"Take Taggs From Air Malta"

The Case Against Fhimah, part one
May 30 2010

edits June 5

Everyone who accepts Abdelbaset Ali al Megrahi's guilt for the PA103 bombing agrees he couldn't have acted alone. Speculation runs primarily upward to Col. Gaddafi, but also sidewise to his imagined ground level accomplices. Only one was ever clearly fingered, originally as a JSO (Libyan intelligence) operative: Lamin Khalifah Fhimah. It was decided he was working with Libyan Arab Airlines at Malta’s Luqa airport only as cover for his JSO plotting with Megrahi on Malta.

The 1991 indictments against both accused are based on Fhimah penetrating the airport system, up to and including getting the bomb case onto Air Malt flight KM180. As of the 2000 trial, the final Opinion of the Court says, “the Crown no longer suggest that the second accused was a member of the Libyan Intelligence Service,” though his LAA "cover" employment was still acknowledged. Aside from this curious reversal, the Crown maintained a string of “inferences” regarding Fhimah’s December 1988 activity. The Zeist judges considered these claims and rightly dismissed them as “speculation rather than inference.”

These supporting points will be dealt with separately, with this article focused on what the judges called “the principal piece of evidence against [Fhimah],” being the clues read from “two entries in his 1988 diary.” One of these pages is shown below.

It was in April 1991 that Scottish police retrieved Fhimah’s work diary “from the offices of Medtours, a company which had been set up by the second accused and Mr Vassallo.” with the best quote miners around, the investigation managed to glean these two entries, described in the final opinion's paragraph 84:
At the back of the diary there were two pages of numbered notes. The fourteenth item on one page is translated as “Take/collect tags from the airport (Abdulbaset/Abdussalam)”. The word ‘tags’ was written in English, the remainder in Arabic.

On the diary page for 15 December there was an entry, preceded by an asterisk, “Take taggs from Air Malta”, and at the end of that entry in a different coloured ink “OK”. Again the word ‘taggs’ (sic) was in English.
These were taken as a careless plotter jotting down clues of his plot in a diary he kept. He even wrote “tags” in English lettering to make sure the Brits he was targeting could come back and read it easily. The judges explain further:
The Crown maintained that the inference to be drawn from these entries was that the second accused had obtained Air Malta interline tags for the first accused, and that as an airline employee he must have known that the only purpose for which they would be required was to enable an unaccompanied bag to be placed on an aircraft.
The three Scottish judges rightly dismissed the bolded assertion: "it would be going too far to infer that he was necessarily aware that they were to be used for the purpose of blowing up anaircraft." Finally, they summarized their opinion on this evidence and inferences in paragraph 85:
There is no doubt that the second accused did make the entries in the diary to which we have referred. In the context of the explosive device being placed on KM180 at Luqa in a suitcase which must have had attached to it an interline tag to enable it to pass eventually on to PA103, these entries can easily be seen to have a sinister connotation, particularly in the complete absence of any form of explanation.
Had it been necessary to resolve this matter, we would have found it a difficult problem.
However due to a lack of any single clear outside clue, they could not read much into it. Giaka had stories, but the judges didn’t believe them, and otherwise it was nothing but Crown speculation:
While therefore there may well be a sinister inference to be drawn from the diary entries, we have come to the conclusion that there is insufficient other acceptable evidence to support or confirm such an inference, […] In these circumstances the second accused falls to be acquitted.
If the judges had sufficient clues before forcing them back to consider these entries, it sounds like they could well have accepted his guilt; they cite the entries as fairly suspicious given the “absence of any form of explanation.” But that’s a silly thing to expect – these are quick notes by Fhimah to Fhimah, to access his own brain. Of course he’s not going to explain the background of each note.

But some clues could be gathered by snooping around a bit, as famed reporter Ed Bradley did for a 60 Minutes segment in 1999 [transcript]. After explaining the supposed importance of the diary entries, and covering the lack of evidence for any suspicious suitcase coming from Malta, Bradley returned to those odd entries.
People here who knew Fhimah say he wanted to get his airline’s [Libyan Arab Airlines] baggage tags printed in Malta for less than it cost to print them in Libya. That way he could make a commission on the deal. They say he wanted the Air Malta tags as a sample to show the printer. And there are other notations in this diary that support that story. On December 10th Fhimah wrote “go to the printer.” Another note in the back of the diary says “contact the printer.”
It’s not jotted down right next to his alleged slip-up, but the non-terrorist explanation is to be found. The unusual lettering might suggest he was going to an English-speaking printer on Malta (Maltese and English are the official languages there). This distinct possibility lessens the clarity and importance of the central alleged clue. The other supporting guesses were weaker yet as evidence, and clearly it was no mere technicality that Fhimah was acquitted. There really was “no case to answer” as he plead. A little known fact is that Scots law allows judges three rulings: guilty, not guilty, and not proven (meaning likely guilty but not clear enough to say so). The judges chose the clearer statement “not guilty.”

And if Megrahi’s necessary airside accomplice were truly innocent of the charges, that leaves us with nothing but speculation as to who did assist the bomber. Because Megrahi couldn’t have acted alone, if he acted at all.

Guided Climb for Wary Novices

First posted Jan 16 2010
by Caustic Logic
last updates May 12

Left, convicted Lockerbie bomber, right, Col. Gaddafi's son 
and likely successor. The angrier this picture makes you, 
the more you need to read on.  Seriously.

In this article I reach out to those just learning about the controversy over Abdelbaset al Megrahi's guilt for the Pan Am 103 bombing. In particular, I'm speaking to my fellow Americans and worldwide the many "official story supporters." If you feel, since almost everything you’ve heard about the bombing from the government, from the news, from the people you talk with, has been based on the fact that Libyan agent Abdelbaset al Megrahi is guilty, this page is for you.

If your stomach was turned by "the bomber's" release to die (or plot?) at home, this page is for you. Steamed as hell about the "hero's welcome" afforded the convict? Did you boycott Scotch whiskey for a week in August?

Do you care whether or not these presumptions are actually true? Then this page is definitely for you. 
If you feel the true perpetrators of an airliner bombing that killed 270 souls should be known and punished - or at least known - this page is for you. If however you have no stomach to learn, or consider, or care at all one way or the other, this site is NOT for you.

If you're not sure, here are some sample thoughts: Frequently Un-Asked Questions and common retorts addressed.

A bit rusty on what Lockerbie/Flight 103 even means? Read The Magnitude and Firstness of the Lockerbie Bombing

And if you're somewhat curious but all this text is intimidating, you might be asking "isn't there a video version? A Youtube introduction?" Yes! Several of them! Watch a few and then if you care to, dig deeper into the facts and issues they touch on. That's part of how I got started figuring this stuff out.

But He's Guilty!
The byline after Megrahi's name, "Lockerbie bomber," is so widespread as to seem, to most Americans at least, a Natural Fact. British police, American investigators, the UN Security Council sort of, and three Scottish judges (or eight, depending on your take) all act in apparent belief in Libyan guilt via the case against the two accused. Heck, the Libyans themselves admit it (or so it's been made to seem) and paid up big cash. But ultimately words is words and deeds is deeds. Somewhere between the two and sometimes connecting them are the devious twins intelligence and evidence.

The FBI’s lead Pan Am 103 Lockerbie investigator, Richard Marquise, loves to differentiate the two, selectively. Marquise has often spoken up for the investigation he led, as being led by the evidence, not by politics. Mr. Marquise is occasionally active discussing the issue in e-mails with compatriots and in the pitched comments section of an amazing blog run by Professor Robert Black. In one recent message he reiterated to commenter (and something of a mentor to me) “Rolfe”
"There is no reason whatsoever for anyone to believe me. I (and my colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic) collected the evidence and presented it to a Scottish court. It was they--not me--who found the evidence compelling enough to convict Mr. Megrahi. It was they who believed the evidence was proof beyond a reasonable doubt and they are the only ones who needed convincing." [emph added]
But the judges aren't all that mattered, or else they wouldn't have needed that evidence brought in, by investigators they trusted and believed. Beyond that we have seen sternly worded government press releases and talking head opinions and Senatorial posturing as tough on Libya, and the expectant media coverage of the trial and "disastrous" release and Megrah's continuing refusal to die. Public opinion matters, which is probably why Mr. Marquise still takes enough interest to write books, grant video interviews, and debate the issue on blogs.

There’s no doubt, as the man says, "Convicted Lockerbie Bomber" Megrahi is legally guilty of the conspiracy he was convicted for in a Court of Law back in 2001. Three separate judges specially appointed to preside without a jury unanimously decided, on January 31 2001, that al Megrahi was guilty of the scenario related at trial. It’s got the binding power of law. Nations have moved by the decision.

Yet in the real physical world he and we inhabit, in which a certain plane with 259 then-passengers ruptured at a certain altitude... well, that's another story that the masses haven't heard yet.

How can there be any doubt, when the whole point of a trial is to remove doubt within reasonable reach, and bring legal authority in line with established reality? Consider that the judges, in the unusual trial at Camp Zeist, also unanimously decided Megrahi’s accomplice was NOT guilty. Both decisions have got the binding power of law, so legally (it could be argued) Megrahi did it without an accomplice, which is physically all but impossible. That’s the difference.

Also consider that O.J. Simpson was acquitted, and that millions of Americans have no problem questioning a high-profile judgment there.

Some of the most important details of how the trial was run, what the judges considered and how, prosecution and defense strategies, and the like, is beyond the faculties of the current staff of this site. We will try to locate the best analyses from the legal perspective in the near future, but even then and especially now, the site will focus mainly on the evidence the case was built up on.

Marquise admitted to Time magazine in 2007 the case was “based on "a series of circumstances," and all must be true for Megrahi to be guilty.” Unfortunately, each piece, on close examination, is either inconclusive, unverified, implausible, handled strangely, has changed over time, is associated with million-dollar payments, presents logic problems on a variety of levels, or some combination of the same. There is indeed serious reason to suspect the judges got it wrong, right at square one, by accepting the prosecution’s evidence at all. This may sound like an extreme position, but some brilliant and well-informed people out there agree and are convinced that at least one, or two, or all of the central planks are unacceptably suspect. As this site will demonstrate, such attitudes are fully justified.

Introductory-level, point-by-point Guided tour of the case against Megrahi, including the stuff you haven’t been told yet. Just what’s Wrong with the "official story"?

So Then, Who Did Do It?
This is not your standard conspiracy theorist fantasy, These are often based on a few small problems with the "official story," a feeling that something "isn't quite right," selectively read evidence and a slew of bad presumptions, stated with born-again fervor. There are those who will cloud the issue and make it all seem wildly speculative, but in fact, the most likely "alternate" scenario is not the slightest bit outlandish, in itself. In fact, many revisionists lead with their answer to this stumper it's so clear.

If Libyans didn't run this sow, then the "next best" evidence points not to the CIA or reptoid alien overlords, but to a violent Palestinian group based from Syria, and acting on behalf of the Ayatollahs in Iran. Iran had motive - the US shoot-down of Iran Air 655 with 290 aboard. They had the means - money and connections leveraged into a deal with the PFLP-GC who set up a bomb-making operation in Germany. The opportunity - well, airports can be breached when there's a strong will.

The original section on this was too long for an intro article and has been removed to the post Whodunnit and Howitdun.

Proponents of the PFLP-CG theory, or any other alternate story, have less of the facts established for them by the investigation and must rely on speculation and less trustworthy lower-tier "intelligence." And we've spent most of the time between the bombing and now in a confusing stew of misinformation that has bogged down those who would question (essentially, the "drug swap theory"). But contrasting this and clarifying the PFLP-GC hand is the the London origin theory. From the obfuscated to the suppressed to the always-obvious, the evidence supporting a bomb introduction at Heathrow airport, London.

"Have I been lied to? Really? That Bad?"
We could, just for one example, consider star witness Giaka. He was all the rage in 1991, his elaborate tales (he majored in literature!) of Megrahi's and Fhima's guilt connected the less direct clues and so underpinned the indictments issued by a US grand jury and read out by US and UK Justice officials in November. And this decision underpinned the sanctions that cost economic distress and some number of lives in Libya over the 1990s, demanding only the two be handed over for trial in the US.

Tripoli tried to relent for years to a compromise trial, until one was established and the suspects handed over in 1999. Before the evidence brought before judges in 2000, the Scottish Crown's prosecutors called on Giaka again, with nine years to think it over, as what many called the "star witness." With the Defense's assistance, the Judges found Giaka to be what he's universally considered today - a charlatan for hire that the Americans pimped to support their flimsy case - the Scottish investigators, prosecutors, and so on accepted and promoted this; they didn't necessarily have to willfully conspire, but somehow, a cluster of lies had become a multi-corroborated legal reality by which nations could be punished and which still holds most peoples' minds.

Go ahead and read the indictment of Megrahi and Fhimah. Of 16 points (a-p), most of them (12) are inconclusive statements about the two's business deals and movements. Of the few conclusive points, (m)'s main thrust that on December 20 they "did ... cause a suitcase to be introduced at malta" is pure Giaka, and laughed out of court as clearly made up much later to appease the Americans and secure his and his family's relocation there. Point K on stolen tags might be from Giaka. I'm not sure about point (c) "...have in your possession and under your control quantities of high performance plastic explosive..." Giaka said Fhimah kept Megrahi's TNT, not plastics, in a locked desk drawer at the airport. I've never seen any other support for either of them touching any explosives, so where this came from is a mystery. He also gave other clues that didn't warrant direct mention here, like the report on bombing a "British plane" that Giaka himself was asked to write and hand in to Megrahi.

If obvious falsehoods like this that can get through for almost a decade, what else might still be legally accepted today despite being physically untrue?

Susan of Grandeur

A Tough Sell on Capitol Hill, part four
May 22 2010

From Unregistered to Unfit
As a congressional aide in 1994 Susam Lindauer supported the claims of Dr. Richard Fuisz’, as explained in part three. This was a vague claim of knowledge of the true bombers of Flight 103, Syrians rather than the Libyans charged.

This was a small episode, however, and Lindauer is most famously known for activities a decade later. She got in serious legal/political trouble after a January 2003 attempt to urge the Bush administration to rethink its push for war in Iraq - and reportedly getting paid for it by Saddam Hussein’s government.

As it so happens, Lindauer’s second cousin was President Bush’s chief of staff Andy Card, and it seems it was her attempt to get leverage by playing the Andy card that got her noticed. Some kind of investigation then found she had met with Iraqi agents in Baghdad in 2002 and accepted $5,000 in cash and a vial of anthrax. Kidding on the second one. [1]

However she got the idea, Lindauer was jailed in March 2004 for the good advice and acting as an “unregistered agent” of Iraq. While the occupation ground on, Lindauer had her head examined and was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial or, by extension it’s implied, to do much else. This is a tactic used both to smear critics and also to protect the ill. In this case, multiple doctors and anecdotal evidence agree Lindauer has psychic powers and a special destiny, or suffers paranoia and delusions of grandeur, depending. [1]

It was decided she would have to take anti-psychotics to “become competent” for trial, and she refused to accept the need (or maybe was afraid of dampening her special powers). Judge Michael Mukasey of Federal District Court in Manhattan decided the Government’s case was not strong or important enough to warrant forced medication. So she was released on bail – 100 times her alleged payment from Iraq - in September 2006. On effectively dismissing the government’s case, Mukasey told the New York Times “there is no indication that Lindauer ever came close to influencing anyone, or could have.” [1]

2009: Sage Susan Speaks
She would continue to make furtive attempts, of course, and eventually returned to the Lockerbie case. In a letter that she sent to Professor Black’s site of that name, just before Abdelbaset al Megrahi’s release in 2009, Lindauer made an interesting string of statements. First, she supported the controversial decision to send Megrahi home, as he was fully innocent. But Abu Nidal was involved, based on “confessions,” and he had been harbored once by Libya. Therefore, “Libya would not be entitled to rescind its apology.” [2]

Nidal is suspected of working for the US all along, but I’ve not studied that nor seen any compelling evidence of his involvement in PA103. It was megrahi’s (and Fhimah’s) plot that was the case against Libya, not hosting Abu Nidal, and, as Professor Black pointed out, there has been no “apology.” “[Libya] has acknowledged responsibility for the acts of its citizens. If Mr Megrahi's conviction is overturned there is then no Libyan citizen convicted of anything for which the state has accepted responsibility.” [2]

Perhaps to build up her unfitness resume, she explained her special claims to authority:
“During negotiations for the Lockerbie trial -- which I started in New York with Libya's diplomats at the UN -- I saw documents* which prove Abu Talb and Ahmed Jibril orchestrated the attack. Abu Nidal was the third head of the hydra.” [emph mine]
She may have been involved in some way, but not in a position to “start” negotiations on such an issue. For this she cites papers that she delivered.in late 1997, plus “back-channel talks” where she personally “assured [Gaddafi’s] government that his two men would have access to witnesses and documents to prove their innocence.” [2] I could see Gaddafi being influenced by her, but otherwise, I'm with Mukasey.

She also explained in a follow-up letter and a comment her 9-year CIA/DIA job in “anti-terrorism” in both Iraq and Libya. From this she knew of “something very special” about her assignment the CIA wants kept quiet. But she was "strong enough to stand up to them,” and that was just why “they had to hit me so hard." The “unfit for trial” decision, she surmises, was both a government ploy to stop their own weak case going ahead and of course a "hit" to smear her reputation.

Susan Lindauer may in fact know something, and could have been targeted for discrediting by a Bush team bent on making examples of do-gooders. Nonetheless Lindauer and, more importantly, her information, seem quite a bit off. On Lockerbie she’s added nothing of value, and otherwise, to invert an old saying, even if they are out to get you, that doesn’t mean you’re not paranoid.
[1] New York Times. "Ex-Congress Aide Accused in Spy Case Is Free on Bail." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/09/nyregion/09spy.html?_r=1
[2] The Lockerbie Case. 13 August 2009. (letter, follow-up, R Black note, Lindauer comment.) http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/2009/08/from-susan-lindauer.html

Refusing Fuisz

A Tough Sell on Capitol Hill, part three
May 21 2010

As the 2000 trial of Libyans Megrahi and Fhimah was being prepared, one controversy that surfaced and threatened was a revived claim by Dr Richard Fuisz. Reported in the Sunday Herald (Scotland), Fuisz was described as “a multi-millionaire businessman and pharmaceutical researcher,” reported by other sources to have been “the CIA's key operative” in Damascus, Syria in 1988. It was said he could “immediately resolve” the issue and name the true perpetrators of the bombing of Flight 103. None of them were Libyan.

We know of this because he deposited his story - or rather the fact that he had a story - with a Congressional Aide to Rep. Ron Wyden (D-OR). A solid liberal on the House’s blue team, Wyden’s own involvement is unclear. But according to the Herald, this aide shortly swore an affidavit regarding Fuisz’ claims. He had tried to tell the CIA about this before, but had the reports destroyed, the aide says. Further, she relates Fuisz’ assertion that:
"If the government would let me, I could identify the men behind this attack today. I could do the right thing I could go into any crowded restaurant and pick out these men I can tell you their home addresses You won't find [them] anywhere in Libya. You will only find [them] in Damascus. I was investigating on the ground and I know."
The government didn’t let him and one month after that affidavit “a court in Washington DC issued an order,” the Herald explains, “barring him from revealing any information on the grounds of ‘military and state secrets privilege’” Classic conspiracy theory fuel.

However, the paper also reported his gagging actually stemmed from another issue entirely – as part of the legal proceedings about criminal American military assistance to Iraq in its war against Iran. As a millionaire pharmaceutical researcher, that his secrets guarded the "nation's security or diplomatic relations" seems quite troubling.

Dr. Fuisz had apparently held his secret knowledge about Lockerbie for quite some time before coming out with it in late 1994. And legal proceedings being what they are (complex but largely predictable), he might just have guessed the Iraq weapons case could have him silenced any time – as happened in November. October then would be a strange time to simply tell someone, in effect, “I could name the true perps later on, except that I might be gagged.” If he wanted to tell the truth, why not just tell it outright before it’s too late?

There has been an amazing amount of apparent disinformation surrounding the Flight 103 case, and my sense of that is tingling a bit here. But I can’t see either ruling our or fully believing that Fuisz’ locked box contains a key to the case, as some have concluded. The Herald reported some unnamed UN ambassadors, alerted of Fuisz’ story and his gagging, urged the order be lifted to allow him to speak before the trial of the two Libyans. The request was of course ignored (I have the transcripts from the trial and Fuisz is not mentioned that I could find).

Now the congressional aide who had testified to Fuisz’ hints, one Susan Lindauer, was not so much ignored as attacked - albeit a decade later and over a different issue, again involving Iraq.
Next: Part four: Susan of Grandeur
Source (throughout):
MacKay, Neil. "Lockerbie: CIA witness gagged by US government." Sunday Herald. May 28 2000.

A Three-Year Test Drive, Parked 8 Years, and then a High-Speed Crash, pt 1

written January 22 2010
re-posted September 20 

 Note: what follows is the first half of a looong working essay I just had to see up even before it's done. It covers from Giaka's defection to the start of trial preparations in 1999. Part two will be long-delayed, but will call on Giaka's direct testimony via trial transcripts. This was previously (also) posted at a separate blog. 

A Missing Link
Among the sources collecting the evidence against Abdelbaset al Megrahi (and/or his accused accomplice Lamin Fhimah), most mention the same three “keys to the solution of the case” given by the FBI’s lead investigator on the SCOTBOM case, Richard Marquise, in his 2006 book. He gives these as Tony Gauci, “the Mebo chip,” and the souvenir printout of the Frankfurt luggage records taken by Bogomiras Erac, which was strangely “the only record” anyone could find of this vital information. [Marquise p 210] There are other peripheral clues of importance, but few with the resonance, clarity, and specificity of these three as indicators of Libya’s guilt, via the two accused.

 But missing from such formulations is a fourth and most important key – Abdul Majid Giaka [different spellings have been used], a Libyan intelligence defector turned intelligence asset for the U.S. side of the investigation. In fact, in coming on board four months before the Lockerbie bombing, Giaka’s connections with Malta, Luga Airport, and Libyan intelligence put him in a prime position to be the first to mention both accused - to his CIA handlers - in the first place. The majority of everything he said has by now been discredited and shown to be fabrication – at best enabled and at worst demanded by his American friends.

Giaka’s intelligence was transformed to evidence with some CIA/FBI alchemy, tying several loose ends together and, in essence, providing the skeleton for the ‘Libyan villains’ case to stand on. The defector’s tales underpinned the US/UK joint indictment, the years-long extradition wrangle, and was finally brought as far as the Scottish Court as Camp Zeist in 2000. But as we’ll see, it went no further and has been mentioned as little as possible since.

Effective Defector Detected
Abdul Majid started this journey as a self-described disaffected Libyan perturbed by Tripoli’s terroristic ways and Gaddafi’s Masonic schemes. A low-level intelligence agent with the JSO, and stationed on Malta, he approached the US embassy there in August 1988 offering his services. Paul Foot’s seminal 2000 booklet Lockerbie: Flight From Justice explains how this started a “long series of meetings with American intelligence officials in Malta,” 41 secret meetings total, spanning almost three years from “September 1988, the same month he started getting regular payments from the CIA.” [Foot]

For $1,000 US per month, rising to $1,500, he wasn't a huge payback at first. “His information was patchy and unreliable,” Foot reported. “He pretended he was a senior official in the Libyan intelligence organisation JSO though in reality (as the Americans quickly realised) he was a former garage mechanic who helped to maintain JSO vehicles.” The BBC Conspiracy Files program in 2008 treated this subject fairly, and summed up “not so much double-oh-seven, more WD40.” [CF 44:20] He had however “graduated to the exalted position of assistant station manager for Libyan Arab Airlines,” Foot concedes, work carried out at Luqa International Airport, on the island's near-south side.

Giaka was given the code-name "puzzle piece" by his CIA handlers, [CF, 43:29] at least one which also worked at the airport, under cover as a baggage handler. [LTBU 8/29] The agent kept tabs on him, writing cables back to the CIA that named the subject in code as “P/1” (and referred to the JSO as ESO). P/1’s job there involved aircraft security, “but he is also obliged to assist ESO operatives transitting or on missions to Malta,” according to a copy shown on the Conspiracy Files. That’s a reasonably rich source for intel reports, but the agent noted Giaka “has been a “shirker” while in Malta, generally dodging ESO assignments since his Luqa appointment.” [CF 44:12]

Whatever the defector’s shortfalls, in October 1988 he reported his first big lead – Lamin Fhimah, a “JSO agent” also working at the airport, kept eight pounds of TNT in a locked desk drawer of an office. Paul Foot again relates how two months later in December (whether before or after the Lockerbie bombing is unclear) “he was asked about the movements of JSO officials through Luqa airport. He replied that a man he regarded as a senior JSO officer, Abdelbasset Ali Mohamed Al Megrahi, had passed through Luqa airport on 7 December.” [Foot] The names may not have meant much at first among Giaka’s other intelligence, but as soon as investigators were willing to consider a Libyan link, and it was found that both were also present on Malta December 20, the eventual suspects were clearly on file and ready to drop in place even before 1988 had closed.

Giaka and America Rescue Each Other
By the beginning of September 1989 the investigation’s scope was narrowing in, of all places, on Malta. The oddly-delayed Frankfurt printout revealed in mid-August an unaccompanied bag from Malta had apparently gone onto PA103A. At the same time, the tattered Maltese clothes from inside that bag had led to Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, who gave his first statement about the buyer on September 1. But Giaka was probably not told these things as, on September 4th Foot maintains, “his CIA handlers in Malta told Giaka he was “on trial” until the next New Year (1990).” [Foot]

The informant likely grew nervous as his bridges to America became more precarious, his bridges on Malta stood burned, and his bridges back to Libya were threatening. The 1994 film The Maltese Double Cross featured interviews with both accused, who indeed knew Giaka, at least in passing. Megrahi confirmed he did security work there, and “he was hated by other employees there.” Fhimah added “He behaved badly towards the employees working with us, in dealing with passengers. The Maltese airport authorities know this.” [MDC 1:28:10-1:31:28] Some bias might be expected of course, but others interviewed for the film vouched that he was irresponsible, a partier and amasser of debts. And he wasn’t going to be getting any more popular trying to sell intelligence to the CIA.

One anonymous Libyan related for the film how Giaka was put up for transfer at some point: “they asked him to return back to Libya because his contract finished, for his staying in Malta.” Apparently desperate to maintain his situation there and his possible ticket away from Libya, Giaka asked the CIA to pay for a surgery to injure his arm so he wouldn’t be called away to serve in the Libyan Army. [Foot] They apparently consented and “after a few days,” the anomymous source said “[Giaka] came here after the hotel and he had a plaster on his hand” which he said was from falling down the stairs. This seemed to help him “get an extension of around three or four months to stay here.” [MDC 1:31:15]

By 1991, the regular cables were describing P/1 as “a shattered person” who “does not want to be part of the security apparatus and is certainly milking any of his contacts, including us, for whatever he can get.” [NYT] The Americans were ready to milk back - the fruit was ripe and dripping with urgent ‘get-me-outta-here’ intel possibilities. Perhaps realizing that Giaka really was the best they were going to get, the decision was made by July 11, when the Department of Justice told Mr. Giaka they would “accept or reject him" as a witness "based on his response to their Inquiries,” which would be done at leisure within the United States. The very next day, Foot writes,
“Giaka, to his intense gratification, was taken off Malta by an American warship, and interrogated there by an FBI officer, Hal Hendershot. Before long he was safe in the US where he was later joined by his wife. He was paid a regular salary in exchange for constant interrogations by the CIA and the FBI. What he told them plainly satisfied them. In October, in conditions of great secrecy, he gave evidence to a US Grand Jury. The result, in November 1991, was a detailed indictment charging Megrahi and Fhimah with murder by planting a bomb in a suitcase on a flight from Malta to Frankfurt and thence to London – and the explosion over Lockerbie.” [Foot]
The World Dances to the Fantasist Tune (Played Real Loud) The United States government for this point forward until now, without interruption, has accepted the core of this indictment as unassailable truth. The findings of Libyan guilt via al Megrahi and Fhhimah and others not named, the findings found primarily in Giaka’s words, has been the basis of economic sanction, diplomatic pressures, approval of clandestine operations, public vilification of Libya allowing more of the same to pass, and so on.

Most of the world was rather surprised at the turn of events, running counter to all the old evidence that made more sense and involved no Libyans. And was, of course, highly inconvenient for the Americans. Naturally, suspicions of cover-up flourished, especially in the UK. This was primarily channeled into an intriguing “CIA drug-running” cluster of theories (which this author considers a huge distraction) that got its biggest boost with an April 1992 cover story in Time magazine.

A Department of State press release from the same month sought to counter growing confusion at home and abroad by calmly laying out the facts in a press release. The Suitcase itself, fairly non-descript and not directly accounted for anywhere in the luggage records of three airports, was prime evidence at the time, thanks to Giaka’s incredible contributions.
“Forensic analysis has identified the bag that contained the Pan Am 103 bomb as a brown, hard-sided Samsonite suitcase. The following evidence links Al-Megrahi and Fhimah to the suitcase: -- Al-Megrahi, traveling in alias, arrived in Valletta with Fhimah from Libya on the evening of 20 December 1988--the day before the bombing. Fhimah, the former manager of the LAA office in Valletta, retained full access to the airport. Al-Megrahi and Fhimah brought a large, brown hard-sided Samsonite suitcase with them into Malta on that occasion. [DoS]
They make it sound like the Fact they had such a suitcase is evidence they planted the bomb, but in reality, Giaka’s intelligence was the only evidence they had such a suitcase. This emerges chronologically, below. That his stories wound up matching the emerging evidence at the scene is highly troubling – the similarities are from neither truth (as we’ll see) nor likely from coincidence. It seems Mr P/1 served as a two-way intelligence conduit - milking the CIA so they could re-milk him – helping them launder propaganda into intelligence and, via FBI acceptance of that, into evidence ready for trial.

The top man who promoted Giaka as evidence, and the most likely to be fully aware of such unethical activities, would have been Vincent Cannistraro, senior director of the CIA’s own Lockerbie investigation until October 1990 [Ashton] . He continued promoting the story line he'd helped write in the years between indictment and trial. For a 1995 BBC program, he described the case modestly as:
“… overwhelming … conclusive … tremendous amount of evidence … mind boggling amount of detail … that will allow the prosecutors to present the chronology of the operation from its very inception … describe and in almost excruciating detail exactly how they made the bomb, how they secreted it, how they got it on board the aircraft, and I think that's a fairly strong case.” [FS]
His favorite part that he singled out for emphasis in that interview was “they have a live witness for one thing, who would be presented in a court of law.” [FS] Cannistraro bravely spoke to The Maltese Double Cross, again pimping Giaka, just not yet by name: “a former member of the Libyan Intelligence Service who has defected” into Justice Department witness protection, “so he would be used in a trial of Fhimah and Megrahi.” [MDC, 1:28:25]

Such a trial was demanded, in the US or Scotland, based the much-hyped amazing case. The demand was repeated often, and with force, befitting a mighty nation’s drive for truth and justice for the 270 dead. Faced with such confidence, people and whole nations started falling for it. Those comprising the UN Security Council at the moment, in particular, were collectively convinced enough to enforce the indictment with sanctions.

In 1992 and 1993, Security Council resolutions 748 and 883 imposed and tightened embargoes, diplomatic restrictions, and various other punishments. Aircraft equipment and supplies in particular were squeezed on, putting al Megrahi to work on the gray market (the likely cause behind his "suspicious" Zurich office and Swiss bank account). It was under this prolonged duress that Libya eventually relented to a compromise solution. By late 1998 the framework of a trial was established, and in April 1999 the accused were flown to the special Scottish court in neutral Netherlands. Megrahi and Fhimah were arrested at “Camp Zeist” and set to await their trial. Sanctions were immediately suspended, under threat of re-enforcement.

All this was based on an alarming mass acceptance of the American/Scottish case, in turn largely built up on “accepting” Giaka’s intelligence as evidence. The suspects, the suitcase, the materials, the plans, and the evil behind the Pan Am 103 plot were all attested to by a desperate defector, in trade for a steady paycheck, a maimed hand, and a new life in America. It had all wowed the grand jury and secured the indictment, but now that Cannistraro’s dares had paid off, it would be challenged for once, and before the whole world at that. At stake were these claims, in "job resume" format. Most of these were unknown to the public at the time, but about to see the light of day:

 - Giaka’s own credentials/authority: JSO agent, high-level, secret files department – related to former King Idriss - hates Gaddafi - aware of Masonic plots between Libya and Malta.

 - Has a long-standing friendship with Ezzadin Hinshiri, director of the central security section, JSO (allegedly involved in buying the MST-13 timers as used in the bombing, including an order placed for 40 more just two days before the bombing!)

 - Long-standing friendship with Said Rashid, head of the operations section, JSO (also involved, allegedly, in timer acquisition and other wickedness)

 - Acquaintance with Abdullah Senussi, the head of operations administration for the JSO. (convicted in absentia in 1989 for using that role to blow up an airplane (not 103). Also, Gaddafi's brother-in-law.)

 – Can describe the high-level JSO connections of the accused – worked directly under the first accused – hated his boss - can testify to their movements at the airport – able to read clues from them, ranging from subtle to fictitious, revealing their plot.

 - Was asked by Said Rashid, in 1986, to write a report on whether a bomb cold be put on a British plane - had someone else look, who said yeah so he wrote the report saying so. The upper levels mulled the idea over...

 - Turned said report in via his boss, “Lockerbie bomber” Megrahi, who definitely saw it. Megrahi later mentioned the idea back to Giaka and said “don’t rush things.”

 - Can testify to Fhimah’s personal handling of explosives, in his desk, which were overseen by Megrahi, for the JSO.

 - Was invited to the final plotters’ meeting as Megrahi and Fhimah met at Luqa airport on the day of the Lockerbie bombing, with a suitcase just like the one that would do that explosion hours later, after having come in from Malta (other evidence covered that, obviously). That’s the clincher for sure.

 - Has defected safely from the murderous regime, after a grueling three-year initiation, and can therefore finally reveal the secrets he held of the devious, random, and surprisingly unselfconscious scheming that climaxed five miles above Scotland four days before Christmas. That - is - evil. Thank God they've got a witness who saw it all, ready to go before the judges...
Sources: [Ashton] http://www.copi.com/articles/lockerbie.html [CF] "The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie." Prod/Dir Guy Smith, Ex Prod Sam Anstiss, Narr Caroline Catz. BBC Two. First Aired 31 August 2008. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-327765978162851498&hl=en# [Foot] Foot, Paul, Lockerbie: Flight From Justice. Published 2000 by Private Eye. https://secure2.subscribeonline.co.uk/PEYE/digital_downloads.cfm [FS] Frontline Scotland: "Silence Over Lockerbie" Reporter: Shelley JofreProducer: Murdoch Rodgers. Aired 1995. Transcript accessed at: http://plane-truth.com/Aoude/geocities/silence.html [LTBU 8/29] Connelly, Clare. "Controversy Over CIA Cables Continues." 29 August 2000. Lockerbie Trial Briefing Unit. .doc link: http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_78571_en.doc [MDC] The Maltese Double Cross. Produced, written, and directed by Allan Francovich, Hemar Enterprises, November 1994. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7160854996287567609&ei=EAtQS8iUNYOYqQPjnaka&q=Maltese+Double+Cross+&hl=en [Marquise] Marquise, Richard. SCOTBOM: Evidence and the Lockerbie Investigation, Algora Publishing. Sept. 1, 2006. 268 pages. http://books.google.com/books?id=JKLT360G_zAC&pg=PA119&lpg=PA119&dq=Marquise+SCOTBOM&source=bl&ots=WGsIBNTRDo&sig=ZkD5iwHr [NYT] McNeil, Donald, Jr. “Defense in Lockerbie Trial Undermines a Key Witness.” New York Times. September 28, 2000. Accessed at: http://plane-truth.com/Documents/Defense%20in%20Lockerbie%20Trial%20Undermines%20a%20Key%20Witness.htm

Trafficant's Transporter Override

A Tough Sell on Capitol Hill, part two
May 20 2010

Gerson and Adler’s book mentions a meeting, in late 1989 or 1990, where the President’s Commision on Aviation Security and Terrorism (PCAST) met with family members of Flight 103 victims to hear their questions. Of the 26 items they tallied from the session, five were grouped under the heading “Trafficant/Mossad allegations,” referring to Mossad poseur Juval Aviv, godfather of the drug swap theory, and Representative James Trafficant (D-OH). [1 p 65/66]

Trafficant, a boisterous Conservative populist, has been the loudest congressional critic of the official story on Lockrbie and, as far as I can tell, the only such critic. He was previously known as a conspiracy theorist (JFK, etc.), Israel critic, pro-life but pro-labor, advocate against the income tax, etc. Representaive Trafficant remained loved by many in Ohio for his bold stands and trademark one-minute speeches, usually punctuated with the sci-fi reference “beam me up.” [2]

An interesting 1992 article in New York magazine highlighted the role of LaRouche affiliates in helping Juval Aviv and Pan Am’s insurers to leak their CIA-implicating “secret” report to Rep. Trafficant According to author Christopher Byron, a man named Marchetti handed the file over, and on November 3, less than a month after it was finished, Mr. Trafficant was holding a press conference, “and began waving around several pages of the report while railing that the CIA was behind the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.” [3]

Aviv’s report is clearly a work of dubious or negative value, and Trafficant’s failure to catch that is not to his credit. His questioning of the official story remained based in large part on acceptance of the long-running hoax of the “drug swap theory,” as in another one-minute speech from October 2000, mentioning “an original Mossad report” about “a drug run from Frankfurt to New York” that “embarrasses the CIA.” [4] But he did make these spot-on observations:
”Mr. Speaker, the star witness in the Pan Am 103 trial turns out to be a paid CIA informant who lied through his teeth. […] The families of the victims deserve the truth. […] if these two Libyans were responsible for blowing up Pan Am 103, they [would] have already choked on a chicken bone in a jail cell of Qadhafi's.” [4]

Compared to the legislators mentioned in part one and their safe mainstream approach, this pompadour-toupeed self-described “jackass” is something of the opposite – full of rebellion and short on congressional survival skills. His ways left him awkwardly ostracized by both parties by the end of the 1990s. When Trafficant was jailed in 2002 for tax problems, bribery and racketeering, and making aides do chores for him, he was also expelled from Congress almost unanimously. Only Gary Condit, himself saddled with even graver accusations later dismissed, voted to keep Trafficant. [2] His transponder overridden, he would not be beamed up this time.

Unlike most congressional offenders, Rep Trafficant served seven actual years and wasn’t released until September 2 2009 - thus serving a sentence almost concurrent with “Lockerbie bomber” Megrahi’s. He’s since been speaking on the radio and at Tea Parties, against Washington’s Isreal slant, and considering seeking his old seat to pursue his agenda, like targeting the 16th amendment. [2] As a dissident voice I may not agree with, I welcome Mr. Trafficat’s return to the stage. But on Lockerbie, he’s no Tam Dalyell, and a champion of dubious PR value.
Next, part three: Refusing Fuisz
[1] Gerson, Allan and Jerry Adler. The Price of Terror: Lessons of Lockerbie for a World on the Brink. New York, Harper Collins, 2001. First edition. 302 pages. pp 65-66
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Traficant
[3] Christopher Byron "The LaRouche Connection." NY Mag October 5 1992 p 24/25 (Via Google Books)
[4] http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=21107

"To Support Justice" - The Congressional Consensus

A Tough Sell on Capitol Hill, part one
May 18 2010

Compared to This...
Following the destruction of the American airliner Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, there were quite a few voices in the United Kingdom’s house of Commons, and even Lords, and regional assemblies, who both supported victims' search for truth, and questioned or even rejected the official story of the bombing.

Some have championed this nuanced stance with great and vocal conviction; Tam Dalyell, a long-serving Scottish MP (Labor), staunchly anti-war and anti-Imperialism, has called 17 “adjournment debates” on Lockerbie down the years. [1] He's floated some seriously heavy notions, like a "Faustian pact" where the U.S. sacrificed one plane to prevent multiple attacks. [2] His views are not widely held, but intelligently put, generally spot-on, and heard regularly.

More recently Member of Scottish Parliament Christine Grahame (SNP, South of Scotland) in 2009 visited convicted “bomber” al Megrahi in prison, spoke up of belief in his his innocence, called for a new investigation, [3] questioned key evidence in the old one, [4] and gave the current name of the possible true bomber, protected in the United States. [5] The last was within the parliament chamber of Scotland.

...the American Mainstream
Across the pond, within just a few miles of that person and of Arlington National Cemetery and its monument for the 189 American killed in the bombing, we have the gathered US congress. Over the decades, many senators and representatives have done their bit publicly lobbying for the bereaved families of 103, predictably earning approval points on the way. Congressional support included urging an investigation, calling hearings, pushing related bills, and saying the right things at the right times.

Alan Gerson and Jerry Adler’s 2000 book The Price of Terror lists Congressional players from both houses and both sides of the aisle (alphabetically here): Al D’Amato, Bob Dole, Dante Fascell, Benjamin Gilman, Orrin Hatch, Henry Hyde, Edward Kennedy, Frank Lautenberg, George Mitchell, Frank Murkowski, and Arlen Specter. [6 p 307] Kennedy was “the senator who probably worked the hardest and longest on Pan Am 103” [6 p 60] Lautenberg also stands out, and both he and D’Amato served on President Bush’s 1989-90 President's Commission on Airline Security and Terrorism, (PCAST) to partially investigate the attack (mostly Pan Am's alleged failures at Frankfurt). [6 p 64]

“[W]hat pressure there was” to broaden and tighten sanctions enforcement on Libya, Gerson and Adler wrote, “came from Congress, especially from Kennedy and Lautenberg,” [6 p 258] Others like Phil Gramm (R-TX) took their turn with the tough stick, championing the families as they went. [6 p 293] Holding then and continuing on to many lofty positions, these folks all have stayed in the comfortable norms – to seek justice and truth is, to them, synonymous with prosecuting the Libyans as was done.

When it came time for an actual trial, they were less involved – and besides, sanctions over the impasse had always served U.S. interests better. But after the trial and al Megrahi’s conviction, the congressional fostering of the politically correct justice continued quietly with the status quo, until talk started of the "bomber" being released from prison. In August 2009 Seven senators (Gillibrand, Kerry, Kennedy, Lautenberg, Leahy, Menendez, and Schumer), alarmed at the possibility of compassionate release, urged the Scots to keep Megrahi in jail ‘til he was dead, in part “to support justice.” [7] They apparently failed to realize this would violate normal Scottish standards and would be arguably illegal.

And apparently none of them harbors even the faintest doubt about the man’s guilt, as continuing to hold him would clearly show that Scotland “oppose[d] acts of terrorism.” [7] We now know just how dubious the official findings are at their factual core, but that was always encased in an elaborate façade of procedural verification. Investigation, trial, and conviction is all the Senators needed to see, and that’s usually a sound approach. Further, the official story remains a safely non-partisan issue – the whole system wants to help the families and believes in the case heading to Zeist.

So clearly this kind of widespread acceptance of a “Big Lie” doesn’t require any systemic conspiracy. It does, however, indicate at the least a lack of truly rigorous independent thought. And those very few on Capitol Hill who have dared speak up in question of that process somehow wind up being less than convincing and wind up in deep trouble of someone’s making.
next: part two - Trafficant’s Transporter Override
[1] Wikipedia. Tam Dalyell. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tam_Dalyell
[2] http://news.scotsman.com/comment/Tam-Dalyell-Lockerbie-papers-may.5575560.jp
[3] Wikipedia. Christine Grahame. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Grahame
[4] http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/2009/10/key-lockerbie-evidence-unsafe-claims.html
[5] http://lockerbiedivide.blogspot.com/2010/03/where-in-world-is-abu-elias.html
[6] Gerson, Allan and Jerry Adler. The Price of Terror: Lessons of Lockerbie for a World on the Brink. New York, Harper Collins, 2001. First edition. 302 pages.
[7] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/8206458.stm

Star Witness Giaka

(incomplete - last edit 9 Nov 2010)

Basics and Prosecution Case
It seems the first faint outlines of the Megrahi/Fhimah plot "proven" at Camp Zeist was first sketched out by Libyan defector turned CIA/FBI informant/fabricator. Named Abdul Majid Giaka, he had first made contact with the CIA a few months before Lockerbie, and soon proved useful in pinning the blame on Libya. Giaka entered DoJ witness protection in mid-1991, and his evidence given to a grand jury a few months later sealed the deal for an indictment in mid-November, leading to UN sanctions, more sanctions, and later the Camp Zeist trial and Libya's "admission of responsibility."

There are plenty other sources out there on Giaka, but one of my own can be read here:
A Three-Year Test Drive, Parked 8 Years, and then a High-Speed Crash, pt 1 A detailed article I wrote in January, chronicling his emergence from a CIA informant to FBI witness.
I still haven't done part 2, which would cover his credibility being thrashed at trial in 2000. His own late-appearing fantastical stories and the CIA's embarrasing revealed admissions that they didn't trust him either both contributed to this. Nearly all his testimony was discarded, aside from his identifying Megrahi as an agent of Libya's JSO intelligence agency. The reason given for dismissing the "star witness" are essentially as follows:
"It is also in our view clear that whatever may have been his original reason for defection, his continued association with the American authorities was largely motivated by financial considerations. […] Information provided by a paid informer is always open to the criticism that it may be invented in order to justify payment, and in our view this is a case where such criticism is more than usually justified." [para 42]
And yet they seem to accept he was doing the inventing all on his own, or that no one else on the prosecution side had the same thought and just naively assumed his info was genuine. The judges seem to take in good faith that the Crown and its associates were not farming Giaka for framing Megrahi, and that no "Contempt of Court" had occurred in this probable con operation. The Judges' decision then considered the following evidence of most importance.

- They didn't even know about his $2 million payment from the Department of Justice, covered, along with payments to the Gaucis, in the post Rewards for Injustice, and covered better yet by "Rolfe" in the post Rewards and Bribery.

- The CIA's central role in framing al Megrahi centers on their use of Giaka, an issue explored in the essay "As the layers are peeled away..." The context there is former CIA personnell urging a "narrow" inquiry into Megrahi's release - nothing earlier than that should be looked at at all.

- A further unusual post collects the responses of many to Richard Marquise's lame insistence, in 2010, that Giaka was telling the truth.

The Drug Swap Theory

Just Like the Official Story Where it Matters Most
May 5 2010

last update May 9 11pm

Here I would like to address head-on, at least once, a meme that has underpinned (and undermined) Lockerbie/PA103 revisionism for most of its entire lifespan. Rather than Libyan al Megrahi committing the bombing via Malta, this theory contends it was done by Iranian-paid, Syrian-based Palestinians, introducing the bomb in Frankfurt, West Germany. They did so, the theory runs, by co-opting a CIA-protected heroin smuggling operation. This unusual and compelling concept, with some variations, has gone by many names, but I’ve settled on “the drug swap theory.”

One strength of the theory is that it generally focuses on the German PFLP-GC cell that had been making altimeter-triggered airliner bombs inside radios. By circumventing normal x-ray procedures, it could explain such a bomb getting on the feeder for Flight 103. And the PFLP-GC network is a far more logical culprit than Libya, and suspecting them is the bread and butter of nearly all revisionism (including my own). The drug swap theory can also accept the best evidence against Megrahi’s guilt – which like the alternate culprits, can be sensed by smarter folks everywhere.

By appealing to natural suspicions with a detailed alternative like this, the notion became a missing link for many throughout the 1990s and beyond. However in the end it seems to be a false link, the main effect of which has been to keep revisionism from making as much sense as it could have.

Aviv and Operation Corea
The Drugs Theory meme was first fed by Pan Am people and their hired “spook” Juval Aviv. A dual American/Israeli citizen, Aviv claims to have headed Mossad’s operation Wrath of God and inspired a book about it (Vengeance, adapted by Spielberg as the film Munich), and later, after 9/11, was widely credited as a TV-friendly terrorism expert.

The desperate airline’s lawyers brought Aviv in to sniff out intel that might help their case, and his oddball company Interfor issued a secret report in October 1989 based on a spurious investigation. The report brims with amazing claims to have all the major events, from planning meetings to the bomb placement (a Turk in a black Mercedes brought it to the airport) captured with direct photo, audio, and video surveillance he of course couldn’t show the public or anyone.

According to Aviv’s report, the operation at Frankfurt Airport was called Corea from the CIA end (a rogue unit, wouldn’t you know). In general, as I understand it, the system was operated by Syrian smuggler Manzar al-Kassar, running a heroin conduit out of Lebanon, protected by the CIA in trade for al-Kassar’s help in freeing American hostages in Beirut. Lebanese-American Khalid Jaafar, who transferred to PA103 via Frankfurt, unwittingly brought the bomb onboard. There has been much speculation on Jaafar’s luggage, movements and connections; allegedly a courier in the protected drug route, Aviv has him meeting with a Libyan bomb maker (?) and the PFLP-GC’s leader Ahmed Jibril (??) in Germany a few weeks before the bombing (it’s videotaped). Jibril then effected the switch of Jaafar’s courier drug bag with the one containing a bomb. One can only wonder what he did with the heroin.

A common but not universal addition to the theory is the targeting VIPs on board Flight 103, especially Major Charles McKee, Army intelligence, apparently leading a hostage rescue team in Beirut. As the unsubstantiated story goes, McKee had learned of the drugs system and was en route to report it when his plane blew up. This is all in Aviv’s report, hinting at an agreement among the CIA, Jibril and/or al-Kassar to bomb that plane in particular.

This preliminary report, with a few errors I can identify myself on a quick scan, was somehow leaked to the public before the airline's fate was yet sealed. With some media help and from Mr. Trafficant on Capitol Hill, it raised doubts whether it was Pan Am's insurers or the CIA that should be held responsible for the lapses around PA103. Legally, it didn’t go far; Pan Am sank over its perceived record at Frankfurt, and Aviv’s report has been widely dismissed as a hoax.

But to a jaded public view tinted by Iran-Contra conspiracies, and confronted with a shifting official story, the "smeared" Aviv’s claims survived in a near-legendary form, repeating through the years in different combinations and various media.

The Echo Chamber: 1989-2010
Time magazine’s April 1992 cover story "Why did they die?" stands out among countless articles before and since that have drawn on the core of Aviv’s allegations, supported by facts and speculation from other sources. Among the many critical books along such lines, the most famous is Lester Coleman’s Trail of the Octopus (1993). The former DEA agent had woven an elaborate tale of insider knowledge of about what Aviv described, and is currently a “political prisoner” on fraud and making things up charges.

Both Coleman and Aviv plus many others pushing the Jibril-Jaafar line were interviewed for Alan Frankovich’s sprawling, brilliant, and hoax-tainted 1994 film The Maltese Double Cross. Frankovich’s lead researcher on the film, John Ashton, has gone on to other works, like the book Coverup of Convenience (2000) with Ian Ferguson, that promote variations of the drug swap theory.

Interestingly, a member of the PFLP-GC with an indirect role in the bombing network, one Mobdi Goben, “admitted” on his deathbed around 2000 that the elusive Abu Elias had used the Frankfurt drugs channel to sneak the bomb into Khalid Jaafar’s luggage, reviving the issue amidst the trial of al Megrahi and Fhimah. The defense never was able to get a copy, which may have played into their "special defense of incrimination" that drew on at least some aspects of the drug swap theory. This blogger sees no grat reason to trust the word of an involved terrorist. It could be genuine or, just as just easily, a rearguard distraction crafted from the West's own delusions mirrored back.

Later yet in 2008 it was reported Steven Spielberg was working on another new film, about PA103 and centered on a plot involving the PFLP-GC rather than Libyans. Frighteningly, it was to draw again on Aviv and his strangely compelling yarns. This time it was the just-released “fact-based fiction” novel Flight 103, under pen name Sam Green. Thankfully that film never materialized, and the book seems to have flopped without the support, but it showed how the threat has persisted with professional diligence.

All of these works contain at least some useful information aside from promoting the drug swap theory; it can hardly be avoided as the atrocious official story gave theorists so much legitimate information to work with. My point here is not so much to dismiss the possibility of such a scandalous smuggling arrangements, and I won’t bother trying to fully rule it out. Rather, all I want to say is that it’s irrelevant to what happened on PA103. The best evidence says the bomb entered the air system at Heathrow Airport, London, rather than at Frankfurt.

What The Drug Swap Theory Obscures
I came to the discussion late, only on Megrahi’s compassionate release last year. Before that, I had only a passing acquaintance with the issue at all and was faintly aware of but not impressed by the prevailing conspiracy theory. I was fortunate to start digging into the facts with JREF forum member Rolfe, and with so much revealed by then, 21 years after the fact, it seemed natural to go straight for the competing London origin theory.

The official story started with the weak forensic decision, which drug swap theorists could accept, that the bomb must have come in on the feeder from Frankfurt. Based on an unstated presumption that certain suitcases cannot be stacked up, the decisive elimination of London origin banished truth within a month of the crash.

The PFLP-GC’s Khreesat bombs, as understood by their maker and German investigators, only take-off once before detonating. So to land safely in London and only then blow up after leaving the ground again, one must imagine modifications. Officials did so at first, and later identified the timer. Drug swap theorists do about the same, just a little different.

The implausible Circuit board fragment PT/35(b) was found in mid-1990 to be from a MST-13 unit thought to be held only by Libyan agents. With this flexible device, a PFLP-GC altimeter wasn’t even needed. Many but not all drug swap theorists accept the timer evidence, and just throw in some doubts about exclusive Libyan control; the PFLP-GC might have gotten hold of a MST-13, perhaps from the East German Stasi. Maybe so, but it’s poor use of a timer to set it so it even might blow over land. It would be dumb for Libya to use a timer they knew the CIA had linked to them. The CIA held seized copies. Copies could be forged. Copies could be handed over by Mebo personnel. This one doesn’t seem to have been involved in the PA103 explosion. Accepting crap like PT/35(b) as evidence leads to confusion.

Confusion of the same type is required to dismiss other evidence, like the Bedford story; the only brown hardshell Samsonite seen, and it was twice in a matching set, was in container AVE4041 at about the blast site by John Bedford. This was well before any CIA Jaafar luggage could have been in London. Drug swap theorists will dismiss this as coincidence, or sometimes mention it without explanation as, apparently, some kind of backup in case their main point is wrong.

Furthermore, the spot these bags were in, just inches from the later blast, happens to be the point closest to the plane’s skin and the only (approximate) spot such a bomb would have worked. There’s no proof terrorists chose that placement, but the ONLY place it would be possible to manage this crucial aspect is at Heathrow. It hasn't been ruled out or even seriously considered. Nearly everyone presumes the terrorists trusted to fate for placement and fate delivered. There's something wrong just with that alone.

Then there’s the hushed-up break-in at Heathrow’s terminal 3 hours before the bombing. Security was breached for some probably illegal reason some time before Bedford saw those bags. This evidence was silenced until a security guard, Ray Manly, came forward after the trial to ask why it still hadn’t been brought up. The records he alluded to were then found and reported, and officially his story is now accepted as happening, just too late to help Megrahi’s case at trial. But it was clearly coincidence, say the big heads, since the bomb came in from Frankfurt.

And finally, the best PFLP-GC fit comes from the bombs made in Frankfurt, as we know them, loaded at London. Khreesat’s bombs had a noted time delays of 30-45 minutes after takeoff (it is a bit more complex than that, partly explained here). PA103 blew up 38 minutes after leaving Heathrow, a major clue if one is open to follow it up. No one in the UK was. Confusion ensued.

That’s an intriguing body of clues, and for all we know there might have been a CIA-protected drugs conduit at Heathrow that led to the disaster. It’s been over twenty years now and hardly anyone has even looked close enough to say, dazzled with Corean intrigues. Khalid, not Kamboj, has been the mystery man. How did that happen? Are we just leading ourselves astray with random Human stupidity, or is there some design to this confusion?

Where it Matters Most
So to summarize the official story's take on the above evidence pointing to London: Bedford’s story is acknowledged but dismissed as coincidence. The notable timing is mooted by the miracle timer fragment and proved coincidence. The optimal bomb placement is ruled coincidence. The break-in is covered-up and then later called coincidence. That’s official story coincidence theorists for you.

Problem is, they share many assumptions with their hordes of misguided opponents hypnotized by the drug swap theory. The continued focus away from London wouldn’t work without their pushing from the other side with the “truth about Lockerbie” as told by Aviv/Coleman/Ashton et al. How it came to be this way is not my concern, but both they and the Anglo-American gatekeepers share in common rejecting the best evidence and keeping the issue clouded.

It could well be argued back that while different people will have different theories, we can all agree the case against Megrahi was unsound (still waiting for my paycheck from Tripoli), and should not get hung up on differences. Certainly, some of the sharpest arguments for conspiracy and cover-up and smartest exculpations of Libya have come from those who explain whodunnit with the drug swap theory. After all, that's the majority of everyone who's spoken up in protest over the years.

But intelligent minds do know someone did this deed - it wasn't some nebulous "not Megrahi." And those are the minds who will and should stumble over the Loony Tunes constructs of Aviv, bolstered by the endless repetitions of the core points, often simply laundered as new by having people like Oswald LeWinter say it's so. The whodunnit is tied to the howitdun, and those who care about justice in this monstrous event should think a little more, and more clearly, about the howitdun. On what grounds other than habit do you dismiss the London evidence?

Where in the World is "Abu Elias"?

March 24 2010
major update April 4
(props to Baz, see comments)

last edits 22 September

The Bomb Man Who Got Away
It's time to consider an amazing allegation I'd glossed over before as too complex. "Abu Elias" was a central and elusive figure in the PFLP-GC cell in Neuss tasked with downing an American airliner. The Neuss bomb-maker, Jordanian double-agent Marwan Khreesat, mentioned "Elias" in interviews with the FBI as essentially the fly in the ointment. Khreesat was supposed to keep live bombs out of terrorist hands, but this PFLP-GC higher-up was sent to inspect his work and then take possession of it and sneak it onto a plane (this is explained in detail elsewhere). One live bomb and "Abu Elias," at least, evaded the German police net just six weeks before the PA103 bombing.

For a while, he was a very wanted man. But then the Libyan villains were indicated instead, and by now, reportedly, "Abu Elias" is living safely in Washington DC with a government job and a desire to keep quiet. Below is a partial compendium of claims I haven't yet (or can't) rigorously verify. Much of this could be wrong but the picture that emerges is too amazing to miss seeing in its entirety.
Version One, 1992 - Khaisar Haddad 
No big surprise, "Abu Elias” was an alias, and and the first alleged true name attached to it was Khaisar Haddad. Most Internet postings of this simply repeat the conclusion of the Aangirfan blog (“Reportedly, Khaisar Haddad, known as Abu Elias, was an agent of the US government…”) [1] Otherwise the sources giving this name are old and of the questionable early 1990s revisionism of Juval Aviv, Lester Coleman, et al.

But these cite a clear external source, a report from Yassar Arafat’s PLO shortly after the indictments of Megrahi and Fhimah. An early mention was  Time magazine’s controversial “Why Did They Die?” cover story, in April 1992. “Last month the Palestine Liberation Organization reported that [the bomb] was built by Khaisar Haddad (a.k.a. Abu Elias).” [2] By this telling, our subject built the bomb that wound up back in his hands, perhaps after being modified by Khreesat, who apparently made the other four himself (as linked above, see this post). Coleman and Goddard discussed this report in Trail of the Octopus:
In an 80-page report leaked to the press on both sides of the Atlantic, the PLO described a number of meetings between Ali Akbar Mohtashemi, the Iranian minister of the interior, Ahmed Jibril of the PFLP-GC and other officials in the late summer of 1988 to plan a revenge attack on an American airliner. According to the PLO's sources, the Toshiba radio-cassette bomb used to destroy Flight 103 had been built by Khaisar Haddad, also known as Abu Elias, a blond, blue-eyed Lebanese Christian member of the PFLP-GC, who passed the completed device on to an Iranian contact in Beirut. [3]
One must wonder if his fair appearance was part of his tool kit for getting past European security. But here Haddad just handed it off in Lebanon, counter to what Khreesat's story suggested. By the book's implausible narrative, the bomb was then slipped into Lebanese-American Khalid Jaafar's luggage using the CIA-protected heroin smuggling system at Frankfurt Airport.

Version Two: Goben to Megrahi
The identity of "Abu Elias" again surfaced at the Zeist trial in 2000 with vague news of the supposed deathbed confessions of PFLP-GC member Mobdi Goben ("Goben Memorandum") This reportedly explains how the enigma sneaked the bomb (directly it seems) into Khalid Jaafar's luggage, using just the system alleged in Trail of the Octopus.  Beyond what the PLO's report said, Goben adds that "Elias" was a close relative of PFLP-GC founder Ahmed Jibril. [4] The defense wanted to explore it further, but Lord Advocate Colin Boyd, who was able to read the memo, blocked this as a "fishing expedition." [5]

The alleged true bomber formed part of Megrahi's 2002 appeal and the second appeal granted in 2007. The second time triggered a report from UK Sunday Express, announcing "Finger of Blame for Lockerbie Pointed at American Citizen." This "Abu Elias" sounds like the Goben version, described as a nephew of Jibril but as of summer 2007 anyway living in America and enjoying "a new identity the Sunday Express cannot divulge." [6]

The charge was repeated again by Megrahi and his legal team on the convict's compassionate release in August 2009. Again it was heralded by a story in the Express headlined "I'll Reveal True Identity of Bomber."
"The man Megrahi believes was Abu Elias now lives in a suburban neighbourhood near Washington’s Dulles airport, just a few miles from the White House and the Lockerbie memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. He even has his own Facebook social network page. ... He is the nephew of Syrian terror warlord Ahmed Jibril ... works as a schools engineer for the US government ..." [7]
The paper's team followed the name given (and hopefully more precise clues) and found him at home in suburban Washington. The man denied any involvement and asked to remain unnamed due to "the sensitivity of this matter," as he put it. But the paper reported "he has connections to at least two international terrorists,” one of which, interestingly, is Mohammed Abu Talb. Both Abus had lived in Sweden and had PFLP-GC links, and Abu Talb was the owner of some Maltese clothes similar to those inside the bomb suitcase, and onetime lead suspect for the Lockerbie bombing.

Besides these and his links to the PFLP-GC, the paper also said the Virginian had unspecified "links to the US intelligence services." He was known to the FBI and interviewed by them in August 1988, the report also says, and gives excerpts of a Megrahi appeal document that states: “The FBI had apparently investigated ‘X’ and knew he was the nephew of Ahmed Jibril ..." [8]

Poof, He's in Bush Land
Like the fictional Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects it almost seems our Khaisar Haddad (?) walked right out of the 'police station' of suspicion as Keaton (Libya) burned for the crime. "And like that, poof. He's gone," down to the Olive Garden with the missus. On Megrahi’s release Member of Scottish Parliament Christine Grahame, who had met and campaigned for the prisoner, described the suspect as “living safely in Washington," possibly as an "intelligence asset." The man, whose new name she too knows, "must be deeply relieved that Megrahi was forced to drop his appeal and that he will never face justice for this atrocity.” [9]

However, according to the Express, Grahame was “believed to be considering naming the man in the Scottish Parliament chamber.” And two weeks later, she delivered, as this video from Channel 4 News and the official record of Scottish parliament for September 2 shows:
“Why have the US authorities not queried the true identity of Basel Bushnaq alias Abu Elias, a senior figure in the PFLP-GC at the time of the bombing and nephew of Ahmed Jibril, former head of that terrorist organisation? Basel Bushnaq currently resides in Washington DC and is in the employ of the schools division.” [10]
(See the video of her speech within this channel 4 production)

“Bushnaq” is an interesting choice of names, likely made while George W. Bush was president. It’s not the most anonymous choice. (see What's in a Name? for a closer look) More4 News in the UK contacted Mr Bushnaq about the allegations, and he replied, calling Grahame’s charges “reckless slander” and suggested "she stops this unless she has solid legal ground." [11] Speaking to the program, Ms Grahame explained “the name was presented in papers from the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission, again as I said, evidence never seen in a Scottish court,” and will now apparently never be released. Having seen them herself, however, she was confident “the name I have given is a relevant name.” [12]

A different American Basel Bushnaq seems unlikely, as all listings of this unusual name I see give similar details – Basel or Basel A Bushnaq, of Washington DC, Herndon VA, and Franklin TN, age 53 or 54. [13] That’s the kind of variability one should expect within a slapdash record of one person rather than two getting mixed up. There is much left unknown here on how “Abu Elias” really translates to Khaisar Haddad and/or Basel Bushnaq, and Abu Elias' own true role in the bombing remains uncertain. I don’t want to be suckered into a false lead, but presuming he ever existed, Abu Elias got to somewhere, and D.C. makes a certain kind of sense. This could all be a mammoth mix-up as the suspect has said, either by goof or design of the “disinfo/distraction” type. Or it could be a genuine, festering clue of US acquisition and re-branding of the Lockerbie plot. It deserves being sorted out.

If this confusion is easily explained, Mr. Bushnaq, feel free to pop in and help us out – I’d be honored to host the death of a false lead and clear up the suspicion hovering over you if that’s easily enough done. If it is somehow more complex and sensitive than all that, I’ll take that as a sign of something but hold judgment about just what.

[1] Anonymous. "Reportedly, Khaisar Haddad, known as Abu Elias, was an agent of the US government and carried out the Lockerbie Bombing." Aangirfan. August 23 2009. http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2009/08/reportedly-khaisar-haddad-known-as-abu.html
[2] "Why Did They Dies?" Time. April __ 1992. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,159523,00.html
[3] Trail of the Octopus. Online Posting, Chapter 13
[4]De Braeckeleer, Ludwig. "Dialog of a Vengeance Foretold part 107: The Goben Memorandum." Canada Free Press. October 17 2008. http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/5902
[5,6] Lambie, Derek. “Finger of Blame for Lockerbie Pointed at American Citizen.” Sunday Express. July 8 2007. http://janus.netro42.net/posts/view/12732
[7,8, 9] Borland, Ben. "I'll Reveal True Identity of Bomber." Sunday Express. August 23,2009 http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/122299/-I-ll-reveal-true-identity-of-bomber%20UK%20NEWS
[10] Grahame, Christine (South of Scotland) (SNP). Remarks in Scottish Parliament, Official Report 2 September 2009. Col 19053 http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/officialreports/meetingsparliament/or-09/sor0902-02.htm
[11, 12] More 4 News. “Was Megrahi really the Lockerbie bomber?” 2 September 2009. http://www.channel4.com/news/article.jsp?id=3329697&time=181158
[13] http://www.123people.com/s/basel+bushnaq

Lightly Explosion Damaged

Two Scientists, a Purple Bag, and a Possible Clue
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
First posted Nov 29 2009
re-posted here March 23 2010

Going through the court transcripts of the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist, one point of interest that I ran across concerns the testimony of RARDE scientist Allen Feraday. This was on June 15 2000, day 21 of the trial (read the LTBU daily report in .doc format, outlining some of the controversies). The witness himself reportedly has little in the line of formal qualifications, citing a “higher certificate in applied physics” as his qualifications; He’s still conceivably capable of brilliant professional work; but judging by some previous high-profile anti-terrorism cases he’s been involved in, he could be seen as more of a “manager” of evidence than a reasonable assessor of it.

Feraday’s scientific findings relating to the Lockerbie investigation are inextricably linked and confused with those of his underling, Dr. Thomas Hayes, who has a proper PhD. I don’t know the arrangement, but Ferraday mentions analysis of the luggage and clothing that “was essentially done relatively early on, by Dr. Hayes, and then, obviously, checked by me.” (p 3328) The two are more famous for their handling of the miraculous timer fragment PT/35(b); Hayes found it in a shirt collar and alerted Feraday, who passed the news on to Williamson, and thence to Henderson, Marquise, Thurman, “Orkin” and the history books. In testimony Feraday also clarified the interchangeable nature of their collaboration “I did not always, when I was looking at [evidence], make any difference between myself and Hayes” (p. 3332)

The prosecution generally seemed to feel the same way; their habit of asking questions of Feraday better suited for the earlier witness led Mr. Keen to lodge for private audience with the judges. Once Feraday was sent from the room, Keen argued in part:
According to the evidence of this witness, he prepared the final report on the basis of his examination of certain matters, and by considering Dr. Hayes' notes. What my learned friend appears to be inviting is hearsay evidence […] I object to the Crown canvassing hearsay evidence, even in the context of what is referred to as a joint report, in respect of such a matter. If they wish to take direct evidence on this issue, then they had ample opportunity of doing so with Dr. Hayes. And in my submission, it is not competent for them to take hearsay evidence on this matter from Mr. Feraday. (pp 3215-3216)

Nonetheless the questioning continued in a similar line, a hundred pages later coming to my point of interest, the unusual collaboration on another piece of evidence: a damaged piece of luggage, described as “a purple-coloured holdall” and labeled PH/137. This bag, Feraday had wrtten in his final report of 1989, had within it two metal fragments “which both originate from the primary IED suitcase,” so it should be of some interest. Mr. Keen for the Defense addressed Dr. Hayes' draft report during his questioning of Feraday. He cited page 23 as listing categories including "Likely Explosion Damaged Luggage,” and noted that one item listed in that heading is PH/137. Feraday confirmed these facts while comparing with his own copy.
Q So from Dr. Hayes' draft report -- and I think you just told us he prepared this part of the report -- we can see that he designated this as explosion-damaged luggage?
A I think it was lightly --
Q Lightly explosion-damaged luggage?
A Yes.
(pp 3330-3331)

This attitude would help explain Feraday’s own notes, Production 1498, in which Keen noted “that nowhere in the index” and in fact “nowhere in your examination notes does the item PH/137 appear.” The witness confirms to both “that's correct, sir. Yes.” Of course lightly blast-damaged was a fudging statement and further probing shows him to believe it wasn’t in the explosion damage at all. Next Mr, Keen pulled up a photograph of this item. (Production 181, photograph 91)
Q It is apparent, is it not, Mr. Feraday, that you have not signed the label as it is photographed in photograph 91?
A That's correct, sir. Yes.
Q But your signature now appears on the label PH/137 in court?
A Yes, sir.
Q When did you sign that label, Mr. Feraday?
A When I had the bag back to write this -- the final report.
Q And what date was that, Mr. Feraday?
A I can't tell you without looking it up again on a list, I'm afraid.
Q Are you saying that that was before December 1991?
A I think it must be, yes. I finished the report by then, so yes.
Q And are you saying that you examined PH/137 before you finished the report?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where are the notes of that examination, Mr. Feraday?
A Well, there aren't any, because as I said, I did not always, when I was looking at them, make any difference between myself and Hayes -- although in this instance I did, and I told him so, that in my opinion you couldn't necessarily put that in the explosion damage. I couldn't convince myself that it was explosion damage. Prior to that, Hayes had written this preliminary report for another purpose -- I think the Fatal Accident Inquiry --
(pp 3331-3333)

So if I’m reading this right, he disagrees with the actual PhD scientist, but did no detailed, documented, admissible examination of his own to back this up. He couldn't recall when he made his divergent inspection, but did immediately recall that he made no notes for it. His lack of notes in turn is justified "because" they agree on things, "although" not in this case. Got it.

Notes or not, the reason for Feraday’s divergence seems to be an unexplained lack of conviction, with which Hayes lodged no disagreement:
Q And you recall --
A Sorry, I'm waiting for the --
Q I don't think you had finished, Mr. Feraday, so do finish your answer if you wish.
A Sorry. I came to the conclusion that I couldn't myself put it in the explosion – necessarily in the explosion-damaged baggage. I'm not saying it isn't, but I couldn't convince myself. And I still can't. And for that reason, I had a word with Hayes, and we agreed to put it in the second section.
Q So you -- you recall discussing this with Dr. Hayes, do you?
A At some stage I discussed it with Dr. Hayes, but I can't remember exactly when or if, in fact, it was when the -- I wrote the final report. And then Hayes certainly came in, obviously, and read it all and then signed, and we went through each item then. We through the report, if you like, line by line.
Q Line by line, Mr. Feraday?
A Well, he read through it, obviously, line by line.
(pp 3333-3334)

This implies no disagreement; Hayes was able to check Feraday’s findings and found no problem with the exclusion of PH/137 that Feraday had already decided on and reported. Next, Mr. Keen turned to Feraday’s given reasoning, in that report, to support his agnosticism.
Q If you would like to turn for a moment, Mr. Feraday, to your report 181 at page 51.
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, we can read this section for ourselves, but I'd like to look in particular at the third paragraph on that page, which you corrected during your examination in chief chief [a meeting just before his questioning - ed] by proposing the insertion, after the fourth word in the first line, of the word "other"?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, taking the paragraph, of course, in its context, can we read that corrected paragraph. It states: "As there are no other penetration holes in either the holdall or the plastics bag, it appears most likely that these two fragments, which both originate from the primary IED suitcase, were picked up and placed inside the plastics bag, which was then itself
placed inside the purple holdall for convenience of carriage."
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, I have to suggest, Mr. Feraday, that if you insert the word "other" into that paragraph in the context of this section, the paragraph is deprived of sense or content.
A Is ... ?
Q Deprived of any sense or content. It tells us absolutely nothing if you correct it in that way. What do you say to that?
A I am not sure what you mean. But what it would then say is as there are no other penetration -- at the top of the page, I am talking about the ragged horizontal cuts which, obviously, one can see as penetrations. I see them as cuts. Now, in dealing with, first of all, the holdall, there are no other penetration holes in it, other than those that I've already said about the cuts. And in the plastics bag, there were none, the plastics bag which contained the two fragments of metal from the suitcase. So I was left scratching my head as to how they can get inside there, in a plastics bag, if they didn't come through any part of the bag.
Q Do you --
A I can't convince myself they come through the ragged cuts.
Q You recollect the label attached to the plastics bag, Mr. Feraday, having said "two pieces of metal, charred, found within baggage."
A Yes, I do, sir.
Q And you recollect finding penetrations in the side of the bag that went right through to the interior of the bag?
A Horizontal cuts, yes, sir.
Q But you felt it pertinent to remind us that there were no other penetrations in the bag, Mr. Feraday; is that right?
A Not big enough for the -- for anything to do with the two pieces of metal. That's correct, sir, yes.
Q But the penetrations you'd already found were big enough for the penetration of the two bits of metal?
A Oh, yes, sir.

Q Well, that might be an appropriate point, My Lords, if there is to be a short adjournment.
LORD SUTHERLAND: Yes, very well. We'll adjourn for 15 minutes.

I can only paraphrase Michael Palin in The Holy Grail “what a strange person.” Mr. Feraday’s stated reasoning then seems to be that even though these shards could fit through the penetrations if explosively hurled there, he couldn't convince himself this was what happened and chose to think of them as surface "cuts." Who knows what caused these cuts - perhaps the hold-all fell through a tree before landing. And the two unrelated IED suitcase bits were found elsewhere and simply put in the bag far carrying, with no note about being found elsewhere. His report first supported this saying there were "no penetrations" in the bag, corrected only in his examination in chief (a meeting just before his questioning) to "no other pentrations," aside from the "cuts" that they probably did enter through.

His references to the plastic bag is curious. This would clearly seem an ad hoc evidence bag (probably not a proper one or he’d teerm it as such), into which the shards were placed after being found. This would be a careless and illogical move, but I don't see anything else making sense. Transferring these also into a bag they weren’t found in makes this faux pas worse – something Mr. Feraday should have reported rather than just using it as he did to remove the explosion from PH/137. A lack of damage to this evidence bag is also cited as a clue these didn't fly in thru the cuts: “[T]here are no other penetration holes […] in the plastics bag […] which contained the two fragments of metal from the suitcase. So I was left scratching my head as to how they can get inside there, in a plastics bag, if they didn't come through any part of the bag.” This in particular is a ridiculous non-sequitur, but another clue to Feraday this was not explosion damage.

In the most rational explanation for this thought process, perhaps he just meant, "obviously, the bomb didn't put these metal shards in the plastic bag, one of our people did. Therefore, they probably got the scraps from somewhere else, but threw them in there instead." And perhaps if we could see the evidence we'd see why he felt the shards did not just enter through the tears. But for whatever intention, he effectively erased this piece of evidence from the bomb site picture – where Dr. Hayes had already placed it - based on his unexplained solution.

Although he comes across looking incompetent – nearly always looking at the wrong exhibit and frequently befuddled - I suspect Feraday is not actually an idiot. Therefore, if he seems like one, he may be playing dumb and that's often a clue. However I simply don't have the information to know just what this might mean. Detailed information on loading procedures at Heathrow could tip us off to where this bag might have wound up. Was the location of this item relative to, say, the Bedford suitcase, troubling in some way? Considering Feraday's strained logic over this issue, I suspect we may be looking at a valuable clue, if just another on the pile indicating he was not playing on the level with this investigation.