Thursday, January 22, 2015

Charlatans, Fabricators and Conspiracy Theorists

"I love that film". (Alan Francovich's The Maltese Double Cross)

There are some editing problems, and you really have to watch it several times to follow it properly, but its an enormously powerful piece of cinema.  It's the only Lockerbie documentary that makes me cry.  Its use of music is particularly effective.
It's just such a shame that the producers, working in the early 1990's before some vital stuff was readily available, latched on to Khaled Jafaar as the means of getting the bomb onto the plane.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jafaar's suitcase was the one allegedly found at Tundergarth Mains with drugs in it, but it appears he wasn't carrying the bomb.
The amount of detail presented in the film to support the Jaafar theory is suspicious.  Some of it has to be fabricated, and for the avoidance of doubt I'm not suggesting that Francovich or anyone else involved in the film fabricated it.   I can't help wondering if there were people who had an interest in promoting a plausible "conspiracy theory" explanation that wasn't in fact the right one, to distract the attention of the awkward squad from what David Leppard had mentioned in his 1991 book about the evidence of a certain baggage handler called John Bedford.   I wonder if Francovich was fed spurious "evidence" to support the Jafaar theory.
This rather seems to tie in with the Juval Aviv interfor report episode.   Aviv appears in the film but his 1989 report implicating Jaafar's baggage seems to imply a different modus operandi.   While Francovich proposes that Jaafar had the device in his suitcase at check-in (I think) Aviv presented a complicated tale about his suitcase being switched at the departure gate for the bomb suitcase, by Kilinc Tuzcu.  Aviv's story is clearly moonshine, but he claimed a BKA officer had filmed the operation and to have had possession of the tape which he (Aviv) passed to the authorities after which it was never seen again.  He didn't keep a copy. Hmmm.
Why would an apparently reputable investigator like Aviv (his firm was long-established even in 1989 and is still trading) invent a pile of hokum in his report to the Pan Am insurers? (For the fee and publicity perhaps - BW) as without this pile of hokum he had squat?)    Who dreamed up the tale of the BKA officer witnessing the suitcase switch, and the phone call to check when the substitute case was noted to be the wrong weight and the instructions to go ahead anyway".  (Aviv perhaps? - BW)
Comment by "Rolfe" posted on Taliban Bob's Lockerbie Case Blog 29/12/14.


“Rolfe” is Morag Kerr PhD author of almost all of the 2013 book “Adequately Explained By Stupidity”  (apart from the Appendix B she cribbed off me without acknowledgement) that sets out in exhaustive and exhausting detail the case that the bomb that destroyed flight PA103 was introduced at Heathrow Airport.   This was fundamentally at odds to the official version of events as set out at Camp Zeist, and which was central to the conclusions of the 1991 Fatal Accident Inquiry that claimed (without a shred of actual evidence) the primary suitcase containing the bomb had arrived at Heathrow on the feeder flight PA103A from Frankfurt.   This, the “big lie” of Lockerbie was supported by virtually every journalist, writer or commentator who questioned the official version of events.    

          Ms Kerr has claimed that arising from the evidence presented at Camp Zeist most commentators realised  that the bomb had been introduced at Heathrow and that subsequent to the Trial the “awkward squad” advanced this  version of events.   This is quite untrue and this “awkward squad” appears largely to be a figment of Ms Kerr's imagination.  Who precisely does she mean?  The alternative to the official version of events continued to be the domain of charlatans, fabricators  and conspiracy theorists who continued to advance the claim the bomb was introduced at Frankfurt and that this was related in some way to a supposedly officially tolerated or sponsored  operation to smuggle drugs aboard Pan Am flights from Frankfurt.       These claims usually involved the only Arab passenger on PA103 the 19 year old Khalid Jaafar.

             Of particular significance in making their submissions to the SCCRC Megrahi's legal team, initially led by Fhimah's former lawyer Eddie McKechnie, did not raise the matter of the Heathrow origin at all.    Neither did his successor Tony Kelly, who like McKechnie employed  the journalist John Ashton as researcher. 

Megrahi's Legal team did however commission material such as “Operation Bird”.    This fantasy provided some comic relief as presented by lawyer Jessica De Grazia in a dire Al-Jazeera documentary directed by her late husband.  Small world.  If as Ms Kerr claims the Heathrow origin was so obvious why didn't Megrahi's defence team raise it?    Having concluded this was the case five years in advance of the Camp Zeist trial I offered Tony Kelly my assistance but he couldn't be bothered to reply.   I could have made a submission to the SCCRC myself but didn't feel I should be doing the job of Megrahi's lawyers for them and assumed they would raise this central issue. Kelly's nominal employee Ashton does not appear to have had such qualms and may have advanced his own crackpot  "drug conspiracy theory" to the SCCRC.     

Demonstrably it wasn't obvious to everyone (or indeed anyone) following Camp Zeist that the primary suitcase was introduced at Heathrow.    Following the Camp Zeist trial two of the founders of the “Justice for Megrahi” group John Ashton and Ian Ferguson (friends and asssociates of Ms Kerr, Professor Black Dr Swire and JfM Secretary Robert Forrester) published their risible book the oddly titled “Cover-up of Convenience”.     This was essentially a rehash of the fraudulent 1994 documentary “The Maltese Double X  directed by Alan Francovich on which Ashton was credited at researcher.   In the forward to “Cover-up of Convenience   Tam Dalyell   MP described Ashton as Francovich's “Deputy”. 

         Ms Kerr is a little unclear as to what Juval Aviv  (a New York based private investigator and fiction writer engaged by Pan Am's insurers) and Francovich actually claimed.  Her confusion is understandable as neither produced anything that could be described in normal terms as "evidence".      As I understand it Aviv claimed that the CIA and/or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used Pan Am' flights out of Frankfurt to make  controlled” deliveries of drugs to the USA and that this operation was subverted and the  drug suitcase substituted for one containing the bomb.

  Aviv's claims,  which were unsupported by any actual evidence, were based on information he claimed to have been given by unidentified contacts in the intelligence community .   The credibility of his claims depends on whether he had such contacts (and was not just making it up) but further whether they were telling him the truth.  Aviv claimed to have been a former Mossad agent and therefore part of this “intelligence community”.     Beyond doubt the bomb was not introduced at Frankfurt and his claims are untrue.    Aviv's subsequent claims mentioned above by "Rolfe" hardly strengthened his case.

The Francovich/Ashton/Ferguson version purported to present real evidence to prove what Aviv merely asserted,  with the further elaboration that the bomb suitcase was smuggled onto flight PA103A in addition to, not instead of, the suitcase of drugs and that a suitcase of drugs was actually recovered at Tundergarth. (Why anyone would smuggle a suitcase of perfectly good heroin onto a plane they planned to blow up was never explained.)  

There was not a shred of real  evidence that a suitcase of drugs was recovered at Tundergarth.   "The Maltese Double Cross" claimed a Scottish farmer had recovered such a suitcase although in his interview to camera he said no such thing..   Another piece of “evidence” that featured in the film was a story published in Private Eye magazine that claimed that unidentified relatives of the victims had been told by unidentified officials that drugs had been recovered at Tundergarth.  The film's researcher John Ashton writes Lockerbie stories for Private Eye. 
 Central to the claims in the Maltese Double X and “Cover-up of Convenience” were allegations that  Khalid Jaafar was a drug courier, (and, according to Ashton/Ferguson a member of both Hezbollah and the PFLP-GC!)  Jafaar (who held both Lebanese and US citizenship) had travelled from the Bekaah Valley to  board PA103A at Frankfurt and it was around this background that a number of claims were made or created.

One of my favourites was an affidavit Ashton posted made by a Lebanese refugee in Sweden who claimed to have been employed by the “Lebanese Forces” to check  passports on the Jounieh Ferry that travelled between the Christian enclave of East Beirut and Cyprus. (An activity that in the real world would likely get you filled-in in five minutes flat!)    (How the nominal Shi'ite Jafaar managed to cross the Green Line without being “taught to fly” by Phalangist militiamen was not explained.)     The witness claimed that on some unspecified date he checked Jaafar's unspecified passport and that on arrival at Cyprus the Cypriot Police had sent a marked Police car to meet him.  The refugee was shown a photograph of Jafaar and remembered him from the Ferry!  (and Ashton thinks Gauci's identification of Megrahi was dubious!)

Ms Kerr describes Aviv's yarn as “moonshine” and comments that the amount of detail concerning Jafaar is suspicious - Some of it has to be fabricated.   (I suspect a great deal of the evidence concerning Jafaar it if not all was fabricated and indeed at least two “witnesses” in "The Maltese Double Cross" (and likely a third) were completely fabricated!)    Very much like Richard Marquise turning “intelligence” into “evidence” Francovich and his associates fleshed out Aviv's claims with the wholesale fabrication of evidence!    If Aviv's claims were "moonshine" then the claims of Francovich and his associates were moonshine (squared) yet she has little but praise for this garbage.  

Atonly one point was the evidence demonstrably fabricated.   This  was a staged telephone conversation between the film's “consultant”, (convicted drug trafficker, serial fabricator and poet Oswald Le Winter, (in his customary guise as a former CIA officer), being filmed supposedly calling a former colleague to discuss Jaafar. This former (anonymous) colleague, working as some sort of switchboard operator, told the supposedly astonished Le Winter that “the Lockerbie guy” Jafaar had a CIA escort to board flight PA103A and was escorted to his “keeper” on the flight CIA officer Matthew Gannon.   (How a CIA escort works in the chaos of a plane's aisle while people are boarding needs imagining - did none of the passengers who ended their journey at Heathrow recall this strange sight?)   
 Le Winter was later convicted in his native Austria of trying to sell Mohammed Al Fayed "evidence" Prince Philip and the British Secret Service conspired to murder Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed.

As I pointed out to Francovich Gannon wasn't on the flight at Frankfurt to which Francovich responded that he hadn't specified at which Airport this incident occurred!   (Perhaps the film's researcher Ashton didn't know that  Gannon wasn't on flight PA103A.)   Francovich was incidentally astonishingly ignorant of the basic facts.   He claimed (in correspondence) Jaafar was in the First Class compartment  “where the bomb seems to have exploded”!  
What beggars belief  is Ms Kerr's comment that while the film used fabricated evidence “I'm not suggesting that Francovich or anyone else involved in the film fabricated it”.    Who does she fabricated the evidence – the fairies?    It seems to me pretty obvious that if you employ a serial fabricator like Le Winter as “consultant” you are going to get fabricated evidence. 

Not only was Le Winter a fabricator Francovich had been the producer of a BBC feature in which Le Winter confessed to having fabricated  his most notorious  earlier scam “The October Surprise”.     This was the claim that VP George Bush had met Iranian officials in Paris in October 1988  in order to delay the release of the US Embassy hostages until after the November 1980 Presidential Election.    Le Winter in his “CIA” persona supposedly organised this meeting although Jews are, I suspect, rarely if ever employed by the CIA.

A basic flaw with the October surprise hoax (to which a whole chapter of “Cover-up of Convenience” was devoted presenting this hoax as fact) was that Bush was filmed in Washington when he was supposedly in Paris.   The hoax was then refined with the claim that another professional fabricator Gunther Russbacher (supposedly both a CIA  superspy and the USA's No.1 test-pilot) flew Bush from Paris to Washington in two hours in an experimental plane.    (Francovich's girlfriend dumped him to shack up with the married Russbacher.)

       “Cover-up of Convenience” described Le Winter as “a sophisticated CIA disinformation specialist” (as if that made him worthy of belief!) and the authors described him, without a trace of self-awareness, as a person who had made a good living from duping journalists.  But were the authors just gullible or accomplices to this “disinformation specialist”.     In view of his own claims should Ashton be described as a  "disinformation specialist"?   He too seems to have made a good living from peddling a hoax. (

"The Maltese Double Cross" created a non-existent witness a Danish engineer “Mr Goldberg” to “prove” Jafaar had, at some unspecified time travelled to Sweden to meet (for reasons unstated)  ,  Abu Talb.   “Goldberg”, as expained by the narrator Brian Cox, had supposedly met Jafaar on a train and had made a note of the address where Jafaar  had stayed the previous night (as you do.)  When Jafaar met Talb the latter supposedly presented the 19 year old bachelor with a blue babyygro romper suit (as recovered at Tundergarth) and Jaafar phoned his family in the Bekaah Valley in Lebanon to tell them about Talb's generosity.   (Whether this conversation featured the words “tight bastard” or “stupid git” was not disclosed.)  Goldberg supposedly turned up at the Pan Am offices in Stockholm, told his yarn to a Pan Am employee, then disappeared for ever!   The narrator Cox tthen drew attention to Goldberg's jewish sounding name and asserted that this “witness” was a Mossad officer!

What was the point in “proving” Jaafar met Talb or that Jafaar was a member of both Hezbollah and the PFLP- GC when the implication was that Jafaar was duped into carrying the bomb?   Of interest “The Maltese Double Cross” featured an alleged witness, an alleged relative of Jafaar, an unidentified person talking to camera in Arabic with his face and voice disguised.  However the translation at one point was “Khalid knew nothing about the bomb – who wants to die?”

“Cover-up of Convenience” made the risible claim, (which was apparently repeated in one of Ashton's submissions to the SCCRC!), that Jaafar was a member of Hezbollah because a Hezbollah T-shirt was found in the wreckage at Tundergarth!   (As is well known members of terrorist organisations own such garments to demonstrate their allegiance.   Just the thing to have found in your baggage when smuggling a bomb onto a plane!)
The former Father of the House Tam Dalyell wrote an obituary for Alan Francovich in the Independent of the 28th April 1997.   Of interest Francovich had been introduced to him by Dr Jim Swire.   The second paragraph read "Yet, unlike most conspiracy theorists, of which he was proud to be one - Francovich was scrupulous about fact, and particularly about unpalatable factswhich did not suit his suspicions.  I never caught him cutting any inconvenient corners to arrive at the conclusion he wanted.  He was above all, a seeker after truth, wherever that truth might lead."  This is somewhat at odds with him hiring a creature such as Oswald Le Winter as "consultant".   

Megrahi's Legal team and/or Ashton  Ashton seems also to have made a submission to the SCCRC that Jafaar was a member of the PFLP-GC, as Ashton he had been told this by former CIA officer (and aviation terrorist) Robert Baer.  (Private Eye magazine described Jaafar as a “named” PFLP-GC member without disclosing the source of this false allegations.)   When interviewed by the SCCRC Baer admitted his recollection was wrong and also disclosed that the Hezbollah T-shirt was a souvenir of Beirut owned by Major McKee!  

 A great deal of “Cover-up of Convenience” consisted of a tedious recitation of the unrelated, supposedly unjust Legal difficulties suffered by the authors' various “witnesses” (who weren't actually witnesses at all!), the authors' claim being that because they had had these Legal problems their claims were true.  Presumably there must have been some unseen agency co-ordinating these unrelated abuses of the criminal justice system.   This is   classic ”conspiracy theory”.

 The authors of “Cover-up of Convenience” asserteddid claim that if their reader did not swallow their “alternate” version  of events  then the reader was accusing all their witnesses of being liars.    As Ashton is now supporting Ms Kerr's  assertion the bomb was introduced at Heathrow (and is yet again involved with the plaintiffs' Legal team) it follows that Ashton is himself accusing all his witnesses of being liars.  ( My favourite witness in the book was a PFLP-GC defector called Major Tunyab who “confirmed to us  Jaafar's role in the bombing.   However how the bomb was introduced he did not know”  (I am not making this up.)    Mr Ashton now seems to be pretending he never wrote this book.

The “Grounds of Appeal 1 & 2” and the “Written Submissions in Support of Grounds of Appeal 1 and 2” (that portion of Megrahi's Appeal that was heard before Megrahi dropped his appeal cast some very interesting light on this matter and Ms Kerr's claim that following the Camp Zeist trial it was quite evident that the primary suitcase was introduced at Heathrow.    Actually the defence did raise the matter of a likely Heathrow ingestion devoting a whole paragraph to John Bedford's discovery of a maroon Samsonite suitcase within AVE4041 in the 240 page written submission!   Mr Megrahi may not have dropped his appeal due to some sophisticated conspiracy.  He may just have grasped it wasn't going anywhere.

As part of the claim that the Trial Court's verdict was unreasonable the 14 page "Grounds of Appeal  1 & 2" )does raise the matter Khalid Jaafar complaining “there was evidence which pointed to the possible involvement of the passenger Khaled Jafaar.  The defence relied upon same as raising a reasonable court's conclusion that this passenger had no involvement in the offence is incompatible with and unsupported by the evidence.  In particular, the court misdirected itself in overstating the evidence it relied upon and in failing to take account of evidence inconsistent with its conclusion.  In this way the trial court's treatment of this part of the defence case was unreasonable.”

What was this evidence which the Trial Court wrongly ignored?  Curiously Khaled Jaafar isn't mentioned at all in the expanded “Written Submissions in Ssupport of Grounds of Appeal 1 and 2” (see  The “evidence” of Jafaar's involvement appears to consist of the evidence of another passenger on PA103A that he looked nervous or apprehensive before boarding!   Of course the compelling , nay irrefutable evidence the primary suitcase was introduced at Heathrow, does not just give Megrahi (and Fhimah) a cast-iron alibi.       It also means Khaled Jaafar could have had nothing to do with the bombing.

Central to  the current attempt to resurrect the late Mr Megrahi's appeal is the “new” evidence the bomb was introduced at Heathrow.     There is no “new evidence”, this was in public domain since the publication in 1991 of David Leppard's “On the Trail of Terror” (Although Leppard himself did not grasp the significance of his revelations. )    His book was rubbished by Private Eye.   "On the Trail of Terror" was not the true story of the Lockerbie bombing but was,  as it claimed to be the "Inside Story" of the Lockerbie investigation and explains how and precisely where t he investigation went   wrong.

In the opening quotation Ms Kerr wrote that “It's just such a shame that the producers, working in the early 1990s before some vital stuff that came out at the trial was readily available, latched onto Khalid Jaafar as the means of getting the bomb onto the plane. (Actually they merely latched onto Aviv's “moonshine” and his racist lies about the only Arab passenger aboard PA103.)    Actually the producers had no reason whatsover to doubt that Megrahi and Fhimah had been properly indicted as a result of a competent and objective investigation.  The “Maltese Double Cross” was Libyan sponsored hoax created with the objective of muddying  the waters  (in which it was enormously successful.)     

Real evidence  the primary suitcase was introduced at Heathrow, and therefore that “the investigation “ was a politically motivated fit-up was in the public domain but “the producers” (the new Max and Leon)  were either too dumb to notice this or where, like the Police, FBI and Crown Office, uninterested in anything that contradicted their own version of events.

The central question is why Megrahi's defence team never raised it with the SCCRC.  Rather than associating himself with people who were largely responsible for his father's wrongful conviction (by campaigning for a show trial on fabricated evidence before a rigged Tribunal where his right to a Jury trial had been given away and in which he was precluded from giving evidence) Megrahi's son ought to be suing for professional negligence.


 A press statement dated the 2/7/2007 issued by the Scottish Executive headed “Lockerbie case referred to Appeal Court” stated that  “since the time of the bombing numerous allegations have circulated concerning the possible involvement of Khaled Jaafar, a passenger on PA103 who boarded PA103A at Frankfurt.  A number of these allegations were repeated in  submissions made to the Commission.   The results of the Commission's enquiries in this connection provides no support for the claim that Mr Jaafar was involved wittingly or unwittingly in the bombing.”   Unfortunately while  I agreed with this completely I was given the false impression that the SCCRC would be conducting an objective enquiry.

The Scottish Executive press statement also contained the following paragraph :-

“The Commission has concluded after full and proper investigation that these submissions are unsubstantiated and without merit.    In particular the Commission has found no basis for concluding that evidence in the case was fabricated by the police, the Crown, forensic scientists or any other representatives of official bodies or government agencies.”    This turned out to be quite untrue in that evidence was fabricated – it was just that the SCCRC had covered this up or explained it away by accepting fabricated evidence as genuine .   Indeed they expressly stated that they had precluded the possibility of criminality on the part of the authorities by accepting any explanation however unlikely that precluded Criminal misconduct.   Indeed they stooped to explaining away blatantly fabricated evidence.

In the first ground of Appeal, (the claim that the Trial Judges verdict was unreasonable), in that  they had not given proper consideration to the defence case the document stated (section 2.1.6) “The trial court's reasoning as to why it rejected the defence case where it relied upon the incrimination of the PFLP-GC and the evidence relating to Khaled Jaafar is fundamentally flawed. “    In particular the Court had concluded there was no evidence the PFLP-GC ”Autumn Leaves  group had a MST-13 timer and reference was made to Marwan Khreesat's claim that he never used a twin-speaker radio-cassette, while the evidence produced was that the Lockerbie bomb was contained within a twin-speaker Toshiba bombeat.

 However the written submissions contained nothing to refute these two key claims.   Yet as detailed in my 2013 article “Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil” the evidence that Dr Hayes discovered the fragment of MST-13 timer and the  evidence the Lockerbie bomb was contained within  a twin-speaker radio-cassette was demonstrably fabricated.     While the SCCRC Statement of Reasons had concluded that page 51 of Dr Hayes notes (detailing his supposed discovery of the MST-13 timer on the 12th May 1989 together with fragments of an owner's manual for a twin speaker Toshiba) was quite compatible with “photograph 117” taken on the 22nd May 1989 in fact the two are fundamentally contradictory.

The SCCRC Statement of Reasons was kept out of the public domain until published by the Sunday Herald in December 20007 and the appendices are not in the public domain.    It was only when I obtained crucial supporting evidence, notably the statement of the Forensic Document Examiner (that the SCCRC had spun to reverse the import of his findings) and the Police photographic logs (which proved photograph 117  was taken on the 22nd May 1989 proved that the crucial page 51 could not have been written ten days before the photograph was taken.    In short there was no credible evidence the bomb incorporated an MST-13 timer or was contained within a twin-speaker radio-cassette. 


Of course Megrahi's defence teams, led by Mr McKechnie and Mr Kelly,(both of which employed  John Ashton as researcher) never noticed the glaring anomaly between “page 51” of Dr Hayes' notes and “photograph 117” despite being in possession of the supporting documentation for years.   I noticed the anomaly within hours of receiving copies of the Police photographic logs.  (One of Mr McKechnie's submissions to the SCCRC concerned “photograph 117” but alleged a contradiction with another photograph, which was easily explained away, rather than the crucial contradiction with "page 51".  

I also discovered quite quickly serious anomalies with another key exhibit the “Horton Manual” that supposedly proved  the IED was contained within a twin-speaker radio-cassette.   While the SCCRC Statement of Reasons  produced a photograph of the Horton Manual I discovered this was not the original photograph taken by the Police but one of very dubious authenticity.  Did Megrahi's defence team even bother to study the SCCRC Statement of Reasons?

    Now Ashton wants yet another bite of the cherry.  Are the SCCRC going  to publicise the fundamental flaws in their Statement of Reasons? I doubt it.  I wrote to the SCCRC Director drawing these to his attention but didn't seem to think it was any of his business.




This is a Private Eye story of 2001 summarising f Bill Taylor's closing submissions at Camp Zeist.    It is quite remarkable in that Private Eye, who to their credit had kept the Lockerbie issue alive, actually published a Lockerbie story that was true! 

“A disturbing theme emerged from the closing submission of Bill Taylor QC, counsel for one of the Libyans accused of murdering 270 people in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
Mr Taylor had already made much of the failure of the prosecution to establish the central point of its case: that the suitcase with the bomb  was put on a plane I Malta.  In his final speech, however,  he argued that the bomb was put on the doomed flight at London's Heathrow. 
 He argued the case systematically, making 20 separate points and pointing out that a terrorist who wanted to destroy the plane was more likely to put it on its final flight for New York rather than on feeder flights from Frankfurt or Malta.

He could prove easily that security at Heathrow in December 1988 was abysmal.   There were at least three places from where a suitcase could be smuggled on to the Pan Am flight without being picked up by airline staff.  The container with baggage for the flight was left completely unattended for three quarters of an hour.
Mr Taylor's most powerful point was his third namely that  “a brown Samsonite was introduced into that part of the container at the interline area at Heathrow airport.” This was highly relevant since everyone agreed that the bomb that destroyed the plane had been packed in a brown Samsonite case.   Mr Taylor's main evidence came from John Bedford, a baggage loader at Heathrow airport, who was interviewed soon after the bombing.  He then gave evidence at the initial fatal accident inquiry in 1991, which was referred to extensively by Mr Taylor.   He was asked:

Q: Can you recall whether on 21 December 1988 any of the luggage that you dealt with any of the luggage that you dealt with or saw at the interline shed destined for Pan-am 103 was a bronze Samsonite case?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Did you see a bronze Samsonite case?

A: A maroony-brown Samsonite case, yes.

 Mr Taylor went on to deal in detail with the complicated evidence about the position of the loaded bags in the plane.  He concluded that the Samsonite case had been loaded into the plane in almost exactly the position occupied by the suitcase from which the bomb eventually exploded.  Mr Taylor also established that there was no other Samsonite bag in the plane.      (This claim is untrue – there were other Samsonites on the plane and in container AVE4041.  No  hardshell bronze Samsonite, other than the primary suitcase, was recovered)  Mr Bedford was called by the crown as a reliable witness.   There seemed no reason why he should invent the story of the mysterious Samsonite case which appeared as though of magic in the container of luggage for flight 103.

If the case with the bomb did go on the plane at Heathrow, the consequences for those in charge of the airport at the time are very severe.  But what is beyond dispute is that if anyone did put a bag with a bomb on the plane at Heathrow  it could not have been either of the two defendants."

 This  is an excellent summary of the argument that  primary suitcase was introduced at Heathrow, save that one vital point was omitted.    In the official version of events, the position of the primary suitcase, in very close proximity to the Aircraft's hull, was supposedly quite fortuitous.    Otherwise the story was essentially a summary of points I had made to Alastair Duff a year earlier. (and post Camp Zeist to Mr McKechnie.)  It had of course been in the public domain since  the 1991 publication of David Lepppard's “On the Trail of Terror”.

Curiously at Mr Megrahi's first appeal Mr Taylor raised the matter of the non-disclosure of the statement of a Heathrow Security Officer Albert Manley who had reported that a padlock on a door leading to the Interline baggage shed had been forced open on the eve of the bombing.   In conceding (for reasons unknown) that there was sufficient evidence to convict Megrahi Mr Taylor did not raise the Heathrow evidence or Their Lordships  speculation that the “Bedford suitcase” had been moved “out of harm's way to some far corner of the container”  (Judgement para.69).   (If this had occurred the suitcase would have been recovered and linked to a specific passenger and in the official version of events the “Bedford suitcase” was never linked to a specific passenger. 


  There is no byline to the Private Eye story so the author is unknown.  It might actually have been John Ashton!   I had written to Paul Foot in 1996 pointing out primary suitcase was introduced at Heathrow and while I received a supposed acknowledgement I doubt he actually read my letter.   While Foot's pamphlet “Flight from Justice” was an effective critique of the Camp Zeist verdict (shooting fish in a barrel) Foot never advanced a coherent or credible account of what actually happened.