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Old 27th January 2010, 01:27 AM   #1
Caustic Logic
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Lockerbie: London Origin Theory

I know, there are already quite a few Lockerbie threads here, and several of them recent. Apologies to the forum at large for the inconvenience. But there's one important issue above the others that deserves a thread of its own.

My own knowledge of the London origin theory and the evidence behind it is a bit of a weak spot for me, so maybe someone else could give us a scholarly run-down of the case for Heathrow introduction. Well, since the plane was loaded from empty at Heathrow before taking off, obviously the bomb went on board there. Obviously what I mean is that it originated with terrorists on the ground in London, not interlined from the German feeder or any other plane.

As far as I know, this is what we have supporting this as the method

Explosion time: the plane detonated app. 38 minutes after takeoff on reaching 31,000 feet. This fits perfectly with the usual time of a "Khreesat" altimeter bomb, if it went on at Heathrow.

Bedford's suitcase: The only brown hardside Samsonite suitcase anyone besides Giaka claims to have seen relating to Flight 103, was reported by luggage handler John Bedford in just the right container the bomb detonated in. Officially, it's a coincidence and that bag apparently vanished.

The Heathrow Break-in: Reported by a security guard, corroborated by others - a padlock hacked open at the luggage handling area where 103 loaded from, a long 18 hours before the plane left. Played a role in Megrahi's first appeal. Has some confusion worth discussing...

When we get to this one, the useful original article from The Mirror is a little harder to find, so here's an archived version I'v found until we can get something better.
http://plane-truth.com/Aoude/geocities/latest27.html
(about 2/3 down, "Our documents prove...")
And BTW, we've never discussed Carl Davies here yet. He ran plane-truth.com, which has come in handy at times like this. Maybe not worth it...

And that's about it as far as I know. It's more than I'd expect, really. I just re-read Baz's pretty awesome article on the subject, and it' a decent point for others to start. Mainly, check the Bedford section, it's a long article. Curiously, he doesn't mention the break-in evidence at all.
http://e-zeecon.blogspot.com/2008/11...-evidence.html

And yes, this also to help me sort out the issue, best sources, details, etc. for my new site.
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Old 27th January 2010, 03:20 AM   #2
Caustic Logic
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I'll start with Bedford's suitcase story as it was reported, as it was told at trialThis is from a summary by the Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit, for 25/08/2000, On day 44 of the trial, "the last day of evidence before the expected testimony of Giaka on Monday" I'll try to trim it down a bit and highlight some interesting bits.

For those who don't know, Kamboj is the other worker that Bedford says placed the mystery suitcase (along with another, gray Samsonite). Kamboj denied it. No one has fessed up to placing the bags Bedford saw.

Quote:
Mr Kamboj, a security agent with Alert Management in 1988, based at Terminal 3 in Heathrow, gave evidence. In December 1988 he worked in the interline shed and was responsible for scanning the baggage from connecting flights other than Pan Am flights. In the interline shed was situated a scanning machine. After baggage had passed through the scanning machine a security tag was placed on the bag. The scanning machine was an x-ray which was black and white. Both airline and security workers were in the interline shed. The airline staff gave the baggage to the security staff for scanning. If the suitcase was destined for a Pan Am flight sometimes either Alert Security or Pan Am staff would take the bag off the belt. Following scanning the airline worker would put the bag into a container. There would normally be 2 staff members from Alert in the interline shed. 1 worker would watch the screen and the other placed a sticker on the bag. The witness said that Alert staff would sometimes place bags into containers if it was a quiet time or the airline worker was in the rest room or away, but this was not the normal routine. Mr Palmer was working in the interline shed with Mr Kamboj that day.

The witness did not remember Mr Bedford working in the interline shed that day. He remembered that a Pan Am flight was due to leave for New York that afternoon. By late afternoon it was quiet in the interline shed. Mr Palmer and the witness finished at the same time. The witness was asked to accept that Mr Bedford was working that day and he then confirmed that it was Mr Bedford's job to load the Pan Am luggage that afternoon. The witness said it was possible that he had helped Mr Bedford by loading 2 bags but that he didn't remember. He accepted that if Mr Bedford said this he would accept it, but that the bags would have gone through the appropriate security procedures.
...
It was not easy to identify a suspicious item using the [scanning] machine. If an item looked normal no action would be taken. If abnormal it would be sent to the gate to be investigated. He also said it would be normal to see an electrical item every day.

In cross-examination Mr Davidson asked the witness if he recalled having a break that afternoon and on his return to the shed Mr Palmer left for the day. He said he did not. He confirmed it would be usual for a container to be loaded in the interline shed with bags bound for New York and then that container would meet the Frankfurt flight. Mr Davidson then asked if it was normal for the container to be taken first to baggage build up for some time before going to meet the Frankfurt flight. Mr Kamboj said he was not sure. He confirmed that the interline area was open and was not sure if it was locked at night. He could not recall if he was the last person to leave the interline shed that night. He confirmed that the bags reached the machine on a belt which started outside the shed and that he had not seen security there. He denied that he had been aware of the 'Toshiba Warning' before December 1988 or that he had been asked to look out for a fake Toshiba radio. He was asked again whether he ever loaded luggage onto a container. He said he remembered being interviewed by the police but did not recall what he said.

A police interview on 6 January 1989 was referred to wherein the witness said that Mr Bedford had brought a metal tin into the interline shed to transport luggage for flight PA 103. He told the Police that he did not place any luggage in that tin. In a statement made to Police on 28 December 1988 the witness did not refer to putting any bag in the container on 21 December 1988 and stated that this would not be done as it was not part of his job. The Fatal Accident Inquiry transcript revealed that when giving evidence at that time, the witness said he would not have put bags into the tin container. Mr Davidson referred to the statement by the witness during the examination in chief by the Advocate Depute where he indicated that if Mr Bedford's account of 21 December included that he, Mr Kamboj placed 2 bags into container 4041 that he would accept this. This clearly contradicts statements given around the time of the disaster to the Police and the court at the Fatal Accident Inquiry.

Mr Kamboj did not recall what shift Mr Bedford worked that day or seeing the container leaving the shed. He did not recall being asked by Police officers how many bags came through Interline that day or how many were in Mr Bedford's container that day. Previous statements were referred to where the witness said he thought that there were 5 cases in Mr Bedford's container when he drove it away but that this was just a guess.

Mr Taylor, under cross-examination, referred to the lack of security at the interline shed which would have allowed anyone to drop a bag onto the belt which carried luggage into the shed to be x rayed. The witness accepted that this was the case. The witness stated that the information he gave to the police and the Fatal Accident Inquiry was truthful and accurate.

The judges asked Mr Kamboj if only Pan Am bags would come into the interline shed. The witness said that bags for all airlines would be carried on the same conveyor belt. Pan Am flights are identified by the Pan Am tag and these are picked off by the airline employees and sometimes security employees when they are beside the x-ray machine. Mr Kamboj said he did not remember seeing Mr Bedford leaving the shed with the container.

Mr Bedford then gave evidence that bags were loaded ...
Okay, that's enough for one post. I note right off that Kamboj recalls very little, seems really vague, and at every opportunity accepts that security was lax, open, people could do this or that, who knows... It doesn't feel totally level. Anyone else?
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Old 27th January 2010, 06:31 AM   #3
Buncrana
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Sorry, some of this is from a post just made on the MST timer thread. (Anything to get my post count up...up..up!! )

I remember reading somewhere (I'll try and locate it) that Khreesat's devices recovered in Neuss were not triggered and ready to be used. They were if you like an initial prototype. The report was that four Khreesat devices had been recovered, but one device was thought to have evaded the raid by the Germans.

If true, it woud facilitate the transportation of the device from Norway, Gothenburg or Neuss much simpler, and from what we know, the device was difficult to spot, even when x-rayed without removing the entire casing of the radio embedded with the bomb. Not that I ever had anything x-rayed while driving and crossing the English Channel or the North Sea on a ferry. I hardly ever had my passport checked nevermind my baggage x-rayed when I made the journey to and from Europe in the 80's. I've no doubt it'd be somewhat different today.

If the PLFP, or the Iranians, had someone working airside at Heathrow in any capicity, sympathetic to their 'revenge mission', although preferably someone with baggage loading knowledge, I really don't think it would be difficult at all to slip them a suitcase, triggered with the bomb, with the instruction to place it as late as was possible in the loading procedure into a container that will be as close to the planes outer fuselage as possible. If the Iranian Airlines gate was also adjacent to 103's, then access to the Pan Am flight loading containers and with the appropriate knowledge of how these would be loaded, would be dare I say, pretty uncomplicated to insert the suitcase containing the bomb.

Was the break-in at Heathrow to allow someone access to drop the suitcase off to their contact? Was the break-in a diversion to attract attention away from elsewhere at the time it was reported? It had been suggested that some airside employees would use this route as a short-cut going back to landside areas of Heathrow. However, the break-in, as it was reported, had occured from landside gaining access to the highly restricted airside areas of the airport. Although, as has been evident, security at Heathrow was lamentable, where hundreds if not thousands of airside passes were unaccounted for.
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Old 28th January 2010, 02:10 AM   #4
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Sorry, some of this is from a post just made on the MST timer thread. (Anything to get my post count up...up..up!! )
You could try a little light conversation in a different sub-forum. Maybe a movie you like?


Good observations re: the ease of getting a bomb to the airport and to a container. On the right container, I doubt many people would know both which container had "that bag" and also where the container would be placed. But that would allow you to target a certain part of the fuselage. Otherwise, they all have an outward facing-side.
See this video, 4:35 mark for the best visualization. Then, as you can see, it doesn't take that much damage. And that's why you cannot let bombs get onto planes.

Okay, so back to how...

Quote:
Was the break-in at Heathrow to allow someone access to drop the suitcase off to their contact? Was the break-in a diversion to attract attention away from elsewhere at the time it was reported? It had been suggested that some airside employees would use this route as a short-cut going back to landside areas of Heathrow. However, the break-in, as it was reported, had occured from landside gaining access to the highly restricted airside areas of the airport. Although, as has been evident, security at Heathrow was lamentable, where hundreds if not thousands of airside passes were unaccounted for.
Indeed. What was up with anyone mentioning "shortcuts" as if that matters? Who takes bolt cutters with them so they don't have to go he long way? It's silly. Distraction might be a thought, except I think a distraction's supposed to happen somewhere else, while this was where the plane loaded from, right? Terminal 3 ... under construction, people were coming and going. I guess I shouldn't begrudge Mr, Kamboj for noting that.

I believe he's supposed to be of Turkish origin. Does anyone know that?
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Old 30th January 2010, 01:59 AM   #5
Caustic Logic
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Above, I asked about Mr. Kamboj's possible Turkish ethnicity. I thought I'd read that somewhere but couldn't find it again if so. here is apparently a "Kamboja" people or culture from antiquity, NW India and into Central Asia.
His middle name seems rather Indian to me. And he's in London. So okay... I was wondering about the possibility that the early talk of Turks at Frankfurt (from Pan Am people, Mike Jones no less) helping sneak in the bomb was some kind of code for Heathrow. It was a weird thought. Sorry.

I am going over the trial testimony of both Kamboj and Bedford. One has a clear memory of what happened, the other doesn't. One told police clearly he didn't put no bags in there while the other says he says he did. In court Kamboj just doesn't remember now. If Bedford says he says that, then okay, he did help. He did not lie to police. He doesn't remember.

And Bedford's not entirely different. He doesn't recall the color. He recalls that he did once, and he recalls what color that was. But he doesn't now actually remember the color. This part was most interesting:
Quote:
Q All right. I want you to look at another page now with me, please, image 2300. And you'll see that this is still a portion of your evidence.
A Yes, sir.

Q Can we look a little further down on that page, please. Do you see just below letter "D" the question: With regard to the suitcase that you saw lying down flat to the left side of the container, I would like you to think back as best you can. Could that suitcase have been a blue suitcase with a maroon or brown trim? And your answer was: I couldn't say.
A Yes, sir.

Q Then the question continued: You don't know whether it was or not? - No, sir. - But it could have been? - It could have been.
A Yes, sir.
day 44, p 6493 re-exam by Mr. Turnbull

If these were questions posed by police to Bedford, isn't that bad procedure? It would seem to indicate they wanted him to stop being so sure about the color. He did soften a bit, and so Turnbull, deputy of LA Boyd (right?) draws our attention to it. Look, once, he was badgered to be less than totally sure it was really a brown hardside Samsonite. Fine, so it's not 100% but he has always repeated that, the "differences" were in the range brown-maroon. Not blue with trim.

Also, when Heathrow was eliminated, and it was decided the bomb bag was too high up to have been from any other than 103A from Frankfurt, can anyone help me remember what they cited as justification? The blast didn't damage the floor, so it had to be higher up, and all the bags loaded at interline were on the bottom? How many was it?
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Old 3rd February 2010, 02:47 AM   #6
Caustic Logic
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Well this thread has failed so far. Nonetheless, it's a place to work out some details I'm hazy on. First, I'd like to pin down where the scientists decided the explosion was centered. It's not as straightforward to pin it down as I hoped.

Here's the best photo I could find (external)
http://www.life.com/image/89964534
What are the dimensions on this thing? Five or six feet high? A bit wider (inboard to outboard?)
Did it have interior shelves/levels like the video below shows? Or was it just open space, with cases stacked?
Air Crash Investigation (end of part 3)
The outboard part has the slanted part creating an "overhang" - this would go up near the curved fuselage. So here the sde we're facing wouuld be forward-facing, inside the plane. If I'm not mistaken, they show the opening on the wrong side - it would be the rear side, and this side would be the 'back' wall to you as you were loading.

Paul Foot wrote of the suitcase(s) placed by Kamboj, as told by Bedford:
Originally Posted by Paul Foot
Moreover, Mr Taylor insisted, the case ended up in the precise position a) where an explosion in it would cause the maximum damage and b) exactly where the forensic evidence suggested it was at the time the bomb exploded.
Lockerbie, the Flight From Justice, p 19

The maximum damage would be along the outboard wall, on the slanted portion of floor, or stacked a bit above that. The witness saw it set, I think, on the flat floor on the "front" side (loading side? So aft side rel to the plane?). Mr. Claiden at al decided it was near the floor but had something under it, so couldn't be that bag at all.

"Baz" says:
Quote:
… According to the Air Accident Investigation Report the centre of the explosive event was 10” from the floor of the container 12” from it’s left hand wall and 15” from the front (sloping) wall of the container.
I checked the AAIB report I have, and it says on page 40:
Quote:
2.4 IED position within the aircraft
From the detailed examination of the reconstructed luggage containers,
discussed at paragraph 1.12.2.4 and in Appendix F, it was evident that the IED had been located within a metal container (serial number AVE 4041 PA), near its aft outboard quarter as shown in Appendix F, Figure F-13. It was also clear that the container was loaded in position 14L of the forward hold which placed the explosive charge approximately 25 inches inboard from the fuselage skin at frame 700.
An appendix F explains further, but it's not appended. If the space between container and fuselage were ten inches than the 15 inch thing is verified, but that's not clear either. We have 25 inches from the skin.

Mr. Protheroe of (AAIB?) later turned around at trial and claimed the math was wrong and the explosion was only 12 inches from the skin! (This is discussed in Day 10, 25 May. Bollier says this means it was floating just outside the container I think. I don't trust this type of revisionism, but I'm open to fudging. Was it closer?

As for it not being on the floor, Mr. Claiden talks about that in his testimony, trial day 11. From his reports:
Quote:
... the reconstruction of the floor of container 4041 revealed an area of severe distortion, tearing, blackening, localised in its aft outboard quarter ... Within container 4041, the lack of direct blast damage (of the type seen on the outboard floor edge member and lower portions of the aft face structural members) on most of the floor panel in the heavily distorted area suggested that this had been protected by, presumably, a piece of luggage. The downward heaving of the floor in this area was sufficient to stretch the floor material far enough to be cut by the cargo bay substructure and distort the adjacent fuselage frames. This supported the view that the item of baggage containing the IED had been positioned fairly close to the floor but not actually placed upon it.
So it was pushed down by the force, but didn't show the signs of direct explosives contact. I wonder how much it matters if he was visualizing them laying flat on their sides stacked, or upright on their spines? A suitcase spine plus the filling above it might be enough to block pitting/etc. on a small patch of floor directly under it... I don't know.

The discussion from there of the damage to different sides, plus the container damage we can see in that photo, do show the blast center was low in the container - 2 feet up at absolute most. That's lower level luggage. Note the floor is not included in that photo. If it just looked buckled rather than blasted through, there'd have to be something under it.

What does anyone else think?
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Old 3rd February 2010, 04:05 AM   #7
Caustic Logic
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Interesting I should first find this right now:

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=9443716

Interesting 1989 ABC News segment - it's got full rotation photos of the container, plus Ted Koppel!
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Old 3rd February 2010, 05:46 AM   #8
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I don't think the thread is a failure, I just think it's discussing something relatively uncontentious.

Having read more of the evidence, I'm clearer about what Mr. Bedford says he saw. He had put the first 5 cases on their spines, however the two mystery cases were actually lying flat. I think this may be why the court thinks these cases would inevitably have been on the bottom layer.

I just don't see this as being so inevitable at all. Likely, yes, but it's still perfectly possible that cases could have been rearranged a bit while the Frankfurt stuff was being stacked, so that one of these two cases ended up on the second layer. Indeed, one point I wonder about is whether any of the baggage loaders doing that job might have been part of the terrorist plot, and deliberately positioned that case with the bomb as close to the side of the container as possible. That could easily have involved putting it on top of another case.

The judges accepted that the Bedford suitcase had indeed been moved away from the position Mr. Bedford saw it in, because if it had remained there it would have been damaged by the explosion and so appeared in the forensic record. Nevertheless, while they decided it had probably been moved "to a far corner of the container" (yes, baggage handlers just love moving 20kg suitcases from one end of a container to the other for no good reason....), they continued with their assumption that it couldn't have been moved one layer up.

Looking at it simply, it seems bloody obvious the Bedford suitcase was "the primary suitcase". My only question is whether it would have been enough for the unknown person who put it in the container to have placed it where he did, or whether it would really have been necessary to have one of the loaders handling the Frankfurt baggage co-operating with the plan. If it was indeed moved from the bottom to the second-bottom layer at that stage, either one of the loaders was in on it, or the terrorists were very lucky it wasn't moved to the other (inboard) side of the container.

Nevertheless, when considering that point, we have to bear in mind that even the amount of control over positioning given by putting the bag in AVE4041 at Heathrow is more than would have been achievable if it had simply been sent on its journey at Malta or Frankfurt. The official version relies just as much if not more on the bag's lethal positioning having been pure chance.

The evidence suggests, we're told, that the primary suitcase was on the second layer, on top of an American Tourister suitcase that had come off PA103A. Some of the measurements contradict each other though (including Mr. Protheroe's calculations). I've seen references to estimates of the height of the explosion that would put it in the bottom layer. It's the lack of pitting and the state of the American Tourister that are used to argue against this. It's difficult to know which data-set is most reliable, given the state of the stuff after the explosion, the fall from 33,000 feet, and lying around the Scottish countryside for up a week or two before being brought in. Oh, and probably some of it never being found.

What I can't see, given that Mr. Bedford's evidence was accepted, is anything that conclusively, or even to a high degree of probability, prevents that suitcase being the bomb bag. And I'm just gobsmacked at the attitude of the judges on this point.

The only other point I was toying with was whether it was possible that the bits of bronze Samsonite recovered at Lockerbie could have been the Bedford suitcase, but not the bomb bag. That in fact the actual bomb bag had been more or less obliterated, and the items believed to be from the bomb bag were actually somewhat further away but their appearance misinterpreted. Several people have suggested this, but I don't really think it flies.

Rolfe.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 04:35 PM   #9
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I don't think the thread is a failure, I just think it's discussing something relatively uncontentious.
Actually I think there's room for a closer look. Brown Samsonte - are we quiite certain he wasn't originally compelled to say so back when they didn't know how embarrassing... ah, never mind.

Quote:
Having read more of the evidence, I'm clearer about what Mr. Bedford says he saw. He had put the first 5 cases on their spines, however the two mystery cases were actually lying flat. I think this may be why the court thinks these cases would inevitably have been on the bottom layer.
Well I believe he said 4 or 5 bags along the back, Kamboj places two more, and then he takes it off with what most summarize as 6-7 bags. But the range is wider than that. Bedford in court said:
Quote:
Q Are you able to give me any more indication than that as to how many bags were in it?
A Probably about eight or ten bags, sir. [p 6452]
And Kamboj said in court (disavowing the extra two)
Quote:
Q You have said on previous occasions I think that you thought that the bin contained about five cases when Mr. Bedford drove it away. Do you see that?
A Yes, sir.

Q And you answered: Yes. The questioner says: Can you actually remember the precise number of cases, or is it just a guess on your part? And you say: It is just a guess.
A Yes, sir.
Q And was that the truth, so far as you could recollect it at that time?
A Yes, sir.[Day 44 6428-29]
I want the dimensions, at least approximate, so I can do a rough analysis of how many bags could fit in rows across the floor. Two bags laying on their sides might gat moved, or the ones up on their bottoms might be moved instead and laid flat. The bags in front could be uprighted and slid left or right to make more room. They might have been placed on top of or under the back row bags. There are only so many likely scenarios (and not too many unlikely ones either) that could be considered with the damage, etc.

Quote:
I just don't see this as being so inevitable at all. Likely, yes, but it's still perfectly possible that cases could have been rearranged a bit while the Frankfurt stuff was being stacked, so that one of these two cases ended up on the second layer. Indeed, one point I wonder about is whether any of the baggage loaders doing that job might have been part of the terrorist plot, and deliberately positioned that case with the bomb as close to the side of the container as possible. That could easily have involved putting it on top of another case.
Well if someone placed it in the container back where Kamboj was working alone in the interline shed, that would presumably mean two people compromised to help, one to place it and one to move it. That's the dangerous part, where they realize it's not drugs but a bomb if it has to be in a certain area. Somehow I doubt they would do this.

Personally I think they fudged down the explosive power, partly to explain the large debris they got. Either it was a quite powerful bomb, 400 grams or more, or both bags were possibly bombs. They did match or closely so and were slipped in at the same time. The investigation found no clue of two bombs, but they also found a lot of wrong things.

Quote:
The judges accepted that the Bedford suitcase had indeed been moved away from the position Mr. Bedford saw it in, because if it had remained there it would have been damaged by the explosion and so appeared in the forensic record. Nevertheless, while they decided it had probably been moved "to a far corner of the container" (yes, baggage handlers just love moving 20kg suitcases from one end of a container to the other for no good reason....), they continued with their assumption that it couldn't have been moved one layer up.
That is a double standard, but not entirely. Bags may well be slid around to make room, and if the bottom layer is not yet filled, they may stay there. But as soon as someone's stacking them flat, all best are off. It could be as simple as someone took the two Kamboj (?) bags, stacked them so the bomb one was on top of the other. If they were so stacked, left at front, and slid to the left, tha would fit perfect I think for what was found - lower, aft, outboard.

Quote:
Looking at it simply, it seems bloody obvious the Bedford suitcase was "the primary suitcase". My only question is whether it would have been enough for the unknown person who put it in the container to have placed it where he did, or whether it would really have been necessary to have one of the loaders handling the Frankfurt baggage co-operating with the plan. If it was indeed moved from the bottom to the second-bottom layer at that stage, either one of the loaders was in on it, or the terrorists were very lucky it wasn't moved to the other (inboard) side of the container.
I like saying "uknown person." It makes me feel less nervous about naming a person who seems to have actually been the breach.

Quote:
The evidence suggests, we're told, that the primary suitcase was on the second layer, on top of an American Tourister suitcase that had come off PA103A. Some of the measurements contradict each other though (including Mr. Protheroe's calculations).
Hmmm - that's a convenient decision that most likely wasn't warranted. How do they know above from below? Spherical propagation, hello?

Quote:
The only other point I was toying with was whether it was possible that the bits of bronze Samsonite recovered at Lockerbie could have been the Bedford suitcase, but not the bomb bag. That in fact the actual bomb bag had been more or less obliterated, and the items believed to be from the bomb bag were actually somewhat further away but their appearance misinterpreted. Several people have suggested this, but I don't really think it flies.

Rolfe.
As you know I've proposed a possibility kind of like that. It's a thought exercise I haven't tossed yet, but I'm not standing any wiegt on it either. If the bomb was super-powerful, then perhaps these brow bits are too big. Maybe it was the OTHER Bedford bag!
Quote:
They were [both] hard suitcases, the type Samsonite make. One was brown in colour, and the other one, if it wasn't the same colour, it was similar
The two bags thing IS tripping me out. What are the chances if they didn't come from the same people?
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Old 4th February 2010, 01:14 AM   #10
Caustic Logic
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I did a little research. It looks like Maid of the Seas was a 747-121 model, which is designed to hold 30 LD1 style containers. These have the following measurements:
(base width / overall width _ depth _ height)
156 / 234 _ 153 _ 163 cm
(61.5 / 92 _ 60.4 _ 64 in)
Awesome. This allows me to finally create a visualization to work from. I'm less sure on suitcase sizes, which will vary. I roughly measured the trial exhibit case containing the radio box - I took the box as 17" and the suitcase therefore a hair 24 inches, or so, wide. Approx 16 inches high. The cases Dr. Wyatt loaded in his container, if it's got a height of 64 inches, average around 7.5 inches in depth.

So if we start with five bags placed handles up along the back by Mr. Bedford, and two placed on their sides at the front (to the left I think) it would look something like this:

Bedford may have gone left-to-right or r-l, but right to left made more sense to me. Quite arbitrary. There may have been less or more cases in there when it was driven off. As many as ten (back row filled). Bedford's memory could have been off somehow even back then. He said the two bags took up the remaining floor space, which is only roughly true from this.

I'm actually not sure what all use this visualization is, but I think it might help us consider what might happen next. If you received a container arranged something like this, at baggage buildup, and were placing items from 103A or elsewhere what would you do to rearrange these? There are many possibilities, but only so many.

Hmmm...
ETA: Here's one possibility - all cases present were re-stacked on their flat sides and then piled on top of. Any scenarios anyone would like to see mocked up?

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Old 4th February 2010, 04:29 AM   #11
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One tiny thought re loading technique -
Aircraft do bank a fair bit at times. Presumably loaders don't want cases toppling or sliding during flight, so will tend to fill the containers in layers width-wise whenever possible rather than have incomplete layers scattered about each container?
That's what I would do anyway, but then I've never loaded a plane.
Carry on
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Old 4th February 2010, 05:28 AM   #12
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Where in that mock-up is the place where the explosion happened? Can you show us the assumed position of the bomb bag when it was loaded?

I think there's a limit to how much "what-if" analysis we can do on the information we have about this. I doubt if it was ever suggested to Mr. Bedford that he saw a brown Samsonite though, because absolutely nobody involved in that investigation on the British side wanted Heathrow to be implicated, at any stage.

My main question is, assuming he really did see a brown Samsonite as described, is there any pressing argument that says it either couldn't have been the bomb bag, or was unlikely to be the bomb bag? I really don't think there is.

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Old 4th February 2010, 06:24 AM   #13
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This is the best place for this comment I suppose. Lockerbie-interested people need to go to the January Stundies thread and vote for no. 7. It's Charles Norrie from the Robert Black blog, and he currently holds a narrow lead.

He has theorised that the bomb went on board at Heathrow, but not in a suitcase. He knows an "Iranian gent" in a dark suit and a long dark coat sidled in at midnight through the broken padlock, and sabotaged the actual baggage container. Which was already there, 18 hours before the plane's departure, and which was already, because of some baggage logictics system Charles has reasoned must be the way it's done, identifiable as a container that would be on PA103.

Oh yes, and it was the CIA who masterminded this, to allow the Iranians to achieve their revenge for the Vincennes incident in a controlled manner.

Never mind that the container doesn't show the sort of damage consistent with having had a bomb fixed to its structure, and the chances of such a device going unnoticed all day by the people handling and loading the things is minimal.

Charles has his theory, and he now sits back and insists that it's up to everyone else to prove him wrong by finding out whether the baggage container assignment system really was the way he has theorised it was. This isn't his job you know, Popper says it's the job of the challenger to find the evidence to support the theory.

And yes, you can't start with the facts, that's unscientific. You have to start with your theory. Then, apparently, you wait to see if anyone else bothers to check your facts for you, and if they don't, your theory must be right!

He deserves this award.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th February 2010, 07:13 AM   #14
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You know, in order to ensure that the bag was positioned in just the correct position in it's container in order to cause the right amount of damage, penetrating the baggage container and fuselage, there are a plethora of very problematic hurdles for the culprit(s) to overcome. Not least if you just plant it on at Malta!

So, in addition to the three changes of aircraft, three airport security systems to negotiate, the time of year and the weather in northern europe to contend with, the prosecution would also add to this list that the villian simply crossed their fingers and hoped it would also find the crucial position when loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded and then loaded for a final time. Seriously, they must think we all button-up the back.

I've been thinking. Bolt cutters, or whatever was used for the breach that was reported by Ray Manley, (he himself remarked "bolt cutters" presumably given the substantial nature of the padlock on the door) would not be something that anyone could just stroll around an airport with. Even back then in 1988, despite security being somewhat laxer than today, I imagine it would still attract unwanted suspicion. However, with the apparent refurbishing works that were on-going at Heathrow's Terminal 3, adding to what already appears the rather disorderly security of the airport, I suppose a construction worker, or someone with the appearance of a worker, would not draw attention to the fact they were wandering around an airport with bolt cutters, or something similar which would be required to break the lock on the security door. They presumably would not attract suspicion even if seen in the vicinity of the baggage sheds either.

The break-in, if thought as having a bearing on the bombing, does draw attention away from those actually working on loading 103 towards an 'outsider' gaining unauthorised entry to introduce the bomb into the system. Perhaps aided by someone else who would then place the bag, after noticing the arrival of 103a so close to the departure of 103, while the interline shed was unsecure and unattended. But not abslolutely essential with the knowledge that security is non-existent and those baggage loaders seem to have no great concern in securing the baggage area under their responsibilty.

As we know, either way, this break-in, whether of any consequence to the bombing or not, was never followed up after Manley's report to the police, as the UK and Heathrow authorities desperately attempted to conceal and shift blame away from their authority. If that kind of event (the break-in) happened today, most certainly flights from that terminal, and possibly the whole airport's operations, would be suspended.

Originally Posted by LTBU
Peter Walker, a luggage supervisor explained that luggage from connecting passengers who were not on Pan Am flights would be stored in an interline shed whereas baggage of checked in passengers would be stored in baggage build up. He told the court that his office was adjacent to the baggage build up area and that outside this area was a road which was used as short cut by terminal 3 staff. This combined with the fact that refurbishment work was taking place at this time resulted in the area being busy.
Flight 103a from Frankfurt to London arrived at Gate 16 in Terminal 3 at approx 1737 and required to be unloaded and those bags continuing onto 103 to be quickly identified, removed and reloaded onto103 in time for the proposed departure at 1800. As it was, it left the gate at about 1815approx.

Given this tight schedule, I assume the rest of the luggage collected from those who checked-in at Heathrow and those who had arrived via other connecting flights, was already loaded and in position on Maid of the Seas, with exclusion of AVE4041 and some other containers which weren't full and could receive a number of the bags from 103a. The arrival of 103a being so close to the anticipated departure of 103 would possibily allow that these late and final containers to be loaded in such a manner they would all be along the outer fuselage, near the cargo door, as loading was concluded. Inserting it near the bottom of the container (ideally the very bottom layer) could possibly improve it's chances of not being noted, and less reason for it to be repositioned by any handler, while unlikely they's reposition all the bags in the container.

Looking at these photographs of the reconstruction of 103, I do wonder about the conclusions as to the strength and amount of semtex used. These appear to show far greater destruction than is often referred to, although as I'm clearly not an expert on these matters, and I appreciate much of the damage may have been caused by the subsequent decompression after the bomb had exploded.

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/89964538
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/78998051

Originally Posted by LTBU
In the Police interview on 10 January 1989 Mr Walker stated that he had been asked about an AVE container that came from interline baggage to the build up area. In the statement, he says that he understands it was brought but he could not recall seeing it in the baggage build up area. The transcript of his evidence at the Fatal Accident Inquiry records him saying that bags were brought from the interline shed to his office by his supervisor Mr Bedford. They were in a container which was left outside his office where he didn't have a clear view of it. He said the Mr Bedford had told him there were approximately 6 bags in this container.
There seems to be no conclusive evidence as to the number of bags that the container was holding as it was loaded onto 103, who saw it on the move or examined it's contents, but perhaps if the amount of explosive force we're led believe was just enough to pierce the fuselage, was acually much greater, then to ensure the bag was merely in a container which would be positioned near the outer skin of the aircraft would be sufficient.

Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit, 24 Aug 2000 - www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_78568_en.doc
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Old 4th February 2010, 04:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
You know, in order to ensure that the bag was positioned in just the correct position in it's container in order to cause the right amount of damage, penetrating the baggage container and fuselage, there are a plethora of very problematic hurdles for the culprit(s) to overcome. Not least if you just plant it on at Malta!

So, in addition to the three changes of aircraft, three airport security systems to negotiate, the time of year and the weather in northern europe to contend with, the prosecution would also add to this list that the villian simply crossed their fingers and hoped it would also find the crucial position when loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded and then loaded for a final time. Seriously, they must think we all button-up the back.

Well, whenever any of the mob who defend any Official Theory as a spinal reflex comes by, they say, terrorists make mistakes and do stupid things, why theorise on the principle they thought of all those things. Maybe they just got lucky.

Right....

Unless one of the loaders working on the PA103A transfer was involved, that final positioning had to involve a degree of chance. The Heathrow loading hypothesis at least minimises that to a credible degree.

I suppose the concepts that the bomb was attached to the plane itself (de Braeckeleer / Bollier) or to the baggage container (Charles) probably rate a mention, but although they would allow precise positioning, they seem very improbable for other reasons.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
I've been thinking. Bolt cutters, or whatever was used for the breach that was reported by Ray Manley, (he himself remarked "bolt cutters" presumably given the substantial nature of the padlock on the door) would not be something that anyone could just stroll around an airport with. Even back then in 1988, despite security being somewhat laxer than today, I imagine it would still attract unwanted suspicion. However, with the apparent refurbishing works that were on-going at Heathrow's Terminal 3, adding to what already appears the rather disorderly security of the airport, I suppose a construction worker, or someone with the appearance of a worker, would not draw attention to the fact they were wandering around an airport with bolt cutters, or something similar which would be required to break the lock on the security door. They presumably would not attract suspicion even if seen in the vicinity of the baggage sheds either.

The break-in, if thought as having a bearing on the bombing, does draw attention away from those actually working on loading 103 towards an 'outsider' gaining unauthorised entry to introduce the bomb into the system. Perhaps aided by someone else who would then place the bag, after noticing the arrival of 103a so close to the departure of 103, while the interline shed was unsecure and unattended. But not abslolutely essential with the knowledge that security is non-existent and those baggage loaders seem to have no great concern in securing the baggage area under their responsibilty.

As we know, either way, this break-in, whether of any consequence to the bombing or not, was never followed up after Manley's report to the police, as the UK and Heathrow authorities desperately attempted to conceal and shift blame away from their authority. If that kind of event (the break-in) happened today, most certainly flights from that terminal, and possibly the whole airport's operations, would be suspended.

While it seems almost inevitable that the break-in was connected to the bombing, you're riight that it's not necessarily as simple as the bomb / bomber having got in that way. I'm not sure I find the idea of a distraction / red herring to an outside job terribly convincing, but it's certainly one possibility.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Flight 103a from Frankfurt to London arrived at Gate 16 in Terminal 3 at approx 1737 and required to be unloaded and those bags continuing onto 103 to be quickly identified, removed and reloaded onto103 in time for the proposed departure at 1800. As it was, it left the gate at about 1815approx.

I believe it was even tighter. I understand Maid of the Seas pushed off from the gate only a minute or two late. Not late at all, by airline standards. The 15-minute delay was on the tarmac, waiting for the runway to be available, as it was a busy time.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Given this tight schedule, I assume the rest of the luggage collected from those who checked-in at Heathrow and those who had arrived via other connecting flights, was already loaded and in position on Maid of the Seas, with exclusion of AVE4041 and some other containers which weren't full and could receive a number of the bags from 103a. The arrival of 103a being so close to the anticipated departure of 103 would possibily allow that these late and final containers to be loaded in such a manner they would all be along the outer fuselage, near the cargo door, as loading was concluded. Inserting it near the bottom of the container (ideally the very bottom layer) could possibly improve it's chances of not being noted, and less reason for it to be repositioned by any handler, while unlikely they's reposition all the bags in the container.

This raises something I'd wondered about, but don't know the answer to. Were all the luggage containers ranged in those odd-shaped spaces right next to the skin of the aircraft? I have a feeling they might have been - a way to take advantage of the space available. It may be that any container would have done, I'm simply not sure.

I don't know whether the actual fore/aft positioning mattered so much. Might have done, but I've never seen it discussed. There's a lot of talk about "the absolutely worst spot it could have been in" so far as breaking up the plane is concerned. However, I'm curious as to what proportion of the bags on the plane would have been in a position to do more or less the same thing. If they were arranged just inside the skin, only about 2 bags deep - half of them?

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
Looking at these photographs of the reconstruction of 103, I do wonder about the conclusions as to the strength and amount of semtex used. These appear to show far greater destruction than is often referred to, although as I'm clearly not an expert on these matters, and I appreciate much of the damage may have been caused by the subsequent decompression after the bomb had exploded.

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/89964538
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/78998051

A great deal of that was indeed caused by decompression and airspeed. There are some diagrams in the AAIB report that show just how much was thought to have been caused by the bomb,

A lot of the rest depends on how honest and how accurate the tests carried out at Indian Head were. I don't necessarily suspect them of being rigged, although some people point to these tests as the possible origin of material that was later planted.

However, the point of the tests was to confirm exactly where the bomb was, and how big it was - not necessarily to determine what the effect would have been of the same size device in a different position. The overall conclusion was about 450g Semtex I think, and in addition Feraday (I think) said he couldn't get more than (I think) 600g in the radio before it started to come through the speaker grilles.

I still don't know if anyone can be sure the plane wouldn't have been badly damaged if the bomb suitcase had been one layer in rather than right against the skin though. All they tell us was that it was as cloe as it could be to the skin, where it actually was.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
There seems to be no conclusive evidence as to the number of bags that the container was holding as it was loaded onto 103, who saw it on the move or examined it's contents, but perhaps if the amount of explosive force we're led believe was just enough to pierce the fuselage, was acually much greater, then to ensure the bag was merely in a container which would be positioned near the outer skin of the aircraft would be sufficient.

Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit, 24 Aug 2000 - www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_78568_en.doc

And I'm not sure that all the containers weren't in that category. I think I need to look at the AAIB report again.

Rolfe.
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Old 4th February 2010, 04:27 PM   #16
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Alright, we are getting somewhere now.

As far as the explosion center, the AAIB said it was 25" from the hull, abd Baz says 15" from the container's outboard wall. Considering 10 or maybe 12 inches maximum between container and fuselage, this is reasonable. Clearly it was somewhere in the 30 or so inches of slanted floor. Mr. Claiden said it was overall in the lower, aft, outboard quadrant. Baz gives 12 inches from the aft wall. So that would be something like this:

I didn't anticipate that, but it was in the best spot, which is kind of a lacky break maybe? Did they even check the floor in that section? I'd guess it showed lack of explosive damage by virtue of being gone?

Glenn B. - it's true we should consider possible methods of loading. I think left to right or reverse would be equally plausible, but back first, then front makes more sense. Here's another "trial loading" that could put the bedford bags along that sloping floor. Someone may have rearranged them starting from the left and the slanted space first - stack Bedford's bags flat 2-3 high, two rows deep, with the maroony brown bags starting the slant fill.


And Buncrana - good notion on the bolt cutters. Yes, bolts will actually need cut, so some Pterrorist guy could just put on a hardhat, walk in, and when no one was looking, cut the lock. A second gy presumably, in a suit maybe with the TWO bags, could slip in and hide them where they told their insider he could find them, approve the x-ray, and collect, say, $300,000 for "drug smuggling."

As for the explosives, if the bag is where they say, 300-350 grams might have done it after all. But it may be more - I'd use more. The plane damage is deceptive - I think the bomb damage was just a small hole, maybe 10 feet across, and decompression/wind turbulence would tear it apart from there.

And all containers are near the skin - two rows only. Here's a cross-section - different model, same concept.
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Old 5th February 2010, 02:51 AM   #17
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CL, could you double-check what you've done there? It just seems to me the finding of the court, from Bedford's evidence, was that the mystery bag was originally seen in the container very close to the location of the actual explosion - hence the theory that it had been "moved to some far corner of the container", to explain the fact that it wasn't among the damaged items.

By the way, there's a detailed description of the state of the floor of AVE4041 in the AAIB report. It wasn't missing, it was heavily bent downwards under the explosion so that it hit off the floor of the cargo container and split.

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Old 5th February 2010, 07:26 AM   #18
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The break-in could be yet another of the weird coincidences that surround this disaster, but given that Manly clearly wasn't in the habit of reporting this kind of break-in (sure he noted that sometimes these doors would be used by staff taking shortcuts returning landside when they were guarded by security personel, but were locked at night), and certainly not in the manner of someone using some form of tool in order to breach into secure airside.

The fact that the police, (and probably the crown office) suppressed this damning information for all those years does suggest they themselves feared it may well have some bearing on the bombing, or at the very least highligh the poor security at the airport and thus focusing the investigators around Heathrow.

If you accept the break-in had something to do with the explosion about 18hrs later, it does beg the question, why 103 and not any of the numerous earlier Pan Am flights? Certainly, the attack was primarily aimed at America, (whether you assume it was Libya, PLFP or Iran) and presumably a flight bound for the US as oppose to any other destination on Pan Am's routes. But why not PA107 to Washington which left earlier that afternoon at about 1320? What was particular to 103? Well, there have been many theories in that respect, from the US agents on board to the UN representative being set-up by the South Africans, but these all lack clear and plausible reasoning why you'd choose a whole aircraft if these were you prime targets.

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Old 5th February 2010, 08:14 AM   #19
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CL - many thanks for your diagrams which have helped visualize the baggage arrangements and the formation of the container thought to have contained the bomb.

Here's another couple of diagrams which may aid us:

PanAm103_Loading Plan12_12_88

This diagram above also shows damage sustained by the explosion by the container immediately behind the priamry container. ie AVN7511.

Baggage Container Graphic_AAIB

These diagrams and much more are available here -
AAIB Appendix (PDF file)
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Old 5th February 2010, 10:39 AM   #20
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Could this be where the drug-running comes in? If Jibril or whever masterminded it was aware of the "controlled deliveries" and that PA103A/PA103 was being used that day, he may have hit on PA103 in the belief that the authorities might be reluctant to investigate certain aspects of that flight. And/or, indeed, that attention might focus on the Frankfurt connection rather than on Heathrow. While in fact the bomb was introduced at Heathrow after all.

I'm very very curious to know the reasoning behind the very early announcements to the press that the bomb didn't go on board at Heathrow (and so Heathrow security was in the clear). This is very very strange. For a start, the bomb obviously did go on board at Heathrow, as Maid of the Seas was loaded from empty there after her pre-flight checks that should have revealed any sabotage that might have happened at an earier stage (which would have been in California anyway). And on top of that, the announcement was made very very early - surely before they could have been certain none of the interline bags in AVE4041 were implicated? I'm even doubtful if the significance of AVE4041 could really have been appreciated by the time they were all saying, no, Heathrow is in the clear!

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Old 5th February 2010, 02:57 PM   #21
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Hmmm... That's my main thought. I wish I had more time today.

Now I'm thinking if a bomb bag were slipped in as not interline, how does it get to that shed unless someone puts them there? It could be after finding them sitting somewhere or knowing more than that. I was visualizing the simplest - an employee (not proper insider) is co-opted for a one-time deal, money paid to get the "drug" bags on board.

It gets easier yet if we take the regular drugs route notion speculated for Fraknkfurt and make it happen at Heathrow...

Quote:
CL, could you double-check what you've done there? It just seems to me the finding of the court, from Bedford's evidence, was that the mystery bag was originally seen in the container very close to the location of the actual explosion - hence the theory that it had been "moved to some far corner of the container", to explain the fact that it wasn't among the damaged items.
I'm just goig off what Baz said for placement. But Claiden did say aft (front side when loading) and outboard, and there was that calculation shwing 25 inches (or less) from the hull, so it had to be near that spot, on the sloped floor. It is pretty near where the Bedford bag were placed, but not near enough that it could be there without being rearranged.

Quote:
By the way, there's a detailed description of the state of the floor of AVE4041 in the AAIB report. It wasn't missing, it was heavily bent downwards under the explosion so that it hit off the floor of the cargo container and split.
Indeed, "guillotined" Claiden says, as well as "sandbagged." I was wondering if by floor they meant the main flat stretch or also the sloped part that would have been actually under it. I need to study it some more before I even know what they're saying fully.

Buncrana, the diagrams are helpful and thanks for the index. You may note in figure F4 that floor panel drawing does't seem to include the sloped floor. but does show major damage right under the Bedford bags location! F3 is the same in photo, first I've seen of the floor. Again, square with no sloped section. Ossum stuff.

Ah, F6 covers that potion - the left side recpvered (severely distorted out) and put in place. Of the other half, one small bit from the middle (??) was found, dangling from the frame in the photo. Okay, so there's damage on both floor panels, all centered in that corner. Further work is needed.
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Old 6th February 2010, 02:06 AM   #22
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Thank you Buncrana for the PDF. This appendix F is amazing. Combined with Claiden's testimony, we can really see what's going on. Figure F-13, Wow.


25" this way means on the floor, the sloping part, almost right on the dividing beam. So it's 10" above the main floor over there that it wasn't even on? Is that anywhere near as lame a dodge as it's seeming to me?

And as I guessed, about 60% of the lower panel of the outboard end (the sloped floor), the half the bomb bag was resting right on by their own figure F-13 was not recovered or identified (that shaded yellow below, AAIB report fig F-6). Except ... a piece called AI 100 "provisionally" felt to from the smack middle of that ("e" below), with no references or anything to match it to.

It corresponds with a spot right under the bomb, but I would guess it really came from somewhere else and, on a closer look, showed no signs of direct explosives exposure.

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Old 6th February 2010, 11:09 PM   #23
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Update - apparently the LD3 model can be used as well in a 747. The AAIB appendix, in the schematics posted by Buncrana above, it's shows as a LD3 model, and the dimension are indeed off from what I've been working with. Same wiki as above then, dimensions
(base width / overall width _ depth _ height)
156 / 201 ื 153 ื 163 cm
(61.5 / 79 ื 60.4 ื 64 in)
I noticed a mismatch with that figure 13 - the overhand drawn there didn't match my graphics, it didn't hang out as much.

And what was reflected in the graphics above was
(base width / overall width _ depth _ height)
156 / 234 _ 153 _ 163 cm
(61.5 / 92 _ 60.4 _ 64 in)
So the flat floor pane is the same, but the outboard (sloped) portion and overall container is shorter than shown here by 13 inches.

I'll work that back into the stuff I was just doing wrong and pop back later.
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Old 7th February 2010, 05:59 AM   #24
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That Figure 13 showing the 25"/10"/2" nexus is puzzling.

First I used my planar surface graphics theories on a photo of a LD3 container face loaded in a cross section of a similar fuselage. Skewed so the most points possible matched, it all matches. This confirms the graphic is accurate per container-fuselage distance given the same type of bracing system.

It's the little numbers attached to those distances that are a bit wrong. I'm not sure if the numbers or the diagram is more accurate, or if I'm wrong, and it's not a big deal any of those ways. But using the LD3 proportions, image scaled so 1"=15.333", all approximate but that spot to the skin on that line is 16.5-17 inches, not 25, and the 10 is about 7.

Anyone can do analysis better than that, feel free. Claiden is confusing me, on days 10 and 11 of trial, correcting the 10 the wrong way it seems to me, to 13, but affirming the 25. But I'm calling it somewhere near there, around my larger red target. The 2" thing is good reasoning - see figure F-9 - the blast was from within that outboard portion, but other clues say not very far within. That tends to mean low, like floor-ish. Considering again the thickness of the bags, roughly, we're at level one or two, depending. It seems to me this is what Claiden is seeing:
But something this might also work:


Two brown hardside samsonites, if not matching then close, seen <i>right next to there at floor level</i>, they're moved ... somehwere else ... and a single alleged third brown samsonite hardshell winds up just to the left and barely above where they had been before moved.

It's Possible! Wow! And that's it. No more credulity to spare.

And with such an obvious, dangerous, embarrasing solution being that evident from Bedford's story plus this damage - it's remarkable the crown never saw fit to dig through the recovered luggage and display these two bags and put the whole thing to rest? BOTH Bedford bags, the 2/3 of the IED-style items ever allegedly in that corner of AVE4041 just - vanished.

Only the one made up on computer paper was recovered.

Originally Posted by Zeist Guys
[25] It was argued on behalf of the accused that the suitcase described by Mr Bedford could well have been the primary suitcase, particularly as the evidence did not disclose that any fragments of a hard-shell Samsonite-type suitcase had been recovered, apart from those of the primary suitcase itself. It was accepted, for the purposes of this argument, that the effect of forensic evidence was that the suitcase could not have been directly in contact with the floor of the container. [...] It is true that such a rearrangement could have occurred, but if there was such a rearrangement, the suitcase described by Mr Bedford might have been placed at some more remote corner of the container, and while the forensic evidence dealt with all the items recovered which showed direct explosive damage, twenty-five in total, there were many other items of baggage found which were not dealt with in detail in the evidence in the case.
A pretty good summation of this weak reasoning can be read here:
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Old 7th February 2010, 04:39 PM   #25
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Only one of the two "mystery bags" Bedford saw was a brown Samsonite though, wasn't it?

I'm curious to know where the bags were seen by him in the container, compared to where the explosion happened. I'm also curious to know how the container would be stacked - how many bags in each dimension? There were 40-something altogether.

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Old 7th February 2010, 08:44 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Only one of the two "mystery bags" Bedford saw was a brown Samsonite though, wasn't it?
I don't know why we have this "Beford bag" singular thing, or why he singled out one for mention (which one?) other than a thought this (one of 'em) was THE primary suitcase, warping the recall. Bedford, Jan 9 1989:
Quote:
They were hard suitcases, the type Samsonite make. One was brown in colour, and the other one, if it wasn't the same colour, it was similar.
That reads to me as if they were the same model and apparently the same color. He almost seems to be second-guessing the impression they were a matching set. Quite coincidental I'd think if coincidental. I don't know if he ever clarified that under questioning anywhere.

Quote:
I'm curious to know where the bags were seen by him in the container, compared to where the explosion happened. I'm also curious to know how the container would be stacked - how many bags in each dimension? There were 40-something altogether.

Rolfe.
As for the loading details, here's all I have ATM for placement:
Jan 9 statement: "Lying on their sides in front of the other suitcases, handles pointing towards the back of the tin, were two suitcases." [day 44, p 6463-65]

Fatal Accident Inquiry: "Q Where was that tin when you saw it?
A In the front of the container, lying down
Q Again in relation to the photograph that we have looked at in Production 42, photograph 1, can you point to where that case was when you saw it?
A Just there?
Q Indicating the left-hand case which is lying flat on the floor in the
front of the container?
A Yes, sir.
[...]
Q With regard to the suitcase that you saw lying down flat to the left side of the container, I would like you to think back as best you can. Could that suitcase have been a blue suitcase with a maroon or brown trim?
[day 44 pages 6482-85]

Later loading is addressed too, with handlers who filled 4041 from the feeder questioned. That may be day 44 as well, looked tedious and I wouldn't expect any concrete clues. I'll have to read those sometime ... I doubt we can pin down just how it was loaded - it sounds idiosyncratic and variable from person to person or even bag to bag. Blue ones first, one layer at a time, front-to-back, half this way and half turned the other...

We know about where the bomb was (presuming the CONTAINER wasn't faked ... probably not) and so where the bags were first placed is most important to establish, and next most any clues as to where they might be moved.

It's a total puzzle thing and I have a headache by now. So I'll take a break. Anyone else want the microphone for a bit?

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Old 8th February 2010, 06:31 AM   #27
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This breakdown really is excellent Mr Logic! So, it would seem the most likely position of the case was on the bottom layer given the extensive damage to the contianer floor? Not conclusively, but on balance, not to mention the gauging of measurements, unless the suitcases were either slimmer than we assume or weighted down by cases above crushing them down onto the base? Then possibly 2nd from the bottom? yes.

If I were a betting man, I'd wager on the floor, resting just about on the angle of the container.

And we have Carlsson's Tourister which was officially determined to be next above the bomb bag? Only with slight damage if I remember.

Bedford was told by Kamboj that he had put the 2 bronze/brown suitcases in the container at the time, although later denied, it would seem to me that there would be no reason for the all bags to be rearranged if both men at the time accepted they had been placed there by one of them. I'll check the transcript again later, but didn't Bedford state the bags (anywhere between 5 and 8 bags) he had initially placed on their spines, were now also lying flat in the container with the two extraneous cases he observed after returning from his break?

The container is then taken out of the build-up shed and filled up with the interline baggage arriving from Frankfurt. Quite why the Judges performed the leaps of logic in order to have these cases then all rearranged in such a manner that it could not be Bedford's two unknown cases is anyones guess, but given the vague evidence already presented that the case must've been put on at Luqa, then they had to find a way I suppose.

Court Evidence Primary Suitcase Debris

As none of the one or two bronze or brown Samsonite cases claimed to have been seen by Bedford were recovered from the scene, except for these shattered remnants, I think it is possible that this court production said to be from the primary suitcase is in fact the 2nd Bedford case, and the primary suitcase was completely obliterated, while Carlsson's case was merely in the container which housed the bomb suitcase.
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Old 8th February 2010, 04:18 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post
Alright, we are getting somewhere now.

As far as the explosion center, the AAIB said it was 25" from the hull, abd Baz says 15" from the container's outboard wall. Considering 10 or maybe 12 inches maximum between container and fuselage, this is reasonable.
Excellent diagrams, though now I need to throw a spanner in the works.

Testimony of Chris Protheroe Day 10 at the Zeist trial summary here. He outlines to the trial the effects of the "Mach Stem" blast effect.

He wrote the section of the AAIB report that originally puts the explosion centre at 25" fom the skin of the fuselage - as per the AAIB diagrams.

He revises this in court - saying he miscalculated and the explosion centre is 12" from the fuselage skin.

Can you adjust the diagrams of the loaded cases so that they are 12" from the skin of the aircraft? Does that even fit?
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Old 8th February 2010, 06:44 PM   #29
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Sorry if I've seemed overly-terse or summary as of late. That was a real headache, but my mood's better now. I've been a little strong on the two bags front, but that's in case it is true and we've been missing it so far. I think it's an important distinction.

Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
This breakdown really is excellent Mr Logic! So, it would seem the most likely position of the case was on the bottom layer given the extensive damage to the contianer floor? Not conclusively, but on balance, not to mention the gauging of measurements, unless the suitcases were either slimmer than we assume or weighted down by cases above crushing them down onto the base? Then possibly 2nd from the bottom? yes.
Thanks, mate. First, the inches I'm working with are theirs - the 25" is from a math formula (Mech Stem, right?) and I don't touch math usually. I'd suspect it was a bit less than that, but NOT the revisionist 12" of Protheroe and Bollier. Say... 19"? The 10" up dimension seems spurious, I think from a hole in the next container over being 10" up? The 2" could be just one, or 2.5, but over zero. I would guess all in all their figure 13 location is about right, even though the numbers attached are a bit off.

Clearly it was low. See figure 9 where the structural metal is worst damaged at the very bottom, so THAT looks like layer 1. Blast damaged, direct contact, about as low as possible. The floor directly under the position, chunks of both level and sloped panels, was all unrecovered/unidentified. It could be fractured away from indirect force or obliterated with direct force. My money's on the latter. What it cannot be, clearly, is analyzed to support this key plank of the ruling:
"the effect of forensic evidence was that the suitcase could not have been directly in contact with the floor of the container."

That being: "the first thought that came to mind -- and it's very difficult to prove it from that alone, or prove it, indeed -- but the first thought was that that surface had been protected, and I presumed by a piece of baggage, part of a piece of baggage, or whatever, but something that did not allow the direct effects of an explosion to actually impinge upon that surface."
T. Claiden, day 44 p 1512

What surface? UNLESS they got that info from AI 100, the letter e in figure 6 above.

Quote:
If I were a betting man, I'd wager on the floor, resting just about on the angle of the container.
If I were a betting man as well, we'd be getting no money from each other. Hey, anyone want to be me on this?

Quote:
And we have Carlsson's Tourister which was officially determined to be next above the bomb bag? Only with slight damage if I remember.
OoC, para 25: It was submitted that there was evidence that an American Tourister suitcase, which had travelled from Frankfurt, fragments of which had been recovered, had been very intimately involved in the explosion and could have been placed under the suitcase spoken to by Mr Bedford.



I do have to admit that Carlsson's bag being in such close proximity starts to make Mr. Haseldin'e musing seem at least of tangential importance.

---
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Old 8th February 2010, 06:46 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Excellent diagrams, though now I need to throw a spanner in the works.

Testimony of Chris Protheroe Day 10 at the Zeist trial summary here. He outlines to the trial the effects of the "Mach Stem" blast effect.

He wrote the section of the AAIB report that originally puts the explosion centre at 25" fom the skin of the fuselage - as per the AAIB diagrams.

He revises this in court - saying he miscalculated and the explosion centre is 12" from the fuselage skin.

Can you adjust the diagrams of the loaded cases so that they are 12" from the skin of the aircraft? Does that even fit?
That does not fit. Bollier loves it, says bomb was outside the container. Whatever math Protheroe did for whatever reason, I dunno but it can't trump Beddford's bags, inside the container. I'm going for between 12 and 25. Anyone able to actually check the math?
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Old 9th February 2010, 06:26 PM   #31
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Do we have any more than Patrick's say-so for what happened to Carlsson's suitcase?

The official evidence has the American Tourister underneath the bomb bag and badly damaged. That suitcase came from Frankfurt. Then we have Patrick's story that Carlsson's sister was shown a very badly damaged suitcase which was alleged to have been her brother's, but which she didn't recognise. She was allegedly told it had been under the bomb bag.

I think the name of the owner of the Tourister is known. I don't even know if we have independent confirmation that Carlsson's luggage was even in AVE4041. If it was, it must have been among the stuff Bedford loaded, because he didn't come off PA103A as far as I know.

How does all that square with this mock-up, by the way?



Would that have been how it was loaded?

Rolfe.
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Old 9th February 2010, 06:42 PM   #32
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For me, what this is all about is trying to figure out how the explosion was arranged to be so close to the skin of the aircraft. If the same result would have been achieved with the bag anywhere in the container it's not so important, but we're led to believe that if the bag had been at the other side, the hull would not have ruptured.

Did the terrorists realise this? Did they fondly imagine that the explosion would have the desired effect anywhere in the container, and the placing was pure evil luck? Jibril wasn't exactly an amateur at this, and his group did hit an airliner at an earlier date than limped home with a hole in a luggage compartment. I find it hard to believe that any terrorist group wouldn't have researched this and worked it out. I understand there are formulas you can use to calculate the volume a particular amount of explosive would destroy.

To get the expolsion close to the skin, three approaches are possible. A shaped charge attached to the aircraft itself, a similar thing attached to the baggage container, and a suitcase positioned just right.

Bollier and de Braeckeleer favour the first idea. They pick up on the Mach Stem Effect calculations and say the explosion was outside the luggage container. But I can see why the judges hand-waved that away. The damage to the container definitely suggested the explosion was inside it. And how the bloody blue blazes did someone manage to place a bomb on that plane while it was at Heathrow, for all of about six hours on a busy afternoon? These calculations can't be that accurate, and they have to take into account the other evidence.

Sabotaging the container seems even less likely to me, however hard Charles promotes the idea. How long would the bomber really have to do this, after the containers were labelled up for the flight? Even if he just sabotaged a Pan Am container at random, not caring which flight or when, it's difficult to believe such sabotage would go unnoticed on such a flimsy item. And then again, I don't think the container shows the sort of damage you'd expect if the Semtex had been applied directly in contact with the frame.

I think it has to be a suitcase, almost certainly one of the Bedford suitcases. My main question is, how did it get into that position? Just pure luck? Or was the original placing as described by Bedford already more or less there?

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Old 10th February 2010, 04:30 AM   #33
Caustic Logic
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Do we have any more than Patrick's say-so for what happened to Carlsson's suitcase?

The official evidence has the American Tourister underneath the bomb bag and badly damaged. That suitcase came from Frankfurt. Then we have Patrick's story that Carlsson's sister was shown a very badly damaged suitcase which was alleged to have been her brother's, but which she didn't recognise. She was allegedly told it had been under the bomb bag.

I think the name of the owner of the Tourister is known. I don't even know if we have independent confirmation that Carlsson's luggage was even in AVE4041. If it was, it must have been among the stuff Bedford loaded, because he didn't come off PA103A as far as I know.
I've got no inside info on that. I thought it was substantiated as his bag, maybe, but maybe it wasn't.

Quote:
How does all that square with this mock-up, by the way?

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q...att_test_2.jpg

Would that have been how it was loaded?

Rolfe.
We just can't know. With the number of different ways, chances are it was different from that arrangement. But it might have been like that. Day 44, I think, might explain it...

Quote:
For me, what this is all about is trying to figure out how the explosion was arranged to be so close to the skin of the aircraft. If the same result would have been achieved with the bag anywhere in the container it's not so important, but we're led to believe that if the bag had been at the other side, the hull would not have ruptured.

Did the terrorists realise this? Did they fondly imagine that the explosion would have the desired effect anywhere in the container, and the placing was pure evil luck? Jibril wasn't exactly an amateur at this, and his group did hit an airliner at an earlier date than limped home with a hole in a luggage compartment. I find it hard to believe that any terrorist group wouldn't have researched this and worked it out. I understand there are formulas you can use to calculate the volume a particular amount of explosive would destroy.
This is a thorny one. I don't want to say anyone at the airport would knowingly place a bomb to destroy the plane, but anyone told it needed to be on the outboard panel would have to suspect that's what they were doing, or be pretty dense.

Previously I've been visualizing the placement Bedford reported as on the far left of the flat portion, but is it possible by "left side" he meant way to the left, like on the sloped floor? I don't think so, but if Kamboj didn't scoot them over there, then who did and why?

Luck is possible, but it seems stupid to rely on it for something this important. It could be they remained about there, being close enough - the placer could be told "left side" and perhaps not understand what this means re: fuselage - it's just the side the "New York guys" will be looking on for the drug bags. It's also quite possible he was told to get it in early, since they'd be looking on the bottom layer. Bottom and left will largely do it. And if they were shifted up on the outboard panel afterwards, I'd call that extra luck well before considering a whole second inside helper.

Sorry I don't have more to say here, but I'm putting together the container damage evidence relative to the Bedford bags
http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/...f-bedford.html
A couple things: This is what Claiden seems to think happened - it was both "on" the main level floor, AND 2" outboard of its edge. His figure 13 location image, bags to rough scale, narrow ends, both placed by Mr. Kamboj and later only stacked one on the other and slid left.

Originally Posted by Thomas Claiden
“…it seemed more reasonable to me that had the centre of such an explosion been, let's say, in the suitcase above the one on the floor, but was overhanging the edge of that suitcase -- which, from the geometry of the container, I think, is quite likely […] rather the device, wherever it was in that suitcase, was totally or partially overhanging the edge of the lower suitcase, then it seemed more reasonable to me that we would see the damage we have, where the edge member would be exposed directly to the underside of a suitcase containing the device, whilst the lower suitcase protected the surface from blast effects…” [day 11, pp 1516-17]
His figure 4 does seem to complicate things a bit - well, actually the damage to the base edge does so. It tends to indicate a center of force a little further forward of the position I thought.

And finally, as we can see, a Bedford suitcase could quite easily have come to be on a second layer, and have been in direct contact with the floor that wasn't examamined or even considered a floor. It's the "lower panel" of the "overhang section."

Can anyone else with the transcripts dig a bit on that "AI 100"? What the heck did he decide on that for? Again, that's the label "e" in figure 6:

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Old 10th February 2010, 06:17 AM   #34
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Excuse my ramblings and regurgitating of the events and conclusions regarding Heathrow.

Bedford stated he had seen two hardshell suitcases, Samsonite style, and of brown or bronze colour. Although he could not be absolutely certain of the colour at Zeist, he had made his initial description of the cases and their colour on Jan 9th 1989, and therefore one would expect rather more clarity from his memory 2 weeks after the event as oppose to 11 years. Bedford had placed anywhere between 5-8 suitcases, on their spines, into the container AVE4041 in anticipation of the arrival of 103a from Frankfurt. The two additional hardshell suitcases as related to in his statement of Jan 9th, had been seemingly introduced into the container in the baggage build up area while he had taken a break and left the container and it's contents under the supervision of Kamboj who, with the supervisor driver/loader Crabtree, would be responsible for loading the baggage into the container and then onto the Maid of the Seas .

Bedford claimed, on his return from his break, that Kamboj had stated he had placed the two extraneous suitcases into container 4041, altering Bedford's initial loading of the cases on their spines, as all the baggage were now lying flat on the container floor. In addition to all this, Bedford initial statements given to the anti-terror police on 9th January 1989, seemed to match the forensic scientists associated with the AAIB report assessments of the exact placement required for the bomb to cause maximum damage with the amount of explosive which was restricted when contained within a radio/cassette player.

Baggage loaders at Heathrow acknowledged, once a container was partially loaded in the build-up shed, rearrangement of baggage within that container to accommodate additional luggage from other flights was a common occurrence, as would be quite possible with the arrival of 103a.

However, neither Bedford, Kamboj or Crabtree have at any point recollected this being done with container AVE4041, after leaving the baggage build-up shed and before it was loaded onto 103 at Heathrow. No evidence was presented, during the statements taken in Jan '89, or at Zeist, that rearrangement of AVE4041 had occurred prior to it's loading onto 103.

Once again however, where there was absolutely no evidence, the judges accepted this rearrangement must have occurred given that the primary suitcase, containing the Toshiba bomb, had arrived via Malta/Frankfurt, and was not one of the suitcases observed by Bedford. And again, the assertion made by the prosecution, and concluded by the judges was that the culprit was relying on luck and chance that the primary suitcase surreptitiously loaded at Malta and passing through Frankfurt's airport and security would be unwittingly loaded into just the correct position to cause the precise damage required in order to trigger the disintegration of Maid of the Seas less that an hour after it left Heathrow.

This is simply irrational and absurd.

Given that the remnants of one hardshell suitcase recovered from the crash was determined to be the primary suitcase, and it had according to the prosecution, arrived via Malta/Frankfurt, it is therefore apparent that TWO other suitcases, observed by Bedford but judged to have been rearranged in the container, and of a very similar variety, and from the same luggage container, were never recovered. So, aside from the pieces of the primary suitcase recovered, absolutely no partial remnants, badly damaged pieces or any debris whatsoever has ever been recovered which would account for the suitcases which Bedford claimed had been introduced after he had started loading container and the judges asserted had been repositioned in AVE4041.

Also, given we only have the debris of one hardshell Samsonite recovered, is it possible (and I've heard it suggested before) that there may have been 2 devices which went off in the hull of 103? That is, both of the suitcases observed by Bedford. This would certainly cut down on the chances of both bags being rearranged in such a manner neither would penetrate the fuselage? Theye are not being x-rayed or examined and therefore whether one or both of them is irrelevant in terms of risk of discovery, but certainly increases your chance of successfully bringing down the aircraft significantly.

Now Kamboj later denied he had told Bedford he had place the two hardshell suitcases into the container after being initially loaded by Bedford and while he was on his break. This change of view from Kamboj is completely understandable given the possible implications that this admission would have had for himself. Clearly this admission, if judged to also have been the actual bomb suitcase, would also do no favours for the Heathrow authorities, and as the significance of these lax loading procedures at a UK airport together with the knowledge of the warnings and the Neuss arrests, ultimately the UK government would face growing questions and criticism.

If it is accepted that, on balance, and given the need by the bombers to have the exact location of the suitcase a requirement of a successful mission, the suitcases observed by Bedford fulfil these requirements. It follows that Kamboj could be seen as a number of things. At worst an accomplice to the bombing, at best wholly incompetent in his duty in introducing the baggage while not properly examined, or even not securing the container and allowing the primary suitcase to be introduced without his knowledge. The very fact that Kamboj did not simply disappear from his Heathrow job, and was also available for the court case at Zeist 11 years later, would suggest that although it could be determined he had been incompetent and party to allowing the bomb bag into AVE4041, thus 103, he was not a knowing accomplice to the actual bombing.

The break-in would allow the introduction of the primary suitcase to the secure airside area and possibly delivered to a Heathrow accomplice or secured somewhere where it would not be discovered for the following 18 hours. The bags are then brought to the outer area of interline shed, where the bags were unsecure according to Crabtree, and introduced into container 4041 in precisely the position the culprit knew was essential for the bomb to succeed. It was from that point, with the knowledge that 103a was arriving and the extremely tight schedule to be met by the baggage handlers in loading 103, they relied on it not be moved any significance distance within the container which it had just been placed.

Whether this would be accomplished due to in large part to the lackadaisical attitude of Kamboj or the overall half-assed security which existed at Heathrow, and the baggage build-up area, I am inclined to believe both are instrumental into the facilitating the bombs insertion on 103.

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Old 10th February 2010, 06:29 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Caustic Logic View Post

Can anyone else with the transcripts dig a bit on that "AI 100"?
I'll try some digging on that later, if you have the whole bundle of them in the .tar file the easiest way to go digging for exact phrases is with winRAR.

Open tar file with rar click "find" and then put whatever phrase you are looking for in the "string to find" section.

"AI 100" only ever appears in testimony on day 11.
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Old 10th February 2010, 06:34 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Buncrana View Post
The break-in would allow the introduction of the primary suitcase to the secure airside area and possibly delivered to a Heathrow accomplice or secured somewhere where it would not be discovered for the following 18 hours. The bags are then brought to the outer area of interline shed, where the bags were unsecure according to Crabtree, and introduced into container 4041 in precisely the position the culprit knew was essential for the bomb to succeed. It was from that point, with the knowledge that 103a was arriving and the extremely tight schedule to be met by the baggage handlers in loading 103, they relied on it not be moved any significance distance within the container which it had just been placed.
That makes a *lot* more sense than any bag arriving from Malta via PA103A.
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Old 10th February 2010, 07:17 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
That makes a *lot* more sense than any bag arriving from Malta via PA103A.

Of course, it still begs the imponderable question, why 103?

Why wait the 18 hours after the break-in, not only increasing the likelyhood of detection, but that given the breach to airside facilitating your possession of the said bomb, security would also presumably be more vigilant in that immediate aftermath?

If your target is the US, why not choose any number of flights that were both an American carrier and destined for a US city on that day?

Was the knowledge that the McKee team were booked on that flight seen as an added incentive to target that particular flight? Or perhaps UN comissioner Carlsson?

Or were the group planning the bombing aware that 103 was being also used in an covert operation involving controlled drugs opertaions which would present the investigators, especially British, US and Germans with a huge problem to explain?
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Old 10th February 2010, 04:55 PM   #38
Caustic Logic
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Buncrana, your post 34 was pretty awesome. I agree with almost all your facts and sentiments. I hadn't read about Crabtree yet, but here's another interesting bit on how Kamboj came to be alone with the container, again laced with denials:
Quote:
In cross-examination Mr Davidson asked the witness if he recalled having a break that afternoon and on his return to the shed Mr Palmer [sic] left for the day. He said he did not.
It's Parmar. Did Kamboj urge him to go home? It whittled the Pan Am/Alert crew down to two, and when Bedford went on break and it was down to only Kamboj, that's when the bags were placed.

By him, perhaps not, but who else would be able to walk in without standing out even more? If I had an insider, I'd use him and say "put it on the left-side floor" and hope he didn't put 2+ together until after the plane came down. And then it's clear he'd do nothing but deny it.

As far as re-arranged luggage, I don't think that happened at that time:
Originally Posted by Bedford, 9 Jan 89
"I went to see Peter Walker in baggage build-up leaving Camjob in interline. 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. I looked inside the tin and saw the suitcases that I had put in the tin still in the same position. Lying on their sides in front of the other suitcases, handles pointing towards the back of the tin, were two suitcases. They were hard suitcases, the type Samsonite make. One was brown in colour, and the other one, if it wasn't the same colour, it was similar. In size, they took up the remaining base area of the tin. [day 44, p 6463-65]
LTBU daily report, 25 Aug

Ambrosia: thanks for checking it's only in Day 11. I think I checked the whole day and it wasn't specified what AI 100 was used for. It has no place there and seems a stupid piece to even expect to find, considering his own finding about IED placement.

I agree the break-in makes sense in happening during down hours, and well enough before the bombing that people may have been on gaurd that morning and even afternoon, but feeling it was a false alarm by 6pm. That's a smart thing to do. It also fits with the earlier distraction of Frankfurt, mentioned in the Helsinki warning AND indicated by the Autumn Leaves thing - keep people focused one time or place, only to get the bomb in elsewhere or later.

As for why 103 was targeted, I have a hard time accepting a willful sacrifice or a terrorist bent on killing McKee. If this flight was younger than usual, due to the few young kids and numerous college students, that might make it appropriate as revenge for IA655, huh?

Last edited by Caustic Logic; 10th February 2010 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 10th February 2010, 05:05 PM   #39
Caustic Logic
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Oh, and to help get this awesome thread into page 2 territory, allow me to add, as I had forgotten, that it seems utterly stupid now to suspect the bomb came from anywhere else. Considering how important, nay necessary this placement was, the blind luck needed from sending it interline is unacceptable. You'd need someone at Heathrow rearranging it after it came in from wherever, IF it wasn't stopped first.

And if you've got someone at Heathrow, then why not just hand the bags to them?

Is this a bit scary? Isn't Sulkash Kamboj a real person? Was he ever adequately quesioned? What does it mean for us and the forum to be discussing this? Is he going to sue us for libel or something? Will "they" just cancel the Internet to keep this discussion from going forward into the 3-D world? It's nerve-wracking.
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Old 10th February 2010, 07:05 PM   #40
Rolfe
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Yes, indeed, thanks to Buncrana for that summary.

I hadn't realised both bags Bedford saw probably fitted the description of the bomb bag. I was misled by all that stuff about one of them maybe being blue. I'm also realising the container is smaller than I had been imagining. Possibly smaller than it appears in Caustic Logic's diagrams. Look at that mock-up to see how few suitcases actually fit on the floor area available.

So Bedford's initial statement indicated that one or both of the mystery suitcases were pretty much in the position of the bomb bag when he saw them? That's what I had surmised from the court judgement. I'm now a bit hazy about just when the interline bags were shifted to be placed flat, though. I thought they were still on their spines when Bedford knocked off, but Buncrana thinks they were flat by then?

The oddity is the conclusion that the suitcase under the bomb bag was one of the Frankfurt ones. If that is accepted, it suggests a fair bit of rearranging when PA103A was unloaded, because otherwise all the Frankfurt bags would have been on top of the Heathrow ones. I know they had reasons for believing the Tourister was in that position, but I wonder just how well-founded that conclusion actually is? If it wasn't for that, the whole sequence plays out virtually perfectly.

I've always felt that Kamboj was the person in a questionable position. And no, I don't think speculation is libellous - and that's all we're doing, we're not accusing him of anything. He was the x-ray operator, as far as I recall. I don't see how he could have been part of the terrorist gang - if he had been, he'd have vanished in the following 11 years. And I agree, it's hard to see how someone not part of the gang could have been bribed to put these suitcases in exactly that position. However, could someone - Kamboj for example - have been bribed simply to be looking the other way for five minutes? Or he could simply have been dozy and inattentive - except I think the terrorists wouldn't want to leave the placement of the suitcase(s) down to the chance of getting a dozy operative at the crucial moment.

It does seem as if whoever put these suitcases in the container did position them in the crucial spot. That, I think, is key. Yes, it's always possible they might be moved when the Frankfurt baggage is added, but on the whole probably not, and that seems like a chance worth taking. Certainly far more reasonable than sending a bag merrily on its way from Malta or even Frankfurt, to be placed anywhere at all. Were they moved again, or weren't they? Depends on whether the story about the Tourister being underneath is reliable, and I have some doubts about that. But even if there was some rearrangement, there's no reason the bomb bag(s) would have been moved to a safe position. I think, if there was rearrangement, that unfortunately the crucial bag simply wasn't moved sufficiently.

Rolfe.
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