Thursday, 7 January 2010

Newsnight segment broadcast after all

The Lockerbie segment was broadcast on Newsnight on Wednesday evening after all. I have just watched it on the Newsnight website. The programme concentrates on the famous fragment of circuit board that supposedly came from a MST-13 timer, supplied by MEBO principally to Libya.

The programme mentions the concerns that often have been expressed about the provenance of the fragment, about its identification, about the forensic scientific processes to which it was (or was not) subjected and about deficiencies in the record keeping relating to it. But by far the most important revelation in the programme is the evidence of experiments conducted by top explosives expert, Dr John Wyatt. In twenty controlled explosions of suitcases packed as the Lockerbie one was alleged to have been, no such fragment of timer circuit board ever survived. According to Dr Wyatt, the contention that such a fragment survived the Pan Am 103 explosion at 31,000 feet is simply "unbelievable".


  1. Thank for the summary, prof. Black.

    As a scientist who knows his field, dr. Wyatt likely was not surprised at the results. Again, my hat's off to him for doing this.

  2. My guess is that supporters of the Crown case against Abdel Basset will say that Dr Wyatt's tests did not correctly simulate the true conditions at 31,000 feet. My (very limited indeed) understanding of explosives and blast dynamics is that neither the reduced air pressure in the baggage hold of a plane in flight nor the reduced oxygen level in the air surrounding the IED would significantly affect the destructive power of the explosion. In other words, the tests as carried out by Dr Wyatt are indeed a valid simulation.

  3. BBC Newsnight's investigation of the 'Flaws' in key Lockerbie evidence concludes with Peter Marshall saying:

    "The truth why Pan Am 103 exploded and fell on a Scottish border town is as far away now as ever. The release of al-Megrahi has killed off the appeal upon which many had pinned their hopes of revelation. If, as increasing numbers claim, he didn't do it, the question still hangs: who did?"

    My next post on this thread provides the answer to the BBC's question.

  4. Bernt Carlsson: the target on Pan Am Flight 103

    Countdown to Lockerbie

    1. On 27 September 1974, the UN Council for Namibia (UNCN) enacts Decree No 1 which prohibits all exploitation of Namibia's natural resources - particularly diamonds and uranium. The Decree provides for the payment of damages to the future government of an independent Namibia.

    2. UN Security Council Resolution 435 of 1978 orders apartheid South Africa to withdraw from its illegal occupation of Namibia.

    3. On 1 July 1987, Bernt Carlsson is appointed an Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UN Commissioner for Namibia. Within two weeks of Carlsson's appointment, the UNCN institutes infraction proceedings against the uranium producer URENCO in the Netherlands, and signals similar action against Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    4. Reagan/Gorbachev summit of June 1988 decides on Namibian independence. The New York Accords are scheduled for signature on 22 December 1988 by US/Soviet client states: South Africa, Cuba and Angola.

    5. In July 1988, UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, is invited to address the Development Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels on 20 December 1988.

    6. Early in December 1988, Carlsson appears in the Granada TV documentary "Disappearing Diamonds" and criticises De Beers for illegal extraction of Namibia's diamonds (value $18.7 billion at 2009 prices). As a result, De Beers summon him to a meeting in London on 21 December 1988. Three days before his departure from New York to Brussels on 19 December 1988, Carlsson cancels his return flight booking from Brussels to New York. Instead, he books himself on British Airways Flight 391 to London for the meeting with De Beers, and on Pan Am Flight 103 from Heathrow to JFK. (This information is derived from Jan-Olof Bengtsson's article in the Swedish newspaper iDAG of 12 March 1990. It has never been published in English. Why?)

    7. A 23-strong delegation from South Africa are also booked on Pan Am Flight 103. Their South African Airways flight from Johannesburg is forbidden by the US Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 from continuing to New York. So Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, Defence Minister, Magnus Malan, Director of Military Intelligence, General Van Tonder, and 20 negotiators have to suffer the indignity of alighting at Heathrow and of taking the US carrier, Pan Am, to JFK. In the event, none of the 23 South Africans travelled on Carlsson's flight. Six are reported to have taken the morning Pan Am Flight 101 to New York, and 17 are understood to have returned by SAA to Johannesburg. (The fact that Pik Botha's delegation were booked on Pan Am Flight 103 was suppressed for six years - until the Reuters news agency reported it on 12 November 1994. Why?)


    No attempt has yet been made to formally investigate the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson. The decision not to investigate was taken by a junior Scottish policeman, Detective Constable John Crawford, on the basis of information supplied to him by "a very helpful lady librarian in Newcastle".

    Former MEP Michael McGowan has called for urgent action by the UN. He is the 17th signatory of an online petition which demands a United Nations inquiry into the murder of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

    References: to follow.

  5. Thanks Mr. Haseldine for a direct quote. And thanks Aku for your knowledgable input. I'm inclined to think he'd make any experiment as relevant as ossible, given the science and apparently a good bidget to get 20 suitcasses, sets of clothes, etc... Dang, I really need to see just what he did do tho, and others will want to know, and will ask as they should.


  6. MISSION LOCKERBIE: That is only a Babylon computer translation, German/English

    Briefly and concisely, they read the truth uncovered by our MEBO investigations and published on the second part of the chronology: "The Fraud of the MST-13 (PT-35) fragment"; on our website.

    The facts about the 'Lockerbie-Conspiracy' against Libya, must be cleared up to the full extent !
    Only after it a new investigation can be started over the perpetrator of the PanAm 103 explosion…

    The two fragments, slalom T-shirt (as PI-995) and the MST-3 timers (as PT-35) have with the explosion of PanAm 103, and with Mr. Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi and Libya nothing to do, but with the criminal activities (evidence manipulation) of officials, like Dr. Thomas Hayes, Allen Feraday (RARDE) and known police officers.
    In addition we expect opening of the SCCRC documents, which was announced to the secretary of justice, Kenny MacAskill, and opening of the dubious employment of the defence team...

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd.,Switzerland

  7. Bernt Carlsson: the target on Pan Am Flight 103


    A. UN Council for Namibia enacts Decree No 1 ( and UNCN plans enforcement action. (;col1) (Also see "Council for Namibia sues Netherlands over Namibia's natural resources" article, which follows.)

    B. History of Namibia. (

    C. Michael McGowan's invitation to Bernt Carlsson. (

    D. "Finger of suspicion", The Guardian, 7 December 1989. (

    E. Jan-Olof Bengtsson, iDAG, 12 March 1990. (

    F. Reuters report, 12 November 1994. (

    G. "The Lockerbie Incident : A Detective's Tale", by John Crawford, 2002 (pages 88/89). (

    H. Former MEP calls for urgent inquiry by the United Nations. (

    Extract from The Gulliver Rossing Uranium Ltd Dossier:

    Exploitation of Namibian uranium has had a "disastrous impact" on British foreign policy, and the relationship between Britain and many Third World countries. (A visit to the mine paid by the country's prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, in early 1989, where she commented that the project made her "proud to be British" can only have deepened this sense of disillusionment and mistrust among Third World peoples). Moreover - and whether or not the mine's output has ever directly fed South Africa's nuclear plants - Rossing has certainly buttressed the apartheid state.

  8. Bernt Carlsson: the target on Pan Am Flight 103

    Council for Namibia sues Netherlands over Namibia's natural resources

    In an unprecedented action, the United Nations Council for Namibia has instituted legal proceedings in the Netherlands against the Dutch uranium enrichment plant Urenco Nederland V.O.F. and its State-controlled managing partner Ultracentrifuge Nederland N.V., as well as the Government of the Netherlands, "to prevent Urenco Nederland V.O.F. from carrying out orders on the basis of purchases of Namibian uranium'. The Council is the legal Administering Authority for the Territory until independence. It is the first time that a United Nations body has sued a Government.

    Council President Peter D. Zuze of Zambia said the action was "only a first step by the Council in implementing its decision of May 1985 to institute legal proceedings, as one of various options, to safeguard the natural resources of Namibia'.

    The writ of summons was served on the defendants on 14 July 1987. On 23 July 1987, the Netherlands, in a letter (A/42/414) to the Secretary-General called the action "unprecedented', adding that Netherlands electricity companies did not buy Namibian uranium. Urenco Nederland V.O.F. and Ultracentrifuge Nederland N.V. operated within a German, British and Netherlands consortium, Urenco Ltd., established in 1971, that concluded enrichment contracts on behalf of the three partners in the consortium with electricity suppliers. The enrichment processes did not take place in the Netherlands.

    The Council's Steering Committee on 2 May 1985 decided to institute legal action, in domestic courts of States and other appropriate bodies, against corporations or individuals who were violating the Council's 1974 Decree No. 1 for the Protection of the Natural Resources of Namibia. The Committee had also decided that those legal proceedings would commence in the Netherlands, against Urenco, a company which it said was known to process Namibian uranium in violation of the Decree.

    The Decree forbids any person or entity from searching for, prospecting for, exploring for, taking, extracting, mining, processing, refining, using, selling, exporting or distributing any natural resources, whether animal or mineral, situated or found to be situated within Namibia's territorial limits without the Council's consent and permission.

    Other countries against which such action might be taken are: Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.


  9. Sorry, folks!

    I tried to make all the above hyperlinks clickable, but was defeated by an imperfect grasp of the technology.

  10. This version is viewable outside the UK: .

    John Wyatt refers to the improbability of such a fragment being

    a) intact and

    b) found.

    We might perhaps ask similar questions about the likelihood of its being also (even if through some particular arrangement of the explosive material and/or weakness in the board it did not disintegrate)

    c) from an easily identifiable part of the board;

    d) embedded in an item of clothing rather than (having got past the remnants of the radio case) going past or through the cloth, given the - to my naive view of blast dynamics - much greater blast force closer to the explosive material;

    e) embedded in an item which turned out to be easily identifiable;

    f) still in the cloth when both hit the ground.

  11. You forgot to add that identifiable fragments of the Toshiba manual, fragments of what was presumed to be the Toshiba's casing, and a tiny metal fragment consistent with another part of the Toshiba were also embedded in the same piece of cloth.

    I find it hard to figure out how, when or by whom this item might have been fabricated, but by golly it has "plant" written all over it.

  12. To Rolfe: If - what is most probable - the timer fragment is faked, then also the Toshiba pieces can be considered as fakes. And insofar the pieces came from a Toshiba - the very small group of investigators were in posession of Toshibas and manuals in very early days. So it was easy to fake those tiny details.

  13. Using a Toshiba on purpose to mimic the stuff Khreesat was playing with? But how many people knew what Khreesat was up to, in December 1988?

    So what did bring the plane down? With an explosion 38 minutes after take-off? Inside baggage container AVE4041, because I have a hard job figuring out how THAT part was faked.

    I'd like to hear some plausible narrative though. Who took the executive decision to fabricate this evidence? When? Why?

    How was the evidence fabricated and by whom? At what point was it introduced into the chain of evidence?

    Who is lying their heads off? (Including, but not limited to, PC Gilchrist, DC McColm, Thomas Hayes, Alan Feraday, Willie Williamson, Stuart Henderson, Tom Thurman and Peter Fraser.)

    And in true Stanislawskian spirit, what is ther motivation?

  14. This is a post I made on the JREF forum - I'm off to bed, so I'll copy it instead of rewording my points.

    The thing that annoyed me a little about the BBC item was in fact its concentration on the timer (and its assertion that this was "a BBC investigation" when it was all old news bar the Wyatt stuff, which I presume was not instigated by the BBC). I suppose all the anomalies (and nobody even mentioned the renumbered pages!) make for a good story.

    However, the timer fragment could be as genuine as gold bullion, and still Megrahi isn't implicated. All the timer fragment does is point rather vaguely towards Libya. Even then, Libya supplied armaments to many terrorist groups, so it doesn't even prove Libya carried out the bombing. And it certainly doesn't prove Megrahi had anything to do with it. Megrahi is Libyan, and was a JSO officer, and it's not that surprising he had dealings with Bollier. There's no evidence he ever had an MST-13 timer in his possession, or any explosives, or a Toshiba radio or a Samsonite suitcase either for that matter. Libya itself is the connection between Megrahi and Bollier, and Megrahi is only implicated in that respect by the fact that he's Libyan.

    Megrahi was implicated partly by Gauci's identification, and partly by the combination of the Erac printout and his being at Luqa on the critical morning. These two very tenuous pieces of evidence were allowed to become synergistic in the minds of the judges when they should not have been. The bomb must have gone on at Luqa because Megrahi was there and he bought the clothes, even though the Erac printout was hardly conclusive and all the rest of the evidence argued against it. It must have been Megrahi whom Gauci saw, because he was at Luqa that morning and the Erac printout says the bomb came from there....

    Really, it's the very ordinarily unmysterious shakiness of the identification evidence, and the completely unwarranted suppositions about what happened at Luqa that morning, that undermine the case against Megrahi in person, not the positively supernatural goings-on with the timer. [OK, OK, when I think about the surreal vision of a terrorist buying clothes to pack a bomb suitcase from Gauci, and the positively bizarre disappearance of the Frankfurt baggage records, maybe not as ordinary and unmysterious as all that. But let it pass for now.]

    If Megrahi really did buy those clothes, and the bomb really did travel unaccompanied on KM180, then he's guilty, even if the bloody thing didn't have an MST-13 timer in it at all. Conversely, the timer fragment could be completely genuine, and still turn out to be something Khreesat managed to get his mitts on to add some unspecified complication to his toys. But I suppose that's too complicated for general consumption.

  15. Rolfe writes: "Megrahi was implicated partly by Gauci's identification, and partly by the combination of the ERAC printout and his being at Luqa on the critical morning." Actually this together with his connection to MEBO was the evidence on which he was convicted. He was of course largely "implicated" on the eyewitness evidence of Majid Giaka (and perhaps before that on the "evidence" of Ian Spiro).

    What the authorities initially needed was sufficient evidence to indict as I believe the primary objective was sanctions not a trial and with the supposed dismissal of Giaka's evidence Gauci's identification then became the crucial element in the conviction.

  16. BAZ said: I believe the primary objective was sanctions not a trial.
    I fully agree. They never wanted what they alleged to want: a trial. Therefore the lousy preparations.