The Bedford Suitcase(s): master list

last edits Feb 17 2011

If we are to consider the possibility of a bomb introduction at Heathrow Airport, clearly we have to consider the account of Mr. John Bedford, longtime Pan Am luggage loader/driver at the airport. Bedford selected and was responsible for the initial loading of luggage container AVE4041PA, from which the blast would later originate. It’s been officially decided the bomb was in a reddish-brown hadshell Samsonite style suitcase, coming of a feeder from Germany and put in that container after Bedford left for the day.

However, only two suitcases of that type were seen in or destined for container 4041 – and these were the by Bedford himself, in roughly the spot the bomb would later detonate, well before the luggage from Germany arrived. An unabashed look at the simplest explanation would make one of the Bedford bags the source of that explosion, but the possibility was completely ruled out, on the official level, with ruthless force. Officially, Bedford's bags meant nothing - as much a coincidence as the Helsinki warning.

This post will serve to cover all relevant aspects of the two brown hardshell Samsonited John Bedford reported in container 4041. Most issues will be dealt with briefly here and in depth at the provided links.

Bedford statement to Detective Constable Adrian Dixon, January 9 1989
"I went to see Peter Walker in baggage build-up leaving Camjob in interline. I returned about 4.40 p.m., Camjob [sic] 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 these two bags, introduced at the same time in his absence, as of the the same Samsonite hardshell style. And a careful reading shows they're 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.

Somehow in official pronouncements, presumptions, and future questioning I've seen, and even most of the critics and free-thinkers have rendered the plural is singular. John Bedford, it's said, reported a brown Samsonite, and another suitcase of a similar, but not same, color. Then it becomes "the suitcase" he saw. Below all is singular, but be aware that's by some human convention and not actual reported fact.

The posts

A Smoking Gun Left in Plain Sight
Feb. 17, 2011: An exhaustive explanation of what the Bedford bags were and weren't. In summary, they were extremely like the bomb bag, but not Megrahi's bomb from Malta. They were never found after the bombing, were called interline luggage, were by deduction not interlie luggage, or any passenger's luggage. They were sidelined at every chance, and yet remain the best of clue to what really happened on December 21 and just where and when.

Visualizing the Bedford story
Detailed graphics explaining the geometry of it all, based on direct quotes. 

Video: Two Hard Cases Solve Another
A well-scored 10-minute video explaining in part the Bedford evidence, with to-scale animations and the two-cases problem addressed head-on.  

Dr. Hayes aft first felt this square-foot chunk of solid suitcase material, quite large to be from the bomb case, was beneath the bomb and resting on the floor. Later he noticed it must have been resting on other luggage and been the bomb bag. Hmmm...   

Bedford on the color of that Brown Samsonite
His fading - or broken? - memory of the highly relevant color of that (singular) hard case in the bomb corner. 

Arguments scientific and logical, all faulty, about why Bedford's cases should be ignored. Multiple sub-posts linked here, a lot of information. 

Contradictory and shifting accounts to Met police in 1989, to the Fatal Accident Inquiry in 1990, and at Camp Zeist in 2000. Long quotes, minimal notes. 

Interline shed chronology
From trial transcripts, events as reported by Bedford, Kamboj, and others, distilled into one timeline for the afternoon of December 21. 

Yet another Red Flag From Heathrow
The only thing that has made me doubt any of the Bedford story is the shifting testimony of his boss, Peter Walker. That doubt is explored in more detail in the link below ("after..."), but mostly debunked in the comments there. 

After the break-In
Tying together Ray Manly's story of a cut lock to airside with Bedford's report. What might have happened in the 16 hours between them to have these clues unified in a London origin plot? One plausible narrative (albeit with two possibilities outlined for the middle part) traces my own best guess.  

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