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Pan Am Flight 103 - The Lockerbie Bombing

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Pan Am Flight 103 - The Lockerbie Bombing

Postby SydneyPSIder » 09 Feb 2013, 09:28

There is also a mystery behind Pan Am Flight 103, or 'the Lockerbie bombing' -- a Boeing 747-100 that crashed over the town of Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988? A total of 270 people died, including 11 people who lived in the town. Of the victims on board the plane, 189 were from the United States. It was pinned on Libya, but much of the evidence presented was flawed, it has been revealed.

Proper and exhaustive studies of whether lead can be vaporised off a circuit board with high heat were conducted to demonstrate that the provenance of a fragment of a supposed timer board was actually unknown, and not from a batch sold to Libya by a Swiss firm. Interesting that NIST hasn't done a lot of testing of the entire wreckage of the 9/11 WTC towers in a similar vein, given the startling metallurgical result of steel frame buildings collapsing with the application of small amounts of very low heat in a single area -- instead the wreckage was promptly broken up and carted off for recycling offshore.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

It is now almost six months since the revelation in John Ashton's book (Megrahi: You Are My Jury: The Lockerbie Evidence) that the key evidence on which Baset Al-Megrahi was convicted can no longer be scientifically sustained.

And yet there remains a deafening silence on the part of the judges and Crown Office officials responsible for the investigation and conviction of Al-Megrahi.

The two main planks on which the prosecution's case was founded are:-

1. A Maltese shopkeeper, Tony Gauci, identified Al-Megrahi as the stranger who had, shortly before the December 1988 bombing, bought clothes in his shop.

2. A fragment of an electronic timer board found at Lockerbie came from a batch of twenty sold to Libya in 1985 by Swiss electronics company MEBO.

1. The Maltese shopkeeper, Tony Gauci.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, during their own three-year investigation of the case, found six grounds for concluding that "a miscarriage of justice may have occurred".

One of the SCCRC's grounds was their discovery of a series of entries in the police diary of chief Dumfries and Galloway police investigator Harry Bell.

Bell recorded from the first days of his investigation that huge offers of reward were available from the United States to principal identification witness Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci.

In a letter sent by Dana Biel of the US Department of Justice, it was explained that Gauci would receive "unlimited monies, with $10,000 available immediately" if Al-Megrahi was convicted.

Bell's police diary, and all knowledge of this offer and negotiations concerning the offer, were concealed from the trial and first appeal. The judges who convicted Al-Megrahi were unaware of these matters when they concluded that Gauci was a totally reliable witness.

Gauci's final and conclusive identification of Al-Megrahi took place during a police identity parade.

Yet Gauci could not fail to identify the man, since he had possessed for several weeks a copy of a magazine with a colour photo of Al-Megrahi, in which the Libyan was described as "the bomber".

2. The fragment of electronic timer board

It was upon this item that the entire case against Al-Megrahi would turn. In the minds of the judges it proved the Libyan connection, since the evidence appeared to show that it came from a batch sold to Libya in 1985.

It had - according to the available evidence - been manufactured by Swiss company Thuring, on behalf of electronics supplier MEBO. It seemed to be a "golden thread" linking Al-Megrahi to the bomb.

In 2008 the Al-Megrahi defence team discovered an extraordinary anomaly, one which had escaped the attention of the prosecution team, the Scottish Crown Office, and the Scottish police. It concerned the silver-like protective coating on the fragment, which covered the copper circuitry in order to prevent oxidisation.

A hand-written note by the government's chief forensic scientist Alan Feraday had recorded the protective coating as "100% tin".

Feraday's records also showed that he was aware of the difference between the Lockerbie fragment and the coating upon a control sample supplied to the police as part of their investigation. The control sample - manufactured by Swiss company Thuring - contained a 70/30% alloy of tin and lead.

The prosecution and police mistake was to speculate that the heat of the Lockerbie explosion had entirely evaporated the lead content. But no follow-up investigations in order to test this theory were carried out.

During the trial, the judges and defence team were unaware of the anomaly and accepted the provenance of the fragment from the metallurgical point of view.

When in 2008 the defence team checked with Thuring, it emerged that all timer boards made by that company throughout the 1980's were coated with an alloy mixture of 70% tin and 30% lead.

In 2008 the Thuring production manager swore an affidavit to this effect and was scheduled to repeat his evidence in Al-Megrahi's second appeal, abandoned in 2009.

Having discovered the anomaly, the defence team commissioned two highly experienced and reputable scientists to investigate the matter. In a series of experiments carried out at separate laboratories, the scientists tested the theory of evaporation of lead content by high temperatures.

In all cases, the lead did not evaporate. Thus they established beyond all reasonable doubt that the fragment found at Lockerbie could not have come from any of the timers sold to Libya by MEBO.

This evidence too was scheduled to be presented in Al-Megrahi's second appeal, abandoned in 2009.

The protocols and data resulting from the defence-commissioned experiments would no doubt be freely available, should the prosecuting authorities request to examine them.

Do the responsible officers not have a duty of conscience to at least enquire into this new evidence? ... y_theories ... -happened/
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Re: Pan Am Flight 103 - The Lockerbie Bombing

Postby SydneyPSIder » 09 Feb 2013, 13:43

Something from John Pilger, a great Australian writer and thinker, in 2009, on the wilful hypocrisy of Obama and Brown:

Lockerbie: Megrahi was framed

3 September 2009

The hysteria over the release of the so-called Lockerbie bomber reveals much about the political and media class on both sides of the Atlantic, especially Britain. From Gordon Brown's "repulsion" to Barack Obama's "outrage", the theatre of lies and hypocrisy is dutifully attended by those

who call themselves journalists. "But what if Megrahi lives longer than three months?" whined a BBC reporter to the Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond. "What will you say to your constituents, then?"

Horror of horrors that a dying man should live longer than prescribed before he "pays" for his "heinous crime": the description of the Scottish justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, whose "compassion" allowed Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi to go home to Libya to "face justice from a higher power". Amen.

The American satirist Larry David once addressed a voluble crony as "a babbling brook of bullshit". Such eloquence summarises the circus of Megrahi's release.

No one in authority has had the guts to state the truth about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 above the Scottish village of Lockerbie on 21 December 1988, in which 270 people were killed. The governments in England and Scotland in effect blackmailed Megrahi into dropping his appeal as a condition of his immediate release. Of course there were oil and arms deals under way with Libya; but had Megrahi proceeded with his appeal, some 600 pages of new and deliberately suppressed evidence would have set the seal on his innocence and given us more than a glimpse of how and why he was stitched up for the benefit of "strategic interests".

“The endgame came down to damage limitation," said the former CIA officer Robert Baer, who took part in the original investigation, "because the evidence amassed by [Megrahi's] appeal is explosive and extremely damning to the system of justice." New witnesses would show that it was impossible for Megrahi to have bought clothes that were found in the wreckage of the Pan Am aircraft - he was convicted on the word of a Maltese shopowner who claimed to have sold him the clothes, then gave a false description of him in 19 separate statements and even failed to recognise him in the courtroom.

The new evidence would have shown that a fragment of a circuit board and bomb timer, "discovered" in the Scottish countryside and said to have been in Megrahi's suitcase, was probably a plant. A forensic scientist found no trace of an explosion on it. The new evidence would demonstrate the impossibility of the bomb beginning its journey in Malta before it was "transferred" through two airports undetected to Flight 103.

A "key secret witness" at the original trial, who claimed to have seen Megrahi and his co-accused, al-Alim Khalifa Fahimah (who was acquitted), loading the bomb on to the plane at Frankfurt, was bribed by the US authorities holding him as a "protected witness". The defence exposed him as a CIA informer who stood to collect, on the Libyans' conviction, up to $4m as a reward.

Megrahi was convicted by three Scottish judges sitting in a courtroom in "neutral" Holland. There was no jury. One of the few reporters to sit through the long and often farcical proceedings was the late Paul Foot, whose landmark investigation in Private Eye exposed it as a cacophony of blunders, deceptions and lies: a whitewash. The Scottish judges, while admitting a "mass of conflicting evidence" and rejecting the fantasies of the CIA informer, found Megrahi guilty on hearsay and unproven circumstance. Their 90-page "opinion", wrote Foot, "is a remarkable document that claims an honoured place in the history of British miscarriages of justice". (His report, Lockerbie - the Flight from Justice, can be downloaded from for £5.)

Foot reported that most of the staff of the US embassy in Moscow who had reserved seats on Pan Am flights from Frankfurt cancelled their bookings when they were alerted by US intelligence that a terrorist attack was planned. He named Margaret Thatcher the "architect" of the cover-up after revealing that she killed the independent inquiry her transport secretary Cecil Parkinson had promised the Lockerbie families; and in a phone call to President George Bush Sr on 11 January 1990, she agreed to "low-key" the disaster after their intelligence services had reported "beyond doubt" that the Lockerbie bomb had been placed by a Palestinian group, contracted by Tehran, as a reprisal for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by a US warship in Iranian territorial waters. Among the 290 dead were 66 children. In 1990, the ship's captain was awarded the Legion of Merit by Bush Sr "for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer".

Perversely, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1991, Bush needed Iran's support as he built a "coalition" to expel his wayward client from an American oil colony. The only country that defied Bush and backed Iraq was Libya. "Like lazy and overfed fish," wrote Foot, "the British media jumped to the bait. In almost unanimous chorus, they engaged in furious vilification and open warmongering against Libya." The framing of Libya for the Lockerbie crime was inevitable. Since then, a US defence intelligence agency report, obtained under Freedom of Information, has confirmed these truths and identified the likely bomber; it was to be the centrepiece of Megrahi's defence. ... was-framed
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Re: Pan Am Flight 103 - The Lockerbie Bombing

Postby SydneyPSIder » 09 Feb 2013, 13:52

Those engineering the destruction of a transatlantic airliner in mid-flight might have believed that it would be likely to happen over the sea. Instead, Pan Am 103 was destroyed over the Scottish town of Lockerbie and its fall-out was scattered over an area too huge to cordon off. The first and most desperate searches were for the passengers: could any have survived? Volunteers included a police surgeon from Yorkshire who had driven to the site as soon as he heard the news; together with the local police, he and others searched non-stop for 24 hours. They found bodies, none showing any sign of life; the doctor labelled each of the bodies he found, more than 50 of them, noting the place of discovery. Once it was clear there were no survivors, a search for evidence of the cause of the explosion would begin.

Extraordinarily, however, distinct from the Dumfries and Galloway police, scores of men, some wearing no insignia, some the insignia of the FBI and Pan Am (it was noted at the time that many of these men were clearly not Pan Am staff), invaded the area. Lockerbie residents reported seeing unmarked helicopters hovering overhead, carrying men with rifles whose telescopic sights were pointing directly at them. And when, much later, items of baggage came to be married up with the passengers they had accompanied, there were disturbing signs of interference. The suitcase belonging to Major McKee (a CIA operative flying back to the US to report on his concern that the couriering of drugs was being officially condoned as a way to entrap users and dealers in the US) was found to have had a hole cut in its side after the explosion, while the clothes in the suitcase were shown on subsequent analysis to bear no trace of explosives. A second suitcase, opened by a Scottish farmer, contained packets of white powder which a local police officer told him was undoubtedly heroin; no heroin was ever recorded as having been discovered. All but two of the labels that Dr Fieldhouse attached to the bodies he found were removed and have never been found.

Although the crime was the most hideous Scotland had ever known, the integrity of the crime scene was violated; in part because outsiders were conducting a desperate search for wreckage that it was important for them to find and spirit away. As many police investigations over the years have demonstrated, such distracting irregularities can simply be red herrings, and these intrusions may have no bearing on the question of who blew up Pan Am 103. Was it individuals? Was it a country? And if so which one? From the very beginning, in fact, it seemed that the case could and would be easily solved. Considerable (and uncomplicated) evidence immediately to hand suggested who might be responsible; it was as if giant arrows were pointing towards the solution.

In the weeks before the bombing in December 1988 there had been a number of very specific warnings that a bomb would be placed on a Pan Am aircraft. Among them was a photograph of a bomb in a Toshiba cassette radio wired to a barometric timer switch; a number of such bombs had been found earlier in 1988 in the possession of members of a small group with a history of successfully carrying out bombings, primarily of American targets. One group member told police that five bombs had been made; at least one was missing at the time of the Lockerbie disaster and never recovered. The warnings were sufficiently exact that the staff of the American Embassy in Moscow, who usually travelled by Pan Am when they returned to the US for Christmas, used a different airline. Flora Swire, who was travelling to New York to spend Christmas with her boyfriend, found it surprisingly easy to buy a ticket. ... al-megrahi
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Re: Pan Am Flight 103 - The Lockerbie Bombing

Postby SydneyPSIder » 10 Feb 2013, 15:10

Follow the money... or trail of oil...

Behind every crime there is of course a motive. For the initial prime suspect, Iran, the motive was brutally clear. In July 1988 a US battleship, the Vincennes, shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in the Persian Gulf, with 290 passengers, many of them pilgrims en route to Mecca. There were no survivors. By chance a television crew was on the Vincennes when the attack took place and images of triumph at the carnage were immediately beamed around the world. When it became clear, as it did straight away, that the attack was an appalling error, the US compounded its mistake: President Reagan claimed self-defence and the ship’s commander and crew were awarded high military honours.

Two days after the downing of the Iranian airbus, Tehran Radio condemned the attack as an act of naked aggression and announced it would be avenged ‘in blood-splattered skies’. At the same time, US Air Force Command issued a warning to its civilian contractors: ‘We believe Iran will strike back in a tit for tat fashion – mass casualties.’ Warnings became more specific: ‘We believe Europe is the likely target for a retaliatory attack . . . due to the large concentration of Americans and the established terrorist infrastructures in place throughout Europe.’ Within days, US intelligence was convinced that Iran meant business; and the CIA in due course acknowledged that it had intelligence that Ahmad Jibril, the leader of the PFLP-GC, had met government officials in Iran and offered his services.

Such a partnership would indeed have been ominous, since the activities of the PFLP-GC had since 1970 included planting bombs on planes – bombs built into transistor radios and detonated by a barometric pressure switch. It was in this context that the flood of warnings immediately preceding the disaster had obvious significance for the subsequent investigation. One of them read: ‘team of Palestinians not associated with PLO intends to attack US targets in Europe. Time frame is present. Targets specified are Pan Am Airlines and US military bases.’ Five weeks before this warning, a PFLP-GC cell had been arrested in Germany. The PFLP-GC was precisely a ‘team of Palestinians not associated with the PLO’. Jibril’s right-hand man, Haffez Dalkamoni, was arrested in Frankfurt with a known bomb-maker, Marwen Khreesat, as they visited electrical shops in the city. In the boot of Dalkamoni’s car was a Toshiba cassette recorder with Semtex moulded inside it, a simple time delay switch and a barometric switch. Later US intelligence officials confirmed that members of the group had been monitoring Pan Am’s facilities at Frankfurt airport. Dalkamoni admitted he had supervised Khreesat when he built bombs into a Toshiba radio cassette player, two radio tuners and a TV monitor. He said that a second Toshiba containing similar pressure switches had been built. Although Dalkamoni was prosecuted in Germany, Khreesat was inexplicably released; it only later became clear that he had been acting throughout as an undercover agent for Jordanian intelligence, which is extraordinarily close to the CIA (the CIA played a central role in its creation). On Dalkamoni’s account, other bombs made by Khreesat were at large somewhere, including the one built into a second Toshiba player.


That Iran and the PFLP-GC were responsible had fitted comfortably with UK and US foreign policy in the Middle East. Both countries had severed relations with Syria on the grounds of its persistent support for international terrorism; both had supported Iraq in the Iran/Iraq war, which ended in the summer of 1988. The obvious truth as it appeared at the time was that the Jibril group, sponsored in this instance by Iran, was a logical as well as politically acceptable fit.

Then, in August 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, thereby putting at risk almost 10 per cent of US oil supplies, and the stability of the Saudi and Gulf sheikhdoms on which the West depended to preserve the status quo in the region. A sudden shift of alliances was necessary: if Iraq had to be confronted, then Iran had to be treated differently and the Syrian regime needed to be brought on board. At the beginning of 1991 Syrians joined Western troops in the attack on Saddam Hussein’s invading army.


The centre of the Lockerbie investigation had by this time ceased to be Scotland: the CIA was in charge. Vincent Cannistraro had made his mark under Ronald Reagan, with a clandestine programme to destabilise the Libyan regime. He boasted that he ‘developed the policy towards Libya’ which culminated in the bombing of Gaddafi’s house in Tripoli in 1986 on the basis of intercept evidence later acknowledged to be false. Now brought out of retirement, Cannistraro shifted the investigation’s approach. The suspect country was no longer Iran but Libya, and in November 1991, the UK and the US made a joint announcement that two Libyan Airlines officials, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, had planted the bomb in Malta on behalf of Libyan intelligence. Douglas Hurd, the foreign secretary, announced to the House of Commons that Libyans alone were suspected and that other countries were not implicated.


On 13 September 1995 the FBI’s forensic department was the subject of a programme broadcast in the US by ABC. At its centre was a memorandum from the former head of explosive science at the FBI, Dr Frederic Whitehurst. It was a devastating indictment of a former colleague. The colleague was Thomas Thurman and the accusations related to his investigation of a terrorist attack in which a judge was killed by pipe bombs. Two years later, as a result of a review by the US inspector general, Michael Bromwich, into a large number of criminal investigations, Thomas Thurman was barred from FBI labs and from being called as an expert witness. Bromwich had discovered that he had no formal scientific qualifications and that, according to a former colleague, he had been ‘circumventing procedures and protocols, testifying to areas of expertise that he had no qualifications in . . . therefore fabricating evidence’.

Thurman had made the Libyan connection, and its plausibility relied on the accuracy of his statement that the fragment of circuit board proved that it would have been possible for the unaccompanied bag to fly from Malta without the seemingly inevitable mid-air explosion. And thus it was that a witness from Switzerland, Edwin Bollier, the manufacturer of the MEBO circuit board, was called on to provide evidence that such boards had been sold exclusively to Libya. Bollier was described by al-Megrahi’s barrister in his closing speech as an ‘illegitimate arms dealer with morals to match’. The evidence he was clearly intended to provide had begun to unravel even before the trial began. Sales elsewhere in the world were discovered, Thurman did not appear at the trial, and the judges commented that Bollier’s evidence was ‘inconsistent’ and ‘self-contradictory’. Other witnesses, they found, had ‘openly lied to the court’. Despite all this al-Megrahi was convicted.


This isn’t the first time we have heard of Hayes and Feraday. Among the many wrongful convictions in the 1970s for which RARDE scientists were responsible, Hayes played his part in the most notorious of all, endorsing the finding of an explosive trace that was never there, and speculating that a piece of chalk mentioned to the police by Vincent Maguire, aged 16, and a candle by Patrick Maguire, aged 13, ‘fitted the description better’ of a stick of gelignite wrapped in white paper. Both were convicted and imprisoned on this evidence, together with their parents and their uncle Giuseppe Conlon, who was to die in prison. All were later found to be innocent.


Although Feraday was often addressed by the prosecution as ‘Dr’ or ‘Professor’ when he gave evidence, he had no relevant academic qualifications, only a higher national certificate in physics and electronics some 30 years old. Dr Michael Scott, whose evidence has been preferred in appeals to that of Feraday, commented that ‘the British government employed hundreds of people who were extraordinarily well qualified in the areas of radio communication and electronics. Alan Feraday is not qualified yet they use him. I have to ask the question why.’ Feraday, like his US counterpart Thurman, has now been banned from future appearances as an expert witness, but he had already provided the key evidence in a roll-call of convictions of the innocent. A note of a pre-trial conference with counsel prosecuting Danny McNamee (who was wrongly convicted of involvement in a bombing in Hyde Park) provides a typical instance: ‘F [Feraday] prepared to say it [a circuit board] purely for bombing purposes, no innocent purpose.’

... ... al-megrahi
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Re: Pan Am Flight 103 - The Lockerbie Bombing

Postby Misha » 10 Feb 2013, 17:39

Thanks, Sydney. Quite informative. I have read much of what you have written. There is also a good book on this subject by Dr. Chassey who was a Washington D.C. lobbyist and a registered foreign agent (4221, I believe). He wrote the Book "Pan Am 103, The Lockerbie Coverup. Yes, to think the Scottish and British authorities let go of Megrhi because he sick and not much longer to live is ridiculous. As soon as Megrahi got off the plane Qaddafi called out the U.S. and British to pay for his restitution of the Lockerbie victims. A lot doesn't add up.....
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