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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , Pan Am 103

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Old 2nd September 2009, 02:59 AM   #161
Rolfe
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I feel a bit silly trying to get my brain round this at this stage, when so many people have been studying it in detail for 20 years, but it's intriguing.

I think it's perfectly clear that the clothes packed in the suitcase with the bomb were bought in Malta from Tony Gauci, and that he remembers the transaction. The difficulty is in his identification of the purchaser. I can see why it would be frustrating for the investigating officers, as Tony Gauci undoubtedly talked to one of the bombers, but if he can't identify that person with any certainty, then that's as far as it goes. And he really couldn't.

The timer fragment is much more interesting. If I'm picking up The Maltese Double Cross correctly, that wasn't actually found until more than two years after the crash. As in, it lay out in the forest for over two years before being brought in.

This would seem to explain the switch away from the Palestinians towards the Libyans at this stage, something which has been frequently remarked on. However, while the prosecution made much of an alleged link between the timer and Libya, that was one of the things that fell apart during the trial. Libya was just one of a number of places that had similar timers, and there's a lot of argument about the colour of the fragment (green or brown) and whether or not it was machine-manufactured or hand-made.

In particular it was the evidence of Bollier, the manufacturer of the timers, that came apart under cross-examination. The UN observer even singled him out for criticism.

Originally Posted by Dr. Hans Köchler
[....] key witnesses were proven to lack credibility to a very high extent, in certain cases even having openly lied to the Court. Particularly as regards Mr. Bollier and Mr. Giaka, there were so many inconsistencies in their statements and open contradictions to statements of other witnesses that the resulting confusion was much greater than any clarification that may have been obtained from parts of their statements.

Even linking that timer fragment to Libya seems tenuous in the extreme, and there was never any evidence at all linking it to Megrahi himself. And that's even assuming the timer fragment is a genuine clue.

Rolfe.
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Old 2nd September 2009, 05:41 AM   #162
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Great work Rolfe. THIS is how CTs should be investigoogled!
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Old 2nd September 2009, 06:30 AM   #163
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I feel I'm only scratching the surface!

There have been a number of assertions flying around the Scottish rumour-mill for years, concerning stuff seen (or not seen) by the myriad people who were around Lockerbie in the aftermath of the crash.
  • Mountain rescue personnel allegedly claim they found the blue baby-gro intact, although it was later exhibited charred and presented as having been wrapped round the bomb.
  • A farmer claims to have found a suitcase full of a brown powder that "looked like drugs", and reported its location. The suitcase vanished and was never heard of again.
  • A policewoman is said to have found a CIA badge, and been asked not to report or record this.
  • A round hole is said to have been cut in a suitcase belonging to one of the CIA personnel killed in the crash, apparently so that the contents could be inspected.
  • There's some vague story about a red tarpaulin and a helicopter.
And that's just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.

I suspect at least some of this is pure misunderstanding. There may have been more than one babygro in the plane's luggage, for example. Several of the stories are uncorroborated, and/or the SCCRC could find no evidence to indicate that they were true. However, something that recurrently surfaces is the impression that even from the very early stages there were American personnel around who had some agenda other than merely helping with the retrieval effort. Tam Dalyell goes into this in some detail in The Maltese Double Cross. It does appear that some Americans arrived a lot faster than transatlantic travel would allow (possibly having come from London?), and then more arrived post-haste from America.

I've always had the suspicion that there may have been something on that plane that the US authorities were concerned about, which may have been entirely unconnected to the terrorist attack. There were four US intelligence operatives on the passenger list, and one wonders what they might have been carrying that the CIA didn't want blowing randomly around Dumfriesshire. How much of that could foul up the recovery work, and give rise to suspicions about the CIA trying to effect a cover-up?

However, why should that not have been coincidence? It's possible that a significant proportion of transatlantic planes have US intelligence personnel on board, travelling in connection with their work. Why is it necessary to assume either that the plane was targeted because of their presence, or that nefarious CIA activity was involved in the actual bombing?

That's why I tend to take the rumours of odd things happening on the ground with a slight pinch of salt. Not that I necessarily dismiss all of them, but that I'm not convinced they're necessarily connected to any attempt to cover-up or misdirect the investigation into the identity of the terrorists.

The fragment of the Mebo timer is a different matter however.

Rolfe.
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Old 2nd September 2009, 07:12 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

I think it's perfectly clear that the clothes packed in the suitcase with the bomb were bought in Malta from Tony Gauci, and that he remembers the transaction.
Have you ever discovered an explanation for how they traced the clothes specifically to Gauci's shop (as I find this part quite mysterious) ?
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Old 2nd September 2009, 07:14 AM   #165
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I keep coming back to that timer.

I have the distinct impression that the prosecution case always contained the notion of a pressure sensor. I'm not sure where that information is, and I need to check it, but as we discussed earlier in the thread, there was the assertion that the case went on at Malta, with nothing being triggered on the Malta-Frankfurt leg, then when the plane took off at Frankfurt the timer was activated by a pressure sensor. It had a sufficient delay, at best, to get it just to the edge of British airspace before detonation, and in fact due to a combination of delay and re-routing, it exploded over Lockerbie.

This, as we said before, makes no sense. If you have a suffiently versatile timer, why do you need a pressure sensor at all? You know when the plane will be over the Atlantic (or wherever you want the bang to happen), within certain limits due to delays and so on. You just set the timer for the anticipated time, possibly days in advance if you like, and off you go. The Mebo timers were programmable up to 999 hours, so they'd have been ideal.

The only reason I can think of for requiring a pressure sensor in conjunction with the Mebo timer is that you don't know which plane you're actually going to get the bag on board. Suppose you're waiting for an opportunity to present itself, and you won't have any chance to get inside the bag to set the timer going before making your move, then a pressure sensor makes sense. You could have the bag primed and ready for several days, and as long as you don't take it up the Alps, nothing will happen. Then, once you've got it on the plane, the pressure changes will do the rest.

I don't know that there was ever any suggestion of that though. Still, it's a scenario worth considering if we're sure there was a pressure sensor at all.

However, there's still a problem. If you can get a pressure sensor to count, then surely it can count up to three if it can count up to two. If you want the explosion to happen after the take-off from Heathrow, why not start the timer after the Heathrow takeoff rather than the Frankfurt one?

I'm still seriously hazy about whether there is any evidence at all of a pressure sensor being involved, let alone that it was triggered by the Frankfurt takeoff, however, assuming that's fact, then one possibility presents itself. What if the device was originally anticipated to be going on a route that would only land once before heading across the ocean? I know little or nothing about transatlantic routes, however the most common itinerary if you're flying from a provincial airport to the USA is to make only one flight to the hub airport, and take off from there.

By this speculative theory (which depends entirely on the story that the timer was pressure-sensor-activated, after the second take-off), we assume that the terrorists prepared a suitcase bomb on the assumption that it would land once before heading out on the transatlantic leg of the flight. They thus programmed the timer to start with the second take-off, and put a time delay after that sufficient to take the device well out over the Atlantic before it detonated - exactly as one would anticipate they would want it to detonate. However, the opportunity that actually presented itself turned out to be a route with two preliminary legs, thus it hadn't got far from the third take-off before it detonated.

This is just brain-storming, as there seems to be no evidence at all that the bag was introduced into the system at Malta, or that it went through Frankfurt. Jim Swire was interviewed on the radio this morning while I was trying to eat my breakfast in peace, and he was highlighting the evidence that there had been a break-in at Heathrow the day before the crash, with access gained to the Pan Am operational area. He wanted to know why this evidence was withheld from the defence until after Camp Zeist, and whether in fact the prosecution had known about it at that time. He claimed that introduction of that evidence would have resulted in no convictions. I think he's still of the opinion that the bomb was most probably introduced at Heathrow.

Rolfe.
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Old 2nd September 2009, 07:17 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Have you ever discovered an explanation for how they traced the clothes specifically to Gauci's shop (as I find this part quite mysterious) ?

It seems to be fairly straighforward. They had the manufacturer's label on the baby-gro (and possibly other items), and the manufacturer was able to tell the investigators that this garment was one of a batch supplied to Mary's House, in Sliema - Gauci's shop. They then interviewed Gauci, who despite the delay actually remembered the transaction - possibly because of the odd assortment of clothes the purchaser bought.

Rolfe.
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Old 2nd September 2009, 01:41 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It seems to be fairly straighforward. They had the manufacturer's label on the baby-gro (and possibly other items), and the manufacturer was able to tell the investigators that this garment was one of a batch supplied to Mary's House, in Sliema - Gauci's shop. They then interviewed Gauci, who despite the delay actually remembered the transaction - possibly because of the odd assortment of clothes the purchaser bought.

Rolfe.
Forgive me if I've missed a move, but how do these clothes end up in the suitcase bomb if it was slipped into the system at Heathrow? Would that have been deliberate misdirection to make investigators think the bomb came on board at Malta, and if so what is the benefit of this manoeuvre to the bomber(s)?
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Old 2nd September 2009, 02:48 PM   #168
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The clothes were bought (probably) on 23rd November, or (possibly, according to the prosecution) on 7th December. The explosion happened on 21st December. The clothes could have been taken pretty much anywhere in that time. I can't see any reason to assume that the bomb was put on the plane at Luqa just because the clothes were bought in Sliema.

I was thinking about the purchase of the clothes. Presumably, the aim was to make the suitcase look normal and plausible if it was hand-searched - the bomb was disguised as a casette recorder. If they'd just padded the device with bubble-wrap to fill the case, someone might have been suspicious. Why not just use old clothes that were lying around? Maybe they didn't have access to sufficient stuff? Maybe they thought such clothes would be more traceable than brand new stuff?

Personally, I'd have headed to a branch of M&S, and similar stores. Do the checkout assistants there even look at most customers when they're ringing up the sale? The chances of anyone behind a till at M&S remembering who had bought a bunch of stuff weeks or months later seem remote.

But they didn't. They used a small shop on Malta. Even then, I'd have bet against the shopkeeper remembering the sale, but in fact he did. If this was careless (if the clothes were traced, then this would incriminate anyone who'd been on Malta at the time of the sale), does it mean the plane was supposed to land in the middle of the Atlantic?

However, there's no logical reason why the purchase of the clothes in Malta would imply that the bomb was put into the aircraft baggage system at Luqa. The only bomb-making factory found was in Frankfurt, I think. And I don't think the question of who might be a suspect and might have travelled to London on 20th December was even investigated.

Rolfe.
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Old 2nd September 2009, 07:14 PM   #169
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Regarding illicit CIA material/men onboard the plane, the name Ian Spiro pops up in CTs, linking Libya, and the Security Services

Mentioned here by 'Barry Walker', no idea who that is http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2009/05/24/l2.html

Here is his blog on heathrow
http://e-zeecon.blogspot.com/2008/11...-evidence.html

And on Ian Spiro, Iran hostages and Lockerbie (very long)
http://e-zeecon.blogspot.com/2008/11...and-death.html

Also recently linking creature of the night Peter Mandelson to this
http://e-zeecon.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html
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Old 3rd September 2009, 05:52 AM   #170
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A lot of that comes over as complete wingnuttery, but there is interesting information in it. He goes into a lot more detail about the baggage transfers at Heathrow, compared to other sources. This at last makes it clear that Flight 103A from Frankfurt to Heathrow wasn't Maid of the Seas, and luggage was physically transferred from the Frankfurt plane to Maid of the Seas at Heathrow. Also that the orphan luggage was seen at Heathrow before Flight 103A touched down.

He makes what seems to be a perfectly reasonable point. If the brown Samsonite suitcase seen at Heathrow was not the bomb suitcase, whose was it? The assumption was that it was a suitcase from another transfer flight operated by a different airline. However, its owner never seems to have been identified, and it wasn't found at Lockerbie.

I don't understand why the judges at Camp Zeist were so ready to dismiss this bit of evidence. The baggage container involved in this tale was the one that contained the suitcase bomb. The involvement of this container seems to be the reason for the official certainty that the bomb came on the Frankfurt flight - because after the relatively small number of other transfer bags, including the mysterious Samsonite, the container was filled up with luggage from Flight 103A.

The official version seems to be that the reconstruction indicated that the bomb wasn't on the bottom layer of luggage, but the second one up. All the transfer bags (four or five, plus the two "orphan" suitcases) were believed to be on the bottom layer, as they were loaded first. Everything else in that container came from Frankfurt. Ergo, the "orphan" suitcase wasn't the bomb suitcase, because it was on the bottom while the bomb suitcase was on the second layer, which was all PA103A bags.

However, if the orphan brown Samsonite suitcase seen at Heathrow before 103A landed was on the bottom layer of the same container where the bomb suitcase (also brown Samsonite) was on the second layer, the two suitcases must have been pretty close to each other. Great attention was paid to suitcases recovered at Lockerbie which showed evidence of bomb damage, and it was this evidence (that almost all of them had come on 103A from Frankfurt) that "proved" that the bomb suitcase had also come by that route.

However, none of these other "close proximity" suitcases was another brown Samsonite. So where was it? I'm assuming here that the "Masonic Verses" blog is factually accurate in this respect.

Quote:
In their summing-up the defence made a telling point concerning Bedford [the Heathrow baggage handler]'s evidence. According to the official scenario if the “Bedford Samsonite” was not the primary suitcase then it must have been in extremely close proximity to it. However as no bomb-damaged brown Samsonite was recovered, (or indeed any such Interline bag) save for the primary suitcase itself, then this must have been the primary suitcase.

In their Judgement their Lordships got around this difficulty by speculating that the contents of luggage container AVE4041 may or must have been re-arranged when the further bags from PA103A were added and the “Bedford Samsonite” was moved far away from the point of the explosion “to some far corner of the container”. (Judgement para. 25) In making such a claim their Lordships completely undermined the theory on which Heathrow had been “eliminated” and indeed the basis on which their fellow Judge Lord Hardie had given evidence to the Fatal Accident Enquiry.

Well, exactly. If the brown Samsonite was moved within the container during the addition of the 103A bags, then it could just as easily have found itself on the second layer, surrounded by Frankfurt baggage - i.e. it could have been the bomb suitcase.

Actually, it's not quite as clear-cut as all that. Only one non-Frankfurt bag seems to have been among those identified as "explosion-damaged", while we know there were 6 or 7 non-Frankfurt bags in the container. So it's possible that the "Bedford Samsonite" was one of the 5 or 6 that wasn't. Nevertheless, the conclusion that the bomb suitcase can't have been the "Bedford Samsonite" appears to depend entirely on the assumption that the Bedford Samsonite must have been on the bottom layer, while the bomb suitcase could not have been on the bottom layer.

And then the judges just suggest cavalierly that well, the luggage in the container could well have been rearranged while the Frankfurt baggage was being loaded.

This seems pretty glaring to me. Compare the evidence relating to the loading of the feeder flight at Malta. Only 15 bags in total went on to this flight at the small Luqa airport, all matched up with passengers who actually flew, all 15 collected at the other end and none of these passengers was booked to transfer to PA103A. Nobody has been able to punch any hole in this story, and Air Malta won a libel case against a TV programme which alleged the bomb had gone on there. And yet this is where the judges decided the bomb must have somehow gone into the system.

One can't help feeling that the reason for this certainty might have been because Megrahi was in Malta that day. Circular reasoning?

Then Frankfurt, where the unaccompanied bag is alleged somehow to have made it through the baggage system on to PA103A. This is the most mysterious part of all. If there is no record of any luggage checked-in to the Luqa flight having been booked to go on PA103A, then how the hell is that supposed to have been accomplished? The supposition seems to have been that someone (Fhimah?) got the bomb suitcase onto the plane with the appropriate transfer tags without it going through the Luqa check-in system. Leaving aside that there's no evidence this actually happened, there's also no evidence that a 16th bag with PA103A transfer tags was unloaded from that flight at Frankfurt.

And yet, their lordships decided this is what must have happened.

This seems to rest on the observation that, while there's no sign of the bag being on or being unloaded from the Luqa flight, it's not entirely impossible for a transfer bag from Luqa (if it existed) to have been loaded on to PA103A. Going by what Private Eye says, the baggage situation at Frankfurt was a bit confused. It all seems to have hinged on whether a check-in clerk's watch was exactly in synch with the airport clocks or not, and whether his handwriting (of the time he finished checking-in PA103A bags) said 10 past or 16 past the hour.

Note, no sighting of a brown Samsonite suitcase. No definite sighting, even, of any piece of luggage with transfer tags from Luqa to PA103A. Just the possibility, because of an overlap in timing, that one piece of luggage that went on to PA103A might have been from Luqa. Could have been a bag of golf clubs, as Private Eye observes.

But their lordships decided that's what must have happened.

Either there's more evidence we don't know about - in which case why wasn't it presented at the trial - or in fact the airport where the strongest evidence exists for the bomb bag to have been introduced to the system is Heathrow.

The rest of the politicking being alleged in these blogs, well, who knows. Middle Eastern politics is a murky business. Deals and counter-deals and Terry Waite's release and Gadaffi's arming of the IRA (which obviously MI6 wanted to stop) and allegations that Megrahi was being actively framed for this before it even happened - well, I ask you. How is any ordinary person ever going to figure out the truth of any of that?

But as far as a Heathrow introduction of the case is concerned, I don't see why it was ever ruled out.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 07:18 AM   #171
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I was just checking up on the timing of the revelation that there was a break-in at Heathrow shortly before PA103 left. Here's one newspaper report of the revelation.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...ed-668981.html

Just look at the date.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 08:02 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The timer fragment is much more interesting. If I'm picking up The Maltese Double Cross correctly, that wasn't actually found until more than two years after the crash. As in, it lay out in the forest for over two years before being brought in.

This would seem to explain the switch away from the Palestinians towards the Libyans at this stage, [....]

Mmmm, seems not. I've found a blog comments post entered twice on Robert Black's blog by Edwin Bollier, of all people, which refers to this. According to him, the fragment was found some time in January 1989 - only a few weeks after the crash.

Quote:
During the painstaking search of a vast area of land police officers were asked to look out for items which might be charred and which might indicate that they had been close to an explosion.

On IP January 1989 in search sector 1, near Newcastleton, two police officers Thomas Gilchrist and Thomas McColm found a fragment of charred clothing.

While Bollier seems to be a very dodgy source for many things, and he was slated for his unreliable evidence at Camp Zeist, the rest of what I've picked up all suggests that the fragment was found fairly early on. So either I picked up The Maltese Double Cross wrongly, or the information in the film is wrong.

I'm still watching The Maltese Double Cross, but it's been late at night and I keep falling asleep, and the picture quality is abysmal - so bad it's very hard to read the subtitles when anyone speaks in a foreign language. It's creepy seeing a young Megrahi being interviewed, long before the extradition and trial. It seems to me to be heading off into a moderately wild CT, and if it can't even be trusted to get the date of the recovery of the timer fragmant right then it's not much cop. However, the interviews with people involved, from Dr. Fieldhouse to Megrahi, are interesting.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 09:48 AM   #173
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I keep coming back to that timer fragment.

If the bomb went on board at Heathrow, the timing of the explosion was extremely suggestive of the "ice-cube" device known to be used by the Palestinians. These things were safe indefinitely at sea level, but the timer would be triggered to start its count-down by the decrease in pressure occurring when the plane took off. It would then explode some 40 minutes later, which is exactly what happened.

However, there seems to have been no evidence in the debris of anything that might have been part of such a device. Not only that, there seems to have been nothing in the debris that I've heard of to suggest any sort of pressure sensor. I don't know where all the versions of the official theory which include a pressure sensor come from. Is this story that the timer was set up to start ticking by the second take-off at Frankfurt just so much Chinese Whispers?

The ice-cube timers had a pressure sensor, that was how they worked. Is the whole pressure sensor story a relic from the early stages of the enquiry when it was speculated that something like that had been used, which has continued even when the attention switched to the MEBO timer? Or what? Because there's absolutely no need to postulate any sort of pressure device in conjunction with the MEBO timers unless, as I said earlier, the terrorists don't know which plane they're going to be able to get the bomb on board.

Timing apart, it does seem to be the finding of the MEBO fragment which caused the investigation to focus on Libya. All of that is very muddy because of the unreliability of Bollier as a witness, but the original intention of the prosecution was to prove that the timer was one that could only have been part of a batch sold to Libya. This seems to have gone pear-shaped in Camp Zeist. Was the circuit board green, or was it brown? Was it a machine-made timer, or a hand-made prototype? How many people or groups might have had access to such timers? God alone knows. The court doesn't seem to have found out.

The MEBO timer is what makes the timing of the explosion so odd. Wherever that was introduced into the system, so long as the terrorists knew which plane it would be going on, they could easily have achieved an explosion over the ocean. Only if there was some miscalculation (with or without a pressure sensor) regarding the route or flight involved, would such a premature triggering have happened. Doesn't really compute.

Then we havwe the various CTs that allege the MEBO timer was planted. The label on the exhibit which included the timer fragment was altered, and the policeman who was responsible for that piece of evidence couldn't explain this. However, there's no reason that couldn't have an innocent explanation, and if Bollier's account of how the fragment was discovered is correct, then there seems no reason to imagine it wasn't genuine.

Quote:
It was examined there [Fort Halstead] on 12th of May 1989 by Dr Thomas Hayes. He teased out the cloth and found within it fragments of paper, fragments of black plastic and a piece of circuitry no larger than a fingernail. The cloth was found to be part of a grey slalom shirt - one of a number of items linked back to a little shop of Mary's House in Malta and the shopkeeper Tony Gauci.

The mesh fragments were found to be consistent with the loudspeaker grille and the black plastic fragments consistent with the composition of the case of the Toshiba radio cassette. It had already been identified by other fragments of circuit board and from the fragment of the instruction manual which had been found the day after the crash by Mrs Gwendoline Horton in her garden at Longhorsely in Northumberland in north east England. The paper recovered from the charred cloth by Dr Hayes also matched a control sample of this owner's manual.

MEBO addendum: The debris delivered to RARDE [Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment, Fort Halstead] were listed by Dr. Hayes on the EXAMINATION page No.51 on the 12th of May 1989. Together with a remnant of a grey "Slalom" T-shirt and other debris from a Toshiba radio cassette recorder PT-35 (B) an unknown "fragment of a green coloured circuit board" was registered and depictured (photo no.100, label PI-995, PP' 8932).

The first two quoted paragraphs seem to be the work of Colin Boyd the Lord Advocate, from a paper presented him about the case to a law conference. The third paragraph looks like Bollier's interpolation, and it leads on to a claim that the fragment found in the shirt was actually brown, not green, and was part of a prototype timer.

This seems to be related to the Private Eye version of the story which tells of Dr. Hayes re-numbering the pages of his notes at this point in his investigations. They connect that to the altration of the exhibit label (from "cloth" to "debris" I think) and imply some sort of shenanigans.

This lot leads on to various CTs which suggest either that the MEBO timer fragment was planted after the event in order to implicate Libya, or indeed that the whole thing was planned in advance (a false flag operation, apparently) in order to implicate Libya, with the aim of imposing sanctions and forcing Gadaffi to stop arming the IRA (among other things).

I'm inclined to think that's barking. Especially the false flag suggestions. I'm still inclined to think that the US attitudes had more to do with the CIA officers who were fortuitously on board the plane, and whatever they might coincidentally have been carryng that they didn't want strewn around the countryside.

Nevertheless, it's interesting to note how many parties seem to think that timer fragment was tampered with, and why.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 10:02 AM   #174
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Well, I found this reference, identical text in two reference sites.

http://july.fixedreference.org/en/20..._Am_Flight_103
http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/ency...erbie_bombing/

Quote:
The bomb was a 312 gram Semtex-H bomb. The amount of Semtex was equivalent to about six hand grenades. The bomb was powered by one large battery.


The bomb triggered by a barometric trigger set for 8,000 feet of pressure. The sensor came from an aneroid barometer, and it started a timer. Four hours is the approximate amount of time the timer was set for. The device was concealed inside the cassette-play motor of a Toshiba portable radio and cassette player inside a Samsonite suitcase. The bomb had been loaded into the forward cargo compartment in Frankfurt.

One theory on the reason why the timing was set to four hours is because, the timing would have set the bomb to explode when the plane was over the Atlantic Ocean. If this had happened, the plane would have vanished over the ocean, so that nobody but the conspirators would know exactly what happened to the plane.
The plane was one hour behind schedule, so the bomb exploded sooner in flight.

I found no other reference to this, and I think it's horse-feathers. It would be interesting to know where it came from though.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 10:22 AM   #175
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From your correspondent in Libya.

Is it not possible that they got the right man?

I'm in Libya right now and prefer to think/hope that they did.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 12:06 PM   #176
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Perhaps you can tell us what the Libyans believe. Do they think their man did it?
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Old 3rd September 2009, 12:34 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by ricbritain View Post
Is it not possible that they got the right man?

I'm in Libya right now and prefer to think/hope that they did.

Indeed, what do people in Libya think? My impression, from the party at the airport, was that they thought they were welcoming home someone who had been unjustly convicted.

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Old 3rd September 2009, 01:04 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by ricbritain View Post
Is it not possible that they got the right man?

I'm in Libya right now and prefer to think/hope that they did.

Well, I'm no expert, but I'm trying to find out more. Certainly, the common opinion in Scotland among people who are familiar with the details is that there's no evidence he did it.

There seem to have been three points where he was allegedly linked to the plot.

First, through Mebo, who manufactured the timers of the type found at Lockerbie. Megrahi did have links to the company, and they did supply timers like that to Libya. But there was no evidence linking Megrahi himself to one of the timers, and the evidence suggesting that the timer found at Lockerbie was one supplied to Libya was one of the parts that fell to pieces at the trial.

Second, through Tony Gauci. The person who bought these clothes from Tony Gauci was definitely one of the bombers. If that was Megrahi, then he was guilty. However, Gauci never positively identified the man as Megrahi, and it was the circumstances of his tentative identification that made up the main grounds for the appeal listed by the SCCRC. It seems very unlikely that man was Megrahi.

Third, because of his actions on 21st December. He was in Luqa airport travelling on a false passport. To make this a connection, you have to assert that the bomb was inserted into the baggage system at Luqa that morning. However, there is no evidence that any illicit baggage went through Luqa that day.

The threadbare nature of this evidence is the reason for the general astonishment surrounding the guilty verdict. It really doesn't come close to "beyond reasonable doubt".

Big Les said in another thread that he'd feel differently if it could be proved that Megrahi didn't do it. I don't see how you could do that. However, at what point does absence of evidence become sufficient to acknowledge that someone has been improperly convicted?

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Old 3rd September 2009, 02:06 PM   #179
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I think we're past that point. I'm quite conflicted actually - I tend to come down on the side of principle - in principle he's convicted of the crime, and so I don't think that he should have been released. But the evidence is so patently poor that I can't feel too aggrieved about him actualy being released. I suspect others feel the same way. This whole mess could have been prevented if they'd actually admitted that they had no legitimate suspect that they could bring to justice.
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Old 3rd September 2009, 04:27 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by Big Les View Post
This whole mess could have been prevented if they'd actually admitted that they had no legitimate suspect that they could bring to justice.

That'll be the day! Compare the Shirley McKie case. She spoke of feeling that the reason they escalated the case against her was to avoid having it on the record that the Scottish forensic service had made a mistake, right at the time the Camp Zeist trial was on the go.

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Old 3rd September 2009, 05:04 PM   #181
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OK, found what seems to be a very good and up-to-date summary of the state of play. It's an episode of the BBC Conspiracy Files series, dated 2007. I never saw this before, possibly because I was involved in a complicated house move in 2007 and not paying attention. I just watched it, and it hits the important points as I see them.

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?...2851498&hl=en#

It first knocks the "Helsinki warning" on the head, showing good evidence that this was a hoax, and pure coincidence.

It goes into the whole Palestinian thing, and simply leaves it open that all this circumstantial evidence was found, but absolutely nothing concrete that would stand up in court.

It goes into the conspiracy theory proposed by The Maltese Double Cross, which to be honest is pretty far-fetched and as The Conspiracy Files says, requires that far too many people must have known about it for it to be kept secret.

It finally goes into the "official version" and ends up showing that the case against Megrahi is just as threadbare as we thought it was.

It ends by declaring that the appeal is expected to come to court "next year", which would have been 2008, and that it may leave the Scottish criminal justice system looking very bad indeed.

Well of course we know that the appeal didn't come to court on 2008, not least because the Crown were fighting a court order requiring them to release an extremely top-secret document to the defence team. Here's a BBC report on that. It seems to be more about the Mebo timer and its provenance. The deal was that a special advocate was to be appointed by the Crown to look at the document on behalf of Megrahi, and after he'd seen it he would not be allowed to communicate with either Megrahi or his defence team. Did you ever hear anything like it?

This was still dragging on when Megrahi was diagnosed with cancer, and the rest is current events.

The one thing I wasn't sure about as regards the Conspiracy Files version was that they were much more definite about an unaccompanied bag from Malta having been loaded on to PA103A at Frankfurt, than I thought was the case from reading other accounts. It was presented as quite clear and unambiguous, one bag, definitely from Malta, definitely loaded. But other versions based on the Camp Zeist evidence have been much less categorical.

Anyway, good programme, very watchable and very even-handed. Not a word about Heathrow of course, but that's only come up again recently.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 02:08 AM   #182
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What do you think the chances are that the Scottish Government went with compassionate release (at least partly?) to save their own blushes over Camp Zeist?
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Old 4th September 2009, 02:21 AM   #183
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Moderately high.

ETA: I think the "compassionate motives" were perfectly genuine. What I don't think was genuine was Kenny's condemnatory attitude in his statement, declaring that Megrahi was guilty. Kenny is a lawyer, all paid up. He knows perfectly well that he cannot allow a single syllable to suggest that he as Justice Minister is de facto over-ruling a legal conviction. However, you can't be an active member of the SNP without at least being aware of the credible position that Megrahi was framed. So I think that the "compassionate" motives were strengthened by a private suspicion that the conviction may well have been unsound.

Then we have the second reason. I think Kenny was -scared of Megrahi dying of cancer in a Scottish jail, or even on Scottish soil, because of the long-term damage that would do the middle-eastern relations. OK, maybe it's going to piss-off the Yanks. But let's face it, there have been quite enough Yank shenanigans surrounding this that they're really in no position to cast nasturtiums. And the Yanks are unlikely to come and suicide-bomb our airports. Weighing it up, I'd say that long-term improvement in relationships with Arab nations is worth a bit of short-term wolf-crying from across the Atlantic.

And the third reason is probably exactly as you say. While us non-lawyers would like to divert the Clyde, Tweed, Tay and Spey through the Augean Stables that is some of the Scottish criminal justice system, Kenny is after all a lawyer, and part of the club. We seem to have got rid of Boyd, who was pernicious, but the will to shine a light on all this (why did those judges bring in such an obviously weird verdict? why was the Crown trying to withhold evidence from the defence? what the hell was going on with Shirley McKie?) is lacking.

It's not that the present Scottish Government had anything at all to do with Camp Zeist. They personally don't have anything to blush about. However, I think there's a bit of not wanting the country as a whole to be exposed as having put on a classic "show trial", and a bit of the legal profession looking after its own no matter which political party they happen to belong to.

What I don't think is that any pressure was put from Westminster to let the guy go, so that Westminster would be able to say it had kept its side of the trade deal bargains. I don't think Westminster would be stupid enough to try it. The Scottish government had every reason to let the guy go as it was (see above), and maybe the one thing that would have given them pause was Westminster actively petitioning for it. Knowing that Westminster wouldn't actually be furious about it was a bonus, but any pressure might well have provoked an equal and opposite resistance.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 03:34 AM   #184
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Here's another interesting video, Lockerbie and the CIA.

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?...63516094155366

I don't know quite how old this is, or what its provenance is. The anchor has an English accent but I don't recogniise him. It's a lot less restrained than the BBC production.

It has three 15-minute segments.

The first presents the "standard" CT, the one that's widely credited, that the Palestinians did it at the behest of Iran. It includes the point about Iran having offered a large reward to anyone who would down a US airliner, and an equivalent sum of money being paid by Iran to the PFLP-GC bank account just days after Lockerbie. I don't know the provenance of that claim.

It goes with the ice-cube timer theory, because that was what was in the casette-player bombs the Palestinians were caught with, and because of the timing of the explosion. It thus has to bring in the Heathrow theory, because an ice-cube timer would be definition have had to be introduced at Healthrow.

It then explains quite well the actual CT aspect of this, suggesting that rather than the investigators simply changing tack because they simply couldn't get evidence against the PFLP-GC that would stand up in court, there was a political decision to stop pursuing Iran and go after Libya instead. This is related to Operation Desert Storm, and the need to get Iran on-side, and also to the desire to have western hostages released, which is said to have occurred with rather neat timing after the indictments were filed against the Libyans. They didn't really go into the other side of this, which is the alleged desire to impose sanctions on Libya, consign Gadaffi to the Outer Darkness, and (among other things) stop him supplying weapons to the IRA.

The second 15 minutes takes a long hard look at the rabbit hole, and sets off down it. This is all about drugs (and maybe lots of money) found at Tundergarth, and the CIA operatives who were on the plane. In this version, there is a CIA operation on the go along the same lines as "arms for hostages", but this is drugs for hostages. There's quite a lot of evidence presented to support the assertion that one of the passengers (Khalid Jafaar) was a drug courier, and that he was being run by the CIA.

It goes further than that, though. One of the other US passengers, Major Charles McKee, was said to be travelling back to the USA from Africa at very short notice, and it's alleged that he had information on this operation and that he was going to stop it. Thus, the assertion is that one of Jafaar's drug-courier suitcases was switched for a bomb suitcase, in order to stop McKee. As the drug-running operation was well established and sanctioned, it was possible to get a bomb suitcase into the system without it being scanned, because those involved assumed it was full of heroin.

The third 15 minutes is even wilder. This is the David Shayler theory the twoofer site was promoting. I sort of lost the will to live at that point, but I think he's saying that the Libyans really did it, however this is all part of some fiendishly complicated CIA plot anyway.

It's actually a good programme, entertaining and well presented. It does a neat trick of starting off plausible, then topping each hypothesis with something wilder.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 04:29 AM   #185
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I'm still a bit confused about several points.

I'm getting conflicting accounts of when the Mebo timer fragment was recovered. The Maltese Double Cross version, that it survived two winters out in the forest before being found, is repeated in Lockerbie and the CIA. Other accounts, including Bollier's, suggest it was only a matter of a few weeks. This should be easy to verify, but it's an odd discrepancy considering that the timer fragment is such an important and contentious piece of evidence.

The situation at Frankfurt regarding what was loaded on to PA103A is confusing. The Conspiracy Files, which seems well-sourced, interviewed a Frankfurt check-in girl who hasn't been mentioned by any of the other sources I've looked at, but who appears to have been crucial.

She said that the lists of baggage loaded on to a plane were usually destroyed quite quickly. I'm surprised by what she said, because I'd have expected the lists to have been kept at least long enough to ensure that nobody was going to come looking for a lost bag. After the crash, she said she was about to destroy all the lists for that day, because nobody had asked her to keep anything, but then she looked at the list for PA103A and decided to keep it in memory of the people who had died at Lockerbie. So she put it in her locker. Then later, when the enquiry was on the go, it occurred to her it might be important. She went to her supervisor and said, what about the baggage list? He said, but that no longer exists. She told him she'd kept it.

That all sounds a bit lax to me. Why assume she'd destroyed such an important piece of evidence? Anyway, she produced the list, and according the the BBC, there is was, a clear record of an unaccompanied bag from Malta (presumably Luqa, not Valetta, though she didn't say) going on to PA103A.

This is quite peculiar, because nobody else mentions it, and Private Eye goes into a lot of detail about the uncertainties of what happened at Frankfurt at this stage. However, even discounting that, if you find evidence of a mysterious bag with Maltese-origin tags in the system at Frankfurt, but no evidence of such a bag at either end of the Luqa flight, where do you suspect the bag was smuggled in? Luqa? Frankfurt?

Then there's the "missing body". If Dr. Fielding really did label 59 bodies, but then only 58 of them subsequently entered the system, it's a bit odd that he doesn't mention this when he's interviewed on-camera in The Maltese Double Cross. On the other hand, I see no record of a denial from him, in response to the "missing body" stories. (The idea that there was someone on that plane who didn't appear in any passenger manifest seems extremely pecuilar though.)

I suspect some sources are simply copying others, and since The Maltese Double Cross is so early (1994), it's possible any errors in the film have become embedded in the mythology.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 05:14 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I was just checking up on the timing of the revelation that there was a break-in at Heathrow shortly before PA103 left. Here's one newspaper report of the revelation.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...ed-668981.html

Just look at the date.

Rolfe.
Holy crud! At the least you've discovered why 9/11 was staged that day - a distraction! Well it is a little hearsay, or hard to verify, but sounds solid so far.
Quote:
In sworn affidavits, he said he had found a padlock had been cut from a door that led to Pan Am's baggage about 18 hours before Flight 103 took off, The Mirror said.

"I believe it would have been possible for an unauthorized person to obtain tags for a particular Pan Am flight then, having broken the ... lock, to have introduced a tagged bag into the baggage buildup area," Manly was quoted as saying.
For those trailing so far behind they're hardly on the wagon at all, what would it mean for the case if this bomb was placed in London instead of Malta? In simple general terms, pour favor
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Old 4th September 2009, 06:24 AM   #187
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I can see why I found it difficult to follow all this. It has more layers than an onion!

It reminds me of Murder on the Orient Express. First we find that person A has motive, means and opportunity. Then we find that person B also has motive, means and opportunity. Then person C, and so on until about 10 people are all plausible suspects. Of course Christie ties it all up by revealing that all 10 were involved in a conspiracy to kill the victim.

However, coincidences do happen, and there's no doubt coincidences did happen in connection with this incident. There's no need to try to wrap it all up into some overarching mega-conspiracy, nor to go with a theory that follows the wilder allegations but ignores the plausible ones.

The whole issue of warnings seems to be genuine coincidence. Yes, the plane was only about two thirds full, and yes, some VIPs seem to have cancelled their flights, including Pik Botha. Several people bought their tickets at the last minute, including Flora Swire, who at one point seems to have been under the impression that all New York flights were full that day. However, there's no suggestion the flight was ever fully booked, or that it was unusually empty for the time of year.

The Helsinki warning spoke of an Arab terrorist who intended to use his unwitting Finnish girl-friend to carry a bomb on board a Pan Am flight from Frankfurt to New York, but didn't name the flight. That warning was distributed internally to US VIPs, suggesting they make up their own minds about it. It probably did cause some VIPs to change their travel plans. However, it was shown to be a hoax, perpetrated by a jealous Arab lumberjack working in Finland who was trying to get a fellow-worker deported because he fancied the girl-friend.

What about the happenings on the ground at Lockerbie? The suitcase full of "heroin"? The CIA badge? The red tarpaulin and the helicopter? The appearance of officious plain-clothes Americans tampering with the evidence, apparently flown up from London about as fast as it's possible to get there? The persistent allegations that Jafaar was a drugs mule, and "drugs for hostages" negotiations? And all the rest?

Is this all complete horse-feathers, people making stuff up? Given the number of stories, and the amount of detail, I don't think it can all be summarily dismissed. However, even if it's all true, that Oliver North was running a "drugs for hostages" deal, and that Jafaar was a drugs mule, and even that all this was being done with the connivance of the CIA, is that necessarily related to the bombing?

I'd have said not. The whole suggestion that the bomb was substituted for a suitcase full of drugs (meaning that Jafaar had at least two suitcases, because drugs were found on the ground) seems to have no evidence to support it. One version suggests that the terrorists, whoever they were, knew about the drug-running and managed to penetrate the operation and substitute the bomb suitcase, while the other suggests that it was an inside job aimed mainly at getting rid of Charles McKee (because he'd found out about it and was going to blow the whistle), with no regard for who else would be killed in the process. But none of those proposing this explanation has produced a shred of evidence to back up the hearsay.

So, maybe Jafaar was a drugs mule. Maybe the CIA operatives on the plane were engaged in something the CIA really, really didn't want exposed, hence their swift appearance on the scene and possible evidence-tampering. Maybe the two were even connected, maybe even in a "drugs for hostages" plot. But that doesn't necessarily have any bearing on the explosion.

It would be much easier to explain the persistent cover-up of all this (if it's true) if it was coincidental to the bombing. The Conspiracy Files dismisses this CT by pointing out the sheer number of people who would have had to have known about it, and the improbability of nobody blowing the whistle. However, if it wasn't connected to the bombing, it's more plausible to imagine that those involved decided simply to keep their heads down - especially if it wasn't quite such a big deal as most of the CTers make it out to have been.

What about the PFLP-GC? They had a cell based in Frankfurt, and not long before the crash the German police raided them and found radio-casette bombs extremely similar to the Lockerbie device all wired up. With ice-cube timers, which, if introduced into a plane at Heathrow, would cause an explosion at exactly the time PA103 exploded. That seems to be fact, as is the information that the police released them all, again before the crash. There also seems to be evidence that five such devices were manufactured, but only four were recovered.

Iran had vowed revenge for the shooting down of the Airbus by the Vincennes in the Persian Gulf, a few months before Lockerbie. It offered a $2 million reward to anyone who would blow up a US airliner. Shortly after Lockerbie, $2 million was deposited by Iran in a bank account controlled by the PFLP-GC. Is that last fact confirmed? Don't know.

The prime Palestinian suspect was in Malta on 23rd November 1988, the most probable date for the purchase of the clothes at Mary's Shop. Tony Gauci's first pick from the initial inquiry was exactly that guy, and he seemed more confident about that than his later tentative identification of Megrahi.

And this is all just one more huge coincidence, and the Palestinians were actually planning to blow up an Israeli jet, except their plans were thwarted by the police raid? O.... K....

There are two separate sets of suspicious circumstances whereby the bomb suitcase might have been introduced onto the plane. At Frankfurt, an unaccompanied item of luggage (not described) with tags saying it had got there on an Air Malta flight, may have been loaded onto PA103A. And Malta was where the clothes in the bag were purchased. But at the same time a mysterious brown Samsonite suitcase materialised at Heathrow, before PA103A touched down, in the exact luggage container where the bomb, which was in a brown Samsonite suitcase, was known to have exploded. And a break-in with a sawn-through padlock was logged at Heathrow the evening before the crash, giving access to the Pan Am loading area.

The bomb suitcase presumably can't have been loaded at both places. One of these must be a coincidence.

And Megrahi was at Luqa airport on the morning of 21st December, travelling on a false passport. Either that was no coincidence, and he did in fact manage to get the bag on to the Frankfurt flight with the appropriate tags, despite there being no evidence that such a bag was ever unloaded from that flight at Frankfurt (or that he ever had contact with explosives or made a bomb) - or most of the rest of the above, including all the stuff about the Palestinian group and the Heathrow break-in, is complete coincidence.

My head's slightly spinning. No wonder there's as many theories as there are people speculating. You'd never get away with this in a novel.

Where does Occam's razor point, anyway? To the IRA, maybe?

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 06:30 AM   #188
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
For those trailing so far behind they're hardly on the wagon at all, what would it mean for the case if this bomb was placed in London instead of Malta? In simple general terms, pour favor
The prosecution case against Megrahi would evaporate, as it was founded on the notion that he (and his alleged co-conspirator Lamin Fhimah) placed the bomb on the Air Malta flight as unaccompanied luggage that was ultimately destined for Pan Am 103.

(Among other things, of course)
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Old 4th September 2009, 06:36 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
For those trailing so far behind they're hardly on the wagon at all, what would it mean for the case if this bomb was placed in London instead of Malta? In simple general terms, pour favor.

It would rule out Megrahi, for a start. He was on Malta that day.

Beyond that, I suppose it means that there's simply no clue who might have done it without looking at which possible suspects might or might not have been in London at the time. I think it's been implied that the Palestinian group were all looked at very closely to see if any of them could have planted a bomb, and no evidence was found. I suspect that probably covers trips to London as well as Luqa and Frankfurt airport. So it could be that's a dead end.

It's quite tricky in another respect as well. Assuming the bomb was made on the continent, how was it transported to Heathrow? Remember, this was before the Channel Tunnel. You'd really have to take it by car, on a ferry. How easy would that be to do, and leave no trace? Why not get it on board closer to home?

It's not a neat and tidy answer by any manner of means.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 06:39 AM   #190
Marduk
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what if there wasn't a bomb or a bomber and the government just used a tragic accident to further its own ends, it woudn't be the first time a plane has blown up due to a fault. Wouldn't that scenario explain all the bs evidence which apparently never leads anywhere
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Old 4th September 2009, 06:42 AM   #191
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No.

Rolfe.

ETA: OK, I'll explain that. They retrieved pretty much all of the plane, and put it together again in a hangar. It's a fact that the crash was caused by an explosion that occurred in a particular luggage container, near the bottom of the container.

That hardly seems to be consistent with a tragic accident.
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Old 4th September 2009, 06:42 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Where does Occam's razor point, anyway?
So far, only to the fact that the perpetrators have not been identified in any official proceeding.
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Old 4th September 2009, 08:03 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Old BBC article on the pressure sensors. My point about the timer was that it didn't matter whether it went off in 4 hours or 6 hours - it didn't have to be very accurate.

The plane was delayed in Heathrow, that's what caused it to explode over Lockerbie instead of the Atlantic.

Just recapping this post from a few weeks ago, which I'd forgotten. This seems to be the source of the assertions that a pressure sensor was involved, and the way it triggered the timer. Note that it's dated 1998, before the trial.

Quote:
Inside the case a larger-than-normal battery was wired to a barometric sensor (the bellows unit from an aneroid barometer), a small device concealed under the cassette-play motor. This in turn was set to start a timer, which in turn was wired to a detonator.

In the space where there should have been a loudspeaker, there was shallow cone of silver foil, filled with about 350 grammes of Semtex plastic explosive. [....]

Modern airliners are pressurised. The outside air is much too thin to breathe, so the air-pressure inside the fuselage is higher than outside.
But it isn't sea-level pressure. To reduce wear-and-tear on the fuselage, the pressure is normally equivalent to an altitude of about eight thousand feet. The pressure is less than it would be at sea-level, but more than it would be outside. (On the journey to London most planes cruise at 20,000 to 25,000 feet.)

The moment the pressure dropped to 8,000 feet, the barometric sensor completed a circuit which started the timer. We don't know for sure how long a delay had been set, but it was probably about 4 hours.

From Frankfurt, this would allow an hour for arrival in London including 10 minutes' holding in the stack; 45 minutes for being taken off the feeder-liner and re-loaded on to the Boeing 747; 15 minutes' start-up, push-back and taxiing before takeoff; and 2 hours flying time - long enough to get the plane far out over the icy waters of the North Atlantic.

If the plan had worked, Pan Am 103 would simply have vanished into the ocean, and probably we would never have known for sure what had happened. But in the event, flight 103 took off over an hour behind schedule. It had been airborne less than an hour when it blew up over Lockerbie.

I think it's a lot of speculation, based partly on descriptions of pressure-timer bombs from other incidents (and possibly the ones the German police recovered in Operation Autumn Leaves) and making the assumption that the bomb was smuggled on board at Frankfurt.

The author seems unaware of the fact that the pressure-timers used by the Frankfurt PFLP-GC cell (the ice-cube timers) had a fixed time-lapse of only about 40 minutes and couldn't have been set to four hours, and that the plane was only 25 minutes late, not "over an hour".

It's a pity something this misleading managed to get on the respected BBC web site. Nevertheless, it does allow us to see where some of the misdirection has originated.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 09:36 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by Big Les View Post
Perhaps you can tell us what the Libyans believe. Do they think their man did it?

I'm guessing you haven't spent much time in the Arabic world

The Libyans believe that he is entirely innocent, as is Libya in regard to this or any other subject that is in anyway negative. They would sooner believe that the blame lies with the Jews than even contemplate it could have been a Libyan. However, they also believe that Israel was behind 911 and that all explosions in Iraq are implemented by Mossad. Indeed all the woes of the Islamic world are the result of the USA and Israel.

When I discussed the early release of Megrahi and his heroes welcome they reminded me of the early release and similar welcome given to the Bulgarian nurses releases last year. This is very much a different situation, but that's not easy to explain to Libyans.

Did Megrahi actually have representation at his trial? If so then surely they would have had access to the same info as members of this forum and would have used to to make their case.
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Old 4th September 2009, 09:53 AM   #195
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Originally Posted by ricbritain View Post
Did Megrahi actually have representation at his trial? If so then surely they would have had access to the same info as members of this forum and would have used to to make their case.

Of course he did. And the case has been widely reported.

This is a very complex matter, and one of the main features of the trial was the extent to which the Crown prosecution had concealed evidence from the defence that was favourable to the defendant.

Nevertheless, one of the most striking things about the whole affair was the returning of the guilty verdict on what could only be described as a partial and hard-to-explain interpretation of some extremely threadbare evidence.

In particular, the only positive evidence linking Megrahi to the bombing that was accepted by the court was Gauci's identification. That identification was never better than tentative, and there were a number of reasons for believing Gauci to be mistaken. Lacking Gauci's identification, the case could not have stood up.

The published grounds for appeal all related to Gauci's identification. The appeal was however withdrawn by Megrahi last month, because he knew he could not possibly live to see it come to court.

There's a lot of detail available on the Internet about the trial, the evidence and the judges' interpretation of it, including their summary judgement. Also the report from the official UN observer, who declared the trial to be biassed and a miscarriage of justice.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 01:27 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
No.

Rolfe.

ETA: OK, I'll explain that. They retrieved pretty much all of the plane, and put it together again in a hangar. It's a fact that the crash was caused by an explosion that occurred in a particular luggage container, near the bottom of the container.

That hardly seems to be consistent with a tragic accident.
Sure it does - defective luggage compartment... bottom. Could blow up, right? :P

Thanks Glen and Rolfe for the answers. I'm barely on the wagon, nope, still running behind. So Megrahi wuld be ruled out but it almost seems that way anyway from other evidence. Hmmm... too many other questions to even ask now (couldnt absorb the answers). Good news is when I'm ready to getoobsessive, this thread will be my main starting point. I know where to go!
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Old 4th September 2009, 01:38 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Sure it does - defective luggage compartment... bottom. Could blow up, right? :P

Just sayin'....

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 02:06 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by Mr.D View Post
Is there a primary source for this "security services" dismissal? Given the raid of a terrorist cell in Frankfurt several weeks before Lockerbie, in which a bomb concealed in a radio went "missing," it's a little had to tell what "dismissed ... as coincidence" means without context (not to mention, which security service?)

I just noticed this comment, which is quite important.

There were two sorts of warning. The Helsinki warning was indeed a hoax, perpetrated by a jealous lumberjack, and it was pure coincidence that he mentioned Frankfurt to New York as the route the "bomb" was going to be smuggled on to. Nevertheless, notification was circulated privately amoung US VIPs, and some of them seem to have changed their flight plans as a result.

The second was the warning put out by the German police after "Operation Autumn Leaves". I'm still a bit hazy as to why they let these Palestinians go after finding them in possession of four pressure-trigger radio-casette bombs and a fifth one probable still at large. (And a bit of coincidence I left out was that they'd been seen at Frankfurt airport browsing Pan Am timetables, and one of them had a calendar in his flat with 21st December circled....) Anyway, they did. But they also circulated a specific warning about what these bombs looked like. I think the Frankfurt baggage inspectors had seen them before 21st December, but at the British end the circulation was still waiting for colour pictures (according to Private Eye).

So yes, there were warnings, and yes, VIPs were in a position to know about them while the hoi polloi weren't. And very probably some flight plans were changed, and maybe even some people avoided PA103 because of them. However, there is no evidence of any warning specifically identifying PA103 on 21st December as the flight to be targeted.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th September 2009, 03:16 PM   #199
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Lockerbie: Megrahi Was Framed

By John Pilger
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Old 4th September 2009, 04:15 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by JihadJane View Post

Thanks for that. Pilger seems to be setting a great deal of store by Paul Foot's pamphlet - which I'm re-reading at the moment (simultaneously with recording the BBC "listen again" file of Lockerbie on Trial on to casette tape before it self-destructs tomorrow afternoon). I note Pilger credits Foot with having sat through the entire proceedings at Camp Zeist - one of very few journalists to do that.

Now I'm more familiar with the whole story, Foot's version actually holds together better and appears more informative than it did at first reading. Really, the only "barnacles" are the vignettes in Appendix 1, and even these are worth recording, if nothing else.

Private Eye's strength is its political journalism, and Foot's account of the simultaneous political machinations involving Thatcher and Reagan are far more detailed than any other source. His account tends to give the lie to a number of recent glosses on the tale, such as "we had our eye on Libya almost from the start."

He's also very clear about the Mebo fragment, completely contradicting both The Maltese Double Cross and the sources that say it wasn't discovered for five or six months. It may not have been examined until May 1989, but it appears that Bollier is correct when he says it was found in January.

Where I would take issue with Pilger is in his condemnation of MacAskill for not mentioning "miscarriage of justice" in his statement. Does Pilger not understand that MacAskill, as Justice Secretary, couldn't possibly undermine the rule of law by appearing to declare a convicted man innocent?

Rolfe.

ETA: I see the comments on Pilger's article are dominated by assertions that the bombing was actually carried out by Israel.

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