| Barry Walker |
A retired Hong Kong Police Force officer and commentator on the Lockerbie Bombing.
Barry Walker (also known as Baz) graduate of Lancaster University in Modern History and International Relations, retired Royal Hong Kong Police Force officer, is a long-standing Lockerbie bombing commentator.
Barry Walker's website "The Masonic Verses - Lockerbie and Related Scams" examines in forensic detail the evidence that was used to convict Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in 2001 for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. In one article, Walker stated:
- "The conviction of al-Megrahi was not a so-called 'miscarriage of justice'. One does not get convicted of mass murder by accident or mistake. If there was a plan to 'blame' Libya or to incriminate Megrahi and his co-defendant then it must have been conceived and partly implemented before the bombing. The alternative to Megrahi’s guilt is that the authorities set out to incriminate an innocent man (or at least innocent of this crime). Although not explicitly stated in the Camp Zeist Judgement, this is a point the trial Judges grasped. The alternative to Megrahi’s guilt is not simply that he was 'fitted-up' but that Western Governments colluded in the bombing itself."
- 1 SCCRC's conclusion "untenable"
- 2 Lockerbie propositions
- 3 Official scenario "untrue"
- 4 The Maltese Double Cross
- 5 Grudge against the FCO
- 6 References
SCCRC's conclusion "untenable"
"The SCCRC found nothing to undermine the Trial Court's conclusions about the timer fragment".
(NB This article by Barry Walker was originally posted in June 2013 having been written without access to material contained within the appendices of the SCCRC report. It has been substantially revised in October/November 2013 with access to the statement of Forensic Document Examiner, the Photographic Index of the RARDE report, together with the Police photographic log books, and reposted 8 November 2013).
Statement of Reasons "deeply flawed"
"You lay a lie along the edge of truth" - Charles Warwick Reid
94. This paper does not deal with the entirety of the SCCRC Statement of Reasons.
- The Statement of Reasons did not address, what was, in the author's opinion, the key issue - the Airport at which the primary suitcase was introduced.
- The Statement of Reasons did address a number of other claims, particularly in relation to a Lockerbie victim Khaled Jafaar and the related "drug conspiracy theory", with which the author has no argument whatsoever.
95. However in relation to the four important areas dealt with in this paper "page 51" , "photograph 117", "the Lads and Lassies" and "the Horton Manual" the Statement of Reasons is deeply flawed. Starting with the conclusion drawn from examination of the photographic log that photograph 117 was taken no later than the 22nd May 1989 (there seems no reason to doubt this was the day photograph FC3521 was taken) the Statement of Reasons repeatedly concludes that this is quite consistent with page 51 of Dr Hayes' notes, supposedly made on the 12th May 1989. In order to do this they ignore the findings of the Forensic Document Examiner that the imprint of page 51 does not appear on page 52 (formerly page 51).
96. Mr MacKechnie's attempt to question the legitimacy of "photograph 117" was based on Dr Hayes' testimony that photograph 116 (taken June 1990) depicted the Slalom shirt "pre-dissection". The SCCRC concluded Dr Hayes had made a mistake which indeed he may have. The key issue is with the chronology of "page 51" (12/5/89) and "photograph 117" (22/5/89) together with the examination of what is purported to be the "Horton Manual" on the 16/5/89.
97. However it is also blindingly obvious that photograph 117 could not have been taken after page 51 was written - the photograph, if genuine, must have been taken first. The reason for this is simple as PT/2 (PT/35-d) is depicted in the photograph as a wad of paper. According to page 51 it had been taken apart into five constituent sheets, sketched front and back (despite the foreign languages). Further according to page 51 Dr Hayes had identified the 10 sides of this fragment as matching pages 3 through 12 of a control sample PT/1 of a Toshiba Bombeat instruction manual. While, by an astonishing coincidence the "Horton Manual" was received at RARDE and photographed on the 12th May 1989 Dr Hayes did not, in any version of events examine the manual until the 16th May 1989. Only on examining the "Horton Manual" (or what is purported to be the "Horton Manual") could the control sample PT/1 be identified with which the five sheets of PT/2 would have to be compared.
98. The issue of the comparison of photograph 116 and 117 would appear to be something of a red herring from which no definitive conclusion can be drawn and is predicated on the assumption that PT/2 (and PT35(b)) were actually discovered within exhibit PI/995 on the 12th May 1989 as attested by page 51 and Mr Feraday's corroborating statement.
99. There would appear to be some doubt, despite the photographs of that date, that it was the item received at RARDE on the 12th May 1989 that was examined on the 16th May 1989 and which features in photographs 266-268 taken on the 17th May 1989. It is regrettable that the Commission did not obtain the photograph of the "Horton Manual" taken on the 12th May 1989 (F7384). This doubt might be resolved by comparing the photograph taken on the 12th May with the photograph taken on the 17th May 1989 but the SCCRC only reproduce the latter in the Statement of Reasons (without explaining that this was not the photograph taken on the 12th May 1989.) It is certainly curious that the Hortons described a drawing on the sheet and a Police witness described the item as showing writing in foreign languages when neither of these would apparently have been visible!
100. While the SCCRC relied on the photographic log as conclusive evidence that photograph 117 was taken on the 22nd May 1989 there is no chain of evidence to prove that the negative in the sheath of photograph FC3521 is the original negative. However there is no evidence that it is not genuine. (If the subject column of the photographic log book was not so hopelessly vague this would have gone some way to corroborating the authenticity of the negative.)
101. Whether photograph 117 was taken on the 22nd May 1989, or months later, page 51 cannot have been legitimately created before this photograph was taken. If PT/2 was found on the 12th May 1989 why would RARDE wait ten days to photograph it and then take it apart? It is of course a possibility that the two pages of the "Horton Manual" and the five sheets of PT/2 were created from another copy of a Toshiba Bombeat manual and the wad of paper that appears in photograph 117 is just a theatrical device created simply for the purposes of the photograph.
102. While the date on page 51 may only be inaccurate by a matter of days this is not a matter of insignificance as to whether PT/2 was discovered before or after the examination of what is purported to be the "Horton Manual." However if the date were deliberately falsified then that would cast doubt on the supposed circumstances of its discovery.
103. The "Horton Manual" (or what is represented to be the "Horton Manual") is in itself of little evidential value. There appears to be no evidence that it formed part of the mass of flight Pan Am 103 or more specifically that it was within the primary suitcase when the IED exploded. The link to the primary suitcase and indirectly to the defendant Mr Megrahi is provided by PT/2.
104. The "Lads and Lassies" memo is something of a diversion but not a complete red herring. It gives some insight into the methodology of the SCCRC in which a dubious version of events contradicted by much of the available evidence is preferred to an interpretation more consistent with the evidence. By excluding the possibility of misconduct or criminality they accept that the present version of the "Lads and Lassies" memo is genuine. However their analysis is underpinned by the conclusion that "page 51" and "photograph 117" are not only genuine but complimentary when there is prima facie evidence that page 51 was, at the least, created after the 12th May 1989.
105. It is of particular interest that photographs of "the fragment" taken on the 22/9/89 photos 333 & 334 (FC3877 & FC3878) bear no exhibit number.
106. While the SCCRC failed to grasp that the contents of "page 51" are fundamentally at odds with what is depicted in photograph 117 it is curious that none of Mr Megrahi's three defence teams grasped it either. Dr Hayes was never questioned at the Camp Zeist trial upon the contents of "page 51" in particular how he was able to identify the five sheets of PT/2 as having been part of a Toshiba Bombeat manual or how photograph 117 depicted PT/2 as a single wad of paper ten days later!
On 30 January 2014, Barry Walker wrote to the Chief Executive of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission pointing out that the SCCRC's conclusion that there was no reason to doubt the veracity of page 51 of Dr Hayes' notes was quite untenable. The e-mail reply of 17 February 2014 from the SCCRC read:
- "Your letter was received in the office and the content noted. We receive various items of correspondence on this matter each year but the Commission is not actively reviewing this case at present".
Feraday's banning "game-changing"
On 21 February 2014, following the revelation that the chief prosecution witness Alan Feraday at the Lockerbie trial had been banned in 1993 by the English Lord Chief Justice Taylor from appearing as an expert witness in any future trial, Barry Walker described this news as "game-changing":
- I thought PT/2 ("Fragments of paper separated and named as PT/2" above the words "Five damaged fragments of white paper from PI/995") and the "Horton Manual" (exhibit PK/689) were of as much interest as the MEBO timer fragment PT/35(b), which was not therefore the only piece of hard evidence in the Lockerbie trial. My article "Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil" demonstrates that Dr Hayes sketched PT/2 on page 51 of his notes 10 days before it was photographed pre-dissection on 22 May 1989! In the meantime the "Horton Manual" (or what is now purported to be the Horton Manual) was examined, the Horton Manual and PT/2 supposedly coming from the same source. I think this is irrefutable evidence that Alan Feraday and Dr Thomas Hayes of RARDE's Forensic Explosives Laboratory fabricated evidence.
- Feraday did give evidence that he witnessed the extraction of PT/2 and the MEBO timer fragment on 12 May 1989. PT/2 and the Horton Manual were probably created from a generic Toshiba Manual. I don't believe PT/2 could possibly be genuine.
- I think this is game-changing as it undermines many other convictions.
Faked timer fragment
In his article dated 29 March 2014, Barry Walker wrote:
- "If the MEBO fragment was faked then the possibility or likelihood that the IED in fact contained one of Marwan Khreesat's barometric bombs increases. This was the premise on which the investigation was based until the emergence of 'evidence' that the suitcase had in fact come from Malta. If the evidence of the Toshiba owners' manual was also faked then the IED may have been contained within a single speaker Toshiba radio-cassette player."
Commenting on this article, Walker added:
- "The evidence that PT/35(b) (the MEBO fragment) was recovered on the 12 May 1989 from a piece of Slalom shirt appears to have been fabricated. Page 51 of Dr Hayes' notes could not legitimately have been written before 22 May 1989 (i.e. not before but after the examination of what was, or what was purported to be, the 'Horton Manual'). The exhibit PT/35(d) (or PT/2) - supposedly recovered with PT/35(b) - is as important as the MEBO fragment. This in itself is grounds for Megrahi's conviction to be quashed - and indeed the convictions of a lot of other people!"
Perfect excuse to procrastinate
On 14 July 2014, Barry Walker wrote:
- I find it quite astonishing that of their own volition Professor Black, Dr Swire and their associates have given the authorities the perfect excuse to procrastinate for another 5-10. Hasn't the opportunity to make proper submissions (i.e. not "Operation Bird") been lost? Did Megrahi's lawyers even bother to raise the matter of the Heathrow origin or did they (or their researcher) plug yet again the risible claim the primary suitcase was introduced at Frankfurt in addition to a suitcase of drugs?
- Is the SCCRC a fair and objective tribunal? They stated explicitly they would not accept evidence of criminal wrongdoing based on perceived anomalies in dates etc.
- However my article "Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil" provided irrefutable proof key evidence had been fabricated (based on an obvious anomaly in the dates of two key exhibits) which Megrahi's defence team never noticed in 15 years. Had this been raised at Camp Zeist, the case would have collapsed even with a rigged tribunal and the defendants having had their right to a jury given away in favour of a judicial experiment.
- If the evidence of the MST-13 timer and the Bombeat manual was fabricated then what else was? The Malta clothing?
- If the SCCRC do not acknowledge the collapse of the evidential house of cards featured in chapter 8 & 9 of the Statement of Reasons what in God's name is the point of dumping a further three volumes of submissions? A job creation scheme for charlatans and fabricators?
Mickey Mouse tribunal
On 19 July 2014, Barry Walker sent this e-mail to Patrick Haseldine:
- When I get a bit of time I will post an article on my blog. The SCCRC wrote to me to inform me that my "submission" (pointing out chapter 8 of the Statement of Reasons was quite untrue) is now subsumed in Professor Black's 3 volumes of submissions. If the SCCRC think the Statement of Reasons is correct what is the point? They also made the absurd claim they are dealing with "Mr Megrahi's representative". It was Black and Swire who campaigned for a Mickey Mouse tribunal!
- There is no credible evidence the fragment came from one of the 20 timers sold to Libya but was created (likely by the CIA) both to implicate Libya and to further implicate Libya by giving some credibility to the claim the primary suitcase arrived on flight Pan Am 103A. We do not know how the IED was detonated or indeed that it was contained within a radio-cassette recorder. As I have proven there is no credible evidence Dr Hayes discovered PT/35(b) or PT/2 in a piece of Slalom shirt on the 12th May 1989. Pity neither Mr Kelly nor Mr Ashton ever noticed this. They might have got somewhere.
Robert Black responded:
- The application to the SCCRC was submitted in September 2003. Tony Kelly became Megrahi's solicitor in August 2005. Baz, we all know by now that you are the only person who has ever got anything right about the whole Lockerbie affair. Just give it a rest, please.
- So Mr Kelly commissioned these two metallurgists for research for Mr Ashton's book?
- Well I am sorry you have taken this attitude. To be honest I regard you as largely responsible for Megrahi's actual conviction (through the design of the Mickey Mouse tribunal that actually convicted him) but then I regard Justice for Megrahi as an oxymoron.
- Still you are probably right - I really should take notice of Matthew 7.6.
Barry Walker was then banned from commenting further on Professor Black's blog:
- The above is your last comment on this blog, Baz. Find another platform for your bitterness and bile.
Having followed the Lockerbie case closely since 1993, Barry Walker produced a 25-point summary of his views on the case, the first five being:
- Lockerbie can be described as a crime or a terrorist incident. It was also, if not primarily, an exercise in International Relations and explicable in terms of elementary International Relations theory.
- Lockerbie was intimately connected to the Vincennes incident, without which there would have been no Lockerbie.
- Lockerbie was not unexpected. Because of the "Vincennes incident" it was expected and planned for.
- The "Vincennes incident" obviously gave Iran a motive to retaliate. No commentator has noted that it also gave the USA a motive to collude in a measured and appropriate response. To understand Lockerbie, watch the film "Fail Safe".
- The relationship between Lockerbie and the "Vincennes incident" is something the authorities have gone to great lengths to deny. To acknowledge the link they would have had to respond and escalate the situation. With "honour" satisfied it was best to move on.
Walker's views on the importance of the Vincennes connection are shared by at least two other Lockerbie commentators:
- Charles Norrie with "A Tale Of Three Atrocities"  and
- Patrick Haseldine's "Lockerbie: Ayatollah's Vengeance Exacted by Botha's Regime".
On 14 November 2008, Barry Walker published an article entitled "Lockerbie The Heathrow Evidence" which began with a quote from page 145 of David Leppard's 1991 book "On the Trail of Terror: Inside Story of the Lockerbie Investigation":
- "As the Kamboj episode showed, there had always been an outside chance that a bag had been smuggled into the container at Heathrow. That possibility aside Chief Superintendent John Orr had effectively ruled out Heathrow within three weeks of the bombing. Much to the relief of British security chiefs, the Met's Special Branch had long since stopped investigating the Heathrow theory."
The article continues: At 7pm on Friday 21st December 2008 the family and friends of some of passengers and crew of flight Pan Am 103 and perhaps of some of the eleven residents of Lockerbie who also lost their lives will gather at Heathrow Airport to mark the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster.
It was from Heathrow Airport that flight Pan Am 103 took off at 18:35hrs on Wednesday 21st December 1988 on its journey to JFK Airport, and presumably it is for that reason that Heathrow Airport has been chosen as a venue for the Service of Remembrance.
There is however another reason why Heathrow is a suitable venue to commemorate the 20th Anniversary: for contrary to the version of events advanced by the authorities, it was at Heathrow that the bomb that destroyed flight Pan Am 103 was introduced.
The official version is that the improvised explosive device (IED) built into a Toshiba bomb-beat radio-cassette incorporating an MST-13 timer was placed within an antique bronze coloured hard-sided Samsonite tourister suitcase also containing a quantity of clothing purchased from a shop in Malta.
This suitcase was smuggled unaccompanied aboard Air Malta flight KM180 at Luqa Airport, Malta by unknown means on the morning of the 21st December 1988 and at Frankfurt it was transferred to feeder flight Pan Am 103A and flown to Heathrow where the bag was transferred to baggage container AVE4041 which was loaded onto the 'Maid of the Seas' the aircraft used for flight Pan Am 103.
It was quickly established that a bomb had caused the disaster. Pieces of the bomb damaged aluminium baggage container AVE4041 were identified and recovered. Fragments of a brown hard-sided Samsonite suitcase were recovered which due to damage on the inside surface was identified as being the "primary suitcase" containing the IED. An early priority was to try to link the primary suitcase to a specific passenger or to ascertain at what point the suitcase was introduced into the system.
All passengers and crew on board flight Pan Am 103 had either started their journey at Heathrow or had transferred from other flights. Passengers who transferred to Pan Am 103 at Heathrow from flights from Vienna, Brussels and Cyprus were known as "Interline" passengers. The 41 passengers that had transferred from the Pan Am feeder flight Pan Am 103A from Frankfurt were known as "Online" passengers, some of whom had "Interlined" from other flights to Frankfurt.
Police enquiries at Heathrow indicated that the luggage container AVE4041 had been loaded at Heathrow firstly with a number of Interline bags then filled with bags from the Frankfurt flight. It contained no luggage from passengers who had started their journey at Heathrow. By deducing the position of the "primary suitcase" within luggage container AVE4041 the Police believed they could deduce how the suitcase had arrived at Heathrow. From the start there was an assumption that the suitcase had been transferred from another flight.
The container had a rectangular base and three walls of the container were at right angles to the base. The fourth wall sloped outwards to fit the curvature of the plane’s fuselage to a point just under half the container's height where there was an aperture the length and height of the container for placing luggage. According to the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) report, the centre of the explosive event was 10 inches from the floor of the container 12 inches from its left hand wall and 15 inches from the front (sloping) wall of the container. The explosion occurred just 25 inches from the aircraft skin. (This conclusion was questioned at the trial by the evidence of another expert witness.) According to the official version of events the position of the primary suitcase so close to the aircraft’s skin was fortuitous.
The most important witness in the Lockerbie case was a Heathrow baggage handler David Bedford, a loader/driver employed by Pan Am. Yet from the start his evidence was discounted or ignored, deemed to be of no relevance at all. On the afternoon of the 21st December 1988, Bedford was working at the Interline Baggage Shed a structure where Interline bags that arrived from other flights were brought and fed into the shed on a conveyor belt that extruded from the building. Here the bags were x-rayed and placed into luggage containers. Bedford had set aside luggage container AVE4041 for flight Pan Am 103.
Bedford placed four or five suitcases, upright on their spines to the back of the luggage container then left the area to speak with his supervisor. When he returned he found that somebody had placed two further suitcases flat in front of this row of suitcases. The one on the left was a brown or maroon hard-sided Samsonite.
Bedford spoke to Sulaksh Kamboj, an employee of Alert Security, who was responsible for x-raying Interline luggage. According to Bedford, Kamboj told him that he had placed the two suitcases in the container. When Sulaksh Kamboj was interviewed by the Police, he denied having placed the two suitcases in the container and denied having told Bedford that he had.
The Larnaca Interline passengers included four US Government officials: three, CIA officer Matthew Gannon, Army Major Charles "Tiny" McKee and Ron LaRiviere a Security Official had travelled from the Lebanon, and the fourth Daniel O’Connor was a State Department official posted to the US Embassy in Nicosia.
The luggage of these four men was recovered. There was evidence that one of McKee’s suitcases had been tampered with. None had a bronze or maroon hardsided Samsonite (McKee had two grey suitcases - one a Samsonite, Gannon’s Samsonite was blue and soft-sided.) Curiously O’Connor’s two bags were never loaded onto Pan Am 103 but after the bombing was found in a baggage room at Heathrow.
The container was put aside and later Bedford drove the container to a site known as K-16 where luggage from flight Pan Am 103A could fill up the container. Bedford finished work at 5pm, thirty minutes before flight Pan Am 103A touched down. Luggage had been loaded loose and was unloaded onto a "rocket" and approximately 39 further bags were placed in container AVE4041.
Yet the fact of the mysterious appearance of these two suitcases, one a brown or maroon Samsonite, in the very luggage container in which the explosion occurred in or near the position where the explosion occurred, was dismissed by the Police for within three weeks they had "eliminated" Heathrow as the point at which the bomb was introduced. How they had convinced themselves of this remains a mystery partly illuminated by comments made much later by the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Chief Superintendent John Orr.
On 28 March 1989, Orr addressed the co-ordinating committee of the Lockerbie investigators at Lockerbie Incident Control Centre (LICC). In reviewing the evidence to date, Orr stated that in respect of the loading of AVE 4041:
- "Evidence from witnesses is to the effect (my italics) that the first seven pieces of luggage in the container belonged to Interline passengers and the remainder was Frankfurt luggage.
- "To date, 14 pieces of explosive-damaged baggage have been recovered and enquiries to date suggest that on the balance of probabilities (LICC italics) the explosive device is likely to be amongst the Frankfurt baggage items. Of all the currently identified explosion-damaged luggage, all but one item originated from Frankfurt."
SIO John Orr had conflated the two further suitcases with the 4-5 bags placed by Bedford. While these bags could not have come from Frankfurt, there was no evidence that the two further bags were "Interline" bags save they had been introduced at the Interline baggage shed. Evidence from witnesses was not "to the effect" they were Interline bags.
Indian Head forensic tests
Three weeks after John Orr had expressed his conclusion that the two mystery suitcases were Interline bags, a series of five forensic tests were conducted at the Indian Head Naval facility in Maryland which confirmed his conclusions and the decision to "eliminate" Heathrow.
Using IEDs built for the purpose the tests, supervised by Tom Thurman of the FBI and Alan Feraday of RARDE, were to deduce the amount of explosive used in the IED and the position of primary suitcase within container AVE4041. In the closest approximation suitcase containing the IED was placed flat on top of another hard-sided suitcase (also placed flat) at the front left of the luggage container. The centre of the explosion was just 10½ inches from the floor and was right at the front of the container only 20 inches from the fuselage.
Due to the absence of "pitting", the absence of material blasted into the floor of the real container AVE4041 and in the test, it was deduced that the primary suitcase was not on the bottom layer of luggage. As the bags loaded by Bedford and the two "extra" bags were in contact with the floor it was deduced that the "primary suitcase" must have arrived on the feeder flight Pan Am 103A.
The Police were initially convinced that the Lockerbie case was related to the activities of a cell of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC) who had been based in the city of Neuss close to Frankfurt. The cell was arrested on Wednesday 26 October 1988. Four IEDs were eventually recovered, one of which was concealed within a Toshiba radio cassette player. It is possible that a fifth device was not recovered.
These IED’s incorporated barometric triggers and were designed to explode at altitude. The Scottish Police were stunned to learn that the cell’s bomb-maker Marwan Khreesat had been released soon after his arrest by the examining Magistrate. Khreesat was their prime suspect and the conclusion that the bomb had arrived unaccompanied from Frankfurt may have been influenced by this. What the Scots did not know at the time was that Khreesat was a CIA "asset".
The first eight months of the investigation was taken up by an increasingly acrimonious dispute between the investigators and the German authorities which was resolved only in August 1989 with the production of evidence, that the Germans had supposedly had for months indicating that a "rogue suitcase" had been transferred from a flight from Malta to the feeder flight Pan Am 103A at Frankfurt.
Essentially this was a forensic argument, the Germans arguing that if the IED that destroyed Pan Am 103 was built by Khreesat then it must have been introduced at Heathrow. The Scots spent a great deal attempting to refute the argument but stubbornly dismissed the possibility that a "Khreesat" bomb had been introduced at Heathrow.
The claim was astonishing as, four years earlier, his Government had demanded in advance of a trial that Libya accept full responsibility for the bombing, and had taken the lead in imposing sanctions.
The author (Barry Walker) tested this claim by writing to the Prime Minister pointing out the Police may have made a colossal blunder in "eliminating" Heathrow. He received a reply from an official of the Transport Security Branch of the Department of Transport drawing his attention to the conclusions of the Fatal Accident Inquiry, firstly that the primary suitcase had arrived unaccompanied on flight Pan Am 103A from Frankfurt and, secondly, that the suitcase arrived at Frankfurt on an airline other than Pan Am. The letter also stated that "contrary to what you say, the Police investigation remains open".
By supposedly reconstructing the contents of AVE4041, the Police purported to not only be able to distinguish between the position within the container of bags Interlined and Onlined at Heathrow, but between bags that had begun their journey at Frankfurt and those Interlined there (i.e. those that had arrived at Frankfurt on feeder flights).
According to Leppard:
- "The LICC had concluded, after a detailed reconstruction of the contents of the luggage pallet, that the bomb bag must have come from an Interlined flight because it was amongst the bags on the second and third level which had been Interlined into Frankfurt." (The Indian Head forensic tests had indicated the centre of explosive event was 10.5 inches from the floor of the container!) This was the basis for a statement at the Fatal Accident Inquiry by Lord Fraser’s deputy, Andrew Hardie QC, that the bomb bag had arrived at Heathrow on the feeder flight from Frankfurt. Hardie explained this did not mean that the bag had originated from Frankfurt."
The conclusions of the Fatal Accident Inquiry set the stage for the announcement of the Indictment of the two Libyans nine months later. While it is assumed the object of the Indictment was to bring about a trial, there is considerable evidence the real objective was the imposition of United Nations sanctions on Libya.
Evidence at Camp Zeist
Both David Bedford and Sulaksh Kamboj gave evidence at Camp Zeist concerning what had transpired 12 years before. The discrepancy between their accounts was still not resolved, although their Lordships favoured Bedford’s account. However this discrepancy was found to be of no importance for their Lordships accepted the official version of events that the primary suitcase had been introduced in Malta and transferred to Pan Am 103A at Frankfurt. As the two suitcases had appeared in AVE4041 prior to Pan Am 103A's arrival at Heathrow, Bedford's evidence was of no relevance as the Police had concluded thirteen years earlier.
As their Lordships had supposedly discounted the evidence of the defector Majid Giaka, they confessed they did not know how the bomb was introduced at Malta. However having found the case against the defendant Megrahi convincing in other respects, and as Megrahi had flown to Malta on 20 December 1988 using a false identity, and had left Malta on the morning of 21 December 1988, they concluded that this visit must have been related to smuggling the primary suitcase aboard flight KM180 rather than some other nefarious purpose.
In their summing-up, the defence made a telling point concerning Bedford’s evidence. According to the official scenario if the "Bedford Samsonite" was not the primary suitcase then it must have been in extremely close proximity to it. However, as no bomb-damaged brown Samsonite was recovered, (or indeed any such Interline bag) save for the primary suitcase itself, then this must have been the primary suitcase.
In their Judgement, their Lordships got around this difficulty by speculating that the contents of luggage container AVE4041 may or must have been re-arranged when the further bags from Pan Am 103A were added and the "Bedford Samsonite" was moved far away from the point of the explosion "to some far corner of the container." In making such a claim, their Lordships completely undermined the theory on which Heathrow had been "eliminated" and indeed the basis on which Advocate Depute Lord Hardie had given evidence to the Fatal Accident Inquiry.
Official scenario "untrue"
Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) of the Lockerbie Incident Control Centre (LICC) John Orr’s supposition that the two bags seen by Bedford were "Interline" bags, the forensic tests that purported to eliminate these bags and the speculation that these bags had been re-arranged were essentially irrelevant. Indeed the attempt to identify the origin of the primary suitcase from identifying the bags around it was deeply flawed, as it assumed the primary suitcase was introduced into the system at the same point.
There was only one way to properly identify and eliminate the brown/maroon Samsonite seen by Bedford, and that was to recover it, examine its contents and link it to a particular passenger. If Chief Superintendent John Orr believed the Samsonite seen by Bedford was an Interline bag then it should have been recovered and linked to a specific Interline passenger.
The logic is irrefutable. If the Samsonite suitcase seen in container AVE4041 was not otherwise recovered then it must have been the primary suitcase. As it was seen long before the arrival of feeder flight Pan Am 103A, then the official scenario (on which Megrahi was convicted) must be untrue.
Elimination of Heathrow
It is the official version of events that the primary suitcase arrived at Heathrow on flight Pan Am 103A from Frankfurt and that the primary suitcase began its journey at Luqa Airport although there is no actual evidence that it did. The trial Judges deduced that it must have because Mr al-Megrahi was on Malta that day. Early in the investigation, in January 1989, the Senior Investigating Officer Chief Superintendent John Orr had "eliminated" Heathrow as the point at which the primary suitcase was introduced although he was in possession of no actual evidence on which do so. Indeed it is quite possible that neither Orr, nor any member of his team actually went to Heathrow. This "elimination" was based on cod logic as to the position of the primary suitcase within container AVE4041. In "eliminating" Heathrow in this way, Orr lost any opportunity to legitimately solve the case.
John Orr's deduction was put as a submission to the Fatal Accident Inquiry by the Lord Advocate's Deputy and successor Andrew Hardie QC. No evidence was presented to support this submission. Much later the Trial Judges expressly repudiated this deduction, speculating, again without evidence, that the brown Samsonite that had mysteriously appeared in AVE4041 had been moved "out of harm's way." The central flaw in the prosecution case was that this suitcase was never recovered (unless it was in fact the primary suitcase) and was never linked to any passenger aboard Pan Am 103. The question of which airport the bomb was introduced was crucial to how the bomb was powered and detonated and therefore who actually carried out the bombing. The late Mr al-Megrahi's proven presence in Malta on 21 December 1989 provides him with a cast iron alibi.
The initial suspects in the case were the PFLP-GC Autumn Leaves group whose bomb-maker Marwan Khreesat had built the bombs in two earlier aircraft bombings. One or more samples of Khreesat's handiwork were recovered in Neuss. Khreesat's bombs incorporated a barometric timer and were designed only to explode at altitude. The "official" Lockerbie scenario is that the bomb had already travelled on two planes in its journey from Malta to Heathrow (via Frankfurt). While John Orr and his team initially had a lengthy spat with the German authorities, and commissioned a report from RARDE arguing that a Khreesat "barometric" bomb could have survived the journey from Frankfurt (implying that the actual target was flight Pan Am 103A) these claims were eventually abandoned. However to "prove" the official scenario it was necessary to prove that Marwan Khreesat was not the bomb-maker and that the bomb was detonated with a timer which was (supposedly) set before the primary suitcase was smuggled aboard at Luqa. This scenario was assisted by an interview granted to two FBI agents Edward Marshmann and the disgraced Tom Thurman with Khreesat himself in Jordan on the 12th and 13th November 1989 where he was under the protection of the Jordanian Intelligence Services (with which the CIA are closely allied). In this self-serving "statement" (as represented by Mr Marshmann) Khreesat denied having ever built a bomb in a twin speaker radio-cassette recorder. It was the discovery of PT/35(d) (PT/2) on 12 May 1989 that "proved" the Lockerbie bomb was contained within a twin speaker radio cassette. However he was certainly connected with IED's built in Toshiba radio-cassettes and in particular a single speaker Toshiba bombeat radio cassette. The Scottish Police were excluded from this interview and they never spoke to the man who was initially their prime suspect. (Curiously neither Megrahi's nor Fhimah's defence team named Khreesat in the special defence and Khreesat's hearsay account was admitted unchallenged.)
On 2 July 2009, during Megrahi's second appeal against conviction, Barry Walker wrote:
- While I pointed out to the PM's office in 1996, (in response to John Major's claim to the House that the investigation was was "open") that the Police had made a colossal blunder in "eliminating" Heathrow I was not aware of the "break-in".
- I do not know the significance of the "break-in" and Herr Bollier is correct that there is no evidence that a suitcase was introduced. However Ruth is absolutely right to say that it is a matter of immense importance.
- The Police had "eliminated" Heathrow in three weeks despite knowing that a bag similar to the primary suitcase had been introduced in AVE4041 and knowing there had been a serious security breach on the morning of the bombing.
- When I was a Policeman a deadbeat Chief Inspector told me:
- "It is not what you can do, it is what you can bat away."
- To recognise that the bomb had been introduced at Heathrow would have had profound repercussions. The Metropolitan Police would have taken over the case, despite the major crime scene being in Scotland, and any prosecution would have been brought in England under English law despite eleven of the victims having been Scottish residents. The Lord Advocate had demanded jurisdiction over the case.
- It seems to me blindingly obvious that the decision to "eliminate" Heathrow was not arrived at on strictly evidential grounds.
Few believe Heathrow ingestion
Morag Kerr's January 2013 article titled "Adequately explained by stupidity?" was much commented upon on the "Wings Over Scotland" website and on Professor Black's blog, where Barry Walker (aka 'baz') identified just three Lockerbie campaigners believing that the bomb suitcase was ingested at Heathrow airport: Charles Norrie, Patrick Haseldine and 'baz' himself. These were heavily outnumbered by orthodox Frankfurt and Malta 'ingestioners':
- "I suppose it is a matter of opinion as to why Megrahi dropped his appeal. It does seem to me bizarre that two of his defence teams would employ the researcher John Ashton for the fraudulent "The Maltese Double Cross" whose ludicrous claims provided straw men for the SCCRC to demolish.
- "I thought 'Rolfe' was referring to herself with that quip about one conspiracy theorist to another!
- "I'm curious who these critics are that 'Rolfe' has encountered who support the idea that the primary suitcase was introduced at Heathrow?
- "Not David Leppard, Juval Aviv, John Pilger, John Ashton, Ian Ferguson, Tam Dalyell, Robert Black, Robert Fisk, Allan Francovich, Heather Mills, the crew at The Herald, Oswald LeWinter, Jim Swire, Gareth Peirce, Lester Coleman, Paul Foot, JFM committee members Andrew C. Killgore and his protégé Warren Russell Howe, Christine Grahame MSP (who ludicrously "outed" Abu Elias), the batty aangirfan blog, nor even Ludwig De Braeckeleer (until I pointed it out to him).
- "Those in favour are Charles Norrie and Patrick Haseldine whose accounts I for one find deeply flawed. I'm not sure where Susan Lindauer or the brilliant Sharyn Bovat stand on the issue.
- "I do not think this was 'some appalling blunder by the US Security Services' but that the bombing was at best tolerated and at worst planned for. David Wolchover largely got it right until he started making claims unsupported by evidence.
- "Well I figured it out in 1996, but obviously as Dr Kerr has now come to the same conclusion, the Scottish Legal establishment and the Scottish, British and US Governments are going to fold!
- "Megrahi was adamant he wanted to continue with his appeal", said Jo Greenhorn. On what evidence? I recall Megrahi was going leave Jim Swire material after his death proving his innocence. Presumably that never panned out either.
- "Megrahi's appeal was going nowhere - they were just keeping the meter ticking."
The Maltese Double Cross
Barry Walker said of the 1994 documentary film "The Maltese Double Cross - Lockerbie" that "I have no objection to the first 1 hour and 36 minutes which was, to be honest, really very good". However, his review continued by scorning the "drug conspiracy theory" and he concluded that "without the 'drug conspiracy' section The Maltese Double Cross might have been a good film. Pity Francovich didn't grasp the bomb was introduced at Heathrow."
Charlatans, Fabricators and Conspiracy Theorists
There are some editing problems, and you really have to watch it several times to follow it properly, but its an enormously powerful piece of cinema. It's the only Lockerbie documentary that makes me cry. Its use of music is particularly effective.
It's just such a shame that the producers, working in the early 1990's before some vital stuff was readily available, latched on to Khaled Jafaar as the means of getting the bomb onto the plane. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jafaar's suitcase was the one allegedly found at Tundergarth Mains with drugs in it, but it appears he wasn't carrying the bomb.
The amount of detail presented in the film to support the Jaafar theory is suspicious. Some of it has to be fabricated, and for the avoidance of doubt I'm not suggesting that Francovich or anyone else involved in the film fabricated it. I can't help wondering if there were people who had an interest in promoting a plausible "conspiracy theory" explanation that wasn't in fact the right one, to distract the attention of the awkward squad from what David Leppard had mentioned in his 1991 book about the evidence of a certain baggage handler called John Bedford. I wonder if Francovich was fed spurious "evidence" to support the Jafaar theory.
This rather seems to tie in with the Juval Aviv Interfor report episode. Aviv appears in the film but his 1989 report implicating Jaafar's baggage seems to imply a different modus operandi. While Francovich proposes that Jaafar had the device in his suitcase at check-in (I think) Aviv presented a complicated tale about his suitcase being switched at the departure gate for the bomb suitcase, by Kilinc Tuzcu. Aviv's story is clearly moonshine, but he claimed a BKA officer had filmed the operation and to have had possession of the tape which he (Aviv) passed to the authorities after which it was never seen again. He didn't keep a copy. Hmmm.
Why would an apparently reputable investigator like Aviv (his firm was long-established even in 1989 and is still trading) invent a pile of hokum in his report to the Pan Am insurers? (For the fee and publicity perhaps - BW) as without this pile of hokum he had squat?) Who dreamed up the tale of the BKA officer witnessing the suitcase switch, and the phone call to check when the substitute case was noted to be the wrong weight and the instructions to go ahead anyway". (Aviv perhaps? - BW).
Grudge against the FCO
On Professor Black's blog in January 2014, Barry Walker commented:
- Quincey Riddle wrote: "fortunately Iran won the war against all odds." I don't think so. Iraq (who had for years sought a way out) defeated the Iranians due to the decisive intervention of the United States who provided Iraq with satellite imagery transforming the effectiveness of Iraqi Artillery. The Americans were then bemused that the regime, uniquely in history, survived defeat in war.
- Of course a tit-for-tat response isn't silliness. An Iranian spokesman said there would be "an appropriate response to the magnitude of the American Crime." An excessive response (to attack a number of planes) would not be appropriate and neither would a strong letter to The Times. A tit-for-tat response drew a line in the sand and both sides could pretend retaliation hadn't occurred. It sent a message not only to the world but to the man on the Tehran omnibus. Had the Islamic Republic not responded the regime may have crumbled.
- PS. Rolfe - I think it is blindingly obvious why Patrick is obsessed with his South Africa theory. He was sacked from the FCO (he thinks for espousing his views on South Africa) then Lockerbie occurred with Bernt Carlsson on board. It was a sign from God, personal vindication. I too am motivated by my own grudge against the FCO!
- "Barry Walker on Facebook"
- "Part III Lockerbie - Criminal Justice or 'War by Other Means' (1)
- "SCCRC Statement of Reasons - Lockerbie case"
- "Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil"
- "The Primary Suitcase and Its Contents - Rethinking Basic Assumptions"
- "Grounds for Megrahi's conviction to be quashed"
- "Perfect excuse to procrastinate"
- "There is no credible evidence the fragment came from one of the 20 timers sold to Libya"
- "Baz, give it a rest, please"
- "Professor Black's Mickey Mouse tribunal"
- "Barry Walker banned from commenting further on Professor Black's blog"
- "Prof Black banned policeman Baz/Barry Walker over #Lockerbie #MickeyMouseTribunal jibe!"
- "Lockerbie propositions"
- "A Tale Of Three Atrocities"
- "Lockerbie: Ayatollah's Vengeance Exacted by Botha's Regime"
- "Lockerbie The Heathrow Evidence"
- "On the Trail of Terror: Inside Story of the Lockerbie Investigation" by David Leppard
- "Evidence of Christopher Protheroe at Camp Zeist, 25th May 2000"
- "Evidence of David Bedford at Camp Zeist, para.23-25 of Judgement / David Leppard, page 137"
- "Evidence of Sulaksh Kamboj at Camp Zeist, para. 23-25 of Judgement/David Leppard, page 137"
- "Lockerbie Incident Control Centre memo of 28 March 1989, quoted from Leppard, page 100"
- "Evidence at Camp Zeist of FBI agent Hal Hendershot"
- "Hansard, 17 May 1996"
- "Letter of 5 June 1996 from Department of Transport Security Branch Ref:AVI 4/2/20"
- "Leppard, page 205"
- "Judgement, para.75"
- "Judgement, para.25"
- "Leppard, pages 104-105"
- "Leppard, chapter 1"
- "The Metropolitan Police would have taken over the case"
- "Barry Walker on Professor Black's blog"
- "Critique of "The Maltese Double Cross" by 'baz'
- "Morag Kerr: I love that film"
- "Charlatans, Fabricators and Conspiracy Theorists"
- "Blindingly obvious why Patrick is obsessed with his South Africa theory"
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