Wednesday, September 30, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
September 30 2009
last update 10/3

Following the December 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing, the congruence of original clues that the investigation were following pointed quite clearly in one direction: to the Syria-based PFLPGC group, apparently commissioned by Iran as in-kind retaliation for the USS Vincenes incident. By late 1991 the focus had long-since shifted and had come to the indictment of two Libyans, sparking a long-simmering political dispute capped with a guilty verdict and life sentence for one of them (al Megrahi) handed down nine years later.

The timeline in between is a little murky, but the investigative shift appears to coincide, roughly, with the 1990-91 Gulf War. In this context, Iran was a force one wouldn’t want too much quarrel with while focusing on their more built-up neighbor. Syria, on Iraq’s other flank, had agreed to assist the U.S effort in line with the general mindset of the Arab League. Pursuing a terror group sponsored by Damascus over the bombing would be politically inconvenient. Coincidentally of course,as case expert Paul Foot noted, after the invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, “the official view of the disaster was that Syria had, in Bush's typically elegant phrase, 'taken a bum rap on this'; and that the people responsible for Lockerbie came from the one Arab state which had denounced the US role in the Gulf War: Libya.”

Col. Gadaffi's regime was already a convenient enemy known for supporting anti-American terrorism, and had their own poignant reasons for revenge – the death of scores of Libyans, including an adopted daughter of Gadaffi’s own, by U.S. bombing in 1986. And most of the clues pointing to a shift in blame started emerging, all on their own it might seem, well before the open saber rattling in the Gulf. Foot noted one of the earliest harbingers of a course change “in mid-March 1989, three months after Lockerbie,” when “George Bush rang Margaret Thatcher to warn her to 'cool it' on the subject.” Could this have been triggered by the Gulf War’s alliance system?

A 2008 BBC documentary agreed that as of mid-1989, “Britain’s biggest mass murder investigation looked like it was stalling,” unable to find the hard links to the PFLP necessary to continue. Countering the cynical conspiracy theorists that blame Gulf War politics, they report that clues pointing to Libya started coming in “from August 1989, twelve months before the invasion of Kuwait.” This, it went on, was an anomalous report from Frankfurt Airport suggesting an unaccompanied bag from Malta had gotten onto PA103 there; Malta points straight to Libya, Tripoli’s “backdoor to the West,” as the video puts it.

The most important clue would be the MST-13 timer fragment, identified in mid-1990, linked via its maker Mebo to Libyan intelligence. If the Libyans were not guilty, as seems the case, it’s almost necessary the fragment was planted. According to official paperwork (which is actually pretty dubious), this was no later than mid-May 1989, when it was first catalogued. Barring altered records, a plan to implicate Gadaffi’s team had to be in execution this early. Again, could this first huge step towards the Libyan guilt myth have been triggered by the coming showdown with the Butcher of Baghdad? Surely a rational thinker is looking here for less obvious outside reasons to look elsewhere, or simply... the evidence emerging?

Any explanation that relies solely on the coalition-building running up to Operation Desert Storm is bound to miss valuable leads; there had to be more at work with how the onetime PLFPGC suspects were handled; at least one of them was reportedly a CIA asset, and he and others had been released from prison with suspicious ease just after getting caught with bombs similar to what brought down 103, but shortly before it was brought down. Something looks embarrassing there no matter who you want to look at instead. And for what it’s worth, the pros of leaning against Libya in particular would be known and considered independently. But finally, I contend Gulf War-type thinking could also be a strong or central factor, even for the earliest of alleged shenanigans, and helps flesh out the "motive" category for any speculation.

This can be seen at the level where things seem almost "scripted" in grand strategic sweeps, a changing geopolitical zeitgeist some are privy to well before others. This timeline of the Iran-Iraq War shows the zeitgeist of mid-1988 was of the United States and its armed proxy Iraq working in tandem, partly intentional, partly accidental (or rather, the USS Vincennes incident) against a common foe. Like a tsunami the hits came down on Iran and its people, subduing Tehran into a weaker hand at the ceasefire finally agreed in late July. Almost exactly two years later the US was fighting against Iraq.

What happened in between? Most run-of-the-mill Gulf War timelines start with late May 1990 and Iraq's charges of economic warfare against Kuwait. One might guess some foreshadowing being picked up by American minds prior to this, but it's more than just shadows. The background I needed I already learned reading Ramsey Clark's The Fire This Time (1992). It’s a slanted work to be sure, but quite informative in its way. His intro timeline [p xxiv-xxv] goes into some relevant details missed by the ones I was seeing on the internet. Let's follow it backwards from May 1990 to see how far back the mindshift towards Iraq as the enemy goes:
February 1990 – General Schwwarzkopf testifies before the Senate of the need for the United States to increase its military presence in the Gulf region. He warns that “Iraq has the capability to militarily coerce its neighbors.”
January 1990 CENTCOM headqyuarters stages a game entitled Look, which tests War Plan 1002-90.
1989 War Plan 1002, originally conceived in 1981 to counter a supposed Soviet threat to the Persian Gulf, is adjusted to designate Iraq as the threat to the region. The plan is renamed War Plan 1002-90.
1988 [...] A ceaefire agreement is signed between Iran and Iraq in August. U.S. policy towards Iraq shifts dramatically. The Center for Strategic and International Studies begins a two-year study predicting the outcome of a war between the United States and Iraq.
On the evidence and time of the "dramatic" attitude shift, Clark started with the Iraqi chemical weapons attack on Halabja, March 1988. The horrifically illegal toxic slaughter of thousands of Kurds, many adults of whom had collaborated with the iranians, was largely ignored by western media and governments at the time, even after large Kurdish protests at the UN. [p 19-20] The zeitgeist of mid 1988, or simple ignorance, could explain these oversights.

Clark then noted it was on September 8, just three weeks after the Iran-Iraq cease fire, that the U.S. finally decided to announce that their erstwhile proxy had gassed a group of people that happened to be tied by ethnicity. A State Department spokesperson referred to the attack(s) (vaguely related) as “abhorrent and unjustifiable.” The same day, Iraq’s Foreign Minister was in town to meet Secretary of State Schultz, and had the chance to be barraged with unexpected questions and to respond weakly. Within a day of this well-placed slap. “the Senate unanimously voted to impose sanctions” on Iraq. Somehow this “never became law” but was seen as “a threat and a humiliation” by Iraq, and ultimately a harbinger of things to come.

So was the necessary mindset there and strong to make nice with Iraq's enemies even four months before the Lockerbie bombing? It was there, if requiring serious foresight to pick out early on. But the new zeitgeist had surely grown some in currency by, say, March '89. This does not mean it's the reason the blame shifted, but shouldn't be scratched as one of the birds to be killed with this stone.

Friday, September 25, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
September 29 2009
Last update 10/22

Among the evidence used to implicate Libyan al Megrahi for the bombing of Pan Am 103, the strongest, most tangible, most sciencey, is the small but identifiable fragment of timer circuit board though by some to have triggered the bomb that brought the plane down on Lockerbie Scotland in December 1988. What we know is the style is the same, circuit-wise, as a MST-13 board, made by a Swiss company, Mebo, in a limited run of 20 (plus three prototypes) for Libyan intelligence in the mid-1980s. Notwithstanding the likelihood of anything surviving the reported type of explosion, fact is little is alleged to survive, and I will proceed on the notion that it's possible for this to be genuine, but far from a foregone conclusion.

In the course of a discussion thread started at the JREF forum by member Rolfe, examining whether the timer fragment was planted, I was able to establish some visual patterns helpful to understanding the issue. There are already numerous documented, eyebrow-raising anomalies with how this historic evidence has been handled and by whom, and I will address these elsewhere - here I hope to just make a quick post to convey, mostly with pictures, what I thought might be an important piece of new information I discovered looking at some jpeg images, available online and purporting to be genuine trial-related evidentiary photos. One may note a color shift from the first to view to the last, with an original faintly blue-tinted gray later showing as tinted blue all over the image. The board's color is referred to by all who speak of it as "green." The shape and layout of the fragment as seen in each photo, however, remains consistent enough, steadily holding the known shape of Mebo's MST-13 board.

< The first, chronologically, shows a battered collar from a "Slalom" brand shirt, from which were supposedly removed some fragments, the interesting one of which is visible, blown-up, at left. This poster is annotated, in Dutch it seems, and attributes this photo to Dr. Thomas Hayes, RARDE scientist, on September 12 1989. For convenience, I'm using this to identify the shot.

> The next is a file photo shown on ABC News in Nov. 1991 by FBI agent James "Tom" Thurman. This was presumably taken at the time of his June 15 1990 identification of the fragment as from a MST-13. There is plenty of confusion also as to whether he actually inspected the fragment or a photo of it, but here I'll just share his publicized hard copy, stretched to the same proportions as the exhibit photo (below), from Gideon Levy's totally amazing (but partly Dutch) Lockerbie Revisited video. Note the deep cuts, meeting at a right angle in the lower right of the touch pad. This does not seem to be present in the older photo.

< Exhibit PT35(b) photo - it's unknown at what time this was taken, but probably sometime around mid-1990. This is the most commonly seen view, as it clarifies just how open-and-shut the case is. Case being, does this dubious fragment match a board style similar to one usually made by... etc. The comparison model is reportedly an intact MST-13 confiscated from another Libyan intelligence agent, who had been planning some different bombing. It's supposedly just these two items side-by-side that allowed agent Thurman to make the connection.

Dr. Ludwig De Brackeleer, however, as a minor point of a detailed article largely about the fragment, disagreed:

There is a small glitch... It is obvious that the fragment PT35(b) does not come from one of the 20 machine-made MST13 timer delivered to Libya. The location of the T shaped touch pad, its absolute and relative dimensions do not match. Moreover the curvature of the fragment round edge equally differs!
< I took the corner from the intact board in PT35(b) into Photoshop and applied the 'trace contour' filter. Beneath this I scaled a blowup of the fragment until the "1" shaped touch pad and as much as possible matched. It's quite a perfect fit in fact, minus a missing top portion, in addition to missing sections left, right, and below - not too surprising.

What I do find interesting is, well, this:

The earlier view is lacking the right-angle cut marks marking the lower right quadrant, and the later one is lacking the top portion straight across. Why on Earth would the top portion of a piece of evidence just go missing, and why would someone hack lines across it like that?

I had my own elaborate thoughts about some renegade scientist who smelled a rat swiping a chunk to hold as blackmail, using a safe deposit box and a team of Swiss lawyers, and was trying to tie in both the Mossad and an elaborate car chase through the plazas of Rome. Before I got this far however, JREF member Dan O, who seems to know a lot about electronics and investigations, offered a more plausible explanation:
In order to examine the cross section of the piece for identification of the material, it must be cleanly cut through a good part of the board. They need to make two cuts at right angles to map the orientation of the fibers in the epoxy board. Obviously some of the documentation for this chip is not present or this would have been explained. link
That the gouges are deep into the board is evident looking at the middle view, Thurman's file photo. The portion above the horizontal slice is definitively darker than the section below, indicating slightly different planes catching the light differently. The board is either bent or completely cut through there. Where the vertical slice crosses the solder lines at bottom, it seems the solder was pulled along into a short connecting line. This is only hinted at in the later exhibit photo but quite pronounced in Thurman's picture. Below is a closer view, shown on 60 Minutes in 1999.

The missing top is a little more problematic. Dan O. seems to think a cross-section examination or something of that sort might explain the decapitation, but agreed with me that it's unusual to not present the evidence as whole as possible, with cut off parts either put back in or near their original places. Mebo's in-house designer of the MST-13 Ulrich Lumpert, In his highly unusual 2007 affidavit, mentioned a fragment cut up and presented as evidence. Lumpert claims he handed a non-operational brown-base prototype board to Swiss investigators for the Lockerbie investigation, and the next time he saw it was as the green/blue exhibit PT35(b) after it "had been sawed into two pieces apparently for forensic reasons."

Originally I had taken this to mean one small piece (the fragment) was presented, with the other piece (most of the board) chucked or whatever. However I'm now seeing a missing piece even of the small piece, and Mebo's "it was a fraud!" page seemed to be hinting at it when their site said the fragment itself, not the whole board, "was sawed into two parts in Scotland for forensic reasons." They specify that both were shown as evidence; "The large piece was given the police no. PT/35(b) and the smaller one was given the no. DP/31(a)." Looking back at the exhibit photo, it's got the label DP31 off to the side, right next to 35(b). Is the severed top shown off to the right, cropped off here along with the (a)? Mebo's take actually seems more on-target here after all. They seem to have decided it refers to the totally cut free lower-right corner section. The label does indeed point to that sector of the board, although it seems strange to log this as a separate piece of evidence, and it still leaves the top just gone.

The funny thing about this is, the Fraud page suggests first a full substitution - the forgers cut up Lumper's sample, as the original "brown" chip in the circled photo. Apparently they cut around the sideways letter "M" Lumpert scratched into it next to the "1" touch pad, to make sure he could recognize it later. In reality thisis more likely a fabric fiber like those hanging on the side, or perhaps some other illusion. But by Mebo's reckoning It wasn't til later that the perps realized it should be green, and this was after they'd cut up the brown one for "forensic reasons." In the exhibit photo "the larger piece," PT35(b), "was replaced with a green duplicate MST-13 fragment," carefully milled to mimick the original brown fake. This is known not so much by the color as the simple fact that "it can be clearly seen that no letter “M” was carved into it!" Oops! And for no particular reason I can discern, they decided the corner piece DP31(a) was actually from the brown original fake swapped back in to the swapped-out second replacement fake. Apparently they painted that section blue before fitting it in, so it would not stand out, since it doesn't. But you can't fool its designers, no! They see through any ruse no matter how imaginary it might be!

And nowhere in there, at least in graphics or English, did they make note of the missing top section as a glaring difference between the two fragments. For my part, I don't know what to make of it, and am willing to let it go as duly noted.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Adam Larson/Caustic Logic
started September 20 2009
Last Update 1/27/10

Incident: Explosion by bomb of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, December 21, 1988.
Casualties: 259 passengers and crew, eleven victims in Lockerbie, total 270 killed.
Eventual official explanation: Libyan-sponsored terrorism, Abdelbaset Ali al Megrahi convicted, early 2001.
Outcome: Sanctions on Libya for refusing to own up, their eventual "owning up," al Megrahi's early release, and much controversy. Possibly delayed blame that could become geopolitical dynamite any time now.

Please see also my new site The Lockerbie Divide

The Post(s) here:
General Thoughts

- A Mockery of Justice? Introductory thoughts on the case, via the controversy over al Megrahi's release.
- The Long Run-up to Blaming Libya: A timeline of blame. Could it be about the Gulf War even in 1989?
- Keeping the Politics Out of Arlington: Frank Duggan, the Corporation, a Scottish friar, a presidential adviser, a memorial service, a suppressed viewpoint, and a bolstered official lie.
- On Libya's Admission of "Responsibility" Their 2003 letter, not an admission of guilt. Why is that surprising? It's not! But the BBC had other ideas...
- An Admission of Guilt?
- Americans... (sigh) Just sticking to one misreported story, a slew of ill-informed venom, captured in on-line comment. Ex: “For every day [Megrahi] is MIA, there should be a sortie of F-111’s dropping some bombs on various government buildings in Tripoli … for Old Times Sake”
- Lockerbie Quotes Dump subtitled "These are the people you've been ignoring so far." Emphasis on quotes supporting Megrahi's innocence or fatal problems with his trial.

The Mebo timer fragment
- "It Us Unbelievable"; On Dr Wyatt's simulations of the PA103 Blast, revealed in January 2010. The timer fragment should not have survived.
- MST-13 Comparitive Graphics no. 1: investigators' Views, 1989-1990. A fair amount of notes structured around nine photos/documents along the investigation, from charred cloth to urgent mystery.
- MST-13 Comparative graphics no. 2: A chip off the old board and another chip off of that. The mysteries of the cutting up of the key evidence.
- MST-13 Comparative graphics no. 3: Altered But not Swapped - was the board tampered with? Yes. Does it matter? Probably not. Was it swapped out midstream? No. Was it a plant to begin with? I suspect so.
- MST-13 Comparative graphics no. 4: Number One on top: A sign from on high? I know accidental symbolism happens, but why her, on top of everything else.
- PT/35(b) Move claims, pt. one: "It was never in the United States?" The big sticky thing from Lockerbie Revisited
- PT/35(b) Move claims, pt. two: A long piece outlining how the fragment worked over to the FBI and "Tom" Thurman towards it, contradictory statements on what happened next, and a few points for and against an American journey.

Luggage Records/Bag From Malta
- On the Granada Docu-Drama: An early and visible promotion of the slim evidence for an orphan bomb bag from Malta - a TV movie releaded in late 1990.
- A Diligent Programmer: On Bogomira Erac and her fateful printout - a curious case for the unaccompanied bag from Malta.
- Frankfurt Airport Records: What paperwork there is - and isn't - and what each shows.
- Frankfurt Airport Records pt. 2: Coleman's contributions - additional relavant info from Trail of the Octopus
- The Testimony of Bogomira Erac: Full Q and A testimony, August 30 2000.

Call on Malta Series (not sarcastic at all)
- Remember, Remember, seven December: The babygro treason and plot. On the date of the alleged meeting between Megrahi and shopkeeper Tony Gauci.
- While Malta Slept?: Megrahi's plot zipped about the island uncontested. Was this a failure, really?
- Another Call on Malta: Admit it already! They let Lockerbie happen and still deny their link, even as accident.
- Professor Robert Black gets it

Other Specific Evidence
- From Zurich to Malta to Tripoli to Malta to... A december Dance of Accuser and Accused. The weird comings and goings of accused Megrahi and Fhimah, and prosecution witness Bollier, roughly Dec 1 to Dec 21 1988.
- IA655 and the Cessation of the Iraq-Iran War: Some suspect - with damn good reason - this is what the Lockerbie bombing was revenge for. If you dare study it close, you'll understand all the better why they would want that revenge. Wouldn't you? Don't we?
- A THREE-YEAR TEST DRIVE, PARKED 8 YEARS, AND THEN A HIGH-SPEED CRASH: Extended essay on Giaka's fantasy constructs that the Lockerbie Libyan villains case was built on
- Lightly Explosion-Damaged: A look into a RARDE Scientist's (apparently) bizarre mind, regarding damaged luggage PH/137 (from trial transcripts)
- Two shocking admissions: Harry Bell and Paul Gauci on the date of purchase - Bell admits it was Megrahi's presence that made him decide it was the one day, and that someone got Paul Gauci to change his story to that.

Forum Discussions (JREF)
- General Thread, started 2007.
- MST-13 timer fragment thread
- Unaccompanied bag from Malta - evidence?
- Tony Gauci and the Mystery shopper
- Dialog on Lockerbie Theories
- Motive Behind the Lockerbie Bombing
- Identification of the Toshiba radio from PA103
- Lockerbie: London Origin Theory
- Did Abdelbaset al-Megrahi blow up Pan Am 103?
- Where in the World is "Abu Elias"?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
September 20 2009

I'm young enough still that I only faintly remember hearing, as kid that only catches the high points of the news, about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland just shy of Christmas 1988. In the decades since this distant bad thing, I was only dimly aware of the evolving impetus against some kind of Libyan terrorists and even less conscious of any controversies about the case. Recent events have however brought the story to my attention as something worth covering on this site. It’s not quite a false flag operation, at least not necessarily, but it does appear to be a manufactured crisis, a big lie hatched in conspiracy, foisted on the world by and for power.

It took over twelve years and epic political maneuvers to secure the only conviction in connection with the bombing, with Libyan "official" Abdelbaset Ali al Megrahi sentenced in January 2001 to 27 years to life. A few weeks ago, after serving just over 8 years, he was ordered freed by the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on what’s called “compassionate grounds.” Aged 57 and given but months to live due to aggressive prostate cancer, the convicted killer of 270 flew home to Libya and his family on August 20. Angry crowds along his route out of town and remote gripes from elsewhere evidence the bitterness many feel for Scottish “compassion” and for the “hero’s welcome” accorded al Megrahi on his return home. What’s worse, the stated prognosis of three months to live has been questioned – it could be as high as eight, and the convicted murderer of 270 will enjoy them, if in great discomfort, at least in freedom and among those he loves.

Al Megrahi (left) meets with Col. Gaddafi's son Saif at the plane in Tripoli, Aug 20 2009
The victims of the airliner bombing and their loved ones aren’t so lucky. Susan Cohen, who lost a daughter in the attack, is among the most vocal in denouncing the “appeasement” of the Libyan’s release, a "triumph for terrorism" that “really endangers the innocent public.” source The preponderance of Obama administration officials and U.S. Congress seem to agree with this basic sentiment, wishing al Megrahi to die in jail, judging by their recent comments, out of concern for justice and the sentiments of family members like Cohen. For example, former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, in a sharp letter to McKaskill, “your action makes a mockery of the rule of law,” and “gives comfort to terrorists around the world who now believe that […they may] be freed by one man's exercise of "compassion."” Mueller, who explained he was speaking up based on his unbiassed knowledge of the case as “Assistant Attorney General in charge of the investigation and indictment of Megrahi,” capped this powerful missive with "most importantly, your action makes a mockery of the grief of the families who lost their own on December 21, 1988." source

But comparing al Megrahi’s fate with those of the Pan Am 103 victims has its pitfalls. Of course he gets to die on the ground and after plenty of warning and time for closure, while they did not. Neither do a multitude of others who die every in plane crashes every year around the world, both before and since the bombing of Flight 103. They die violently in terror while al Megrahi revels in the splendor of his hospital bed. He isn’t responsible for everyone killed in a plane crash and mandated to somehow balance out their fates. So why the moral linkage for these 270 in particular? Ah yes, how silly of me, the conviction, following allegations, a trial, some evidence, and so on… but that’s where it starts to get confusing, if you take an honest closer look. It can get less confusing again, but only after you’ve passed through a mental shift and realize that no matter how official and how widely-accepted this story is, it is – at least all too probably is – dead wrong.

Props are due to JREF forum member Rolfe, who started a thread on the issue of the accused bomber and his case back in 2007 – recently given new life by the controversial release. In numerous under-appreciated posts Rolfe has presented an amazingly strong case that the convicted killer was wrongfully convicted, in a blatant frame-up by the CIA (and others), in a campaign supported by London and Washington and rubber-stamped by the thee-judge Scottish court (no jury) with its unanimous guilty verdict in January 2001.

I haven’t personally verified many of the details myself, there are agendas all around, unverifiable allegations, and plenty of bona fide mystery. My partial examination of the primary sources and the shifting public discourse shows strongly mixed feelings but frequent citations of the “theory” that al Megrahi is innocent after all. This startlingly different view has the backing and support of a stunning number of people involved in or familiar with the case: one of the lawyers who set up the trial, a special U.N. observer, a handful of British MPs, some of the American investigators and Scottish detectives, some victims’ family members, a whole Swiss electronics company tangled up in the case, and many other educated commentators, as well as much of the non-English-speaking world, and virtually the entire Arab-Muslim world. All these people are quite confident the case againt al Megrahi and Libya were manufactured for political reasons and history will, or should, absolve them.

If al Megrahi was indeed framed as it seems, this leaves the true culprits successful, unindcited, and free. This will absolutely piss off survivor’s families when and if they ever realize it. The thinking on culprits, which could soon turn heated, runs in two broad directions I find worth considering. The most obvious direction the case might go if re-opened is towards where the first official evidence clearly pointed – Palestinian terrorists acting on behalf of Iran, in revenge for an Iranian airliner shot down by the Americans. The reason(s) why this line was dropped in favor of a Libyan lead can only be guessed, but the most widely accepted theory is to minimize friction with Iran as the West shifted towards conflict with neighboring Iraq.

Coversely, this eclipsed line of evidence could be every bit as bogus as the one that replaced it, with actual guilt on some unacknowledged parties working for the CIA or some other Western agency. The actual evidence for this possibility would be slim and/or circumstantial, and some would consider the notion fanciful. Nonetheless, there were a number of pre-attack peculiarities followed by vigorous Anglo-American steering of the investigation and adamant refusal of any review or reversal of the hard-won conviction. Considering all this, which I plan to explore in some detail, it seems entirely worth considering that they’re covering some very touchy personal secrets.