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Tags Lockerbie bombing , Pan Am 103

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Old 7th October 2009, 05:30 PM   #361
Dan O.
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Rolfe, The thin aluminum skin of a modern plane acts like a balloon. If it isn't uniformly pressurized, the aircraft as a whole won't have as much strength. From this alone I would presume that the entire fuselage is pressurized except for the wheel bays.
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Old 7th October 2009, 05:38 PM   #362
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OK, that corresponds with what the Lockerbie sources say. My imploding Irn Bru cans must have some other explanation.

Makes this discussion easier, even though my soaked pyjamas must remain a mystery.

Rolfe.
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Old 7th October 2009, 06:04 PM   #363
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I've just watched the Dispatches documentary - one more take, that I hadn't seen before. Bollier sounds a lot more rational than in his later postings. He's simply saying the fragment is from a prototype, however it's not clear that he's right about this. He never mentions colour, and seems to be basing the evaluation on the roughness of thecurved edge. I'm not sure any of the photos is detailed enough to confirm that.

The expert Owen Lewis is just plain wrong. He fails to appreciate that the "top" of the fragment was sawn off by the forensic examiners. Nobody showed the "polaroid" of the un-tampered-with fragment, with the top still on. So he obviously thinks the thing is different. We have also seen that the theory that the curve of the edge is different is also based on the misapprehension that the top edges match, and it could well be that this is also the source of Bollier's claim too.

Thurman, as someone else noted, is quite up front that he never saw the fragment. I think the Dutch film must have tapped into some misunderstandings and faulty memories, after 18 years. He seems quite clear that the top was sawn off by Engish forensics, but he doesn't mention having seen any photo of it before it was tampered with. Odd, really. (I suspect the top was ground off, which would explain why we never see the cut-off piece.)

Dang, the pics we have in this thread show all this far better than the bloody experts!

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Old 7th October 2009, 06:22 PM   #364
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
OK, that corresponds with what the Lockerbie sources say. My imploding Irn Bru cans must have some other explanation.

Makes this discussion easier, even though my soaked pyjamas must remain a mystery.

Rolfe.
Have a peek at the wikipedia article on Cabin pressurizationWP? There is a significant pressure drop at cruising altitude equivalent to climbing to about 2500 m. This is because there is a maximum pressure differential that can be sustained by the cabin or it could burst like an overinflated balloon.
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Old 8th October 2009, 04:47 AM   #365
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Rolfe

This is from the AAIB report on 103

"The fuselage of the aircraft type was of approximately circularsection over most of its length, with the forward fuselage havinga diameter of 21 feet where the cross-section was constant.The pressurised section of the fuselage (which included the forwardand aft cargo holds) had an overall
length of 190 feet, extending from the nose to a point just forward of the tailplane. In normal cruising flight the service pressure differential was at the maximum value of 8.9 pounds per square inch."

The holds and cabin will be pressurised to about the equiv of 8000ft at a cruising altitude of 39,000ft

David
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Old 8th October 2009, 04:47 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
Have a peek at the wikipedia article on Cabin pressurizationWP? There is a significant pressure drop at cruising altitude equivalent to climbing to about 2500 m. This is because there is a maximum pressure differential that can be sustained by the cabin or it could burst like an overinflated balloon.

Thanks, I was more of less aware of that part, but that's a good link. What I wasn't aware of was whether the baggage holds were at the same pressure as the cabin. On the only two occasions when I've been unwise enough to leave cans of fizzy drink in my checked luggage, they have showed up at the other end punctured as if someone had run a spike into them. The first time, I wondered of that might have been exactly what had happened, but the second time, with exactly the same outcome, I began to think it was some depressurisation effect. And of course these cans can be carried in the cabin quite safely. If it wasn't depressurisation, I wonder what it was?

Anyway, cabin or hold, everyone seems to agree the pressure at cruising altitude is equivalent to atmospheric pressure at about 8,000 feet. The links discussing the altimeter-controlled devices Jibril's group were messing with say it would normally take about 7 minutes from leaving the ground, for an airliner to reach a height where the device would be triggered (and then the countdown would be about 30 minutes, both figures give or take several minutes).

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Old 8th October 2009, 07:39 AM   #367
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
On the only two occasions when I've been unwise enough to leave cans of fizzy drink in my checked luggage, they have showed up at the other end punctured as if someone had run a spike into them. The first time, I wondered of that might have been exactly what had happened, but the second time, with exactly the same outcome, I began to think it was some depressurisation effect.
I think someone poked a spike into your cans. Before the can reaches burst pressure, it will leave a visible deformation by pushing the top out. By design, the weak point of the can is the modern pop tab. If the pop tab doesn't open and release the pressure, the can is going to rupture like a popping balloon resulting in potentially dangerous shrapnel.
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Old 8th October 2009, 08:10 AM   #368
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Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
I think someone poked a spike into your cans. Before the can reaches burst pressure, it will leave a visible deformation by pushing the top out. By design, the weak point of the can is the modern pop tab. If the pop tab doesn't open and release the pressure, the can is going to rupture like a popping balloon resulting in potentially dangerous shrapnel.

How odd, that it should have happened on two occasions, with identical results, on two different flights and with different sized cans.

The first time was a standard can that I had in my bag on a transatlantic flight, Gatwick to Nashville via Dallas. I had wanted to let my American host taste Irn Bru, but when I opened the bag the can was punctured and buckled inwards. My pyjamas and underwear had to go in the washing machine.

The second time was on a Glasgow to Gatwick flight. On the Gatwick to Glasgow leg, the stewardess had given me a second miniature can (of Irn Bru again) from her trolley. I didn't want it right then and put it in my handbag. It later got transferred to my check-in bag, and forgotten about, and so was checked in for the return flight. I remembered about it while waiting in the departure lounge, and tried to convince myself the previous incident had been traumatic baggage handling not pressure, so this one would probably be OK. But when I opened the bag, exactly the same damage, right in the middle of the can again, and another trip to the washing machine.

Very weird.

But off topic, as I fully understand the aircraft pressurisation situation now.

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Old 8th October 2009, 09:36 AM   #369
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Sorry I'm not talking about so many other aspects of this, but I've put my stuff on the cutting of the board together at my blog:

http://12-7-9-11.blogspot.com/2009/0...-graphics.html

I hear it's not displaying properly on some screens - any feedback on that is appreciated. The content is mostly already covered here I guess.

Now that I've seen the Dispatches programme, I think that web page takes on greater significance. I would propose that it be developed into a concise examination of the various MST-13 photos available, and (inevitably, I think) a debunking of the claim that the fragment was either part of a prototype board, or was substituted at some point after the first photograph was taken.

The Dispatches take is very interesting because I didn't see any overt suggestion that the fragment had been planted. The point being made, mainly by Bollier, was simply that the fragment was one of the prototypes he gave to the Stasi outfit, not one of the machined boards sold to Libya. Interestingly, he didn't mention colour at all here. His main reason was that "you can see the saw-marks where the curved corner section was sawn out by hand to get it to fit in the casing." I'm not at all convinced the photographs are clear enough to support that observation.

Note that this programme was made before the trial, however it was suggested by the programme that it was in MeBo's commercial interests that this affair not be laid at the door of Libya, because a lot of their business was with Libya.

Then the programme brought in the "expert" Owen Lewis, who seems to have been a lot less expert than our own dear Caustic Logic (with kudos to Ambrosia et al. also of course). He annnounced that the fragment was not from one of the Libya boards, because the printing was different and the angle of the curve of the cut-out was different.

He's flat wrong. And Thurman is right, though he doesn't really demonstrate it very well.

Lewis announces that the "top" edge of the fragment is the real edge of the timer, which wasn't damaged by the explosion. He then concludes that the printing of the "fingerboard" (the 1) is different because it goes up to the top edge in the fragment, while there is a clear gap between the top of the 1 and the edge of the timer in the comparison board. He also concludes that the curvature of the right-hand-side is different.

Of course, as Caustic Logic and Ambrosia demonstrated, this is not the case. The first photograph of the fragment shows it with the top exactly as in the comparison board, and it has obviously been cut or ground down during the forensic analysis. (I suspect the missing material may have found its way into a mass spectrometer or something like that.) Once you realise that, you can fit the post-forensics fragment into the outline of the comparison board and get a perfect match.

It's odd that Thurman never refers to any photograph of the pre-forensics fragment. Surely he was sent one? We certainly have the one which was part of the original polaroid, and didn't Ambrosia have another? Surely to God RARDE took a set of decent high-quality pictures with proper negatives before they let their scientists start cutting it up? And surely Thurman was sent these?

Nevertheless, Thurman is clearly right when he declares that the top was removed during the analysis. And we know now that the two straight right-angle cuts are also part of the analysis, and subsequent pictures mostly show the fragment reconstructed by putting the two resulting fragments back together.

Once all that is clear, I don't think we need the colour to declare with a reasonable degree of certainty that all the pictures we have show the same fragment. The details match up too well for it to be otherwise. That being so, I don't see how the suggestion that the fragment is from a brown prototype, or was oroginally from a brown prototype with this being later substituted by a green one, can possibly be sustained.

This doesn't prove that the fragment wasn't planted - only that if it was, it was made originally from a green manufactured board, not a brown prototype, and it always has been green.

It also doesn't prove that the fragment, if genuine, necessarily points to Libya. That was always a bit of a stretch, considering Libya's track record in supplying armaments to terrorist groups.

However, it does put Bollier and Lumpert and the whole "brown prototype board" story to bed, thus removing a layer of total obfuscation from the enquiry.

I would suggest, Caustic Logic, that you re-cast your page along those lines. It would be a genuine resource if you did that. I'd be very happy to write the text for you, if you like.

Rolfe.
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Old 8th October 2009, 04:05 PM   #370
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
but when I opened the bag the can was punctured and buckled inwards.
Inwards? Over-pressurizatin?

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Now that I've seen the Dispatches programme, I think that web page takes on greater significance. I would propose that it be developed into a concise examination of the various MST-13 photos available, and (inevitably, I think) a debunking of the claim that the fragment was either part of a prototype board, or was substituted at some point after the first photograph was taken.
If it was just me I'd find it too silly to bother with. But, if you think it's worthwhile and willing to collaborate, I'm down wid it.

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The Dispatches take is very interesting because I didn't see any overt suggestion that the fragment had been planted. The point being made, mainly by Bollier, was simply that the fragment was one of the prototypes he gave to the Stasi outfit, not one of the machined boards sold to Libya. Interestingly, he didn't mention colour at all here.
And yet the prototypes were brown, weren't they? And here's Thurman's blu chip photo.
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His main reason was that "you can see the saw-marks where the curved corner section was sawn out by hand to get it to fit in the casing." I'm not at all convinced the photographs are clear enough to support that observation.
I was going to chalk that up to photo pixelation, but somewhere I read they saw this on examining it in person in 99 or so. Anyway, he's always got some reason or ten...

Quote:
Then the programme brought in the "expert" Owen Lewis, who seems to have been a lot less expert than our own dear Caustic Logic (with kudos to Ambrosia et al. also of course). ...
He's flat wrong. And Thurman is right, though he doesn't really demonstrate it very well. ...
Lewis announces that the "top" edge of the fragment is the real edge of the timer ... that the curvature of the right-hand-side is different.
Well it's nothing too amazing really. Lewis is a goon, behaving strangely Mebo-ish, so I wonder. As for the degree of curve, I thought they did that right but got confused on shadows, but looking again it seems like they are making DeBrackeleer's error. You need to match the right parts that should match before you can make a deal about how they don't. Duh.

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Once all that is clear, I don't think we need the colour to declare with a reasonable degree of certainty that all the pictures we have show the same fragment. The details match up too well for it to be otherwise. ...

it does put Bollier and Lumpert and the whole "brown prototype board" story to bed, thus removing a layer of total obfuscation from the enquiry.

I would suggest, Caustic Logic, that you re-cast your page along those lines. It would be a genuine resource if you did that. I'd be very happy to write the text for you, if you like.
As I said at top, sure. I can just post something you put together, or a collaboration, since I have the established platform that could get better with better stuff. My recent posts have been sloppy, due to just wanting to see it up, and fixed a bit over a few days after. I think a new post though is in order, as this one is a rambling catalog with confusion intact and another post could zero in and tackle just whatever Mebo-inspired confusion you think is worth working through. The convolutions of the corner swap are classic stundie material, IMO. They didn't even bother picking the green-painted (??) brown corner that had the irreplacable "M" on it! Lol!

cheers

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Old 9th October 2009, 05:44 PM   #371
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CL, could you confirm just how many pictures of the fragment actually exist on the internet? And where the best resolution or the most reliable provenance copies are to be found?

I have the picture before chopping up, with the bits of shirt and Toshiba. This is apparently "the" polaroid. I find it hard to believe that it was never photographed again before they chopped it up. but I haven't seen such a picture.

Bollier has the best blow-up of the fragment from the polaroid, at http://www.mebocom-defilee.ch/jpg/img9.jpg

I haven't been able to find a high-resolution copy of the polaroid to confirm this enlargement accurate, but from what I've got, it seems to be right.

Then there is the back-and-front picture, which right now I simply cannot find. Can someone give me a link?

Then there is the one taken from the TV programme featuring Thurman, which seems not to be the same shot as the trial exhibit. Where did you get that from exactly, CL? The fragment is certainly chopped up by then.

And finally there is the trial exhibit, which includes a picture of the intact board Thurman compared it to. Again, it is chopped up, obviously.

Can any nice kind person tell me where the best copies (with good provenance) of these pictures can be found? Also, have I missed any? Anything else to look at?

I have to say, comparing the good enlargement of the polaroid shown by Bollier to the trial exhibit, my opinion is they are the same. The trial exhibit has been cut up, both the right-angled cuts and the missing top, and it's been a little more damaged as well in a couple of other places. However, so far as the less good lighting allows, all the flaws in the touch-pad that I can see on the polaroid enlargement are also there on the trial exhibit. And I think it would be a superhuman job to copy these.

It's a shame the colour is completely f-ed up, you can't tell if any of them are green or brown, but as far as the shapes go, they match.

With your assistance, CL, I'd love to do a little presentation to demonstrate that. The web is crawling with claims by Bollier and Lumpert, assisted by de Braeckeleer, that the fragment has been substituted. In the interests of clarity, I think the evidence to the contrary should be presented.

I still think it could have been planted (maybe 40%, to 60% not), and if it wasn't I see no reason to believe the timer was in Libyan hands when it was fashioned into the bomb. But we need to clear away the unconvincing claims to see what's left.

Rolfe.
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Old 9th October 2009, 09:47 PM   #372
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
CL, could you confirm just how many pictures of the fragment actually exist on the internet? And where the best resolution or the most reliable provenance copies are to be found?
Reliable? All my pics are from Mebocom and/or OhMyNews. The highest res isn't very high - Mebo was posting them back in '99 when all pics were small and pixelly. I'm torn between calling it good enough or approaching Prof. Black or someone to see who can get original photos from private files, etc. Since it's way less work I'm leaning towards good enough. The best links I've seen are at that post unless I forgot one.

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I have the picture before chopping up, with the bits of shirt and Toshiba. This is apparently "the" polaroid. I find it hard to believe that it was never photographed again before they chopped it up. but I haven't seen such a picture.
There are the separate images (polaroids?) on Feraday's notes page. On letter-size paper apparently, this may be what came with the 9/15 letter, and is pre-cutting, and actually comparable quality to the circled pic.

Quote:
Bollier has the best blow-up of the fragment from the polaroid, at http://www.mebocom-defilee.ch/jpg/img9.jpg

I haven't been able to find a high-resolution copy of the polaroid to confirm this enlargement accurate, but from what I've got, it seems to be right.
Same boat here. Looks fine tho. it's proportions do match 100%. As much as I mistrust Mebo when they say brown, so far they've shown blue and with no manipulation I've caught. he pics are fine.

Quote:
Then there is the back-and-front picture, which right now I simply cannot find. Can someone give me a link?
Huh, my posted link is broken. Lemme dig that up...
Oh, it had an extra l. Fixed now.
http://www.mebocom-defilee.ch/2005/p...pyrotech-8.jpg
The blowup I have is just from that.

Quote:
Then there is the one taken from the TV programme featuring Thurman, which seems not to be the same shot as the trial exhibit. Where did you get that from exactly, CL? The fragment is certainly chopped up by then.
Screen cap's from levy's, and then from this, from Mebo, prob a cap too. It is different than the final - if it were that, all he'd have to do is look and go "that one does match that one. You got it right." Same state, similar tinting even, but labels absent and differently cropped.

Quote:
And finally there is the trial exhibit, which includes a picture of the intact board Thurman compared it to. Again, it is chopped up, obviously.

Can any nice kind person tell me where the best copies (with good provenance) of these pictures can be found? Also, have I missed any? Anything else to look at?
I'm sure the'rearound or available in a book, or since they're exhibits in a crown trial, are they open to like FOIA-type requests? I'd be curious how they look color-wise. So we have two pre-cut and two post-cut, thanks to the gathering efforts of our Swiss friends, and that's not too bad really.

Quote:
I have to say, comparing the good enlargement of the polaroid shown by Bollier to the trial exhibit, my opinion is they are the same. The trial exhibit has been cut up, both the right-angled cuts and the missing top, and it's been a little more damaged as well in a couple of other places. However, so far as the less good lighting allows, all the flaws in the touch-pad that I can see on the polaroid enlargement are also there on the trial exhibit. And I think it would be a superhuman job to copy these.
Glad you spotted also the small differences between states. I was alarmeed when seeing this alongside the chopping, but since that has valid reasons and the whole thing is tiny, and its parts fragile. Nothing weird probably in that except too much curiosity maybe, too many hands turning it over.

On the blog post ideas, I'll PM you and we'll work it out. Sounds like a cool project.
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Old 10th October 2009, 02:17 AM   #373
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crud, posted that in the wrong thread.

For this one, Ummm... Clear out your PM box, Rolfe!

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Old 12th October 2009, 06:52 AM   #374
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Actually, the bit I forgot to mention was the "scratches" that Bollier claims were made by Lumpert - including but not necessarily limited to the "M". These are present in the "polaroid" but absent in the later, better pictures.

The other similarities in the pictures lead me very much to the conclusion that the polaroid and the court exhibit photos are of the same thing, but these scratches or whatever they are are an anomaly. I accept that Ambrosia showed evidence to suggest that the "M" was actually a fibre overlaying the fragment, but I'm not sure that explains the rest of the apparent scratches.

Any ideas?

Rolfe.
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Old 12th October 2009, 08:33 AM   #375
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It was questioned earlier why page 51 contained detailed drawings of the paper fragments and only a mention of the green circuit board fragment.

I don't recall anyone answering this but it would have been necessary at the time of the examination to record the relative orientation or the paper stack as it was pealed apart otherwise that information could have been lost if a small breeze disturbed the fragments before they could be photographed. It was only necessary to document that the circuit board fragment was removed from the collar since all other details would be better recorded on a photograph.
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Old 12th October 2009, 10:05 AM   #376
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That's a point, as the drawings do seem to preserve that information to some extent. (I wonder how he got the page numberings as recorded?)

I did read somewhere that it would have been normal practice to have drawn the circuit board fragment as well, but I'm perfectly prepared to believe that's someone jumping to conclusions. We haven't seen any other pages of notes to see how he usually did it.

I think the surprise is rather to do with the lack of any photo or indeed any attention at all being paid to the circuit board at this stage. Circuit board from items closely associated with the explosion was obviously highly prized as evidence. It was a piece of the Toshiba's circuit board that led to the identification of that item, but even so the precise model was never ascertained other than by assuming it from the manual.

So even if it was assumed that the greed fragment was another bit of Toshiba, I'm very surprised indeed that it wasn't examined in more detail at the time. At the very least it might have yielded a better identification of that. And given that there must have been some awareness that electronics close to the explosion might possibly come from the IED itself, the omission is even more strange. The paper fragments were indeed photographed at the time. But the circuit board was esentially ignored.

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Old 12th October 2009, 01:08 PM   #377
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
That's a point, as the drawings do seem to preserve that information to some extent. (I wonder how he got the page numberings as recorded?)
Those are just consecutive numbers from the top of the stacks as found and would only coincidentally match the actual page number if in fact they do.


Quote:
So even if it was assumed that the greed fragment was another bit of Toshiba, I'm very surprised indeed that it wasn't examined in more detail at the time. At the very least it might have yielded a better identification of that. And given that there must have been some awareness that electronics close to the explosion might possibly come from the IED itself, the omission is even more strange. The paper fragments were indeed photographed at the time. But the circuit board was esentially ignored.
Unless someone does an audit of the lab records, we won't know for sure what was or was not photographed during the investigation. All we have at this point are fragments of the process that either the prosecution or defense thought were important to present at the trial.

At this point in the investigation, pieces of paper with words would be much more important clues for first identifying the object. The circuit board can be matched like a fingerprint to positively identify the device it came from. But unless you have a searchable database of all such boards, it will be effectively useless until a suspected device is found.

There are two ways to get an identification from the fragment. One would be to distribute photo's to all the departments that might have run into something like it. This is what we are led to believe through the evidence presented to the court was done although they appear to skip all the dead ends and just hit a home run on the first try.

The second method is to start with common factors that are easier to trace and then look for more specific factors as the field is narrowed. With a circuit board, the most common factor is the layering of the fiberglass within the epoxy board. This can be compared to samples from the few manufacturers of such boards. The number of layers and initial copper plating would indicate a specific base product and the set of PC board manufacturers that use that product. The composition of the built up traces on the board will narrow the field to a small number of manufacturers and from there you just need to go through the masks they keep for the manufacturing to find the specific product and the record of who it was manufactured for.

Both of these methods would be costly to carry out and they would have been deferred until after the results of tracing the paper fragments was concluded. The paper immediately indicates that there is a manufactured commercial product and this board would very likely be a part of that product and therefore not important. Only after the Toshiba is identified, does the PC fragment becomes perhaps the most important piece of evidence and justify the expense in tracking it down.
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Old 12th October 2009, 02:16 PM   #378
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[Sorry, seems like a non sequitur, I hadn't read Dan O's post when I posted this.]

I mentioned The Maltese Double Cross. It's long ( 2 hours 35 minutes), and it has some presentational flaws (despite winning best documentary at the Edinburgh Film Festival, I think it was). But it goes into some things others don't, and it's free of a lot of baggage that has accumulated in the intervening 15 years. It's the only film, so far as I know, that the US authorities actually banned.

I haven't managed to watch all of it in detail, but some things have rather jumped out at me. First, in relation to the provenance of the timer - looked at from the perspective of that narrative. If it was planted, who decided to do that, what gave him the power and authority to do it, and when was this actually done?

This transcript begins at 51 minutes 25 seconds, but it's not continuous - I've just selected the relevant bits.

Originally Posted by The Maltese Double Cross
Oswald le Winter (CIA 1968-85)

What is that famous saying, about putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop? You know, for Vincent Cannistraro to be put in charge of investigating Lockerbie would be funny if it weren't an obscenity. Cannistraro is not interested in investigating Lockerbie. I believe Cannistraro was put in charge to make sure that the Lockerbie case goes in a certain direction, because he wasn't put in charge immediately, because at the beginning, as long as they were prepared to blame Syria and Iran, Cannistraro had nothing to do with Lockerbie. As soon as it shifted to Libya, they brought in of course the Libyan dirty tricks expert to oversee the investigation.

Vincent Cannistraro

All of the major developments in the case were provided by the criminal investigators. The principal evidence that led to the identification of a foreign role and an act of terrorism was forensic evidence recovered at Lockerbie by the Scots police themselves; investigators and townspeople on their hands and knees crawling along the countryside picking up minute bits of debris, and one of these bits of debris turned out to be a microchip that was analysed forensically, that led to the Libyan connection.

Cannistraro was appointed as CIA head of the Lockerbie investigation. I don't know exactly when. However, that's the sort of development I was looking for as a possible marker for a decision to start directing the enquiry in a desired direction. I'm not suggesting his was the over-arching initiative, but that a high-up political or strategic decision that it would kill a lot of birds with one stone if this could be pinned on Libya was acted on by appointing Cannistraro.

As the top US Libya expert, he would be in a position to know just what sort of strategically-chosen and placed evidence would do the trick. And, knowing he had political and strategic backing, in a position to get it done. Of course he's going to declare blandly that it was the Scots who found the magic microchip.

And then just a little bit further on.

Originally Posted by The Maltese Double Cross
Narrator

In the Stazi files, the name of Edwin Bollier, codename "Reuben", Stazi agent. His control Jochen Henschel, codename "Wenzel". Meetings in Berlin safe houses, German girls in the Inter hotels. The Stazi had discovered Bollier was selling everything to everyone. The timers only the Libyans were supposed to have to the Stazi, and American C4 explosives, and Italian remote controlled radio controlled detonators, two million Deutschmarks one Stazi payment (per year?), and selling directly to terrorists - the Red Army Faction, Palestinians, other Arabs, in both Germanies. The Stazi even conclude Bollier must have been working for the CIA, because he seemed to be able to get very special American equipment so easily for the Stazi. Double, triple - quadruple agent. A truly neutral Swiss businessman.

Then another twist in turncoat Zuricher Bollier's story. After a visit by Americans on December 28th 1988, he signed a document, one week after Pan Am 103 was destroyed; a document in which Mr. Bollier swears his timers were of a model only sold to Libya - signed even before the use of a bomb had been made public. Before the miraculous grovelling search, a thousand Scots on hands and knees find the smoking fragment. Mr. Bollier had sold so much to so many, he could be blackmailed, so in that situation, he signed. Now he says the document can belong to whoever pays him 2 million doallars cash.

The first paragraph seems to be objectively documented - there are documents on the screen, though the pixillation prevents them being read. I've seen reference to Bollier's being a Stazi agent elsewhere. How much of the speculation is on the mark? Bollier having CIA connections his Stazi handlers only guessed at? I have no idea.

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and Germany was unified in 1990. This is all old history. Bollier must have moved on. But back in 1988, when nobody imagined the Wall would come down, what was going on? How did the events in Germany in late 1989 affect what Bollier was saying to the Lockerbie investigators at the same time? Is this too convoluted to tease out after all this time?

This is a bizarre tale in the second paragraph. It seems to have come from Bollier himself, and we have some idea how reliable he is. But this is an early statement - 1993 vintage, well before he started dementing on about brown and green boards, and perjuring engineers. They hadn't even picked up the timer fragment on 28th December, according to the official story. File that, for possible future reference, I think.

But there's another hint that the US side was more clued-up as to what these green circuit boards than other sources give them credit for.

Originally Posted by The Maltese Double Cross
Thomas Thurman
FBI forensic expert

Eventually on June 15th of, er, 1989 - 1990, yeah, 1990, was the day that I made the identification. And I knew at that point what it meant. And because, if you will, I'm an investigator as well as a forensic examiner, I knew where that would go. That at that point we had no conclusive proof of the type of timing mechanism that was used in the bombing of 103. When that identification was made, of the timer, I knew we had it.

A magnification of that circuit board - which is here, you can see it's a very large magnification - has a partially obliterated marking. And through investigation we determined that this actually is M-E-B-O. Initially we thought that it might be another number like M580, and a number of these were sent out to electronic manufacturers to see if they had made this board. And they said no, that that was not their identification, so the last thing that we determined, which was the right thing, actually that it's M-E-B-O. We had some inkling that's what it was from the beginning, but we didn't want to say, OK that it's MEBO, to the exclusion of anything else, until we were absolutely certain.

Pure speculation, I know, but while this could be entirely on the level, it could also fit my musings about a plant of the fragment rather well.

Does anyone know when Cannistraro was appointed to head the CIA side of the Lockerbie investigation?

Rolfe.
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Old 12th October 2009, 02:30 PM   #379
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And I just raise my head to the TV, switched on to the BBC late evening news, and I see film of Megrahi, looking about 50 years older than he does in The Maltese Double Cross, and the nose of Maid of the Seas lying on the grass at Tundergarth.

Why are so few people following this thread?

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Old 13th October 2009, 02:28 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Actually, the bit I forgot to mention was the "scratches" that Bollier claims were made by Lumpert - including but not necessarily limited to the "M". These are present in the "polaroid" but absent in the later, better pictures.

The other similarities in the pictures lead me very much to the conclusion that the polaroid and the court exhibit photos are of the same thing, but these scratches or whatever they are are an anomaly. I accept that Ambrosia showed evidence to suggest that the "M" was actually a fibre overlaying the fragment, but I'm not sure that explains the rest of the apparent scratches.

Any ideas?

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Ambrosia's is the best. The shadow is consistent with the fiber and the overall angle of light - here appearing as from above (shadow below), app. cross-lit with a little shadow on each side, so almost straight "down." So I agree there.
There's a lump of lint on the left, gone later. and a tan speck, gone later. 2010 affidavit - Ulrich lied before by not saying that's the color of his trousers that day? and then these other things beneath that. Since they're gone later too, I'm thinking of them as smaller tighter fibers. or ash. Or something. Spent way too long on this:

And in context: true size board, I think, if it comes thru right. I re-painted the "M" twice to make sure it's even visible, in bright red. It's really smaller. Now who's supposed to have marked this, and when, and how and why? When it's the only artifact we can clearly ID as a ziggy filler fiber? Or is it? almost this big...


Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
And I just raise my head to the TV, switched on to the BBC late evening news, and I see film of Megrahi, looking about 50 years older than he does in The Maltese Double Cross, and the nose of Maid of the Seas lying on the grass at Tundergarth.

Why are so few people following this thread?

Rolfe.
I think they're following, just not speaking up much. Also, maybe they think it's pretty well covered, or ... it's here to stay for a while - have you heard if Spielberg's gone ahead with the movie yet, and where it's supposed to go?

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Old 13th October 2009, 02:48 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
I think they're following, just not speaking up much. Also, maybe they think it's pretty well covered, or ... it's here to stay for a while - have you heard if Spielberg's gone ahead with the movie yet, and where it's supposed to go?
I'm still following, and I keep trying to make time to summarise my thoughts and post a reasonably long reply, but stuff keeps getting in the way.

Brief summary of my view on this and the other threads is that nothing new has come up over the past few days, Rolfe, Caustic Logic and Dan O. have done great work and present the anomalies in the evidence well, but you seem to be thrashing around for a conspiracy.

In this thread the timer fragment was planted, in another thread the Frankfurt baggage records were faked, or Bollier was leant on to lie about where the timers went. Any one of these could be true, but if they are all true then you have the octopus like NWO beloved of CTers able to manipulate anything. If some of them are just coincidence, or crappy investigating then maybe they all are.

I still think Megrahi was unjustly convicted, but I haven't seen anything yet that convinces me that evidence was planted or faked, beyond people who were at least half convinced Megrahi did it pushing Tony Gauci too hard to positively ID him and similar unprofessional but all too common lapses.

I'll keep reading and let you know if the curtain lifts and I see the truth.
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Old 13th October 2009, 02:56 AM   #382
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Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
Both of these methods would be costly to carry out and they would have been deferred until after the results of tracing the paper fragments was concluded. The paper immediately indicates that there is a manufactured commercial product and this board would very likely be a part of that product and therefore not important. Only after the Toshiba is identified, does the PC fragment becomes perhaps the most important piece of evidence and justify the expense in tracking it down.

I'm not sure this entirely fits. By May 1989, the date of Hayes's (alleged) discovery of the fragment, the Toshiba had already been identified from a fragment of circuit board and a sizeable legible portion of its manual. That is to say, the circuit board was known to match several different Toshiba models, including the one covered by the manual.

So while I can still see why they would be interested in the scraps of paper, after all, they might be from something other than the Toshiba manual, I'm struggling to understand why the "fragment of green circuit board" was packed away and ignored for another four months.

They would still have liked more evidence about the model of the Toshiba, so I'm surprised it wasn't flagged up to be checked from that angle. I'm also surprised that the possibility the fragment might be from the bomb mechanism itself wasn't even considered at the time.

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Old 13th October 2009, 03:06 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
[....] but you seem to be thrashing around for a conspiracy.

In this thread the timer fragment was planted, in another thread the Frankfurt baggage records were faked, or Bollier was leant on to lie about where the timers went. Any one of these could be true, but if they are all true then you have the octopus like NWO beloved of CTers able to manipulate anything. If some of them are just coincidence, or crappy investigating then maybe they all are.

I don't disagree with that at all. If all the anomalies are explicable, then I'd be quite happy to see them explained. However, only by treating them seriously and trying to see how well they stand up to scrutiny can this be determined.

I'm mostly interested in the timer fragment, and don't find the suggestion that the baggage printout was faked to be terribly convincing. But I'm prepared to look at it, just so I'm sure what I think rather than jumping to conclusions.

I think Bollier is a wingnut acting on his own initiative, mainly motivated by a desire to retain/regain business from Libya. (Though I suppose the possibility that he's deliberate disinfo to discredit the whole idea that the timer fragment is dodgy is quite entertaining.)

I don't really buy the "Octopus" theory (the switch with the drug suitcase), but again, I'd like to look at it in detail (another thread, later....) to see just how it stacks up with actual evidence (as opposed to "Lester Coleman says").

Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
I still think Megrahi was unjustly convicted, but I haven't seen anything yet that convinces me that evidence was planted or faked, beyond people who were at least half convinced Megrahi did it pushing Tony Gauci too hard to positively ID him and similar unprofessional but all too common lapses.

I'll keep reading and let you know if the curtain lifts and I see the truth.

You could be right, that that's the size of it. I always said that this could be as simple as so many other wrongful convictions - the investigating authorities convince themselves this guy did it, and then every piece of evidence is looked at in that light. Add fierce political pressure to bring in a guilty verdict, and there you go.

I just want to see if there's anything more, and the only way to do that is to take each strand of CT that's presented and see how plausible it looks.

Rolfe.
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Old 13th October 2009, 03:39 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Ambrosia's is the best. The shadow is consistent with the fiber and the overall angle of light - here appearing as from above (shadow below), app. cross-lit with a little shadow on each side, so almost straight "down." So I agree there. http://img25.imageshack.us/img25/9072/fragmentfibre.jpg
There's a lump of lint on the left, gone later. and a tan speck, gone later. 2010 affidavit - Ulrich lied before by not saying that's the color of his trousers that day? and then these other things beneath that. Since they're gone later too, I'm thinking of them as smaller tighter fibers. or ash. Or something. Spent way too long on this:
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q...es_and_all.jpg
And in context: true size board, I think, if it comes thru right. I re-painted the "M" twice to make sure it's even visible, in bright red. It's really smaller. Now who's supposed to have marked this, and when, and how and why? When it's the only artifact we can clearly ID as a ziggy filler fiber? Or is it? almost this big...
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q...rt_M_Scale.jpg

That's very good, you know. It's an excellent counter to all those documentary and web claims of difference. The angle thing is entirely due to a mis-matching, assuming the top is the same in both cases when of course it isn't.

I thought the speck to the left in the original photo might be another speck of Toshiba case plastic - there are several larger ones near there in the full shot.

The arrow you have labelled "micro-lint" points to a part of the original that I think has been slightly damaged before the later photo was taken, with a flake of material including the end of one of the printed circuit lines having come off. This is not really surprising given the size and fragility of the thing, and the manipulation that has been done. Could you look at that and consider labelling it "flaked-off fragment"?

As well as the missing top, I think the left side of the smaller piece (after sectioning) is also missing some material. This time, given that the edge is fairly straight, I think it's been deliberately taken off for analytical purposes rather than being accidental. All this is perfectly natural, given what they were doing with it, and it's not surprising that some material would be missing as they would have had to consume some in analysis.

I'm still a bit hazy about the "M" and the "scratches" though. I see what Ambrosia has said about the M, and would accept it, but I'm not sure it entirely explains the lower marks, those labelled "scratches by Lumpert". They seem densely concentrated in the areas of board between the printed circuit lines, but to avoid the lines themselves. They do look like tiny scratches.

I'm entirely convinced these two pictures are of the same item. The similarities are too close to be fabricated - in particular the exact pattern of shearing of the edges (where it can still be seen) and the pattern of marks on the "1" of the fingerpad. The latter is particularly convincing at the top.

I'm sure there is an explanation for the "scratches", but I'm not sure we've got it yet.

GT - this may look like "thrashing around for a conspiracy", but what I'm actually trying to do is examine each claim to see if it stands up, in the hope of seeing if there's anything of substance left once we've discounted the disprovable and the highly implausible. I think CL (and Ambrosia) have done a fantastic job of showing up Bollier's claims of a substituted fragment to be completely spurious.

It doesn't prove the fragment wasn't planted in the first place though.

Of course we'll never prove that it was planted. What I'm interested in is, is there a plausible scenario in which it could have been planted? Just highlighting all the anomalies doesn't cut it. We need a plausible account of who, why, when and how, or it doesn't fly. It seems to me nobody has actually come up with such a suggestion - all we have are people pointing to the anomalies and saying "plant!". If we can't come up with one that fits all the know facts, I'm going to go with the fragment being genuine. (Actually, it's a much more interesting puzzle if it's genuine!) However, I haven't yet convinced myself that a plausible scenario can't be constructed.

Rolfe.
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Old 13th October 2009, 08:08 AM   #385
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
They would still have liked more evidence about the model of the Toshiba, so I'm surprised it wasn't flagged up to be checked from that angle. I'm also surprised that the possibility the fragment might be from the bomb mechanism itself wasn't even considered at the time.
There is a lot of the investigation that we still don't have records of. For instance, when was the fragment cut up? There could have been a team working on that fragment from the day it was discovered but we don't know because that line wasn't presented in court. All we see is the simple line that is easier to play.


ps: I looked back at the page 51 image and saw where they correlated the paper fragment sheets with actual page numbers. These look like they were fit in afterwards with slightly smaller print and inconsistent placement. With that though, I am surprised that there isn't also a notation of which manual they came from.
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Old 13th October 2009, 09:40 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
There is a lot of the investigation that we still don't have records of. For instance, when was the fragment cut up? There could have been a team working on that fragment from the day it was discovered but we don't know because that line wasn't presented in court. All we see is the simple line that is easier to play.

As far as I can see, according to the evidence, nothing at all was done with the fragment between May 1989 (the date on Hayes's "page 51") and September, when all of a sudden Feraday seemed to decide it might be important and sent the polaroids to Williamson asking him if he had any idea what it was. It appears not to have been photographed before then, hence the very odd production of the polaroid picture as "the best I can do in such a short time". That picture is the "complete" fragment as we know it - there is no record of any larger version, and the cuts weren't made at that time.

This also seems to be the only picture available of the complete fragment, which is again odd. Even if there was some compelling reason why Feraday had to snap a quick polaroid (not even a straight-on view of the fragment) to send it post-haste to Williamson (after RARDE having sat on it for four months, and with no obvious reason for particular haste), surely to goodness someone would have taken a decent 35mm shot or six with a quality macro lens before starting to mutilate the thing? Maybe they did, but it's simply not in the public domain.

Thurman was sent a photograph of the fragment in the following June - or perhaps earlier, it was in June that he made the identification. His experience of the fragment seems all to be referring to the cut-up version, which again is odd because surely they would have sent him the pictures of the unmutilated exhibit? (Or both of course, but certainly the unmutilated one.) The match with the intact timer is a lot easier to make with the unmutilated fragment, because the top edges match up. It's possible of course that Thurman did have both pictures, but he's just not been clear about that in interview.

In the interview where he challenges the claim that the curvature of the fragment doesn't match, Thurman is very clear why, and that the top edge of the fragment is missing. He appears to have had no difficulty realising this, but he makes no reference to any picture of the unmutilated fragment, and appears not to know what happened to it.

There is some mention (in a rather hysterical post) on Bollier's web site of the fragment having been taken to Vienna and cut up there. I can't remember the date, although I think it was included. This may be correct - Bollier is often correct about the actual evidence, it's mainly his interpretations that are off beam.

Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
ps: I looked back at the page 51 image and saw where they correlated the paper fragment sheets with actual page numbers. These look like they were fit in afterwards with slightly smaller print and inconsistent placement. With that though, I am surprised that there isn't also a notation of which manual they came from.

I did think these were actual page numbers. They may have been entered later after comparison with an intact manual, though I'm a little surprised the contemporaneous notes would have been altered like that.

Rolfe.
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Old 13th October 2009, 06:15 PM   #387
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
As far as I can see, according to the evidence, nothing at all was done with the fragment between May 1989 (the date on Hayes's "page 51") and September, when all of a sudden Feraday seemed to decide it might be important and sent the polaroids to Williamson asking him if he had any idea what it was. It appears not to have been photographed before then, hence the very odd production of the polaroid picture as "the best I can do in such a short time". That picture is the "complete" fragment as we know it - there is no record of any larger version, and the cuts weren't made at that time.
We have the date that the Polaroid was sent to Williamson but do we actually know that the picture was taken at that time?
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Old 14th October 2009, 01:51 AM   #388
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Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
We have the date that the Polaroid was sent to Williamson but do we actually know that the picture was taken at that time?

I don't think we do, but the assumption has never been questioned. If there was a file photo of the fragment available for Feraday to send, it would have been 35mm. The implication seems to be that he wanted to send a photo without delay, there wasn't one available, so he took polaroid shots (or rather, had the staff photographer take them) rather than have to wait for film to be developed.

The stated reason for using a polaroid camera seems weak. The fragment had been lying at RARDE for four months. There was no clear reason why Williamson had to have a picture like tomorrow. In fact, as the intention was to try to find out what the fragment was a fragment of, there was every reason to get as clear and detailed a picture as possible, even at the cost of a couple of days delay.

What special features does a polaroid camera have?
  • No developing is required
  • There is no negative to file
  • No need to involve a photographer in the process
  • Only one print is produced
  • Time/date information is absent
The one-print thing seems to be a particular disadvantage in this situation. Policemen like to have a sheaf of prints so that they can send the troops out in various directions in pursuit of an identification. But you only get one shot from a polaroid. If you're then going to start copying and enlarging a polaroid, well, you might as well have taken a decent 35mm shot in the first place.

Thinking about possible advantages of using a polaroid shot at this stage, if there really is some fabrication of evidence going on, I wonder if the last point is the important one? It would be much easier to put together evidence that the fragment had been looked at and photographed in September 1989 at a later date if the photograph were a timeless polaroid rather than part of a 35mm film with other contemporaneous pictures and maybe even a time/date stamp.

And again, why don't we have a good detailed 35mm picture taken shortly after the polaroid? Given the size of the thing, surely anyone in their right mind would want a professional enlargement with a macro lens as soon as possible? And I would have expected that this picture would have been the "standard" one shown in discussion - not a poor-resolution polaroid, or a shot taken after the thing had been forensically mutilated. And yet, these latter shots are all we ever see.

Just exercising my suspicious mind here.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th October 2009, 02:56 AM   #389
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I'm porting most of this post over from the Malta luggage thread, because to my mind it's more relevant to the possible fabrication of the timer fragment.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
This film (The Maltese Double Cross) is pretty amazing in what information he had at the time. It was made in Nov. 1994, wasn't it? So why does i have the $4 million reward poster for the FBI program ushered in in mid-95? Can't re-locate it now, but It's different - no Megrahi or Fhimah pics, but the same case and the headline "we'll give you $4 million reasons to fight terrorism" with app. small print beneath it.

You're right, there is a different reward poster shown. Of course the film was made after the Megrahi/Fhimah charges were laid, so it could just be an earlier version of the 1995 effort. It's not unheard-of for things like this to be re-launched with a slightly different spin to get more publicity and raise the profile. We'd need to track down the context before we could see if there's any more to it, like a reward for information offered before Libya was implicated.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
I dunno about LeWinter; from here I though 'old ex-CIA guy that's spent years repeating disposable CIA CT claims as if he knows all about them, gettin' a little slow at it now.' Others then said long-time hoaxster, so I'm like - meh. On Cannistrano his gist does make sense - it seems he was Reagan's 'make sh*t up about Gaddafi' guy, and here he's in charge of the investigation that wound up, parallel to the criminal one, doing just that. His Giaka teasers are classic. The set-up between that and the total teardown in court is jaw-dropping.

I know nothing at all about le Winter. However, if there is indeed dirty work at the crossroads here, it's clear that destroyng the credibility of those who speak out in inconvenient ways is the modus operandi of the security forces. It's therefore very difficult to know if people like le Winter and Lester Coleman are genuine, victims of smears and set-ups, or if they're simply wingnuts making stuff up. The thing that inclines me to the former opinion is the sheer number of people who simply can't be dismissed as wingnuts who are arguing on the same side as these people.

I note that the two productions that have been the most obvious victims of the discrediting campaign are The Maltese Double Cross and The Trail of the Octopus. If they're just way off beam, why not simply ignore them? Nobody's gagging Bollier as he spouts his rubbish about substituted green and brown fragments and perjuring engineers - it's obvious that can be disposed of as and when necessary, so why bother.

The one obvious thing The Maltese Double Cross and The Trail of the Octopus have in common is the Jafaar drug suitcase substitution theory. Which makes me feel that deserves more serious examination (later!).

Frankovitch (who made the film) pulled together an enormous amount of material from a wide variety of sources. It's an amazing job for its time, and actually even more so if it's making it all up as opposed to simply following a trail. It's a pity he died (in 1997) before the court case got underway. I wonder what he'd have made of that, and what would have happened if he'd ever got together with people like Robert Black and Hans Kochler.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
On when he (Cannistraro) was put in charge, there's little around. Dr. Swire's site HAD a dedicated page on him with details, sourced at Wikipedia, no longer there. It almost feels like a dead spot around these Qs, like Feraday's getting wikipedia to pull his profile. Or maybe not. But he was reportedly the CTC "Chief of Operations and Analysis" from 88-91, so would it make more sense for him to head the investigation up-front, or only after the normal guy was swapped out? We only have LeWinter's statements that he wasn't in charge at first. We can agree on guessing it was in no later than the end of 89 anyway, right?

Maybe the Wayback Machine has some of that stuff. Worth a look-see anyway. I didn't know Feraday had had his profile pulled from Wiki. I suppose if it's not flattering (low-grade technician with nothing more than an out-of-date HNC pontificating in court cases, finally called off and sent back to the back room where he belongs?), he might just not have wanted it there. (I thought it was quite difficult to shut Wiki up like that though?)

I'm not at all sure when Cannistraro entered the picture. The thing is, late 1989 is still a bit early for "hey let's frame Libya". Not impossible, because these spooks see the way events are developing before they actually play out, but 1990 is more plausible. Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990, isn't that right, and Desert Storm began the following January (1991). It's the necessity to have Iran on-side for that, combined with neutralising Libya, that's generally regarded as the reason for the volte-face. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the first media surfacing of the "it was Libya!" version in September 1990, and it didn't become widespread until December 1990?

There's so much more to work on here than there is with 9/11. I don't know whether I'm glad we don't have a gaggle of rabid twoofers all over it like a rash, or whether we could actually do with their help in ferreting out stuff that needs sifting through!

Rolfe.
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Old 14th October 2009, 03:12 AM   #390
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Honestly on all the circumstantial clues I've wearied of being sure they must mean something. Why write debris over cloth? Why not? Polaroids could just mean photos. In the time available might just indicate bad planning and it being Friday so just send the existing pictures rather than postpone AGAIN until next week. The quality is fine anyway. I've always been troubled by the page re-numbering. Why? Did he have to fit it to some record where it was set in stone his journal had 56 pages, but not what was on them? Why not re-do them all with non-messed up numbers? Just no time?

There are still things that make me wonder of course. Like how page 51 does seem to do just what backdating would need - mention but make absolutely no big deal about the fragment. Reality also MIGHT produce that, for reasons well-explored here, but backdating definitely WOULD. If done right.

Another is how such a simple process broken up into distinct spurts of activity about 4 months apart. January, charred cloth found. May, fragment noted, barely. September, specific attention. Early 1990, February I hear, forensic tests done and more photos taken. June, Thurman invites Williamson and Feraday to his ID session. 16 months it took to figure this out in these little spurts with apparently nothing happening in between. As Dan O. says we're missing some of the picture, but I'm also having a hard time figuring out what else they WOULD be doing about this increasingly interesting clue in the downtimes.
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Old 14th October 2009, 04:13 AM   #391
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Is this the page on Cannistraro you were meaning? I got it from the Wayback machine. I haven't explored every avenue there though, so if you think there's more I'll have another look. It doesn't say when he joined the enquiry, or even that he wasn't there from the start.

Quote:
Vincent Cannistraro, CIA

Former CIA agent and administrator in the Nicaraguan campaign that formed the basis of the mid-1980s Oliver North Iran-Contra scandal. Was put in charge of the CIA team investigating the Lockerbie bombing.

Was the bomb timer fragment pointing to Libya planted by American intelligence? A former CIA Middle East specialist Robert Baer claims claims that Iran funded the operation and that a Syrian-backed Palestinian terrorist group placed the bomb on board Pan Am 103. If Baer is correct, then one major conclusion must be that the single piece of hard evidence which the prosecution would later claim pointed solely to Libya, was faked and planted.

Early in 1991 Cannistraro said "We believe - and I think this has been accepted by the President's Commission on Aviation Security - that [Palestinian terrorist leader Ahmed] Jibril ultimately orchestrated the operation which led to the destruction of Pan Am 103." Yet within six months of that statement, Cannistraro was publicly supporting the indictments issued against the Libyans Fhimah and Al-Megrahi.

Why was Cannistraro not called to the Lockerbie trial to give evidence? The court knew that CIA or FBI agents had illegally removed evidence from the scene of the crash, and re-inserted at least one piece of evidence after it had been tampered with, thus casting doubt on the validity of whatever evidence was finally recovered. It was known that Cannistraro's name was on the original list of witnesses. All that he could offer by way of explanation was that he believed "it was the Department of Justice who removed my name."

"Early in 1991" he was still saying it was Jibril??? That's very odd. The "Libya did it!" meme was out in the public domain from late 1990. I wonder how accurate this is.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th October 2009, 09:45 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I don't think we do, but the assumption has never been questioned. If there was a file photo of the fragment available for Feraday to send, it would have been 35mm. The implication seems to be that he wanted to send a photo without delay, there wasn't one available, so he took polaroid shots (or rather, had the staff photographer take them) rather than have to wait for film to be developed.

The stated reason for using a polaroid camera seems weak. The fragment had been lying at RARDE for four months. There was no clear reason why Williamson had to have a picture like tomorrow. In fact, as the intention was to try to find out what the fragment was a fragment of, there was every reason to get as clear and detailed a picture as possible, even at the cost of a couple of days delay.

What special features does a polaroid camera have?
  • No developing is required
  • There is no negative to file
  • No need to involve a photographer in the process
  • Only one print is produced
  • Time/date information is absent
The one-print thing seems to be a particular disadvantage in this situation. Policemen like to have a sheaf of prints so that they can send the troops out in various directions in pursuit of an identification. But you only get one shot from a polaroid. If you're then going to start copying and enlarging a polaroid, well, you might as well have taken a decent 35mm shot in the first place.

Thinking about possible advantages of using a polaroid shot at this stage, if there really is some fabrication of evidence going on, I wonder if the last point is the important one? It would be much easier to put together evidence that the fragment had been looked at and photographed in September 1989 at a later date if the photograph were a timeless polaroid rather than part of a 35mm film with other contemporaneous pictures and maybe even a time/date stamp.
Does Feraday actually have his office at RARDE or is he working from somewhere else and only visits there. If he is just visiting then he would want to take a photo of the chip with him on the day he discovered it because as you say, it looks to be a very important piece of evidence. If he is just a low level tech that happens to have some outside contacts, he may not have the authority to call RARDE and tell them to send a good photo of that chip to Williamson. But he could send that Polaroid that he took for himself. Whether he thought about the future ramifications of this act or not, it puts him in the chain of events for the break in the case and he is soon flying off to Washington for a face to face with Williamson and the MST-13 timer.

And how did Feraday believe that Williamson would be able to identify the chip? It looks like a hail-marry pass unless someone in the background already had some solid information that we aren't seeing.


Quote:
And again, why don't we have a good detailed 35mm picture taken shortly after the polaroid? Given the size of the thing, surely anyone in their right mind would want a professional enlargement with a macro lens as soon as possible? And I would have expected that this picture would have been the "standard" one shown in discussion - not a poor-resolution polaroid, or a shot taken after the thing had been forensically mutilated. And yet, these latter shots are all we ever see.
We only see what either the prosecution or the defense wanted to use in court. The prosecution has a simple chain that establishes the provenance of the chip without going into the confusing technical details of circuit board manufacturing. If they present the high resolution photo, it might bring up the derailing question of why that photo wasn't sent to Williamson instead.

The defense doesn't want to focus any attention on the chip that points to the timer that points to mebo that points to Libya that points to their client. So they aren't going to even ask if there is a better photo.


PS: Notice in the photo of PP8932 showing the collar, bits of plastic, circuit chip and paper manual fragment, the paper is still in one piece. This photo precedes the notes of page 51 showing the separated pieces of paper.
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Old 14th October 2009, 10:14 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
Does Feraday actually have his office at RARDE or is he working from somewhere else and only visits there. If he is just visiting then he would want to take a photo of the chip with him on the day he discovered it because as you say, it looks to be a very important piece of evidence. If he is just a low level tech that happens to have some outside contacts, he may not have the authority to call RARDE and tell them to send a good photo of that chip to Williamson. But he could send that Polaroid that he took for himself. Whether he thought about the future ramifications of this act or not, it puts him in the chain of events for the break in the case and he is soon flying off to Washington for a face to face with Williamson and the MST-13 timer.

And how did Feraday believe that Williamson would be able to identify the chip? It looks like a hail-marry pass unless someone in the background already had some solid information that we aren't seeing.

Feraday worked at RARDE, I believe. He was listed in Wikipedia at one point as being the director, which isn't bad going for someone with only an out-of-date HNC to his name. Gleaning the sequence of events from a number of sources, the suggestion is that the evidence looked at in May was being checked over again in September to see if anything interesting might still be lurking there.

He didn't go anywhere near Washington then. His Washington trip (with Williamson to see Thurber) was in the summer of 1990. In Sepember 1989 all he did was send the polaroid to Williamson in Scotland with a note that it might be something of interest.

I don't think Feraday had any notion that Williamson could identify the chip. But Williamson was the Scottish detective working on the case, so it was his job to get the leg-work organised. He apparently got nowhere, until 9 months later Thurman identified the chip from a photo that had been sent to him. Possibly by Williamson, this is not reported in detail that I know of.

Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
We only see what either the prosecution or the defense wanted to use in court. The prosecution has a simple chain that establishes the provenance of the chip without going into the confusing technical details of circuit board manufacturing. If they present the high resolution photo, it might bring up the derailing question of why that photo wasn't sent to Williamson instead.

The defense doesn't want to focus any attention on the chip that points to the timer that points to mebo that points to Libya that points to their client. So they aren't going to even ask if there is a better photo.

Indeed. It's a question of the publicity. Of all the photos to trot out, the obvious one is the good 35mm macro lens enlargement of the intact fragment. If it existed. And if it didn't, what was Williamson touting round electronics firms in late 1989/early 1990?

Originally Posted by Dan O. View Post
PS: Notice in the photo of PP8932 showing the collar, bits of plastic, circuit chip and paper manual fragment, the paper is still in one piece. This photo precedes the notes of page 51 showing the separated pieces of paper.

Wut!!?? That's interesting. That implies that picture was taken in May 1989 at the earliest. I need to re-think some stuff.

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Old 14th October 2009, 10:15 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Honestly on all the circumstantial clues I've wearied of being sure they must mean something.

I think it's impossible that they all mean something. Some of them, inevitably, are just in the "stuff happens" category. I'm more inclined to place the Erac printout in that category than the timer fragment, but either or both could indeed be entirely kosher.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Why write debris over cloth? Why not?

I don't know. You have to examine the label extremely carefully to see the change. I don't see what was or might have been achieved by making this change, however it is odd. Why was Gilchrist's evidence about it in court described by the judges as "at best unhelpful, at worst evasive"? It has been noted that no other similar alteration was seen on any other evidence label, and that legitimate alterations should have been done by crossing out and leaving the original text legible.

Hmmmm. One of the interviews in The Maltese Double Cross is with one of the English search team, in the Kielder Forest. (The film keeps coming back to the discovery of the fragment, and each time it gives a different version. Hmmm.) He says that very much later (1990?) he was visited by police bearing three evidence bags and asking him to sign for them as having been brought in by himself or his team. He said he'd never seen the stuff before. He said one was a bit of cloth (not sure if he said charred), one seemed to be bits of brown suitcase, and he doesn't know what was in the third.

Suppose the entire shirt collar and associated debris were put together at that time, and this was an attempt to get a civilian provenance for the find? (He didn't say if he signed or not, but I suspect not.) The label was changed because they used an old one. The mountain rescue guy didn't sign, and in the end they got a Scottish policeman to sign. This could explain why he was so worried about giving evidence (according to someone, possibly the Golfer), and evasive, rather than just saying openly that after he wrote the label he realised there was also debris in the bag and changed it, so sorry, should just have crossed it out, my bad.

Was it presented as being found in the Kielder Forest, as so many of the sources say? Not sure why a Scottish policeman would be searching Northumberland on his hands and knees. Didn't he have enough to do in his own country, where the crash happened, and weren't there enough English police to do what was needed over the border in England? These guys are usually very protective of their own turf.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Polaroids could just mean photos. In the time available might just indicate bad planning and it being Friday so just send the existing pictures rather than postpone AGAIN until next week. The quality is fine anyway.

No. "Photos" could be polaroids, or not, but I don't believe anyone would use the word "polaroid" for a 35mm photo. The quality is fair, but it's nowhere close to being a proper photographic record of a vital piece of evidence. The pace of this entire thing simply doesn't support the "polaroids 'cos this is urgent" explanation. And even if for some weird reason that was done, it doesn't explain the absence of a good 35mm shot of the fragment in its original condition, taken next week.

The more I think about it, the weirder that omission gets. Before anybody started to mutilate the evidence, it should have been absolutely axoimatic to get a good photographic record of its original appearance. And it should have been the best of those pictures that became the iconic shot of the fragment.

Unless the whole bloody boiling was being manufactured in 1990. Get that polaroid (with no traceable date) to represent what was seen in September 1989, then get the hell on with simulating the forensic testing.

I'm brainstorming here, but it seems to be flying at the moment.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
I've always been troubled by the page re-numbering. Why? Did he have to fit it to some record where it was set in stone his journal had 56 pages, but not what was on them? Why not re-do them all with non-messed up numbers? Just no time?

The page renumbering may look the strongest link in the chain, but it's not.

Hayes actually gave a perfectly reasonable explanation to the court. He said he was numbering the pages by hand as he added them to the folder. He thinks he must have realised, when he got to page 56, that he had accidentally numbered two pages with the number 51. He therefore crossed out the second of these, and the original numbers 52 to 55, and re-numbered the sequence 52 to 56. This could well be true, but it still leaves the huge coincidence of it being the very page describing the hugely suspicious timer fragment which was affected by the mistake.

The other way of looking at it is, Hayes was looking for somewhere to interpolate this evidence. Between pages 50 and 51 seemed to be an excellent place for it to go to look natural. However, he couldn't just tear up the original page 51. But there was a page 56 that had nothing of importance on it and was expendable, so he tore that up and re-numbered the original pages 51 to 55.

Better not to fabricate anything more than necessary, so don't re-write these pages - maybe other reasons, e.g. time, and the nature of the material on these pages. He doesn't make the mistake of trying for an invisible alteration either, because that's more suspicious if spotted (vide supra). And in the unlikely event of anybody actually looking at this and noticing the re-numbering (remember, for years nobody seriously believed there would ever be a trial), well, Hayes isn't the accused, and he has his perfectly plausible story ready. (A couple of sources have him saying the renumbering is "an unfathomable mystery", but I don't know where they get that from, the explanation in the court judgement is perfectly reasonable.)

OK, still just brainstorming, but it's still more or less airborne.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
There are still things that make me wonder of course. Like how page 51 does seem to do just what backdating would need - mention but make absolutely no big deal about the fragment. Reality also MIGHT produce that, for reasons well-explored here, but backdating definitely WOULD. If done right.

Mmmm, exactly.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Another is how such a simple process broken up into distinct spurts of activity about 4 months apart. January, charred cloth found. May, fragment noted, barely. September, specific attention. Early 1990, February I hear, forensic tests done and more photos taken. June, Thurman invites Williamson and Feraday to his ID session. 16 months it took to figure this out in these little spurts with apparently nothing happening in between. As Dan O. says we're missing some of the picture, but I'm also having a hard time figuring out what else they WOULD be doing about this increasingly interesting clue in the downtimes.

Apparently, from September 1989 to June 1990, Williamson was trawling the circuit board manufacturers of Europe trying to get a match, to no avail. And all the while there was Thurman sitting in America, who could have told him straight off what it was. Oops.

Again, I find it hard to see why Williamson would be doing all this without a decent high-magnification photo of the fragment, and yet if such a picture was taken (before forensics cut it up), why isn't that the "iconic image"? What on earth was he showing to these electronics guys between September 1989 and February 1990 (assuming better pictures of the mutilated fragment bcame available then)?

OK, I firmly state I'm indulging in pure speculation here, treating the thing as an abstract exercise in thriller-solving, with no more connection to reality than an Agatha Christie plot. No implications of wrongdoing against persons alive or dead are implied or should be inferred. Consider this as alternate-reality fiction.

My brainstorming is taking me to the suggestion that the entire bag of evidence was put together some time in early 1990, possibly using irrelevant, surplus material from the investigation to give provenance to the timer fragment. The fragment itself was derived from a second intact timer held by the US (the original find was of two timers, of which only one was said to have been given to the USA, but there is no record of what happened to the other one).

I note that on 30th January 1990 the police were asking Gauci about grey shirts, though whether they were showing him the piece the fragment was found in is not recorded.

After assembling the bag of evidence, it's opened and Hayes writes his page of notes, mentioning the fragment but not giving it any special emphasis. The page is really all about these flakes of Toshiba manual, after all. That's what he's concentrating on here! He's so keen on the flakes of manual, he barely noticed the circuit board at the time.

Then the polariod picture(s) are taken, using the polaroid camera because that doesn't leave any hard evidence of the date, and Feraday writes his little memo to Williamson.

The fragment is then fed into the forensic testing system for these guys to get on with it.

Now what? The difficulty with this is the suggestion of a conspiracy involving people from different arms of the investigation and even different countries. Political and/or high-level security instructions come from the PtB to Cannistraro, who is CIA. He has to get the fragment fabricated, possibly involving Thurman, who is FBI, and the CIA and the FBI hate each other's guts. (On the other hand, that's not essential. I see certain suggestions that Thurman was involved - his very easy identification of the fragment, appreciating immediately that the top has been removed forensically and so on, but he might have had nothing to do with it.)

Then he has to get the fragment inserted into the chain of evidence in England, which requires both Hayes and Feraday to be up for some shenanigans. Big risk, I'd have thought. But then, who knows how these things might be organised. Possibly the availability of forensics people prepared to get involved in shenanigans is what dictates the feasibility of the exercise.

Williamson may merely consent to shifting the date he received the photograph from Feraday back to September 1989, but otherwise get on with it. And then the fragment itself was passed to forensics to be dissected. (Possibly it was expected that forensics would take close-ups of the undamaged fragment, but forensics assumed that had already been documented.)

Longtabber did say something sensible. It makes better sense to feed your fake evidence into the legitimate investigation process, and let them deal with it in all good faith for while. Then after the British side of the investigation has had it for a while, and it has genuine established provenance in the system, get a picture of it to Thurman (we don't know who sent him the picture or exactly when), who knows what it is.

Well, who knows. As I said, it's fantasy. But it is possible to construct a narrative such that the fragment is faked, within known evidence and probability. Until someone comes and shoots it down of course.

As I said above, the puzzle is actually more interesting in some ways if the fragment is genuine, and everyone in the investigation telling the absolute truth about it. Which is perfectly possible.

I'm just interested to know whether it's possible to create a scenario in which the fragment is fabricated, or whether any speculation about the case must inevitably assume it's genuine. Because, if it's fabricated, the device pretty much has to have gone on at Heathrow. If it's not, then Frankfurt or even other airports become a distinct possibility. That's the real relevance.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th October 2009, 04:30 PM   #395
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Pray forgive the dose of tl;dr above.

And read it anyway so you cen tell me what's wrong with it.

But Dan O. has pointed out something that has to be factored in. The picture of the whole exhibit (including collar) was taken before the paper fragments were teased out. What I thought was a detached fragment of shirt collar is indeed the compacted paper fragment. Thus, attempts to reconstruct the Official Version have been incorrect.

Actually, this observation doesn't have much effect on the CT version I expounded apart from changing the order of a couple of steps. It does affect understanding of the Official Version.

The inescapable conclusion is that the fragment, in context, was indeed photographed at the time Hayes made his May notes - probably, or even earlier. That picture has never looked like a polaroid to me, but I can't really say. I just accepted it was, because "people" said so. "People" being mostly Bollier, my bad.

So what did Feraday send to Williamson in September? That picture? Surely not, if it was a polaroid and hence the only copy. Maybe he was reviewing the evidence from the files only, and so only saw the picture at that stage. So, did he have a polaroid taken of the file photo?

What's the red circle for? I thought Feraday had done that to show Williamson which item he was talking about. But this photo goes back to May, would Feraday deface a file photo in September? It would be easy to say Feraday had simply got another print made of the file photo, circled the fragment on it, and sent that. But that would quite specifically not be a polaroid.

Is it a polaroid photo of the file photo? The copy with the red circle looks too good to be that. And for goodness sake, there's no hurry so great that you'd send a policeman a photo of a photo to use for his identification search! (OK maybe there is, but this isn't it.) Anyway, Feraday actually says "Here are some polaroid photos of the green circuitboard. Sorry about the quality but it's the best I can do in such a short time."

This tends to imply to me that we do not have the polaroids Feraday was talking about. What we are looking at is a routine picture taken in May just before Hayes first examined the exhibit. What that red circle is doing there I have no idea. Could it have been added at the time of the court hearing? (Now, could that be dated to May, by examining the negative? No idea. But if this line of explanation is correct, you'd think it could have been.)

What's the game with the September polaroids then?

Surely Feraday wasn't just going by photographs when he decided the fragment looked important. Even if it started like that, he'd have had to have got the actual exhibit out of store to see it for himself and get those polaroids taken?

My head hurts. I should go to bed. But it does occur to me that the important exhibits were tracked as to where they were and when they were taken out of store. I saw something relating to this elsewhere. If these records are clear and tamperproof, it could knock my CT scenario on the head of course.

I suspect there's a sensible explanation for all this if I only knew what it was. Right now it's doing my head in.

Rolfe.
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Old 14th October 2009, 06:27 PM   #396
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Here's the bit of The Maltese Double Cross, with the interview with the mountain rescue guy who led part of the search in Northumberland.

Quote:
Edwin Bollier

Afterwards when we heard that a fragment had been found in the tragic Lockerbie accident, I wanted to see this piece. In 1990 or 1991 I spent a whole week with the FBI because I wanted to see the actual fragment. They then told me they didn't have it, that the Scottish police had it. So I spent a whole week with the Scottish police, but they refused to show me the piece. They only showed me a photograph.

The FBI officer said this could be explained. Three of his people had sworn that they had found this piece in a piece of a coat, and had signed a paper to this effect. I later heard it said that it was the Scottish police who had found the piece in a shirt that had come from Malta.

Narrator

So the FBI were telling Mr. Bollier they had three men in Scotland in place constantly for two years, when every piece was found, because how could they have known beforehand what was important? Then the Scottish police tell him that none of that is true. They in fact found the smoking timer, themselves, in a shirt from Malta.

Two years after this mountain rescue team had searched the Kielder Forest for two brief but terrible Christmas weeks - that is how long the main search really went on - Bobby was asked by the police to sign a statement saying he had found things, including things he could not even identify.

Bobby Ingram, volunteer searcher

Approximately two years after the search had finished, I received a phone call from a policeman in Lockerbie itself, asking if he could come down to my home and bring with him certain bags containing some evidence that was of an important nature, and would I sign to say that I picked those up, or people in my party had picked those up and I'd handed them in. He brought with him three small bags about the size of an A5 piece of paper, one of which contained this item of cloth, one of which contained a brown piece which looked very much like a piece of suitcase, and the third item, I've just no idea what it was.

My default position is not to believe a word Bollier says. Bobby Ingram, on the other hand, is a different matter. Were they really trying to get him to establish provenance on the collar of the grey slalom shirt?

Rolfe.
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Old 15th October 2009, 05:14 AM   #397
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Here's the bit of The Maltese Double Cross, with the interview with the mountain rescue guy who led part of the search in Northumberland.
...
My default position is not to believe a word Bollier says. Bobby Ingram, on the other hand, is a different matter. Were they really trying to get him to establish provenance on the collar of the grey slalom shirt?

Rolfe.
Wow. I hadn't absorbed what Ingram said, but It's got a ring of realism to it. It does seem a bit out there to simply ask people outright to forge evidence tags, specially if they're people like this that talk about it. How many others kept quiet? How much was planted? When? What positive evidence do we have? All the clothes pointed to Libya. I've never wanted to argue THOSE were planted. ... I'll have to come back to this. Did he say two years? That bettwer be important stuff. Or not, since he'd recognize his own handiwork cited as altering world event, wouldn't he? Grain o salt.

Quote:
Edwin Bollier

Afterwards when we heard that a fragment had been found in the tragic Lockerbie accident, I wanted to see this piece. In 1990 or 1991 I spent a whole week with the FBI because I wanted to see the actual fragment. They then told me they didn't have it, that the Scottish police had it. So I spent a whole week with the Scottish police, but they refused to show me the piece. They only showed me a photograph.
I believe him here, more or less. Makes sense.

Quote:
The FBI officer said this could be explained. Three of his people had sworn that they had found this piece in a piece of a coat, and had signed a paper to this effect. I later heard it said that it was the Scottish police who had found the piece in a shirt that had come from Malta.
He makes it sound like some discrepancy. The whole movie is a little confused on the subject, which is great cause it shows how confusing this all is. It was reportedly found in a collar part of a rather coatlike shirt, from Malta. THAT may have been planted, on top of speculation the timer fragment was planted within that. Then we've got Bollier bringing in the microscopic musical chairs with the swapping of chips and bits of chips. Really, I have no fundamental problem with any of this, as far as considering it until I see evidence otherwise.

Quote:
Narrator

So the FBI were telling Mr. Bollier they had three men in Scotland in place constantly for two years, when every piece was found, because how could they have known beforehand what was important? Then the Scottish police tell him that none of that is true. They in fact found the smoking timer, themselves, in a shirt from Malta.
???
nevermind

Okay, so this circuit board fragment appeared to Frankovich at the time to have only been found after two winters, so in 1990 - we have some allegations of late-forged material in app. LATE 1990 - the most important materials point to Malta and have the timer bit - the impetus to target Libya rather than follow the real trail is clear to all by mid-1990. Gulf War foreshadowing in full bloom to high-level types. Thurman's yup happened then. Indictment followed soon, and the PR blitzes.

Atsa lotta backdating though if it was this time. I'm a backdating proponent, but ... wait, I'm already arguing that for these anyway. Y'know, I think the 9/15 Ferraday-Williamson memo is legit. I think BKA-FBI contact on the Frankfurt airport records came in around the same time. I don't see much reason to plant more clothes later when the ones you need are already logged and yielding the right leads...

And thanks for thoughts on my image thing. I'll prob revise a bit and get a blog post up soon. This investigative discussion thread ROCKS.
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Old 19th October 2009, 04:24 AM   #398
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Wow. I hadn't absorbed what Ingram said, but It's got a ring of realism to it. It does seem a bit out there to simply ask people outright to forge evidence tags, specially if they're people like this that talk about it. How many others kept quiet? How much was planted? When? What positive evidence do we have? All the clothes pointed to Libya. I've never wanted to argue THOSE were planted. ... I'll have to come back to this. Did he say two years? That bettwer be important stuff. Or not, since he'd recognize his own handiwork cited as altering world event, wouldn't he? Grain o salt.

I wonder about the "two years" part - it seems unfeasibly long. A year miight be more like it. I'm not sure if we can postulate that Ingram was mistaken or just suffered a slip of the tongue there.

The rest isn't necessarily as momentous as all that. Just after the crash, enormous piles of stuff were being recovered. Bound to be some mistakes in documentation. Couple of bags not signed for, believed to have come from Ingram's team, hey junior constable, could you just go and get his signature on that?

If Ingram did sign (and note that he doesn't say he did), then these bags themselves are not that important, because nothing with Ingram's signature was presented in evidence as far as I know. The bag with the timer fragment was supposedly found by Gilchrist.

While it's not impossible that one of the bags Ingram describes is the bag in question, and we could postulate that after Ingram said he couldn't sign because he didn't recognise the material, Gilchrist was approached to sign instead, I don't think that's exactly Frankovich's point. His point was simply that some time after the crash (even up to two years, possibly), retrospective authentication of recovered evidence was being undertaken. Maybe it was all semi-legit, just tidying up sloppy documentation left over from a pretty stressful exercise, but how do we know an extra bag of evidence couldn't have been snuck in the same way?

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
He makes it sound like some discrepancy. The whole movie is a little confused on the subject, which is great cause it shows how confusing this all is. It was reportedly found in a collar part of a rather coatlike shirt, from Malta. THAT may have been planted, on top of speculation the timer fragment was planted within that. Then we've got Bollier bringing in the microscopic musical chairs with the swapping of chips and bits of chips. Really, I have no fundamental problem with any of this, as far as considering it until I see evidence otherwise.

Okay, so this circuit board fragment appeared to Frankovich at the time to have only been found after two winters, so in 1990 - we have some allegations of late-forged material in app. LATE 1990 - the most important materials point to Malta and have the timer bit - the impetus to target Libya rather than follow the real trail is clear to all by mid-1990. Gulf War foreshadowing in full bloom to high-level types. Thurman's yup happened then. Indictment followed soon, and the PR blitzes.

There seems to have been a lot of confusion about who found the shirt collar, and where, and when. The detail of that isn't easily accessible now, because the final story of Gilchrist and his buddy finding it in a fingertip search has become canon. Unfortunately Frankovich isn't clear about the details of the conflicting stories. I think the basic point is probably that the fragment may well have been planted as late as 1990 because it's all completely up in the air.

Of course Frankovich never saw what came out at the trial - the Hayes notes with page 51, and the 15th September memo from Feraday. So we'll never know what he would have made of these.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Atsa lotta backdating though if it was this time. I'm a backdating proponent, but ... wait, I'm already arguing that for these anyway. Y'know, I think the 9/15 Ferraday-Williamson memo is legit. I think BKA-FBI contact on the Frankfurt airport records came in around the same time. I don't see much reason to plant more clothes later when the ones you need are already logged and yielding the right leads...

Gimme a break, this was an English memo, quit with the 9/15 thing, you're confusing the hell out of me. If it was anything, it was 15-9-89, but just to save confusion, type the name of the month.

I can certainly argue that memo as legit. We now know we don't have the actual polaroids referred to. The wording makes it clear the memo is really a covering note. Feraday says "the" fragment, not "a" fragment. It implies that he's spoken to Williamson about it already, probably on the phone. It could be that Williamson has put some sort of time constraint on him, possibly something to do with the "lads and lassies" who are going to be asked to try to identify the thing.

Let's suppose Feraday has just noticed that Hayes seems to have dropped a stitch back in May, and not flagged up that hugely significant fragment when he first logged it. He phones Williamson to tell him he's found something that looks important but needs to be forensically examined. Williamson tells him he's going to meet the boffins at the Scottish Criminal Records Bureau the day after tomorrow, and if he can just have a picture of the fragment he'll take it with him. The only picture available is the composite shot of the entire exhibit taken before Hayes teased out the paper fragment, and it doesn't show the timer fragment straight on or in decent detail. There isn't time to get a set of 35mm pictures taken and developed, so Feraday gets a couple of polaroids taken to send immediately. The polaroids soon fade from view because better pictures are also taken (pity they're not part of the public record), but the mention of them remains in that note.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
And thanks for thoughts on my image thing. I'll prob revise a bit and get a blog post up soon. This investigative discussion thread ROCKS.

I would suggest that a page dedicated to exploding Bollier's claims that the fragment has been substituted during the forensic process would be very justifiable. His claims (brown boards, mis-matching curves, Lumpert's affidavit and so on) have become very pervasive and they're muddying the waters quite badly.

I think he's just a nut, but a case could be made for him being actual disinfo. Think about it. Lots of people think the fragment was planted. Bollier comes up with what seems like solid evidence to back that up. This is latched on to by those investigating a plant, and made the central plank of their allegations. Then, hey presto, the authorities do what you've just done and show that the earliest photo of the fragment is the same item as the court exhibit, and it matches the Togo timer. Ergo, no substitution. Case dismissed.

But actually, the suspicion that the fragment was planted doesn't depend at all on the thing having been substituted. It's an awful lot easier to examine the possibility of a plant if you're clear about that, and that Bollier is talking mince.

Rolfe.
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Old 19th October 2009, 02:43 PM   #399
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I suppose my title of the thread was wrong. We can't possibly say the fragment was planted. Could it have been planted?

There's an awful lot of this that stinks to high heaven. It just reeks of cover-up. I don't think creating a little bit of evidence is an unthinkable suggestion.

Cannistraro seems very suspicious. Swire originally suggested he was responsible for doing exactly that. The idea that the strategy wonks-in-chief sent him in there to make sure the blame was fixed on Libya seems quite plausible.

So, if he did it, what did he do next?

Rolfe.
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Old 20th October 2009, 02:27 AM   #400
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You know, Caustic Logic, if you have a chance to get up a page summarising the evidence here, especially showing that the fragment is identical betwen the first picture and the trial exhibit, it could be very valuable. (I'm afraid I'm really busy this week.)

This morning my radio alarm came on as usual, and I was trying to wake up, and I heard the words ".... FBI officer Richard Marquise said the fragment was taken to Washington.... Suspicions that it had been tampered with were raised very early on in the enquiry...."

I honestly thought I was hallucinating, because I'd been reading too much about the case!

But no. The full article came on about ten minutes later. Christine Grahame, who is my own local MSP, is making waves about the provenance of the fragment. She repeatedly said that the documentation does not show any record of the fragment ever having been taken out of Scotland, but she'd received evidence through an FoI request that it had been taken to Germany for examination. In addition, she was quoting Marquise in the Dutch documentary as claiming that it was taken to the USA. Someone also mentioned that the forensic expert in that film agreed with Bollier and not with Thurman.

Here is the online article, and readers in Britain may be able to listen to the radio broadcast.

I was very surprised by her insistence that the fragment was never officially taken out of Scotland. I thought it was a fact that it was examined at RARDE, in Kent. However, I notice that the web report quotes Peter Fraser as saying that it was never "taken out of Scottish jurisdiction or control". Would that still cover examination in England? I'm not sure about that. In the same way, if Scottish police took it to Munich, or to Washington, would it not still count as being "under Scottish jurisdiction and control" if the Scottish policemen always had it in their possession?

What Christine was saying was that the log of the fragment doesn't show it going out of Scotland at all. I have no idea how correct she is about this.

Christine can be a bit inclined to jump to conclusions. I know her very slightly, but I don't suppose she'd be likely to pay an attention to me. She hasn't mentioned Bollier or his claims of substitution, but I'm a bit concerned she's heading in that direction. And of course, basing one's argument on Bollier's claims is obviously a one-way road to losing all credibility, once it has been shown that the photos all show the same fragment.

Looking dispassionately at the Dutch film, I suspect that Marquise's claim that the fragment was in Washington might be a trick of the memory after 18 years. He does seem to accept correction from Henderson towards the end. Also, the film-makers show the wrong picture at one stage (the Toshiba fragment instead of the timer fragment), and confuse Thurman. Thurman has been quite clear in other interviews that his identification was made from a photograph. However, 18 years is a long time, and he probably did see the actual fragment at some later stage, so again I think both he and the Dutch film-makers were slightly confused there. Using that film to allege shenanigans is quite clearly unsafe - allegations have to be cross-checked and verified from other sources.

This seems more like a legal ploy than a real question about the fragment's reliability. Frankly, if it's the same fragment all the time and it matches up with the Togo board, it doesn't matter in real terms whether the thing was taken to Timbuctoo or Ulan Bator. It might be useful if you wanted to get the conviction quashed to be able to say, the provenance of the fragment is compromised, it can't be used in evidence. However, since the fragment exists, and doesn't seem to have been illegitimately tampered with in any way that would influence the identification, that seems very unsatisfactory to me.

Anyway, if there was a nice, succinct web page summarising what we've found in this thread and in particular showing that the original photo from the composite picture is the same item as the court exhibit and that both are consistent with the Togo board, it would at least be something to point Christine at, to try to prevent her from making unfounded points which can only result in loss of credibility.

Rolfe.
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