by Caustic Logic
lat edit 3/13/10
Recently, I started an on-line discussion to take questions from skeptics, in an attempted dialog that worked alright, considering. I started with a provocative statement that they should stop and consider if al Megrahi were really innocent. I kept arguing back instead of just taking note of the responses they gave. But I did take note, and can summarize the responses in categories. Below is a list based on that, but expanded to include more detail-oriented questions or points they should have posed.:
1) I don’t care, I don’t wan to think about it, click.
This is the ultimate stumper – aside from someone who doesn’t even hear your call or answer the phone, nothing’s more impossible to argue with. I have no rebuttal link for this one. It's your best bet if you're afraid of knowledge, and it's not too late to stop reading now.
Subsets of group 1 include those who do and don’t have strong opinions on the case despite their conscious denial of knowledge. I suppose that can't be helped.
2) Why should I care?
Dialog is now possible. This one should be easy enough to answer. 270 people were killed, and the real killers escaped unnamed as the Libyans have been harrassed for decades to distract us. Talk about "giving comfort to terrorists around the world" (to paraphrase Robert Mueller) Most of the world already knows or suspects this; it's mostly Americans who are grossly behind the curve on the issue.
3) Officials already did prove their case with evidence and a defense, and… whatever, and I see no reason to doubt their work.
There are tree sub-versions of this:
- we have no right to question an official verdict (rare)
- we have no reason to question the findings here (more common, often code for the above)
- I don’t care enough to even consider reason or rights at all. (by far the most common implicit response)
4) Do something with this other than tell me.
The "take it to the cops, kid" approach. Get off the internet and launch an investigation, prove your case in court, have a news story written in the New York Times, etc. This purports to be the most constructive offering, but also reflects an ironic anti-question stance. "I'll consider your questioning of the answers I was given by 'the authorities' as soon you've proven your one solid answer and convinced the same 'authorities' to tell me these new answers. Until it's official, it's just words." It's almost as if reality itself has no power to lend its weight to words. Either that, or we're hopelessly unable to discern that reality and must blindly rely on official decisions. Seems a depressing and almost Orwellian mindset but it seems to underpin most of the protest I've seen.
5) Circumstantial clues re: Megrahi’s activities and financing.
As the only evidence-based retort, this emerged as it had just made the news again at the moment I was asking for input. Megrahi had a mysterious business office in Zurich, and millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account. Oh, and since we know he’s a terrorist, that’s probably terrorizing money. So that proves he’s a terrorist, and his business was just a front for terrorizing. Again, a closer look reveals a different picture and shows how people's imaginations can run away with them.
6) Evidence isn't Proof
(once accepting some valid problems with the evidence and the case against Megrahi) A few problems with the evidence and the case doesn’t automatically prove (insert opponent’s assertion and/or a strawman here). Repeat process for each of the 188 points raised.
Other Questions that Might have been asked:
7) There are so many competing confusing theories but just one clear “official story.”
For whatever reason, there's been a lot of distracting noise and bad theorizing about this issue, like during the entire 1990s. CIA, drugs, ... Don't let it get you down. Simply check out the London Origin theory. It's clearer than you can imagine.
8) Okay, if Megrahi didn't do it, then who did, smart guy?
We think the "how" is addressed by the above linked London theory. There's no evidence of Libyan involvement there, nor of anyone really, in the sense of direct evidence that's been admitted. But the timing of the explosion, 38 minutes after takeoff, matched perfectly the average time delay of the airliner-altimeter bombs made just weeks earlier by Jordanian intelligence officer and "one of our guys" Marwan Khreesat.
Of course the PFLP-GC cell he was working with in West Germany (undercover, perhaps twice so) was busted in October 1988, but some members and at least one live altimeter bomb slipped away. If one of those was loaded at London, it was probably by a splinter off that PFLP-GC cell, managing to get one or perhaps two of Khreesat's devices onto PA 103, in the corner of AVE4041.
9) They had to be Libyan, because of the MEBO timer sold only to Libya.
Indeed, a chunk of a circuit board was found matching the MST-13 timer made by rather slippery Swiss company Mebo. Mebo says they made only 20 of these, on order for Libyan external intelligence (terrorism-linked) JSO. Several have been seized in two raids in 1986 and 1988 in Africa (Togo and Senegal). And then one was found at Lockerbie, say a few RARDE scientists.
Classified at PT/35(b) on its discovery in May 1989, it was only identified as a Libya-linked MST-13 a year later with held from J "Tom" Thurman and the CIA. This altered the investigation's course from a Khreesat-style altimeter bomb and allowed for multiple ascents (Malta-Frakfurt-London). And of course it pointed to Tripoli as the sponsors of the terror.
Some accept the timer bit as evidence, but look for other sources of the MST-13 to other groups: Mebo sales to others, fabrications made by the CIA or simply a knock-off company, a Western-seized copy cut up and planted in the debris? Mebo claims it handed some MST-13 handmade prototypes to East German Stasi, who in turn had backed the PFLP-GC. But this was not from a (brown) prototype but a (green-ish) machine-made board like those seized in Africa. Such speculation on alternate meanings for the MST-13 hasn't led anywhere yet.
This blogger concludes too many good reasons to discount PT/35(b) as valid evidence, and too few to accept it.
Main Post on the timer fragment PT/35(b)
10) The bomb came from Malta, which is where Megrahi was on that very day.
The bomb that brought down Flight 103 is alleged to have been introduced in Malta, sent on Air Malta flight 180 (KM180) to Frankfurt, and sent by its tags onto Flight 103. Indeed, KM180 took off from Malta at a time when Megrahi was at the airport there.
But the evidence showing this is neither decisive nor verifiable and contradicted by Air Malta's records for KM180 show no unaccompanied bags that could have been sent on to Flight 103. The evidence for such a bag came from the Frankfurt Airport end, and their computer luggage records seem to have disappeared right after the crash. A copy of the relevant part, what went onto Flight 103, surfaced by luck it seems, over a month after the bombing, but only got to Scottish police six months later, altering the investigation towards Malta in September 1989.
See: Evidence Reconsidered: The Bag from Malta
11) Tony Gauci identified the guy in a photo lineup, and a real lineup in court.
Maltese shopkeeper Anthony "Tony" Gauci was latched onto by Scottish police for having sold numerous clothing items found scorched at Lokerbie. Over many many interviews, he recalled selling enough of that assortment to a certain Libyan (he thought) on what seems November 23 1988, a day Megrahi was not on Malta. With some deep-tissue massage, this later became leading evidence of Megrahi's direct involvement in the bombing.
Gauci saw Megrahi's photo in the news just days prior to pointing to another one for police in 1990. Megrahi's face was on European news daily before Gauci again pointed in person in 1999. He was pointing to what he's described as the person most "resembling" and "like" the purchaser among the lineup shown. Aside from being 15 years younger, six inches shorter, and nowhere near the island on November 23, Megrahi could almost be the guy.
The sum total of Gauci's evidence, and the problems with it, is (or will be) covered in detail in another post.
12) Libya admitted responsibility and paid out billions of dollars!
Why would they pay up $2.7 billion and confess "responsibility," unless they knew they were guilty? Just to get out of sanctions? That's ... oh, pretty reasonable. But why won't they clearly admit guilt? Or did they? Not clear enough!
See: Libya's "Admissions of Guilt"
13) Just what is wrong with the evidence or case against Megrahi?
Pretty Much everything. Guided Tour of the Case Against Megrahi
They've got one guy doing almost everything involved and getting caught at all of it. Then they whine about not getting the "big bosses" who had nothing left to do except "plot" the thing, and set the special timer to blow up right over Scotland, to find the miraculously resilient timer bits, etc...
14) I should know already, but… what IS the evidence against Megrahi?
Here, Wikipedia. I'll have my own post here sometime on that.
15) They couldn’t get away with a conspiracy! It would have been exposed!
Whatever happened here, it was gotten away with in spades. Please got look at what happened and then come tell me that again, buddy. Boy these people... wait, I wrote that "question."