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

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Old 10th February 2015, 08:25 AM   #201
anglolawyer
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
There's nothing wrong with that idea if you know which flight you're going to hit, and it has a fairly long flight time to give you a bit of leeway if the plane is late. In other words, if the plane's departure time from Heathrow is 6 pm GMT and it's scheduled to get in to JFK at 7.40 pm EST (1.40 am the following day, GMT), you set the timer for maybe eleven or midnight GMT, depending on how big a risk you want to take of it crashing on land in some remote uninhabited region of Canada. Even if it's delayed pretty badly, it's going to be well on its way by then.

The thing you don't do is set such a timer for only an hour after the scheduled gate departure time, which is probably going to be only about 40 minutes into the flight given the time it takes to taxi to the runway and so on. If a transatlantic flight misses its slot, it will still be on the tarmac an hour after its scheduled gate departure time.

PA103 could easily have missed its slot. The captain was worried he would miss it, first because the feeder flight was late. But they managed to make up that time on the turnover. Then a passenger with checked-in luggage was a no-show at the departure gate. Management said "sod it" and left the guy behind. Jaswant Basuta, the luckiest man in known space.
Yes, I can see you want the thing to be in the air when it blows up.
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Old 10th February 2015, 08:30 AM   #202
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To put it another way, this plane should have been in the air from about 18.20 GMT on 21st December to about 01.20 GMT on 22nd December. That's a seven-hour window. It's not going to be early. It might be late.

So you aim late in the window, to allow for the possibility of its being late. How late you can go depends on how relaxed you are about the flight, if up to time, going down somewhere in the wilds of Labrador rather than over the ocean.

What you don't do is aim so early that even if the flight is on time it won't have cleared the British Isles, and when there's a real possibility it will still be on terra firma, Middlesex.
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Old 10th February 2015, 08:33 AM   #203
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
You know, there are days when I think about all this when I think I might never want to get on a plane again.
I have a fascination with plane crashes and one of the few programs I watch on TV is Aircrash Investigation. (it's how I got interested in the Lockerbie stuff in the first place) - I still love flying. Am going to Australia next month and am making sure I fly on an A380 when I do.

Originally Posted by anglolawyer View Post
Presumably the main alternative is just a simple timer device that assumes the plane will take off on time, more or less. You are a critic of that idea but are there precedents for the use of such devices, successful or otherwise?
As far as I'm aware Khreesat was the only bomber using altimeter timers, though I may be mistaken. Fortunately bombings of passenger aircraft are very rare. Since 1980 there have been about 12 fatal bombings in total.

there's a good page here showing every bombing of commercial aircraft since 1933.
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Old 10th February 2015, 08:41 AM   #204
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There was an incident when a Sikh extremist group managed to bring down an Air India plane flying out of Canada (correct me if I have the details wrong). That involved a long-running timer and a change of flights, and it worked tragically well. I think the guy brow-beat a check-in clerk to book his luggage as interline when she shouldn't have something like that. The timer was set correctly and the plane vanished in the middle of the Atlantic.

There was another one where the bomb blew up on the tarmac because someone forgot about a time zone change when setting the timer.

Khreesat was the altimeter king. Doesn't matter when the plane takes off, it will be in the air when the detonation occurs. Won't get far from the airport, but he didn't seem to care about that.
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Old 10th February 2015, 10:39 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm thinking of applying to go on Mastermind.
Don't choose "the Lockerbie bombing" as your specialist subject because all the answers will be based on the Camp Zeist "truths". Or maybe you could just grit your teeth and reel out the official answers.
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Old 10th February 2015, 11:02 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I have a fascination with plane crashes and one of the few programs I watch on TV is Aircrash Investigation. (it's how I got interested in the Lockerbie stuff in the first place) - I still love flying. Am going to Australia next month and am making sure I fly on an A380 when I do.

Isn't that series the one where they gave Thurman an hour-long platform to tell everyone what a great guy he was and how he solved the Pan Am 103 bombing single-handed?

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
As far as I'm aware Khreesat was the only bomber using altimeter timers, though I may be mistaken.

As far as I know, you're right. I also think there is no recorded instance of him actually using the capacitor delay trick, unless Pan Am 103 was done that way (as obviously I think it was).

You know, if the BKA hadn't got wise to what Dalkamoni et al. were up to in Neuss in October, nobody would have had the slightest clue how PA103 was brought down. All Khreesat's earlier efforts were minus the capacitor, and so involved explosions within the first ten minutes or so of flight. If they hadn't got hold of the one they seized in the boot of Dalkamoni's car, with the capacitor, nobody would have had the slightest idea.

There's a story that a message from Khreesat to Dalkamoni was found, or overheard, saying something like "I have made the medicine better, stronger". People have speculated what he meant. I think he may have been talking about the capacitor trick, which was new and definitely made the whole contraption considerably more lethal.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Fortunately bombings of passenger aircraft are very rare. Since 1980 there have been about 12 fatal bombings in total.

there's a good page here showing every bombing of commercial aircraft since 1933.

That's fascinating. I may be some time....

On a quick glance I can only spot three Khreesat specials, including the notorious "two Swissair planes in one day" incident in 1970, which was his debut I believe. They must have been pretty freaked out by him to have installed these pressure chambers to detect the devices in so many airports. Both Frankfurt and Heathrow had them in 1988. I believe at least one bomb was caught by one of these, but of course it's not listed.

The entry for PA103 is extremely circumspect, only noting who was tried and convicted and that Gaddafi paid compensation. No assertion as to what actually happened!

Here's the Sikh thing I was referring to.

Quote:
23 June 1985 - Air India Flight 182
The deadliest terror attack of any kind prior to September 11 was Air India 182, a flight from Montréal to London to Delhi to Bombay. The Boeing 747 carried a total of 329 (307 passengers, 22 crew) when it disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean south of Ireland. A bomb located in the forward cargo hold had detonated at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,500 m) causing rapid decompression and break-up of the plane. A second bomb was also to be transferred aboard Air India Flight 301, scheduled to carry 177 passengers from Tokyo to Bangkok. However, this bomb exploded at the Tokyo airport killing two baggage handlers and injuring four others. The attacks were blamed on a Sikh separatist group called Babbar Khalsa, but only one person was convicted for the attack after almost 20 years of investigation and prosecution by Canadian authorities. Bomber Inderjit Singh Reyat had his prison term reduced to just five years in exchange for testimony against other alleged plotters, but he was later sentenced to another nine years for perjury.

Those were long-running timers I believe. One functioned as intended and I believe the other went wrong because someone mixed up the time zones and got the time setting wrong. I think a baggage transfer was involved in the one that exploded, with the terrorist not boarding the flight. There's an account in one of the Lockerbie books that goes into some detail.

It's not that a long-running timer from Malta wouldn't or couldn't have worked, it's that Maltese security records show the bomb didn't go on there, Maier apparently didn't see anything on the x-ray monitor at Frankfurt, and Bedford saw the bloody bomb at Heathrow! The timing thing is just additional corroboration.

The investigators wanted us to believe that a group enthusiastically planning to bring down an airliner with a bomb that would have exploded at about 38 minutes after takeoff was active in Germany that autumn. But actually they didn't do anything, and instead another group using a different method (in which a 38-minute explosion was a logical nonsense) actually did blow up an airliner at exactly the relevant time after takeoff instead.

(Yes, I know, the PFLP-GC were arrested in October, but that's not much good if you just let them go again immediately.)
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Old 10th February 2015, 11:04 AM   #207
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Originally Posted by Antony View Post
Don't choose "the Lockerbie bombing" as your specialist subject because all the answers will be based on the Camp Zeist "truths". Or maybe you could just grit your teeth and reel out the official answers.

The way they phrase the questions, it would probably be quite objective. But I'm not actually hankering to have anything more to do with the BBC after last year.
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Old 11th February 2015, 02:59 PM   #208
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I suppose I should put in a plug for Independence Live, who have rashly asked to do an hour-long interview with me about the case tomorrow evening, 7 pm GMT.

http://new.livestream.com/Independen...events/3803448

Oh God they found that old photo that was snapped in a hurry for the by-election campaign. Oh well, could have been worse.

I hope it's not too incoherent, and not too much plagued by the technical hitches these guys seem to attract.
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Old 11th February 2015, 03:30 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I suppose I should put in a plug for Independence Live, who have rashly asked to do an hour-long interview with me about the case tomorrow evening, 7 pm GMT.

http://new.livestream.com/Independen...events/3803448

Oh God they found that old photo that was snapped in a hurry for the by-election campaign. Oh well, could have been worse.

I hope it's not too incoherent, and not too much plagued by the technical hitches these guys seem to attract.
Hey, you're a star, Rolfe.
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Old 11th February 2015, 04:16 PM   #210
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Not yet....
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Old 12th February 2015, 01:30 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I suppose I should put in a plug for Independence Live, who have rashly asked to do an hour-long interview with me about the case tomorrow evening, 7 pm GMT.

http://new.livestream.com/Independen...events/3803448

Oh God they found that old photo that was snapped in a hurry for the by-election campaign. Oh well, could have been worse.

I hope it's not too incoherent, and not too much plagued by the technical hitches these guys seem to attract.
We don't have to catch it right at that moment, do we?
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Old 12th February 2015, 01:48 AM   #212
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No. It will be available to watch later, and an edited version will go on YouTube in a day or two.
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Old 12th February 2015, 02:43 AM   #213
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Last edited by Octavo; 12th February 2015 at 02:44 AM. Reason: Rolfe already mentioned a copy would be on youtube shortly
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Old 12th February 2015, 03:02 AM   #214
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I suppose I should put in a plug for Independence Live, who have rashly asked to do an hour-long interview with me about the case tomorrow evening, 7 pm GMT.

http://new.livestream.com/Independen...events/3803448

Oh God they found that old photo that was snapped in a hurry for the by-election campaign. Oh well, could have been worse.

I hope it's not too incoherent, and not too much plagued by the technical hitches these guys seem to attract.
This looks great, we Scotts are always hoping to be rock stars
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Old 12th February 2015, 04:43 AM   #215
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I'm just cross-referencing this citation that Desert Fox posted in the Knox thread. It relates to the case of the Norfolk Four.

Quote:
For 18 Months, Police Ignore Their Most Obvious Suspect – Omar Ballard
There were several clues that would have led investigators to Ballard if they had not been so unquestioning in their belief in the truthfulness of the confession Detective Ford managed to extract from Danial Williams. Because the police had fixated on Danial Williams, they ignored all of these promising leads....

One can somewhat understand the ignoring of the bleedin' obvious if the police already have a favoured suspect and are trying to build a case against him. But at the time the Scottish police were systematically and perversely ignoring the evidence of the extraneous brown Samsonite at Heathrow, they didn't have another decent lead. All they had was the perverse insistence that the bomb had come in on the feeder flight "on the balance of probabilities".

It doesn't make any sense at all. Except one sort of sense, maybe. Should I tell the Scottish independence-supporting TV channel that Scottish justice was sacrificed in order to protect the reputation of England's flagship airport?

ETA: You have no idea the relief it is to be able to discuss this case where it should be discussed, and cross-reference with other cases, without being hazed by anti-conspiracy zealots and told to keep it in CT.
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Old 12th February 2015, 04:54 AM   #216
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm just cross-referencing this citation that Desert Fox posted in the Knox thread. It relates to the case of the Norfolk Four.




One can somewhat understand the ignoring of the bleedin' obvious if the police already have a favoured suspect and are trying to build a case against him. But at the time the Scottish police were systematically and perversely ignoring the evidence of the extraneous brown Samsonite at Heathrow, they didn't have another decent lead. All they had was the perverse insistence that the bomb had come in on the feeder flight "on the balance of probabilities".

It doesn't make any sense at all. Except one sort of sense, maybe. Should I tell the Scottish independence-supporting TV channel that Scottish justice was sacrificed in order to protect the reputation of England's flagship airport?

ETA: You have no idea the relief it is to be able to discuss this case where it should be discussed, and cross-reference with other cases, without being hazed by anti-conspiracy zealots and told to keep it in CT.
I wonder whether money comes into it? If the bag were placed on the aircraft at Heathrow (suggesting a negligent lapse in security) how much would we have to repay to Libya? Couple of billion? Not exactly small change.
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Old 12th February 2015, 05:02 AM   #217
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You really think anyone could be forced to repay any money to anyone at this stage?

The people who got the money were the relatives of the victims. How could they be forced to pay anything back? The money came from Gaddafi's Libya. Libya is currently a failed state and in no position to demand anything of anyone, let along billions of pounds from a bunch of rich American private citizens with an over-developed sense of entitlement.

Also, Pan Am was responsible for its own security. Alert was a wholly-owned subsidiary. Pan Am got the blame anyway, for an alleged lapse in Alert's operation at Frankfurt. They paid up and went bankrupt, partly cause and effect. Nearly 25 years ago.
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Old 12th February 2015, 05:16 AM   #218
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
You really think anyone could be forced to repay any money to anyone at this stage?

The people who got the money were the relatives of the victims. How could they be forced to pay anything back? The money came from Gaddafi's Libya. Libya is currently a failed state and in no position to demand anything of anyone, let along billions of pounds from a bunch of rich American private citizens with an over-developed sense of entitlement.

Also, Pan Am was responsible for its own security. Alert was a wholly-owned subsidiary. Pan Am got the blame anyway, for an alleged lapse in Alert's operation at Frankfurt. They paid up and went bankrupt, partly cause and effect. Nearly 25 years ago.
The relatives certainly would not be expected to cough up but my (probably imperfect) understanding is that Libya was blackmailed by international pressure with HMG in the forefront into some sort of deal as the price of being allowed to return to polite society. That being so, the premise of the deal being false and the conviction of Megrahi having been an egregious miscarriage of justice (let us say for the sake of argument) then, by analogy with the cases where wrongfully convicted persons are compensated (such as Colin Stagg) then why would there not be at the very least a strong moral case for recompense at the expense of the British taxpayer? I know too little about international law to be able to say whether that moral case could be turned into a legal one.

The point about: 'what is Libya?' is a good one. As they have recklessly destroyed their own country it may be no one can presently give a good receipt for the compensation. The law deals with such problems by requiring the compensation to be held in trust pending a child reaching majority or a mental patient resuming the ability to deal with his affairs. So they can pay the cash to me, say, and I will look after it until Libya re-emerges as a thing.

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Old 12th February 2015, 05:23 AM   #219
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I think that sort of complication is so far down the line it's not really on anybody's radar. But you know what? Why do you need any concern about money for a prosecutor's office to stand by a patently wrongful conviction and fight tooth and nail to maintain guilt? It's what they do.
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Old 12th February 2015, 05:26 AM   #220
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I used to take my cat with me on flights between Gatwick and Glasgow. A couple of times they put his cat carrier on the carousel instead of delivering it by hand to the baggage office, which was entertaining. Once they locked the plane up and parked it for the night with him still inside, and someone had to go and find the keys.

I knew there was a designated pet area in the hold and at one point I thought that was pressurised and the rest wasn't. Partly as I say due to the IATA regs that are actually designed to keep packages secure if there's an explosive decompression, and partly because I twice had Irn Bru cans burst in my checked-in luggage. I don't know what happened to burst the cans, but I do know now that the entire plane is pressurised!
The girders fell out.
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Old 12th February 2015, 05:43 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think that sort of complication is so far down the line it's not really on anybody's radar. But you know what? Why do you need any concern about money for a prosecutor's office to stand by a patently wrongful conviction and fight tooth and nail to maintain guilt? It's what they do.
You don't think the notion of lax security at Heathrow made somebody gulp? I bet it did. Consider the embarrassment for UK Gov in pinning all the blame on Libya and then finding not only that it had nothing to do with them at all but that our own crap security opened the door. Try explaining that to the victims' families and the public.

But I am not saying this consideration is uppermost for the prosecutor. He will be sufficiently and fully invested for other reasons. The two positions converge, however.
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Old 12th February 2015, 06:02 AM   #222
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I totally think the notion of lax security at Heathrow made somebody gulp very hard indeed. On 21st December 1988. I think there was a concerted effort not to have Heathrow saddled with the blame. Bear in mind BAA was privatised only two years before that.

Now? I think the whole concept of the investigation being shown to have been off the rails from about day 10 (or more accurately, never on the rails to start with) is enormously embarrassing for a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons.

I just don't think the possibility of Libya demanding money is very high on that list of reasons.
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Old 12th February 2015, 06:10 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I totally think the notion of lax security at Heathrow made somebody gulp very hard indeed. On 21st December 1988. I think there was a concerted effort not to have Heathrow saddled with the blame. Bear in mind BAA was privatised only two years before that.

Now? I think the whole concept of the investigation being shown to have been off the rails from about day 10 (or more accurately, never on the rails to start with) is enormously embarrassing for a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons.

I just don't think the possibility of Libya demanding money is very high on that list of reasons.
You are probably right but it would not surprise me if there were a dark and dusty corner of the Treasury where someone is biting their nails about it. Our penny-pinching (yet paradoxically wasteful and profligate) government fights these things tooth and nail, from castrated Mau Mau, to irradiated soldiers to pensions for Ghurkas.

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Old 12th February 2015, 06:15 AM   #224
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I think the Treasury is supremely confident of its ability to weasel out of having to pay a penny in respect of this, no matter what. I also think if it were just the Treasury leaning on them, the Scottish government would give them some advice on sex and travel.
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Old 12th February 2015, 06:24 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I think the Treasury is supremely confident of its ability to weasel out of having to pay a penny in respect of this, no matter what. I also think if it were just the Treasury leaning on them, the Scottish government would give them some advice on sex and travel.
This means war!
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Old 13th February 2015, 07:08 AM   #226
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Thanks. Your link to "the speech by John Finnie" is actually just to his bio page on the parliament web site. The link to the proceedings is to a video of the session, not a transcript. I imagine the transcript hasn't been prepared yet.

Transcript of the Justice Committee session on 3rd February has now been posted on Bob Black's blog.

http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.co.uk/...wn-office.html

Originally Posted by John Finnie MSP
I should say that Mr Finnie always seeks to temper his comments and, believe you me, these are extremely tempered comments given what I would like to say.

There is an obligation on the committee to consider the issue when respected citizens are called “conspiracy theorists” and accusations that they make in good faith are described as deliberately false and misleading. That does not suggest that an open posture is being adopted by the COPFS.

This is followed by a wry little exchange between the convener of the committee, Christine Grahame MSP, and Mr. Finnie. Both of whom are in fact members of Justice for Megrahi, and so come in under the heading of "conspiracy theorists" proposed by the Lord Advocate!
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Old 13th February 2015, 08:06 AM   #227
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Strong stuff. This is boiling up nicely.
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Old 13th February 2015, 12:43 PM   #228
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Isn't that series the one where they gave Thurman an hour-long platform to tell everyone what a great guy he was and how he solved the Pan Am 103 bombing single-handed?
That's the one. Sadly for Mr Thurman I have an enquiring mind and the very first thing I do after watching an episode of ACI is to look up the flight in question on wikipedia and then read more about it in the documents that every wiki article links to near the bottom. I could write lots about Thurman, but while the MA doesn't prohibit such musings seeing as he's not (afaik) a member here, I shall refrain.


Quote:
There's a story that a message from Khreesat to Dalkamoni was found, or overheard, saying something like "I have made the medicine better, stronger". People have speculated what he meant. I think he may have been talking about the capacitor trick, which was new and definitely made the whole contraption considerably more lethal.
this gives rise to about the only possible legitimate explanation for PT/35b.

Khreesat is making these bombs in Germany, but he may have used a different mechanism from the capacitor, perhaps he'd run out of capacitors, but it's possible (although it severely stretches credulity) that he happened to have copy of an MST-13 timer board and just simply used a timer to do the timing for this particular bomb. His "better medicine" could refer to the fact that the timer is now more reliable than a charging capacitor, and he seems to be concerned about the bomb exploding at 30000ft so hard wires it to blow 30 mins later.

That's the only way (and I've spent a long time thinking about possible scenarios) that I can come up with for the timer fragment to have actually been a a part of the bomb and a legitimate find. It can even explain the tinning as if the bomb maker is cannibalising a timer to fit into a radio he might well take it to bit's rejig it and then have to retin the thing, which would be done with 100% tin hobbyist style, and not 70/30 alloy manufactured style.

I'm still convinced that it's a plant and was introduced into the evidence to point to Libya, based on Hayes notes, his previous form in the Maguire case, and the astonishing speed of Thurmans IDing of it after several months of Scottish investigators fruitless search and some other stuff, but that's just my opinion and it's speculation. Who knows what the actual truth is.


Though I had a random thought about the clothes and the easily traceable nature of them.

If I was planning an aircraft bombing then I want my bomb to be effective and actually bring the plane down, and I want to get away with it.

So when I was planning my bombing I'd pick the most suitable target, a US bound plane at Christmas would fit, especially if the attack was as revenge for the Vincennes shootdown, as the innocent victims from that flight were all on a pilgrimage. Stories of devastated US families in the news at the most widely celebrated religious festival in the western calendar. That fits an 'eye for an eye' motive for the bombing.

But in the planning I'd want to know the timetables and what planes connected with my target plane. Malta makes a good case actually for a bogus trail. The place was a hotbed for drug smuggling and has a provincial airport, at least certainly a much smaller operation than a Heathrow/Frankfurt there's connecting flights that go Malta to your target plane. So deliberately including obviously Maltese clothes in this case could make sense.

then by extension why not include "extra circuitry" say you have an MST-13 and know it's rare, put it in a box and make it look like a tape recorder or something, so it passes a cursory x-ray inspection, pack it in your case as more breadcrumbs.

Best case scenario all the evidence is never found or destroyed in the explosion, next best they find the false trail, put 2 and 2 together and make 7 and go chasing off in the wrong direction.
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Old 13th February 2015, 01:16 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
That's the one. Sadly for Mr Thurman I have an enquiring mind and the very first thing I do after watching an episode of ACI is to look up the flight in question on wikipedia and then read more about it in the documents that every wiki article links to near the bottom. I could write lots about Thurman, but while the MA doesn't prohibit such musings seeing as he's not (afaik) a member here, I shall refrain.

Later, perhaps? I have had all sorts of seriously defamatory thoughts about Mr. Thurman. We must compare notes some time.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
this gives rise to about the only possible legitimate explanation for PT/35b.

Khreesat is making these bombs in Germany, but he may have used a different mechanism from the capacitor, perhaps he'd run out of capacitors, but it's possible (although it severely stretches credulity) that he happened to have copy of an MST-13 timer board and just simply used a timer to do the timing for this particular bomb. His "better medicine" could refer to the fact that the timer is now more reliable than a charging capacitor, and he seems to be concerned about the bomb exploding at 30000ft so hard wires it to blow 30 mins later.

That's the only way (and I've spent a long time thinking about possible scenarios) that I can come up with for the timer fragment to have actually been a a part of the bomb and a legitimate find. It can even explain the tinning as if the bomb maker is cannibalising a timer to fit into a radio he might well take it to bit's rejig it and then have to retin the thing, which would be done with 100% tin hobbyist style, and not 70/30 alloy manufactured style.

I've had exactly the same thoughts. There are two serious defects though. First, if you have a long-running timer like that, it changes the entire dynamic of what you're doing. If he had one, Khreesat could have elected to use it on its own and dispense with the altimeter altogether. The altimeter really comes into its own if you don't know for sure which flight it will fly on (posting it as a parcel, or giving it to a dupe to take to the USA for you). If you're putting it directly on the plane and the flight time is relatively long, it's not needed. But in that case, he'd have set it for much later, as we discussed.

Your suggestion is that he might have used the MST-13 instead of the capacitor. However, why? It was big and bulky and wouldn't fit into the radio without being taken out of its own box. The capacitors were the new toy, never yet used. Would he have ditched them at that stage? And if he had, again why the early detonation? The natural charging times of the capacitors were 20, 30 or 45 minutes I think. So you'd get a detonation at that time plus approximately 7 minutes. It was the nature of the beast. It limited the range and meant that the explosion couldn't be out over the ocean. If you replace the capacitor with an MST-13, there's no reason in the wide world to replicate the restricted time allowed by the capacitor, and several good reasons to set it much later.

The second problem is the make-up of PT/35b. Nine-ply fibreglass. Pointless solder resist brushed on to the back, but no solder resist on the business side. The peculiarity of the "over-run of the line" on the tracking. It's way too perfect just to have been made as a working copy. A working copy would have used whatever fibreglass was to hand which was more likely to have been eight-ply, and not bothered with the cosmetic solder resist. Only the tinning gives it away. As if someone was making as perfect a copy as he could, but didn't have access to the sort of manufacturing line that produces alloy tinning, so just dipped it in the amateurs' liquid tin product.

It looks as if it was made to masquerade as the real thing, but one little detail wasn't quite right. It looks as if it was made to be a plant.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I'm still convinced that it's a plant and was introduced into the evidence to point to Libya, based on Hayes notes, his previous form in the Maguire case, and the astonishing speed of Thurmans IDing of it after several months of Scottish investigators fruitless search and some other stuff, but that's just my opinion and it's speculation. Who knows what the actual truth is.

That's the closest I've come, but the thing is a real enigma and I haven't really got a full explanation that "feels" real, if you know what I mean.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Though I had a random thought about the clothes and the easily traceable nature of them.

If I was planning an aircraft bombing then I want my bomb to be effective and actually bring the plane down, and I want to get away with it.

So when I was planning my bombing I'd pick the most suitable target, a US bound plane at Christmas would fit, especially if the attack was as revenge for the Vincennes shootdown, as the innocent victims from that flight were all on a pilgrimage. Stories of devastated US families in the news at the most widely celebrated religious festival in the western calendar. That fits an 'eye for an eye' motive for the bombing.

But in the planning I'd want to know the timetables and what planes connected with my target plane. Malta makes a good case actually for a bogus trail. The place was a hotbed for drug smuggling and has a provincial airport, at least certainly a much smaller operation than a Heathrow/Frankfurt there's connecting flights that go Malta to your target plane. So deliberately including obviously Maltese clothes in this case could make sense.

then by extension why not include "extra circuitry" say you have an MST-13 and know it's rare, put it in a box and make it look like a tape recorder or something, so it passes a cursory x-ray inspection, pack it in your case as more breadcrumbs.

Best case scenario all the evidence is never found or destroyed in the explosion, next best they find the false trail, put 2 and 2 together and make 7 and go chasing off in the wrong direction.

Sort of the way I've been thinking for a while. Only, it's not the whole story. First, it's all very well packing clothes in the case, there's a fair chance some of that will be found, especially if the plane breaks up over land. But the chance of finding a recognisable fragment of that timer after an explosion even over land, when it's so close to the Semtex and the debris will be scattered so widely - it's really tiny!

PT/35b actually represents the only cm-square fragment of either of the circuit boards in the timer that could be identifiable visually from the tracking pattern. The rest of it is entirely nondescript. But it's all that was found. And bear in mind it wasn't an MST-13, it was a good-but-not-perfect copy.

I agree about the clothes being explained exactly as you describe. I can't really stretch it to the timer fragment though.

But the clothes, yes, that's a reasonable and sensible explanation. It's been my best shot for some time. There's only one snag. Tray 8849.
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Old 13th February 2015, 02:34 PM   #230
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I agree that the MST-13 clone as substitute for the ice cube timer doesn't really work. The only (remote) possibility I can see for the fragment being part of the IED mechanism is to speculate that Khreesat (or Abu Elias) modified the design with the intention of loading the device at Frankfurt to target PA103. After Herbstlaub this scheme became too dangerous, so the IED was taken to Heathrow by sea instead. As I said, wild speculation, and I'm not really convincing myself here. Although we should bear in mind that many of the Frankfurt staff apparently believed the same aircraft that departed from Frankfurt also made the transatlantic flight, hence the instant assumption by them that the IED had been loaded at Frankfurt. What if the cell members shared that misapprehension?

Otherwise, the thing has to be a plant - either built into the IED by someone with a score to settle, or introduced into the chain of evidence at some point. I don't think I'd point the finger at Feraday. His record is not one of falsifying evidence, but of being too willing to interpret evidence to support whatever case the police were trying to build, and of being over-assertive when giving testimony that he didn't have the expertise to support. These tendencies made him God's gift to anyone wanting to plant evidence.

A notable pachyderm in this room is Bollier's Fang-Brief of January 1989. Here's the manufacturer of the genuine MST-13 timers popping up out of nowhere to implicate Libya with the tale of the Libyans' need for more MST-13's, his unsuccessful sales trip to Tripoli and that mysterious statement, 'We have what we need.' And here, as part of the IED, is a fragment of one of those self-same timers ...it all fits wonderfully.

Except it doesn't. The BTF is not from a genuine MST-13. So we have a bomber who by pure coincidence incorporates into his device a timer circuit which is an exact visual match for the Libyan model the CIA were made aware of in early 1988.

This case is riddled with unfortunate coincidences. But this one, to my mind, strains credulity a bit too far.

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Old 13th February 2015, 02:39 PM   #231
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That one and another one. Tray 8849 in the context of these bloody clothes.
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Old 13th February 2015, 03:12 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
I agree that the MST-13 clone as substitute for the ice cube timer doesn't really work. The only (remote) possibility I can see for the fragment being part of the IED mechanism is to speculate that Khreesat (or Abu Elias) modified the design with the intention of loading the device at Frankfurt to target PA103. After Herbstlaub this scheme became too dangerous, so the IED was taken to Heathrow by sea instead. As I said, wild speculation, and I'm not really convincing myself here. Although we should bear in mind that many of the Frankfurt staff apparently believed the same aircraft that departed from Frankfurt also made the transatlantic flight, hence the instant assumption by them that the IED had been loaded at Frankfurt. What if the cell members shared that misapprehension?

There's also the possibility that the suitcase was interlined into Heathrow the way it was said to have been interlined into Frankfurt. Kamboj was an even bigger pushover than Maier. (Leaving aside the packing-down-one-side anomaly, that pretty much says "the bomber put me here with his own hands".) Every time, it falls down on the simple fact that if you have an MST-13, the plane goes down mid-Atlantic, however you use it. Letting it blow up over inhabited countryside with all the evidence falling on searchable fields becomes unnecessary.

Mmm, you've touched on another idea I had. Introduce the thing at Frankfurt on to the 16.50 flight (15.50 GMT) and time it to explode three hours into the flight, because you think it's a direct flight. It's still a bit early, but it makes more sense. And in that sense, the 38-minute thing is just a coincidence. But we know the case was in the container an hour before the feeder flight landed, so forget it, basically.

Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
Otherwise, the thing has to be a plant - either built into the IED by someone with a score to settle, or introduced into the chain of evidence at some point. I don't think I'd point the finger at Feraday. His record is not one of falsifying evidence, but of being too willing to interpret evidence to support whatever case the police were trying to build, and of being over-assertive when giving testimony that he didn't have the expertise to support. These tendencies made him God's gift to anyone wanting to plant evidence.

I agree with you about Feraday. He's into cherry-picking and dogmatic misinterpretation, not outright fabrication of physical evidence. There's another thing that absolves him. His behaviour over the RARDE analyses of the fragment in August of 1991. The damning notes about the tinning being of a different composition to the control board. Nobody who knew the thing was a plant would have left notes like that.

I'm inclined to absolve Hayes as well on the same grounds, though I'm not so sure about him. Pages 50 and 51 of his notes sure as hell look like an interpolation on the basis of the dates, not the pagination. But if he had done that, would he have screwed up the pagination in a way that drew attention to it? And the photographs of the scrap of radio manual tend to suggest photograph 117 was indeed taken in May 1989.

It's a really strange thing that the fragment still looks like a plant, even though the astonishingly suspicious provenance of the paperwork looks more like stupidity than malice the closer you examine it.

Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
A notable pachyderm in this room is Bollier's Fang-Brief of January 1989. Here's the manufacturer of the genuine MST-13 timers popping up out of nowhere to implicate Libya with the tale of the Libyans' need for more MST-13's, his unsuccessful sales trip to Tripoli and that mysterious statement, 'We have what we need.' And here, as part of the IED, is a fragment of one of those self-same timers ...it all fits wonderfully.

Except it doesn't. The BTF is not from a genuine MST-13. So we have a bomber who by pure coincidence incorporates into his device a timer circuit which is an exact visual match for the Libyan model the CIA were made aware of in early 1988.

This case is riddled with unfortunate coincidences. But this one, to my mind, strains credulity a bit too far.

I can think of an overarching narrative that explains most of it, but it's all a bit far-fetched. Keep suggesting less far-fetched things to me, please!
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Old 13th February 2015, 03:27 PM   #233
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
It looks as if it was made to masquerade as the real thing, but one little detail wasn't quite right. It looks as if it was made to be a plant.

That's the closest I've come, but the thing is a real enigma and I haven't really got a full explanation that "feels" real, if you know what I mean.
That's pretty much where I am. I can construct several more plausible scenarios for what PT/35b is and why. That's the best I can come up with working on the proviso that it was found where and when they claim it was, and it's a stretch to put it mildly.

I can come up with a breadcrumb scenario, whereby they pack the circuit board for MST-13 as something separate from the bomb entirely, but then you start to wonder, what's the point, If they happened to have this timer circuit and knew it could only point far away from them, then OK, but how do they know in advance that a) the plane will explode over land and b) enough of their breadcrumbs will be found to point the way they want them to, and c) why do they care? if investigators came to the conclusion that Jibril was the mastermind, how are they ever going to bring him to trial? This is by no means the worst thing on his resume.

I wonder sometimes about the principal investigators in the story, the Thurmans and Marquises and Canistraros and Feradays, surely they must know that the evidence actually points in a different direction, that the official story never even attempts to explain the Bedford Samsonite case.
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Old 13th February 2015, 03:48 PM   #234
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Another point. Several people have pointed out that if you wanted a long-running timer to set that bomb off, the MST-13 was a weird choice. It's one of a small run of bespoke items which may be traceable. (Like the bloody checked trousers!) But more to the point, it was apparently possible to buy generic countdown timers small enough to put in the radio as they were, and so common as to be untraceable.

I imagine that bit about the timers is right. We have dozens of the things at work. They're made either to stand on a bench or clip on a lab coat. If you've set something up that needs to cook for a set time, you set the timer and get on with something else till it beeps at you. They haven't changed in 30 years.

If the Brighton bombers could rig that thing up weeks in advance using a timer cannibalised from a video recorder, making a generic lab timer blow up a plane a few hours later would be a piece of cake.
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Old 13th February 2015, 04:02 PM   #235
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
That's pretty much where I am. I can construct several more plausible scenarios for what PT/35b is and why. That's the best I can come up with working on the proviso that it was found where and when they claim it was, and it's a stretch to put it mildly.

At the moment, amazingly enough given CLOTH DEBRIS, the pagination anomaly and the "lads and lassies" memo, in conjunction with RARDE doing bugger-all to identify the fragment throughout 1989 (why weren't the 1991 tests done in 1989, dammit?), my thinking is based on photograph 117 being genuine, and the thing really being on Hayes's lab bench on 12th May.

If that's the case, I believe the cops when they say it couldn't have been introduced into the evidence bag before then. I disagree that any planting would have had to have been before 13th January though. There's a doozy of an opportunity 14th-16th January, with the 15th looking particularly attractive.

I wish I knew whether it fell out of the sky or not. It would simplify matters enormously.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I can come up with a breadcrumb scenario, whereby they pack the circuit board for MST-13 as something separate from the bomb entirely, but then you start to wonder, what's the point, If they happened to have this timer circuit and knew it could only point far away from them, then OK, but how do they know in advance that a) the plane will explode over land and b) enough of their breadcrumbs will be found to point the way they want them to, and c) why do they care? if investigators came to the conclusion that Jibril was the mastermind, how are they ever going to bring him to trial? This is by no means the worst thing on his resume.

Breadcrumbs. Someone called it a trail of sweeties. When you look at it, there are some sweeties that get very difficult to explain. Here's the full list of sweeties (that is, items of questionable provenance that were instrumental in "solving" the case).
  • The clothes (the checked trousers at least)
  • PT/35b (actually, PI/995 in its entirety)
  • The Horton fragment
  • The Claiden fragment
  • Tray 8849
Which of these aren't sweeties? I find myself reluctant to reject any of them. Could they all have been engineered by the same people? Would they all have been engineered by the same people? If different agencies were involved, what was the relationship and were they co-operating?

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I wonder sometimes about the principal investigators in the story, the Thurmans and Marquises and Canistraros and Feradays, surely they must know that the evidence actually points in a different direction, that the official story never even attempts to explain the Bedford Samsonite case.

Feraday, not too bright and well used to making the evidence say whatever the investigators wanted it to say.

Marquise, typical policeman, we got the right guys, nyah nyah can't hear you. (Not joking, I've interacted with him online.)

Cannistraro and Thurman? Something else again.
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Old 14th February 2015, 12:42 AM   #236
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
At the moment, amazingly enough given CLOTH DEBRIS, the pagination anomaly and the "lads and lassies" memo, in conjunction with RARDE doing bugger-all to identify the fragment throughout 1989 (why weren't the 1991 tests done in 1989, dammit?), my thinking is based on photograph 117 being genuine, and the thing really being on Hayes's lab bench on 12th May.
September 1989. PT/35b was introduced into existing evidence in September 1989, PI/995 is entirely genuine it's only PT/35b that was added sometime in September 1989, and whoever did the adding chose PI/995 as it was one of the few evidence tags that had been altered and so the provenance and the not looking in detail at it until late 89 could be adequately explained by cock up.

Libya isn't even on the radar of the investigators until they interview Gauci. Gauci in his earliest interview, in September 1989, tells police that the clothes were bought by a tall, burly, late 40's+ man *with a Libyan accent*

The police work that locates the manufacture and sale of the clothing that was in the bomb case implicates Malta. Intelligence has various Libyan terror groups in and around Malta, perhaps that connection was the reason someone decided to finger Libya for the bombing and the Gauci interview was how they formalised the Libyan connection for the first time.

That's my best theory on PT/35b.

Why is the Lads and Lassies memo all urgent about IDing the fragment mid September and unable to wait for proper photos to be taken after the weekend? the only evidence that exists that PT/35b was in an evidence bag waiting to be further examined before the Polaroids of it were snapped and then official photos of it taken 22nd September 1989 is a pencil sketch and description in Hayes notes and Photo 117. I don't think 117 is genuine, I think it was added to the evidence to establish some provenance for PT/35b when the fragment itself was added.

Why on earth are Hayes et al not using SOP and using bound notebooks for note taking, and leaving negatives of evidence photos on intact rolls of developed film?

This speculation brought to you using the Arthur Conan Doyle and Johnny Cochrane school of reasoning.

In my opinion PT/35b is the only piece of evidence that doesn't fit, all the other items on your list of sweeties can be explained.

The clothes are genuine and were packed with the bomb in the case and brought by the bombers who were either planting a false trail or didn't think any trace of them would be found afterwards.

The Horton fragment was a completely different piece of manual from an unrelated Toshiba, and the one she found and handed into police is not the one that she is asked to identify in court.

Claiden fragment (?) - is this Claidens insistence that the bomb case wasn't on the floor of AVE4041? He says that this cannot be so because the floor of the container was protected from the explosion by a piece of luggage and that area was'punched' dished' or however he describes it and not pitted and blackened as you might expect.

O RLY? - the bomb was inside a suitcase, the case that the bomb was in protected the floor of the luggage container and did the 'punching' the case blew to bits and the weakest points failed first. The lock of the case was found blasted into another one, the side panels of the case are presumably a lot stronger than the rest of it's construction.

I'm not a physicist but I can see that you can use logical deduction and math after the fact to work out approximately how large an explosion is and where the centre of it was from examining the debris left behind. How big are the margins of error for those calculations?, why not simply blow up some actual containers and compare notes?

8849 was singled out because Malta. The police already had a lead, a very good lead pointing squarely at Malta and so Malta jumped out from the tangled mess of the investigations into Bogomiras printout, and they ignored/glossed over the several other potential trays.
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Old 14th February 2015, 03:38 PM   #237
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
September 1989. PT/35b was introduced into existing evidence in September 1989, PI/995 is entirely genuine it's only PT/35b that was added sometime in September 1989, and whoever did the adding chose PI/995 as it was one of the few evidence tags that had been altered and so the provenance and the not looking in detail at it until late 89 could be adequately explained by cock up.

I'd like to think so, but I have trouble making that fly. It's not impossible, but it's so convoluted an exercise it strains credulity. It also doesn't gel with the way pages 50 and 51 seem to be interpolated. If Hayes had really examined PI/995 on 12th May, all he had to do was re-write the page, squishing his writing up a bit to accommodate the extra line about the fragment of green circuit board. Simples.

I don't understand pages 50 and 51. They stink to high heaven. But the pagination of Hayes's notes is all over the place so there may be an inocent reason. I can't get over the feeling that he didn't examine anything on 12th May, and that these pages were added. But I don't really know what's going on and how much of it is just natural muddle.

I'm currently toying with the idea that PI/995 could have been slipped into the bag of rubbish from that field at Blinkbonny, during the three days it sat in Dextar waiting to be sorted. The Sunday seems like a good bet. It's only an idea though. All sorts of wrong would flow from that.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Libya isn't even on the radar of the investigators until they interview Gauci. Gauci in his earliest interview, in September 1989, tells police that the clothes were bought by a tall, burly, late 40's+ man *with a Libyan accent*

Not entirely true. Reagan went off on one in public within a few days of the crash (almost as soon as it was confirmed to be a bomb), blaming Gaddafi and announcing his intent to bomb some chemical works in Libya in retaliation. This didn't actually happen as far as I know.

Then, remember the Fang-Brief. Bollier blamed Libya in that. He implies that a CIA agent told him to write something accusing Libya. Now I don't trust Edwin any more than you do but the fact is, the letter does attempt to blame Libya.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
The police work that locates the manufacture and sale of the clothing that was in the bomb case implicates Malta. Intelligence has various Libyan terror groups in and around Malta, perhaps that connection was the reason someone decided to finger Libya for the bombing and the Gauci interview was how they formalised the Libyan connection for the first time.

He mentioned Libya on 1st September. The "lads and lassies" memo is dated 15th September. That's awfully fast work from a standing start.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
That's my best theory on PT/35b.

It was my theory also for a time. But there are things I find don't really fit with it. I may come back to it, but at the moment it's one of these things that for me doesn't survive finding out more detail about what happened. I also have a fairly strong feeling that if there was an element in the US security forces that wanted to subvert the investigation to implicate Gaddafi, and was prepared to fabricate evidence to do it, they weren't going to enlist an Englishman. Hayes was dodgy, sure, but not that dodgy. Hayes was a cherry-picker, not a fabricator. Can you imagine the conversation where they recruited him?

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Why is the Lads and Lassies memo all urgent about IDing the fragment mid September and unable to wait for proper photos to be taken after the weekend? the only evidence that exists that PT/35b was in an evidence bag waiting to be further examined before the Polaroids of it were snapped and then official photos of it taken 22nd September 1989 is a pencil sketch and description in Hayes notes and Photo 117. I don't think 117 is genuine, I think it was added to the evidence to establish some provenance for PT/35b when the fragment itself was added.

Why on earth are Hayes et al not using SOP and using bound notebooks for note taking, and leaving negatives of evidence photos on intact rolls of developed film?

This speculation brought to you using the Arthur Conan Doyle and Johnny Cochrane school of reasoning.

I haven't given up on that entirely, but as I said, the machinations to falsify photograph 117 in that way in the light of the ftagment of radio manual are very complicated. And I'm not convinced Hayes would be a sure thing to approach to do what he would have had to have done if this happened.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
In my opinion PT/35b is the only piece of evidence that doesn't fit, all the other items on your list of sweeties can be explained.

The clothes are genuine and were packed with the bomb in the case and brought by the bombers who were either planting a false trail or didn't think any trace of them would be found afterwards.

Could well be true, it's just that having got suspicious about several other items, the checked trousers joined them on the list. Uniquely traceable item, with a serial number on the pocket, which survived. Supplied to Mary's House on 18th September, bought to put in the bomb suitcase on 23rd. OK, I'm probably over-reacting, but WTF?

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
The Horton fragment was a completely different piece of manual from an unrelated Toshiba, and the one she found and handed into police is not the one that she is asked to identify in court.

Check. God only knows what Decky Horton remembers picking up in the field but it sure as hell wasn't that. I'm not even convinced it was anything to do with Toshiba. I think she's quite suggestible, and you know what those cops were like about suggesting things to witnesses. (q.v. Tony Gauci.) Just show her the pictures and indicate that this is something from the bag of litter she handed in and suggest to her that she might remember picking it up, and confabulating the memory would be a piece of cake.

So, another sweetie, we agree.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Claiden fragment (?) - is this Claidens insistence that the bomb case wasn't on the floor of AVE4041? He says that this cannot be so because the floor of the container was protected from the explosion by a piece of luggage and that area was'punched' dished' or however he describes it and not pitted and blackened as you might expect.

No, that's not what I'm talking about. That's the other area where I suspect Mr. Claiden might not have been entirely on the level. I'm talking about the fragment of brown circuit board from the Toshiba he found in the folded data plate from the baggage carrier. Some people believe it's impossible that could have got there as a result of the explosion. It's been called the "non-Newtonian chip". I don't know about that, stuff does go every which way, but we had a discussion about it in another thread and do you remember Caustic Logic pointed out that if the board had been in its proper place in the Toshiba the white lettering would have been facing the explosion and could surely not have survivied.

If it hadn't been for the lettering being readable, they'd never have figured out what model of radio it was. That was the clue that led them to it. Only after that had been identified was it possible to tie in other bits of debris to the same model.

Claiden could have found it quite innocently of course. I'm just not sure it got there innocently.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
O RLY? - the bomb was inside a suitcase, the case that the bomb was in protected the floor of the luggage container and did the 'punching' the case blew to bits and the weakest points failed first. The lock of the case was found blasted into another one, the side panels of the case are presumably a lot stronger than the rest of it's construction.

Absolutely. But there's a passage in the court transcript where one of the RARDE crew is asked specifically whether he had taken into account the clothes packed in the suitcase and the suitcase panels when declaring that the base must have been protected by another case under that one. He replies that he did take that into account and it wasn't enough.

I think that was wildly wrong at best, perjury at worst. I think the base of the container was protected by the shell of the suitcase and some of the clothes in it (the tweed jacket?) as it fell away more or less like a trapdoor hinged at the side furthest from the explosion, and the full force of the explosion was taken by the airframe under the floor.

You can see it in the diagram Claiden himself drew, where he hatched the blast-damaged part of the airframe in red. It involves the whole area under the base of the container. That was described in court as showing "pitting and sooting", exactly what was absent from the base itself. And you can see it in the photos as well. So if there was another case under the bomb suitcase protecting the base of the container, how come it didn't protect the airframe under the base?

You know, way back in the thread in the CT forum, early on, we were looking at that diagram, and I said I really couldn't square the damage indicated to the airframe with a second-level explosion, but surely something so blatant must have an explanation and I imagined it would be explained in the Joint Forensic Report. Well it isn't. Nobody even mentions it. And as for Claiden - he drew the bloody diagram, and yet he was the first person to start banging on about how the floor was protected from the blast. Olympic class fail.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I'm not a physicist but I can see that you can use logical deduction and math after the fact to work out approximately how large an explosion is and where the centre of it was from examining the debris left behind. How big are the margins of error for those calculations?, why not simply blow up some actual containers and compare notes?

They did. Come in Little Swan! He has been studying the records of the tests. Cack-handed doesn't even begin to cover it. They seem to have started out from the assumption that the explosion wasn't on the floor. They tried about nine set-ups altogether, but they weren't just all different, several different things were changed between each set-up. Some of them didn't even use a container. Only one had the bomb in the bottom case, and that one went on fire and they didn't get any useful data from it. Only one had the vertical cases in the back row, and Little Swan says the damage to cases 1 and 2 was nothing like the damage we see on the Carlsson and McKee cases which were in these positions.

Monumental waste of time and money. Incompetence on stilts.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
8849 was singled out because Malta. The police already had a lead, a very good lead pointing squarely at Malta and so Malta jumped out from the tangled mess of the investigations into Bogomiras printout, and they ignored/glossed over the several other potential trays.

That's where I have a problem. I've studied the Frankfurt transfer luggage until I'm likely to go blind, and I think I understand it better than anyone ever did who was involved with the case. And there is a huge anomaly.

We have 25 trays of transfer luggage, with only 10 of these neatly matching documented legitimate luggage. We then note that there are another nine (probably) known cases which seem to have made that transfer, but which can't be matched to entries on the printout by the described method. We get creative, and we can see which trays these probably were, and why.

We now have six trays unaccounted for. Four which seem to be part of the batch of 11 which seems to be re-booked luggage from the delayed PA637 from Berlin Tegel, one which matches the KM180 coding window (8849) and one which matches the coding window of LH1071 from Warsaw (5620).

In this analysis we can point to all these trays and say, any one of these could have had the bomb in it, why aren't you interesed in Berlin or Warsaw? Indeed, why aren't you interested in Bombay either, because we're only guessing that the two trays that seem to reconcile to that ambiguously-documented Air India flight were actually Mr. Weinacker's re-booked luggage from Munich?

And that is indeed the proper way to look at it, if you are testing whether or not tray 8849 is reliable enough evidence to over-ride the absolutely bomb-proof security at Malta. It's not. That remains the case, despite what I'm going to say next.

My difficulty is, I see 8849 as a coincidence I want to explain. It bothers me. It gives me a headache. So I try to delve further.

I can explain all the other mystery trays, in a reasonable manner. I can't explain 8849 at all.

I think the two trays that seemed to match the coding of the wagon from AI465 (Bombay?) were Mr. Weinacker's luggage. It's a guess, but it's a reasonable guess.

I see the four unidentified trays in the PA637 (Berlin) batch, and I bear in mind Mr. Hubbard's two cases. We only know about these because one was misrouted on to the transatlantic leg of PA103, and found at Lockerbie. It wasn't supposed to be on that plane. It was supposed to have been unloaded at Heathrow to wait there overnight for the Seattle flight in the morning. The other one of the pair did exactly that, and was delivered to his house where his daughter signed for it.

We only know about the case Lacy Hubbard took delivery of because of the one that was lost. This occurrence provides an explanation for the other four trays in that batch. More rush-tag luggage sent by the clerk at Berlin to be flown to Heathrow via PA637 and PA103A. The fact that the transatlantic leg of PA103 crashed would have had no effect on these items, as their routing was to Heathrow only.

Now all that is left apart from 8849 is 5620. There is a possible explanation for that too. All the US inquiry notes record one additional interline passenger, with one suitcase. Francis Boyer from Toulouse. He is the reason the original FFA analysis of the interline luggage against the x-ray log was short by only one item, and not two.

Maier recorded 13 items x-rayed. The FAA thought it could find 12 legitimate interlined items. (Bear in mind that the 11 PA637 items and the case on PA643 don't count because Pan Am luggage doesn't count as interline.) The 12 seem to have been:

2 Weinacker
3 Noonan
2 Coyle
1 Costa
3 Walker
1 Boyer

I know of no attempt by the FAA to match these up with lines on the printout, they just added up the number of interline items they could find from the booking records, and came up one short. This is why they were convinced from a very early stage, before the printout surfaced, that the bomb had been interlined into Frankfurt. Not having the printout, they had no theory about where it might have come from.

The oddity is that this reasoning, which was also repeated by the Platt court in 1992, is never seen in any of the deliberations from this side of the Atlantic. Fuhl doesn't include Boyer as an interline passenger, and so comes up short by two, not one. The FAI was very anxious to conclude that the bomb had been interlined into Frankfurt, and this would have been decent evidence if it had been presented, but it wasn't. Mowat's reasoning is tenuous beyond belief.

Anyway, can we combine the two investigations, which seem never to have talked to each other about this, and ascribe the Boyer case to 5620? I believe we can. M. Boyer's flight landed at 14.57. Luggage from that flight was in the hall at 15.03. Half a wagon was coded at HM2 between 15.03 and 15.05. According to the printout, nothing for PA103 was coded at HM2 at that time. Is this why Fuhl decided M. Boyer had re-checked his case?

However, consider the Fehlerbahn. If a coder couldn't read a tag, and so couldn't tell which flight the item was supposed to go on, he would hit the Felhlerbahn button and send the item to the central hall to be sorted out. The staff there would try to figure out where the thing should be going to, and send it on its way.

Suppose the coder couldn't read the tag on the Boyer case? In that case, it would have been sent to the central hall at around five past three. Someone there would try to find out what to do with it. Maybe close inspection would allow the flight number to be made out after all. Maybe they were able to match name tags with passenger lists. Whatever.

Tray 5620 was coded at HM3 at 15.44. Just about reasonable time for someone to have sorted it out and got it sent back into the system with the right outgoing flight. 15.44 was a minute before the end of the LH1071 coding window, but hey, computer clock drift later in the day? I can see someone just waiting till LH1071 was done, and HM3 was clear, and coding the Boyer case for PA103 with a time stamp of 13.44. 30 seconds clock discrepancy or even a minor error by a coder looking at his watch would do it.

Theres NOTHING for 8849. I have been through all the passengers who transferred on to PA103 at Frankfurt that day till I could practically tell you what they had for breakfast. I have also traced all the luggage that appears to have missed PA107 and might have been re-booked on PA103 as the PA637 batch was. Nothing. (Fuhl did all this. He didn't want Frankfurt to be blamed, after all. He found nothing. All the original paperwork is attached to his report. I've checked his working. There's nothing.)

There's no passenger luggage that could possibly have been in 8849. You can't even speculate another stray rush-tag item, because all the re-booked items were entered in the central hall at one of the HM stations. Not in V3 where the KM180 luggage was entered.

So even when you analyse it way deeper than anybody connected to the original inquiry ever did, 8849 stands out like a sore thumb. Actually, it stands out more once you realise that you can explain the rest of them with the application of a wee bit of lateral thinking.

This is doing my head in. We know the bomb was in the case Bedford saw, not in 8849. We know there were only 55 items of luggage on KM180, and none of them was in 8849. What the hell is that tray doing there, the only one I can't explain somehow, pointing straight at the airport that was only three miles from the shop where the clothes in the bomb suitcase were sold?
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Old 15th February 2015, 06:09 AM   #238
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Breaking this into separate posts for easier reading.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Not entirely true. Reagan went off on one in public within a few days of the crash [...]
Then, remember the Fang-Brief. Bollier blamed Libya in that. He implies that a CIA agent told him to write something accusing Libya. Now I don't trust Edwin any more than you do but the fact is, the letter does attempt to blame Libya.
I have always thought that the whole thing is mixed up with Beruit Hostages. We know from the Iran Contra debacle that the US was doing some very shady things to try to effect the release of hostages under Reagans watch in the late 1980s, and Jibril and Iran are joined at the hip. (I'd guess it's a pretty safe bet that every government who had hostages taken were also trying anything too, I don't think the US is particularly special here)

Does it make sense then as PA103 is a US plane carrying mostly US citizens that some deal was done somewhere that they'd blame someone else and that the PFLP-GC didn't bomb anymore planes, so we have Reagan blaming Libya early on and perhaps Bolliers account of some CIA guy is in fact genuine and we have people (presumably an element of US Intelligence) steering the investigation towards Libya and away from PFLP-GC from not long after the whole thing started?

Quote:
I also have a fairly strong feeling that if there was an element in the US security forces that wanted to subvert the investigation to implicate Gaddafi, and was prepared to fabricate evidence to do it, they weren't going to enlist an Englishman. Hayes was dodgy, sure, but not that dodgy. Hayes was a cherry-picker, not a fabricator. Can you imagine the conversation where they recruited him?

I don't think they recruited Hayes, I think they can just blackmail him. He's a cherry picker and if he doesn't do what he's told and pick the right cherries for them then more details of other stuff he's cherry picked before in the Maguire case and who knows what else get brought up, and his career etc is over. He did jack in forensic science entirely for a quiet life.

Maybe the pagination and all the rest of it are just Hayes being naturally very disorganised and aren't anything more than that.
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Old 15th February 2015, 06:55 AM   #239
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
No, that's not what I'm talking about. That's the other area where I suspect Mr. Claiden might not have been entirely on the level. I'm talking about the fragment of brown circuit board from the Toshiba he found in the folded data plate from the baggage carrier. [...]

If it hadn't been for the lettering being readable, they'd never have figured out what model of radio it was. That was the clue that led them to it. Only after that had been identified was it possible to tie in other bits of debris to the same model.

Claiden could have found it quite innocently of course. I'm just not sure it got there innocently.
Oh that fragment. I don't have a problem with this being genuine. We don't know how Khreesat made the bomb exactly, we know there was approximately 500g (?) or however much of it there was in the radio and the circuitry of the bomb is built in such a way that it looks like the normal circuitry of a radio to a cursory x-ray inspector, we don't know how the semtex was arranged inside it.

All of the mockups I've seen assume there was a big blob in the middle somewhere but why can't it have been packed on the other side of the white lettering, or maybe a scrap of tinfoil or a wire or something shielded some of the radio circuit board from the full effects of the heat.

If it was planted then why are the planters wanting to point to a Toshiba radio, isn't it better for them if the bomb is a generic one wired to a simple MST-13 timer. There are security warnings about Toshiba radios circulating so wouldn't you want to point away from that and not towards it if you were fabricating evidence?

If you're working on the assumption that evidence is being fabricated to steer the investigation toward Libya, then in my mind evidence that shows a Toshiba radio points towards Khreesat. There was another suitcase bombing not long after Lockerbie, UTA772. That was semtex hidden in the lining of a Samsonite case with a simple timer, and was also pinned on Libya. (there's a whole plethora of parallels between the 2 bombings, but lets not go there) So if you've planted the MST-13 timer so that the real honest investigators will eventually find it and go off in your preferred direction, you wouldn't want to also plant other stuff unless it pointed the same way.

If you were going to plant stuff at all, surely you'd want to do so as little as possible.

Quote:
Absolutely. But there's a passage in the court transcript where one of the RARDE crew is asked specifically whether he had taken into account the clothes packed in the suitcase and the suitcase panels when declaring that the base must have been protected by another case under that one. He replies that he did take that into account and it wasn't enough.
I'd love to see the workings out for that. Like the arrangement of the explosive in the radio itself, we have no idea how the case was packed, we can make educated guesses as to the location of the centre of the blast, but there's always margins of error, you never get a "it was exactly here" answer you always get a "it was somewhere between here and there" answer. We don't know how the clothes were packed in the case next to the bomb so how can anyone be sure about how the clothes might have shielded or shaped the explosion in the first few milliseconds of the thing going off?

Hell, why can't whoever made the bomb had designed it as a shaped charge. If you're going to the trouble of placing the case in just the right spot of the luggage container why not also build the thing so the main thrust of the blast is directed towards the skin of the aircraft?

Quote:
I think that was wildly wrong at best,
metoo.

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Old 15th February 2015, 07:09 AM   #240
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
Breaking this into separate posts for easier reading.

Good plan. I should have done that myself.

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I have always thought that the whole thing is mixed up with Beruit Hostages. We know from the Iran Contra debacle that the US was doing some very shady things to try to effect the release of hostages under Reagans watch in the late 1980s, and Jibril and Iran are joined at the hip. (I'd guess it's a pretty safe bet that every government who had hostages taken were also trying anything too, I don't think the US is particularly special here)

Does it make sense then as PA103 is a US plane carrying mostly US citizens that some deal was done somewhere that they'd blame someone else and that the PFLP-GC didn't bomb anymore planes, so we have Reagan blaming Libya early on and perhaps Bolliers account of some CIA guy is in fact genuine and we have people (presumably an element of US Intelligence) steering the investigation towards Libya and away from PFLP-GC from not long after the whole thing started?

That's an interesting angle, and corresponds in some ways to the direction I've been speculating in. But where would you include IR655 in all this? It's generally agreed that Lockerbie was Iran's retaliation for that incident. Are you factoring that in as read, as it were.

You're referring I take it to Tam Dalyell's allegation that there was an agreement to turn a blind eye to the bombing of one plane so long as no further flights were hit? Khreesat was making these bloody bombs wholesale though. But indeed, there was no follow-up incident.

I have wondered if the USA wanted to blame Gaddafi right from the word go, but the evidence from the Autumn Leaves raid was so overwhelming the hunt simply galloped in the direction of the PFLP-GC and there was nothing they could do about it. Having said that, though, John Ashton thinks the FBI gave the Washington Times the story about the barometric timers and the PFLP-GC on 29th or 30th December 1988 and said the bomb had dome from Frankfurt, which kind of headed the press charge in the first place. Maybe the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing?

Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I don't think they recruited Hayes, I think they can just blackmail him. He's a cherry picker and if he doesn't do what he's told and pick the right cherries for them then more details of other stuff he's cherry picked before in the Maguire case and who knows what else get brought up, and his career etc is over. He did jack in forensic science entirely for a quiet life.

Maybe the pagination and all the rest of it are just Hayes being naturally very disorganised and aren't anything more than that.

Mmm, I don't know. I keep an open mind. Bear in mind he left after a relatively short time in the investigation, chucked the high-level position he had in his chosen profession, and retrained as a chiropodist. I've never quite understood the motivation for that. I'd be surprised if he was forced out in advance of the May investigation. It looks voluntary. Mostly, these guys just polish their brass necks, brazen it out, and carry on. Feraday did.

I think the notes are so disorganised it's impossible to tell what he was at. As you say, why not used SOP bound books? (I've still got mine from my PhD work in the late 1970s.) I think because it allows pages to disappear without trace. I wouldn't be surprised if pages did disappear without trace from this investigation. It also allows pages to be interpolated, but you know what? If I was going to do that, I'd be a damn sight more circumspect about it. There would BE no repagination.

Damn, though, pages 50 and 51 still look like interpolations. Pages 52 through to whenever are consecutively written though. SCCRC proved that.
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