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PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:17 pm 
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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Lockerbie bomb started at Heathrow, not Malta via Frankfurt

[Lockerbie bomb was loaded at Heathrow is the heading over a press release issued to mark the appearance of Dr Morag Kerr’s book Adequately Explained by Stupidity? Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies. The official publication date is 21 December, the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster, but the book will be available on 10 December or very shortly thereafter. The press release reads as follows:]

A new book proves that the bomb that blew up Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie originated at Heathrow and not at Malta as the Court accepted.

Adequately Explained by Stupidity? - Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies has been written by Dr Morag Kerr, Secretary-Depute of the Justice for Megrahi committee.

It’s the only book about Lockerbie to deal specifically with the detail of the transfer baggage evidence. It exposes shocking deficiencies in both the police enquiry and the forensic investigation which led the hunt in entirely the wrong direction.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the outrage, the 220-page book comprehensively destroys the official account of what happened on December 21, 1988.

Dr Kerr’s book, described by Terry Waite in his foreword as “a masterpiece of forensic investigation”, shows with faultless logic that the bomb was loaded at Heathrow.

This means that Megrahi, the only man convicted of the bombing, is innocent. He didn’t do it.

“I have proved the bomb originated at Heathrow,” says Dr Kerr.

“I have been given access to statements, reports and photographs, some of which have not until now been publicly available. Detailed analysis of the forensic findings, something not done by the investigators themselves, contradicts the conclusions reached by the court.

“It is a very simple narrative. Heathrow was indeed the scene of the crime. There is irrefutable evidence the bomb was in a suitcase seen at Heathrow before the feeder flight from Frankfurt landed. Megrahi was nowhere near the place at the time and could not possibly have had anything to do with it. The Lockerbie investigation was horrifically bungled thanks to stupidity, carelessness and tunnel vision. The Police made a fatal error in 1989 and eliminated Heathrow on a false assumption.

”The damaged suitcases which were recovered at Lockerbie are like the pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle. The forensic scientists made no attempt to solve this puzzle but it’s actually not difficult. Once the puzzle is solved, the truth is revealed.

”The prosecution’s case was that two Libyans, Megrahi and Fhimah, had placed the bomb in a brown Samsonite suitcase in Malta. They then put the suitcase into the baggage system at Malta’s Luqa Airport as unaccompanied luggage. It then went on an Air Malta flight to Frankfurt, it was transferred to a feeder flight to Heathrow and was subsequently loaded onto Pan Am 103 where it exploded after thirty-eight minutes killing 270 people.”

Dr Kerr says: “The biggest mystery of the entire saga is why the police persisted in their absolute conviction that the bomb had travelled on that flight from Malta. All the luggage loaded onto the aircraft in question was accounted for and there were no unaccompanied bags.

“This is even more surprising when you realise that within weeks of the disaster, the investigation had very strong evidence indicating that the bomb had actually been smuggled into a baggage container at Heathrow Airport, an hour before the feeder flight from Frankfurt landed.”

In early January 1989, John Bedford, a baggage handler in the Heathrow interline shed, said he had seen a brown Samsonite suitcase which had mysteriously appeared in the bottom front left-hand corner of an aluminium baggage container, AVE4041, on his return from a tea break. This container held luggage that was to be loaded onto Pan Am 103 and that precise corner of the container was known by investigators to be where the explosion had happened.

The case John Bedford saw that afternoon has become known as the “Bedford suitcase”.

Dr Kerr writes: “Rather than pursuing this vital lead vigorously, the police more or less ignored it. Everyone seemed to be waiting for the forensic results to declare: bomb on second layer, no Heathrow-origin luggage on second layer, therefore bomb arrived fromFrankfurt.”

But by meticulously scrutinising baggage records, witness statements, police memos, forensic reports and original case photographs, Dr Kerr has pinpointed the precise location of the blast-damaged suitcases inside AVE4041 in relation to the seat of the explosion to show that the “Bedford suitcase” contained the bomb.

“We have to ask how the Scottish police managed to overlook a shed-load of evidence showing that the bomb had been introduced at Heathrow; how the forensic scientists and Air Accident Investigation Branch inspectors compounded this error by misinterpreting and failing to interpret the evidence from the recovered debris; and why the Crown prosecution at the Camp Zeist trial chose to conceal so much important information from the court and present a contrived scenario that was entirely at odds with fundamental forensic thinking about the case since 1989.”

She adds: “We convicted Megrahi on evidence that wouldn’t support the issuing of a parking ticket, imprisoned him 1800 miles from his home and family and turned him into an international hate figure while he was in the terminal stages of aggressive prostate cancer.

“They say “never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity”, but is that enough to account for what happened in the Lockerbie inquiry? Was this simply incompetence and tunnel vision or were the investigators deliberately lured away from making the Heathrow connection?”

Professor Robert Black QC commented: “Morag Kerr has analysed the information with forensic rigour and the prosecution scenario of the bomb being in an unaccompanied bag from Malta via Frankfurt to Heathrow is utterly destroyed. Whoever was responsible for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, Morag Kerr has conclusively demonstrated that it was not Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.”

Dr Kerr's detailed findings have been in the hands of the Scottish police for over a year now as part of the investigations surrounding allegations of criminality lodged by Justice for Megrahi against forensic, legal and police officials involved in the Lockerbie investigation and subsequent Camp Zeist trial.

The book’s publication date is December 21 but it has been released early by publishers Troubador Publications (www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=2499).

Morag Kerr was born in Lanarkshire in 1953. She qualified as a veterinary surgeon fromGlasgow University in 1976 and continued postgraduate study in biochemistry. She was awarded her PhD in 1985 and specialised in clinical pathology and laboratory medicine. She taught at the Royal Veterinary College from 1982-8 and then worked in private diagnostic laboratories in Scotland and England. She joined Justice for Megrahi in 2010. She lives in Peeblesshire

[Today's edition of The Scotsman carries this story. The Herald also carries a report, which can be read here. The reaction of the Crown Office is reported in it as follows:]

Last night a Crown Office spokesman dismissed Ms Kerr's claims. He said: "The theory set out in this book was rejected as speculation by the court. [RB: The evidence uncovered and analysed by Dr Kerr was never placed before the court at Zeist. The Crown Office, as so often in this case, is being economical with the truth.]

"The only appropriate forum for the determination of guilt or innocence is the criminal court, and Mr Megrahi was convicted unanimously by three senior judges. His conviction was upheld unanimously by five judges, in an Appeal Court presided over by the Lord Justice General, Scotland's most senior judge.

"As the investigation remains live, it would not be appropriate to offer further comment."

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:58 pm 
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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

‘I’ve proved Lockerbie bomb not from Malta’

[This is the headline over a report published yesterday afternoon on the website of The Times of Malta. It reads as follows:]

New book’s author says explosive device was planted on plane at Heathrow

The bomb that blew up Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie originated at Heathrow and not Malta, a new book “proves” 25 years after the deadly explosion.

“I have proved the bomb originated at Heathrow,” said author Morag Kerr, who has been given access to statements, reports and photographs, some of which have not been publicly available until now.

The book Adequately Explained by Stupidity? – Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies comprehensively destroys the official account of what happened on December 21, 1988.

In 2001 Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of placing the bomb in a brown Samsonite suitcase and loading it on to an Air Malta aircraft at Luqa. It was then purportedly transferred to a feeder flight at Frankfurt before reaching the doomed aircraft at Heathrow. Minutes later it exploded over Scotland, killing 270 people, 11 on the ground.

The book by Dr Kerr, deputy secretary of the Justice for Megrahi committee, deals specifically with the detail of the transfer baggage evidence.

It exposes deficiencies in both the police enquiry and the forensic investigation which led the hunt in entirely the wrong direction.

“Al-Megrahi was nowhere near the place at the time and could not possibly have had anything to do with it. The Lockerbie investigation was horrifically bungled thanks to stupidity, carelessness and tunnel vision,” the author says.

The police made a fatal error in 1989 and eliminated Heathrow on a false assumption.

“The biggest mystery of the entire saga is why the police persisted in their absolute conviction that the bomb had travelled on that flight from Malta. All luggage loaded on to the aircraft in question was accounted for and there were no unaccompanied bags,” Dr Kerr says.

Within weeks of the disaster, the investigation had very strong evidence indicating the bomb had actually been smuggled into a baggage container at Heathrow Airport.

In early January 1989, a Heathrow baggage handler said he had seen a brown Samsonite suitcase which had mysteriously appeared in the baggage container on his return from a tea break. This container held luggage that was to be loaded on to Pan Am 103 and that precise corner of the container was known by investigators to be where the explosion had happened.

Rather than pursuing this vital lead vigorously, the police more or less ignored it, the author insists.

By scrutinising baggage records, witness statements, police memos, forensic reports and original case photographs, Dr Kerr has pinpointed the precise location of the blast-damaged suitcases. The author said her detailed findings have been in the hands of the Scottish police for over a year now.

Jim Swire, whose daughter was killed at Lockerbie, said when contacted yesterday that Dr Kerr’s book was compatible with his own probe into the matter.

Despite the new evidence, Dr Swire said the US and British governments will remain determined to sell the theory that al-Megrahi planted the bomb in Malta.

“Sadly they are determined to obstruct the truth. But we have long been convinced that al-Megrahi was not the Lockerbie bomber,” Dr Swire told Times of Malta.

As the world marks the 25th anniversary of the Lockerbie tragedy, a number of new facts and theories are emerging. A documentary to be released by Al Jazeera on Sunday will look into who could have really been the Lockerbie bomber.

Speaking on Times Talk recently, Maltese Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella said he was sure al-Megrahi was innocent.

_________________
Wiggins is so superbly unassuming, he looks like he's about to say 'Pop the gold medal in the post, I'm nipping out for some biscuits'

Mark Steel


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