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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , John Wyatt , Lockerbie bombing , Muammar al-Gaddafi , Pan Am 103

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Old 24th September 2009, 04:43 AM   #1
Rolfe
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Was the "bomb suitcase" in PA103 a fabrication or mistake?

I'm starting a new thread because this question has come up very seriously in the MST-13 thread, but it's really quite a separate issue and the two are difficult to discuss in parallel.

I'm copying Longtabber PE's most recent posts below, to kick off.

Rolfe.
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Old 24th September 2009, 04:44 AM   #2
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Longtabber's take on this.

Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Originally Posted by Rolfe
His point about the Mach Stem Effect however seems to be taken directly from the Air Accident report, and Protheroe's explanation of the mistake in the calculation. He has an article explaining what he's on about.

Perhaps you could take a look at that lot and assess how justifiable the assumptions are.

Rolfe.

That report makes a lot of technical sense and I definitely see where he is coming from and going. Similar to where I was going.

The big selling point for me is this 20x20 hole with the petaling.

Thats consistent with that size charge very close to plate metal. ( I think I said 2-3 feet somewhere earlier) That says placed charge to me rather than the suitcase theory.

What would tell me "yes" or "no" in certain terms is an X ray analysis of the entire area paying close attention to heat affected zones at the edges.

Its like what I do on machined parts cut by lasers.

If the bomb was close and did it- the heat had to hit it and change the density of the metal and thermal shock is easy to see.

If the hole was made by explosive force ( pushing until the MoE reached and it ruptured) ( further from the bubble)- that would show up as well

If it was punched thru as in projectile as a secondary effect- that would be distinguishable too.

Were any such tests as these done? I see where microscopy was done but nothing NDT related.

Rolfe.
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Old 24th September 2009, 04:46 AM   #3
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Longtabber's next post, and I think we can take it from there.

If anyone has said anything about this aspect earlier in the other thread and wants to copy it over, please do that.

Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Originally Posted by Ambrosia
Toshiba radio cassette players aren't exactly rare, and it wasn't that similar to the Khreesat bomb from the Frankfurt raid, but I take your point.

Let me elaborate here and maybe clear up a few points. Its referring to these flags I see and experience. I dont think I have related fully where I'm coming from.

This comes purely from the engineer in me and my company and what we do.

We specialize in all the process engineering ( TQM, 6 Sigma, Weibull, ISO and all that) as well as RFCA/FMECA, predictive technologies and DT/NDT and the ancillary areas.

The thing with anything Japanese ( and bomb makers who use them without sterilizing them) is the Japanese literally live and die on process control and tracibility.

They can trace all the way up and down the chain from raw material literally to final purchaser if need be. ( we test this in audits all the time)

The casing is one thing but the maker would need to remove the dataplate, internal guts and even shave off mold ID's or run the risk of possible tracing UNLESS he wanted you to find something or it was just "stolen" and they didnt care. They dont out and PURCHASE them for the reasons above. ( thats a very real trail right back to their door- those serial numbers and bar codes mean things)

Amatuers dont always realize this- professionals do

On the explosion/device - its about the same.

I do testing of components ranging from cuts/stamps to boiler refractories, molds and almost everything including failures. ( textbook RCFA/FMECA)

When you break an explosion down into its parts- its heat,pressure and time in infinite combinations- no different than any other ruptured pressure vessel or whatever.

Theres a test for almost everything- the question is- did you recognize the need for the specific test and run it. They you compare tests.

I do this every day so thats what I start from.

There are 2 standard methods for doing this ( both work and have their own set of problems- SMART engineers do BOTH and look for what matches and doesnt)

1) assemble the causes and extrapolate the effect
2) examine the effect and determine the cause

I'm simply starting at the cause (2) because in my world, I seldom get #1- I get a box or pallet of mangled "stuff" and the client wants me to determine the cause.

So far ( still reading) these people seem to be working from #1- what I'm seeing ( actually, not seeing) is a strong lack of #2 to validate the findings of #1.

Thats swimming in shark infested waters with a steak necklace from a professional perspective.

I see a lack of detailed testing to validate these different theories. Its like they are throwing propositions out there seeing what sticks.

But, still looking

Rolfe.
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Old 24th September 2009, 05:06 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Longtabber PE
There are 2 standard methods for doing this ( both work and have their own set of problems- SMART engineers do BOTH and look for what matches and doesnt)

1) assemble the causes and extrapolate the effect
2) examine the effect and determine the cause

I'm simply starting at the cause (2) because in my world, I seldom get #1- I get a box or pallet of mangled "stuff" and the client wants me to determine the cause.

So far ( still reading) these people seem to be working from #1- what I'm seeing ( actually, not seeing) is a strong lack of #2 to validate the findings of #1.

I believe there was at least one trial done where an actual 747 was blown up on a runway to see exactly what happened when the assumed amount of Semtex was detonated in the assumed place.

I'm afraid there's so much information here that I haven't read everything in detail. I didn't pay a huge amount of attention to the evidence that the bomb was in a Toshiba in a suitcase with Gauci's clothes in luggage container AVE 4041 in the forward hold, because I didn't think it was disputed.

Obviously, your observations seem to suggest this evidence needs closer scrutiny.

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Old 24th September 2009, 05:38 AM   #5
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There are several possible scenarios here, none of which I find compelling:

  • The bomb was in the cargo container, but in another suitcase:
    • Then faking the whole Maltese connection/babygro stuff seems like a very stupid and complex way to blame Libya
  • The bomb was in the container but not in a suitcase:
    • I'm not a terrorist, but this seems like a dodgy way to put a bomb on a plane, anything that isn't a suitcase in a cargo container is likely to be looked at closely and removed, so unless you suborn all the heathrow baggage handlers it's very risky
  • The bomb was outside the baggage container, and closer to the skin of the plane.
    • This means the AAIB report is fake, again you would have to get an unfeasibly large number of people in on the conspiracy.
The weaknesses with the official version are, as far as I can see:
  1. Too much survived the blast unvapourised:
    • As Longtabber has pointed out, explosions are complex. If there is any rigourous analysis out there demonstrating that no cloth or paper can ever survive within ~30cm of 1lb of exploding Semtex or TNT then that would be significant.
  2. That much Semtex couldn't blow a hole in a plane from 60cm away
    • De Braekeleer is the only source for this, and the key part of his proof is in a paper behind a paywall.
  3. The AAIB report got their sums wrong when calculating the bomb's distance from the plane skin
    • This looks like a fair cop, but a simpler possibility is that they did not account for enough variables in the Mach Stem analysis, I didn't see any error bars on their estimate.
None of the alternatives seems to present a better solution to what brought the plane down, and it seems the simplest intelligence fit up would be to accurately analyse the cause of the explosion, then use a couple of key pieces of fake evidence; bought or co-erced identifications and a piece of pcb to get the guilty party you want.

The official story isn't watertight by any means, but I think it takes the CT mindset of "If the official story has even one punctuation error, then what really happened must have been a hugely complex CT", to really doubt it.
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Old 24th September 2009, 05:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Longtabber PE
The big selling point for me is this 20x20 hole with the petaling.

Thats consistent with that size charge very close to plate metal. ( I think I said 2-3 feet somewhere earlier) That says placed charge to me rather than the suitcase theory.

I'm not entirely certain this is inconsistent with the suitcase theory, but it does raise again the question of placing, which is obviously crucial, but which I hadn't given much thought to previously. It was always acknowledged by the investigators that the suitcase had been placed exactly where it would do most damage, and this was attributed to "bad luck" (that pesky coincidence again).

However, if it's correct that 450g Semtex wouldn't breach a plane's hull unless it were close to the skin, then would you just send your suitcase off on a three-hop journey, trusting to luck that the baggage handlers at Heathrow would fortuitously put it exactly where you wanted it? When in fact the higher probability was that it would end up quite some way from the hull, with most of the explosion absorbed by other people's pyjamas?

The Official Version has the bag arriving on PA103A from Frankfurt, unaccompanied, and being loaded with the rest of that luggage into Maid of the Seas at Heathrow.

The bags on PA103A were loose-loaded, and they were transferred to PA103 on some sort of conveyor system. However, the luggage on PA103 wasn't loose-loaded, it was loaded in pre-packed containers. The container we're talking about was this baby, AVE 4041.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/112000...ntainer150.jpg

At Heathrow this container had about half a dozen bags already in it before PA103A landed. These were from other airlines' flights which had arrived earlier, with passengers booked on PA103. However, there were also two mystery suitcases which appeared in the container while the baggage handler was on his break, one of which was a brown Samsonite hardshell, corresponding to the description of the (alleged) bomb suitcase.

Here is the description of that from the court judgement. (The subsequent paragraphs are also relevant.)

Quote:
[22] On 21 December 1988 the x-ray operator was Sulkash Kamboj. John Bedford, a loader-driver employed by PanAm, and Mr Parmar, another PanAm employee were working in the interline shed. Mr Bedford set aside container AVE 4041 to receive interline baggage for PA103. The container was identified as the container for PA103 by Mr Bedford who wrote the information on a sheet which was placed in a holder fixed to the container. A number of items were placed in that container. Later Mr Bedford drove the container to a position near the baggage build-up area and left it there. From there, the container was taken out to stand K16, and baggage for New York unloaded from PA103A was loaded into it. The incoming plane carried baggage loose in its hold, not in containers. The evidence of Mr Bedford together with that of Peter Walker, a supervisor in the baggage build-up area, and Darshan Sandhu, a chief loader, and with the container build-up sheet (production 1217), shows that container AVE 4041 contained both interline baggage which had been placed in it in the interline shed, and baggage unloaded from PA103A. When it was full, container AVE 4041 was driven directly to stand 14 and loaded into the hold. The evidence of Terence Crabtree, another driver-loader employed by PanAm, who was the crew chief for the loading of PA103, together with the load plan (production 1183), shows that the container was loaded in position 14 left, which corresponds to the position established by the forensic evidence. The plan also shows that container AVN 7511 was loaded in the adjacent position 21 left, again corresponding to the forensic evidence. There was also some baggage from PA103A which was loaded loose into the hold of PA103.

[23] Mr Bedford said that he recalled that on 21 December 1988 he had set aside container AVE 4041 for baggage for PA103. He recalled also that he had placed a number of suitcases in the container. These cases were placed on their spines in a row along the back of the container. He said that he had left the interline shed to have a cup of tea with Mr Walker in the build-up area. On his return, he saw that two cases had been added to the container. These cases were laid on their sides, with the handles towards the interior of the container, in the way that he would normally have loaded them. The arrangement of these cases was shown in a set of photographs (production 1114) taken in early January 1989 in Mr Bedford's presence. Mr Bedford said that he had been told by Mr Kamboj that he had placed the additional two suitcases in the container during his absence. Mr Kamboj denied that he had placed any suitcases in the container and denied also that he had told Mr Bedford that he had done so. Both witnesses were referred to a number of police statements which they gave at various times and to their evidence at the Fatal Accident Inquiry into the disaster, and it appears that each of the witnesses has consistently given the same account throughout. Mr Kamboj eventually conceded in evidence, in a half-hearted way, that what Mr Bedford said might be correct, but the contradiction is not resolved. Mr Bedford was a clear and impressive witness and he had no reason to invent what he said. Mr Kamboj was a less impressive witness, and he might have been anxious to avoid any possible responsibility. In our view, the evidence of Mr Bedford should be preferred on this point. The difference between the witnesses is not, however, material since for the purposes of this case what is important is that there is evidence that when the container left the interline area it had in it the two suitcases positioned as described above. Mr Bedford agreed that in statements to police officers and in evidence at the Fatal Accident Inquiry he had described one of the two cases lying on their sides as a brown or maroony-brown hardshell Samsonite-type case. He could not recollect that when he gave evidence in this case, but said that he had told the truth in his statements and earlier evidence. Mr Bedford also said that he had arranged with Mr Walker that because the incoming flight PA103A was a little delayed, and to wait for it would take him beyond his normal finishing time, he should take the container to the baggage build-up area and leave it there, and that he did so before leaving work soon after 5.00pm. Mr Walker could not recall what had happened, but accepted that he had told investigating police officers soon after the event that he recalled seeing Mr Bedford at about 5.00pm and that Mr Bedford had said that he was going home, but that there was no conversation about leaving a container at the build-up area. Mr Walker's evidence at the FAI in regard to whether or not he was aware of a container being brought to the build-up area differed from his original police statement and he was unable to explain the difference. There is, however, no reason to doubt Mr Bedford's evidence that he did take AVE 4041 to the build-up area and leave it there.

[24] It emerges from the evidence therefore that a suitcase which could fit the forensic description of the primary suitcase was in the container when it left the interline shed. There is also a possibility that an extraneous suitcase could have been introduced by being put onto the conveyor belt outside the interline shed, or introduced into the shed itself or into the container when it was at the build-up area. To achieve that, the person placing the suitcase would have had to avoid being detected, but the evidence indicates that a person in possession of a pass for the airside area would not be likely to be challenged, and there were a very large number of passes issued for Heathrow, a substantial number of which were not accounted for. The person placing the suitcase would also have required to know where to put it to achieve the objective.

You may wonder, given this evidence, why the judges determined that the bomb suitcase had been introduced at Luqa and come in on PA103A - I wonder that myself. In addition, there was additional evidence not presented at the trial (and there is some dispute as to whether it was deliberately withheld) that a break-in occurred at Heathrow on the evening of 20th December, giving access to the airside area in question - a padlock was discovered sawn through.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 24th September 2009 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 24th September 2009, 05:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
  • The bomb was outside the baggage container, and closer to the skin of the plane.
    • This means the AAIB report is fake, again you would have to get an unfeasibly large number of people in on the conspiracy.
  1. [....]
  2. The AAIB report got their sums wrong when calculating the bomb's distance from the plane skin
    • This looks like a fair cop, but a simpler possibility is that they did not account for enough variables in the Mach Stem analysis, I didn't see any error bars on their estimate.

I may be misunderstanding here, perhaps you can clarify.

I think de Braeckeleer is suggesting that the bomb was outside the container, closer to the skin of the aircraft. I think he's concluding that from the sums the AAIB report got wrong, in that the correct sums placed the explosion only (I think) 10 inches from the skin, which is outside the confines of the baggage container. He's suggesting that the entire chain of inference was based on the incorrect calculation, and that if they'd done the sums right in the first place, they would have realised that the bomb could not have been loaded in a suitcase.

I would like to know what Longtabber thinks of that theory. I can see from the first post above that he's favouring the "placed charge" version.

Originally Posted by Longtabber PE
The big selling point for me is this 20x20 hole with the petaling.

Thats consistent with that size charge very close to plate metal. ( I think I said 2-3 feet somewhere earlier) That says placed charge to me rather than the suitcase theory.

However, in this context there's quite a bit of difference between 10 inches and 2 to 3 feet. The former is difficult to locate in the baggage container, while the latter is not. My suggestion is that the suitcase wasn't randomly chucked in the container by the crew unloading PA103A, but was deliberately placed in the container at an earlier stage by someone who knew exactly where to put it, who then only had to hope it didn't get moved, or moved too muich, after that.

I think the collected luggage debris was analysed very carefully indeed, and at the moment I think it unlikely that a mistake was made when coming to the conclusion that the bomb was in the radio in the suitcase as described. While I'm very interested in what Longtabber has to say, I think we have too look at the entirety of the primary evidence and the conclusions drawn from it before asserting that the conclusions are impossible.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 24th September 2009 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 24th September 2009, 06:10 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rolfe
Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
  • The bomb was outside the baggage container, and closer to the skin of the plane.
    • This means the AAIB report is fake, again you would have to get an unfeasibly large number of people in on the conspiracy.
  1. [....]
  2. The AAIB report got their sums wrong when calculating the bomb's distance from the plane skin
    • This looks like a fair cop, but a simpler possibility is that they did not account for enough variables in the Mach Stem analysis, I didn't see any error bars on their estimate.

I may be misunderstanding here, perhaps you can clarify.

I think de Braeckeleer is suggesting that the bomb was outside the container, closer to the skin of the aircraft. I think he's concluding that from the sums the AAIB report got wrong, in that the correct sums placed the explosion only (I think) 10 inches from the skin, which is outside the confines of the baggage container. He's suggesting that the entire chain of inference was based on the incorrect calculation, and that if they'd done the sums right in the first place, they would have realised that the bomb could not have been loaded in a suitcase.
My reading of the AAIB report, including the appendices is that all their analysis pointed to the bomb being in a suitcase in the luggage container, e.g. bits of Toshiba in the plane skin, luggage container blown up from the inside out etc. Appendix G then says that Mach Stem analysis shows the bomb was 25" from the skin, exactly the same distance as their other evidence placed the bomb, everything ties up nicely. If the Mach Stem analysis disagrees with the rest, that's a problem, but it could just mean the Mach Stem analysis is wrong.

Quote:
I would like to know what Longtabber thinks of that theory. I can see from the first post above that he's favouring the "placed charge" version.

Originally Posted by Longtabber PE
The big selling point for me is this 20x20 hole with the petaling.

Thats consistent with that size charge very close to plate metal. ( I think I said 2-3 feet somewhere earlier) That says placed charge to me rather than the suitcase theory.

However, in this context there's quite a bit of difference between 10 inches and 2 to 3 feet. The former is difficult to locate in the baggage container, while the latter is not. My suggestion is that the suitcase wasn't randomly chucked in the container by the crew unloading PA103A, but was deliberately placed in the container at an earlier stage by someone who knew exactly where to put it, who then only had to hope it didn't get moved, or moved too muich, after that.

I think the collected luggage debris was analysed very carefully indeed, and at the moment I think it unlikely that a mistake was made when coming to the conclusion that the bomb was in the radio in the suitcase as described. While I'm very interested in what Longtabber has to say, I think we have too look at the entirety of the primary evidence and the conclusions drawn from it before asserting that the conclusions are impossible.
I agree with the italics, if the bomb was outside the container, all the investigators would have had to agree to ignore evidence showing that, as well as the fact you would need a plausible way for someone to attach a bomb to the inside of the plane without anyone noticing.
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Old 24th September 2009, 06:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I would like to know what Longtabber thinks of that theory. I can see from the first post above that he's favouring the "placed charge" version.




However, in this context there's quite a bit of difference between 10 inches and 2 to 3 feet. The former is difficult to locate in the baggage container, while the latter is not. My suggestion is that the suitcase wasn't randomly chucked in the container by the crew unloading PA103A, but was deliberately placed in the container at an earlier stage by someone who knew exactly where to put it, who then only had to hope it didn't get moved, or moved too muich, after that.

While I'm very interested in what Longtabber has to say, I think we have too look at the entirety of the primary evidence and the conclusions drawn from it before asserting that the conclusions are impossible.

Rolfe.
Quote:
he's favouring the "placed charge" version.
At the moment yes but its a 51-49%- hardly something to stand on. What I'm hunting for is more information on this hole.

Bear in mind, to me the term "placed charge" probably has a different meaning- what I think you are talking about is just a charge put in a specific place.

Quote:
However, in this context there's quite a bit of difference between 10 inches and 2 to 3 feet.
Thats what she said

Quote:
My suggestion is that the suitcase wasn't randomly chucked in the container by the crew unloading PA103A, but was deliberately placed in the container at an earlier stage by someone who knew exactly where to put it,
The question is- is the suspect location a place where luggage just couldnt have gotten to randomly
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Old 24th September 2009, 06:54 AM   #10
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I'm trying to reconcile de Braeckeleer with Longtabber here, and I don't think it's too difficult. I think de Braekeleer's conclusions are suspect.

Just for a bit of ad-hom, de Braeckeleer has also asserted that an ice-cube timer triggered device would never explode if placed in the baggage hold, which I believe is nonsense, and that an airliner flying from Frankfurt to Heathrow would not ascend to 34,000 feet, or high enough to trigger an ice-cube timer, which I also believe to be nonsense. So I wouldn't find it surprising if his conclusions from the Mach Stem Effect calculations were faulty.

The distance of 10 inches favoured by de Braeckeleer really does put the whole thing in the melting point, because it would pretty much have to be outside the baggage container. And yet, the rest of the evidence supporting the theory that the bomb was among the luggage is so strong, it would take a lot to knock it down as far as I can see.

In contrast, Longtabber seems to be assigning that 450g of Semtex a lot more destructive power than de Braeckeleer is, and thus allowing a greater distance between the charge and the skin of the plane. This would allow the charge to be inside the luggage container. His objections to the suitcase theory seem to be different, essentially that there was too much evidence to be compatible with stuff that was so close to such a powerful explosion.

My suggestion as regards the "placed charge" observation is that the charge could well have been placed, by the person who placed the suitcase in the baggage container. Remember, these containers where shaped to fit closely to the curvature of the hull of the plane (to maximise the use of space), therefore it would indeed be possible to predict pretty exactly where in the plane a case placed in a particular part of a container would go.

(I can't believe the judges ignored all this evidence, in contrast to their blithe assertion that the case "must" have gone on at Luqa even though there wasn't the slightest bit of evidence of anything untoward in their unusually secure luggage loading system. But they did.)

Quote:
[25] It was argued on behalf of the accused that the suitcase described by Mr Bedford could well have been the primary suitcase, particularly as the evidence did not disclose that any fragments of a hard-shell Samsonite-type suitcase had been recovered, apart from those of the primary suitcase itself. It was accepted, for the purposes of this argument, that the effect of forensic evidence was that the suitcase could not have been directly in contact with the floor of the container. It was submitted that there was evidence that an American Tourister suitcase, which had travelled from Frankfurt, fragments of which had been recovered, had been very intimately involved in the explosion and could have been placed under the suitcase spoken to by Mr Bedford. That would have required rearrangement of the items in the container, but such rearrangement could easily have occurred when the baggage from Frankfurt was being put into the container on the tarmac at Heathrow. It is true that such a rearrangement could have occurred, but if there was such a rearrangement, the suitcase described by Mr Bedford might have been placed at some more remote corner of the container, and while the forensic evidence dealt with all the items recovered which showed direct explosive damage, twenty-five in total, there were many other items of baggage found which were not dealt with in detail in the evidence in the case.



A point I'd really like to get clear is, given the assumptions about the amount of Semtex and so on, how close to the skin of the plane would it actually have to be to produce the desired effect? There was a previous incident where a plane limped home despite damage, because the charge wasn't in the right place. If the charge was sufficient to have a good chance of downing the plane no matter where it happened to be placed in the hold, then the random loading in a baggage transfer isn't unfeasible, I suppose. However, if it really had to be right next to the hull to achieve the effect, I would have thought that was a very strong argument for the bag being loaded at Heathrow, the only place where anyone could possibly influence its placement in the hold.

So really, I think we need Longtabber to look at the detail of the evidence that places the bomb in the Toshiba in the suitcase with Gauci's clothes, and try to reconcile that with his belief that the pieces are too large and insufficiently vaporised to have been so close to the Semtex.

Rolfe.
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Old 24th September 2009, 07:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I believe there was at least one trial done where an actual 747 was blown up on a runway to see exactly what happened when the assumed amount of Semtex was detonated in the assumed place.

I'm afraid there's so much information here that I haven't read everything in detail. I didn't pay a huge amount of attention to the evidence that the bomb was in a Toshiba in a suitcase with Gauci's clothes in luggage container AVE 4041 in the forward hold, because I didn't think it was disputed.

Obviously, your observations seem to suggest this evidence needs closer scrutiny.
Rolfe.
I most certainly do ( remember what my professional career is)

Let me tell you about "tests" ( I know you dont know this- but researching and refuting these "tests" professionally is one of the more enjoyable parts of my career- its challenging) I have reviewed them, conducted them, custom designed them.

First, "a" test is wholly and universally USELESS it meets the following criteria short list)

It has to match the questioned circumstances

Be inline with any external information

It has to duplicate the CONDITIONS

It must match the SPECIFICS

Lastly, a test must be matched to a QUESTION and that question MUST be relevant of you dont know what you are looking for with the test or result

or it aint worth a damn

Since you dont have all of those- at best these "tests" are speculative hearsay.

Heres an example to illustrate the point ( similar to this plane test) but one I've done in years past for training

You have 1 piece of plate steel. 2' square and .125 thick and 1 stick of TNT

Assume everything is 100% identical and no variables

If you place the TNT on it, it on the TNT, turn it broadside, put the end of the TNT against it, the primed end, lay it(the stick) broadside, roll the plate in a bender( alter physical properties) and so forth

Each one of those will give you different results because you changed critical forces.

So, for anyone to tell me a bright boy decided to pack anough pallets of boom sticks inside of a plane on the ground to watch it pop doesnt "prove" anything other than you have a good sized budget and get to play with fun stuff.

Did they compensate for air frame stress and plug in the information of the plane in question?

Duplicate the internal/externam temps and pressures?

the harmonics of flight

stresses from loading and fuel?

every other condition?

My whole point is- ALL tests are suspect UNTIL you know for certain what they were testing for, how they did and all the factors they plugged in.

You can have a case where the test is valid but doesnt address your specific question
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Old 24th September 2009, 07:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Did they compensate for air frame stress and plug in the information of the plane in question?

Duplicate the internal/externam temps and pressures?

the harmonics of flight

stresses from loading and fuel?

every other condition?

My whole point is- ALL tests are suspect UNTIL you know for certain what they were testing for, how they did and all the factors they plugged in.

You can have a case where the test is valid but doesnt address your specific question

I think a lot of the evidence is now in the public domain. The evidence that came out at the trial and the AAIB report certainly contain a lot of stuff.

The thing is, the people who did all this investigation weren't amateurs either. They were pros too. They could be wrong, they could be incompetent, but they weren't playing at it. I've been wrong often enough in my own field when I shot from the hip when examining someone else's conclusions to be very wary of declaring another professional to have dropped their rifle, until I've had a very good look at all the facts. (I told you I was a biochemist - my profession is as a diagnostician. Very different so far as the basic science goes, but not too dissimilar in actual thought processes.)

As I say, I haven't looked closely at the evidence placing the bomb where it was alleged to be, as I thought that was a part which was more or less undisputed. Nevertheless, I don't think it's reasonable to declare that this is all wrong without actually looking at it.

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Old 24th September 2009, 07:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think a lot of the evidence is now in the public domain. The evidence that came out at the trial and the AAIB report certainly contain a lot of stuff.

The thing is, the people who did all this investigation weren't amateurs either. They were pros too. They could be wrong, they could be incompetent, but they weren't playing at it. I've been wrong often enough in my own field when I shot from the hip when examining someone else's conclusions to be very wary of declaring another professional to have dropped their rifle, until I've had a very good look at all the facts. (I told you I was a biochemist - my profession is as a diagnostician. Very different so far as the basic science goes, but not too dissimilar in actual thought processes.)

As I say, I haven't looked closely at the evidence placing the bomb where it was alleged to be, as I thought that was a part which was more or less undisputed. Nevertheless, I don't think it's reasonable to declare that this is all wrong without actually looking at it.

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I think a lot of the evidence is now in the public domain. The evidence that came out at the trial and the AAIB report certainly contain a lot of stuff.
yeah and its going to take a while to chew thru

Quote:
The thing is, the people who did all this investigation weren't amateurs either. They were pros too. They could be wrong, they could be incompetent, but they weren't playing at it.
I'm not saying they were. Something of this size to reconstruct and test is beyond super human. Lots of room for innocent error.

That said- once you develop a theory and have key evidence to evaluate- theres little excuse for not running proper tests since these are common in industry everywhere. Custom or exotic tests- yeah, I can excuse them easy.

Quote:
As I say, I haven't looked closely at the evidence placing the bomb where it was alleged to be, as I thought that was a part which was more or less undisputed. Nevertheless, I don't think it's reasonable to declare that this is all wrong without actually looking at it.
assume nothing-test everything,
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Old 24th September 2009, 07:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think a lot of the evidence is now in the public domain. The evidence that came out at the trial and the AAIB report certainly contain a lot of stuff.
I disagree slightly with this. The conclusions drawn from the evidence might be public domain, the evidence isn't. Leaving aside the fact that the physical evidence itself is long gone, even something like the AAIB report is a summary of thousands of pages of photographs, measurements, drawings and calculations. You would need access to these to be able to say with any confidence that the investigators had dropped the ball.
I don't think there is much chance of these being posted on a website for us investigooglers to chew over.
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Old 24th September 2009, 07:52 AM   #15
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Fair comment. Still, how far can we go with what there is?

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Old 24th September 2009, 07:57 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
I disagree slightly with this. The conclusions drawn from the evidence might be public domain, the evidence isn't. Leaving aside the fact that the physical evidence itself is long gone, even something like the AAIB report is a summary of thousands of pages of photographs, measurements, drawings and calculations. You would need access to these to be able to say with any confidence that the investigators had dropped the ball.
I don't think there is much chance of these being posted on a website for us investigooglers to chew over.
That unfortunately is painfully but absolutely correct.

Probably the best you can hope for barring an "ah ha" moment is a strong circumstantial case shored up by reasonable support
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Old 24th September 2009, 08:14 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm trying to reconcile de Braeckeleer with Longtabber here, and I don't think it's too difficult. I think de Braekeleer's conclusions are suspect.

Just for a bit of ad-hom, de Braeckeleer has also asserted that an ice-cube timer triggered device would never explode if placed in the baggage hold, which I believe is nonsense, and that an airliner flying from Frankfurt to Heathrow would not ascend to 34,000 feet, or high enough to trigger an ice-cube timer, which I also believe to be nonsense. So I wouldn't find it surprising if his conclusions from the Mach Stem Effect calculations were faulty.

The distance of 10 inches favoured by de Braeckeleer really does put the whole thing in the melting point, because it would pretty much have to be outside the baggage container. And yet, the rest of the evidence supporting the theory that the bomb was among the luggage is so strong, it would take a lot to knock it down as far as I can see.

In contrast, Longtabber seems to be assigning that 450g of Semtex a lot more destructive power than de Braeckeleer is, and thus allowing a greater distance between the charge and the skin of the plane. This would allow the charge to be inside the luggage container. His objections to the suitcase theory seem to be different, essentially that there was too much evidence to be compatible with stuff that was so close to such a powerful explosion.

My suggestion as regards the "placed charge" observation is that the charge could well have been placed, by the person who placed the suitcase in the baggage container. Remember, these containers where shaped to fit closely to the curvature of the hull of the plane (to maximise the use of space), therefore it would indeed be possible to predict pretty exactly where in the plane a case placed in a particular part of a container would go.

(I can't believe the judges ignored all this evidence, in contrast to their blithe assertion that the case "must" have gone on at Luqa even though there wasn't the slightest bit of evidence of anything untoward in their unusually secure luggage loading system. But they did.)






A point I'd really like to get clear is, given the assumptions about the amount of Semtex and so on, how close to the skin of the plane would it actually have to be to produce the desired effect? There was a previous incident where a plane limped home despite damage, because the charge wasn't in the right place. If the charge was sufficient to have a good chance of downing the plane no matter where it happened to be placed in the hold, then the random loading in a baggage transfer isn't unfeasible, I suppose. However, if it really had to be right next to the hull to achieve the effect, I would have thought that was a very strong argument for the bag being loaded at Heathrow, the only place where anyone could possibly influence its placement in the hold.

So really, I think we need Longtabber to look at the detail of the evidence that places the bomb in the Toshiba in the suitcase with Gauci's clothes, and try to reconcile that with his belief that the pieces are too large and insufficiently vaporised to have been so close to the Semtex.

Rolfe.
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I think de Braekeleer's conclusions are suspect.
probably but I think he is on the right track ( so far anyway)

Quote:
Just for a bit of ad-hom, de Braeckeleer has also asserted that an ice-cube timer triggered device would never explode if placed in the baggage hold, which I believe is nonsense, and that an airliner flying from Frankfurt to Heathrow would not ascend to 34,000 feet, or high enough to trigger an ice-cube timer, which I also believe to be nonsense.
he said what? Say it aint so. Thats just plain stupid if true.

Quote:
So I wouldn't find it surprising if his conclusions from the Mach Stem Effect calculations were faulty.
They are pretty standard- the question is, did he apply it correctly

Quote:
The distance of 10 inches favoured by de Braeckeleer really does put the whole thing in the melting point, because it would pretty much have to be outside the baggage container. And yet, the rest of the evidence supporting the theory that the bomb was among the luggage is so strong, it would take a lot to knock it down as far as I can see.
Something about his proximity based on the available information doesnt quite fit with me yet. I wish they had X rayed that hole.

Quote:
In contrast, Longtabber seems to be assigning that 450g of Semtex a lot more destructive power than de Braeckeleer is, and thus allowing a greater distance between the charge and the skin of the plane.
probably because I've used it ( C4 but for discussion purposes, they are 1:1) a lot more. The thing is the quantity and thats speculation. Explosive calculations vary greatly depending on that. You cant say 2 lbs does twice the damage of 1. You get a slightly larger zap zone and a more intense one but as distance increases- force drops off close to the same.

I would think that if 1 lb was 10 inches away- it would have taken out the whole section- not just blow such a small hole. That "hole" bothers me too because if it was in the baggage well with all the tamping from other baggage and internal structure- that "hole" really shouldnt have been there- it should have been more or a general rupture then peel back.

They just dont match

Quote:
His objections to the suitcase theory seem to be different, essentially that there was too much evidence to be compatible with stuff that was so close to such a powerful explosion.
To quote a famous robot- that part does not compute

Quote:
(I can't believe the judges ignored all this evidence, in contrast to their blithe assertion that the case "must" have gone on at Luqa even though there wasn't the slightest bit of evidence of anything untoward in their unusually secure luggage loading system. But they did.)
was it brought up properly and emphasized?
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Old 24th September 2009, 08:16 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Fair comment. Still, how far can we go with what there is?

Rolfe.
I'm not sure we can go anywhere. What I was trying to say in my first post on this thread is that any alternative explanation for the bomb raises as many problems as it solves.

The bomb in a suitcase scenario gives a (actually several) simple way of getting the bomb onto the plane. It ties in mostly well with the AAIB report (Longtabbers doubts, de Braekeleers sums, and the disputed status of the condition of the instructions and babygro excepted).

A bomb anywhere else needs an explanation for how it got there, and who faked up the AAIB report to make it look like the bomb was in the Samsonite suitcase.

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Old 24th September 2009, 08:25 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
I'm not sure we can go anywhere. What I was trying to say in my first post on this thread is that any alternative explanation for the bomb raises as many problems as it solves.

The bomb in a suitcase scenario gives a (actually several) simple way of getting the bomb onto the plane. It ties in mostly well with the AAIB report (Longtabbers doubts, de Braekeleers sums, and the disputed status of the condition of the intstructions and babygro excepted).

A bomb anywhere else needs an explanation for how it got there, and who faked up the AAIB report to make it look like the bomb was in the Samsonite suitcase.
Also, you have to put this in context with the time then. Security was nowhere near what it is today.
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Old 24th September 2009, 08:28 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Also, you have to put this in context with the time then. Security was nowhere near what it is today.
Perhaps not in the way you think. The UK in the late '80s was not unfamiliar with terrorist bombs.
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Old 24th September 2009, 08:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
he said what? Say it aint so. Thats just plain stupid if true.

I might have trouble finding it, but I did read that in one of his reports.

Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Something about his proximity based on the available information doesnt quite fit with me yet. I wish they had X rayed that hole.

Are we sure they didn't?

Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
probably because I've used it ( C4 but for discussion purposes, they are 1:1) a lot more. The thing is the quantity and thats speculation. Explosive calculations vary greatly depending on that. You cant say 2 lbs does twice the damage of 1. You get a slightly larger zap zone and a more intense one but as distance increases- force drops off close to the same.

I would think that if 1 lb was 10 inches away- it would have taken out the whole section- not just blow such a small hole. That "hole" bothers me too because if it was in the baggage well with all the tamping from other baggage and internal structure- that "hole" really shouldnt have been there- it should have been more or a general rupture then peel back.

They just dont match

There's clearly more stuff available. Here's a link to the court judgement as a single 82-page pdf.

Quote:
The conclusion reached by Dr Hayes and Mr Feraday as to the position of the explosive device coincided with that of Mr Claiden, and in addition Mr Feraday was present at tests in the USA. These tests involved the use of luggage filled metal containers and the placing of plastic explosives within Toshiba radio cassette players in a garment filled suitcase. The tests confirmed the opinion he expressed as to the position of the explosive device and the quantity of explosive involved.

There's a lot more where that came from. It's not primary evidence but it does demonstrate what evidence was put before the trial.

Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
was it brought up properly and emphasized?

Well, what I quoted was from the actual court judgement, written by the judges, so it does appear that they noticed. They just hand-waved it away by saying that the cases might have been rearranged when the Frankfurt luggage was being loaded later.

The official UN observer to the trial was horrified, and issued a very scathing report.

Quote:
On the basis of the above observations and evaluation, the undersigned has − to his great dismay − reached the conclusion that the trial, seen in its entirety, was not fair and was not conducted in an objective manner.

He got even more critical in his report on the first appeal.

Quote:
16. [....] If the evidence presented during the trial and the additional evidence made available during the appeal is analyzed in its entirety, it becomes clear to any rational observer that the theory of ingestion of the luggage containing the explosive device in Malta needs considerably more assumptions and is based on much lower probability than the theory of ingestion at Heathrow. In an entirely circumstantial case like the present one, this means that a determination “beyond a reasonable doubt” cannot honestly be made if one bases one’s argumentation and inferences upon reason and common sense. The trial verdict, confirmed by the appeal judges, would not stand a plausibility test in a scientific context defined by the rules of logic and reason.

17. Furthermore, the unanimous decision by the Appeal Court is incomprehensible if one takes into consideration the often highly critical, very precise and inquisitive questions and comments by some of the appeal judges in the course of the appeal hearings. On day 96 (7 February 2002) Lord Osborne, in a debate with the Prosecution on the question of the insertion of the luggage containing the explosive device at Luqa airport in Malta, said: “But is it not a different matter to say, on the basis of these features of the situation, that the bomb passed through Luqa Airport, standing that there is considerable and quite convincing evidence that that could not have happened.” He further stated: “Now, it’s quite difficult rationally to follow how the Court take the step of saying, ‘Well, we don’t know how it got onto the flight. We can’t say that. But it must have been there.’ On the face of it, it may not be a rational conclusion.” And in response to a remark of the Prosecution, he went on: “Well, all sorts of irrational conclusions may have a basis in fact, but … the problem is that they don’t logically relate to the facts.”

18. It is impossible to understand why Lord Osborne finally was able to consent to the rejection of all grounds of appeal and why he did not follow the line of rational scrutiny of the trial judges’ reasoning. The unanimity of the decision of the Appeal Court is not plausible at all if one looks carefully at arguments such as those put forward by Lord Osborne in the course of the appeal hearings. What caused the appeal judges to make this rather drastic sacrificium intellectus of ignoring reason and common sense by rejecting each and every ground of appeal unanimously?

19. The Appeal Court furthermore failed to deal adequately with the substantial new evidence that was presented in the course of the appeal. In view of the many inferences and of the arbitrary, often contradictory argumentation of the trial court, the additional evidence would have had special significance for an honest reevaluation of the trial court’s argument. For unexplained reasons, the Appeal Court refused to deal with any other theory than that advanced by the Prosecution – which is all the more incomprehensible if one considers the evidence originally presented at the trial concerning the possibility of a bag (a brown Samsonite suitcase) having been ingested at Heathrow.

20. In the course of the hearings it became quite clear that the judges were not at ease with this situation in which they had to review a verdict that was not sound by the basic standards of logic and common sense [....]

He has since become a campaigner for a proper appeal and an independent inquiry.

I need to take time to read more primary sources such as the court judgement and the AAIB report, as opposed to reading other people's theories, which sometimes contain incomplete or mistaken information.

Rolfe.
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Old 24th September 2009, 08:51 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I might have trouble finding it, but I did read that in one of his reports.




Are we sure they didn't?




There's clearly more stuff available. Here's a link to the court judgement as a single 82-page pdf.




There's a lot more where that came from. It's not primary evidence but it does demonstrate what evidence was put before the trial.




Well, what I quoted was from the actual court judgement, written by the judges, so it does appear that they noticed. They just hand-waved it away by saying that the cases might have been rearranged when the Frankfurt luggage was being loaded later.

The official UN observer to the trial was horrified, and issued a very scathing report.




He got even more critical in his report on the first appeal.




He has since become a campaigner for a proper appeal and an independent inquiry.

I need to take time to read more primary sources such as the court judgement and the AAIB report, as opposed to reading other people's theories, which sometimes contain incomplete or mistaken information.

Rolfe.
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I might have trouble finding it, but I did read that in one of his reports.
Well, if he did- he needs to stick with physics and leave electronics to us engineers.


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Are we sure they didn't?
All I can say right now is that there is no expert listed with those qualifications and no mention of any Xray or heat effected zone inquiry- but I'm nowhere near thru either.
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Old 24th September 2009, 08:51 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Also, you have to put this in context with the time then. Security was nowhere near what it is today.

That's not necessarily entirely true, when Europe and in particular the British Isles are concerned. We were very used to a lot of pretty elaborate security procedures at airports, in theatres and cinemas, and indeed everywhere, in the 1980s. When I moved to England in 1982 I was startled by all the bag searches and so on that I'd never experienced in Scotland - at first, naively, I assumed the security guards at the doors of the opera house were looking for illicit recording equipment!

The point was, actually, that the IRA never targeted Scotland, so we never had to put up with all that stuff. It was SOP in England, and doubly so in airports.

Heathrow would have been on normal IRA alert in 1988. Frankfurt was more specifically alert because it had been notified of what Khreesat had been found to be doing in October, and specifically that bombs disguised as Toshiba radio-cassette players were to be looked for. The same warning was lying on someone's desk at Heathrow, waiting for better photographs, when PA103 went down.

We were all shocked to our socks in 2001 when we realised how lax US airport security was until that time. I think the US has kind of caught up since though.

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Old 24th September 2009, 09:06 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Well, if he did- he needs to stick with physics and leave electronics to us engineers.

Here you go.

Quote:
Contrary to Jibrilís statement, and surely he must know better, a bomb triggered by a gauge pressure set at 11,000 meters would not have detonated during the Frankfurt to London flight as the airliner does not reach cruising altitude on such short flight.

Then again, such device would not have detonated at all if it had been located in the luggage area as the hold is at the pressure of the passengersí zone and never drops below the pressure equivalent to 2,400 meters.

I'm not quite sure if I got what he was saying quite right, but I still think he's wrong.

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Old 24th September 2009, 09:13 AM   #25
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The conclusion reached by Dr Hayes and Mr Feraday as to the position of the explosive device coincided with that of Mr Claiden, and in addition Mr Feraday was present at tests in the USA. These tests involved the use of luggage filled metal containers and the placing of plastic explosives within Toshiba radio cassette players in a garment filled suitcase. The tests confirmed the opinion he expressed as to the position of the explosive device and the quantity of explosive involved.
I would love to see those tests and the details of all their testing parameters and conditions.
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Old 24th September 2009, 09:32 AM   #26
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Well, Hayes and Feraday are two of the three people right there in the firing line for suspicions of double-dealing as regards the MST-13 fragment. (The third is Thurman, of course.)

Their general credibility has been seriously questioned in the course of investigations into the timer fragment, which might of course be relevant to any of the evidence they gave.

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Old 24th September 2009, 10:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Here you go.




I'm not quite sure if I got what he was saying quite right, but I still think he's wrong.

Rolfe.
Thats even worse coming from a professional- thats blind unsupported speculation

First theres no proof such a pressure switch was even a trigger ( makes sense but it could have been a straight timer or any number of things)

Then there are hundreds of such devices and literally an infinite number of ways to set them. He could just have easily set it to engage the switch during pressurization at take off ( 1-2 kpa differential) and forget this flying height stuff altogether ( one has to wonder if a terrorist wants to blow up a plane- does he really give a damn what height its at? You are just as dead at 1000ft as you are at 10,000)

I hate professionals that make such statements with nothing to support them- a professional knows his words carry more weight because of his expertise- nobody should do that.
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Old 24th September 2009, 10:24 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Well, Hayes and Feraday are two of the three people right there in the firing line for suspicions of double-dealing as regards the MST-13 fragment. (The third is Thurman, of course.)

Their general credibility has been seriously questioned in the course of investigations into the timer fragment, which might of course be relevant to any of the evidence they gave.

Rolfe.
Theres a lot of room for legitimate suspicions here- maybe more than most people are aware because they dont design such tests.

I would need to know the exact parameters, what the instruments showed ( they should have had high speed cameras, pressure/temp sensors and strain gauges all over the place taking readings)

How many theories did they test? ( that makes a BIG difference)

I certainly hope their test didnt soley consist of seeing how much stuff they could stuff in the belly of a jet and make a big hole in it.

This is what I was talking about earlier regarding the anatomy of testing- if they dont have all these datapoints to build a case while establishing a legitimate probability or what may ( or may not) have happened and why- then the test was a farce.

That alone makes me suspicious.

Show me the data- NOT your conclusion, if your data is sound, you wont need to tell me the conclusion because I'm going to see the same thing. If not- we have a problem ( thats how you examine expert witness testimony)
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Old 24th September 2009, 11:00 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Thats even worse coming from a professional- thats blind unsupported speculation

First theres no proof such a pressure switch was even a trigger ( makes sense but it could have been a straight timer or any number of things)

Then there are hundreds of such devices and literally an infinite number of ways to set them. He could just have easily set it to engage the switch during pressurization at take off ( 1-2 kpa differential) and forget this flying height stuff altogether ( one has to wonder if a terrorist wants to blow up a plane- does he really give a damn what height its at? You are just as dead at 1000ft as you are at 10,000)

I hate professionals that make such statements with nothing to support them- a professional knows his words carry more weight because of his expertise- nobody should do that.

I don't think it's quite as bad as that. Remember, he was talking about Jibril, and the specific devices found in the possession of Jibril's group. These seem to have been all the same, set to be triggered by a pressure equivalent to (IIRC) 940mB, and to explode 30 minutes later. We all know what Jibril had, and he knows we know, so to speak.

It would have taken an airliner approximately 7 minutes to reach the height that would trigger these devices, and PA103 exploded 38 minutes after takeoff.

Where I think he is mistaken is in believing that the pressure setting related to the actual atmospheric pressure at cruising height, rather than to the cabin pressure at that height. Also, in thinking that PA103A wouldn't reach cruising height on the Frankfurt to Heathrow hop. Which is bad enough.

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Old 24th September 2009, 11:30 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I don't think it's quite as bad as that. Remember, he was talking about Jibril, and the specific devices found in the possession of Jibril's group. These seem to have been all the same, set to be triggered by a pressure equivalent to (IIRC) 940mB, and to explode 30 minutes later. We all know what Jibril had, and he knows we know, so to speak.

It would have taken an airliner approximately 7 minutes to reach the height that would trigger these devices, and PA103 exploded 38 minutes after takeoff.

Where I think he is mistaken is in believing that the pressure setting related to the actual atmospheric pressure at cruising height, rather than to the cabin pressure at that height. Also, in thinking that PA103A wouldn't reach cruising height on the Frankfurt to Heathrow hop. Which is bad enough.

Rolfe.

Its worse than I thought ( read the link now)- I'm of the opinion now this dude has mental issues and he is an "expert"? He is either a damn idiot, ego maniac or is following an agenda.

From the article

Quote:
No terrorist would ever attempt to bomb an airliner with a timer triggered bomb, and definitely not during the winter season, let alone Christmas time, where the time tables are absolutely useless as delays are the norm rather than the exception.

That is the mother of all stupid statements. He is doing a sales pitch. ( that really alarms me) "All" timetables arent useless and a few minutes delay on a 3 hr flight if you set it at the 2 hour mark wont make a bit of difference unless the terrorist's real goal is to play "I want to drop my blown up plane in grid zone 3" and missed his mark by 200 km. That is just so idiotic.

Quote:
Donít take my word for it. Terrorists such Ahmed Jibril and counter-terrorists such Noel Koch have stated that much.
Theres a good one. I know its true because thats what terrorists tell me.

Quote:
"Explosives linked to an air pressure gauge, which would have detonated when the plane reached a certain altitude or to a timer would have been ineffective," Jibril said.
I would like to see him explain why to me. I could build one

Plus he is tainting his case- just because Jibril makes his bombs this way doesnt mean Habib does. Unless you know for certain this guy was involved with THIS bombing- thats also baseless speculation.
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Old 24th September 2009, 11:55 AM   #31
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I think I understand this a bit better now you've pointed this out.

Bear in mind that Jibril was #1 suspect pretty much from the get-go. He was known to be heading a group based in Frankfurt which was making bombs which would blow up an airliner approximately 38 minutes after take-off. There's a lot more about Iran desiring revenge for the shooting down of the Airbus in the Persian Gulf earlier the same year, and the Ayatollah having paid Jibril's group to hit US airliner(s) in retaliation. Khreesat (the bomb-maker) even had a brown Samsonite suitcase.

Approximately 50% of the Lockerbie CT theorising is aimed at showing that this theory was right all along, and it still seems the most probable explanation to me too. This is the "received wisdom" of the subject.

De Braeckeleer on the other hand seems to have a different theory, which does not involve Jibril's group having done it, or even a suitcase being involved at all. Therefore he is trying to shoot down the idea that Jibril's devices could possibly have done it. Jibril, of course, is perfectly happy for him to take that line, and to feed him further "information" to help him on his way.

He's completely ignoring that Jibril's group did actually blow up airliners in exactly that way.

Rolfe.
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Old 24th September 2009, 12:05 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think I understand this a bit better now you've pointed this out.

Bear in mind that Jibril was #1 suspect pretty much from the get-go. He was known to be heading a group based in Frankfurt which was making bombs which would blow up an airliner approximately 38 minutes after take-off. There's a lot more about Iran desiring revenge for the shooting down of the Airbus in the Persian Gulf earlier the same year, and the Ayatollah having paid Jibril's group to hit US airliner(s) in retaliation. Khreesat (the bomb-maker) even had a brown Samsonite suitcase.

Approximately 50% of the Lockerbie CT theorising is aimed at showing that this theory was right all along, and it still seems the most probable explanation to me too. This is the "received wisdom" of the subject.

De Braeckeleer on the other hand seems to have a different theory, which does not involve Jibril's group having done it, or even a suitcase being involved at all. Therefore he is trying to shoot down the idea that Jibril's devices could possibly have done it. Jibril, of course, is perfectly happy for him to take that line, and to feed him further "information" to help him on his way.

He's completely ignoring that Jibril's group did actually blow up airliners in exactly that way.

Rolfe.
Well, I said way back before i actually started looking at this stuff that I have always felt Libya was at the most a conduit and the truth was elsewhere.

This is what makes me still believe theres a 3rd story there and the whole trial was a dog and pony op. ( which explains why things dont add up)
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Old 24th September 2009, 12:15 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Approximately 50% of the Lockerbie CT theorising is aimed at showing that this theory was right all along, and it still seems the most probable explanation to me too. This is the "received wisdom" of the subject.

De Braeckeleer on the other hand seems to have a different theory, which does not involve Jibril's group having done it, or even a suitcase being involved at all. Therefore he is trying to shoot down the idea that Jibril's devices could possibly have done it. Jibril, of course, is perfectly happy for him to take that line, and to feed him further "information" to help him on his way.

Rolfe.
What gives DB's theory its horsepower is the ( albiet very weak) marriage of the theory with its physics and that hole ( thats physical evidence)

I presume they are calling it a "hole" because the edge indicates it was violently ripped at one time and tore a chunk out and not a clean hole like a projectile from the explosion compromised it. ( the petaling leads me to believe it was violently ripped- thats usually what happens)

Thats very consistent with a charge being in close proximity or either tamped to blow in that direction.
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Old 24th September 2009, 12:52 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
This is what makes me still believe theres a 3rd story there ....

A third story?? Get in line, bud! There are at least five distinct stories already. (I might have missed something, I haven't been keeping a master list.)
  • Jibril and the PFLP-GC
  • Gadaffi and Libya, by way of Megrahi
  • Rogue US operation to eliminate Charles McKee
  • South African operation to eliminate Bernt Carlsson
  • Accidental detonation of illegally-transported US munitions
Have I missed any? And that's just the very basic ones, not counting the variants, and the ones which combine theories such as Jibril's group being used by rogue US agents to eliminate McKee....

So if you want something original, you're at least #6.

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Old 24th September 2009, 02:46 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
A third story?? Get in line, bud! There are at least five distinct stories already. (I might have missed something, I haven't been keeping a master list.)
  • Jibril and the PFLP-GC
  • Gadaffi and Libya, by way of Megrahi
  • Rogue US operation to eliminate Charles McKee
  • South African operation to eliminate Bernt Carlsson
  • Accidental detonation of illegally-transported US munitions
Have I missed any? And that's just the very basic ones, not counting the variants, and the ones which combine theories such as Jibril's group being used by rogue US agents to eliminate McKee....

So if you want something original, you're at least #6.

Rolfe.
Let me take some pot shots at them

Quote:
Jibril and the PFLP-GC
Possible but unlikely simply because nothing against them was ever pursued after the fact

Quote:
Gadaffi and Libya, by way of Megrahi
LOL, I dont think this theory but Daffy KaDaffy wasnt the principal- just the conduit

Quote:
Rogue US operation to eliminate Charles McKee
South African operation to eliminate Bernt Carlsson
Nah, its too easy to take out 1 single individual- it wouldnt justify the effort,expense and risk of something like this

Quote:
Accidental detonation of illegally-transported US munitions
Thats not even realistic

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Old 24th September 2009, 03:14 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Possible but unlikely simply because nothing against them was ever pursued after the fact

The lack of pursuit of the PFLP-GC is quite startling, as it happens. Nearly as startling as the way the judges ignored all the evidence presented at Camp Zeist that would have made a better circumstantial case against them than against Megrahi.

It doesn't even occur to you that this might be part of the CT, rather than a refutation of it?

Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
LOL, I dont think this theory but Daffy KaDaffy wasnt the principal- just the conduit

Well, he was in the business of supplying wholesale Semtex, that's for sure. You know what? While I have zero respect for the guy, I'd have more respect for you as a debater if you would just stop mangling his name. It brings you down to the same level as Cicero and his persistent, puerile, "MacAsskill".

Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Nah, its too easy to take out 1 single individual- it wouldnt justify the effort,expense and risk of something like this

That's what I thought too.

Originally Posted by LONGTABBER PE View Post
Thats not even realistic

No. An awful lot of sewing-machine needles (oh hey, they're contaminated medical waste, don't pick them up!!) to be sending by transatlantic air freight though....

Sometimes I wonder if people have been out there dragging red herrings around deliberately.

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Old 24th September 2009, 05:38 PM   #37
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What do you think of this bit? (Par 6 of the court judgement).

Quote:
[6] Technical evidence relating to the effects of explosives was given by Dr Cullis and Professor Peel. Dr Cullis is an expert on the effects of blast and the development of computer codes to simulate the effects of blast in particular different situations, and has been employed at the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (“DERA”) since 1978. Professor Peel is the chief scientist for DERA, specialising in materials and structures used in aircraft, and leader of a team conducting research into inter alia the assessment of the effect of detonation of explosives in aircraft. They confirmed that 6 the presence of pitting and carbon deposits which would look like a very fine soot indicated a chemical explosion. The areas in which this would occur would have to be in line of sight with the explosive, and in particular, as far as pitting was concerned, there would have to be no intervening structure of sufficient mass to prevent explosive fragments impacting on the pitted area. The nature of the cracking in the floor panel of the container is typical of the sort of deformation which would be seen from blast loading, but the absence of pitting or sooting in that area would indicate that there must have been something such as another suitcase situated between the explosive device and the floor panel. On the other hand the pitting and sooting seen on the inner aspect of the horizontal base frame member of the container combined with downward deformation of that member confirms the view that the explosive device was situated above and in direct line of sight of that member and thus was likely to be situated partly at least in the overhang where the presence of a suitcase on the floor of the container would not inhibit the explosive products from striking that member. Further confirmation of the position of the explosive device came from the observation of crushing to the upper surface of the aircraft fuselage frame 700 and pitting and sooting of the two neighbouring frames, this being the area adjacent to the lower after end of the container. Professor Peel's evidence also included a substantial complex section on the nature of impulse loading, the critical level of impulse for failure of aluminium alloy sheet of the type used for the fuselage skin, and the calculation of both the stand-off distance and the size of the explosive charge from the size of the shattered zone and the petalled zone. These calculations indicated a charge of about 450 grammes and a stand-off distance of 610 millimetres, which would take the explosion 200 millimetres inside the container. We do not consider it necessary to go into detail about these complex calculations, as the physical evidence of damage to the hull, the container, and, as we shall see later, the contents of the container satisfies us beyond any doubt that the explosion occurred within the container, and the calculations serve merely to confirm that view. We should add that this section of his evidence also dealt with the effect, if any, of the concept of Mach stem formation, but we do not consider it necessary to go into any detail about that, as we accept his evidence that although that concept was considered as a means of assessing stand-off distance, it was not actually used.

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Old 25th September 2009, 12:13 AM   #38
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Thanks for finding that, I don't have your patience for trawling through long documents.
That confirms my opinion earlier in the thread that there were multiple strands of evidence pointing to the bomb being in a suitcase in the container, in the location specified. If the bomb wasn't really there, then a lot of people must have agreed to fake up evidence that it was, which is where it all gets too CT for me.
I just can't see any strong evidence that the bomb location is incorrect, nor can I see any questions that would be answered by having the bomb elsewhere, except "See, see!!! it's a cover up, they were trying to frame Libya all along!!OMG eleventy"

NB I do agree there is a lot wrong with the whole investigation and conviction of Megrahi, I just don't think this is one of the wrong bits.
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Old 25th September 2009, 02:24 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
Thanks for finding that, I don't have your patience for trawling through long documents.

The Court judgement is actually quite readable, and although it's over 80 pages, it's double-spaced and you get through it quite quickly. Also, although it's a digest of the evidence, it is close to being a primary source.

Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
That confirms my opinion earlier in the thread that there were multiple strands of evidence pointing to the bomb being in a suitcase in the container, in the location specified. If the bomb wasn't really there, then a lot of people must have agreed to fake up evidence that it was, which is where it all gets too CT for me.

That's still my opinion. I can see where Longtabber is coming from. Sometimes you see a case which on the face of it just stands out as being quite obviously X. When you hear that someone else has diagnosed Y, you immediately declare, "no way!". Then you look at all the evidence they were looking at, and finally have to agree that, even though the superficial presentation is putting up an amazing imitation of X, an actual diagnosis of Y is pretty much inescapable.

I actually do this in educational presentations. I present a case with a clinical history and a selected few laboratory results. I ask the audience what they think. They always go for the misdirect - at least for the first one or two cases, then they start getting wary of the trick. Then I reveal the full set of results, and point out both why the real diagnosis is far more compelling than the knee-jerk assumption, and how the "misleading" results do in fact fit into the pattern of the real diagnosis.

The object of the exercise is to educate clinicians that they can jump to premature conclusions if they like, however they must never restrict their testing requests merely to a few tests they imagine will confirm their assumption. This is the run-up to explaining how to use tailored diagnostic profiling to ensure that you keep an open mind and acquire the information that will prevent you missing a diagnosis you didn't consider in your initial assessment.

Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
I just can't see any strong evidence that the bomb location is incorrect, nor can I see any questions that would be answered by having the bomb elsewhere, except "See, see!!! it's a cover up, they were trying to frame Libya all along!!OMG eleventy"

I would have thought that if there was any intent to frame anyone all along, it was the PFLP-GC who were being framed, particularly as regards the timing of the explosion. I just can't see how all that mountain of reconstructive evidence could have been planted. I mean, they re-built the bloody plane in a hangar from the bits they found scattered around the countryside. It's not just about the pattern of damage to the plane's hull, it's about the findings relating to the baggage containers and the other luggage. This seems to me impossible to fabricate.

In addition, this stuff was all found and seen by a lot of people very early. If fabrication was carried out, it's inevitable that it was underway from pretty much the moment the plane went down. To plan and execute such an exercise, involving the manufacture of particular bits of damaged baggage container and substituting them for the originals.... sorry, this is 9/11 twooferism territory.

Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
NB I do agree there is a lot wrong with the whole investigation and conviction of Megrahi, I just don't think this is one of the wrong bits.

Agreed. I don't think this could possibly have been fabricated. There's a big difference in plausibility between a single tiny fragment of circuit board only seen by a small handful of people having been introduced into the evidence trail at a later date, and the wholesale manufacture of bent, scorched and pitted luggage containers.

I can't explain why Longtabber's opinion that any radio involved in such a blast would inevitably have been completely vaporised differs so sharply from the opinions of the explosives experts who looked at the Lockerbie debris, but as we can see, it wasn't just Hayes, Feraday and Thurman involved here, it was a number of highly-qualified experts, none of whom seem to have considered that a significant sticking-point.

Rolfe.
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Old 25th September 2009, 08:37 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post



I can't explain why Longtabber's opinion that any radio involved in such a blast would inevitably have been completely vaporised differs so sharply from the opinions of the explosives experts who looked at the Lockerbie debris, but as we can see, it wasn't just Hayes, Feraday and Thurman involved here, it was a number of highly-qualified experts, none of whom seem to have considered that a significant sticking-point.

Rolfe.
Several reasons- first the term "expert" doesnt impress or intimidate me because my credentials are in the same league as theirs and I routinely engage/challenge experts. They are human just like I am and there is no exact set of standards or protocols that universally apply. They "guess" just like the rest of us.

Also, I've probably done more real world demolitions ( training and combat) than they have and seen it from the observer perspective even down to policing the area looking for any possible UXO remnants after the shot was fired.

Plus, I do this for a living ( on the DT/NDT part)

Quote:
completely vaporised differs so sharply from the opinions of the explosives experts
I'll tell you what should have happened ( I would have done this myself and it wouldnt have cost more than a few thousand dollars)

I would have built 3 identical bombs to whatever specs. ( wouldnt have to be exact just have boards and stuff)

3 controlled fires- 1 with just the radio, 1 in a suitcase in the open ( packed etc) and 1 with the suitcase in the center of others.

High speed cameras and sensors everywhere.

That would have sealed the deal- the fact it wasnt done but instead they just "ignored" or "discounted" it trying to push their opinion with no legitimate testing or verification really alarms me.

I have a strong suspicion why they DONT want to have their theory tested.
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