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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Ahmed Jibril , Kenny MacAskill , Lockerbie bombing , Marwan Khreesat , Pan Am 103

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Old 16th December 2011, 08:13 PM   #561
Bunntamas
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Look at that recent interview with Megrahi, which was recorded.
Rolfe.
Look at the interview with Pierre Salinger, which was also recorded, when Megrahi BOLD FACED LIED ON CAMERA, and said he was NOT on Malta ON THE DAY PA103 WAS BOMBED... and said, ON TAPE, that he is a "simple..family man". That he had no involvement with the Gaddafi regime, and considered relations with the Gaddafi regime a disgrace..... though he was working for them, according to Rolfe, on alleged sanctions busting, and the Gadaffi regime financed Megrahi's entire trial, in addition to his "posh" prison stay, after his prison "accoutrements" were not fitting at Barlinnie, and he was moved to Greenock (Hmmmm... again, a simple man has such pull to be moved from Barlinnie to Greenock, complete with cable and access to press interviews?) as well Saif Gaddafi's multiplle public notings on putting Megrahi's release on the table at every negotiation oil deals et. al , threatening, and noting to the media "dire consequences" during oil and other international deal negotiations, should Megrahi not be released.

HA! Simple man, disgraced by the Gaddafi regime, per Megrahi's statements in the Salinger interview. Disgraceful, indeed. Simple... Just like you and me. Simple. HA! SUUUUURRRRRE. Care to place yourself in Megrahi's "simple man genre? When the rubber hits the road, I sincerely doubt you have ANY evidence that can explain why Megrahi lied, as per above. Stair case and sanctions busting my ARSE. Simple man, abhorent of the Gaddafi regime, yet more than willing to take millions from said regime in financing his trial, and said regime putting his release on the table at every negotiation. Simple man? HARDLY.

More like The tactical man who carriued out the murderer of 270+ innocents at the direction of the Gadaffi regime - aka Libyan Official aka, admitted as guilty to the UN, by the Libyans. Time will tell, as more records come light, now that Megrahi's handlers are dead and/or put on trial. Best of luck to all of you, whom have supported this mass murdere for so long with your silly conspiracy theories.
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Old 17th December 2011, 03:56 AM   #562
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Someone accused, out of the blue, of a capital offence, goes into "deny everything" mode when interviewed by a journalist.

Oh my golly gosh, he must be guilty, even if there is no evidence against him and he was verifiably 1,000 miles away at the time the crime actually happened! How could we have been so blind!

Rolfe.
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Old 17th December 2011, 07:29 AM   #563
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
..Look, this is one person's account of a private, non-recorded conversation. In what language?...
Well, no one's going to say you haven't got the spin down pat. Maybe Gadaffi didn't say it. Or, if he did, he's a madman, so we can't believe him anyway.

The difficulty here is that you play both sides of the street. For when it's convenient, you'll happily argue Gaddafi wouldn't have done one thing or another because it wouldn't have been rational.

This contradiction, to me, is another signal of a lack of objectivity.
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Old 17th December 2011, 08:24 AM   #564
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The 'off-the-record' chat that ends up on the record is just hearsay and innuendo.

Libya was very much the pariah state involved in all sorts of terrorism. Mostly against dissidents abroad but certainly not averse to supplying weapons to those with enough dosh.

Yet more interesting reading maybe found here.


On a balance of probabilities thing I do not think Libya instigated the bombing of Pan Am 103. Did it have involvement re supplying semtex and/or know-how? It's certainly possible.

Mr Megrahi resembled a man who bought some clothes that were thought to have been in the suitcase containing the IED and he's acquainted with some dodgy geezers.

Introducing the IED in Malta is solidly on the fantastical side of diabolical plans, but it's not entirely impossible. The court judges themselves could see major holes in the story and of Mr Megrahi's involvement in it.
For reasons known to themselves they overlook their doubts and decide, despite the lack of anything properly incriminating, that it must have been him, just the way the investigators said. < Insert your own notions of shadowy intel services, govt pressure to convict, any other CT here >

From the day of the indictments nearly 20 years ago, to even now, the wrong men were 'guilty' of The Lockerbie Bombing. Circumstantial evidence can be enough to gain a conviction, but it has to be evidence. Not just inference built upon gossip and jouranalistic tittle-tattle.

Otherwise what we end up with is a miscarriage of justice. The sort of thing that happened in the case of Mr Megrahi.
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Old 17th December 2011, 10:11 AM   #565
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
The difficulty here is that you play both sides of the street. For when it's convenient, you'll happily argue Gaddafi wouldn't have done one thing or another because it wouldn't have been rational.

Why don't you show us some examples of this?
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Old 17th December 2011, 06:51 PM   #566
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Well, no one's going to say you haven't got the spin down pat. Maybe Gadaffi didn't say it. Or, if he did, he's a madman, so we can't believe him anyway.

The difficulty here is that you play both sides of the street. For when it's convenient, you'll happily argue Gaddafi wouldn't have done one thing or another because it wouldn't have been rational.

This contradiction, to me, is another signal of a lack of objectivity.

I am available at any convenient time to discuss the evidence in this case. I have to say, "some guy says Gadaffi admitted responsibility in a private conversation" is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. Especially in the context of a shedload of evidence pointing elsewhere.

News flash. Maybe Gadaffi and Libya were involved in some way. I don't know. I await some actual evidence on the subject.

The title of the thread is, "Did Abdelbaset al-Megrahi blow up Pan Am 103?"

Feel free to address that question any time you like.

Rolfe.
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Old 18th December 2011, 08:43 AM   #567
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Why don't you show us some examples of this?
Assuming I had already provided them, do it take it you would have agreed with the point I made? If so, we can proceed.
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Old 18th December 2011, 09:30 AM   #568
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I have to say, "some guy says Gadaffi admitted responsibility in a private conversation" is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi...
Haha, you have to say, do you? News flash: between "Rolfe" and Arnaud de Borchgrave, the anonymous "Rolfe" is the "some guy" of the two.


Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...The title of the thread is, "Did Abdelbaset al-Megrahi blow up Pan Am 103?"

Feel free to address that question any time you like...
Apparently it eludes your grasp that a reasonable person just might hold that the question of Libya's involvement in Lockerbie could somehow impinge upon "that question".

Meanwhile, considering you've been known to drone on ad nauseum about Megrahi in everything from the Amanda Knox thread to the JREF Holiday Recipes thread, feel free to begin getting over yourself anytime you like. Or I fear the hypocrisy meter will be liable to blow a fuse.

Oh, and btw, Merry Christmas :-)
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Old 18th December 2011, 12:41 PM   #569
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Assuming I had already provided them, do it take it you would have agreed with the point I made? If so, we can proceed.

If I understand your vaguely worded question correctly, you're asking if I would agree with your assertion if you provided evidence to support it. The answer is, it would depend on the evidence you provided. So why don't you attempt to provide some?
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Old 18th December 2011, 12:59 PM   #570
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Haha, you have to say, do you? News flash: between "Rolfe" and Arnaud de Borchgrave, the anonymous "Rolfe" is the "some guy" of the two.

Not sure why you find Rolfe's quite correctly pointing out that this is hearsay evidence humorous. Could you enlighten me?

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Apparently it eludes your grasp that a reasonable person just might hold that the question of Libya's involvement in Lockerbie could somehow impinge upon "that question".

Apparently it eludes your grasp that you're committing the affirmed consequent fallacy. If al-Megrahi was involved, then Libya was involved. The converse is not necessarily true.

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Meanwhile, considering you've been known to drone on ad nauseum about Megrahi in everything from the Amanda Knox thread to the JREF Holiday Recipes thread, feel free to begin getting over yourself anytime you like. Or I fear the hypocrisy meter will be liable to blow a fuse.

Instead of insulting those who disagree with you, why don't you attempt to provide some real evidence to support your contentions (whatever they are)?
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Old 18th December 2011, 05:56 PM   #571
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Assuming I had already provided them, do it take it you would have agreed with the point I made? If so, we can proceed.

I don't think I even understood the original point which you are conspicuously failing to provide examples to clarify.

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Haha, you have to say, do you? News flash: between "Rolfe" and Arnaud de Borchgrave, the anonymous "Rolfe" is the "some guy" of the two.

Rolfe isn't even a guy.

Does it matter whether I type the name? It's still an unconfirmed report of a private conversation, and we don't even know what language Gadaffi was speaking never mind what he said. And we have other examples where people (Americans, of course) have vociferously claimed that either Gadaffi or Megrahi admitted guilt, and yet when we examine the actual texts we find no such admission. Why is this one any more likely to be reliable?

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Apparently it eludes your grasp that a reasonable person just might hold that the question of Libya's involvement in Lockerbie could somehow impinge upon "that question".

On the contrary, it seems to elude your grasp that discovering Libya was indeed involved in the Lockerbie bombing (beyond supplying the Semtex that is) doesn't add anything at all to the pathetic case against Megrahi.

We don't know who bombed that plane. Might have been someone Libyan, only we really don't have any reliable evidence that it was, in contrast to a shedload of evidence suggesting it was one of Ahmed Jibril's associates. But if it was someone Libyan, the Libyan it most definitely wasn't, was Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, being as he has been investigated in great detail and found to have an alibi for the crime.

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Meanwhile, considering you've been known to drone on ad nauseum about Megrahi in everything from the Amanda Knox thread to the JREF Holiday Recipes thread, feel free to begin getting over yourself anytime you like. Or I fear the hypocrisy meter will be liable to blow a fuse.

Why? I have compared the Lockerbie trial to the Knox/Sollecito trial, because there are a number if interesting parallels. If you're not interested in the subject, then why are you in this thread?

I fail to see what I am supposed to be being hypocritical about. Feel free to start discussing the evidence against Megrahi any time you like.

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Oh, and btw, Merry Christmas :-)

Enchanted, I'm sure.

Rolfe.
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Last edited by Rolfe; 18th December 2011 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 18th December 2011, 06:25 PM   #572
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To make this simpler.

Do you believe the Lockerbie bomb travelled on KM180? What evidence do you base that belief on? What do you think Megrahi did in relation to putting the bomb on KM180 (where it never was....)?

If Megrahi had been found to have been lurking round Heathrow airport around 4 o'clock in the afternoon of 21st December 1988, I'd be the first to agree that would look very suspicious. But the fact is he was in Tripoli then.

If you want Megrahi to be guilty of this atrocity, you first have to show that the bomb travelled on KM180, and believe me it can't be done. On the contrary, this possibility has been investigated so closely that the complete absence of evidence really does add up to pretty good evidence of absence.

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Old 19th December 2011, 12:10 PM   #573
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
...On the contrary, it seems to elude your grasp that discovering Libya was indeed involved in the Lockerbie bombing...doesn't add anything at all to the...case against Megrahi...
Well, you can dream, anyway. Of course it would be of probative value to the question of Megrahi's guilt.

Sensible people will certainly realize that. And those without an agenda will have no difficulty acknowledging it.
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Old 19th December 2011, 12:41 PM   #574
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Well, you can dream, anyway. Of course it would be of probative value to the question of Megrahi's guilt.

No. Again this is the affirming the consequentWP fallacy. You might want to read up on it.

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Sensible people will certainly realize that. And those without an agenda will have no difficulty acknowledging it.

Sensible people generally understand the affirming the consequent fallacy when it's explained to them.
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Old 20th December 2011, 05:35 PM   #575
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Earth logic goes like this.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was on Malta on the morning of 21st December 1988, then he travelled to Tripoli. This was held to be evidence that he was involved in the bombing of Pan Am 103, because the investigators believed the bomb was introduced into the baggage system at Malta, at the time he was there.

However, the investigators were wrong. The bomb was never anywhere near the island of Malta. Evidence shows it was introduced into the baggage system at Heathrow airport around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when Megrahi was verifiably in Tripoli.

Hence, Megrahi was a thousand miles away when the bomb was introduced into the baggage system. He has an alibi for the crime. The evidence apparently linking him to the atrocity is in fact exculpatory.

In addition, there is much credible evidence suggesting that the terrorist gang responsible for the bombing was Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-GC, with Marwan Khreesat probably the actual bomb-maker, while the man known as Abu Elias may have done the hands-on introduction. There is also evidence suggesting the PFLP-GC were acting as paid agents of the Iranian state.

Lane seems to be making two mistakes here. First, he is giving undue weight to a single uncorroborated claim that Gadaffi admitted involvement in the bombing in an off-the-record interview. While interesting, the off-the-record nature of this alleged admission makes it impossible to take any further, and in particular it doesn't make the very solid evidence against Jibril's gang go away.

Second, he is claiming that evidence suggesting Libya as a state was involved should be considered to be evidence that Megrahi was involved. This is a complete non sequitur. There are about 5 million Libyans. Even if it were to be shown that the crime was indeed committed by a Libyan, it is irrational, illogical and indeed perverse to claim that this means that a man who has already been shown to have an alibi for the crime was involved, simply because of his nationality.

Lane, please discuss the evidence. Do you believe the bomb was carried on KM180? If so, on what do you base this belief? What role are you claiming that Megrahi played in the bombing, and what evidence do you have for this?

Hint: "I believe it was done by a Libyan and he's Libyan" doesn't cut it.

Rolfe.
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Old 21st December 2011, 04:44 AM   #576
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Mod WarningLet's try to stay on topic and avoid the childish bickering please.
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Old 28th December 2011, 06:29 AM   #577
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It's possible Libyans were involved, but if they were it seems likely they were acting as proxies for the Iranians.

Is it generally understood that the Pan Am bombing was retaliation for the shoot-down of the Iranian Airbus in the Gulf, or is that theory not accepted here?
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Old 28th December 2011, 06:40 AM   #578
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"Here" doesn't really have an agreed opinion. It seems likely that Pan Am 103 and the Iran Air 655 shoot-down were connected, to a number of posters here. That's about as far as you can take it. Others will never believe Megrahi could possibly be innocent, because we all know court verdicts ALWAYS reflect reality, and the CIA would never railroad someone for political reasons.

As I've pointed out a few times, I chose the title of the thread with care. Did ABDELBASET AL-MEGRAHI blow up Pan Am 103?

Rolfe.
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Old 28th December 2011, 07:16 AM   #579
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
"Here" doesn't really have an agreed opinion. It seems likely that Pan Am 103 and the Iran Air 655 shoot-down were connected, to a number of posters here. That's about as far as you can take it. Others will never believe Megrahi could possibly be innocent, because we all know court verdicts ALWAYS reflect reality, and the CIA would never railroad someone for political reasons.

As I've pointed out a few times, I chose the title of the thread with care. Did ABDELBASET AL-MEGRAHI blow up Pan Am 103?

Rolfe.
No. He was offered up as a sacrifice by Libya for diplomatic reasons.
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Old 28th December 2011, 09:20 AM   #580
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Originally Posted by MitNagel View Post
No. He was offered up as a sacrifice by Libya for diplomatic reasons.

That certainly seems likely. Rolfe might know more about this than I, but to me it also seems at least remotely possible that Gadaffi might have believed that his intelligence service could have carried out the bombing without his knowledge or approval. If so, possibly he assumed that events could have happened more-or-less the way the US and GB claimed, and so decided not to keep fighting the charges. Or it could be that both possibilities influenced his decision.
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Old 28th December 2011, 09:56 AM   #581
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I think MitNagel is close to it. However, it seems that both Megrahi and Fhimah went to Zeist at least semi-willingly, wanting above all to end the sanctions which were crippling their country, and believing that a fair trial (which they thought Scotland would give them) could not possibly convict them on the risible "evidence" that was presented.

If Gadaffi was twisting their arms, this has not been reported.

Rolfe.
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Old 28th December 2011, 12:17 PM   #582
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
That certainly seems likely. Rolfe might know more about this than I, but to me it also seems at least remotely possible that Gadaffi might have believed that his intelligence service could have carried out the bombing without his knowledge or approval. If so, possibly he assumed that events could have happened more-or-less the way the US and GB claimed, and so decided not to keep fighting the charges. Or it could be that both possibilities influenced his decision.
Or Ghaddafi thought that, if he got the US and GB too angry at him by refusing cooperation, they´d crush him, and thus decided to throw his henchmen to the wolves in order to save his position.

Or perhaps a combination of both.
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Old 28th December 2011, 04:46 PM   #583
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Figuring out why Gadaffi did anything was never a very constructive exercise.

This is pretty tangential to the subject of the thread though. Anyone got any evidence that Megrahi had anything to do with the Pan Am 103 bombing? Anything at all?

Rolfe.
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Old 1st January 2012, 07:57 AM   #584
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
Well, no one's going to say you haven't got the spin down pat. Maybe Gadaffi didn't say it. Or, if he did, he's a madman, so we can't believe him anyway.

The difficulty here is that you play both sides of the street. For when it's convenient, you'll happily argue Gaddafi wouldn't have done one thing or another because it wouldn't have been rational.

This contradiction, to me, is another signal of a lack of objectivity.
We're talking here about something Gaddafi is alleged to have said. We don't know whether he actually said it, or what words he used, or what he meant by it. Think of the confusion caused by (and the reams of bollocks written about) Megrahi's recent interview with CNN, thanks mainly to a report which juxtaposed statements in a misleading way; or the misinterpretation (in another thread) of Edwin Bollier's testimony at Zeist about the intended use of MST-13 timers by Libya.

Elsewhere we've argued that the 'official' line requires the terrorists to have acted irrationally, for instance in loading the bomb at Luqa, where security was tight, as unaccompanied baggage, which would be x-rayed at Frankfurt, rather than at sieve-like Heathrow. We expect someone capable of planning and executing a major crime of that scale to act rationally - that is in a way which maximises the chance of success and minimises the chance of getting caught. That's not a contradiction to Gaddafi's irrationality: no-one believes he personally planned in detail the terrorist acts for which he was responsible.

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Old 3rd January 2012, 12:57 PM   #585
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Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
We're talking here about something Gaddafi is alleged to have said. We don't know whether he actually said it, or what words he used, or what he meant by it. Think of the confusion caused by (and the reams of bollocks written about) Megrahi's recent interview with CNN, thanks mainly to a report which juxtaposed statements in a misleading way; or the misinterpretation (in another thread) of Edwin Bollier's testimony at Zeist about the intended use of MST-13 timers by Libya.
ISTR that Gadaffi was widely quoted as saying "Libya accepts responsibility for the actions of its agents." Since Megrahi had been convicted, this was taken by some as an admission that Libya was responsible for the bombing, rather missing the point that nobody in Libya had accepted that the conviction of Megrahi was sound. Libya also paid a large sum of money as "compensation" for the families of the victims - but since this meant that sanctions against the country would be lifted, it was also more likely to be a pragmatic action on their part than any acknowledgement of the justice of the actions against them.
Quote:
Elsewhere we've argued that the 'official' line requires the terrorists to have acted irrationally, for instance in loading the bomb at Luqa, where security was tight, as unaccompanied baggage, which would be x-rayed at Frankfurt, rather than at sieve-like Heathrow. We expect someone capable of planning and executing a major crime of that scale to act rationally - that is in a way which maximises the chance of success and minimises the chance of getting caught. That's not a contradiction to Gaddafi's irrationality: no-one believes he personally planned in detail the terrorist acts for which he was responsible.
Another point on the same lines is: would the terrorists have chosen to wrap their bomb in clothes easily-traceable to a shop just round the corner from where they planned their action (allegedly the Libyan embassy)? Hardly.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 05:14 PM   #586
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[Not aimed at you Antony]

I wish people would go get a clue before barging into this and other Lockerbie threads with barely relevant factoids, proclaiming or insisting that the Official Version must be true because of some notion they can't even articulate properly.

Seems to me that not having any idea what Megrahi is actually supposed to have done, or of the evidence that allegation was based on, or the multiple and fatal problems with that evidence, isn't a good basis from which to start discussing.

Rolfe.
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Old 6th January 2012, 02:34 PM   #587
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Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
...Elsewhere we've argued that the 'official' line requires the terrorists to have acted irrationally, for instance in loading the bomb at Luqa, where security was tight, as unaccompanied baggage...
Originally Posted by Antony View Post
...Another point on the same lines is: would the terrorists have chosen to wrap their bomb in clothes easily-traceable to a shop just round the corner from where they planned their action (allegedly the Libyan embassy)? Hardly.
You have an inadequate and limited perspective on such matters, it appears to me.

In a world where terrorists failures include blowing up unintended targets (including themselves) for reasons as maladroit as not being able to tell the time properly, let's just say I don't share your idealization of terrorists as always conceiving, planning, and carrying out their schemes with, uh, clock-like precision. Nor do I share the conviction that anything short of the perfect crime must be indicative of an otherwise infallible actor acting "irrationally".

So your argument is weak and ineffectual. Not only because what you've concluded could only have been "irrational" behaviour might be something else all together; but also because even if it wasn't, there are indeed examples where terrorist acts have depended upon elements which might, in some sense anyway, be appropriately labelled as irrational (particularly with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Which, incidentally, is primarily the lens through which you appear to be making that designation).
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Old 6th January 2012, 04:34 PM   #588
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
You have an inadequate and limited perspective on such matters, it appears to me.

In a world where terrorists failures include blowing up unintended targets (including themselves) for reasons as maladroit as not being able to tell the time properly, let's just say I don't share your idealization of terrorists as always conceiving, planning, and carrying out their schemes with, uh, clock-like precision. Nor do I share the conviction that anything short of the perfect crime must be indicative of an otherwise infallible actor acting "irrationally".

You are confusing "incompetent" with "irrational."

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
So your argument is weak and ineffectual. Not only because what you've concluded could only have been "irrational" behaviour might be something else all together; but also because even if it wasn't, there are indeed examples where terrorist acts have depended upon elements which might, in some sense anyway, be appropriately labelled as irrational (particularly with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Which, incidentally, is primarily the lens through which you appear to be making that designation).

Please explain how the actions in question could have been rational.
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Old 7th January 2012, 05:34 AM   #589
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
You have an inadequate and limited perspective on such matters, it appears to me.
You have heard of Rule 12, haven't you?
Quote:
In a world where terrorists failures include blowing up unintended targets (including themselves) for reasons as maladroit as not being able to tell the time properly, let's just say I don't share your idealization of terrorists as always conceiving, planning, and carrying out their schemes with, uh, clock-like precision. Nor do I share the conviction that anything short of the perfect crime must be indicative of an otherwise infallible actor acting "irrationally".
The Lockerbie bombing was hardly a "terrorist failure", and didn't involve an "unintended target", so I don't see what point you're making. Even those who imagine that the Megrahi conviction was correct still don't believe that anything more than a small part of the crime has been solved.
Quote:
So your argument is weak and ineffectual. Not only because what you've concluded could only have been "irrational" behaviour might be something else all together; but also because even if it wasn't, there are indeed examples where terrorist acts have depended upon elements which might, in some sense anyway, be appropriately labelled as irrational (particularly with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Which, incidentally, is primarily the lens through which you appear to be making that designation).
2 missed points here:

- if there was evidence that the bomb was planted at Luqa, then we would have to deal with it apparently being an irrational choice. But there never was genuine evidence, so the obvious irrationality of choosing Luqa is another reason for believing the Camp Zeist verdict was a nonsense;
- I've seen, and heard, people arguing that the proximity of the clothes shop to the Libyan embassy is in some way an indication that the Libyans were involved. It isn't, for the reason I pointed out.
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Old 7th January 2012, 06:39 AM   #590
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Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
You have an inadequate and limited perspective on such matters, it appears to me.

When you are as familiar with the evidence in the Lockerbie case as Pete is, then maybe you can judge that. Come back when you are.

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
In a world where terrorists failures include blowing up unintended targets (including themselves) for reasons as maladroit as not being able to tell the time properly, let's just say I don't share your idealization of terrorists as always conceiving, planning, and carrying out their schemes with, uh, clock-like precision. Nor do I share the conviction that anything short of the perfect crime must be indicative of an otherwise infallible actor acting "irrationally".

I think you're concentrating on the wrong part of the argument. As Antony says, if there were actual evidence that the terrorists did what the Official Version claims they did, then we'd have to consider why they chose such a bizarre modus operandi. However, the starting point is that there's no actual evidence they did that in the first place.

The investigators formed a false theory of what had happened in August/September of 1989, based on a very weak and tenuous lead. They investigated this to death, and found absolutely nothing to substantiate it. This investigation was so thorough that the lack of any corroborating evidence is in fact pretty good positive evidence against the theorised events having happened.

Why did they cling to that theory in spite of the lack of supporting evidence? That's a seriously fascinating question, and we could discuss it at length. I think there were multiple factors in play, and that the likely backlash from admitting they should have looked a lot more closely at Heathrow airport at the start but that evidence was now lost to the enquiry, was a major factor.

That is the background to the observation that the Official Theory describes an absolutely irrational, brain-dead plan, which is being assumed to have succeeded by a series of pure flukes. Certainly, if there was evidence that this irrational, brain-dead plan had indeed been put into operation and had succeeded by that ghastly series of unlikely events, then we'd accept that had happened. But since there's no evidence of it having happened, pointing out that it's irrational and brain-dead is just another reasonable point to make when discussing the case.

Originally Posted by lane99 View Post
So your argument is weak and ineffectual. Not only because what you've concluded could only have been "irrational" behaviour might be something else all together; but also because even if it wasn't, there are indeed examples where terrorist acts have depended upon elements which might, in some sense anyway, be appropriately labelled as irrational (particularly with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Which, incidentally, is primarily the lens through which you appear to be making that designation).

Yes. Show us the evidence that the irrational behaviour actually happened. You can't, because there isn't any.

Rolfe.
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Old 7th January 2012, 08:45 AM   #591
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Why did they cling to that theory in spite of the lack of supporting evidence? That's a seriously fascinating question, and we could discuss it at length. I think there were multiple factors in play, and that the likely backlash from admitting they should have looked a lot more closely at Heathrow airport at the start but that evidence was now lost to the enquiry, was a major factor.

In addition, I imagine that the investigators, politicians, and the public were more disposed to accept that Libya (rather than, for example, Iran or Syria) could have hatched an irrational plot that succeeded only by pure luck.
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Old 7th January 2012, 10:06 AM   #592
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
In addition, I imagine that the investigators, politicians, and the public were more disposed to accept that Libya (rather than, for example, Iran or Syria) could have hatched an irrational plot that succeeded only by pure luck.

Ah, but that's the fascinating part!

The misdirection to Malta happened in August 1989. Before that, the Brits had been trying to blame Frankfurt, and the Germans had been trying to insist the bomb had to have gone on at Heathrow. It was a Mexican stand-off. Reading the contemporary accounts, I get the really sinking feeling that both sides were far more interested in getting the blame for the security lapse firmly placed on the other guy, than actually solving the crime.

The Brits spent April blowing stuff up in an attempt to show that the bomb couldn't have been in a case on the floor of the baggage container. The results were far from conclusive, but they decided they were, anyway. Of course, it was always possible that a bit of re-jigging of the luggage when the stuff from Frankfurt was loaded resulted in one of the Heathrow cases being on the second layer anyway, but the investigators categorically insisted that couldn't possibly have happened. So if the bomb suitcase wasn't in the bottom layer, it wasn't Heathrow's problem.

Ironically, by the time they got to constructing the case against Megrahi they decided the bags must have been shuffled around when the Frankfurt stuff went in, but they never went back and revised their earlier reasoning in that context.

Then in August, the Mexican standoff was broken by the Germans releasing evidence they'd had since February, which could be interpreted as showing an unaccompanied suitcase entering the system there from the Malta flight. Both sides seized on that eagerly, because responsibility for that luggage was with Air Malta and Pan Am, not Frankfurt or Heathrow. They descended on Malta to find the terrorists.

Unfortunately they found nothing. Zilch. They followed up every passenger on the Frankfurt flight, and examined all the flight records, and investigated all the Air Malta staff quite intrusively. There were a couple of suspicious passengers (Mallia and Caruana), but whatever Mallia was up to it wasn't bombing PA103 (he was probably smuggling something, maybe drugs, into Germany), and Caruana was quite genuinely taking his wife and two little daughters to Disneyworld.

All this time the investigators thought they were hunting the PFLP-GC. There was a PFLP-GC cell on the island, and they really seriously thought that was it. Unfortunately it wasn't. They could find nothing on these guys, they could find no unaccompanied luggage on that plane, and they could find no way there could be unaccompanied luggage on that plane.

Logic would dictate that at this point maybe they should have revised their theory that the bomb had travelled from Malta. Malta was a complete blank. They found that out within a few months. And the evidence from Frankfurt that the theory had been based on was extremely tenuous and easily amenable to other explanations. But they didn't reconsider the basic Malta theory. The investigation just stalled. Nobody was prepared to go back to the "it was Frankfurt - no it was Heathrow" ping-pong match.

It wasn't till the autumn of 1990 that they decided to look at Libya as a possible culprit, as opposed to the PFLP-GC. Then the CIA started feeding the investigation names of possible Libyan suspects. Megrahi's name came up in December, and it was discovered he had been in and out of Malta around the relevant times. That's when the big frame-up started, beginning with the infamous photospread on Valentine's day 1991.

So basically, the Malta theory had nothing to do with Libya, and pre-dated the Libya theory by about a year. I find this extremely interesting.

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Old 7th January 2012, 04:02 PM   #593
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Ah, but that's the fascinating part!

The misdirection to Malta happened in August 1989. Before that, the Brits had been trying to blame Frankfurt, and the Germans had been trying to insist the bomb had to have gone on at Heathrow. It was a Mexican stand-off. Reading the contemporary accounts, I get the really sinking feeling that both sides were far more interested in getting the blame for the security lapse firmly placed on the other guy, than actually solving the crime.

The Brits spent April blowing stuff up in an attempt to show that the bomb couldn't have been in a case on the floor of the baggage container. The results were far from conclusive, but they decided they were, anyway. Of course, it was always possible that a bit of re-jigging of the luggage when the stuff from Frankfurt was loaded resulted in one of the Heathrow cases being on the second layer anyway, but the investigators categorically insisted that couldn't possibly have happened. So if the bomb suitcase wasn't in the bottom layer, it wasn't Heathrow's problem.

Ironically, by the time they got to constructing the case against Megrahi they decided the bags must have been shuffled around when the Frankfurt stuff went in, but they never went back and revised their earlier reasoning in that context.

Then in August, the Mexican standoff was broken by the Germans releasing evidence they'd had since February, which could be interpreted as showing an unaccompanied suitcase entering the system there from the Malta flight. Both sides seized on that eagerly, because responsibility for that luggage was with Air Malta and Pan Am, not Frankfurt or Heathrow. They descended on Malta to find the terrorists.

Unfortunately they found nothing. Zilch. They followed up every passenger on the Frankfurt flight, and examined all the flight records, and investigated all the Air Malta staff quite intrusively. There were a couple of suspicious passengers (Mallia and Caruana), but whatever Mallia was up to it wasn't bombing PA103 (he was probably smuggling something, maybe drugs, into Germany), and Caruana was quite genuinely taking his wife and two little daughters to Disneyworld.

All this time the investigators thought they were hunting the PFLP-GC. There was a PFLP-GC cell on the island, and they really seriously thought that was it. Unfortunately it wasn't. They could find nothing on these guys, they could find no unaccompanied luggage on that plane, and they could find no way there could be unaccompanied luggage on that plane.

Logic would dictate that at this point maybe they should have revised their theory that the bomb had travelled from Malta. Malta was a complete blank. They found that out within a few months. And the evidence from Frankfurt that the theory had been based on was extremely tenuous and easily amenable to other explanations. But they didn't reconsider the basic Malta theory. The investigation just stalled. Nobody was prepared to go back to the "it was Frankfurt - no it was Heathrow" ping-pong match.

It wasn't till the autumn of 1990 that they decided to look at Libya as a possible culprit, as opposed to the PFLP-GC. Then the CIA started feeding the investigation names of possible Libyan suspects. Megrahi's name came up in December, and it was discovered he had been in and out of Malta around the relevant times. That's when the big frame-up started, beginning with the infamous photospread on Valentine's day 1991.

So basically, the Malta theory had nothing to do with Libya, and pre-dated the Libya theory by about a year. I find this extremely interesting.

Rolfe.
Hmm ... I understood that the original Malta connection was that the clothes in the bomb suitcase had the label "the Malta Clothing Company", and that the shop was a short distance from the Libyan embassy. Was this a coincidence, or was it invented by the investigators, to try to make a connection with Libya?
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Old 7th January 2012, 05:20 PM   #594
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Sort of. The suitcase was a Samsonite, and its origin was never discovered. It was the clothes in the suitcase that were the connection. In about March, the label on a blue Babygro was found (the Babygro itself was absolutely shredded, and it was believed to have been wrapped round the IED), which read "Made in Malta". Investigators went to Malta at that time, and traced the manufacturer, but since the product had been widely supplied to outlets throughout Europe they didn't get any further at that time.

However, in August, there was a push to try to establish the provenance of a number of items showing explosives damage which were believed to have been in the suitcase as well. One of these was a pair of check trousers with the label "Yorkie". These were also eventually traced to a manufacturer in Malta, on the same industrial estate as the Babygro manufacturer. This made the investigators rather more interested in the island.

In mid-August there was a case conference in Germany, with the German investigators, and at that meeting the Scots team revealed the finding about two of the items of clothing having come from Malta. This made the German team sit up in turn. Because they had a piece of evidence they had not been sharing with the Scots, despite repeated requests, and they'd had it since the end of January.

This was a small extract of the Frankfurt airport luggage records, which had been lost to the enquiry in the early stages (don't ask, at least not now). This had been retained as a slightly morbid souvenir by one of the IT technicians the day after the crash, and was a coded list of all 111 items passing through the central computerised system and loaded on PA103A. The Frankfurt cops and airport staff made a complete pig's ear of analysing the printout, and got about half of the 25 items coming in from other flights wrong. As a result the apparent suggestion of an unaccompanied item from the Malta flight was only one of about 14 items which couldn't be matched to a legitimate passenger.

Nevertheless the Frankfurt cops followed this up in February, interviewing the general manager of Luqa airport and Mr. Caruana, among others. They, like the Scottish cops after them, found nothing untoward, and they dropped the line of inquiry. It was only in August, when the Maltese provenance of the clothes in the suitcase was discovered, that they came forward with this information.

The Scottish cops then went to Malta, and by a series of almost unbelievable coincidences were able to trace the retailer who sold the check trousers. Even more amazingly the man remembered the sale, nine months earlier, and his recollection indicated that most if not all the items identified as blast-damaged in the suitcase had been bought by that customer in the same transaction.

I can certainly see why the Scottish cops were excited - and pretty pleased with themselves. I can also see why the conclusion that the bomb had been introduced at Malta on to KM180 seemed compelling. There were only three problems. There was no, zero, zilch, nada evidence, and about the same possibility, that an unaccompanied suitcase had been carried by that flight on that day. And more sober consideration of the supposed plan reveals that it was actually batsqueak insane and could only have succeeded by a series of strokes of extraordinarily good luck (or bad luck, depending on how you look at it). And the investigators simply couldn't give up this wonderful theory no matter how little evidence there was that they were right.

Rolfe.
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Old 8th January 2012, 12:33 AM   #595
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Rolfe isn't even a guy.
Because everybody knows cats are feminine while dogs are masculine.

But her avatar is a male cat, which may cause the confusion. See the heaviness around the cheeks and shoulders? It's much easier to sex felines at a glance than canines. Unless you see more than its cheeks and shoulders.

BTW, as a onetime baggage tosser, a properly-closed Samsonite could probably withstand an explosion. Those ape commercials weren't lying. I mean, I TRIED to break them.
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Old 8th January 2012, 06:45 AM   #596
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OT

The original Rolfe-the-cat was indeed a boy.



/OT

Quite a few Samsonites were blown up in the quest to figure out what happened to Pan Am 103. They all ended up pulverised and shredded.

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Old 8th January 2012, 07:19 AM   #597
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Indeed, the Malta connection was known about from March 1989, because of the Babygro label. However, the idea that the bomb had actually flown in from Malta on KM180 didn't appear until August 1989.

Inquiries in early September 1989 traced the seller of the clothes, and unless this is a far far bigger and more complicated conspiracy than it appears (you'll find some takers for that, but I'm not one of them), the clothes packed in that suitcase were indeed bought in Sliema, Malta, by a tall, burly, dark-skinned Arab aged about 50. They seem to have been acquired as a rather capricious job-lot, for that precise purpose.

The problem is with the other part of the theory, which is that the suitcase was then smuggled on to KM180 at Luqa airport, about three miles from Sliema. Given the provenance of the clothes, combined with the coding anomaly at Frankfurt suggesting an illicit bag from KM180 heading for PA103A, it was a pretty good theory.

Except, it wasn't true. There was no unaccompanied bag on KM180, and no opportunity for anyone to have got one on. Tray 8849 wasn't the only coding anomaly in the luggage heading for PA103A, and it probably had a perfectly innocent explanation.

There is a shedload of evidence of the bronze Samsonite having been smuggled into the baggage container around 4 pm at Heathrow airport, before the flight from Frankfurt landed. Evidence the British police had been systematically ignoring as it emerged piece by piece between January and March 1989. It seems most probable that the terrorists filled their suitcase with brand new, locally manufactured, easily traceable clothes bought conspicuously in a small owner-run shop in Malta as a bit of misdirection. Thanks to the coincidence of the Frankfurt coding anomaly, it succeeded probably beyond their wildest dreams.

Rather than reconsider the Heathrow evidence, the investigators ran around rather aimlessly for many months, until the change of suspect country caused them to start looking at Libyans rather than Palestinians. They found Megrahi, just catching a plane for Tripoli which left about the same time as KM180. All he did was show up for his plane and get on it. He didn't even have any checked-in luggage for the half-hour flight. But he was using a coded diplomatic passport in a false name.

That's when the operation to pin the atrocity on him and his friend Fhimah started. It turned out that Fhimah wasn't even at the airport that morning, and Megrahi did nothing but catch his plane. But they "persuaded" Tony Gauci that the tall, burly, dark-skinned 50-year-old man who had bought the clothes was actually the 5' 8", medium built, light-skinned 36-year-old Megrahi. (I think it's likely the cops genuinely thought he had done it, and they were justified in "sexing up" the evidence against him. That's a common problem, ask the Birmingham Six.)

They also "persuaded" Abdulmajid Giaka to say he saw Megrahi and Fhimah at the airport the previous day with a brown Samsonite suitcase. This was shown in court to be a pack of lies procured by the US DoJ to bolster the case against Megrahi, and Giaka's evidence was thrown out. The loss of that evidence combined with the extraordinary weakness of Gauci's identification should have caused the case to collapse. (Gauci was subsequently found to have been paid $2 million for his evidence, and his brother a further $1 million for "maintaining the resolve of his brother", again by the US DoJ.)

But it seems that for certain Scottish judges, political expediency is more important than justice.

Rolfe.
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Old 8th January 2012, 07:47 AM   #598
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There's also the matter of the date of the purchase of the clothes, which Paul Gauci was able to narrow down to two possibilities: 23rd November or 7th December. The police claimed to have been unable to find a way to decide between these two - until, that is, they had a viable suspect in Megrahi, who was in Sliema on 7th December but not on Malta on 23rd November. Then DCI Bell cited as evidence against Megrahi that he was in Sliema on 'the' date of purchase.

There were in fact two independent ways to distinguish between the possible dates. According to Tony Gauci, it rained sufficiently that the customer had bought an umbrella; and the Christmas lights had not yet been switched on.

According to local meteorologists, it rained in Sliema on 23rd November, but not on 7th December. And the Minister for Tourism at the time recalls that he switched on the lights on 6th December. It follows that the date of purchase was 23rd November. The investigating team could have determined this well before Megrahi's name came up, and dismissed him as a suspect. Or, having found a suspect who was present on only one of the possible dates, they could have attempted to eliminate him from their enquiries by determining the exact date. All they had to do was consult the local weather bureau and ask the local press about the Christmas lights. But they didn't.

OK, we have the gift of hindsight here, but it was Harry Bell's job to think of such things. It's clear that he was more interested in making a charge stick against the first suspect who came along than in getting the right man.


BTW I believe Megrahi's movements on 21st December weren't known by the police until after the 'identification'. All they knew was that he was Libyan, had JSO connections and knew Bollier.
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Old 8th January 2012, 08:22 AM   #599
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Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
There's also the matter of the date of the purchase of the clothes, which Paul Gauci was able to narrow down to two possibilities: 23rd November or 7th December. The police claimed to have been unable to find a way to decide between these two - until, that is, they had a viable suspect in Megrahi, who was in Sliema on 7th December but not on Malta on 23rd November. Then DCI Bell cited as evidence against Megrahi that he was in Sliema on 'the' date of purchase.

There were in fact two independent ways to distinguish between the possible dates. According to Tony Gauci, it rained sufficiently that the customer had bought an umbrella; and the Christmas lights had not yet been switched on.

According to local meteorologists, it rained in Sliema on 23rd November, but not on 7th December. And the Minister for Tourism at the time recalls that he switched on the lights on 6th December. It follows that the date of purchase was 23rd November. The investigating team could have determined this well before Megrahi's name came up, and dismissed him as a suspect. Or, having found a suspect who was present on only one of the possible dates, they could have attempted to eliminate him from their enquiries by determining the exact date. All they had to do was consult the local weather bureau and ask the local press about the Christmas lights. But they didn't.

OK, we have the gift of hindsight here, but it was Harry Bell's job to think of such things. It's clear that he was more interested in making a charge stick against the first suspect who came along than in getting the right man.

I've found one or two declarations that the purchase was 7th December made before Megrahi's name came up, but you're right, they weren't sure. It's a confusing point, because the US investigators knew from December 1988 (before the crash) that Megrahi had been in Malta that day, because Giaka told them. It was one of the fairly useless snippits of information he was turning over in the context of his attempt to change career to become a US informer.

However, it doesn't appear that the Scottish authorities had Megrahi on the radar at all until December 1990 or January 1991, when the CIA provided his name and the two photographs (the exact dates are in the transcripts of Harry Bell's diaries). So before that I don't see what motivation they had to prefer 7th December as the date of the purchase over 23rd November. Apart from Tony having said "about two weeks before Christmas" at one point, everything else fitted better with 23rd November.

Joseph Mifsud gave evidence as a defence witness that there was no rain at Sliema on 7th December, but I don't know who tracked him down or when that was known to the inquiry. Nobody knew about the lights being switched on on 6th December until the SCCRC tracked down the Minister for Tourism in about 2006, God help us.

But you're right, Bell and Crawford were far far more interested in getting evidence to stick on Megrahi than finding out the truth. The way the February 1991 photospread was conducted was a disgrace, and drove a coach and horses through all police guidelines on the matter. Crawford's own account of the exercise describes him virtually telegraphing to Tony which picture he should pick.

I'm told that Bell is the person Megrahi is most vehemently bitter about, of all the participants in his frame-up. He's pretty anti Tony Gauci as well, but one gets the feeling it's Harry Bell who bears the largest share of his resentment.

Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
BTW I believe Megrahi's movements on 21st December weren't known by the police until after the 'identification'. All they knew was that he was Libyan, had JSO connections and knew Bollier.

That's true, and it's something I meant to mention. The order in which the investigation discovered stuff is important, and it's not always the order that seems most likely. It seems to have taken them an extraordinarily long time to figure out that Megrahi was "Abdusamad", even though the documentation for his legally-issued Abdusamad passport was sitting right there in the Libyan passport office, and they had seized it. And the Abdusamad passport photo was a different print of the same photo they had been using for all their "wanted" pictures. (A recognisable picture of Megrahi, unlike the peculiar fuzzy mugshot they used in the photospread.)

It reinforces why the investigators became so convinced Megrahi was the guilty man. They already have him in their sights, and they know he was on the island on one of the two possible days for the clothes purchase (or so they believe), and then they find out that he was right there checking in for LN147, at the next counter to the check-in for KM180.

Rolfe.
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Old 8th January 2012, 11:14 AM   #600
Antony
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I can certainly see why the Scottish cops were excited - and pretty pleased with themselves. I can also see why the conclusion that the bomb had been introduced at Malta on to KM180 seemed compelling.
So was it the origin of the bomb suitcase clothes, or the fact that the flight from Malta was on the tarmac in Frankfurt at the "right" time, or a combination of these, that fixed the Maltese connection in the minds of the investigators?

I can just hear the clicking of the mental machinery: "clothes bought in Malta ... Libyan embassy a short walk away ... ha! This proves the bomb was assembled at the Maltese Libyan embassy!"

Duh ...
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