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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , Scotland cases

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Old 4th February 2015, 09:22 AM   #121
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Woot! New subforum!
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Old 4th February 2015, 10:33 AM   #122
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Rolfe

Thanks for that recitation of the allegations made against the Lord Advocate et al. It seems we have another Dreyfuss case.

I want to ask you something. I have probably misunderstood something basic. The clothes in the suitcase definitely came from Gauci's shop I believe. Isn't it rather an unfortunate coincidence that baggage put on a flight from Malta found its way on to Pan Am (no.?) when Malta had nothing whatever to do with the crime? I know you argue the suitcase containing the bomb and clothes went on Heathrow but it seems funny that they went on a plane that had baggage from Malta.
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Old 4th February 2015, 10:37 AM   #123
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Trail of sweeties....
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Old 4th February 2015, 10:58 AM   #124
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No comprendo
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Old 4th February 2015, 12:56 PM   #125
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Sorry, that's what someone on Bob Black's blog called the Malta evidence. As in, a deliberate misdirection for the police. At its simplest, the clothes in the bomb suitcase had to come from somewhere. The terrorists had a choice. They could have used untraceable clothes, and I think that would have been easy. Old, second-hand or stolen clothes would be untraceable. So would new clothes bought for cash in a large anonymous department store at a busy time of day. But they didn't choose that. They did a harder thing, which was to source traceable clothes.

As an aside, why would any terrorist plot choose to buy brand new, locally-manufactured, eminently traceable clothes from a small shop only three miles from the airport where the fiendishly cunning plan was due to be put in motion? And do it when the terrorist was the only customer, and behaving strangely? And then use the same man to do something unspecified at the airport a fortnight later?

Far more probable is the suggestion that the clothes were acquired in Malta and packed with the bomb, specifically to draw the attention of the investigators away from Heathrow and towards a Mediterranean island which was a bit of a melting-pot for all sorts of shady middle-eastern characters. Bear in mind that the PFLP-GC, everybody's favourite suspects, had a cell on Malta.
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Old 4th February 2015, 01:02 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Sorry, that's what someone on Bob Black's blog called the Malta evidence. As in, a deliberate misdirection for the police. At its simplest, the clothes in the bomb suitcase had to come from somewhere. The terrorists had a choice. They could have used untraceable clothes, and I think that would have been easy. Old, second-hand or stolen clothes would be untraceable. So would new clothes bought for cash in a large anonymous department store at a busy time of day. But they didn't choose that. They did a harder thing, which was to source traceable clothes.

As an aside, why would any terrorist plot choose to buy brand new, locally-manufactured, eminently traceable clothes from a small shop only three miles from the airport where the fiendishly cunning plan was due to be put in motion? And do it when the terrorist was the only customer, and behaving strangely? And then use the same man to do something unspecified at the airport a fortnight later?

Far more probable is the suggestion that the clothes were acquired in Malta and packed with the bomb, specifically to draw the attention of the investigators away from Heathrow and towards a Mediterranean island which was a bit of a melting-pot for all sorts of shady middle-eastern characters. Bear in mind that the PFLP-GC, everybody's favourite suspects, had a cell on Malta.
I find this unconvincing. Would the terrorists really expect the clothes to be identified and traced to the shop? They may equally have thought it didn't matter what clothes were used, especially if they expected the plane to crash over water.

Another point is: if they used a barometric device to set the bomb off why didn't it explode when it left Malta or Frankfurt?
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Old 4th February 2015, 01:25 PM   #127
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It didn't leave Malta or Frankfurt. It was loaded de novo at Heathrow. And there could have been no confident expectation that the plane would crash over water.
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Old 4th February 2015, 01:34 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
As an aside, why would any terrorist plot choose to buy brand new, locally-manufactured, eminently traceable clothes from a small shop only three miles from the airport where the fiendishly cunning plan was due to be put in motion? And do it when the terrorist was the only customer, and behaving strangely? And then use the same man to do something unspecified at the airport a fortnight later?
That's very much the question in my mind. The case against Megrahi implies he made a trip to Malta to buy the clothes, took them back to Libya, packed them in the bomb suitcase, then brought the whole device back to Malta to plant it on the flight. Why?

You can just hear the prosecutors' minds whirring. The fact that the clothes came from Malta proves (in their thinking) that the device was planted at the airport in Malta, even though the clothes must have left the island in between.
Quote:
Far more probable is the suggestion that the clothes were acquired in Malta and packed with the bomb, specifically to draw the attention of the investigators away from Heathrow and towards a Mediterranean island which was a bit of a melting-pot for all sorts of shady middle-eastern characters.
They must have been laughing their arses off all the way through the Camp Zeist pantomime.
Quote:
Bear in mind that the PFLP-GC, everybody's favourite suspects, had a cell on Malta.
Someone I talked with after the original verdict came out, tried to make the point that the Libyan embassy was just round the corner from the clothes shop, so (presumably) it must have been Libya. When I said that the terrorists wouldn't get stuff from the nearest outlet, he replied "why are you assuming that they're intelligent?"

Shame that he didn't know about the PFLP-GC.

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Old 4th February 2015, 01:34 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
I find this unconvincing. Would the terrorists really expect the clothes to be identified and traced to the shop? They may equally have thought it didn't matter what clothes were used, especially if they expected the plane to crash over water.

The clothes exist. They were in fact traced to the shop in Malta, and appear to have been purchased by a tall dark-skinned Arab man on 23rd November 1988. Yes, it's a strange thing to have done. But it happened. Do you have a better explanation?
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Old 4th February 2015, 02:14 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Antony View Post
That's very much the question in my mind. The case against Megrahi implies he made a trip to Malta to buy the clothes, took them back to Libya, packed them in the bomb suitcase, then brought the whole device back to Malta to plant it on the flight. Why?

You can just hear the prosecutors' minds whirring. The fact that the clothes came from Malta proves (in their thinking) that the device was planted at the airport in Malta, even though the clothes must have left the island in between.

I suppose they might have been thinking that the terrorists, being Libyan, wouldn't have wanted to use clothes traceable to Libya. It didn't seem to worry them though, when they were thinking that the Maltese cell of the PFLP-GC had planted the bomb on KM180.

I can't quite understand the incredulity from some quarters that a terrorist gang would acquire clothes on Malta and then plant the bomb in London. That includes at least some members of the original defence team. The Maltese origin of the clothes is often cited as a serious obstacle to a Heathrow loading theory. Why? If the bomb was loaded at Luqa, the plot was so clever that its very presence at the airport couldn't be established even after the event. In that case, using these clothes bought right next to the airport would be ludicrous. It's like having an effective invisibility cloak and then painting a target on it.

Originally Posted by Antony View Post
They must have been laughing their arses off all the way through the Camp Zeist pantomime.

I think something worked out well beyond somebody's wildest dreams. Anything that can go wrong doesn't always go wrong.
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Old 4th February 2015, 03:06 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The clothes exist. They were in fact traced to the shop in Malta, and appear to have been purchased by a tall dark-skinned Arab man on 23rd November 1988. Yes, it's a strange thing to have done. But it happened. Do you have a better explanation?
Right, and then they made their way into a suitcase smuggled on at Heathrow and, entirely independently and by complete coincidence, the flight they crashed with was loaded with suitcases that has started out in Malta too.

Just tell me - have I understood correctly or not?
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Old 4th February 2015, 03:20 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Right, and then they made their way into a suitcase smuggled on at Heathrow and, entirely independently and by complete coincidence, the flight they crashed with was loaded with suitcases that has started out in Malta too.

Just tell me - have I understood correctly or not?

No, not understood correctly. The flight that crashed was loaded from empty at Heathrow. The bomb suitcase was put into one of its baggage containers while it was sitting unattended in a shed at terminal 3. Can I help you get this straight, somehow?
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Old 4th February 2015, 03:24 PM   #133
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Speculative post coming up. If the concepts are too complicated for this stage, feel free to ignore.

Once it is accepted that the bomb was loaded de novo at Heathrow, it changes the parameters of the discussion. You know certain things happened, and therefore certain things didn't happen. You have solved a part of the jigsaw puzzle, and in doing so you have both reduced the number of loose pieces still to be placed, and provided a template which should help place them.

(If anybody wants to dispute the assertion that the bomb was placed in the container at Heathrow by a member or agent of the terrorist gang, I'll happily take that on, but in the meantime, let's work on that basis.)

What you're left with is not just one huge stinking red herring, but two. In fact, you find that both rival theories about the origin of the bomb that were duking it out throughout the 1990s were false. This is quite intriguing.

Until John Bedford stood up at Camp Zeist and reprised his evidence from the 1990 Fatal Accident Inquiry, Heathrow barely rated a mention. It just wasn't on the radar. In the early stages of the investigation, when the investigators actually had a lot of solid evidence about the Heathrow introduction coming in, all the communication to the press was about leads they were following in relation to luggage that would have come off the feeder flight. John Orr, senior investigating officer, was quoted as saying the bomb had (at least probably) come from Frankfurt. So it was all about Karen Noonan and her Jordanian boyfriend, and then more about Khaled Jaafar and his dodgy antecedents.

In 1990 Bedford gave his evidence to the FAI, and I haven't seen a single newspaper report that picked up on it. It simply didn't enter the narrative at all. In 1991 David Leppard mentioned Bedford's statements in his book about the inquiry (On the Trail of Terror), although he seems to have got his information from his contacts in the police, not from attending the FAI. He handwaves Bedford's case away, on the assumption that the police have ruled it out somehow, though he seems a bit hazy as to how. One person who read Leppard's book in 1996 tried to raise the matter with the authorities, ponting out that the Bedford case as described by Leppard seemed like a shoo-in for the bomb, but he was given the polite brush-off. The group making the documentary The Maltese Double Cross read the book too, but didn't think anything of it.

Karen Noonan was an early suspect as an innocent mule who had been tricked into packing the bomb in her luggage at Vienna. This upset her family greatly, but after a couple of months the investigators decided they'd ruled her out, on what were in fact reasonable grounds. Khaled Jaafar seems to have persisted as a suspect for longer, and detectives definitely tried to find out if he'd been carrying a brown Samsonite, but in August 1989 the leads to Malta were identified, and that was that for the Jaafar theory.

Jaafar turned into the big conspiracy theory. As the investigation dropped him and went to Malta, interfering busibodies got more and more interested in Jaafar. Juval Aviv produced his Interfor Report, alleging a switch of his suitcase for the bomb suitcase, at the departure gate. This was said to be a subversion of a scam set up to get a suitcase full of heroin on the plane.

Lester Coleman apparently realised the entire modus operandi the minute he heard that Jaafar had been killed at Lockerbie, and wrote Trail of the Octopus to explain all about it. He went for the bag-switch scenario as espoused by Aviv. Allan Francovich who made The Maltese Double Cross also presented Jaafar as the bomb courier, but in his version Jaafar actually checked the thing on himself without any bag-switch.

Jaafar as bomb courier even persisted into 2001, just after the trial, in Ashton and Ferguson's Cover-up of Convenience. Indeed, in his 2012 biography of Megrahi which includes a very serious and compelling presentation of some of the Heathrow evidence, Ashton still seemed to hanker after the Jaafar theory.

Nevertheless, after the 2000 trial, the Bedford cat was out of the bag. People were listening at that stage, and indeed the defence gave Bedford's evidence a good outing even though they failed to capitalise on it as they could have done. Most importantly Paul Foot was listening, and printed the whole thing in Private Eye.

During the 1990s the conflict was straightforward. The official investigation was for Megrahi at Malta, and the conspiracy theorists were for Jaafar at Frankfurt. After the trial Jaafar was gradually superseded by the Bedford suitcase at Heathrow as the go-to alternative proposal for those who doubted the verdict. Finally, in 2013, the Bedford suitcase was proved to have been the bomb.

So we now know that both competing theories of the 1990s were false. And yet both had solid evidence to support them. There is quite a lot of stuff in there that I don't wholly understand, and the clothes are in a way the least of it. How much can indeed be explained away by pure coincidence, and how much can be attributed to a deliberate attempt - or attempts - to lay a false trail to mislead the inquiry?
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Old 4th February 2015, 03:40 PM   #134
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Who is/was Bedford and what was his evidence?
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Old 4th February 2015, 04:07 PM   #135
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Bedford was a baggage handler at Heathrow airport. He gave a statement to the Met on 3rd January 1989 about how he loaded a few suitcases into baggage container AVE4041, which was tagged to go on PA103. These were cases belonging to passengers who had flown into Heathrow on other airlines earlier in the day, and had been booked to transfer directly to the connecting flight (interline luggage).

He went off for a tea break about 4.15. When he came back at 4.45, he saw two cases in the container that he hadn't put there. The position of the left-hand one was near as dammit the position of the explosion. He said he didn't query them because the x-ray operator, Kamboj, told him that he'd put them into the container after x-raying them. Except when the cops interviewed Kamboj, he said he hadn't put anything in the container, or told Bedford that he had.

On 9th January he described one of the cases as "a brown hardshell, the type Samsonite make". Nobody even bothered to ask him which one he was talking about. Much later (June 1990?), he modified brown to maroon, saying that he remembered the light reflecting off it. It wasn't until the FAI in October 1990 that someone thought to ask him which of the two cases he was talking about. It was the left-hand of the two, the one which was pretty much in the position of the explosion.

Here's an intact case identical to the bomb suitcase.



Brown or maroon? Check. Hardshell? Check. Samsonite? Check. Shiny lacquer surface that would reflect light? Check.

This item was never seriously investigated as a candidate for the bomb suitcase.
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Old 4th February 2015, 04:31 PM   #136
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Thanks Rolfe
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Old 4th February 2015, 04:35 PM   #137
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It was the bomb suitcase. The forensics guys didn't do an analysis of the relative posiitonings of the blast-damaged suitcases. It's actually quite easy to do. It shows that the exploding case was in the position that one was loaded into.
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Old 4th February 2015, 04:41 PM   #138
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Here, try this.

http://www.scottishreview.net/MoragKerr256.shtml

I wrote it before I'd figured out that the case Bedford saw was definitely the bomb, but it's still a handy primer of the basic facts.
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Old 5th February 2015, 01:21 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Speculative post coming up. If the concepts are too complicated for this stage, feel free to ignore.

Once it is accepted that the bomb was loaded de novo at Heathrow, it changes the parameters of the discussion. You know certain things happened, and therefore certain things didn't happen. You have solved a part of the jigsaw puzzle, and in doing so you have both reduced the number of loose pieces still to be placed, and provided a template which should help place them.

(If anybody wants to dispute the assertion that the bomb was placed in the container at Heathrow by a member or agent of the terrorist gang, I'll happily take that on, but in the meantime, let's work on that basis.)

What you're left with is not just one huge stinking red herring, but two. In fact, you find that both rival theories about the origin of the bomb that were duking it out throughout the 1990s were false. This is quite intriguing.

Until John Bedford stood up at Camp Zeist and reprised his evidence from the 1990 Fatal Accident Inquiry, Heathrow barely rated a mention. It just wasn't on the radar. In the early stages of the investigation, when the investigators actually had a lot of solid evidence about the Heathrow introduction coming in, all the communication to the press was about leads they were following in relation to luggage that would have come off the feeder flight. John Orr, senior investigating officer, was quoted as saying the bomb had (at least probably) come from Frankfurt. So it was all about Karen Noonan and her Jordanian boyfriend, and then more about Khaled Jaafar and his dodgy antecedents.

In 1990 Bedford gave his evidence to the FAI, and I haven't seen a single newspaper report that picked up on it. It simply didn't enter the narrative at all. In 1991 David Leppard mentioned Bedford's statements in his book about the inquiry (On the Trail of Terror), although he seems to have got his information from his contacts in the police, not from attending the FAI. He handwaves Bedford's case away, on the assumption that the police have ruled it out somehow, though he seems a bit hazy as to how. One person who read Leppard's book in 1996 tried to raise the matter with the authorities, ponting out that the Bedford case as described by Leppard seemed like a shoo-in for the bomb, but he was given the polite brush-off. The group making the documentary The Maltese Double Cross read the book too, but didn't think anything of it.

Karen Noonan was an early suspect as an innocent mule who had been tricked into packing the bomb in her luggage at Vienna. This upset her family greatly, but after a couple of months the investigators decided they'd ruled her out, on what were in fact reasonable grounds. Khaled Jaafar seems to have persisted as a suspect for longer, and detectives definitely tried to find out if he'd been carrying a brown Samsonite, but in August 1989 the leads to Malta were identified, and that was that for the Jaafar theory.

Jaafar turned into the big conspiracy theory. As the investigation dropped him and went to Malta, interfering busibodies got more and more interested in Jaafar. Juval Aviv produced his Interfor Report, alleging a switch of his suitcase for the bomb suitcase, at the departure gate. This was said to be a subversion of a scam set up to get a suitcase full of heroin on the plane.

Lester Coleman apparently realised the entire modus operandi the minute he heard that Jaafar had been killed at Lockerbie, and wrote Trail of the Octopus to explain all about it. He went for the bag-switch scenario as espoused by Aviv. Allan Francovich who made The Maltese Double Cross also presented Jaafar as the bomb courier, but in his version Jaafar actually checked the thing on himself without any bag-switch.

Jaafar as bomb courier even persisted into 2001, just after the trial, in Ashton and Ferguson's Cover-up of Convenience. Indeed, in his 2012 biography of Megrahi which includes a very serious and compelling presentation of some of the Heathrow evidence, Ashton still seemed to hanker after the Jaafar theory.

Nevertheless, after the 2000 trial, the Bedford cat was out of the bag. People were listening at that stage, and indeed the defence gave Bedford's evidence a good outing even though they failed to capitalise on it as they could have done. Most importantly Paul Foot was listening, and printed the whole thing in Private Eye.

During the 1990s the conflict was straightforward. The official investigation was for Megrahi at Malta, and the conspiracy theorists were for Jaafar at Frankfurt. After the trial Jaafar was gradually superseded by the Bedford suitcase at Heathrow as the go-to alternative proposal for those who doubted the verdict. Finally, in 2013, the Bedford suitcase was proved to have been the bomb.

So we now know that both competing theories of the 1990s were false. And yet both had solid evidence to support them. There is quite a lot of stuff in there that I don't wholly understand, and the clothes are in a way the least of it. How much can indeed be explained away by pure coincidence, and how much can be attributed to a deliberate attempt - or attempts - to lay a false trail to mislead the inquiry?
Interesting question. Here is my speculation:

I think it Jaafar can definitely be written off as pure coincidence. Aviv got some indication that Jaafar may have been a drug smuggler, and he used that premise as the springboard for a wild story that would come as close as anything to letting his client off the hook.

The clothing might have been an intentional attempt to put Malta in the frame, or it might have been a random choice, i.e., "have someone buy clothing somewhere we aren't." In the latter case, perhaps someone in the terrorist cell happened to be going through Malta, so he bought clothing for the suitcase, but it could just as well have been Cairo.
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Old 5th February 2015, 04:06 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
Interesting question. Here is my speculation:

I think it Jaafar can definitely be written off as pure coincidence. Aviv got some indication that Jaafar may have been a drug smuggler, and he used that premise as the springboard for a wild story that would come as close as anything to letting his client off the hook.

The clothing might have been an intentional attempt to put Malta in the frame, or it might have been a random choice, i.e., "have someone buy clothing somewhere we aren't." In the latter case, perhaps someone in the terrorist cell happened to be going through Malta, so he bought clothing for the suitcase, but it could just as well have been Cairo.

In essence, I agree with that.

As always, once you drill into the detail, it's more complicated. Aviv produced some very detailed "evidence", even claiming that a German policeman had been overseeing the bag-switch and videoed it, and a lot of stuff about a telephone conversation about the weight of the bag being wrong. He claimed to have had a copy of the video and to have passed it on to the authorities and then it was never seen again. He provided details of telephone numbers and car hire records which were false. He was behind a peculiar farce in which O'Neil and Tuzcu, the two baggage handlers said to have been involved, were given polygraph tests which they allegedly failed, and lured to Heathrow on some pretext where it was intended/hoped the British police would arrest them, but instead they merely returned to Germany.

It's quite bizarre, really. I don't imagine Juval Aviv got where he is today by producing blatantly fabricated intelligence reports, and yet that's what it looks like.

Also, if you watch The Maltese Double Cross,

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I AGREE

you'll see that Francovich was fed a lot of detailed stuff about Jaafar having had the bomb planted in his luggage. Watching that film in the sure and certain knowledge that the premise is wrong and the bomb was in the container an hour before the feeder flight landed, and you can't help wondering who was hoaxing whom here, and why.

The clothes, on their own, look just like the sort of embellishment a terrorist group might add on the off-chance of misleading a subsequent inquiry. Except, these trousers were remarkably traceable, for a pair of cheap slacks, and the clothes aren't the only thing pointing to Malta as Anglolawyer pointed out. I can't figure out whether this lot is the biggest coincidence since The Wreck of the Titan, or if there's more to it than that.
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Old 5th February 2015, 04:03 PM   #141
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Summat funny going on. Maybe tomorrow will bring clarification.

https://twitter.com/rblackqc/status/563453290890153984
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Old 5th February 2015, 05:55 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Summat funny going on. Maybe tomorrow will bring clarification.

https://twitter.com/rblackqc/status/563453290890153984
Crown office in melt down? Can we hear more about this?
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Old 6th February 2015, 11:18 AM   #143
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Sorry, I meant to answer this earlier. Seems to be about this.

End this disgraceful appeal on behalf of the Lockerbie bomber, say US bereaved


Quote:
American relatives of victims of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 are calling on campaigners to bin their petition calling for another court hearing.

American relatives of victims of the Lockerbie bombing have objected to a fresh appeal against the conviction of the Libyan found guilty of carrying it out.

In a letter to the Lord Advocate they say they are against the petition being lodged by Jim Swire and fellow-campaigners who believe that Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi was wrongly convicted.

“While Dr Swire is a family member of a victim of the bombing, he speaks for himself and not for the US families of victims,” the letter says.

Writing on behalf of the US families, Mary Kay Stratis, whose husband, Elia, died when Pan Am flight 103 crashed into the town of Lockerbie in December 1988, says that they have confidence in the Scottish judicial system, and believe that justice was done when al-Megrahi was convicted.

“Our only objection, deeply felt and fervently held, concerned the release of Megrahi and his return to Libya for a hero’s welcome,” she writes. “It is past time for Dr Swire and the Megrahi supporters to end their disgraceful and expensive campaign.”

I've edited out the comments on this I posted an hour ago, because apparently this is more serious than I realised last night and we need to be patient.
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Old 6th February 2015, 01:16 PM   #144
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Serious, in what way?
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Old 6th February 2015, 01:36 PM   #145
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I'd better clear out my PM box, hadn't I?
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Old 6th February 2015, 01:48 PM   #146
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If you would, please. I tried to send you a PM a week or so ago and got told I couldn't because your inbox was full.
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Old 6th February 2015, 03:32 PM   #147
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Sorry. I'll clear it out.
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Old 7th February 2015, 02:42 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Sorry, I meant to answer this earlier. Seems to be about this.

End this disgraceful appeal on behalf of the Lockerbie bomber, say US bereaved





I've edited out the comments on this I posted an hour ago, because apparently this is more serious than I realised last night and we need to be patient.
With Megrahi in his grave, this comes across as a cynical and somewhat desperate ploy. The families of victims have no special claim on the public interest.
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Old 7th February 2015, 03:19 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
With Megrahi in his grave, this comes across as a cynical and somewhat desperate ploy. The families of victims have no special claim on the public interest.
Dr Jim Swire says

"I sincerely hope that this public expression of exasperation from US relatives will be seen in Scotland simply as a reminder, if one were needed, of the desperate misery that terrorist atrocities like Lockerbie inject into our communities, and profoundly wish that a genuine determination to established the facts will settle the burden for all of us."

He is family of a victim, so tarred with this brush. Yet that is clearly not what you intend, because he is a fearless seeker of the truth. If those are his words, he is very articulate, and convincing. I hope with his contrary opinion, where he is totally engaged, he is taken seriously.

I perceive how sure Rolfe is about this case, truly fascinating.
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Old 7th February 2015, 04:30 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
Dr Jim Swire says

"I sincerely hope that this public expression of exasperation from US relatives will be seen in Scotland simply as a reminder, if one were needed, of the desperate misery that terrorist atrocities like Lockerbie inject into our communities, and profoundly wish that a genuine determination to established the facts will settle the burden for all of us."

He is family of a victim, so tarred with this brush. Yet that is clearly not what you intend, because he is a fearless seeker of the truth. If those are his words, he is very articulate, and convincing. I hope with his contrary opinion, where he is totally engaged, he is taken seriously.

I perceive how sure Rolfe is about this case, truly fascinating.
If this were about Megrahi's release, one could sympathize with the distress of family members who think he did it, even though they are wrong. But Megrahi is dead, so this is purely cynical. I doubt it emanates from family members.
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Old 7th February 2015, 04:34 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
With Megrahi in his grave, this comes across as a cynical and somewhat desperate ploy. The families of victims have no special claim on the public interest.

Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
If this were about Megrahi's release, one could sympathize with the distress of family members who think he did it, even though they are wrong. But Megrahi is dead, so this is purely cynical. I doubt it emanates from family members.

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at with that.

Megrahi is in his grave. (We saw pictures. In the desert, wrapped only in a shroud, in a very sparsely-attended ceremony because of the civil war that was raging at the time and still is.) So who has the right to appeal?

His own immediate family, and in particular his next-of-kin and executor, his eldest son Khaled. Six of the family, including Khaled, have applied to the SCCRC for permission to launch a third appeal. But the law actually speaks of "interested parties", and in fact 25 close relatives of the victims have also joined with the Megrahi family in applying for the appeal.

Because of the dreadful situation in Libya it is proving very difficult for the Megrahi family to communicate with their lawyers and with the SCCRC. Apparently Facebook doesn't count. The SCCRC have therefore asked for a judicial review as to whether it can continue its deliberations even if only the victims' families are actively pursuing the appeal. These families are mostly European, indeed mostly English, though I believe there is at least one US family involved too.

A group of US victims' families has now come out and declared that they don't want another appeal.

So which group of families are you saying don't have any special claim in this matter? Who are you accusing of the cynical and desperate ploy? It's all driven by families of the victims, at one level or another.
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Old 7th February 2015, 05:51 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at with that.

Megrahi is in his grave. (We saw pictures. In the desert, wrapped only in a shroud, in a very sparsely-attended ceremony because of the civil war that was raging at the time and still is.) So who has the right to appeal?

His own immediate family, and in particular his next-of-kin and executor, his eldest son Khaled. Six of the family, including Khaled, have applied to the SCCRC for permission to launch a third appeal. But the law actually speaks of "interested parties", and in fact 25 close relatives of the victims have also joined with the Megrahi family in applying for the appeal.

Because of the dreadful situation in Libya it is proving very difficult for the Megrahi family to communicate with their lawyers and with the SCCRC. Apparently Facebook doesn't count. The SCCRC have therefore asked for a judicial review as to whether it can continue its deliberations even if only the victims' families are actively pursuing the appeal. These families are mostly European, indeed mostly English, though I believe there is at least one US family involved too.

A group of US victims' families has now come out and declared that they don't want another appeal.

So which group of families are you saying don't have any special claim in this matter? Who are you accusing of the cynical and desperate ploy? It's all driven by families of the victims, at one level or another.
I view those who are seeking to suppress the appeal as cynical. Airline safety and terrorism are everyone's business. If you are not satisfied with the quality of the police investigation, and you have reasonable concerns that have never been addressed in any meaningful way, then you have every right to keep pushing for as long as necessary. No one, however much they have suffered, has a moral dispensation to claim that doing so is "disgraceful." That is cheap and cynical.
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Old 7th February 2015, 07:06 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by Charlie Wilkes View Post
I view those who are seeking to suppress the appeal as cynical. Airline safety and terrorism are everyone's business. If you are not satisfied with the quality of the police investigation, and you have reasonable concerns that have never been addressed in any meaningful way, then you have every right to keep pushing for as long as necessary. No one, however much they have suffered, has a moral dispensation to claim that doing so is "disgraceful." That is cheap and cynical.

I think it's a bit more nuanced than that. Both sets of relatives seek the comfort of believing that the right culprit has been found and justice done. The European relatives don't have that comfort and are seeking to achieve it. The US relatives have that comfort at the moment and regard this move by the European relatives as an attempt to take it away from them.

By and large it seems to depend on whether or not you were subject to the US Department of Justice grooming during the investigation and trial. The US relatives were, and few of them have escaped the cult. The European relatives weren't, and didn't buy into the narrative.

Several of the English relatives who were present at the trial have described how the Americans were kept sequestered and constantly briefed by the DoJ lawyers about how the evidence should be interpreted, always being assured that the men in the dock were undoubtedly guilty. Our very own US relative Bunntamas, before she was banned, described the same thing - although as she was inside it, she described it in terms of support and friendship. (It was also striking, in the forum, how she would almost seem to catch on to the logic of what we were saying, but then disappear for a few days and return blasting vitriol, backed up by obscure documents she was grossly misinterpreting. To me, it looked as if she was regularly running to Frank Duggan or Brian Murtagh to be reassured that we were wrong and provided with crudely-spun ammunition. I mean, where did she get that 2007 letter from Jack Straw to Kenny MacAskill, and who suggested to her that it meant the exact opposite of what it actually said, and that it referred not to 2007 but to 2009?)

I was struck by the way "Ewan" on Bob Black's blog immediately jumped to the conclusion that this new intervention by the US relatives had been solicited by Frank Mulholland. If that's true (you may choose to think so, I couldn't possibly comment), that is indeed extremely cynical. It's also quite clever though. Lady Dorrian is currently deciding whether or not the European relatives should be regarded as interested parties in respect of the SCCRC application, and having the US relatives come out on the other side may influence her, I don't know.
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Old 7th February 2015, 10:56 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think it's a bit more nuanced than that. Both sets of relatives seek the comfort of believing that the right culprit has been found and justice done. The European relatives don't have that comfort and are seeking to achieve it. The US relatives have that comfort at the moment and regard this move by the European relatives as an attempt to take it away from them.
I'm with Charlie on this. Even if the American families believe that Megrahi was correctly convicted, surely nobody can think that they've heard the whole truth about the bombing. Where can words like "disgraceful" come from in relation to any drive to re-open the search for the truth?
Quote:
By and large it seems to depend on whether or not you were subject to the US Department of Justice grooming during the investigation and trial. The US relatives were, and few of them have escaped the cult. The European relatives weren't, and didn't buy into the narrative.

Several of the English relatives who were present at the trial have described how the Americans were kept sequestered and constantly briefed by the DoJ lawyers about how the evidence should be interpreted, always being assured that the men in the dock were undoubtedly guilty. Our very own US relative Bunntamas, before she was banned, described the same thing - although as she was inside it, she described it in terms of support and friendship. (It was also striking, in the forum, how she would almost seem to catch on to the logic of what we were saying, but then disappear for a few days and return blasting vitriol, backed up by obscure documents she was grossly misinterpreting. To me, it looked as if she was regularly running to Frank Duggan or Brian Murtagh to be reassured that we were wrong and provided with crudely-spun ammunition.
I think this adds to Charlie's point that the US families continue to be manipulated and used by those seeking to continue the cover-up.
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Old 7th February 2015, 12:38 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by Antony View Post
I'm with Charlie on this. Even if the American families believe that Megrahi was correctly convicted, surely nobody can think that they've heard the whole truth about the bombing. Where can words like "disgraceful" come from in relation to any drive to re-open the search for the truth?

I'm not wholly disagreeing, more trying to be a bit dispassionate about it. The American families feel strongly about it too, irrespective of how they came by these feelings. Though the difference in tone between the two groups is certainly striking.

Originally Posted by Antony View Post
I think this adds to Charlie's point that the US families continue to be manipulated and used by those seeking to continue the cover-up.

I think most of the US families have bought the prosecution story, hook, line, sinker and rowboat. They've never looked at the detail that reveals all their certainties to be built on sand, because they've let others (Frank Duggan and others) do their thinking for them. They are genuinely baffled as to why the Swire, Mosey, Cadman, Berkley, Larracoechea and other families don't agree with them. And they are resentful and bitter about this.

And thus they are easily manipulated to produce the desired sound-bite when it suits Frank Mulholland's interests, unfortunately. He's obviously reinforcing the DoJ line that Megrahi was guilty. And when a Scottish law officer says the same as the US law officers, I imagine they take that as a huge vindication of their point of view - if one were needed. So he's "one of them", and they'll facilitate his plans.

One exception is Raymond Pagnucco, the son of one of the victims. He approached me more than a year ago, through his PA, buttering me up and asking to interview me for a documentary he was making about the effect the Lockerbie disaster has had on his life (he's a film-maker). He had not at that time read my book because it wasn't available, but he had seen the pre-publicity. I was certain he was looking for someone to portray as a meddling conspiracy theorist, stirring up the families' pain and preventing "closure". But I agreed to be interviewed, just deciding to take a long spoon with me.

He appeared surprised that I was going to the memorial service at Lockerbie on the anniversary. I can only imagine he thought I was some sort of heartless monster who felt nothing for the horror of the disaster or the deaths of the victims. But I agreed to meet him before or after the service at the cemetary, as "Mr. Pagnucco wants to do your interview outside."

However, he hadn't read the book and wanted to do so before he did the interview. I agreed to send him a pdf of the typescript, though mentioning that one or two things had been changed at the proof stage. The PA wanted to know exactly what had been changed, quite insistently. Anyway, I sent the pdf.

Never heard from either of them again. Total radio silence. I emailed pointing out that the weather forecast for the day of the anniversary was poor, and again asking where and when I should make contact, but no reply. Not to this day. I know they were there, because I saw people being interviewed with a camera and a mike, and I checked with one of the interviewees later and he confirmed it was Pagnucco. (I don't know how long it takes to make such a film, but there's no sign of anything released as yet.)

This is just dishonest. I'm pretty sure he read the book and realised I was right, or at the very least that he was going to get a reasoned and respectful argument that he couldn't refute. So he just ran away without even taking the trouble to think up an excuse.
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Old 7th February 2015, 03:38 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
This is just dishonest. I'm pretty sure he read the book and realised I was right, or at the very least that he was going to get a reasoned and respectful argument that he couldn't refute. So he just ran away without even taking the trouble to think up an excuse.
Right, he realized you weren't going to serve his need for a paranoid crank, so he ditched you.

And now I suppose he's among those who are complaining about how disgraceful you are, eh?

That's why I see this as cynical. These people are exploiting public sympathy to draw attention away from the facts, because the official lie has served their interests well.
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Old 7th February 2015, 03:47 PM   #157
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The name Raymond Pagnucco has not come up recently among those complaining about the possibility of a new appeal. Mary Stratis seems to be the poster child/front woman for that one. The arrival of the Cohens is anticipated at any moment.

Also, I'm not one of the people engaged in applying to the SCCRC for a new appeal. I have all the locus of "interfering busybody" in this case, which is so to speak none. I have submitted evidence - a statement to support my book, which is itself part of the appeal documentation - to the family's solicitor for use in connection to the appeal. I shouldn't think any of the US relatives will be aware of that though. Frank Duggan sneeringly boasts that he has no intention of reading my book, and in fact I'm not even convinced Jim Swire, the spokesman for the 'innocenti' families, has actually read it!
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Old 7th February 2015, 05:39 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The name Raymond Pagnucco has not come up recently among those complaining about the possibility of a new appeal. Mary Stratis seems to be the poster child/front woman for that one. The arrival of the Cohens is anticipated at any moment.

Also, I'm not one of the people engaged in applying to the SCCRC for a new appeal. I have all the locus of "interfering busybody" in this case, which is so to speak none. I have submitted evidence - a statement to support my book, which is itself part of the appeal documentation - to the family's solicitor for use in connection to the appeal. I shouldn't think any of the US relatives will be aware of that though. Frank Duggan sneeringly boasts that he has no intention of reading my book, and in fact I'm not even convinced Jim Swire, the spokesman for the 'innocenti' families, has actually read it!
Also Stephanie Kercher: We do not read those books
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Old 7th February 2015, 05:57 PM   #159
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You know, the Knoxians have it easy. They only have one obsessed vindictive family to deal with. Though Maresca and Frank Duggan have an awful lot in common come to think of it....
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Old 8th February 2015, 08:44 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post

The clothes, on their own, look just like the sort of embellishment a terrorist group might add on the off-chance of misleading a subsequent inquiry. Except, these trousers were remarkably traceable, for a pair of cheap slacks, and the clothes aren't the only thing pointing to Malta as Anglolawyer pointed out. I can't figure out whether this lot is the biggest coincidence since The Wreck of the Titan, or if there's more to it than that.
Wooo new forum.

(I for one welcome our new Trial & Error Overseers)

I think the clothing in the suitcase is just some terrorist getting hold of some clothes so that the case would pass the x-ray stuff at the airport and get loaded onto the plane. Maybe Plan A was break into Heathrow and put the case in the right pile of luggage and plan B was smuggle it through security and then not get on the flight, as it turned out plan A worked.

I am still of the opinion that the timer used to detonate was a barometric pressure one that was going to go off ~45 mins into flight time and they fully expected the plane to go down over the sea.

If the plane goes down over water the chances of any clothing being found are remote, to say the least, and the usual flight path at 45mins puts the plane over water.

I think there was also a DEA drug "thing" going on on the same flight, and that explains Jafaar and also the unusual things that were reported to be happening during the search of the crash site immediately after which was all entirely unrelated to the bombing and just happened to be on the wrong plane at the wrong time.

I think all of that has some bearing on US reticence to look at it again.

I also think that justice should be done, though the heavens fall.
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