[The following is the text of an e-mail from Dr Jim Swire arising out of a discussion with Dr Ludwig de Braeckeleer (author of the Diary of a Vengeance Foretold series of articles on Lockerbie) about the bombing of Swissair flight 330 in 1970.]
If Swissair was a Khreesat bomb, I think the flight time would be around 35-40 minutes from take-off. There is also a flight which flew for 7 minutes before an IED went off, that was in the 70s I believe. That was interesting because the baro-switches took about 7 minutes to switch 'on'. Presumably the PFLP-GC soon realised that they needed the Baro switch to start a timer going, to lengthen the flight time, instead of firing the detonator directly; so they started manufacturing their crude analogue 'ice cube' timers in Damascus, as explained to the court by Herr Gobel.
That then meant a total flight time of around 35-40 minutes as at Lockerbie, since all the ice cube timers that Gobel knew of ran for about 30 minutes. The court heard the report from Marshman of his interview with Khreesat, who declined to appear in person (or maybe was ordered not to). Marshman claimed that Khreesat told him that he had rendered all his devices inert, claiming that this meant it was unlikely that one of his IEDs had caused Lockerbie. In its summing up the court never commented on the evidence of Herr Gobel that the BKA explosives unit had lost an officer when a Khreesat bomb was being dismantled and exploded in his face.
Curious kind of harmlessness.
I was never convinced that their Lordships understood the mechanism of Khreesat's devices. Technology is not their thing perhaps. At the first appeal I think Lord Osborne suggested that the break-in was too long before Lockerbie to be likely to be relevant. In fact, such a delay was classic for the use of a Khreesat IED, which were perfectly fitted to the 'break-in-and-then-wait-a-bit' scenario. The use of the baro switch to start off the timer was designed with exactly that sort of scenario in mind: the latent period could be anything you liked, weeks or months if required, since no battery power at all was required until 7 minutes after take-off, when the timer was started by the baro switch.
As you know a fully armed Khreesat device could not have been flown in from Frankfurt, since there was no time to arm one if it had arrived on PA103A, which was late that night. Any terrorist worth his salt would be reluctant to fiddle with someone else's IED either.
It therefore seems to me that the IED was a Khreesat model and brought, fully armed and in its suitcase overland to Heathrow through the break-in the night before Lockerbie, and probably left with a message for the IranAir guys at Heathrow to slip into Bedford's baggage container, where he saw it, well before the Frankfurt flight had even landed at Heathrow.on the 21st.
Khreesat seems so central to what really happened: his unique IED was a perfect fit for Lockerbie.
Also don't forget that the BKA arrested him in 'Autumn Leaves' with a completed IED in the boot (=US trunk) of his car, yet after a phone call to Amman he was released, and never charged with plotting to blow up an aircraft.
To accept the interview hearsay evidence from a US officer (Marshman), knowing that Khreesat commanded such significance that he was fully protected from German law, (indicating his usefulness to Western intelligence services) was one of the more obvious naivities of the Zeist court.
Even the introduction of PT35B, the timer circuit board fragment into the chain of 'evidence' seemed directed at ensuring that no one would be so foolish as to imagine that a Khreesat device had been used.
The one thing they could not interfere with was the fact of the flight time.
How did they engineer that the break-in was concealed from the trial court till after the verdict? Even then the world only learned of it because of (the late) Manly's incredulity that his discovery had been ignored by the court.
The Scottish police working on the HOLMES computer system of the Met simply must have known about the break-in. It appears that the Crown Office did not know, since they have committed themselves in writing tp me that they did not know. Iain McKie has no difficulty believing that the break-in evidence was suppressed because it did not fit the favoured theory about Malta and Libya.
I don't understand why Khreesat had to be protected in this way, unless it was just that he was inconvenient to the Malta/Libya fable. Trouble is the 38 minute flight time makes no sense unless it was a Khreesat IED, which explains it so neatly.