be passed back to them for help. They were obviously frustrated when neither of these things happened.

Similarly, they knew about Megrahi/Abdusamad, and since Megrahi wasn't really concealing himself so's you'd notice, they expected the investigators to trawl him up. Except they didn't, they weren't paying attention to the Libya clues, and they obviously hadn't been round the hotels looking for possible suspects on the dates in question, so in the end they had to be fed the information on that as well.

I think. This still doesn't tell us when the CIA knew about Megrahi. Just how far back does this frame-up really go?

I need to read Marquise for myself, but actually I was on a buying spree and Cover-up of Convenience showed up today, and it's a lot more entertaining even with the necessary pinch of salt....

Rolfe.
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Old 1st June 2011, 02:53 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by SnidelyW View Post
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...s-2258900.html

Given the ideas postulated in this thread and others, is it worth noting that it's the UK offering a home to as many Libyan spies as they can fly in on private jets?

IF Libya were the architects (as a UK court DID convict them, BTW) of the bombing of Pan Am 103, why would the UK want to offer the possible mastermind of the plan a home, along with his lapdogs? In the context of Lockerbie, it seems like a very strange turn of events. Either the U.K. wishes to mine the information the Libyans can offer, or bury it.
It's called pragmatism and dealing with the present and future instead of sacrificing those by wallowing in the past. Whatever happened, Lockerbie is well over 20 years in the past and was handed off by the intelligence and military sectors to be dealt with by the courts. The push to topple Gaddafi is happening now and is an intelligence and military situation. Garnering cooperation from his former inner circle could be crucial to that endeavor.

The idea that they're doing this in order to cover-up information about Lockerbie is absurd. Other than the families of the victims, who will never forget Lockerbie and for whom, sadly, there will never be enough justice, the rest of the world has moved on and must deal with current crises. Unfortunately that frequently involves cutting deals with people you despise and who have attacked you in the past. International relations often involves allies becoming enemies and enemies becoming allies, if only for a short time or to achieve one specific goal.
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Old 1st June 2011, 03:05 PM   #33
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I'd like to believe you, however actual events surrounding Jalil, Abu Nidal, Musa Kusa and so on, say different. Not to mention the (illegal) rabid, foam-flecked demands that Megrahi be kidnapped from Tripoli and flown to the USA to be tried all over again and given the death penalty.

Look, this is a total derail. The thread is about the timeline of the Lockerbie investigation's interest in Libya in general and the Libyan suspects in particular. There is already a thread about the Libyan defectors and their stories about Lockerbie. If people want to talk about that, could I suggest moving to that thread?

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=201714

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Old 1st June 2011, 03:15 PM   #34
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Back on topic, I've noticed something else that supports my contention that the black-and-white version of the Abdusamad photo is not simply a degraded version of the colour print, manipulated for some unknown purpose by a blogger perhaps, but represents an earlier version of the image.

Look at the colour photo. There is a very clear stamp visible on it, which does not appear on the photocopy. I don't know what the stamp is or at what point it was applied to the passport, but it looks to me as if the photocopy was taken before the stamp was placed there.

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Old 1st June 2011, 09:03 PM   #35
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Edited. See next comment

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Old 1st June 2011, 09:32 PM   #36
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Edited by kmortis:  Removed personal remarks

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Old 2nd June 2011, 01:07 AM   #37
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Hmm.
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Old 2nd June 2011, 02:22 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Back on topic, I've noticed something else that supports my contention that the black-and-white version of the Abdusamad photo is not simply a degraded version of the colour print, manipulated for some unknown purpose by a blogger perhaps, but represents an earlier version of the image.

Look at the colour photo. There is a very clear stamp visible on it, which does not appear on the photocopy. I don't know what the stamp is or at what point it was applied to the passport, but it looks to me as if the photocopy was taken before the stamp was placed there.

Rolfe.


That is odd. Could it simply be that the stamp wasn't picked up in the photocopy or just changed by the blogger? I don't know.

As an aside, it worth remembering the CIA,FBI and Scottish police definitely had a colour copy of the Abdusamad photo in the early 1990's as it was this photo that was used in the '$4,000,000 Reward' posters and adverts.

IIRC, from Foot's 'Flight from Justice', I think those ads and posters were from around 1994.

I've some other comments but I think they're better suited in the Tony Gauci thread.
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Old 2nd June 2011, 02:40 AM   #39
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Hmmm, so it is. That's a different poster from the ones I've seen previously. This certainly indicates they had an original print of that photo well before Megrahi arrived at Zeist bearing the passport. It also suggests they realised it was a much better likeness of Megrahi than the one they showed to Tony.

Nevertheless Bell's diary does indicate that what they had in January 1991 was a photocopy, which would almost certainly have been black and white. In addition, the picture Valentine describes as being published in Il Torca also sounds like a poor-ish black-and-white photocopy of the same thing, as he merely notes it as being a similar picture to the one that was shown to Tony.

Obviously I need to read some more.

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Old 2nd June 2011, 04:10 AM   #40
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I also believe these posters were from 1994. It seems to have been a weird situation. The indictments were issued three years earlier, and to get the indictments they had to have sufficient evidence to bring a case. In theory anyway. So what were they doing offering a reward of $4 million for information against named suspects who were already indicted?

The subtext was that the reward was actually intended to incentivise people who knew the pair to inform about their whereabouts so that a US kidnap team could snatch them and deliver them forcibly to the courts. What it actually seems to have achieved is a parade of petty informants coming forward with fictional tales purporting to implicate either or both in the attack, apparently in the hope that if they were lucky and their fairy-story turned out to be a decent fit for the actual evidence, they might cop the reward.

But really, it was entirely improper for these posters to have been produced, particularly as regards Megrahi's picture. This was a case in which an eye-witness identification was crucial. In such cases it is absolutely verboten to publish a picture of the accused before the trial. Of course the courts couldn't stop Italian and German magazines from doing it, but for the authorities themselves to do it was inexcusable. Under normal circumstances that poster itself, with a picture identifying Megrahi as one of the accused, should have caused Tony Gauci's evidence to be summarily thrown out of court.

So, in January 1991 the US authorities supplied photocopies of the Czech photo and the Abdusamad photo to the investigation, after having supplied Megrahi's name the previous month. It seems likely the quality of the latter photo wasn't a whole lot better than that of the former, or even Bell would have known which one to use.

They used the Czech photo, for whatever reason, and even at the time Bell was already backtracking on the very existence of the Abdusamad image.

They weren't tipped the wink about the Abdusamad connection until ten days after the photospread exercise, even though the fact that the Abdusamad image was apparently being presented as a picture of Megrahi suggests the people at the other end of the wink-tipping chain knew perfectly well who he was.

By 1994, at the latest, they had an original colour print of the picture (and one of Fhimah's passport photo). So what did they do with it? Realise that it must be a far better likeness of Megrahi than the ghastly smear they showed to Tony, and re-stage the photo-id parade with the better photo to get a more reliable identification? Did they hell. They were -scared of Tony NOT identifying the decent likeness, and ran a mile from the very idea. Instead they plastered the decent likeness all over a bunch of "Wanted" posters, which is technically contempt of court.



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