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Old 9th February 2011, 08:20 AM   #361
Rolfe
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Basic thoughts about rearrangement of luggage. In all these scenarios the left-hand Bedford suitcase is the bomb bag, and the right-hand suitcase is a genuine piece of interline luggage, though placed in that position by the terrorist.

The bag was never moved
I've always been very doubtful about the evidence suggesting the suitcase was on the second layer. Ten inches is the height continually quoted, and that's neither one thing nor the other. It represents the interstice between the first and second layer, more than anything. And Hayes is at pains to point out that the Semtex couldn't have been in contact with the lid or the base of the case, due to its positioning inside the radio.

Ten inches is just about enough to fudge it into the second layer, maybe. But interestingly enough, we are never told the depth of Patricia's suitcase. Not enough was found to assess that - but there was no reason why the dimensions couldn't have been acquired from the manufacturer, just like with the bomb bag. Except they weren't. We do know that it was a large suitcase though, and these are seldom slim. I think is was probably at least 10 inches deep. So if it was on the bottom layer, there's a problem right there.

Also, given the preoccupation of the investigation with proving the bomb wasn't on the bottom layer (to avoid having to give serious consideration to its being the Bedford suitcase), I'm pretty convinced that 10 inches is the highest they could fudge the measurement, and that it could easily have been a bit lower than that. I don't see these guys reporting 10 inches if it could have been 15, let's say.

I'm also not terribly convinced by the evidence supporting the bomb bag not being on the floor of the container. Early notes by Hayes suggest he did think it had been exactly there, particularly that the suitcase had been supported by something very rigid when the explosion occurred. (This was later transferred to having been supported by Patricia's canvas suitcase!) There's a lot said about there being no pitting on the floor of the container, but that doesn't hugely convince me, because I can think of other reasons for that.

There seems actually to be no positive evidence placing Patricia's case on the floor, just that it was the ONLY bag said by Hayes to show evidence of being IN CONTACT WITH the bomb bag (rather than "in close proximity to"). So they had decided the bomb bag was on the second layer, and they positively couldn't leave the Bedford bag on the floor of the container for all the reasons we discussed, so here was the obvious candidate. However, if Patricia's case was the only one lying right against the bomb bag, and it was underneath it - what was on top of it? It's entirely possible the bomb bag was on the bottom layer, and Patricia's case was above it, hence Patricia's case was the only one showing evidence of having been right against the bomb bag.

However, this discussion only considers the vertical height, not the horizontal position. Caustic Logic has pointed out quite rightly that the evidence for the Semtex having been outside the main cube of the container and into the overhang portion by as much as a couple of inches is pretty strong. That being so, it definitely implies the case was moved from the position where Bedford saw it, at least in the horizontal plane. I accept this, so I think we have to consider that the bag was indeed moved.

The bag was in the second layer
This is quite possible, in two different ways. The first one involves movement by the Heathrow baggage handlers, and the second involves movement by the terrorist.

1. It's not impossible that Sidhu decided he would rather have a different bag on the floor of the container, and did what the court decided he did - pulled out the Bedford bag and put something else in its place. While I find this a tad unlikely under the circumstances (the floor already being covered, and the rush to transfer the baggage), my real objections to the court's theory are to the idea that the Bedford bag then disappeared, and yet an identical bag just happened to come off the conveyor at the precise moment to be replaces where you'd expect the Bedford bag to have been replaced.

So that's one possibility. It happened like the court said, but after the Frankfurt bag was put in the container, the Bedford bag with the bomb was simply chucked back on top. The problem with that is that we hit up against the same problems as above. The explosion was really too low to have happened in a case placed above Patricia's large suitcase. If Patricia's case was below the bomb bag, what was on top of it? If Patricia's case was below the bomb bag, really, and that wasn't just a convenient rearrangement of the evidence for Zeist, why was the FAI not told about it?

None of these are completely fatal objections though, so this has to be genuine possibility number one.

2. The other scenario that has the bomb bag on the second layer is that the terrorist himself went back and rearranged the luggage again while the container was parked outside the build-up shed. Maybe he wasn't 100% happy with the position he'd originally left the bags in - maybe Kamboj or Bedford unknowingly disturbed him or something like that. He could have returned later, when fortuitously the 45-minute delay to PA103A caused the container to be left unattended again.

In this case I suggest he might have chosen one of the genuine interline suitcases to place below the bomb bag, in order to position the bomb bag further into the overhang part of the container, and chosen one rather shallower than Patricia's Tourister. As there were cases piled into the sloping area of the container at the back, he could have picked one out without leaving an obvious gap in the row along the back. Indeed, that's my theory as to where the right-hand "Bedford suitcase" came from, another Samsonite that wasn't brown, a genuine passenger item placed there simply to guard against anyone casually sliding the bomb bag to the right and inboard. (Not necessarily the same item as was put below the bomb bag though.)

My current candidate for "right-hand Bedford bag" is Charles McKee's suitcase, which was found partially blast-damaged and which was a grey Samsonite hardshell. I don't have an obvious candidate for the case the terrorist put under the bomb bag, but I point to the Lockerbie legend that states that Bernt Carlsson's girlfriend never got any of his belongings back, but at a relatively early stage in the process she was shown a very severely damaged item and told it was his bag which had been under the bomb bag. (Charles McKee and Bernt Carlsson were both in the "first fifteen" above.)

This is genuine possibility number two. The terrorist initially put the bomb bag on the floor on the left where Bedford saw it, and pulled out a genuine passenger bag (possibly McKee's grey Samsonite) as a "place-holder" to the right. Then later, he returned to improve on that positioning by putting another of the genuine passenger bags (possibly Carlsson's wrecked luggage) underneath it. Sidhu went right on loading the container without moving anything, and Patricia's case ended up on top of the bomb bag.

The bag was only pushed to the left
This possibility is something Bill Taylor proposed during his speech for the defence, and I think it's quite interesting. He suggested that Sidhu, after dropping the surprisingly heavy photographer's case, decided he wanted something of that unusual weight on the floor of the container. However, instead of removing one of the Bedford suitcases, he simply moved them as far apart as possible and put the metal case between them. This would inevitably have involved the left-hand case being pushed into the sloping section of the container, which would have lifted the left side up above the original height by a couple of inches or so. If the bomb was in the left-hand side of the case (which makes sense, as that's how the terrorist would have placed the case if he was hoping it would not be moved), then we have our position. And Patricia's case can still be the only one lying directly against the bomb suitcase, having been put on top of it by Sidhu.

Of course nobody asked Sidhu whether he actually did this. Might have been quite pointless though, if the possibility wasn't thought about till 1999 or 2000. A lot would depend on whether the photographer's case would have fitted in the space suggested, which we don't know. It might not have been very big - these cases designed to carry camera lenses usually aren't. Unfortunately what happened to the photographer's case or even who it belonged to does not seem to be reported, so whether it could have been next to the explosion I don't know. (The only such case discussed in more detail at Zeist belonged to the film crew who travelled on KM180, and all that luggage was fully accounted for.)

So the specifics are a bit hazy, but I think the basic premise is a runner. Something a bit smaller (not necessarily the heavy photographer's case, maybe even one of Karen's smaller holdalls) comes off the conveyor, Sidhu decides to maximise space by putting it between the two Bedford cases, pushes the left-hand case to the left to achieve this, puts Patricia's case on top of it, and there we are.

So that's my three possibilities, assuming the terrorist only introduced one suitcase into the container, and assuming there was only ever one brown Samsonite on that plane - the one that blew into lots of little pieces.

Rolfe.
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Old 9th February 2011, 08:50 AM   #362
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Well, that's what I've been working myself up to since post 336. There you go.

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Old 9th February 2011, 02:40 PM   #363
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An outstanding piece of examination, explanation and theorising Rolfe.

Instinct and consideration, given the summary you've provided, would, to me, suggest that "The Bag Pushed to the Left" would fit what we know of the events and conclusions of the baggage container and some of the blast damaged luggage the most plausible scenario. Of course, the fact we don't know the exact size of the camera case does present a slight problem, but if indeed it was placed inbetween the two Bedford cases (which is also very plausible given the weight of the camera case) the shift of the 'left-side' Bedford case then places it, quite fortuitiously, in an even more deadly position than originally positioned.

And, as you point out, shifting tyhe bag to the sloping edge of the container also increases the height from if it were still lying flat on the container, and presents a slight deviation in width over the actual cubed area of the container, which would also support CL's theory. Although I don't really doubt even if it hadn't been shifted it would have still succeeded in penetrating the fuselage of the aircraft and resulting in the same catastrophic events.

You're right, they would have just loved to have actually been able to produce scraps or remnants of another brown samsonite, thereby giving them the perfect get out and explanation of what became of Bedford's suitcase, and it wasn't the primary suitcase as that's this other one we have scorched and blown to bits.

If, as you say, the right hand case was pulled out from the cases at the back, Bedford may well not have noticed that and I concur with your earlier suggestion that the other "similar" suitcase seen by Bedford may well have been actually Charles McKee's suitcase which was a dark grey samsonite and was noted to have also sustained blast damage.

However, I completely accept CL's arguments and suggestion in respect of both bags being integral to the bombers assignment as quite possible too.

However, if I may just mention a couple of points with respect to those two cases seen in AVE4041 before any other baggage from the Frankfurt feeder was anywhere near Heathrow.

Bedford's case just mysteriously vanishes from any consideration altogether at the FAI, despite being acknowledged it was spotted in almost the exact position the bomb went off, and yet a brown samsonite wasn't assigned to any of the interline passengers who's baggage was loaded by Bedford into 4041 that afternoon.

The bag Bedford saw should have had alarm bells ringing soundly at the FAI especially with the knowledge it clearly didn't belong to an authorised interline passenger, it matched the description of the known bomb bag, and had been loaded into 4041 in highly suspicious circumstances in, or very close to, the place the explosion occurred. Instead however the whole issue of Bedford's brown samsonite suitcase is simply ignored in favour of an unaccompanied bag arriving from the Frankfurt without the evidence of Erac's printout which we subsequently know would become absolutely critical to the assertion presented at Zeist of an unaccompanied bag loaded onto 103A and winding it's way conveniently to be almost exactly substituted for Bedford's Samsonite.

At Zeist in 2000, the prosecution and investigation are only to aware that simply dismissing Bedford's bag(s), as though completely inconsequential like the FAI had already bizarrely concluded, would not suffice in a criminal court case and the defence's more rigorous questioning on this point. The whole issue about Bedford's bag, especially if accepted it had remained where it had initially been observed in 4041, to the left side inside the container and on the floor thus directly underneath the explosion, could not be presented without any shred of this bag surviving and leaving portions to be identified when the actual primary bag itself had partially survived, and had been identified. How could that be explained? The primary samsonite survived, but the one Bedford saw underneath it didn't. Excuse me, what!?

No, that won't do at all.

Just as bizarrely however, their Lordships at Zeist concluding that the suitcase noted by Bedford, bearing an exact match to the known primary suitcase, had been moved into another area of the container, they (unwittingly perhaps) openly contradicted the FAI findings with respect to this bag, and moreover simultaneously blew Chief Superintendent John Orr's assertion only three weeks after the downing of 103 that ruled out the possibility of a Heathrow introduction, completely out the water.

Orr had made his declaration on the basis that since the explosion hadn't occurred on the floor of 4041, and as all of Bedford's interline bags were on the base, then that ruled out Heathrow as the place of introduction. He either intentionally omitted or wasn't aware that no interline passenger was carrying a brown samsonite, and deliberately decided that the break-in at Heathrow had no bearing on the matter and wasn't going to be revealed at all.

At Zeist however, the judges relied on precisely the opposite: the container had to have been rearranged after Bedford had left it and the two cases he spotted were moved to elsewhere in the container while bags arriving from Frankfurt were now able to be placed on the base of the container and on the second layer by the baggage loaders - where the bomb exploded.

The premise being that the 'other' brown samsonite which had been sent from Malta via Frankfurt by Megrahi was now, through the most incredible good fortune, taken of the feeder flight 103A and loaded into AVE4041 in the position previously occupied by Bedford's samsonite and most critically also in the position precisely optimum to puncture the fuselage and cause the aircraft to fall apart. The other Samsonite (possibly two), now moved to some far corner of the container, was never recovered and no remnant of an additional matching suitcase was ever recovered or thought to belong to any passenger and therefore claimed as lost by any of the bereaved relatives.

The fact that a brown Samsonite suitcase was already known by investigators not to belong to any of the initial interline passengers, the bags that were first into 4041, at Heathrow is completely disregarded. Conversely, this in itself illustrates a rogue and unaccompanied brown Samsonite was already in the baggage container, in the position required, long before the Frankfurt flight ever landed.

And certainly Megrahi couldn't have pulled off that piece of magic..
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Old 9th February 2011, 03:08 PM   #364
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Which is exactly why I say Megrahi has a better alibi for this crime than I have. I was within 50 miles of Heathrow airport that day. He, quite definitely, wasn't.

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Old 9th February 2011, 05:29 PM   #365
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Instinct and consideration, given the summary you've provided, would, to me, suggest that "The Bag Pushed to the Left" would fit what we know of the events and conclusions of the baggage container and some of the blast damaged luggage the most plausible scenario. Of course, the fact we don't know the exact size of the camera case does present a slight problem, but if indeed it was placed inbetween the two Bedford cases (which is also very plausible given the weight of the camera case) the shift of the 'left-side' Bedford case then places it, quite fortuitiously, in an even more deadly position than originally positioned.

That's what I'm starting to think. And remember, it doesn't have to be the camera case. If there was still a little bit of leeway on the bottom layer, any small item coming off the conveyor at that point might prompt Sidhu just to shove the two cases apart (which of course mainly means shoving the left-hand case to the left) to make room for the smaller item in between. One of Karen's holdalls, maybe, or something about that size?

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
And, as you point out, shifting the bag to the sloping edge of the container also increases the height from if it were still lying flat on the container, and presents a slight deviation in width over the actual cubed area of the container, which would also support CL's theory. Although I don't really doubt even if it hadn't been shifted it would have still succeeded in penetrating the fuselage of the aircraft and resulting in the same catastrophic events.

Again, pretty much my thoughts. I wonder if the original positioning of the bomb bag was flat on the floor, with the radio in the extreme left-hand side of the case. (If I were the terrorist, I'd have discreetly marked the case to be sure I knew which end had the bomb.) This would have done the job, surely. However, Sidhu just shoved it a few inches further over, which made it even more lethal.

Most of what I've speculated above still works if the second case is also a brown Samsonite, as CL suspects. It's mainly the total absence of any trace of a second such case, when it would have been absolutely favourable to the prosecution to have produced one, which suggests to me that it wasn't.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
If, as you say, the right hand case was pulled out from the cases at the back, Bedford may well not have noticed that and I concur with your earlier suggestion that the other "similar" suitcase seen by Bedford may well have been actually Charles McKee's suitcase which was a dark grey samsonite and was noted to have also sustained blast damage.

I don't think it was the only Samsonite, but it definitely fits the bill, and demonstrates that there is a good contender for the role of right-hand case among the legitimate passenger luggage. I also think the terrorist might have been reluctant to heave two cases around, even if they were quite light. What was the second one for, anyway? (I'll let CL explore the possibility of two bomb bags in a sort of belt-and-braces exercise, because I'm not really enchanted by that complication.) If it was just to be a place-holder, a passenger bag would do just as well.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Bedford's case just mysteriously vanishes from any consideration altogether at the FAI, despite being acknowledged it was spotted in almost the exact position the bomb went off, and yet a brown samsonite wasn't assigned to any of the interline passengers whose baggage was loaded by Bedford into 4041 that afternoon.

The bag Bedford saw should have had alarm bells ringing soundly at the FAI especially with the knowledge it clearly didn't belong to an authorised interline passenger, it matched the description of the known bomb bag, and had been loaded into 4041 in highly suspicious circumstances in, or very close to, the place the explosion occurred. Instead however the whole issue of Bedford's brown Samsonite suitcase is simply ignored in favour of an unaccompanied bag arriving from the Frankfurt without the evidence of Erac's printout which we subsequently know would become absolutely critical to the assertion presented at Zeist of an unaccompanied bag loaded onto 103A and winding its way conveniently to be almost exactly substituted for Bedford's Samsonite.

This is what boggles my mind more than a little. The only explanation is that the FAI was strictly stage-managed, and we know that to be the case. Remember, the Malta connection was actually public knowledge by then. The cops were talking to Tony a year before the FAI opened, and Leppard spilled the beans about the Lockerbie investigation focussing on Malta in November 1989 - Crawford was spitting mad about that. The FAI ran from October 1990 to February 1991, exactly the time period when the investigation was closing in on Megrahi as the favoured suspect.

I think Mowatt was told that the investigators knew for certain the bomb had come into Frankfurt with the interline luggage, but they were reserving that evidence for fear of jeopardising the criminal investigation. His published findings virtually say so! So he was a good little public servant and declined to get curious about Bedford's distinctly suspicious evidence.

Maybe I better not say what I think about that.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
At Zeist in 2000, the prosecution and investigation are only to aware that simply dismissing Bedford's bag(s), as though completely inconsequential like the FAI had already bizarrely concluded, would not suffice in a criminal court case and the defence's more rigorous questioning on this point. The whole issue about Bedford's bag, especially if accepted it had remained where it had initially been observed in 4041, to the left side inside the container and on the floor thus directly underneath the explosion, could not be presented without any shred of this bag surviving and leaving portions to be identified when the actual primary bag itself had partially survived, and had been identified. How could that be explained? The primary samsonite survived, but the one Bedford saw underneath it didn't. Excuse me, what!?

No, that won't do at all.

I wonder when that occurred to them? During the FAI, possibly?

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Just as bizarrely however, their Lordships at Zeist concluding that the suitcase noted by Bedford, bearing an exact match to the known primary suitcase, had been moved into another area of the container, they (unwittingly perhaps) openly contradicted the FAI findings with respect to this bag, and moreover simultaneously blew Chief Superintendent John Orr's assertion only three weeks after the downing of 103 that ruled out the possibility of a Heathrow introduction, completely out the water.

But we know for a fact the bomb suitcase came from Malta, look, the guy's in the dock to prove it. Get with the programme! The rest is just detail!

And yes, Orr's pronouncement. Good catch.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Orr had made his declaration on the basis that since the explosion hadn't occurred on the floor of 4041, and as all of Bedford's interline bags were on the base, then that ruled out Heathrow as the place of introduction. He either intentionally omitted or wasn't aware that no interline passenger was carrying a brown Samsonite, and deliberately decided that the break-in at Heathrow had no bearing on the matter and wasn't going to be revealed at all.

Orr said that only three weeks after the bombing? Here's what I think.

Bedford gave his evidence two weeks after the bombing. The forensic examination of the debris hadn't barely begun at that stage. The exact dates the various bits of container were brought in are in the Zeist transcripts but they kept trickling in for a bit after the first one was found on Christmas Eve. Hayes and Feraday were at Lockerbie then, I think. They certainly weren't in their nice cosy lab with their notebooks and measuring tapes.

I don't think it was known at that stage that the bomb bag was going to turn out to be a brown Samsonite. And I'm certain it wasn't known then that none of the "first fifteen" had a brown Samsonite. I think Orr saw nothing suspicious about what Bedford had said, and just assumed that the two extra cases had indeed been legitimate items put there by Kamboj.

I think the initial rough estimate of the height of the explosion was higher than ten inches. Maybe that was wishful thinking too, because it's pretty intuitive that the higher the explosion the more likely it was to be a Frankfurt bag.

ETA: The last bit of container that I can see was found on 3rd January. After that, Claiden made a two-dimensional mock-up of the container, then realised he needed to do a complete three-dimensional reconstruction. (This was the point when he found the fragment of circuit board from the radio.) It's quite impossible that this reconstruction was complete and the best estimate of the position of the explosion acquired by three weeks after the crash. Orr was guessing.

So Orr is pretty relieved, even though he hates the Met's guts, that it looks as if the bomb didn't start at Heathrow. (Come to think of it, maybe because he hates the Met's guts. If a Heathrow introduction had been strongly suspected, then it's very likely the investigation would have been taken away from him and given to the Met.) So he makes that announcement, probably encouraged by everyone this side of Dover, who were all extremely keen that Heathrow's diabolical security should not end up carrying the can for this.

Then further examination starts to show that the explosion was lower than originally estimated. At what point it was realised that the Bedford bag matched the description of the bomb bag and actually had no legitimate provenance I don't know, but it appears that as all this emerged and was presumably put together, a positive decision was taken to hold to the line that it wasn't one of the Heathrow bags that exploded, even in the teeth of the emerging evidence.

I better not say what I think about that, either.

There's something else, too. The vertical measurement of ten inches is given from the floor of the container - the flat portion. But the horizontal measurement is given as two inches into the overhang section. There, that vertical position is only about eight inches above the (sloping) floor. And as I said, I think ten inches was the highest they could fudge the data. Indeed, the "bag shoved to the side" does seem to be the most likely answer to the geometry of the conundrum. Well done Bill Taylor.

These bastards knew. I don't mean Crawford or the rest of the foot-soldiers bringing in bits of evidence one at a time. I mean the senior officers who had the information about Bedford's description of the mysterious suitcase, and the fact that none of the "first fifteen" had such a suitcase, and that no other such suitcase had materialised in the debris. And they knew about Manly's evidence too, I imagine.

Maybe later they convinced themselves it wasn't like that. By August when the Erac printout surfaced and the clothes were traced to Malta, maybe they started convincing themselves that they were really on the right track swanning around the Med. But back then, in the spring of 1989, they knew bloody well there was very very good reason to suspect a Heathrow introduction.

And they did bugger-all about it.

I've run out of Brit sweary-words that the autocensor isn't up to speed on. But this really is diabolical.

Rolfe.
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Old 10th February 2011, 01:24 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Chief Superintendent John Orr's assertion only three weeks after the downing of 103 that ruled out the possibility of a Heathrow introduction....

Orr had made his declaration on the basis that since the explosion hadn't occurred on the floor of 4041, and as all of Bedford's interline bags were on the base, then that ruled out Heathrow as the place of introduction.

Buncrana, I know you've made a study of the early newspaper reports about the disaster. Do you have citations for the date of Orr's pronouncement, and for the reasoning behind it?

Rolfe.
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Old 10th February 2011, 01:47 AM   #367
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Great stuff all. Sitting it out mostly, but some of the recent posts inspired me to a new article.

Hey Rolfe, just a quick thought and question:

The FAI's finding that the Bedford suitcase wasn't moved, Hayes' observation that the brown hard-shell he examined in Jan 89, etc. all kind of suggests the bomb was placed on top of that left-hand case. Hayes' description then sounds rather unlike he was looking at primary case, at that time. That raises interesting possible problems re: the alleged loading from 103A, but here's my Q:

Did the FAI have the conclusion the bomb was in such a case from early on do you think, or only near the end? They almost make sense if they had at least started out just not knowing what the primary case was like, presumed blown to bits, had no reason to suspect Bedford's for the match, so they simply presumed it wasn't moved based on Hayes' early findings. If so, maybe they just locked up when that became the primary suitcase, unable to do anything except try to wiggle out of the whole mess as quickly as possible.

Just a thought, hope it makes sense.

ETA: On the horizontal placement (outboard of the door edge meber) I am with the AAIB, which means second level, or perhaps, as Rolfe suggests, layer 1 1/2, slanted up into the overhang. This is more plausible than I thought. Either way, the explosive seems to have been, and makes most sense in, the outboard end of the case. (Another bad luck of random loading of course!)

And on vertical placement, 10" is not a useful enough estimate to rely on for things like this. I've explored this elsewhere with some crude trig and graphics, with some extra considerations I stumbled across. The graphics aren't comprehensive enough, and didn't even consider a first-level placement. I should add one that does. Considering all, I think it could be somewhat higher or lower than that neighboring damage. And the metal band being what apparently punched the hole may put some limits, as I attempted to show there.

So in short, I don't think 10" is any kind of maximum. It's pretty much the middle of a possible range, and other clues, like damage to the container, will help us see if it was likely higher or lower than that. I'm sure it was one or the other, not 10" itself.

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Old 10th February 2011, 05:02 AM   #368
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Too late to edit, but looking again, those graphics suck. I think I placed the 10" hole a good bit too high, and too big. It makes lower level look impossible, and I don't think that's the case at 10" or so. But that's about how you'd go about finding your range of compatible heights.

Also, should add there, we don't know the micro-dynamics of how that good-size hole was made in AVN 7544. It spans over an inch - did the projectile hit the middle of that area, the lower edge, upper?


But the main point I wanted to make, and I think it works, is a blast height of as much as 14" or so could fit all the evidence together on one line.

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Old 10th February 2011, 06:15 AM   #369
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Buncrana, I know you've made a study of the early newspaper reports about the disaster. Do you have citations for the date of Orr's pronouncement, and for the reasoning behind it?

Rolfe.


Well, according to the series of duplicate reports in a host of Newspapers, it seems as though that Orr's claim was reported in The Times on the 31st Dec 1988. Unfortunately, The Times is about the only article that, so far, I haven't been able to source. I'll have a look through the Newspaper document viewer this afternoon.

However, there are a raft of reports which initially refer to 'investigators' at Heathrow have pinpointed Frankfurt as the place of introduction for the bomb bag, and then latterly refer to Orr as the source for dismissing Heathrow and stating the bomb came from Frankfurt.

Here's the first report from The Telegraph quoting 'investigators' from Dec 31st 1988: The Telegraph, 31st Dec 1988


Here's the Daily News, 11th Jan 89 referring to Orr "convinced it [the device] was in the luggage first loaded at Frankfurt: Daily News, 11th Jan


The Glasgow Herald, 17th Feb 1989, Orr is quoted as stating that with the reconstruction of AVE4041 suggested bag was Frankfurt luggage: The Glasgow Herald, 17th Feb 1989

and another from The Rock Hill Herald with the same report: http://news.google.co.uk/newspapers?...3860%2C7727991
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Old 10th February 2011, 08:01 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Did the FAI have the conclusion the bomb was in such a case from early on do you think, or only near the end? They almost make sense if they had at least started out just not knowing what the primary case was like, presumed blown to bits, had no reason to suspect Bedford's for the match, so they simply presumed it wasn't moved based on Hayes' early findings. If so, maybe they just locked up when that became the primary suitcase, unable to do anything except try to wiggle out of the whole mess as quickly as possible.

I think it's important to remember the politics of the FAI. Scots law is such that if anyone dies while at work, an FAI is mandatory. The members of the Pan Am crew were at work, in Scottish jurisdiction, when the plane was blown apart, therefore there was no way to get out of this requirement. This was intensely embarrassing. The international law enforcement bodies did not want a penny-ante public hearing of this nature messing up their pitch. The Scottish judiciary were very embarrassed to have to do it and it was made pretty clear that if it had been possible to avoid it, it would have been waived.

So it was pretty much understood it was going to be something of a formality. The police wouldn't present all their evidence, reserving anything they considered might jeopardise the ongoing inquiry if it were made public. This is made quite clear in the FAI findings, and the sheriff accepted that.

It is also made fairly clear in the findings that the FAI was given a big fat enormous hint that the investigators would like a conclusion that the bomb first came from Frankfurt, and then, please, that it had arrived there as interline baggage.

The concealed evidence was of course the Frankfurt luggage records, the Maltese clothes (and their origin in Tony Gauci's shop), the identification of the radio as a model sold mainly in Libya, and the timer fragment. Any real conclusion that the bomb had been interlined into Frankfurt would have required the revelation of the Erac printout and the Maltese origin of the clothes, at the very least, but such was not vouchsafed to Mr. Mowatt.

As a result, Mowatt was never asked to judge the strength or plausibility of the evidence pointing to Malta, and weigh it against the strength of the evidence suggesting a Heathrow introduction. What I think happened was that the investigators told him privately that they had conclusive evidence which could not be brought before the FAI to show that the bomb had been interlined into Frankfurt. So we'll trot up the evidence we can produce, and you'll please just find that it was interlined into Frankfurt regardless, 'K?

What was he supposed to do? Here he is, small-town sheriff, stuck with this bloody FAI nobody wants, right in the middle of the international terrorist investigation of the century. The international team of investigators, including the FBI, are telling him they have conclusive evidence the bomb came off PA103A and was interlined into Frankfurt (and let's face it the Malta connection had been all over the press for months even though it wasn't presented to the FAI), and that a Heathrow introduction has been ruled out. He may be seeing what he thinks is evidence of a possible Heathrow introduction, but on the other hand he doesn't know what the evidence showing the Malta origin is but you can bet you bottom dollar he was told it was cast-iron irrefutable.

What would you have done?

Rolfe.
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Old 10th February 2011, 09:29 AM   #371
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Buncrana, it seems to me from the reports you did link to that the denials of any Heathrow connection seem to have started before Bedford gave his statement to the police. Thus, they started before the police could possibly have had any idea what was in AVE4041 before PA103A landed, or how it was arranged. They also started before all the pieces of AVE4041 had been recovered, let alone reassembled.

It may be that the police initially believed all the luggage in that container came from the feeder flight. However, I see another point. Even in the very first of these articles, Hogmanay 1988, the link with the PFLP-GC and Autumn Leaves is being made. It's possible that the combination of the explosion happening in the container with the Frankfurt luggage, and the known terrorist cell at Frankfurt planning to bring down airliners, has been added up and the obvious conclusion reached.

Then Bedford gives his statement, revealing that there were some cases in the container that were the responsibility of Heathrow to screen. Oh, er, that's a bit awkward maybe. But of course at that time there was no reason to attach significance to the description of the brown Samsonite, and all the cases Bedford saw were assumed to be legitimate passenger baggage. It was desired to hold the line that Heathrow wasn't implicated, again possibly because of the on-going pursuit of the PFLP-GC connection, so it was decided the explosion happened too high up to implicate any of the Heathrow baggage. Even though that wasn't really true.

I note that the report from the Herald on 17th February says the suitcase containing the bomb has not yet been identified. This may be a smoke-screen, or it may be that they mean they haven't attached the bomb bag to a particular passenger, but it it means that the bomb bag had not even then been identified as a brown Samsonite, there was still no real reason to worry over-much about the Heathrow evidence - especially as Manly's statement about the break-in seems to have been well and truly buried from the word go and probably Orr didn't know about it.

It would really only be when the identification of the bomb bag as a brown Samsonite and Bedford's evidence about the brown Samsonite he saw were put together that there would have been any real reason to get specifically concerned about Heathrow, and we don't know when that happened. In any case, it's possible the whole Frankfurt/Autumn Leaves thing was strong enough to keep everyone focussed on the German connection. Particularly when there was a very deep desire not to recant on the original "Heathrow is in the clear" pronouncements.

It looks a bit like the boiled frog scenario.

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Old 10th February 2011, 03:50 PM   #372
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Many of the other articles I looked at this afternoon carried virtually the same articles as I linked to above.

However, it may have been I've picked up this '3 weeks' from this article by Barry Walker (writing for the same publication as Ludwig de Braeckeleer] who cites Leppards Trail of Terror book.


Originally Posted by OhMyNews
Despite Bedford's evidence and the glaring discrepancy with Kamboj's within three weeks the Police had "eliminated" Heathrow as the point at which the bomb was introduced. How they had convinced themselves of this remains a mystery partly illuminated by comments made much later by the Chief Investigating Officer Chief Superintendent John Orr.

On the March 28, 1989, Orr addressed the co-ordinating committee of the Lockerbie investigators at the Control Centre in Lockerbie. In reviewing the evidence to date Orr stated that in respect of the loading of AVE 4041-

"Evidence from witnesses is to the effect that the first seven pieces of luggage in the container belonged to Interline passengers and the remainder was Frankfurt luggage."

"To date 14 pieces of explosive-damaged baggage have been recovered and enquiries to date suggest that on the balance of probabilities the explosive device is likely to be amongst the Frankfurt baggage items. Of all the currently identified explosion-damaged luggage all but one item originated from Frankfurt." ( 5 ).
http://english.ohmynews.com/articlev...84142&rel_no=1


He's either ignoring the statement by Bedford, which surely was known to the lead investigators, about the one or two bags he couldn't vouch for that ended up in 4041, which by rational indicates an unaccompanied suitcase - which by this time, was also known to have been within the container which had housed the bomb. Of course, the break-in didn't happen, although I'm not so sure he would have even been told about that.



*Btw, I just heard that Newsnight Scotland tonight is interviewing Alex Salmond and he's saying something about the SCCRC report on Megrahi.
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Old 10th February 2011, 04:20 PM   #373
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He's promising to introduce primary legislation to allow publication of the full SCCRC statement of reasons.

Why? He says he has no doubts about the verdict!

Does he think that the SCCRC's dismissal of all the kite-flying suggestions for grounds of appeal will distract from the undermining of the Gauci identification? Or what?

Is it possible that he doesn't realise that if the identification of Megrahi as the clothes purchaser falls, the entire case must logically fall?

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Old 10th February 2011, 05:17 PM   #374
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That's what I was thinking too!

Possibly that the dismissal of the many other areas of contention raised by the SCCRC will overshadow the small matter about Gauci.

Yeah, okay the shopkeeper might have got it wrong, or maybe he's just hazy of the whole incident, but that whole other load of nonsense people keep mentioning is throughly put to bed.
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Old 10th February 2011, 05:18 PM   #375
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
However, it may have been I've picked up this '3 weeks' from this article by Barry Walker (writing for the same publication as Ludwig de Braeckeleer] who cites Leppards Trail of Terror book.

http://english.ohmynews.com/articlev...84142&rel_no=1

He's either ignoring the statement by Bedford, which surely was known to the lead investigators, about the one or two bags he couldn't vouch for that ended up in 4041, which by rational indicates an unaccompanied suitcase - which by this time, was also known to have been within the container which had housed the bomb. Of course, the break-in didn't happen, although I'm not so sure he would have even been told about that.

Barry Walker is "Baz". He has an idée fixe about Orr's remark that all the luggage Bedford saw was interline luggage. I've debated it with him, trying to explain how he is subtly misrepresenting this, but to no avail.

Your articles make the sequence of events much more understandable. The public announcement that the bomb was not introduced at Heathrow was made purely on the basis of knowing that the container in question held the Frankfurt baggage, and the PFLP-GC cell in Frankfurt was known to be gearing up to attack airliners. They didn't know anything about any brown Samsonites, and they may not even have known there were any bags from Heathrow in that container at all. It was only NINE DAYS after the crash.

Then they found out, from Bedford, that there were some Heathrow cases in there. Um, well. However, there was no real reason to believe the two suitcases at the front were particularly significant, because the primary suitcase had not yet been identified as a brown Samsonite. They had no reason to think otherwise than that Kamboj had put the cases there and forgotten about it.

It was then decided that the position of the explosion had been too high for one of Bedford's cases to be implicated, although the basis for this seems very shaky if they're talking about ten inches from the floor of the container. The assumption was made that the original cases would not have been moved. If the newspaper reports are correct, they still didn't know the primary suitcase matched the description of the case Bedford saw, at that stage.

When the primary suitcase was determined to be a brown Samsonite, I wonder just who, or how soon, put this together with Bedford's left-hand bag being a brown Samsonite? Lurching, sinking feeling I suspect. But by then the official line that Heathrow had been cleared of involvement was pretty well established. And what sort of reaction would any senior Scottish cop have met, if he'd reported that he now had evidence suggesting that wasn't true? One, he'd have been public enemy number one. Two, his high-profile, career-making international investigation would have been taken away from him and assigned to the Met. Well, brown Samsonites! There were probably a dozen on the plane!

The final blow (assuming the midnight break-in was completely concealed) must have been the revelation that none of the passengers, and in particular none of the first fifteen, had owned or was carrying a brown Samsonite. However, I wonder if anybody actually joined these last dots, at least before the FAI. The whole purpose of tracing all the luggage was to show that none of the passengers was carrying the bomb bag. So from that point of view, drawing a blank was fine. The bomb was in a piece of unaccompanied luggage, that's what we wanted to know. The fact that this finding also ruled out the Bedford bag as being the innocent piece of passenger luggage it was being assumed to be, may not have been immediately apparent.

I find it rather surprising that the investigation allowed the case to go before the FAI based on the assumption that the Bedford cases had not been moved, while simultaneously presenting evidence that the identical suitcase that was coincidentally below the bomb bag could not be matched with a passenger. I speculate that this point simply hadn't occurred to anyone. Then it did occur to them, but they got away with it because they had the FAI by the short and curlies.

They then proceeded to change the story radically, deciding that not only had the Heathrow bags been moved after all, they'd been scattered to "a remote corner of the container" (by a single loader who was working under pressure to get the job done in less than 15 minutes, because the feeder flight was 45 minutes late). That completely undermined the entire basis of the FAI's findings, but never mind. Too late. Doesn't matter.

That's bad enough, but then it gets worse. There was detailed evidence matching virtually all the luggage to the passengers, and even more than that, relatives and European contacts of the passengers had been interviewed to find out if any passenger had been carrying a brown Samsonite that had not been recovered.

Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Even with the "remote corner of the container" fantasy, that killed it. That bit of evidence ruled out the Bedford case as legitimate passenger baggage, and left the overwhelming probability that it was the primary suitcase. That there was only ever one brown Samsonite, just as only the remains of one brown Samsonite had been discovered, and that was the one in small pieces that had had the bomb in it, and it was the one Bedford saw before the feeder flight landed.

So that evidence, led at the FAI, was not led at Zeist. The policeman who had covered that part of the investigation, Derek Henderson, was not called to testify. Although all the passengers on KM180 and their baggage were scrutinised in minute detail at Zeist, the "first fifteen" weren't even mentioned. It was left open for the judges to infer, if they so chose, that the other brown Samsonite was simply an innocent case belonging to one of the first fifteen, that had originally been placed in almost the eventual position of the bomb bag, but had coincidentally been moved away and subsequently vanished without trace.

And their lordships obliged.

That's what I mean by boiled frog. They knew, but they knew so gradually, one drop at a time, that they went on handwaving it away, one drop at a time, until they were in so deep and they'd backed the "not introduced at Heathrow" mantra for so long, that they couldn't reverse it.

Deliberately re-jigging the theory about the baggage arrangement to put Patricia's bag on the floor, and so undermining the entire FAI findings, was bad enough. Concealing the evidence that the Bedford bag couldn't have been innocent passenger baggage is perverting the course of justice, as I see it.

But they got away with it.

Rolfe.
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Old 10th February 2011, 05:23 PM   #376
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
That's what I was thinking too!

Possibly that the dismissal of the many other areas of contention raised by the SCCRC will overshadow the small matter about Gauci.

Yeah, okay the shopkeeper might have got it wrong, or maybe he's just hazy of the whole incident, but that whole other load of nonsense people keep mentioning is throughly put to bed.

Actually, maybe not. See this.

http://www.scottishreview.net/KRoy83.shtml

Originally Posted by Kenneth Roy
Thoroughly perplexed by this stage, I decided to seek an opinion from the commission itself. I emailed Gerard Sinclair and asked him to confirm that he agrees with the Scottish government's view that the primary legislation, when it is eventually enacted, will enable the full statement of reasons to be published at last.

His answer to this SR inquiry was commendably frank.

He does not necessarily agree that the new law will clear the way for publication of the report. It seems I was right to be concerned about the Scottish government's list of qualifications. In Mr Sinclair's opinion, there is so much sensitive personal information in the report that the requirements of data protection law may well prevent its publication.

It may be Wee Eck speak with forked tongue.

Rolfe.
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Old 11th February 2011, 01:24 AM   #377
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In general, from my reading of Leppard, Emerson and Duffy, and some number of articles, the Brits took every single chance and method of eliminsting Heathrow and the Bedford suitcases. It was always, however they could argue it, from the feeder's batch.

First, the larger number of Frankfurt origin items in the container (aside from the bottom of it, which had held a case matching the primary one, of course) led to a “balance of probabilities” conclusion the hard brown Samsonite had come from Frankfurt. Then, the blast was slightly too high in the container (not right on the floor) to be one of the bottom interline bags. At some point, it was decided these were incapable of being re-arranged into a slightly higher position (never stated but always implied).

Then it was on top of a blue soft-shell case from Frankfurt, which had replaced the Bedford case. As Rolfe has pointed out, this supposed fact was unacknowledged, unknown, or perhaps un-invented as of the 1990 FAI. And as a conclusion, it is is supported by contradictory and suspect clues that contradict earlier, more sound observations.

And finally, the bomb was in another such case because an unaccompanied bag from Malta was noticed, and later it was decided Megrahi bought the clothes inside the case, was at Malta airport as that item left, and was seen by Giaka in possession of the case the day before that. Bingo, the Bedford evidence was finally history.

Too bad that construct, elaborate as it is, has also been shown to be a tissue of misinformation.

The sources for just when they decided the earliest of these things are partly around on my blog - check for the Scots-German war articles in particular. Part one, part two.

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Old 11th February 2011, 02:21 AM   #378
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Alright, so I'm considering the interline passengers and what should have passed through the shed of that name under Bedford's watch.

I should have thought, on a plane load of nearly 250 passengers, there would be quite a few passengers interlining to 103 at Heathrow. I'd think the maybe eight bags Bedord reported were only the last few, with another container or two filled earlier.

But the way Bedford describes it, it sounds like this one container 4041 was being loaded for hours before he knocked off at 5:00. So any earlier container, depending on the schedule that day, almost had to be for an earlier flight.

But only eight or so suitcases? That should only cover the four famous Larnaca passengers. But from the two books, it seems most likely that only three cases between them should have been in that tin, leaving the rest of the items to be from others.

The citations for that:
- Dan O'Connor had the one suitcase, held back for unknown reasons nd never loaded. It was reported by Emerson and Duffy (p 71-72) as arriving at JFK in New York days later, but Leppard says this was a widely-reported error, and it never left Heathrow. (p 118) It was a brown American Tourister, but that's irrelevant - it was not among those Bedford placed.

Emerson and Duffy p 78 – “O’Connor had only the one bag, McKee had two, Gannon and LaRivierre none.” That would give us only two cases in the tin. But Leppard again differs and with enough detail I'm going with his take, he says from the Air Cyprus manifest:
Quote:
“Gannon had checked in one bag, a blue soft-sided Samsonite, which had been identified after photographs of it were shown to his widow. RARDE had confirmed it was blast-damaged.” [116]
So we have three. Gannon's one and McKee's two: these were both grey, one had-sided Samsonite (the one cut open and its contents swapped out, says David Johnston and also Thomas Hayes) and the other an American Tourister (no further detail). "Ownership of both had been positively confirmed by documents removed from inside them" [Leppard 115-116] by the Scottish police, one presumes. In fact, Leppard says Johnston says the plans he was shown, by a "Lockerbie detective" from inside McKee's case included a map of a building, with Xs marked, like a plan to storm the embassy and free hostages. Which leaves one wondering what the case-cutters removed if his name and mission plans were still there for the cops to find and show journalists.

Anyway... That confirms that Barry Walker was correct to sum up
Quote:
The luggage of these four men was recovered. None had a bronze or maroon hardsided Samsonite
Dealing with legit luggage in the area Bedford might have seen it, that accounts for about half the small number of items aside from the two he percieved as inserted later. There's really very little space to hide in the legitimate baggage flow for these outsiders, is there? It wasn't the bomb, they're so sure, but it wasn't passenger luggage. So it didn't belong there legitimately, a trait shared with the bomb bag. That's a lot of shared traits by now.

Lurkers! Any comments from the sidelines?

Some other tidbits I just found:
Emerson and Duffy on blast height:
Quote:
"Further checking in Longtown, however, showed that the bomb must have been eighteen to twentyfour inches from the floor of the container. That was too high for interline bags…" [p 163]
Leppard, p 119
Quote:
"It would take months to discover that the [sic] bag belonging to Major Charles McKee [...] had been resting on the bottom of AVE4041. McKee's was one of seven or eight which had been interlined onto Pan Am 103 from airports other than Frankfurt."
Leppard 119
Quote:
"Suitcases belonging to the young American women, Karen Noonan and Patricia Coyle were on the third level, resting directly above the bomb bag."


Rolfe, what was it you found out again? There was some confusion about who owned the heavy camera case vs. the blue American Tourister that became so relevant for being immediately beneath the bomb? Doesn't this statement cover that case one way or another? Leppard doesn't make these things up - people tell him about them, usually. (tho I'm wondering just how sly he really is - so many odd little hints like this pop out of his excessive-for-most detail - it's a worthy purchase, guys!)
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Old 11th February 2011, 03:48 AM   #379
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We know exactly who the Heathrow interline passengers were, since Crawford so helpfully included a list of them in his book. I reproduced it in one of my earlier posts. There were fifteen of them, and they seem to have been referred to within the investigation as the "first fifteen".

Quote:
Michael Bernstein A Nazi hunter who was employed by the US State Department and was returning from a job in Austria to the USA.
Bernt Carlsson A United Nations Commissioner who was heavily involved in negotiations regarding the independence of South West Africa (Namibia).
Richard Cawley An American businessman with no known links to any State function.
Joseph Patrick Curry A 31-year-old US Special Forces captain who had been attending an international security conference in Italy.
Robert Fortune Another American businessman, again no links with any State authority.
James Fuller Vice President of Volkswagen in America returning to the US - no links with any State authority.
Matthew Gannon A US State official who had been operating in Beirut.
Ronald LaRiviere Another US State official who had been operating in Beirut and who had travelled from there to Cyprus with Gannon and McKee in a military helicopter.
Charles 'Tiny' McKee A Major in the US Army working in Beirut. A 40-year-old communications and code specialist, he had travelled to Cyprus with Gannon and LaRiviere.
Louis Marengo Marketing director of Volkswagen in the US. Along with his fellow senior executive James Fuller, Marengo was returning home from a business trip. He had no links with any State authority.
Daniel O'Connor Another US state official who was responsible for security at the American embassy in Cyprus. He had flown from Cyprus in company with Gannon, LaRiviere and McKee.
Robert Pagnucco An American businessman returning from a business trip in Europe. No links with state authority.
Peter Peirce A US citizen returning from a postgraduate course in Italy.
Arnaud Rubin A Belgian national who was returning from a holiday at his parents' home in Belgium to his work in America.
James Stow An Englishman living in New York. He had been in Switzerland on a business trip.
Elia Stratis Another American businessman returning home from a trip. No links with any state authority.

The number of cases Bedford reported as being in AVE4041 is almost certainly too small for all the luggage belonging to these 15 people to have been in that container, even if it is accepted that Daniel O'Connor's suitcase wasn't loaded and one or two people only had hand luggage. Some people had two bags. It would be interesting to tabulate what each passenger checked in, but since that information is very carefully not mentioned at all at Zeist, I don't think there's any way to do it. We can only look at those passengers who were mentioned in more detail, which is the minority unfortunately.

There is no suggestion at all that any other container went from the interline shed to PA103, and fifteen passengers isn't a large enough number to have filled a container anyway. There are two plausible explanations for the missing interline bags. First, Bedford agreed that sometimes interline baggage would find its way to the build-up shed, and when that happened it would simply be loaded for its flight together with the baggage from the check-in desks. Second, it's not that uncommon for lazy check-in clerks simply to check a passenger's baggage for the destination airport of the flight they are catching at that moment, leaving the passenger to fetch the luggage from baggage reclaim at that airport and check it in all over again for the next flight. Any such baggage would again end up in the build-up shed. This may well have happened to some of the "first fifteen".

Thus, while we know that the luggage Bedford saw (the legitimate portion of it anyway) must have belonged to some of these fifteen people, not all of the luggage belonging to these fifteen people seems to have been in the container Bedford saw. We don't know for sure which of the first fifteen definitely had luggage in the container, and the only one I'm sure of off the top of my head right now is McKee, because his suitcase was blast-damaged and noted as being in close proximity to the bomb. (I have a suspicion that his dark grey Samsonite hardshell might have been the right-hand "Bedford bag".)

Nevertheless, we do know that none of the first fifteen had a brown Samsonite, and indeed it appears that none of the passengers on the plane had a brown Samsonite.

I don't really trust Leppard too far. Sure, people were telling him things, but it was all quite murky and quite a few things he was told turn out to be not so. Interesting, definitely, but I wouldn't hang an important conclusion solely on what Leppard reported. It's very possible his source was someone very low down the food chain.

I do find his comment about Patricia Coyle's case being on top of the bomb bag very interesting though. I think that's exactly where it was. That was Frankfurt online luggage transferred on the tarmac from PA103A though, not interline luggage. (It was interline at Frankfurt, from Vienna.) It was the famous "blue American Tourister" which was eventually declared to have been on the floor of the container under the bomb bag. However, I think there are a lot of reasons for believing it to have been on top of the bomb bag, and it's significant that Leppard should make that point at a relatively early stage.

Rolfe.
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Old 11th February 2011, 04:37 AM   #380
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Indeed, I completely agree that Leppard was, certainly as the investigation progressed, being used increasingly as the media mouthpiece for the investigation, which in some respects is supported by his series of reversal and backflips on some of the crucial aspects of the evidence he was detailing. I'm not sure if it's in Foot's Flight From Justice, or elsewhere, but there's a masterly take-down of his reporting of Lockerbie and the whole Sunday Times 'Insight' stragedy under Andrew Neil's tutelage.

He is also wholly unconvincing, and uncomfortable actually, in the Lockerbie Debate (which I still have on an old vhs tape) that was aired on C4 in 1994 immediately after TMDC when Leppard was questioned on some of his reporting, and conclusions, by Allan Francovich.

With respect to the bags first put into 4041 by Bedford and the sequence of information becoming aware to the investigation. I've got to assume that the break-in was kept vey hush-hush except for a select few at the top of the investigation, otherwise when presented with the additional information with Bedford's unknown bags appearing, which I think was around 10th January when he gave his statement to the police, then at this point someone must have been doing some serious sweating.

So, for the serious of subsequent statements to then be made public by the UK investigators and allowing for the fact that the primary suicase wasn't yet determined, it would still dictate that Bedford's one or two mysteriously appaering bags, together with the break-in, was going to be glossed over regardless.

I'd also missed it until now, but I now note that not only was O'Connor on that flight from Cyprus, but he was accompanied by McKee and LaRiviere - with Abu Talbs wife Jamilla and her 3 Mograbi brothers on that very same flight. Coincidence? Well, perhaps.

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Old 11th February 2011, 04:42 AM   #381
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Okay, I had focused this part
Quote:
those most likely to have been targeted or of some status that would make them a possible target
But I guess he did specify interline.
Quote:
"first fifteen" of the interline passengers
So were there more? First in time, or in attention due to their special status?

This seems like maybe there were quite a few interline people, so maybe there was a second container at least. I dunno.

The main thing is 4041, and there's only space in Bedford's story for the bags of those four and about 3-5 other cases from someone or other on that full interline list. And perhaps, even though it was never dug up by anyone, another passenger who had a case like the one(s) Bedford saw.

Who else's were known to be in there? Wasn't Carlsson's bag blast-damaged? Or was that one of those unresolved issues?

I do think the Coyle bag mention is potentially quite relevant. Above or below would work with how it wound up, and I don't think it was below. Frankfurt luggage was loaded AFTER interline. Law of superposition.
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Old 11th February 2011, 05:00 AM   #382
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No, I explained earlier my reasons for believing that these fifteen were the only interline passengers.

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Old 11th February 2011, 06:50 AM   #383
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I was thinking last night about the whole boiled frog thing. (In case anyone doesn't know, if you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out, but if you put it in a pan of cold water and slowly bring it to the boil it will cook, because it doesn't realise what's happening. Allegedly. I've never tried it.)

On 30th December 1988, someone high up in the inquiry (possibly Orr) decided to tell the press that the bomb had come from Frankfurt and Heathrow was in the clear. Or they decided that, and it was then leaked to the press, whatever. It appears this decision was taken based on two pieces of information only - the container containing the bomb had been identified as the one set aside for the Frankfurt transfer luggage, and there was a terrorist cell in Frankfurt known to be planning to blow up aeroplanes. It's possible (but not certain) that the investigators didn't even know at that early stage that the container also had a few Heathrow bags in it.

They then spent the next 12 years defending that assertion, hand-waving away one piece of evidence at a time.

What if they had been plunged into the boiling water in December? What if they had had all the evidence that eventually emerged, piecemeal, to suggest the opposite? How would the decision have gone?
  • There were about ten items of luggage already on the bottom of the container before the Frankfurt baggage was added, items which it was Heathrow's responsibility to ensure were safe.
  • One of these items was described as "a maroony-brown hardshell suitcase, the type Samsonite make".
  • Neither of the legitimate baggage staff remembers putting that item into the container, and the man whose specific job it was to load the container is adamant he did not put it there.
  • The explosion occurred only 10 inches from the floor of the container.
  • It is probable the baggage loader dealing with the tarmac transfer from the feeder flight would not have moved the original items very far, if at all, because the luggage was not sorted at this stage, and the transfer had to be done in less than 15 minutes because the feeder flight landed 45 minutes late.
  • The suitcase containing the bomb was a hardshell Samsonite, variously described by the forensic examiners as brown, maroon, burgundy and bronze.
  • No other luggage fitting the description of "a maroony-brown hardshell suitcase" was recovered at Lockerbie, damaged or undamaged.
  • None of the fifteen passengers whose luggage was or might have been in the container before the feeder flight landed was known to possess a brown or maroon hardshell case, and nobody who had had contact with these passengers before they boarded remembered seeing any of them with such a case.
  • A break-in into the airside area of Heathrow airport in question was reported as having occurred 16 hours before the mystery suitcase was sighted, with a padlock described as being "cut like butter".
  • The timing of the explosion, only 38 minutes into an on-time 7½-hour flight and well before reaching the open ocean, makes no rational sense in the context of its being triggered by an electronic timer, which might have been loaded anywhere. It is entirely consistent with the use of a barometric trigger, which would have had to have been loaded de novo at Heathrow.
We're not making any of this up.

If Orr, or whoever was making the decisions, had had all that information on 30th December 1988, would he have come to the conclusion that Heathrow could be ruled out?

Could anyone, looking at that pile of evidence, declare that a Heathrow introduction could be discounted? Could anyone, setting that pile of evidence against that single entry of tray B8849 on Bogomira's souvenir printout and the Malta provenance of the clothes, possibly maintain that a magically undetected Malta origin was more probable than a Heathrow introduction?

I'd like to see anyone try.

Rolfe.
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Old 11th February 2011, 03:50 PM   #384
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I just double-checked the ten inches bit, and Claiden is adamant (page 1536 passim). He is the source of this figure, which remains fixed in spite of his acknowledging an error in one of the diagrams shown to the court (where the ten inches was measured from the bottom of the container instead of the surface of the floor).

I know some CTers distrust Claiden, but I don't. I think the AAIB is straight, and telling it like it is. So what I'm concluding is that the ten-inch measurement is indeed his well-considered best-guess figure, fudged neither up nor down. It is also the smallest estimate there is.

It seems to me as if everybody and his aunt is trying to fudge that estimate upwards. Twelve inches. Maybe 15 to 18, what the hell. But Claiden is sticking to the ten-inch figure. Interesting.

The thing is, ten inches is a funny height. As I said, it's pretty much the interstice between the first and second layer. You can just about fudge it to the second layer if you assume a relatively slim case on the bottom layer, but I'm not convinced Patricia's Tourister was a slim case (it's described as "large"). Everybody is trying to find that extra 2 or 3 inches that would point more definitely to the second layer.

It's the neither-one-thing-nor-the-other nature of that measurement that I think supports Mr. Taylor's theory about the bag being on the floor of the container but pushed a few inches to the left. That's the only explanation that takes the 10-inch figure and really nails it. It elevates the left-hand end of the case, which contained the bomb, above the height of the horizontal part of the floor, at the same time as providing the required horizontal position of about two inches into the overhang section.

It's also the most plausible scenario.

Bedford's description definitely puts the brown Samsonite (and I think there was only one brown one) on the left. If the bomb is also packed to the extreme left of the suitcase (and not as in the official mock-up, which is wrong in other respects anyway), that's pretty good from the terrorist's point of view. And there's another case on the right, to discourage any inboard repositioning. I think that was probably the plan, bomb successfully positioned.

So why would the terrorist have gone back while the container was unattended a second time? These guys were pros. Pushing their luck would not have been a high priority. It's there, nobody has suspected anything, leave it. (I'll leave CL with his dance of the two brown Samsonites, because I'm not really a fan.)

And then again, I've never been very enthusiastic about the idea that Sidhu, seeing two cases already in place more or less covering the floor of the container, and being in quite a hurry, was picky enough to remove the front two cases (or one of them) just to put a slightly bigger one there instead. The bomb suitcase wasn't that small. I've watched baggage handlers loading containers. They seldom move a case once they've placed it - it wastes energy and time. It's far more likely he would just have chucked the Tourister on top, and I think that's exactly what he did.

Pushing the case three or four inches to the side is a different matter though. That doesn't require the case to be lifted out of the container. If there was a bit of leeway on that bottom layer - which I think there was - and a small item showed up at the crucial moment, push the right-hand case an inch or two to the right, the left-hand case 3 or 4 inches to the left, and you could end up with an 8 or 10-inch gap. Just about right for a holdall.

The camera case is a nice idea, but it's purely a guess. We don't know anything about the camera case really, and it's not essential that it had to be that. The basic idea seems to me to be a runner.

I wish we knew what Sidhu would think about that theory. Did he remember anything about packing that container? Did anyone ask him? Is that the sort of thing he was at all likely to do? It's just typical of this bloody case that we have the witness, and nobody asks him. But he did move the Bedford suitcase at least a bit, everyone is agreed of that. And I think the push to the left is the least bad option, anyway.

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Old 12th February 2011, 01:48 AM   #385
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Blast height is a visual thing you could just map out, not that the ones I tried before did it very well at all. Words about different estimates won't figure it out, IMO. Claiden came up with that firm estimate by some ultimately spatial/visual/mechanical method, and as I gather it's lining the blast up with the puncture (several inches large, BTW) in the neighboring container.

The first clue there might be a problem with his estimate is if he gets firmly married to specific measurement. A weighted range, say 7.5-12", more likely above 9, seems more sound to me. (not my range, just an example).

It's a bit of project to set that up right, and I'm not a pro or anything anyway. But container distance has a small range, first-and-second-layer options should be shown, different case positions (forward-after/left-right in graphic), and different bomb positions within the case. The metal band issue has to be considered too, since pieces of that entered the neighboring container and ripped into Sophie Hudson's holdall.

It'll give you a range, I should say, in my informed non-expert opinion. Unless explosions briefly stopped being omni-directional and emitted strictly horizontal blast waves.

Now, for the tricky first-layer/second-layer issue, if I can turn it 'round another corner: what shielded the floor from pitting, except at the very edge, where the AAIB's lower case stopped? The bomb bag itself?

I have to concur with them that that is a separate physical clue, far better than a frozen number estimate, that it was on the second level.

And that means it came in from Frankfurt. (Kidding, but don't fear. Reality is dynamic enough to still account for all of it with no need to go slumming there).
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Old 12th February 2011, 02:22 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I just double-checked the ten inches bit, and Claiden is adamant (page 1536 passim). He is the source of this figure, which remains fixed in spite of his acknowledging an error in one of the diagrams shown to the court (where the ten inches was measured from the bottom of the container instead of the surface of the floor).
See above on firm estimates. I caught the error myself scaling this out the first time - it actually came through separately in two diagrams, I think, 7.5" above the floor labeled as 10". Sloppy work there, but sound enough in general.

I do have some questions about his alleged discovery of the radio bits AG/145, but on the container, he's fine. It's only the later interpretations of what it meant that were so negligent or worse.


Quote:
It's the neither-one-thing-nor-the-other nature of that measurement that I think supports Mr. Taylor's theory about the bag being on the floor of the container but pushed a few inches to the left. That's the only explanation that takes the 10-inch figure and really nails it. It elevates the left-hand end of the case, which contained the bomb, above the height of the horizontal part of the floor, at the same time as providing the required horizontal position of about two inches into the overhang section.
That's yet another option that needs mapped out. It's a little harder to turn into a reliable 2-D image, but it's plausible enough to consider, if touching the floor makes sense otherwise. (see above)

You've made some points recently, echoed here, about which I have a question:
Quote:
And there's another case on the right, to discourage any inboard repositioning. I think that was probably the plan, bomb successfully positioned.

So why would the terrorist have gone back while the container was unattended a second time? These guys were pros. Pushing their luck would not have been a high priority. It's there, nobody has suspected anything, leave it.
So we're agreeing that the suitcase and possibly two appeared at interline. Bedford wound up recalling this as two cases in addition to what had been there, but as suggested, it could have been only one new case, plus one he didn't notice had just been re-positioned. I'd take it further, and propose for logical fullness, that if that's possible, why not no new cases, and only two of the others re-positioned.

There is the issue of Bedford's claim of Kamboj's claim that he had x-rayed them. I wonder if they really spoke of this at all, and did they use plural or singular form if so? That would be a good clue if only we could be sure. Bedford used plural for both of them, is all we have.

But anyway, Okay, I can go with that, depending on where else it takes us. The big question is this:

Who do you suspect was doing the placement and/or re-positioning? I don't have enough detail on this shed, how it was accessed, who could or couldn't walk in and place bags, etc. Do you think Kamboj was circumvented? Did he handle them off-the-belt as normal, or just helped the other Pan Am man who came in? Or was he bribed? Were they x-rayed, do you think? Etc. I can see different ways it could make sense, and I'm open to hearing others.

But the answer will help figure out what makes most sense as far as re-visiting the container at Build-up. To re-visit, one first has to have visited, and that's got un-addressed complications I'm curious about.

(BTW: The Bedford's-story-was-made-up-to-cover-Walker-theory was simpler here, but I accept that there's no evidence to suggest the premise of it was reasonable to suspect)

That was sincere, and now I close with snark:
Quote:
(I'll leave CL with his dance of the two brown Samsonites, because I'm not really a fan.)
If it's in the evidence, I try to account for it. Dancing with it is a good word. I enjoy dancing with the evidence. It's not always the simplest way, and can challenge one's pre-conceptions, but ... well, you get the idea, and I'll ride off on my verbal high horse into the sunset.
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Old 12th February 2011, 11:36 AM   #387
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Blast height is a visual thing you could just map out, not that the ones I tried before did it very well at all. Words about different estimates won't figure it out, IMO. Claiden came up with that firm estimate by some ultimately spatial/visual/mechanical method, and as I gather it's lining the blast up with the puncture (several inches large, BTW) in the neighboring container.

The first clue there might be a problem with his estimate is if he gets firmly married to specific measurement. A weighted range, say 7.5-12", more likely above 9, seems more sound to me. (not my range, just an example).

It's a bit of project to set that up right, and I'm not a pro or anything anyway. But container distance has a small range, first-and-second-layer options should be shown, different case positions (forward-after/left-right in graphic), and different bomb positions within the case. The metal band issue has to be considered too, since pieces of that entered the neighboring container and ripped into Sophie Hudson's holdall.

It'll give you a range, I should say, in my informed non-expert opinion. Unless explosions briefly stopped being omni-directional and emitted strictly horizontal blast waves.

Now, for the tricky first-layer/second-layer issue, if I can turn it 'round another corner: what shielded the floor from pitting, except at the very edge, where the AAIB's lower case stopped? The bomb bag itself?
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q...AVE4041F3A.jpg
I have to concur with them that that is a separate physical clue, far better than a frozen number estimate, that it was on the second level.

And that means it came in from Frankfurt. (Kidding, but don't fear. Reality is dynamic enough to still account for all of it with no need to go slumming there).

Quote:
Q I see. And what information did you draw on in order to estimate how far up from the floor of the container the device would be located?
A Well, a lot of the information that went into the melting pot, so to speak, came from the adjacent container.

Well, it goes on and on. Peter Claiden was taken through his reasoning for choosing ten inches by more than one advocate, and he couldn't be shaken. I'm going to call argument from authority here, and I vote for Peter Claiden. It was his job, and he had the actual debris, not just photos, and he put the whole thing together in 3D.

You're going to have to go some if you want to persuade me that he was mistaken, and you're right, with no expertise or training, working just from photos and descriptions. You're also going to have to produce some good arguments to support him being dishonest and deliberately fudging the result. Apart from anything else, such a low measurement is unwelcome to the prosecution side and they keep trying to fudge it higher.

So there.

Rolfe.
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Old 12th February 2011, 12:59 PM   #388
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
So we're agreeing that the suitcase and possibly two appeared at interline. Bedford wound up recalling this as two cases in addition to what had been there, but as suggested, it could have been only one new case, plus one he didn't notice had just been re-positioned. I'd take it further, and propose for logical fullness, that if that's possible, why not no new cases, and only two of the others re-positioned.

We know the left-hand case wasn't a legitimate passenger case for all the reasons I've described. Henderson, Crawford and Marquise have all stated or implied that none of the "first fifteen" had a maroon or brown hardshell suitcase. So where did it come from, if it was one of the cases Bedford loaded in the normal way after they had been x-rayed?

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
There is the issue of Bedford's claim of Kamboj's claim that he had x-rayed them. I wonder if they really spoke of this at all, and did they use plural or singular form if so? That would be a good clue if only we could be sure. Bedford used plural for both of them, is all we have.

As I commented on your blog, I have a more-than-sneaking suspicion that they never spoke of it at all.

Originally Posted by Rolfe
If we're considering whether anyone at Heathrow might have told a little porkie in order to cover his backside, my vote unhesitatingly goes to Bedford himself.

"I returned about 4.40 p.m. Camjob told me two further suitcases had arrived for PA 103 which he had put in the tin."

Kamboj had no recollection of doing or saying any such thing, even when interviewed very soon after the disaster. It wasn't his job to put cases into the container anyway - he usually just sat them on the floor for Bedfod to load.

If anyone was going to be in the line of fire for letting the bomb through at Heathrow, it was Bedford. He'd seen two cases in the container he hadn't put there. He knew someone else had interfered with his container while he was off drinking tea with Walker. But he didn't say anything, he just let the container go.

He wants to be a good citizen and help catch the terrorists, so he tells everything he saw in case it turns out to be helpful. (And boy, was it helpful!) But he realises he's open to criticism. If one of these cases turns out to be the bomb, he's the guy who could have stopped the Lockerbie disaster but didn't.

So he tells it all, just as he remembers it, but then he invents that one little extra detail. He wasn't suspicious, because Kamboj told him he'd screened the cases and put them there.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
But anyway, Okay, I can go with that, depending on where else it takes us. The big question is this:

Who do you suspect was doing the placement and/or re-positioning? I don't have enough detail on this shed, how it was accessed, who could or couldn't walk in and place bags, etc. Do you think Kamboj was circumvented? Did he handle them off-the-belt as normal, or just helped the other Pan Am man who came in? Or was he bribed? Were they x-rayed, do you think? Etc. I can see different ways it could make sense, and I'm open to hearing others.

I actually think the terrorist had a uniform of some sort that made him look normal in the area, and simply put the suitcase in the container while it was unattended. Bedford didn't see him and Kamboj didn't see him.

However, the fact that the IED was disguised as a radio suggests the terrorists were guarding against the case either being x-rayed or hand-searched. If they planned simply to shove it in the container after the x-ray stage, they could have had 20kg of Semtex in there. So that's an oddity.

It may be as simple as the terrorist not having confidence that he could get to the container while it was unaccompanied. The best bet in that situation might then be to wait till Bedford wasn't there, and approach Kamboj with the case. Kamboj would want to x-ray it, but he'd probably let another baggage handler position it in the container because that's what he usually did - his job was to screen the luggage, not to stack the container.

However, either this happened and Kamboj forgot all about it, or the terrorist managed to get to the container when it was completely unattended. The terrorist would prefer the latter, obviously, because there was always a risk a security man might want to investigate an electronic item more closely even if he hadn't had the Autumn Leaves warning as Maier had had.

Obviously I'm speculating, but I think it's important to show that it was something that could have been achieved, and could have been predicted could be achieved, by someone who already had familiarity with the workings of the Heathrow baggage handling system.

Remember, Bedford said there were teams all over the interline shed, one for each airline, and they would each pull their own airline's luggage from the conveyor that brought items into the shed. And there was quite a high staff turnover. What could be simpler than someone in the uniform of a different airline coming over with a case he'd found for PA103 in with his own luggage, give it to Kamboj to x-ray, and then place it in the container himself in Bedford's absence?

Better still if the terrorist managed to find the container completely unattended for a few minutes though, and I think he'd have been hoping for that and watching for it, and I think he found it.

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
But the answer will help figure out what makes most sense as far as re-visiting the container at Build-up. To re-visit, one first has to have visited, and that's got un-addressed complications I'm curious about.

I wondered if the terrorist had been disturbed while loading the cases, hadn't got them exactly as he wanted them, and had had another go while the container was outside the build-up shed. To explain the bomb being on the second layer. However, I think the bomb bag was on the left when Bedford saw the container, which would surely count as "close enough". Why risk complicating the issue?

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
(BTW: The Bedford's-story-was-made-up-to-cover-Walker-theory was simpler here, but I accept that there's no evidence to suggest the premise of it was reasonable to suspect)

This is clearly some new definition of "simpler" I was previously unaware of....

Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
If it's in the evidence, I try to account for it. Dancing with it is a good word. I enjoy dancing with the evidence. It's not always the simplest way, and can challenge one's pre-conceptions, but ... well, you get the idea, and I'll ride off on my verbal high horse into the sunset.

Indeed, that's why I said I was going to let you carry on dancing with it. It doesn't feel right to me, it never did. It's possible there is a version of this that gels, but I'm still not really seeing it.

The fact is that we're never going to know for sure exactly how the terrorist got the bomb into the container, and how it got into the position Claiden calculated. It's likely he was improvising, maybe choosing his actions from a set of pre-planned possibilities depending on exactly what circumstances met him on the ground.

The important thing is that there isn't just one but several possible ways it might have happened. Identifying the exact sequence of events isn't really necessary, and I suspect it's impossible anyway. So, you have your favoured theory, I have mine, and there's no real need to slug it out.

Rolfe.
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Old 12th February 2011, 02:08 PM   #389
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I still wonder, a bit, about O'Connor's left-behind suitcase. If it's true it was left behind, that is.

All that stuff about "taggs". What better way to get genuine tags for a particular flight than to take them off a case that has been legitimately checked-in for that flight, and transfer them to the bomb suitcase? I'm sure it isn't that hard with the right tools and equipment, at least well enough not to be spotted by a casual glance.

I wish we knew if O'Connor's case still had its tags on when it was found in the baggage store. CL says it was brown, too.

I also wonder about security bands. Nowadays, it's quite common for a security band to be put round each case as it's x-rayed, to prevent it being opened and anything added at a later stage. I'm sure I've seen something about Kamboj having done something similar with the cases he x-rayed, but it isn't something that's gone into in detail and I can't find the reference. If there were security seals of any sort, these would surely have to be acquired too, again maybe from a legitimate suitcase.

I realise this thought isn't entirely compatible with some of my speculations above about the terrorist possibly planning to let Kamboj x-ray the case and load it in his presence. I'm just exploring possibilities, same way CL is.

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Old 12th February 2011, 06:32 PM   #390
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Well, this is the Lockerbie case, so authority=correct is not safe to presume. Claiden's not Feraday, but he was working with delicate science surrounding the #1 clue of London origin they weren't able to cover-up like Manly's report. So I'd prefer reasoning it out myself for comparison.

I would happily look at any supporting reasons (of the scientific and spatial types) you can give to accept the awkward 10" as the sure number, or for using as the top end of a range. You are still thinking this is the highest he could fudge it, right? Well, right there is a disonesty then - he's stating the hypothetical upper end as the precise height. If so, we both question him.

My own reasoning for questioning and suggesting a broader range, is explained - blasts go out in all directions, not just horizontal, so a 10" hole could be cause from a variety of blast heights. To insanely exaggerate the point, it would be unsound to take a bullet mark on the sidewalk at Dealy plaza as evidence the assassin of JFK was shooting from ground level.

Claiden can say whatever he likes, but until I see that problem resolved, I can't accept a set number. He did say there was a mix of other factors, which could help narrow the range, even to where 10" (maybe give or take half an inch, etc.) is close enough to decide on. I'm not sure what these other things were supposed to be.

The floor damage, again, un-addressed. But I had my own thought looking at it again. It's hard to make out what metal is or isn't pitted - all that shows up is general roughness vs. shininess. The beam at left is clearly blasted, burnt, broken, and app. well-pitted. The warped floor to the right is however shiny and smooth-looking. But the rest of the floor, especially foreward half (top here) has a general roughness of wear and tear. The whole aft-edge looks cleaner by comparison, but it almost looks like that one spot was buffed shiny relative the rest.

Is it possible the floor was pitted at one time, but then polished back down, to support the second-level idea? I'm not proposing that, but it did occur to me.

Next comment in a bit.
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Old 13th February 2011, 04:35 PM   #391
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No, read what I said. After reading Claiden's evidence in detail, I came to the conclusion that he wasn't fudging anything, and that the ten-inch figure was his honestly-come-by best estimate. What we do see is a lot of people trying to fudge it higher.

I don't think you can do a better job without the actual reconstructed debris in front of you, and a background and experience in explosives and/or air accident investigation.

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Old 13th February 2011, 10:50 PM   #392
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Okay, I apologize. This is getting silly now and it's mostly my fault.

This whole issue is in essence a side-track for purists. Kudos to all of us willing and able to go there, but it can't distract from this basic things I think we can agree on about Bedford's evidence:
- His reference to a suitcase so completely consistent with the primary one is no coincidence.
- He reported one case of this style in an undeniable way, and may have specified somewhere that this was the one on the left, out of the two he thought both new, and of a very similar style.
- no passengers whose luggage should have been there matches this style, telling us this is most likely something other than passenger luggage. I dunno, that seems important to me.
- This case was in the relevant container an hour before the alleged Maltese version of it could possibly have been. No fudging - Bedford was gone at 5:02, and the feeder didn't even land until 35 (?) minutes later.
- It was in the lower outboard corner, first layer, almost in the outboard overhang section.
- the explosion happened in a case consistent with Bedford's description, that was clearly something other than passenger luggage.
- The blast center was just barely inside the overhang section, either at or near 10" above the floor, just barely higher than this case reported.

That could be argued to be something other than a smoking gun, but that's in isolation. Considered with the other London origin clues, as Rolfe has re-iterated above ... okay, it still can and has been argued that it's all coincidence. But people look pretty stupid going that far.

- cheez
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Old 14th February 2011, 02:57 AM   #393
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We've been over a lot, and I confess I'm not reading it all carefully enough to be a top-notch commentator at the moment.

I'm still only skimming, for select points to respond to.

Originally Posted by Rolfe
I wish we knew if O'Connor's case still had its tags on when it was found in the baggage store. CL says it was brown, too.
FWIW the E+D book has:
Quote:
Airport tags hung like tinsel from the handle of the apparently well-traveled bag. The newest ones were "LHR" for London's Heathrow airport, and "JFK," for Kennedy.
It was Dec 22, not days later. Sounds nice and detailed, just like the "newspapers and food wrappers, the detritus of tired travelers" littering the empty terminal where it was found. Likely nothing but literary deduction based on the assumed fact that it appeared there somehow. If true. it's a decent deduction.

But as I said, Leppard has it staying in London. which suggests, maybe, it wasn't able to be forwarded. BUT, I'm a dunce here and was wrong. The erred report is that "one of McKee's suitcases had turned up at JFK airport, New York, four days later." [116] Sorry, my bad.

So, unless the earlier book is erred anyway, it would seem tags enough to get it NY were attached. I'd guess that stolen "taggs" wouldn't be much harder to locate than airside passes, uniforms, etc.

Originally Posted by Buncrana
[Leppard] is also wholly unconvincing, and uncomfortable actually, in the Lockerbie Debate (which I still have on an old vhs tape) that was aired on C4 in 1994 immediately after TMDC when Leppard was questioned on some of his reporting, and conclusions, by Allan Francovich.
That sounds immensely interesting. Keep an eye out for a PM on this.

Quote:
I'd also missed it until now, but I now note that not only was O'Connor on that flight from Cyprus, but he was accompanied by McKee and LaRiviere - with Abu Talbs wife Jamilla and her 3 Mograbi brothers on that very same flight. Coincidence? Well, perhaps.
Definitely weird, and I'm not the one to presume coincidences... unless... is it possible this was the original coincidence that then led them to consider Abu Talb and his Malta links, and what Malta could be re: Libya? Ah, never mind.

But we seem to agree there was all too likely a terrorist bombing from people of related rolodexes going on in that airport on that day. And we do have an allegation by presumably credible people (of which I'm quite leery anyway) that Abu Talb himself sailed to London at the same time (and left the date circled on his plain-view calendar, after carefully planning the bombing to coincide with his alibi - the expected delivery of a baby. It was the perfect plan, until...)

Sorry!

By the way, my floor-retouching idea wasn't facetious or anything. It is quite outside the box, and I have no idea who would have decided and just how early and so on. I'm sure it's pretty bonkers. Not sure, but I wouldn't be at all surprised. Rolfe, you just re-read that stuff. I don't even recall when Claiden's study was made.
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Old 14th February 2011, 03:41 AM   #394
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"Airport tags hung like tinsel." This is a journalist making stuff up.

If you are silly enough to leave an airline tag on your luggage so that it is still there when you present it for check-in for another flight, the first thing the check-in clerk will do is rip it off and chuck it in the bin. Which is only common sense. Baggage handlers need to be constantly checking the tags to make sure every piece of luggage is headed in the right direction. They don't want to be sorting through half a dozen different tags to figure out which is the one relating to the current journey.

That journalist never saw the case. He's painting an evocative word-picture for his readers, and making a fundamental wrong assumption in the process. We have no idea whether the tags were still on it or not.

I think there's a danger in trying to figure out in detail exactly how the trick at Heathrow was pulled. We can easily see it was possible, and could have been planned in advance by someone with some inside knowledge of routine airport procedure. There are probably three or four ways it could have been done, including an initial plan being improvised on according to the particular circumstances on the ground that day. I don't think we can really expect to know which one actually happened.

I'm really just observing that if you want a genuine luggage tag, taking one off a genuine piece of pasenger luggage seems to be one rather good way of doing it. However, it's possible it would have been regarded as too risky, and the terrorist wouldn't have wanted to risk being seen doing something so suspicious.

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Old 14th February 2011, 04:24 AM   #395
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Could I say I'm not entirely convinced by the veracity of any of this. All we have are journalist's reports in newspapers. They're not consistent on whose suitcase was left behind, or on what then happened to it. I have found absolutely no mention of a suitcase left behind in the primary documentation.

I'm not saying it didn't happen, only that journalists do print tittle-tattle that later turns out to be complete horse-feathers, and I'd rather see some primary evidence that there's some reality behind this before making too much of it.

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Old 21st February 2011, 02:36 AM   #396
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Could I say I'm not entirely convinced by the veracity of any of this. All we have are journalist's reports in newspapers. They're not consistent on whose suitcase was left behind, or on what then happened to it. I have found absolutely no mention of a suitcase left behind in the primary documentation.

I'm not saying it didn't happen, only that journalists do print tittle-tattle that later turns out to be complete horse-feathers, and I'd rather see some primary evidence that there's some reality behind this before making too much of it.

Rolfe.
Nothing much to it anyway, likely. Do you mean no evidence for a bag left behind and found in London? Because the books don't say that either, on review. That was a bad reading. Or is there nothing about any items held back from 103 and sent to JFK by another route?

I've summarized a lot of the recent conversation here into a new article of some importance. I'm working on a summarized version taking the easier-to-grasp singular version, to try and get somewhere more prominent.

To chew over, some variations on a one-brown-case-only, first-level, non-stacked method of getting it to the blast center. "A" is as Bedford reported it, way down there a couple inches from the spot a case just like it blew up.


All but "D" raise problems with the floor damage seen, and D has a similar problem to my stacking option - if it was slid into this spot as you suspect, the bomb was in the inboard end, far from the hull. Unless it was flipped into that spot? Whaddyou think?
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Old 21st February 2011, 04:36 AM   #397
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These are helluva good illustrations, CL.

I'm thinking B, or possibly C. I've never really bought the line about the floor damage, to be quite honest. And I doubt if Sidhu would have shoved the bag as far as is shown in D.

I was imagining the extra item placed between the two Bedford bags, by someone standing in the middle just pushing them apart. That's what Taylor suggested. Of course the extra item wouldn't be a suitcase. There were all sorts of sizes and shapes of luggage on there, including smaller holdalls and such, not to mention the photographer's case described by Sandhu.

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Old 21st February 2011, 04:56 AM   #398
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
These are helluva good illustrations, CL.

I'm thinking B, or possibly C. I've never really bought the line about the floor damage, to be quite honest. And I doubt if Sidhu would have shoved the bag as far as is shown in D.

I was imagining the extra item placed between the two Bedford bags, by someone standing in the middle just pushing them apart. That's what Taylor suggested. Of course the extra item wouldn't be a suitcase. There were all sorts of sizes and shapes of luggage on there, including smaller holdalls and such, not to mention the photographer's case described by Sandhu.

Rolfe.
True, the gray things are just spacers here, really. I could see position C maybe working with the floor damage, actually. With that, it's just the cut off between outboard damage (sloped floor gone, beam broken and burnt), and the main floor. The main expanse was clearly not blasted directly, but perhaps a strip of that peeled back was (it's not visible). Something between "C" and "D" leaves only a strip of main floor exposed to the underside, with the rest shielded by the suitcase's length and its contents. Just follow the red lines - the closer to the blast middle, and the less resistance along the way, the more force at that point. Underside down to floor - not much protection in "B" or "C."
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Old 21st February 2011, 07:17 AM   #399
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I've never understood what makes another case such great protection if the bomb suitcase and its own contents weren't. What's the difference between the bomb being right on the bottom of a case on the second layer, with another case under it, and being right on the top of a case on the bottom layer, with all its own contents under it?

I can see there's some difference of course, but to explain this all-or-nothing idea? I'm not so sure. I definitely got the impression Hayes was going with the idea it might have been on the bottom layer at one point.

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Old 21st February 2011, 03:55 PM   #400
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Quote:
These are helluva good illustrations, CL.
Thanks, but FYI the proper usage in this context, least 'round here, is "hella."

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I've never understood what makes another case such great protection if the bomb suitcase and its own contents weren't. What's the difference between the bomb being right on the bottom of a case on the second layer, with another case under it, and being right on the top of a case on the bottom layer, with all its own contents under it?

I can see there's some difference of course, but to explain this all-or-nothing idea? I'm not so sure. I definitely got the impression Hayes was going with the idea it might have been on the bottom layer at one point.

Rolfe.
I admit I've never studied explosives or anything, but this aspect is not too tricky. If you're visualizing the primary case being capable of shielding the floor, you've got part of the picture. Contents (clothes) and then had-case material (one layer). That'll slow and weaken the blast some.

But not much. At the outboard end, there was still force enough after that weakening to disintegrate the container metal and then rupture the hull. The underside facing the floor should have been about the same, depending - any metal just outside the case would be in trouble.

Now take that same blast wave just leaving the primary case, marginally weakened, and run it through another layer of suitcase material (I've been thinking hard-shell), another case's contents, and then the other side of the case, and then coming to the floor.

If the one case - half a case, really, could conceivably block the force well enough, then one and a half could do it far better. I think it's more than three times the protection, actually, given some exponential, not linear, decrease in power over distance.

I was toying with an idea that the clothes might've been compressed, maybe squeezed in a vice and then bound. This might explain thhe survival of so much clothing, which might have been put there as a false lead it was hoped would survivee, and/or to lock the bomb to one side of the case more firmly than loose clothes would.

And I was looking at what a clothing brick would do for the floor. But at least arranged this way, it doesn't seem to help.

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