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

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Old 10th November 2009, 05:30 PM   #1
Rolfe
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Tony Gauci and the mystery shopper

Tony Gauci's questionable identification of Abdelbaset al Megrahi as the person who purchased the assortment of clothes that were later found scorched and blast-damaged in the Scottish countryside was a major part of Megrahi's grounds for appeal (appeal abandoned when he was granted compassionate release). However, that's the tip of the iceberg.

Some of Gauci's statements have gone missing. When were the missing statements taken? Some interviews between him and police officers were never minuted or recorded. What was being talked about?

It's becoming clear not only that Gauci and his brother Paul were given a great deal of money after the court case ($3 million between them), but they indicated beforehand that they were interested in receiving money and were probably promised money. In Paul's case, the money wasn't just for his part in establishing the date of the purchase, but for keeping his brother up to the mark.

Gauci changed his statement a number of times - most notably regarding what the mystery shopper bought, but also about other details. He seems to have been anxious to tell the policemen what they wanted to hear.

He appears never to have positively identified Megrahi, only to have said he resembled the purchaser. I'm sure I read somewhere that even his "dock identification" in court had to be prompted. (One of the policemen said that by then, so many pictures of the two accused had been circulated, he could probably have picked Megrahi out of a lineup himself, and he'd never set eyes on the guy.) Most notably, bear in mind that police mugshots and passport photos only show head and shoulders. They don't show height and build. Gauci's original description was of a man taller and more heavily built than Megrahi, not to mention older. And Tony Gauci sells clothes for a living.

There is a completely separate account by another witness (David Wright), never heard in court, of either the same transaction or an extremely similar one, however there were said to be two purchasers and a number of other differences from Gauci's description. How does this influence our view of the matter?

Reports on the identification evidence and its reliability are available at
http://www.megrahimystory.net/downlo...9-12-2008.pdf?
http://www.megrahimystory.net/downlo...2012%2008.pdf?
The court judgement is also an important resource
http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/library...ejudgement.pdf

OK, now for the CT part.

I have extreme difficulty contemplating the idea that these clothes weren't purchased by one of the terrorist gang more or less as described. However, look at it from the other end. It's lunacy!!

If you were a terrorist mastermind planning an attack like Pan Am 103, and you wanted to fill the suitcase you'd picked out for your bomb radio-cassette with clothes. Stop the radio rattling around, make it look more convincing on an x-ray, that sort of thing. Where would you get them?
  • Collect together surplus stuff you and the rest of the gang happen to have lying around the house? Nah, you never know, might still be traced to us even if it was bought years ago.
  • Go rooting round skips and landfill sites? Yuk! And maybe someone will spot this suspicious behaviour. And I want the thing to look convincing on a casual hand search, so no rags please.
  • Go to a large branch of a big anonymous department store in a big cosmopolitan city, at a busy time, and pay cash? Yup, that'll probably work.
  • Go to a charity shop selling decent second-hand clothes, in a big cosmopolitan city, at a busy time, and pay cash? That'll work even better.
  • Go to a small family business in a tourist resort out of season, at a quiet time when you're the only customer, and are served by the owner's son? Are you putting me on?
  • And by the way, I've decided that the same person will buy the clothes and put the bag on the plane, and these two actions will take place only three miles apart. Are you insane?
  • Oh, and I've decided to set my really, really versatile timer so that it goes off only an hour after the scheduled departure time of the plane, so there's a fair chance it will explode over land, or even while still on the tarmac. But I'm not going to remove any of the labels from the clothes.
OK, the conclusions in the "unaccompanied bag from Malta" thread knock the penultimate point on the head. If the plan was to put the bag on at Frankfurt or Heathrow, then maybe Malta was a really freaky, unlikely place to buy the clothes. But Mary's House? Don't they have C&A in Valetta? Oxfam? The Red Cross?

What the hell is going on here?

Rolfe.
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Old 11th November 2009, 03:33 AM   #2
Eddie Dane
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That does seem rather incompetent.

Does the Libyan secret service work with temps?
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Old 11th November 2009, 03:51 AM   #3
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I think "did the Libyan secret service actually have anything to do with this?" is probably the first question.

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Old 11th November 2009, 04:07 AM   #4
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Regarding the Libyan theory. I missed a bit. Here's what Megrahi is supposed to have done.
  • Both bought the clothes and put the bomb on the plane himself (with no apparent attempt at disguise)
  • Did these things only three miles apart
  • Did these things only two weeks apart
  • Bought the clothes in a type of shop where purchasers are more likely to be recognised and remembered
  • Set the timer so that the explosion had a fair chance of happening over land, or even on the tarmac
  • Didn't bother to remove the labels from the clothes (including "Made in Malta" ones)
Is is possible to lay a more obvious trail if you try?

Of course, if it wasn't actually Megrahi who bought the clothes (as seems likely), and the bomb wasn't put on the plane at Luqa (as seems almost unargable), then the first three points go away. Nevertheless, the second three points remain, no matter who did it or where the bomb was introduced. This seems very strange behaviour to me.

As an aside, given the amount of clothes said to have been in the bomb suitcase, which was apparently a normal size, it's odd how little seems to have been in the case. OK, the radio-cassette player in its box would have taken up some space, and there was an umbrella and a tweed jacket which are quite bulky, but it seems to me there was barely enough stuff to stop the box rattling around.

Maybe there was more stuff that was never recovered. Sure. But then, how do you explain that everything the cops identified as being in the suitcase was confirmed as being sold by Gauci, and everything Gauci says he sold, was found scorched (I think)?

It's awfully convenient. [/twoofer]

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Old 11th November 2009, 04:41 AM   #5
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I have never looked into the case, to be honest.

But I'd point out that the great train robbery of the sixties was very well organised and executed.
And then everybody got arrested because one of the gang members had rented the "safe house" where they split the loot in his own name.

And this case, the bomber could have assumed that the clothes would be destroyed in the explosion. So maybe he/them was just careless and stupid with this particular detail.
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Old 11th November 2009, 06:09 AM   #6
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Eddie Dane, you stepped up. Thanks for the thoughts. Your sloppiness theory is about what the prosecution/investigation surmised, AFAIK, and you put it at least as well as they did.

Rolfe, I just felt compelled to comment on the occasion of thread 4 but I'm really too tired to offer much tonight/this morning. But there's a lot of thoughts related to the Gaucis. You did point out how using this store so close o the bombing data when it would likely be an over-land explosion, would be an odd choice for anyone, Libyan or not. And every source I've seen so far agrees the clothes were bought at Mary's house, prob. on Nov 23(IIRC). However, do we know that's really where they were bought?

And also, it's possible the clothes were planted. Just to mention. So that's two side-possibilities - plants or different store. but otherwise, it's about as you laid out above. Plenty troublesome story.
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Old 11th November 2009, 06:21 AM   #7
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In the OP it is mentioned that there are indications that the witnesses were paid for their testimony.

While I would find that inexcusable (obviously), It is a theory that may have some merit.

As I said before, I have not looked into the case recently but I do remember the general (and my) emotional reaction to the bombing. It was an outrageous act of mass murder.

So, the pressure on the court to covict must have been enormous.

I'd be open to the suggestion that there was a politically motivated sentence.

Libya admits and gets re-admitted to the world community, the court get's its conviction, the population gets justice (or they think so), the convict is the fall guy but is handled with great lenience when he gets terminally ill.

In that, I could see the contours of political deal-making. But again, I don't know how strong the evidence was or if the man confessed.
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Old 11th November 2009, 06:52 AM   #8
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There's a huge learning curve to figure out even approximately what the issues are here.

There is most certainly a strong suspicion of politically-motivated targeting of suspects, with allegations that much stronger circumstantial evidence against a completely separate group of terrorists was ignored because it wasn't politically expedient to go after them.

Megrahi has strenuously protested his innocence from the start, and has never wavered in this. There were huge problems with the original trial, which can be appreciated by looking at the reports published by the official UN observer to the trial.

http://i-p-o.org/lockerbie-report.htm
http://i-p-o.org/koechler-lockerbie-appeal_report.htm

I don't think, however, that doubts over the conviction had anything to do with the compassionate release. That's normal practice in Scotland. If anything, it seems as if the compassionate release may have been used as a carrot to persuade Megrahi to drop his ongoing appeal before it got any more embarrassing for the authorities.

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Old 11th November 2009, 07:32 AM   #9
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Just a comment, to point out that there are really two virtually separate issues here.

First, how reliable is Tony Gauci's identification of Megrahi as the mystery shopper? I'd say there's no possibility at all that the identification was "beyond reasonable doubt". There's oodles and stacks of perfectly reasonable doubt about this. Going a bit further, even if the identification wasn't strong enough to stand up in court, was it likely or possible that the man was Megrahi anyway? In my view no, both in terms of his lack of resemblance to Gauci's original description, and the likelihood that the purchase took place on 23rd November when he was nowhere near Malta. I think we could discuss all these points however.

Secondly, however (and this is where it gets CT-ish), should the whole story be questioned? Is there any mileage at all in the suggestion that the entire episode was fabricated in some way? I have great difficulty seeing how this might fly, but the entire purchase is so weird one does rather wonder if it's all just too convenient.

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Old 11th November 2009, 04:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Eddie Dane View Post
In the OP it is mentioned that there are indications that the witnesses were paid for their testimony.

While I would find that inexcusable (obviously)
Anytime I've seen a reward offered in a criminal investigation it is generally for information leading to a conviction. Surely this is not the first time a witness has been paid for their testimony. The amount may be substantially more than usual, but the principle is the same.

The safeguard against false witness is corroboration. If you don't have that, then things get a bit sticky. The Lockerbie case is the legal equivalent of a massive tar pit.
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Old 12th November 2009, 02:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
Anytime I've seen a reward offered in a criminal investigation it is generally for information leading to a conviction. Surely this is not the first time a witness has been paid for their testimony. The amount may be substantially more than usual, but the principle is the same.
This would be an interesting context to develop. I don't feel up to searching for previous cases, but this kind of seems what's going on here. I can see offering inducements if their testimony will cost them or put them in danger. But this is not witness protection, but a flat reward for info (that will have to be false ) to make the case work. I can't see this being a good idea. Compliant but expensive people lined up, and somehow the FBI got bogus evidence. Should seen that coming.

The reward was first publicly offered in 1995 some say, and more geared towards info leading to their apprehension to stand trial. They already had all the evidence they needed, a cartoonishly complete case good enough for a political indictment, sanctions, etc. but adequate only for the most "special" of courts. But the reward was apparently in effect in 1993 as well (as mentioned in the Maltese Double Cross - poster with "we'll give you 4 million reasons to stop terrorism"). Quite likely any time after the indictment in late 91. Edwin Bollier, Swiss timer magnate and total weirdo, says he was offered early on 4million and protection in the US if he swore the Libyans only could have that circuit board. See BBC Conspiracy Files video , 33:30 in. Says this was offered directly by FBI chief Marquise, who then insists the witnesses were all offered nothing for their testimony. But DoJ and State were offering this reward...

In another video, Marquise answers a little differently.
Tegenlicht video - at about 26:30 in, he swears unequivocally no money was paid out prior to the trial, and no "promises" of same later. Asked if there were any payments afterwards, he replies "I'm not gonna answer that." That's as far as youtube research goes, there are much better sources on what did and didn't transpire. Definitions of "promise" apparently vary.

Gauci and his identification of the shapeshifting buyer is covered at 47:00 into that Conspiracy Files video. It's certainly going to be incomplete, but a decent intro if one is feeling behind.


Quote:
The safeguard against false witness is corroboration. If you don't have that, then things get a bit sticky. The Lockerbie case is the legal equivalent of a massive tar pit.
I think that was the idea at first - Gauci explaining the clothes tags, backed by Giaka supporting the Mebo chip and linked up by the Frankfurt printout. No one would cite any one alone, except maybe the timer bit, as 'the proof." it's the whole scooby-doo gang of evidence, a nice neat one of each kind of thing. And each of these, individually, has its problems, so do they support each other or pull each other down further? Tar pit you say? That sounds more like the latter. One is also left feeling that a case doesn't get that wrong by accident.
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Old 12th November 2009, 07:19 AM   #12
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I think the SCCRC definitely established that Tony had been paid $2 million and Paul £1 million.

I started a thread in Social Issues about rewards for information versus bribing witnesses, and the consensus was that rewarding someone for providing a lead which allowed actual evidence to be obtained was fine, but paying someone for giving uncorroborated evidence that secured a conviction wasn't. This case was of course the latter.

The police were obviously desperate to get Tony to identify a suspect, and if you read the expert reports they were doing all the things they shouldn't such as having the photo-identity parades conducted by people who knew which photo was the suspect and so on. Tony was certainly a bear of very little brain, and it's interesting when you read the full evidence how much Paul comes out as encouraging Tony to put his mind to making an identification. It was Paul who was doing most of the talking about money too.

I thought they paid Paul for helping to establish the day of the purchase, but it seems to have been more for keeping Tony's mind on the job, and in order that he should have some money of his own and not be dependant on his nouveau-riche idiot brother.

Tony seems to have been quite astonishingly undecided, even in court. The judges seemed to take that as confirmation that he was being careful and making a true identification, rather than simply declaring it was Megrahi because he knew that's what he was supposed to say. They don't sem to have realised this was actually a pretty dim witness who was desperately trying to follow his brother's instructions on how to net the fortune, without much clue about what he was doing.

I still think the judges' declaration that a witness is more reliable if he seems uncertain, than if he makes a confident identification, is pretty much Stundie material.

Rolfe.
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Old 12th November 2009, 05:33 PM   #13
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Much like the other areas critical to this case, the evidence that was disclosed relating to Tony Gauci's statements, identifications, testimony and general recollection of events before and during the sale of the clothing is littered with inconsistencies and contradictions. Even his evidence that was accepted by the police and more importantly the court, is further compounded by being, at best, disconcertingly vague.

Initially, the date that the would-be bomber had went on his shopping spree was considered to be Wednesday, Nov 23, or Dec 7 1988. One of those dates seemed corroborated with Tony's recollection that his brother had watched a football game on TV that afternoon, (the european 2-leg game on the 7th was played in the evening, whereas it was played the afternoon on 23rd) the Christmas lights in the town had not yet been lit, (the lights were illuminated on the 6th) and there had been light rain which had, most notably, resulted in the buyer purchasing an umbrella just before leaving the shop (At the nearby Luqa airport, slight rain had been recorded in the late afternoon/early evening on the 23rd and no trace had been noted for Dec 7th) . Thursday the 8th December was also a holiday in Malta, and at no point in his statements did Gauci refer to to his shop being closed the day subsequent to the purchase of the assortment of clothing, including the notable umbrella.

Everything initially indicated wed 23rd november as the day of purchase. However, as Megrahi was not in Malta on the 23rd, the thrust for the investigators would be to compel any witnesses and evidence that it would be necessary for Gauci to make, even if obviously ambiguous, that he could at least identify the buyer. Together with contrived and spurious arguments involving alternative football games that Paul may have watched and giving greater credence to the “10% chance of rain” over the 90% probability there had been none, it was concluded the date was of purchase of the bomb clothing was Dec 7th when Megarhi was known to be in Malta.

I don't immediately assert that the whole story of the clothes buying is not genuine, or that the clothes we're told were contained around the bomb were not authentic of Maltese origin, although as has been pointed out, it does on first appearance, seem incomprehensible that any determined bomber would consider buying from a shop where you are more likely to be remembered as oppose to the countless other options you could use for acquiring clothing, and to also then not remove the distinctive labels from your clothes to make, if recovered, tracing far more problematic if not almost impossible. Unless this was deliberate.

Altering the calculus, if it is accepted that the bag could not have been introduced at Luqa, so aptly demonstrated by the prosecution's failure to do so at Zeist and undermined even further by the testimony of Air Malta, their records, and diligent security procedures they had, and therefore the bomb was introduced elsewhere, then the purchase of clothing does carry these same considerations on identification by shop staff as made earlier, although it would dispel the notion of the bomb being put together so close to the introduction point, but that once again, it leaves Megrahi exonerated. Abu Talb, who had also been identified, again by a somewhat uncertain Gauci, was known to have visited Malta during October and November '88, and IIRC clothing from Malta had also been discovered in his home when arrested in Sweden for reasons unrelated to Lockerbie. It would be interesting to know what, if any, clothing had been discovered by the German police on arresting Khreesat with his toshiba bombs in Samsonite suitcases.
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Old 13th November 2009, 03:10 PM   #14
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Excellent post Buncrana. It shows through that you have been following this for quite a while, and on this point at least you're way out ahead of me. I hadn't heard that the day's game itself was discrepant between the days. If so than the day the prosecutors chose was the one that fit Gauci's story in how many ways? About zero? That he picked the wrong day would show at least some imprecision in how they got him to lie. I suspect there was such a purchase, but who would bother remembering all the details of it clearly? I don't intend to comment on his mental capacity, other than that I hear it was less than optimal, so that's a factor.

I do notice we've mostly been typing from memory, without carefully re-explaining our points with links, etc. It may not be necessary to go detailed like that, but the people outside the choir won't be getting it yet. I wanted to see some debunks and specific points to support Gauci's story, searched a little. Here's the first one I found - Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers. http://www.sacl.info/Lockerbie.htm
Quote:
6. Eyewitness Evidence by shopkeeper Tony Gauci

EVIDENCE THAT MAY SUPPRT THE VERDICT

Mary's House is a clothes shop located in Sliema, Malta and is situated within walking distance of a hotel that was frequented by Megrahi around the time of the bombing. The proprietor of Mary's House is Tony Gauci, and he gave evidence that was crucial for two reasons. Firstly, he provided an inventory of clothing he sold to a customer in December 1988. Secondly, Gaucci provided evidence in relation to the nationality, demeanor and identity of that customer. His evidence can be summarised as follows:

1. He remembered selling two pairs of Yorkie trousers, two pairs of striped pyjamas, a tweed jacket, a blue Babygro, two Slalom shirts collar size 161/2 , two cardigans, one brown and one blue, and an umbrella, to a man of Libyan appearance shortly before the Lockerbie bombing. Several such items were recovered from the Lockerbie crash site; in particular, a pair of Yorkie trousers, identified as having been placed within the Primary Suitcase. These trousers were traced to a batch delivered to Mary's House in November 1988 and this compelling evidence reinforced the case that the bomb originated in Malta.

2. Gauci was experienced in dealing with customers of varying nationalities and was certain that the customer who bought the clothes was a Libyan - as opposed to say an Egyptian or Tunisian. Gauci also noted that the Libyan didn't take any real interest in the items he was buying - and Gauci thought this to be unusual. He went on to identify Megrahi in court as "having a close resemblance" to the customer who bought the clothes.

EVIDENCE THAT MAY SUPPRT MEGRAHI/LIBYA

1. The judges conceded that Gauci's identification of Megrahi as being the customer was "not an absolutely positive identification".

2. The judges also referred to Gauci's "rather confused recollection" as to the exact date of the sale.

3. It was recently alleged that, prior to making his formal identification of Megrahi, Gauci was exposed to a media article which pictured Megrahi underneath a headline "Who Planted the Bomb?". This evidence was not disclosed before either the Trial Court or Megrahi's 2002 Appeal, but is expected to feature in Megrahi's 2009 appeal.
Discuss. On a side-note, the site's slant can be seen in the sidebar here:
Quote:
Professor Robert Black QC is highly critical of the judges for accepting Gauci's testimony. He is somewhat less outspoken when it comes to other evidence pointing towards Megrahi's guilt - such as Al Fhima's diary entries about "airline tags" (ruled inadmissible - but of interest to truth seekers everywhere)
For Truth Seekers everywhere I'll cover that in the bag from Malta thread.

Anyway, there are other sources out there supporting the conviction, but I'm not as good as some at finding the debunk resources. What do the mythbuster types say about Tony Gauci's testimony to counter the conspiracy theories that he was paid to lie?
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Old 13th November 2009, 04:35 PM   #15
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See what I was saying about that SACL bunch in the other thread. Looks like an club for obsessive disgruntled litigants. And their web design is an insult to the optic nerves.

The assessment of the evidence is superficial at best. At the moment my attitude is "wake me when they say something original".

Rolfe.
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Old 13th November 2009, 04:48 PM   #16
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I need to have a better look at the exact circumstances, but the story seems to go that the Scottish detectives visited Malta in the summer of 1989, as a result of the label on the babygro (I think) saying "Made in Malta". They drew a blank.

Then in August the Frankfurt police finally came clean about the Erac printout, and decided that it pointed to a bag having come from Malta. Because of that, Malta was visited again, and this time the trail led straight to Gauci. I think my main source for this is Coleman, but he doesn't contradict anyone else, and indeed I think I've read it elsewhere.

OK, here it is. Chapter 7 again.

Originally Posted by The Trail of the Octopus
This tied in nicely with the forensic evidence, which had already shown that the bomb had been hidden in a Samsonite suitcase filled with an assortment of clothing made in Malta, including a baby's blue romper suit.

Less than three months after the disaster, in March 1989, two Scottish police officers had flown out to the island to interview the manufacturer of the romper suit but had drawn blank. At least 500 of them had been sold to babywear outlets all over Europe. To trace the purchaser of the suit that had been all but destroyed in the explosion was clearly impossible. Now, with the baggage records pointing to a suitcase originating in Malta, the field of search was dramatically narrowed.

Two weeks after the BKA released the Frankfurt baggage print-out, two of Detective Chief Superintendent John Orr's men returned to Malta and, with the help of the manufacturers, traced the clothing to a shop in Sliema.

As 'luck' would have it, the proprietors not only remembered selling the exact items which the forensic team had shown were used as packing around the bomb but remembered the date on which they had sold them, 23 November 1988, a month before the bombing; remembered the purchaser -- a Libyan, they thought -- and, ten months after the event, remembered what he looked like clearly enough to brief an FBI video-fit artist to produce an acceptable likeness to Abu Talb of the PFLP-GC, who was known to have visited Malta not long before the bombing.

Leaving the shopkeepers guarded around the clock by security men, the police officers returned home with their questions answered so neatly that in other circumstances they might have been forgiven for suspecting the witnesses had been coached.

I don't see why the Erac printout should magically make it easier to trace the purchaser of the clothes. And yet, somehow, with the help of the Maltese police, the trail led straight there. I can sort of see why Coleman is suspicious.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 13th November 2009 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 14th November 2009, 12:20 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
See what I was saying about that SACL bunch in the other thread. Looks like an club for obsessive disgruntled litigants. And their web design is an insult to the optic nerves.

The assessment of the evidence is superficial at best. At the moment my attitude is "wake me when they say something original".

Rolfe.
I did and my response fits better here. Go figure.

Quote:
I'd be interested in any new evidence or insights that they have, but I'm not that interested in their opinions. The whole thing sounds like a bunch of kooks, to be honest.

Rolfe.
It's just the best thing I'd seen yet. Just spent another half hour looking for debunk sources that get specific and point out how Gauci really is reliable, and the kooks have it wrong. Instead, everyone mentioning Gauci by name almost always follows it with "only witness to ID Megrahi," "paid at least $2 million" and maybe "unreliable," or "inconsistent." The pro people's arguments gloss over him almost as completely as they do Giaka. Their argument is he was convicted! In a court, legally guilty, law is the basis of such and such. Basically they got him inside the castle before anyone realized the crime so too late now. What's the metaphor for that?
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Old 14th November 2009, 10:14 AM   #18
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I think that's exactly what scuppered the appeal. The defence lawyers approached it wrongly, trying to show that the break-in at Heathrow cast enough doubt on the judgement that it was unsound. The appeal judges apparently said that since the trial had proved the bag came on at Malta, and the appeal didn't challenge that, anything that happened at Heathrow was irrelevant.

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Old 14th November 2009, 05:28 PM   #19
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It's the sheer multiplicity of strangeness that characterises this case.

First, the clothes purchase. Gauci's uncertain identification and the police trying to manipulate (and bribe) him into making the "right" choice isn't strange. It's practically SOP. The purchase itself, however - why? It would have been perfectly simple to make the clothes in the suitcase almost untraceable, but buying them in that way isn't one of them.

Chalk it down to a silly mistake?

Then there's the disappearing baggage records at Frankfurt, combined with the mysteriously appearing Erac printout, which the German police sit on for about seven months. It's bizarro world.

Chalk it down to extreme incompetence on behalf of the investigators?

Then there's the Bedford suitcase. Not at all strange if it's the actual bomb, but we're led to believe it's not the bomb.

Pure coincidence?

And maybe not finally, but it'll do for now, there's the inexplicable timing of the explosion in the context of the MST-13 timer. If you, whoever you are, have a timer that can be set for days, weeks and months in advance, why do you set it for only an hour after the plane is due to push off from the gate?

Oh, that's just another silly mistake.

This may be fanciful, but I do wonder just how much of this could indeed be deliberate misdirection.

Suppose the bomb went on at Heathrow, it was indeed the Bedford suitcase, smuggled into the airport through the broken padlock the evening before. And the trigger was a perfectly simple Khreesat special, 40 +/- 5 minutes being the set detonation time. And Jibril knew the PA103A/103 was being used as a "controlled" drug delivery route by the DEA. So he picked that flight because he knew that investigating it would be an acute embarrassment to quite a lot of people. He knew enough about the Heathrow arrangements to get the bomb bag on the container that would be used for the Frankfurt luggage, and was able to get it positioned where it would actually blow out the hull, even though it was a small device.

And maybe this plan actually leaked a bit, enough to persuade some people (like the South African delegation) to avoid the flight, even if only on a "just in case" basis. Maybe someone even thought it was worth trying to get an inconvenient opposition party (Carlsson) on the flight, just in case.

That's the scenario that actually makes sense of the evidence. But then, some people in a position to do something about it, really really don't want Heathrow or Frankfurt airports investigated.

Just how much manipulation and misdirection might actually have gone on to persuade the cops to stop looking there and look at Luqa instead?

Rolfe.
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Old 15th November 2009, 01:28 AM   #20
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On the switch to Malta, it seems the CIA had its contacts there from well before Lockerbie. May play into how the Gaucis came into it. From a Mebo page:
Quote:
In addition to the attendance of Giaka, there was another individual, who had introduced him to the United States Embassy in Malta, who initially acted as interpreter and subsequently as a source of information.
The CIA is protecting the identity this person who is identified in the *cables as "T1". In my opinion the identity should be disclosed. The person who lives in the St.Paul's Bay area and the name appeared on the first witness list released with the first indictment. As the address, the Maltese Police Headquarters was given. Then after a protests, the identity was protected!
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Old 16th November 2009, 03:41 AM   #21
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Bollier does have a lot of information that isn't generally discussed, and it often seems to be accurate. The John Hubbard suitcase for example. It's his interpretation of the facts that's so - idiosyncratic. So when it comes to facts about the case, I'm not inclined to dismiss it simply as Bollier ravings.

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Old 17th November 2009, 05:01 PM   #22
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From the unaccompanied suitcase thread.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
There were clothes from Malta in the suitcase that were shipped from the suppliers to Gauci after the last possible date Talb was there. IIRC the "Yorkie" Trousers.

Ambrosia, please clarify. Abu Talb was suspected of being the mystery shopper, but with a date of 23rd November. Are you saying that one of the clothes purchases was of an item that didn't come in stock until after that date? That would comlpetely overturn the objections to the 7th December date, and as such I don't think it can be right.

However, are you merely accepting Talb's assertion that he was in Sweden on 23rd November? If so, as far as I can see, the evidence to support that isn't very strong.

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Old 18th November 2009, 05:10 PM   #23
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I'm trying to tie down a bit more background on Gauci's identifications and on the furtive Talb. Together with possible motives someone may have being trying to incriminate Libya, or individuals, by leaving what could be seen as such a specific trail as the suitcase contents hint. Maybe deliberate trail? That is what the clothing of the suitcase would suggest if not assembled and loaded at Malta. Or at least, the contents of suitcase give the investigators a trail to Malta...simply to pack clothing, all quite identifiable if recovered, all to point directly to one shop. This would certainly help divert attention from any Heathrow or Frankfurt connection. Not only a lead to a host of department stores - but indeed one very small shop. Seemingly Gauci can make an almost exact recollection of the items bought, but not of the purchaser himself. With the break-in filed away at Scotland Yard, and the Frankfurt records under custody of the BKA, 'other investigations' and the clothes relating to Malta discovered, this would be supported by something else directing towards Malta. Somehow showing the system of travel by the suitcase. Sep 89 we also have Thurman's undisclosed interview with Khreesat.

According to the CIA's own disclosed documents, although with some areas remaining concealed , in a meeting (assumed to be with CIA and Police) held with (again assumed) Gauci in which he states,

”at 19 Sep meeting [deleted] [deleted] could not identify individual who purchased clothing found in suspect suitcase aboard 103 from sketch or from [deleted] computer image”......”next meeting is scheduled for 29 Sep”.



From a September 89 release, the CIA are querying a number of issues with their operative in Malta.

“Is P/1 aware of the use of Malta as a staging area for radical Palestinians?

Does P/1 know an Abu Taleb from Sweden?

Finally, is P/1 aware of any Libyan involvement with the activities of the PLFP-GC cell led by Dalqamuni in Frankfurt?”




August, and more pointedly September, turned out to be very crucial points in the investigation.

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Old 19th November 2009, 04:53 AM   #24
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P/1 ... Malta
P/2 ... Italy
Giaka talkin Gaddafi Freemasonry ...
Hmmm...

I haven't been able to follow this one far. I did have an observation on Gauci to share tho. Been compiling the daily media reports from the Zeist trial, as posted at the LTBU site.
http://www.gla.ac.uk/departments/sch...lbriefingunit/

For these days in 2000 2001
April 27,
May 2, 3, 4. 8, 10, 25, 30, 31
June 13, 15, 16, 19, 20 21, 22, 28, 29
July 11, 12, 14, 26
August 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30
September 26, 27, 28
October 3, 9, 23, 24
November 7, 10, 14, 15, 16,17, 28, 29
December 5
January 8, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 22, 24, 31

Some extracts are real bried, some (like when Bollier was on the stand) run into the pages. Some relevant info in there, but more useful to me in a single searchable document. Anyway, the days with Gauci are of interest.

Quote:
11th July 2000
The main evidence on Tuesday was that of Mr Tony Gauci. Mr Gauci is the proprietor of the shop 'Mary's House' in Sliema, Malta from where the clothing in the suitcase allegedly containing the explosive device is said to have been purchased. He stated that the man who purchased the clothing resembled one of the accused - Mr Al Megrahi. However, he also admitted that in 1991 he had identified Mohamed Abu Talb as closely resembling the man who had made the purchases. The latter is, of course, one of the individuals incriminated by the defence.'

563 - 12th July 2000

The trial continued following the evidence of Anthony Gauci, the Maltese shop owner who the prosecution allege sold the items contained in a suitcase with the bomb which caused the Lockerbie disaster. This was not without difficulty however, as Maltese airport staff whom the prosecution had intended to examine as witnesses refused to attend the trial. Although the Maltese authorities could be requested to take statements from witnesses the prosecution indicated that they hoped this could be avoided unless it was absolutely necessary. The difficulty securing witness attendance has been alleged, in an article which appeared in the Sunday Herald, to be due to upset caused when telephones were illegally tapped during early Police investigations in Malta following the disaster. The refusal of the Maltese witnesses to attend resulted in the trial adjourning for two days.
Interesting line July 14
Quote:
The defence referred to a reservation that Abu Talb had on a flight to Malta from Stockholm which was valid until November 1988. The prosecution said there was no proof that this journey was actually made.
clothes in apartment, Gauci-brand ID, travel arrangements, but no proof. I'm not sure either way, that's almost too much evidence for me actually, but...
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Old 24th November 2009, 03:37 PM   #25
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Well, if we're busy doubting apparently respectable witnesses and suspecting them of collusion, can we have a go at the Paul and Tony show?

Tony seems not to be the sharpest knife in the drawer. Is it possible to co-opt a bear of very little brain to swear to a fabricated story, even under police interviews and cross-examination over more than ten years? Would any conspiracy take the risk on it?

What I'm suggesting is that the Maltese clothes packing the bomb bag weren't bought in Tony's shop at all, but simply taken from the large collection of clothes of Maltese manufacture Abu Talb had in his possession in Sweden, which had been obtained from the factories. That apart from Abu Talb's occasional visits to Malta where he acquired these clothes with the intention of selling them in Sweden, there really was no Maltese connection at all. Let's face it, if the PFLP-GC gang were behind this, with Abu Talb on board, they had absolutely no need to go shopping at Mary's House.

However, as part of the exercise to make it appear that the bomb suitcase had gone on the plane at Luqa, it was seen as desirable to locate the purchase of the clothes in Malta too. Gauci was identified as the owner of a shop which stocked the range of items identified, who might be bribed and/or coerced into "remembering" a suitable transaction.

OK, this isn't sounding all that convincing to me. My point is that the entire "mystery shopper" thing is so intrinsically unlikely, given the multitude of better and simpler ways of packing the case - while at the same time we know one of the suspect gang had a house-full of the bloody stuff with no need to go anywhere near Mary's House or anywhere else.

Anybody else have any ideas about this?

Rolfe.
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Old 25th November 2009, 03:54 AM   #26
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Mmm, how did those scorched and burned clothes get into the hands of the Lockerbie investigators?
  • Megrahi bought them from Gauci on 7th December to pack round the bomb. (I don't think so.)
  • Abu Talb bought them from Gauci on 23rd November for that purpose. (Why the hell would he if he had a house-full of clothes from Maltese factories already?)
  • Someone else from the PFLP-GC bought them from Gauci on 23rd November for that purpose. (Same comment, unless Abu Talb suddenly wasn't talking to his mates.)
  • A. N. Other of the IRA or the Red Brigades or Black September bought them from Gauci on 23rd November for that purpose. (The equivalent of "the butler did it".)
  • A CIA or DIA agent disguised as a Libyan bought them from Gauci on 23rd November for that purpose, hoping Gauci would remember such a striking customer. (Seems a bit of a long shot even if you're into MIHOP.)
  • Abu Talb just grabbed what he had handy to pack round the bomb and the stuff was never near Mary's House in its life.
  • The CIA or the DIA used stuff sourced from Malta when fabricating the whole thing in the early months of 1989, because - er why? Are we trying to frame Libya in that way already?
The last two of these obviously require Gauci to have been either massively coached (and bribed/coerced) or just a lucky find of a shopkeeper who stocked the relevant items and was so good at following leading questions that he "remembered" just what the police were asking about.

I've probably missed a possibility or two. But that's the outline. If we assume it's possible that Gauci was either coached in some way, or simply extraordinarily compliant with the police line of questioning so that he "remembered" what they were asking about, what are the logical possibilities for the source of these cloth fragments? Which ones make sense within the wider ramifications of the puzzle?

Rolfe.
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Old 25th November 2009, 04:15 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Mmm, how did those scorched and burned clothes get into the hands of the Lockerbie investigators?
<snip head-hurting list>
I've probably missed a possibility or two. But that's the outline. If we assume it's possible that Gauci was either coached in some way, or simply extraordinarily compliant with the police line of questioning so that he "remembered" what they were asking about, what are the logical possibilities for the source of these cloth fragments? Which ones make sense within the wider ramifications of the puzzle?

Rolfe.
Man, I just don't know what to make of this stuff anymore. I'm open to any possibilities up to and including full fabrication of clothes seized from Talb before, or just some.. Augh!

Okay... There may have been a Nov 23 purchase if enough items lines up in such a way it's beyond coincidence. The person is not Megrahi, who [ST]we[/ST] I can't say. I'm not as familiar with all this and can't get that way. Tony would have to mean nothing to me because I don't have the patience.

Here's a Gauci thought: In the other thread, I mentioned Tony's pointing finger 'doing its ouija board thing' to point to Megrahi, both literally and verbally. It's this article I saw earlier today that put the image in my mind, and considering Tony's qualities, it's an apt metaphor for what could be going on here. (in this case tho, Caplan is likely full of it).
Quote:
Helped by a therapist, Rom Houben's outstretched finger tapped with surprising speed on a computer touchscreen, spelling out how he felt "alone, lonely, frustrated" in the 23 years he was trapped inside a paralyzed body.
After a doctor found he was wrongly diagnosed as being in a vegetative state, and worked out a way for him to communicate, Houben said he now feels reborn.
<snip>
"That's called 'facilitated communication,'" Caplan said. "That is Ouija board stuff. It's been discredited time and time again. When people look at it, it's usually the person doing the pointing who's doing the messages, not the person they claim they are helping."
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...1PPCQD9C6FH080
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Old 25th November 2009, 05:34 AM   #28
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The investigators were apparently impressed by the fact that Tony mentioned selling the customer an umbrella, something they hadn't had any notion of. They asked him for an umbrella identical to the one the man bought. When they went back to the evidence and looked at recovered umbrellas, hey, there was an identical umbrella and it tested positive for explosives!

However, there's a lot wrong with this. The umbrella in the bomb bag was shredded. It existed only as a few bits of metal and nylon. Its description in the evidence clearly indicates something identified from the start as being within the primary suitcase. This story about going back to base and sorting through a selection of umbrellas to find the right one is clearly nonsense. Also, there was so little of the umbrella left that I can't see how it could be identified as one sold by Gauci, even if he was able to remember exactly which umbrella the customer had bought ten months earlier.

Another point that apparently impressed the investigators was that Tony declared he hadn't sold a particular t-shirt to the customer in question, even though he stocked that brand of t-shirt. Surely, if he was just trying to please us, he'd have "remembered" selling such a shirt?" Uh, no, not necessarily.

Oh yes, and the ideomotor effect is exactly why the person carrying out the photo-identity parade shouldn't know which photo is that of the suspect.

Guess what?

Rolfe.
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Old 25th November 2009, 05:45 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Regarding the Libyan theory. I missed a bit. Here's what Megrahi is supposed to have done.
  • Both bought the clothes and put the bomb on the plane himself (with no apparent attempt at disguise)
  • Did these things only three miles apart
  • Did these things only two weeks apart
  • Bought the clothes in a type of shop where purchasers are more likely to be recognised and remembered
  • Set the timer so that the explosion had a fair chance of happening over land, or even on the tarmac
  • Didn't bother to remove the labels from the clothes (including "Made in Malta" ones)
Is is possible to lay a more obvious trail if you try?

Of course, if it wasn't actually Megrahi who bought the clothes (as seems likely), and the bomb wasn't put on the plane at Luqa (as seems almost unargable), then the first three points go away. Nevertheless, the second three points remain, no matter who did it or where the bomb was introduced. This seems very strange behaviour to me.
This would be highly suspicious, if, and only if, you expect the terrorist to try to conceal his activity to the highest possible degree, and if he is also highly knowledgable of investigation procedures and techniques. In the time before the internet and let's say CSI, it's not very hard to imagine a terrorist - or anyone who is not an investigator for that matter - assuming the debris was too scattered to be of much use, or simply not considering the investigation to be of much use in cases such as this.
Such situation isn't all that unlikely, it's probably more plausible than a terrorist with deep knowledge of what can be recovered after an air crash. This then would drop all points, except the one where he could put a much longer time on the timer.
That too doesn't seem a terribly important mistake, perhaps it was an added bonus for him to kill people on the ground, as he in the end did. It's also possible he intended for the bomb to go off over water, and simply didn't consider the possibility the flight would be delayed. It's not such a great mistake to make after all. It's also possible he wanted the bomb to go off as soon as possible, since prolonging the time would increase the chance the plane would land early. I know this is a small factor, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

Quote:
As an aside, given the amount of clothes said to have been in the bomb suitcase, which was apparently a normal size, it's odd how little seems to have been in the case. OK, the radio-cassette player in its box would have taken up some space, and there was an umbrella and a tweed jacket which are quite bulky, but it seems to me there was barely enough stuff to stop the box rattling around.
This seems perfectly sufficient for a suitcase with a bomb in it. All he needed to put in was the bomb and enough stuff to make it a reasonably believable suitcase. It is not sufficient for most travellers, but he didn't need it for travelling anyway, but to conceal a bomb - a task it turns out it was adequate to do.

McHrozni

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Old 25th November 2009, 06:26 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
This would be highly suspicious, if, and only if, you expect the terrorist to try to conceal his activity to the highest possible degree, and if he is also highly knowledgable of investigation procedures and techniques. In the time before the internet and let's say CSI, it's not very hard to imagine a terrorist - or anyone who is not an investigator for that matter - assuming the debris was too scattered to be of much use, or simply not considering the investigation to be of much use in cases such as this.
Such situation isn't all that unlikely, it's probably more plausible than a terrorist with deep knowledge of what can be recovered after an air crash. This then would drop all points, except the one where he could put a much longer time on the timer.

If that was all that was weird about the case, I'd probably agree with you. You may well be entirely right about that. This is more about testing each point in the evidence chain to see how secure it is, than shouting "oh hey, look at this anomaly!"

As this is only one of many strange things about this case, and far from the strangest, I'd just like to figure how well it stands up to scrutiny, or whether it's possible it's dodgy.

Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
That too doesn't seem a terribly important mistake, perhaps it was an added bonus for him to kill people on the ground, as he in the end did. It's also possible he intended for the bomb to go off over water, and simply didn't consider the possibility the flight would be delayed. It's not such a great mistake to make after all. It's also possible he wanted the bomb to go off as soon as possible, since prolonging the time would increase the chance the plane would land early. I know this is a small factor, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

The possibility that the terrorists were trying to kill people on the ground has been discussed in detail in other threads. The fact is that nobody could have predicted which course the plane would take (it usually flew a more southerly route), and at 38 minutes out of Heathrow the chances of hitting habitation are low. It really was sheer bad luck that it landed on a very small town in the middle of a lot of scenery.

The flight was only delayed by about 10 or 15 minutes. Even if it had been on time, it might not have cleared land before the bomb exploded (depending on the route taken). In fact, given the situation at Heathrow at such a busy period, it wasn't at all unlikely it could still have been on the tarmac - assuming the detonator was a timer-only device, that is. I have difficulty believing that anyone planning something like this wasn't aware that transatlantic flights often take off late.

I would agree, planning would also have wanted to ensure the device didn't explode before the plane landed. However, this was a London to New York flight. They usually take about 8 hours. I don't think I've ever heard of one being 7 hours early on that route.

Seriously, the North Atlantic is a pretty big target. The plane would have been over cold salt water for several hours. All that was needed was to set the timer for an hour or so before the scheduled arrival time, maybe two hours if you think Pan Am might be using rocket fuel or something. Instead, the timer seems to have been set for only an hour after the plane was scheduled to push off from the gate, which even under the best of conditions would still have been maybe 50 minutes into the 8-hour flight.

Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
This seems perfectly sufficient for a suitcase with a bomb in it. All he needed to put in was the bomb and enough stuff to make it a reasonably believable suitcase. It is not sufficient for most travellers, but he didn't need it for travelling anyway, but to conceal a bomb - a task it turns out it was adequate to do.

Again, you may be right. One still wonders why it was necessary to go to a shop and buy such a strange assortment of stuff, brand new. The other oddity is the high correlation between what the investigators found in the wreckage and identified as "blast damaged" and the list of shopping Tony Gauci says he clearly remembers selling to this particular customer, nine months before anybody came asking him about it.

Not necessarily anomalous though.

Rolfe.
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Old 25th November 2009, 07:14 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
If that was all that was weird about the case, I'd probably agree with you. You may well be entirely right about that. This is more about testing each point in the evidence chain to see how secure it is, than shouting "oh hey, look at this anomaly!"

As this is only one of many strange things about this case, and far from the strangest, I'd just like to figure how well it stands up to scrutiny, or whether it's possible it's dodgy.
Once you call the integrity of investigators into question, literarily anything can be made to appear dodgy. The trick is in not doing it backwards - would anything of what you stated be only possible if he was being framed? The answer is obviously no. Is anything of what you stated considerably more plausible as a result of framing? Again, the answer is no.

Quote:
The possibility that the terrorists were trying to kill people on the ground has been discussed in detail in other threads. The fact is that nobody could have predicted which course the plane would take (it usually flew a more southerly route), and at 38 minutes out of Heathrow the chances of hitting habitation are low. It really was sheer bad luck that it landed on a very small town in the middle of a lot of scenery.
Perhaps. This was just one of the options. What if he calculated that the most likely delay was 36 minutes and hoped for the plane to crash on a part of London? I wouldn't do it, neither would you, but can you discount the possibility? Again, the answer is no.

Quote:
I would agree, planning would also have wanted to ensure the device didn't explode before the plane landed. However, this was a London to New York flight. They usually take about 8 hours. I don't think I've ever heard of one being 7 hours early on that route.
Suppose someone warned the airline that there was a bomb on board of this flight. It could be connected to this attack, or just a random threat. Impossible? Definitely not.

I certainly agree his choice(s) aren't the best that could be made to futher his goals. That being said, had they been, that would be a strong indication he indeed had surprisingly good inside information - much stronger than lack thereof implicates a conspiracy.

Quote:
Again, you may be right. One still wonders why it was necessary to go to a shop and buy such a strange assortment of stuff, brand new.
A strange assortment of stuff can be highly useful. Had the bomb been found, there would be nothing that should connect him to the crime, since it wasn't the clothes he wore or used. Perhaps he didn't consider it likely the shopkeepers would remember him (highly plausible), or perhaps someone else did the shopping for him (also highly plausible) - and the two are not mutually exclusive, either.

If you wanted to make sure the hidden bomb couldn't be traced to you, putting new clothes you don't use besides it makes perfect sense. If the assortment is highly unusual, it might throw the investigators off your scent, so this is an added bonus.

I find the behavior fairly consistent with hiding his identity. I know it backfired, but that was because a shopkeeper had a surprisingly good memory.

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The other oddity is the high correlation between what the investigators found in the wreckage and identified as "blast damaged" and the list of shopping Tony Gauci says he clearly remembers selling to this particular customer, nine months before anybody came asking him about it.

Not necessarily anomalous though.

Rolfe.
Perhaps he had a good memory, or perhaps Tony Gauci had a complexity that made people recognize and remember him easily. As you said, not necessarily anomalus, but even if it is, it doesn't mean anything else you have is anomalus - it is quite reasonable if you look it from the perspective of the terrorist, as you should.

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Old 25th November 2009, 08:25 AM   #32
Myron Proudfoot
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Every time I see this thread I think that "the mystery shopper" sounds like the least threatening CT ever!
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Old 25th November 2009, 05:26 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
Once you call the integrity of investigators into question, literarily anything can be made to appear dodgy. The trick is in not doing it backwards - would anything of what you stated be only possible if he was being framed? The answer is obviously no. Is anything of what you stated considerably more plausible as a result of framing? Again, the answer is no.

Seriously, do you have any familiarity with the complexities of the incident? The problem is that the Official Version is several degrees less plausible than most of the CTs. There is very good reason to suspect a cover-up at the least and possibly fabrication of evidence, and once you've acknowledged that, then there's really no excuse for not examining all the possibilities even in the aspects that seem less suspicious than others.

If you begin by ascribing "maximum probability" to the official version and "vanishing improbability" to any sort of coverup or frame-up, then you're not going to get very far.

Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
Perhaps. This was just one of the options. What if he calculated that the most likely delay was 36 minutes and hoped for the plane to crash on a part of London? I wouldn't do it, neither would you, but can you discount the possibility? Again, the answer is no.

Neither can I discount the possibility that the magic pixies told them to set the timer for that time, but I'd consider both suggestions somewhat less probable than the possibility that the detonation device might not actually have been of the type it was said to be. Thinking like the terrorist, as you advocate, throws that one out on the first pass.

Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
Suppose someone warned the airline that there was a bomb on board of this flight. It could be connected to this attack, or just a random threat. Impossible? Definitely not.

Somebody did. About seven somebodies, I believe. At least, some sources detail about seven different warnings, though not to the actual airline. That's probably for another thread though.

Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
I certainly agree his choice(s) aren't the best that could be made to futher his goals. That being said, had they been, that would be a strong indication he indeed had surprisingly good inside information - much stronger than lack thereof implicates a conspiracy.

I don't entirely follow that. What "conspiracy" do you need to postulate to explain a terrorist setting a timer to give the best possible chance of his device exploding over the ocean, and obtaining the materials he needed from sources that couldn't be traced back to him?

Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
A strange assortment of stuff can be highly useful. Had the bomb been found, there would be nothing that should connect him to the crime, since it wasn't the clothes he wore or used. Perhaps he didn't consider it likely the shopkeepers would remember him (highly plausible), or perhaps someone else did the shopping for him (also highly plausible) - and the two are not mutually exclusive, either.

Are you at all familiar with the evidence as presented in court? The proposition that the same individual had bought the clothes and planted the bomb was central to the prosecution's case. If that didn't happen, then the Official Version is up in smoke.

I do find Gauci's memory to be quite implausible, given what he is said to have remembered about a short transaction that happened nine months before anyone asked him about it, which is kind of the starting point for the thread. It still seems an unnecessary risk to take, when one considers how many other ways there are of obtaining clothes that absolutely can't be traced back to the purchaser.

Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
If you wanted to make sure the hidden bomb couldn't be traced to you, putting new clothes you don't use besides it makes perfect sense. If the assortment is highly unusual, it might throw the investigators off your scent, so this is an added bonus.

I don't agree. Brand new clothes always have the possibility to be traced through the manufacturer, which is what was done in this case. Second-hand clothes, stolen clothes or even very old clothes are a lot less traceable. Buying the entire odd assortment in the same shop, only two weeks before the operation, isn't a great way not to be traced.

Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
I find the behavior fairly consistent with hiding his identity. I know it backfired, but that was because a shopkeeper had a surprisingly good memory.

Perhaps he had a good memory, or perhaps Tony Gauci had a complexity that made people recognize and remember him easily. As you said, not necessarily anomalus, but even if it is, it doesn't mean anything else you have is anomalus - it is quite reasonable if you look it from the perspective of the terrorist, as you should.

Tony Gauci has been described as "an apple short of a picnic". Maybe he has a particularly quirky memory for specific purchasers (or rather purchases, he seems to get a lot hazier when it comes to the actual purchaser) that's reliable even after a nine-month gap, but nobody ever really investigated that.

Have you examined the evidence? The possibility that Gauci's identification (as relied on by the Official Version) is correct is actually quite remote. It would seem that the obvious question is, "in that case, who was the mystery shopper?"

I came at this from the position of saying, well, Toni Gauci saw the man who bought those clothes, and whoever that was he was certainly part of the gang. That itself still leaves the huge question of "who was it" absolutely wide open.

However, the more I look at it, the more I wonder if in fact that purchase did actually take place in the way we are led to believe, and if indeed Tony ever saw one of the terrorists at all. It may be that he did, and his account is more or less accurate. Or not, as the case may be. However, the answer is likely to be found in close examination of the evidence, not in starting from the assumption that any Official Version (no matter how implausible or how thin the evidence for it is) must be seen a priori as having maximum probability.

Rolfe.
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Old 25th November 2009, 06:13 PM   #34
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Hmmm. Not sure where to post this, but as the Gauci identification is the first bit of evidence looked at, I'll put it here. The author has made some mistakes, but it's a decent fist of a summary.

http://www.wrmea.org/component/conte...-criminal.html

Not a word about the vanishing evidence at Frankfurt though - what else is new?

Rolfe.
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Old 26th November 2009, 02:31 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Seriously, do you have any familiarity with the complexities of the incident? The problem is that the Official Version is several degrees less plausible than most of the CTs. There is very good reason to suspect a cover-up at the least and possibly fabrication of evidence, and once you've acknowledged that, then there's really no excuse for not examining all the possibilities even in the aspects that seem less suspicious than others.

If you begin by ascribing "maximum probability" to the official version and "vanishing improbability" to any sort of coverup or frame-up, then you're not going to get very far.
I'm probably not as informed as you, but that's not the point I was trying to make. If the integrity of investigation is in question, then every piece of evidence can be made to show a conspiracy: if it shows the guilt of the accused in the investigation, it can be said it was planted. If it doesn't, it shows there is an actual conspiracy involved.

Again, the trick is to find direct evidence something was wrong with the investigation and then show (or at least indicate) where and why certain artefacts were introduces as a part of conspiracy. You're doing it the other way around, you find artifacts that would be introduced by a conspiracy had it taken place, and label them evidence of a conspiracy, where there is a perfectly adequate explanation for them without a conspiracy. This doesn't mean the evidence you present can't show conspiracy, but in itself, it does not stand.

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Somebody did. About seven somebodies, I believe. At least, some sources detail about seven different warnings, though not to the actual airline. That's probably for another thread though.
I believe this confirms my point as at least possible.

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I don't entirely follow that. What "conspiracy" do you need to postulate to explain a terrorist setting a timer to give the best possible chance of his device exploding over the ocean, and obtaining the materials he needed from sources that couldn't be traced back to him?
Your point is based on the premise that the terrorist knew what could be recovered from an air crash and what could be pieced together from a wreckage and also that he tried to avoid such an investigation from suceeding. The first one is a significant leap of faith, it is entirely plausible he thought that the bomb and the subsequent crah would destroy any evidence he left behind anyway, and he didn't think he needed to bother too much with details.
The second premise you're coming from is plausible, though not entirely certain.

In other words, your premise is not falsifiable: had the crash happened over open seas, that could just as easily be interpreted as the terrorist knowing exactly what he had to do to conceal his identity. That can just as easily be considered evidence of a conspiracy as a terrorist not knowing how far he had to go to conceal his identity.

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Are you at all familiar with the evidence as presented in court? The proposition that the same individual had bought the clothes and planted the bomb was central to the prosecution's case. If that didn't happen, then the Official Version is up in smoke.
Are you familiar with the fact that prosecutors don't always present the case in a perfect way either? Assume that the prosecutor was wrong on this count, but the same people he accused still planted the bomb: legally, the prosecutions' case may (or may not) be dead, but that doesn't mean those people didn't commit the terrorist act they were being accused of.

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I do find Gauci's memory to be quite implausible, given what he is said to have remembered about a short transaction that happened nine months before anyone asked him about it, which is kind of the starting point for the thread. It still seems an unnecessary risk to take, when one considers how many other ways there are of obtaining clothes that absolutely can't be traced back to the purchaser.
Again, I do agree this is a bit weak on the official side. On the other hand, it is not impossible at all. I have shown at least two possibilities which would both explain how that happened, and could run in parallel to reinforce each other (unusually good memory + complexity that makes him stand out). Another possibility is that the shopkeeper remembered him by coincidence.

I do agree this is unexpected, I wouldn't build a case on it, but this is as far as it goes.

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I don't agree. Brand new clothes always have the possibility to be traced through the manufacturer, which is what was done in this case. Second-hand clothes, stolen clothes or even very old clothes are a lot less traceable. Buying the entire odd assortment in the same shop, only two weeks before the operation, isn't a great way not to be traced.
You're making two mutually exclusive arguments here: either it would be expected that the purchase could be traced, in which case this argument stands, but your argument about the shopkeepers' memory is destroyed; or the claim about the shopkeepers' memory stands, but then this argument is destroyed - it is indeed a good way to conceal yourself to do it this way.

Brand new clothes can be traced to a store at best. You're talking about them being traced to a person. With a cash transaction, those are two different things, yes?

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Tony Gauci has been described as "an apple short of a picnic". Maybe he has a particularly quirky memory for specific purchasers (or rather purchases, he seems to get a lot hazier when it comes to the actual purchaser) that's reliable even after a nine-month gap, but nobody ever really investigated that.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. You have an indication something might be amiss, but no evidence whatsoever it actually is.

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Have you examined the evidence? The possibility that Gauci's identification (as relied on by the Official Version) is correct is actually quite remote. It would seem that the obvious question is, "in that case, who was the mystery shopper?"
Does the circumstantial evidence fit this? Is the man convicted someone who would have the means and the motive to commit such a crime? Does other evidence concur? I'm fairly certain the answer is yes.
A criminal investigation very rarely focuses on just one piece of evidence, but the prosecution sometimes does. This is not indicative the investigation was faulty, although defence sometimes tries to paint that picture.

McHrozni
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Old 26th November 2009, 04:25 AM   #36
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Myron Proudfoot View Post
Every time I see this thread I think that "the mystery shopper" sounds like the least threatening CT ever!
If you're al Megrahi, or anyone concerned with the truth about this heinous attack, the shape-shifting mystery shopper and Tony's ouija finger are downright chilling, to a Lovecraftian, screaming-abyss-of-insanity degree.

McHrozni, hey. Thanks for offering some sorely needed counter-arguments, which are always useful to test against and get offered so rarely. Unfortunately, they're not that insightful re: details. Some reasonable considerations, but nothing that's making me re-think stuff or anything like that.

I'll pick one point:
Originally Posted by McHrozni
If the integrity of investigation is in question, then every piece of evidence can be made to show a conspiracy: if it shows the guilt of the accused in the investigation, it can be said it was planted. If it doesn't, it shows there is an actual conspiracy involved.
The integrity of the investigation is very definitely in question. And yes, much of the evidence seems to show a possible "conspiracy." The latter points leads to the former at least as much as the other way, please don't get confused on that point.

Conversely, if one trusts the overall conclusions, since they were, uh, concluded, then one is free to presume all evidence and reasoning is sound. That second about sums up where you're coming from, right? Because I know you didn't come to trust the investiviction thru rigorous study of the evidence and the way it was assembled.

So just step back and re-consider cause-and-effect, bias vs. investigation, and recognize that you are trying to rope an elephant with dental floss.

A helpful idea is to go point by point, like on Tony Gauci here in this thread, his brother, the payments, the interviews, the lineup, the purchase. Show us some bit of that trustworthy case coming through in this here evidence. Because we all have our biases and can have a hard time seeing things.

- cheers
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Old 26th November 2009, 04:30 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
The integrity of the investigation is very definitely in question.
Can you detail why?

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Old 26th November 2009, 04:49 AM   #38
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
Can you detail why?

McHrozni
Because we question things. The alleged crime is dumb - possible as you have shown, sure, but dumb as a hammer, comapred to a logical alternate case they WERE following against another group in ways that DO make sense. Other factors, detailed elsewhere, and many other good points you don't know yet, all a bit OT here. From there we show problems with the evidence (such as payola scams, chronic inconsistency) that is consistent with these suspicions of a bad case. That was all the stuff we've been talking about before you stepped in. Sorry, not gonna re-hash it all.

I'm not as familiar with the Gauci angle but that's the best part to discuss here. What do you know, or can find out, about why his testimony was reliable, useful, truthful, etc. Like what did the FBI say about their process and the evidence and its reliability? Specific clues?

ETA: Oh, and Rolfe, good move posting the WRMEA article here. That mag is debunker magnet, "anti-Israel" pro-Palestinian, a little CTish, often sloppy and shrill. They've been big on re-reporting the USS Liberty incident. It should have already generated a few debunks. It does have a neat secret about Gauci's true name tho.

Last edited by Caustic Logic; 26th November 2009 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 26th November 2009, 05:23 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
The alleged crime is dumb - possible as you have shown, sure, but dumb as a hammer,
Overall, I'd say the crime isn't nearly as dumb as you make it to be. There was only one noteworthy error made, with the timer. It has plenty of plausible explanations: perhaps the terrorist wasn't as concerned with investigators on the ground, or he made the mistake of not allowing enough time to elapse, or perhaps he didn't trust the detonator to be effective if he set a significantly longer time, or just wasn't familiar with it's options. All of them are quite plausible explanations, which don't make the attack as dumb as a hammer.

Quote:
I'm not as familiar with the Gauci angle but that's the best part to discuss here. What do you know, or can find out, about why his testimony was reliable, useful, truthful, etc. Like what did the FBI say about their process and the evidence and its reliability? Specific clues?
I don't believe I'm sufficiently knowledgable to discuss that at this point.

McHrozni
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Old 26th November 2009, 05:54 AM   #40
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
I don't believe I'm sufficiently knowledgable to discuss that at this point.

McHrozni
Me neither really. If it's Thanksgiving there, happy one.
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