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

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Old 24th May 2011, 04:30 PM   #241
Rolfe
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Well, we've had the election and we've got the landslide, and some of us have even started to sober up.

Meanwhile in a neighbouring country, a certain Miss Peirce is taking a more detailed interest in the affair.

http://www.firmmagazine.com/features...iet_Storm.html

This is a long and complex article, but well worth detailed study.

Rolfe.
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Old 25th May 2011, 03:02 AM   #242
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Nobody interested?

Of course, Miss Peirce was the barrister who exposed the corruption and fabrication of evidence in the notorious IRA bombings trials of the 1970s. She is English and works in the English court system. The Lockerbie scandal is Scottish of course - different jurisdiction (as Ryan Giggs just found out to his cost). However, the forensics service that was used was English, and Miss Peirce knows the individuals all too well.

Quote:
“That was the most shocking revelation to me,” Peirce says.

“Exactly the same forensic scientists who produced the wrongful conviction of Guiseppe Conlon, the Maguire family and of Danny McNamee, and had been stood down for the role they played. Yet here they were.

“Without them, there wouldn’t have been a prosecution, far less a conviction in Lockerbie.

“If you don’t expose it, it will go on and on. What shocked me most was that I thought that all that had been gone through on Guildford and Birmingham, the one thing that had been achieved was that nobody would be convicted again on bad science. But yet in the Lockerbie case, it isn’t just the same bad science, it is the same bad scientists.

Shame on the Crown to have fooled us once. Shame on us, that we let it happen again, as the saying goes.

With this background she of course majors on the overwhelming suspicions of fabrication of evidence. She knows these guys did it before and were undoubtedly capable of doing it again. She mentions "the most tenuous and hedged identification that could be conceived", but not the absence of evidence of any unaccompanied luggage travelling from Malta, which is strong enough to come close to evidence of absence.

Originally Posted by Irving Copi
In some circumstances it can be safely assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence.

And yet other English lawyers, David Wolchover in particular, are most engaged by the circular reasoning of the trial court, which stands alone as an outrage to justice, without depending on any of the physical evidence being in any way questionable. His main interest is in the identification, which of course relied heavily on circular reasoning, and on the large amount of evidence suggesting a Heathrow introduction of the bomb rather than a Malta introduction.

Whether this upsurge of interest from English lawyers will achieve anything, or simply be met with "butt out it's not your jurisdiction", I don't know.

Rolfe.
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Old 25th May 2011, 03:11 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Nobody interested?
I read the article and found it very interesting, thank you.

I thought that this case was so carefully scrutinized by the media that it would simply be impossible to reuse people who have fabricated evidence. Or perhaps the unmasking of the fabrication happened after the Lockerbie trial?
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Old 25th May 2011, 03:27 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Nobody interested?
With this background she of course majors on the overwhelming suspicions of fabrication of evidence. She knows these guys did it before and were undoubtedly capable of doing it again. She mentions "the most tenuous and hedged identification that could be conceived", but not the absence of evidence of any unaccompanied luggage travelling from Malta, which is strong enough to come close to evidence of absence.
She also seems to think that the all the evidence pointing to Mary's House as the source for the contents of the bomb suitcase was fabricated, which to my mind would open a huge can of worms, that suggests the whole Megrahi conviction was pre-planned from the beginning (Jan 1989)


Quote:
And yet other English lawyers, David Wolchover in particular, are most engaged by the circular reasoning of the trial court, which stands alone as an outrage to justice, without depending on any of the physical evidence being in any way questionable. His main interest is in the identification, which of course relied heavily on circular reasoning, and on the large amount of evidence suggesting a Heathrow introduction of the bomb rather than a Malta introduction.
This is surely the key, the judges verdict was almost entirely based on 'Megrahi must have done it because he was at the airport when the bomb was introduced into the system, and the bomb must have been loaded in Malta, because that's where Megrahi was. QED'
Whether the timer fragment was faked or not is pretty immaterial (IMHO)
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Old 25th May 2011, 03:31 AM   #245
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
I thought that this case was so carefully scrutinized by the media that it would simply be impossible to reuse people who have fabricated evidence. Or perhaps the unmasking of the fabrication happened after the Lockerbie trial?

Hayes was working on the Lockerbie evidence from early 1989 on. That was the year in which the convictions of the Guildford Four were quashed, with Hayes being one of those taking the flak for the debacle. At the time that was all coming to light in the court, Hayes was beavering away on the Lockerbie stuff, almost single-handed.

In October 1989 the May Inquiry was set up to look at the failings that had led to the miscarriage of justice. That was about the time when Hayes left RARDE and chose to re-train as a chiropodist, of all things. Of course, he'd pretty much finished his examination of the Lockerbie evidence by then, re-numbered pages and suspicious clues and all.

Hayes was nevertheless still used as an independent consultant to the Lockerbie evidence right through into 1990, and as far as I can make out he wrote the analysis of the luggage evidence that put Patricia Coyle's suitcase under the bomb bag, which is dated to late 1991. This last is interesting because for the purposes of the Fatal Accident Inquiry into Lockerbie (October 1990 to February 1991) the case below the bomb bag was held to be Bedford's mysterious brown Samsonite which was never recovered (the only brown Samsonite recovered being the bomb bag itself). If it had been admitted into the FAI evidence that a case from the Frankfurt flight was below the bomb bag, the FAI conclusions could not have stood as they did. Nevertheless the FAI concusions are regularly trotted out as underpinning the Zeist conviction, notwithstanding that the two hearings are based on diametrically opposed evidence as regards the luggage placement.

Feraday, in contrast, was never dismissed (in fact he was promoted) in spite of being heavily criticised. As far as I recall he was deemed not to be competent to act as an expert witness in this type of case however and he was not called to give evidence at Zeist. Hayes did take the stand at Zeist, and his record as regards the IRA cases was brought up, but the criticism didn't seem to bother the judges, even in the context of his re-numbered notes pages with their discrepant dates. Hayes's evidence is quite amazing. A masterpiece of evasion and obfuscation, delivered in an urbane, superior manner.

I think this is what shocks Miss Peirce so much. That in spite of what came out as regards the IRA convictions, and the findings of the May Inquiry, ten years later Hayes got away with doing pretty much the exact same thing at Zeist, with the court having full cognisance of his record.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 25th May 2011 at 03:36 AM.
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Old 25th May 2011, 03:50 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
She also seems to think that the all the evidence pointing to Mary's House as the source for the contents of the bomb suitcase was fabricated, which to my mind would open a huge can of worms, that suggests the whole Megrahi conviction was pre-planned from the beginning (Jan 1989)

Yes, I noticed that and I think she's making a mistake. I think she's giving Wyatt too much credence when Wyatt is an unprincipled snake-oil merchant. I don't see how it's possible to sustain a credible narrative that has the Maltese clothes (and possibly the brown Samsonite suitcase itself) being fabricated.

I think there are two possibilities as regards the clothes. Either they were purchased from Tony Gauci by a person connected to the terrorist group, probably as a speculative red herring to lead the investigation 1000 miles away from the actual scene of the action, or the purchase Tony describes had nothing to do with Lockerbie.

The latter possiblilty seems unlikely as the correspondence between the items identified as blast-damaged and the items Tony says he sold is really too close for coincidence. However the defence did present a fairly plausible case to the SCCRC that the two groups of items had both been massaged by the investigators so that they sort of met in the middle. It's complicated, and less credible than the "red herring" theory, but it's possible. In that case, it's likely that the bomb bag was packed with clothes taken from Abu Talb's stash of Maltese-manufactured sample items, without anyone thinking too hard about traceability.

The problem is, Peirce seems to have come relatively late to the affair, and has accepted some of the conspiracy theorising that's so prevalent without really examining the nuts and bolts of it. Robbie the Pict? God help us.

Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
This is surely the key, the judges verdict was almost entirely based on 'Megrahi must have done it because he was at the airport when the bomb was introduced into the system, and the bomb must have been loaded in Malta, because that's where Megrahi was. QED'
Whether the timer fragment was faked or not is pretty immaterial (IMHO)

Indeed, though I wouldn't quite categorise the investigators deliberately fabricating evidence to point to Libya instead of Iran "immaterial".

I think that's what happened. They really, really didn't want to implicate the PFLP-GC, Syria and Iran for reasons I have an inkling of but don't fully understand. Libya was on the other hand a very convenient and acceptable scapegoat. That there was a suspicious-looking Libyan catching a plane at Malta that morning, and that it eventually proved possible to construct a (ridiculous) case against him, was icing on the cake.

Why this was imperative, rather than going for the obvious perpetrators, is the real can of worms. And I think the answer to that is the explanation for the continued stone-walling by the authorities of any further investigation into the Lockerbie verdict.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 25th May 2011 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:16 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think this is what shocks Miss Peirce so much. That in spite of what came out as regards the IRA convictions, and the findings of the May Inquiry, ten years later Hayes got away with doing pretty much the exact same thing at Zeist, with the court having full cognisance of his record.
How did Hayes get away with it? If he was shown to have fabricated evidence, would he not himself be prosecuted for perverting justice?

I am afraid that all these details have not surfaced in Danish newspapers.
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Old 25th May 2011, 05:27 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Well, we've had the election and we've got the landslide, and some of us have even started to sober up.

Meanwhile in a neighbouring country, a certain Miss Peirce is taking a more detailed interest in the affair.

http://www.firmmagazine.com/features...iet_Storm.html

This is a long and complex article, but well worth detailed study.

Rolfe.
Looks like she has been interested in the case for at least a couple of years:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/no...lock-n11.shtml
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Old 25th May 2011, 06:18 AM   #249
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Yes, I've been aware of that article. It contains several points that are on rather shaky foundations, based more on popular conspiracy theories than on a forensic scrutiny of the evidence. I think she's only now having a closer look.

Of course, her reputation is so high that many people have cited that 2009 article as important commentary, but that shouldn't blind us to its relatively superficial treatment of the issues.

Rolfe.
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Old 25th May 2011, 07:13 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
How did Hayes get away with it? If he was shown to have fabricated evidence, would he not himself be prosecuted for perverting justice?

I am afraid that all these details have not surfaced in Danish newspapers.

God alone knows. He seems to have been allowed to leave under something of a cloud, and was not pursued further.

His evidence at Zeist (Day 16, 6th June 2000) is too long to reproduce here in its entirety, but I would commend it to anyone who likes a bit of black comedy. It's available on this pdf starting at page 730. Here's the very beginning.

Quote:
MR. CAMPBELL: Dr. Hayes.
THE MACER: Dr. Hayes, My Lord.
WITNESS: THOMAS HAYES, sworn
LORD SUTHERLAND: Advocate Depute.
EXAMINATION IN CHIEF BY MR. CAMPBELL:
Q I wonder, Operator, if we could have all the images closed on the screen. Dr. Hayes, what is your full name?
A Dr. Thomas Stuart Hayes.
Q For court record purposes, we can record your address as care of Dumfries and Galloway police. What age are you?
A Fifty-three, sir.
Q Are you now practicing as a chiropodist?
A I am, sir.
Q Since when?
A Since approximately ten years ago.
Q Were you formerly a forensic scientist?
A I was, sir.
Q What are your scientific qualifications?
A I’m a bachelor of science honours in chemistry, a master of science in the faculty of forensic science, a doctor of philosophy in the faculty of forensic science, a chartered chemist, and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Q And were you formerly employed by the Royal Armaments Research and Development Establishment at Fort Halstead in Kent?
A I was, sir.
Q When did you start working there?
A In July 1974.
Q And when did you leave?
A The exact date of my leaving is a little circumspect, but I believe it was in 1990.
Q I think probably we’ll come in the context of this case to discuss a little more precisely when you actually left, but that sort of period of time?
A It was, sir.
Q By the time you came to leave, what was your position at RARDE?
A I was then acting as a consultant.
Q And prior to that, while you were still employed there, what was your position?
A I was then the -- a principal scientific officer and the head of the Forensic Explosives Laboratory.

And so it goes on. Dr Hayes was urbane, affable, conducted himself as if he was on the side of the court, and obfuscated like mad. He was taken through all the discrepancies in his notes as regards pagination and dates, and described this as an "unfathomable mystery".

Here's the part about the infamous photographing of the shirt neckband and its contents.

Quote:
Q Very well. Is it not the case, Dr. Hayes, that if you had photographed PI/995 and the trapped material in May 1989, that Mr. Feraday would have had access to those photographs?
A I would imagine he would, yes. Most definitely.
Q And would those simply be Polaroid photographs that you took at that time, Dr. Hayes?
A It’s most unlikely they would be, no.
Q I see. Well, you can cast no light on the matter of why Mr. Feraday, in September 1989, would be relying, because of the short time interval, on dubious-quality Polaroid photographs?
A No, I can’t think of any explanation at all, certainly in view of the apparent interval of time. No.
Q So just to summarise your position on PT/35 B, according to the examination notes at page 51, this was discovered by you on the 12th of May 1989?
A Yes, it was.
Q Do you actually recall finding this fragment in the cloth which is referred to as PI/995?
A I think so. If I was -- it’s tempting to be too helpful in answering your question and saying clearly a very important piece, you must have a memory of it. You have flashbacks of certain important items that you’ve looked at. I question whether those are flashbacks to the correct case examination or another case examination. So although in my mind there is no question whatever that I did find it within this neckband, whether I have a clear recollection in my memory of teasing it out, I would prefer not to be too definite about it.
Q Are you saying you don’t recall having found this item trapped in the piece of cloth, Dr. Hayes, but are relying upon the notes you made at page 51?
A I think it’s reasonable to say in virtually all my recollections, after such a space of time, I am heavily dependent on my notes and the photographs.
Q And do I take it from that answer, Dr. Hayes, that you are not able to rely upon your recollection, but only upon the terms of the examination notes set out in what is now page 51 of 1497?
A I would prefer not to rely upon my recollections but, rather, to rely upon something more concrete.
Q Do I take it, then, that you have to rely upon what is written at page 51 of your examination notes and not your own recollection of this event?
A What is written on page 51 and the photograph, which, of course, does stir memories.
Q When you refer to “the photograph,” are you referring to photograph 117 in the report 181?
A Yes, I am.
Q And when was that photograph taken, Dr. Hayes?
A Well, I’m sure the information is available, but I can’t answer your question from my own knowledge. [....]

Q And do you know if the photographs which appear on the report 181 were taken as a complete set, or simply taken over a period of time related to your examination?
A I don’t think necessarily that either of your suggestions is true. I think what the situation was more likely to have been was the majority of the photographs were taken close to the time of an examination, but there would be some, particularly composite photographs and those relating to examination of some control samples, which may have been taken at a date later than when the examination of the component parts was carried out. [....]

Q And would you not normally take the step of recording [the condition of the sample] by way of a photograph before you actually began to intromit with the article or the material itself?
A Not necessarily so. It was my attempt to minimise the number of photographs, because otherwise one could spend all one’s time photographing, and not recording data.

Pure Teflon. In fact, as Dan O. pointed out, the photo in question must have been taken during the examination described on the infamous page 51, because it shows the items after they were removed from the shirt collar and before the pages of the fragment of radio manual were teased out. Mr. Keen so very nearly gets it. "And when was that photograph taken, Dr. Hayes?"

If the negative of that photo could be produced with a solid provenance of 12th May 1989, then I'd capitulate and agree that the timer fragment was genuine all along. I would however take a moderate bet that no such provenance can be proved. It has indeed been suggested that the photo is a polaroid, and of course these are undateable.

But in spite of all this obfuscation and suspiciously altered documentation from a man already implicated in fabricating evidence in a different case, and who clearly left a very senior scientific post under a cloud to retrain in a completely unrelated field, the judges simply said it was indeed a pity that PI/995 and PT/35B hadn't been documented with the same meticulous care as the rest of the evidence in the case, but they were nevertheless quite happy there was nothing untoward about any of it.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 25th May 2011 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 29th May 2011, 09:10 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
As far as I recall he was deemed not to be competent to act as an expert witness in this type of case however and he was not called to give evidence at Zeist.

I just noticed this gross error and wanted to correct it. Of course Feraday gave evidence at Zeist, despite the criticisms that he was unqualified and not competent to be an expert witness in explosives cases. Sorry, I must have been thinking of Thurman, who indeed wasn't called.

Rolfe.
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Old 5th June 2011, 01:38 PM   #252
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I just stumbled upon this aricle. It's an oldie, but a goodie. I'm sure it will be handwaved by CTers, but still, worth noting in my (not so humble) opinion.

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com...men.2432240.jp
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Old 7th June 2011, 01:28 PM   #253
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Hello Bunntamas.

The headline and opening para of this article give the impression that Prof Black's criticism of the Zeist verdict was motivated by financial inducements from 'Gaddafi-supporting' businessmen, and possibly even the Libyan regime itself. As is often the case, the text of the article doesn't bear this out.

The consortium wanted the standoff between Libya and the west to end so that they could do business in Libya; there's nothing to suggest that they were supporters of Gaddafi himself. Their financial support of Prof Black was limited to travel expenses to facilitate the negotiations. The suggestion that some money came from the Libyans was just speculation, raised by Prof Black himself.

Now, these businessmen were interested only in making money, not achieving justice, and we may think Prof Black ill-advised to associate with them. However, we're dealing with realpolitik here. There was a political stalemate at the time, with Gaddafi unwilling to surrender the suspects for trial in Scotland or the USA, and the Scots and Americans unwilling to settle for anything less. It was Robert Black's idea that broke the stalemate, but we don't know what it took to get Gaddafi to listen to it.

Distasteful as you may find it, it may be that the prospect of a profitable relationship with these businessmen helped to open the way for the Zeist trial and the verdict by which you set so much store.
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Old 7th June 2011, 02:21 PM   #254
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Bunntamas has challenged Professor Black (very) directly on this, on his own blog. She refused to accept his assurances that he did not benefit financially from his negotiations with the Libyan side, and demanded that he turn over all his private financial records for scrutiny.

In the light of that, I doubt if anything we can say on this forum will persuade her she is mistaken.

Rolfe.
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Old 28th June 2011, 07:08 AM   #255
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Very good news for petition 417.

http://news.stv.tv/politics/260425-m...nto-lockerbie/

Quote:
The Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee agreed to refer a petition calling for an inquiry, lodged by pressure group Justice for Megrahi, to Holyrood's Justice Committee for further consideration.

Committee member SNP MSP Bill Walker said it was important that "the truth" surrounding the issue is revealed.

He added: "I am desperate that the truth of this whole matter should come out. The truth must come out and we must do everything in our power to help it come out.

"This should go to the Justice Committee.

"This terrible thing happened a long time ago now and we must get to the truth sooner rather than later."

Not only that, but the new convener of the Justice Committee is Christine Grahame, who is herself a firm believer in Megrahi's innocence and a strong supporter of JFM. Hopefully, matters will progress further.

Rolfe.
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