From Zurich to Malta to Tripoli to Malta to...

Adam Larson / Caustic Logic

Note: this was first posted November 16 2009 at my previous blog. It's one of the more opinion-oriented pieces that gets at the heart of my distrust of Bollier and Mebo, despite their claims of sympathy with the framed Libyans.
One of the stranger patterns I’ve seen recently in connection to the Lockerbie case is the tight web of alleged movements of the two accused - and of Mebo co-founder Edwin Bollier - in the days preceding the PA103 attack. To start with, the close connection between the first accused, al Megrahi, and Mr. Bollier’s company is no secret. From the Camp Zeist Opinion of the Court [hereafter "verdict", paragraphs 54 and 88]:
[54] We also accept Mr Bollier’s evidence, supported by documentation, that MEBO rented an office in their Zurich premises some time in 1988 to the firm ABH in which the first accused and one Badri Hassan were the principals. They explained to Mr Bollier that they might be interested in taking a share in MEBO or in having business dealings with MEBO. …
[88] [Megrahi] also appears to have been involved in military procurement. He was involved with Mr Bollier, albeit not specifically in connection with MST timers, and had along with Badri Hassan formed a company which leased premises from MEBO and intended to do business with MEBO.

The questionable choreography begins when the Libyans had just finished employing the Mebo MST-13 in a carefully packed Malta-themed gift bag they had set to drop bits all across western Great Britain. In case the trail wasn’t obvious enough, they decided then to bring the talkative Mr. Bollier back to remind him with a new attempt to purchase a double order of the same nifty gadgets. The court cited Bollier’s evidence that Badri Hassan, Megrahi’s partner in ABH, “came to MEBO’s offices in Zurich at the end of November or early in December 1988 and asked the firm to supply forty MST-13 timers for the Libyan Army.” [verdict, para 46] Megrahi was apparently on a visit to Zurich at the same time, and from there the dance begins. Below is a timeline, compiled from a variety of sources, to illustrate how strange the patterns are.

- Nov 20 – Dec 20 Megrahi and Fhimah “did between 20 November and 20 December 1988, both dates inclusive, at the said premises occupied by MEBO AG, in Zurich aforesaid, … order and attempt to obtain delivery of 40 further such timers from the said firm of MEBO AG [indictment, para J]
- Around Dec 1 – Hassan’s order, in Zurich, for forty MST-13 timers. [Verdict, para 88]
- Early December - Megrahi had “traveled to Zurich in early December.” [Wallace]
- Dec 7-9 - Megrahi stays at the Holiday Inn in Silema, Malta. December 7 is the date the court decided he bought the Maltese clothes from talkative shopkeeper Tony Gauci at nearby Mary's House. [verdict, para 88]
- Dec 5 and 15 – Having no MST-13 timers on hand, Bollier buys 40 of the Olympus make instead, in two batches, on the open market. [verdict, para 88]
- Dec 15 – Fhimah diary entry “Abdelbaset coming from Zurich” []
- Dec 16 Bollier books a flight to Tripoli to bring the wrong timers [Verdict, para 88]
- Dec 17 – Megrahi returns to Malta on the 17th “and then on to Tripoli Libya, where Lamen Fhimah joined him.” [Wallace]
- Dec 18 - Bollier flies to Tripoli, meets no one, leaves timers at office of one Ezzadin Hinshiri [Verdict, para 88]
- Dec 19 - Hinshiri said that he wanted MST-13 timers and that the Olympus timers were too expensive. “Nevertheless, he retained the timers and directed Mr Bollier to go to the first accused’s office in the evening in order to get payment for them. From about 6.00pm Mr Bollier sat outside that office for two hours,” but “did not see the first accused,” being of course Megrahi. [Verdict, para 88]
- Dec 18-20 “in Tripoli aforesaid, and elsewhere in Switzerland and Libya,” Megrahi and Fhimah did “order and attempt to obtain delivery of 40 further such [MST-13] timers from the said firm of MEBO AG.” [indictment, para J]
- Dec 18-20 “we accept that Mr Bollier visited Tripoli between 18 and 20 December in order to sell timers to the Libyan army, because that is substantially vouched by documentary evidence and it was not challenged in evidence.” [Verdict, para 88]
- Dec 20 – “Al Megrahi was instructed by his boss Ibrahim Bishari to travel to Malta on December 20, 1988 for a security order (not in connection with the bombing of PanAm 103)” [Bollier]
- Dec 20 – “Abdel Baset and Lamen Fhimah returned to Malta on 20 December” with an alias for Megrahi and the bomb suitcase. [Wallace]
- Dec 20 – After a final dispute with Hinshiri, Bollier returns home with his Olympus timers, “flying by direct flight to Zurich rather than via Malta (as he had expected) where he would have had to spend that night.” [Verdict, para 88]
- Dec 20 (presumably) – “On his return to Zurich Mr Bollier claimed to have discovered that one of the timers had been set for a time and a day of the week which were relevant to the time when there was an explosion on board PA103.” Herr Meister confirmed this to the court. Libyans had been fiddling with them, absent-mindedly… the court dismissed Mebo’s claims as “so inconsistent that we are wholly unable to accept any of it.” [verdict, para 46]
- Dec 20: Upon returning to Zurich, Bollier is said to have testified in 2000 "a suitcase which had been in the Mebo office prior to Mr Bollier's departure, which the witness understood belonged to Mr Badri Hassan, was not seen again after Mr Bollier left on this trip." [LTBU]
- Dec 20: [indictment, (m)] (both accused) “did on 20 December 1988 at Luqa Airport, Malta enter Malta” with Megrahi under alias Abdusamad, and both “did there and then cause a suitcase to be introduced to Malta.”
- Dec 20-21: [Indictment, (n)] Megrahi “did on 20 and 21 December 1988 reside at the Holiday Inn, Sliema, aforesaid under the false identity of Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad.

Bollier has added to this tight web of movements across the Mediterranean in those fateful days, in response to recent comments by myself and others at Professor Black’s Lockerbie case blog (this post, in comments beneath). His messages there are a complex mix of German and mixed English; one relevant part in German renders roughly as “today we know that the new order at the end of 1988 "to produce for the Libyan army, immediately further 40 pieces of MST-13 timers from a person; H.B." on behalf same western security services one made!” H.B. could be Badri Hassan, but this seems to imply that a Western agency placed the order (through him?). Perhaps these were the same folks who compelled Hinshiri or whoever to program PA103’s explode time into one of his Olympuses. And what ever DID happen to that suitcase, Mr. Bollier?
Documents indicate that originally the CIA and an other western intelligence service planned also to involve Edwin Bollier (MEBO Ltd.) together with Mr. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi into the PanAm 103 plot!

Edwin Bollier was told at the check-in at Tripoli airport that his already booked direct flight with Swissair to Zurich on December 20,1988 was fully booked and he should travel via Malta to Switzerland on the same day - the same flight on which Abdelbaset Al Megrahi was booked (*flight KM 107, on December 20, 1988 from Tripoli to Malta). According to a new statement Megrahi did not know that Bollier was planned to travel on the same flight as he was !

Bollier was suspicious because he didn't see many people on the airport and went to the Swissair Station Manager who told him that there were many empty seats on the Swissair flight to Zurich. So he took the direct flight to Zurich on December 20, 1988. Only Abdelbaset Al Megrahi (alias Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad) traveled with flight KM 107 from Tripoli to Malta on December 20, 1988.

Therefore Bollier was not in Malta on the same day as Abdelbaset Al Megrahi. The CIA was confronted with a new situation and the same intelligence people decided to involve the station manager of 'Libyan Arab Airways' , Mr. Lamin Khalifa Fhimah, into the complot.

*Al Megrahi was instructed by his boss Ibrahim Bishari to travel to Malta on December 20, 1988 for a security order (not in connection with the bombing of PanAm 103) ...
On September 14, 1997 former foreign minister, Ibrahim Bishari, died in a car crash in Egypt ...

Strangely for someone so nearly “framed” in the web set for Libya, Bollier was the first to try implicating Libya for the bombing of Flight 103 at all, with a letter delivered to American authorities in January 1989, well before they started finding any clues pointing that way. [see for example, verdict, para 47] This he claims he was compelled to write by - gasp! - Western agencies acting then through him to implicate Libya, a claim he’s made before and elaborates on in the same comments (worth a read for serious scholars). This letter and the claims around it will deserve their own post eventually, but something is entirely not level here, and Bollier is entirely too at the center of it. Somehow this whole byzantine Mediterranean waltz leaves me with the words and mood of the 80s poets Wham in Careless Whispers:
"Now I'm never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm. Though it's easy to pretend, I know you're not a fool..."

[Wallace] Rodney Wallace Lockerbie the story and the lessons 2001 page 62
[Indictment] Actually I think that's a verdict
[LTBU] Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit: report 78554 - 16th June 2000. Original site:
text doc direct link:

Bedford on the Color of that Brown Samsonite

last edits 2/26/10

The official findings of the Lockerbie investigation have always held that the primary suitcase (the bomb bag) was inside cargo container number AVE 4041, and was a hard-sided type of Samsonite make, "brown" in color. Quite or exactly like the model at left used as a control sample, with a reddish cast, it could be called "maroony-brown." It’s not remarkable itself and might be expected to slip through an entire system without anyone noticing it at any particular spot. But an unusual bag might wind up standing out a little.

Of the dozens of items that would be loaded into 4041 for loading onto Flight 103, the only case matching this that was both seen and remembered is the one seen by John Bedford, a Pan Am loader / driver at Heathrow International Airport. He saw it there, in AVE 4041 a thousand miles from Malta, over an hour before the arrival of the feeder flight that allegedly brought the primary suitcase. It stood out because it was placed there in his absence, along with another bag of similar type, by a co-worker, Mr. Kamboj. I'll cover these details elsewhere, here I'd like to focus on the color and the official acceptance of that aspect of his evidence.

Police reports: 1989
Bedford gave at least two statements to police Detective Constable Adrian Dixon on 3 January and 9 January 1989. One would presume earlier interviews as well, but none that I've seen yet. The first of these two isn’t directly quoted in Court, at least regarding color, but the second includes an incorrect spelling of Kamboj and I will quote it in part as:
"I went to see Peter Walker in baggage build-up leaving Camjob in interline. I returned about 4.40 p.m., Camjob told me two further suitcases had arrived for PA 103 which he had put in the tin. I looked inside the tin and saw the suitcases that I had put in the tin still in the same position. Lying on their sides in front of the other suitcases, handles pointing towards the back of the tin, were two suitcases. They were hard suitcases, the type Samsonite make. One was brown in colour, and the other one, if it wasn't the same colour, it was similar. In size, they took up the remaining base area of the tin. [day 44, p 6463-65]
Please note he cites them both as the same Samsonite hardshell style, and apparently the same color. The qualifier "if not ... similar" may just be Bedford second-guessing his presumption this was a matching set of luggage. The Bedford suitcases.

Fatal Accident Inquiry, 1990/91
The UK Government's Fatal Accident Inquiry made no mention of Mr. Bedford, or anything indicating Heathrow origin in the slightest, in their final report of 1991. They did however realize a bag of the same type was used, and however they dismissed it from their findings, they did question Bedford about his report to the effect of seeing one. Some of the questions posed there, regarding color, were read out at trial in 2000 by Mr. Davidson for the defense. He called up “a transcript of a Fatal Accident Inquiry where you gave evidence in Dumfries.” Each of the points below was generally agreed by Mr. Bedford that he said these things and did so believing them to be true. Therefore I’ll again quote the reading of the original Q and A as if I had those transcripts. [from pages 6482-85]
"Q Can you recall whether on 21st December, 1988 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.
Q Now, I wonder if I could get in a bit more detail of the colour. What is your recollection about the colour of the case lying in that position?
A I think it was a brown or maroony colour, hard-backed suitcase.
Q But as far as colour is concerned, can you be any more precise than you have been in your evidence?
A No, sir, I am sorry."
He needn't be more precise - he starts here with a clear enough memory of a maroony brown case to correct a slightly different description. But of course that's the color and style of the bomb bag, and in roughly its position, and so the re-questioning continued, chiseling away at the color question and his memory. My boldings here indicating unusually directive words, that just in text (without voice inflection aids) seem to communicate displeasure with the witness' answers and a desire to see them change:
Q I think it's fair to say that you have been seen on a number of occasions by police and other investigating agencies; is that right?
A Yes, sir.
Q And as far as the colour of that particular case is concerned, have you always expressed the same view as to what the colour was?
A To my knowledge, I have.
Q Isn't it fair to say that on different occasions you thought it was brown OR maroon, and at one point you were quite certain it was maroon?
A Yes.
Q Again this is no criticism of you, but I am anxious to know what the state of your evidence is about colour. In view of the different expressions of view over the period, are you able to be clear at all as to what the colour of that case was?
A No.
Q With regard to the suitcase that you saw lying down flat to the left side of the container, I would like you to think back as best you can. Could that suitcase have been a blue suitcase with a maroon or brown trim?
A I couldn't say.
Q You don't know whether it was or not?
A No, sir.
Q But it could have been?
A It could have been.
I know I imagine things into the evidence sometimes, but I can't help but read that as Bedford's memory being broken. No, he finally admits, he doesn't know what he's talking about at all. Blue with brown trim compared to all reddish-brown is an exaggerated distinction, when suggesting burgundy or dark tan might suffice to confuse the report away. Whatever this said the the witness, at the beginning he remembered a set color, and the end no more - it might've been "any colour you like," good sir, to paraphrase Pink Floyd.

I would presume it was on this basis the FAI finally decided these cases were somehow irrelevant, alongside the dubious reasoning that the bag was too high up and couldn't have gotten that way unless it had come in from Germany first.

Zeist Trial, 2000
Mr. Bedford was unable to recall any details of the bag or of what happened around it, or talking to police afterwards, by the time of the Zeist trial in 2000. Aged 60 at the time, it was perhaps just natural memory loss at work, or perhaps more – he seems plenty lucid on some points, but defiantly unable to recall other memories. He did affirm for the defense details of his story, as if it were relevant to the investigation, by agreeing he had probably said those things and was presumably being truthful. But he could not then testify to their truth again. The Zeist Judges did accept his story - color, style, placement by Kamboj in his absence, without badgering it as they'd only be arguing with police reports. Then they calmly dismissed its relevance based, as we've seen, on "could haves."

Re-examination by Mr. Turnbull, p 6489
Q Can I ask you about two things, please, Mr. Bedford. The first is the colour of the suitcase that was at the front of the container. You remember being asked some questions a moment ago about that?
A Yes, sir.
Q What is your recollection now as to what colour that suitcase was?
A None at all, sir.
Q All right. Did you have much of a recollection as to its colour by the time you gave evidence at the Fatal Accident Inquiry?
A Yes, sir.
Turnbull then tried to jump right to the last two questions from the FAI quesioning above, where he professed uncertainty about the color. Mr. Taylor for the defense swiftly objected that unless the preceding questions were read out, rather than just seen on-screen, it would be absent from the record and put “an unfair gloss … on the witness's recollection.” Lord Sutherland agreed and had Turnbull reread the previous passages which seem to have directed Mr. Bedford to become so indecisive.

... rest coming
but that might be about it. I'm soliciting comment - can anyone play devil's advocate and find a reasonable cause to push the color issue like that? What patterns does anyone else see in this?

Evidence Reconsidered: The Saving of the Frankfurt Printout

Will explore different versions of the story, details of time and reason, the discovery that it was evidence and hand-over, highlighting discrepancies, questions, and statements of both confidence and incredulity

Erac Testimony: Trial Transcripts, Day 47, 30 August 2000, pages 6659-6671 - see also online posting of Erac testimony]

Primary Evidence: Bogomira Erac Testimony

The following is the full testimony, before the special Scottish Court at Camp Zeist , of Frankfurt Airport employee Bogomira Erac. This somewhat short discussion is extracted from Day 47 (of 86 days) of the full digital transcripts I just received copies of. Transcripts: Day 47, 30 August 2000, pages 6659-6671 (re-formatted with page numbers marking page breaks)

MR. TURNBULL: The next witness, My Lords, is number 787 on the list, Bogomira Erac, who will give evidence in German.
THE MACER: Witness number 787 on the Crown list, Your Lordship, Bogomira Erac.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Advocate Depute.
Q Are you Bogomira Erac?
A Yes.
Q And do you live in Germany?
A Yes.
Q What age are you?
A 57.
Q Where were you born, please?
A In Crnomelj, Slovenia, in ex-Yugoslavia.
Q And did you live there for some time before living in Germany?
A I lived in Slovenia until '66.
Q Thank you. Do you now work at Frankfurt Airport?
A Since the 1st of January 2000, I am no longer working at Frankfurt Airport.
Q When did you begin working at Frankfurt

A On the 1st of May 1974 I started to work for a firm, and then in '75, I started to work for the Frankfurt Airport directly.
Q When you worked -- I'm sorry, was the firm you mentioned called ISI?
A Yes. The first firm was ISI from Berlin, and the one which I now work for is the FAG, Frankfurt.
Q What was your job when you worked with ISI at Frankfurt?
A I was a programmer when I worked for ISI. I also did some operating. And when I started out with FAG, I started out as a programmer, and later I did operating.
Q Did the firm ISI develop the software that was used to control the baggage conveyancing system at Frankfurt Airport?
A Yes.
Q So from your first involvement with Frankfurt Airport, have you worked with the baggage

conveyancing system?
A Yes.
Q And were you working at Frankfurt Airport in December of 1988?
A Yes.
Q And did you work as an operator in the computer system at that time?
A Yes. Yes.
Q Was that the same department as Kurt Berg?
A Yes.
Q Was he your supervisor?
A Yes, he was my supervisor.
Q In December of 1988, was it possible to ask the computer to print out information about the baggage sent to a particular flight?
A Could you please repeat the question once again?
Q Was it possible to ask the computer to print out details of the baggage sent to an outgoing flight?
A Yes, that was possible.
Q And for how long would that information be kept in the computer?
A The information was kept in the computer

for a few days; however, for various appraisal processes, we copied the data onto two boards. We switched between one and the other.
Q All right. Were you working in the computer department on the 21st of December of 1988?
A Yes, I was on the late shift.
Q And what time did you finish?
A Officially, we stopped at 22.00 hours, but we finished around about a quarter of an hour earlier, and so we were allowed to leave earlier, if we had finished our work earlier.
Q When did you hear about the crash of flight 103?
A I heard about it in my car when I was driving away from the airport.
Q And did you realise that that was a flight that had been handled during your shift?
A On the news it said the plane came from Frankfurt, and actually, I didn't know anything further about it. I thought it was a direct flight. I didn't know anything more than that.
Q And did you think that it had been one of the flights that had been dealt with during your shift?
A I was sure about that time, the

afternoon we had dealt with all of the planes which were leaving Frankfurt in the afternoon.
Q Were you working the next day?
A Yes, I was doing the late shift the next day as well.
Q And did people at the airport speak about the crash?
A Yes, we talked a lot about this crash. In fact, that was virtually all that people talked about.
Q Did you decide to do something with the computer?
A Well, actually, it was quite late on. We've got -- we had a television in our unit. It's the news, I saw the images.
Q And did you then decide to make an inquiry in the computer system?
A Well, I was actually curious about that flight. A day earlier there had not been any problems, so I was interested to see how much luggage there had been. And so it was really because I was curious that I made a printout.
Q What did you make a printout of?
A I've got a KIK computer, and I made a

printout of the plane from the day before, on the 21st of December.
Q Would you look at the screen with me, to Production 1060, image 1, please. Can we magnify to the top, please. Thank you. Do you recognise this document, Mrs. Erac?
A One moment, please. I've got to put my spectacles on.
Q Can we see the flight number?
A Yes. Yes, you can see the flight number.
Q And is it flight Pan Am 103?
A Yes, it's flight Pan Am 103, 1988, from December 21st was the date. It indicates the counter where the luggage for Pan Am 103 was checked in.
Q And is this the information that you asked the computer to print out?
A Yes, that's the information I wanted about the luggage which went through the luggage transportation system for that flight.
Q What did you do with the computer printout?
A Well, I took a look at it, and I was really surprised that so few pieces of luggage had been checked in whilst there were so many passengers on

board. Generally, at that time of the year -- at that time, anyway -- Americans had much more luggage. I took a look to see whether all of the items of luggage came out of the system, the ones that had been checked in, and whether they were on time. And I saw that as far as the computer was concerned, nothing remained in Frankfurt.
Q Did you realise at the time that the Frankfurt flight had connected with a larger aircraft in London?
A No, I only found out about that later on.
Q All right. So once you had finished looking at the computer printout, did you give it to anyone?
A No. No. I didn't see anything problematic.
Q What did you do with the computer printout, then?
A No one instructed me to make this computer printout. I just did it for myself because I was curious about the way in which the flight had been dispatched, so I took a look at it, and then I kept it as a souvenir, one might say. I hung it up in my cupboard.

Q Were you due to take some holiday leave about this time?
A A few days later, I went to Slovenia. That was what I did every year; I went to Slovenia for the New Year.
Q Do you recollect when you returned to Frankfurt?
A I think it would have been around about the 15th of January, perhaps one day before that.
Q Did there come a stage when you told Mr. Berg that you had the printout?
A That was around a week later. When I went to Frankfurt again, I was on the early shift. It was sometime between the 20th and the 25th of January.
Q Thank you. Did you give the printout to Mr. Berg at that time?
A Yes, I gave Mr. Berg this printout, because I'd realised that there was actually no other documentation available.
Q Did he ask you to check the computer at that stage to see if there was any more information available?
A In the computer -- well, there was -- the data was there for one week, and after that they were written over. Mr. Berg just asked me to take a

look in the archive in order to see whether there were teletype printouts. These were the things which came automatically from the computer. But I couldn't find anything.
Q Would there be any record of the baggage sent to flight 103 if you hadn't made this printout?
A Not so far as I know.
Q Thank you.
MR. TAYLOR: I think Mr. Davidson is leading on this issue, My Lord, but I have no questions.
MR. BURNS: I have a number of questions, My Lord.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Very well, Mr. Burns.
Q Mrs. Erac, can I ask you, please, something about the procedure in relation to the computers.
A Yes, go ahead.
Q In 1988, am I right in thinking that at the beginning of each day the baggage conveyancing system computers needed to be switched on?
A The computers were all switched on. We didn't switch them off at all, but every day we started

anew, working with the standardized state, so that was with the baggage -- I believe it was a KIK computer where the data were stored. They were stored in that computer for a few days, and it would be possible then to copy the data onto disks.
Q All right. What I really am interested in knowing is whether, at the beginning of each day, the time needed to be entered into the computer system.
A Yes, at the start, the date and the time had to be put into the computer.
Q And the time would be taken, would it, from the person's watch, or an office clerk, at the time when the time was entered into the computer?
A I'm afraid I haven't quite understood what you mean with this question. Could you please repeat the question?
Q Where would the operator get the time which was entered into the computer at the stage we are talking about?
A You get the time from the main clock in the computer, or from one's own watch, or from another clock.
Q Now, during the course of the day, would the time that the computer showed start to deviate from the time that the clock showed, for instance?

A Yes, that's correct, but it's a physical phenomenon. Computer time, after about 4.00 or 5.00 in the afternoon, one would note differences of two or three minutes, let's say. It's a physical phenomenon. We were aware of this. It's because of the frequencies.
Q All right. So because of the electrical frequencies that powered the computer --
A Yes.
Q -- the computer time would deviate from other times shown on, for instance, clocks or watches; is that the position?
A Yes, there were small deviations.
Q Do you know whether the power company had been -- by December 1988 had been contacted about these problems in the power -- in the electrical frequencies?
A Well, I wasn't actually in charge of that. I didn't deal with the hardware side of things. I don't know whether they had been contacted.
Q Could the deviation between computer and clock time increase beyond three minutes?
A Well, you have to know which time you are referring to; not in such general terms, but at what time are you referring to?

Q Well, you've told us that by 4.00 or 5.00, the time difference would be two or three minutes. What I am interested to know is whetherit's -- the difference ever became more than three minutes.
A Well, I didn't really pay much attention to these differentials, because I was in charge of the luggage side of things for the software, not of the hardware.
Q Thank you very much indeed.
MR. DAVIDSON: No questions, My Lord.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Advocate Depute.
Q Can I ask you one more thing, please,
Mrs. Erac. Whose job was it to set the time on the computer in the morning?
A Well, it was the operators when we started the computers.
Q Did you sometimes do it?
A Yes, almost every morning, either my colleague or myself.
Q When you were doing it, where did you get the time to enter into the computer?
A Well, from the clock in the computer, or

sometimes from my watch. But that was identical, really. I presume, anyway.
Q Was there another computer, then, apart
from the one that you were setting the time for?
A Well, I'd like to know exactly what computer you are referring to when you refer to this other computer.
Q You mentioned, I think, getting the time from the clock in the main computer; is that correct?
A Well, in the central computer we entered the time, and the central computer then transmitted the time to the KIK computer, or the other computers.
Q I see. Thank you.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Thank you, Mrs. Erac. That's all."

Coding Station Reliability

(quite incomplete)

Mr Schreiner’s evidence expanded beyond this, to explanations for the the Lords of how coding “would generally begin three to five minutes after the arrival of the baggage at V3,” and that “luggage was always delivered from one flight only” at any given time. The basis for these points must be taken on the man’s word, but they help simplify the Prosecution’s case. Station 206 at 13:04-13:10 means KM180 baggage and nothing else. Simple common sense would dictate a breach of this standard MO is at least possible. A stronger retort was published in Time magazine in 1992, relating a FBI memo following a look at the airport’s records and methods:
On a guided tour of the baggage area in September 1989, it was disclosed, detective inspector Watson McAteer of the Scottish police and FBI special agent Lawrence G. Whitaker "observed an individual approach Coding Station 206 with a single piece of luggage, place the luggage in a luggage container, encode a destination into the computer and leave without making any notation on a duty sheet." This convinced the two investigators that a rogue suitcase could have been "sent to Pan Am 103 either before or after the unloading of Air Malta 180."

This bag would thus appear to investigators to have been part of whatever planeload they were coding there at the time. The same could be at work with our item 8849. The conclusion of this report, sent back to Washington: “"There remains the possibility that no luggage was transferred from Air Malta 180 to Pan Am 103."

The degree of correlation between coding time and flight number is certainly higher than zero and less than 100%, and debatable from there.

Primary Evidence: Air Malta's Records for KM180

one of the many incomplete posts that I need to fill in.

Evidence Reconsidered: Heathrow Break-In

Sorry, this post is forthcoming.
(last edit, links, Jan 14 2011)

A security Guard at heathrow Airport reported a break-in at terminal 3 around 12:30 am on  December 21. 18 hours later, a bomb suitcase was placed on Flight 103 at Terminal 3. Ray Manly's report, of a padlock on the floor "cut like butter" was covered up for over a decade. Even at trial in 2000, the defense was not allowed to know of this. Manly came forward in 2001 with the story, soon verified and forming a key plank of al Megrahi's 2002 appeal (which was denied by a five-judge panel on questionable logic).

Until I fill in this post, here is the existing link:

"They told me no one knew…” : Ray Manly and the Heathrow Break-In - general detailed overview.

Consider also the break-in's place within the powerful evidence for a London origin for the Lockerbie bomb, and as addressed in the Appeal Court Dismissal of the London theory.

Evidence for a Security Breach

Official Dismissal of Evidence

Back-Up Arguments Addressed
This part will be fun. 

Video: The Maltese Double Cross

Last update March 23 2010

Produced, written, and directed by Allan Francovich, Hemar Enterprises, November 1994. A better resolution version (but harder to embed) is viewable and downloadable here.

Alan Francovich directs a classic, epic ... thing ... a two-hour plus collection of questions, speculations, hoaxsters, genuine hardcore info, nice B-roll, some poetry, and prank calls (??) all mixed together. Postulated a German drugs route connection ala Coleman/Aviv. A must see, but best taken with a grain of salt.

For those looking for a searchable transcript, the Nader Library has one, but it's spotty.

What do you think of this movie? It was pretty much banned all over. Because it was full of lies? Because it was full of truth? Because it was full of lies but "they" wanted us to think it was full of truth? Some wonder about Frankovich's untimely demise in 1997. Comments are open below. 

Video: Flight Into Darkness

"People and Power: Lockerbie" aka "Flight Into Darkness." Directed by Neil Cairns and Eki Rrahmani. Anchor: Shereen El Feki. Reporter: John Coates Aljazeera. Aired 1 July 2007.
Program info (Aljazeera)
Part One:

Part Two

Video: Air Crash Investigation

"Air Crash Investigation: Lockerbie." Season 6, episode one. Aired 2008.
Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

Part four:

Video: Tegenlicht: Lockerbie Revisited

Tegenlicht: Lockerbie revisited Video
"Tegenlicht: Lockerbie Revisited" NED 2. First aired April 27, 2009. Director/Host: Gideon Levy. Producer: Ymke Kreiken

See also: PT/35(b) move claims, pt. one for transcription of and commentary on the film's main revelations.

VIDEO: Why Lockerbie?/Tragedy of Pan Am 103

Posted by Caustic Logic

The first I heard about this program was in Allan Frankovich’s 1994 film The Maltese Double Cross: “In 1993, Air Malta wins its libel suit against Granada television. Granada, in a docudrama, had claimed the bomb had been placed in an unaccompanied bag on an Air Malta flight.” [MDC 1:24:45] A fuller explanation, describing its provocative Malta link, can be found in Paul Foot's Lockerbie: The Flight From Justice:
"The programme focused on a bakery in Malta and a Palestinian cell based there. The programme made the same connection as the Sunday Times had done a year earlier – between the fact that the clothes in the bomb suitcase were bought in Malta and the less certain fact that an unaccompanied bag from Malta was loaded onto a Pan Am feeder flight from Frankfurt to London and thence to Pan Am 103. To illustrate this hypothesis, the programme showed a sinister-looking Arab checking in a bag at Malta airport and then sliding surreptitiously away while the plane took off.

This was too much for Air Malta, who sued Granada for libel. Norton Rose, the London commercial solicitors, compiled a huge dossier detailing almost everything about the flight from Malta to Frankfurt on the day of the Lockerbie bombing and proving that all 55 bags checked in on the flight could be ascribed to passengers, none of whom travelled on to London. The evidence was so powerful that Granada settled the action before it got to court. They paid Air Malta £15,000 damages and all the costs of the case. The only time these matters had been tested in a legal action, the Maltese connection to the bomb suitcase was comprehensively demolished."
[Foot p 7]

One should note that the Malta link was not new to this film, but aired a year earlier in the Sunday Times, presumably David Leppard's fabled late-1989 series. From what I hear around, that managed to fuse popular assumptions of guilt and "the old direction" with bits of the emerging Libya narrative, which he would write in book form in 1991. The evidence that had first pointed to Malta was the clothing, discovered during the winter and beyond, and in August the Frankfurt printout pointing there again, followed swiftly by talks with the Gauci family who sold the clothes. Leppard seeded this crucial mental picture - an origin on little old Malta - widely by the end of 1989, and within a year Granada had made a movie version.

On further inspection the program was produced in 1990, jointly, by Granada Television for the ITV network, HBO for America's audiences, and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (for German airing?). First screened in UK as TV movie "Why Lockerbie?" 26 November 1990, then in the US by HBO as "The Tragedy of Flight 103: The Inside Story." [source: wikipedia] There is currently a trailer for the the HBO version viewable online (screen caps throughout). External link (too unreliable to embed):
Director: Leslie Woodhead
Writer: Michael Eaton
Starring: Ned Beatty as C. Edward Acker, Peter Boyle as Fred Ford, Sean Pertwee as Oliver Koch, Vincent Gardenia as Harry Pizer, Michael Wincott as Ulrich Weber, and Sasson Gabai as then-popularly-suspected bomb-maker Marwan Khreesat. Other featured characters include Ali Akbar Mohteshemi, Hafez Dalkomoni, and Abu Talb. No Libyans are involved. There is a "Maltese shopkeeper," presumably of the bakery Leppard was on about, and not Tony Gauci. Runtime: 86 minutes.
[source: IMDB]

In the trailer, Pan Am CEO C. Edward Acker (Beatty, right) is usually backed with prominent slat blinds (metaphorical? Subtle?) I'm not an expert on Pan Am's history, but it seems Acker ran the company from the early 1980s, apparently on promises of revitalizing it and making it profitable again. He was replaced in early 1988, so only set up the culture of "mismanagement" and "cosmetic" security changes (according to the trailer) leading to their alleged failure at Frankfurt Airport. When guys in suits are the villains, the motive is always money, and no exception here; a drive for profits led to their selective, perhaps criminal, and deeply tragic security blindness.

Some controversy was aired early on about the curious "Helsinki Warning" of early December being buried and somehow missed by Ulrich Weber, Frankfurt Airport Security administrator, until Dec 22. In the film, the narrator explains the response: "Other than screening Finnish passengers, Pan Am's procedures at Frankfurt Airport remained unchanged. There was no briefing of security personnel to update them on threat information." Mr. Weber is further quoted in the film dismissing a larger threat yet, the October discovery of multiple altimeter bomb radios, in existence, in Germany. He's challenged by an underling, Oliver Koch (Pertwee), who is prophetically worried about "that cell and terrorist setup in Neuss. Something about bombs in tape recorders."
"Ulrich Weber: Pan Am didn't expect us to do anything special with that one.
Oliver Koch: I recommend it should be on today's agenda.
Ulrich Weber: You are going beyond your competence, Koch! This is not in your job description!
Oliver Koch: I recommend that we take the batteries off of every single radio cassette player we find, okay?
Ulrich Weber: We tell our people to go loose on the passenger's private property and smash half the things they touch? We'd go broke paying the damage claims.
Ulrich Weber: Oliver, you've got to lighten up, pal. It's almost Christmas. When all is said and done, air travel is still safer than crossing the road."
[source: IMDB]

Some clips featuring Michael Wincott as Weber were posted on Youtube, by a fan of the actor, apparently. Here, he shows great confidence and a greasy pony tail that usually indicate "confidence artist." He's arrogant, and tragic in his swagger. He should worry more, a lot more... dun dun.... Recall these were real people, then on trial in more ways than one over their culpability in the massive tragedy. That's not to dismiss any failures or malfeasance they were guilty of, but this movie seems like a cheap shot at a target too bogged down trying to survive to fight back like Air Malta did. It doesn't help that this "inside story" chronicles failures at Frankfurt, when the most coherent evidence actually indicates an introduction 400 miles away in London. Ulrich Weber's alleged arrogance and Koch's alleged urgency had nothing to do with the suitcase John Bedford saw.

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Release Timing
The film’s airing in the UK and US in late November and early December 1990 is interesting. As noted above, it helped further ingrain a year-old idea of a Maltese bomb bag slipping through three airports. It was released approximately one year after several lines of questionable intelligence had converged overwhelmingly on Malta in late 1989 – 16 months after the printout showed it as item 8849, 15 months after starting a dialog with Tony Gauci. 12 months after Paul Gauci first changed stories and suggested a December 7 purchase was likely. Six months after Thurman’s identification of a Libyan timer fragment. One year before a formal indictment would be issued of agents not even hinted at in this portrayal.

Also, the release happened to lines up well with the announcement to all international investigators, in the run-up to the second anniversary, that US and UK investigators had decided that Maltese bag was their big lead, and it pointed to Libya, not Syria, not Iran, not any Palestinians. In his 2006 memoir, Marquise writes of an early December 1990 conference (apparently on the 6th?) of investigators in Sweden, bringing Swiss police in for the first time.
“The night before the formal conference, Henderson and I convened the other police officials in a private room above the main dining area. The Swiss were introduced and the new direction of the investigation was discussed. Because the formal agenda had been drawn up in advance, much of it was devoted to the PFLP-GC cell in Germany. However, we had always said evidence would drive the investigation, not speculation. Now the evidence had pointed away from Dalkamouni and his PFLP-GC cell. Everything we saw pointed directly at Libya.” [Marquise, p 73]
The Germans were “relieved,” Marquise recalled, but the Maltese “were not as ready to accept the new scenario,” and “adopted the same philosophy which the Germans had employed for a time.” He writes that the "evidence that “the bomb bag … had originated in Malta ... had not yet been proven to the satisfaction of Maltese officials.” But the next day’s conference went smoothly enough, and “not one word of what was discussed at the meeting was ever leaked to the media, proving that this group of law enforcement officials was trustworthy."

Three days later, however, HBO would re-air half of that new direction, the bag that Maltese authorities still couldn't see even after the first UK airing of Why Lockerbie? just days before the conference. Air Malta would of course take the issue to court as we started out, but Maltese investigators just acquiesced; on December 10, the day after the American re-broadcast in case that matters, "Henderson reported the Maltese were ready to let us back in to work, possibly as soon as December 17." [Marquise, p 73]

Video: Der Anschlag von Lockerbie Mythos und Wahrheit

"Der Anschlag von Lockerbie Mythos und Wahrheit"
(app., Lockerbie Attack:Myth and Truth)
A film by: Jean-Christoph Caron and Guy Smith A co-production of BBC and ZDF.
2008, Der Deutschen Fassung.

German language, obviously. My friend Nennt Mich Einfach Adam! provided a few translations/insights:
At 7:30
- At the airport Frankfurt the BKA (BundesKriminalAmt, the German FBI) found no evidence that a (suspicious) suitcase coming from Malta was introduced (“eingeschleust”).

(This is later repeated as quotation from the final BKA report on Lockerbie.)

- There was a flight from Malta and there was only a fragmented (lückenhafte) documentation of the match of baggage and passengers.

- The Leiter der Internationalen Terror Fahndung des BKA (head of the international terror investigation of the BKA), Manfred Klink, says: “There was a possibility that – possibly – here I want to be very cautious – possibly there was a suitcase that went through to the PanAm 103.”

- There were feeder flights for PA 103 not only from Malta but from 12 more airports.

At 8:55 to 9:55

- International flight security expert Siegfried Niedeck doubts that the terrorists intended to let the plane crash over Lockerbie. He speculates that the plane either 1) should explode over the Irish Sea or 2) that the terrorists intended to blow up the plane when on the tarmac at Heathrow. But they confused it due to the different time zones. He merely speculates. To that a wrong animation is shown according to which it was a flight from Frankfurt to the USA. (One of the minor errors in the film).

At 16:30

- Wilhelm Dietl tells: I know (from the stasi archives) of the cooperation between the GDR/Stasi and arab governments, arab intelligence organizations. They were invited to the GDR for training courses, starting with Marxism-Leninism and ending with exercises with handgrenades.

At 18:45

- Wilhelm Dietl denies the possibility that the Stasi was involved in the Lockerbie case: “The GDR was not in the terror bussiness”, he says.

All in all it is a fine documentary (with tiny errors) that shows us the main absurdities of the case but does not strongly advocate any special alternative theory.

This service is free of charge for all truth-seeking human beings.

See also the sister version for Brits BBC Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie. Some interesting comparisons could be made between the two versions. For example, with Germans watching this version, where's Bogomira Erac?

Video: The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie

"The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie." Prod/Dir Guy Smith, Ex Prod Sam Anstiss, Narr Caroline Catz. BBC Two. First Aired 31 August 2008.

See also the German sister version of this program co-produced with ZDF. It's quite different in notable ways. No Bogomira...

Video: JFM go to Parliament

15 November 2010

This series of Youtube postings show the meeting held last week at the Scottish parliament's petitions committee. Five core members (and later a signatory) of the Justice for Megrahi campaign - Dr. Jim Swire, Pr. Robert Black, Robert Forrester, Iain MacKie, Father Patrick Keegans - presented their case for e-petition 417, "Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to open an independent inquiry into the 2001 Kamp van Zeist conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988." It had closed 1,646 signatures, after being down for nearly half its allotted time.

These have fixed the formatting of the original on the Scottish Parliament site, in four parts of 15, 15, 15, and 4 min. The end conclusion was an agreement by the petitions committee to ask the Scottish government to re-investigate the conviction of al Megrahi.

See also the full text transcript