Saturday 21 June 2014

Gerry Conlon, Ann Maguire, Dr Thomas Hayes and Lockerbie

[This is the headline over an article published today on the Lockerbie Truth website of Dr Jim Swire and Peter Biddulph.  It reads as follows:]

It is today reported that Gerard Conlon has died.

In 1974 the alleged IRA bomber Paul Hill, three of his colleagues (Gerard Conlon, Patrick Armstrong, Carole Richardson), plus all seven of the family of Ann Maguire were found guilty of the bombing, or association with the bombing, of an army barracks in Guildford. All served fifteen years imprisonment for their crimes. Gerard Conlon's father Guiseppe died in prison.

The public hue and cry for revenge appeared satisfied. Fortunately for the eleven convicted men and women, several public campaigns conducted before and during the trial to bring back hanging proved unsuccessful.

What Britain had experienced was yet another phase of legal history where public prejudice, legal stupidity or laziness, and sleight of hand by the police and their forensic services merged to a "group think" of public hysteria based on uninformed prejudice.

After serving fifteen years in prison, some in solitary confinement, the remaining ten were released on appeal. At the opening of the appeal, the prosecution lawyers were deeply embarrassed to have to admit that their prosecution case at the trial had been totally without foundation. 

Sadly for all eleven convicted, all was too late; their families had been destroyed and lives ruined by a corrupt and inadequate system of justice. 

In today's BBC report concerning Gerard Conlon, which can be read here, the BBC says blandly "They were convicted and jailed for handling explosives, based on scientific evidence which was later entirely discredited".  

Few people today are aware that that "scientific" evidence was in part provided by Dr Thomas Hayes, a Higher Scientific Officer at the Royal Armaments and Research Defence Establishment (RARDE).

Hayes was never disciplined for his actions. Indeed, he was soon to be promoted to head of department. His career would in time merge into the Lockerbie investigation and trial. Here is part of an account of his appearance at Kamp Zeist, alongside his colleague Allan Feraday:

Day 15: 5 June 2000

Dr Thomas Hayes was formerly head of the Forensics explosives laboratory at the British Royal Armaments Research and Defence Establishment (RARDE). He would prove a central figure in the prosecution case.

At the time of the trial he was aged fifty-three, having retired from his RARDE post ten years earlier just as the joint Scottish police and FBI investigation into the Lockerbie attack was reaching its climax.

As a bachelor of science honours in chemistry, a master of science in the faculty of forensic science, a doctor of philosophy in the faculty of forensic science, a chartered chemist, and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, we might expect an outstanding memory. 

And yet he seemed reluctant to tell the court when he'd resigned in order to commence a radically new career as a chiropodist. When did he start work at Fort Halstead? "In July 1974." And when did he leave? “The exact date of my leaving is a little circumspect, but I believe it was in 1990." 

He actually resigned in 1989, a year that for him may have been circumspect, but was, in relation to the Lockerbie trial, most significant. For he possessed an uncomfortable history in relation to another major terrorist event, namely the alleged IRA bombing involving members of the Maguire family - The Maguire Seven. [RB: See Guildford Four and Maguire Seven.] 

In that trial Hayes and two of his colleagues were aware of evidence consistent with the innocence of the accused, decided among themselves that this evidence be not declared, and did not mention it during the trial. 

The first of the three was Douglas Higgs, Principal Scientific Officer and head of department; second was Walter Elliott, a Senior Scientific Officer; and the third was Hayes, at that time a Higher Scientific Officer.

During the trial, results of tests for traces of nitro-glycerine on skin and fingernails of the Maguire family were firmly maintained by the three scientists to be positive and decisive. Unknown to the court, however, the three had performed a second set of tests plus a series of experiments. Both tests and experiments indicated a negative result and an innocent means of contamination, and this information was recorded in their forensic notebooks. 

It was only through a Parliamentary inquiry by a senior judge, Sir John May, beginning in September 1989 and concluding in July 1990 that the matter was exposed.  

Sir John discovered that the notebooks of the three scientists had been deliberately concealed from the court, and cross-examination of witnesses for the prosecution therefore severely hampered. 

His main conclusions include the statement: "...  the whole scientific basis upon which the prosecution [of Ann Maguire and six members of her family] was founded was in truth so vitiated that on this basis alone the Court of Appeal should be invited to set aside the convictions." [1]   

[1] Rt Hon Sir John May, Interim Report on the Maguire Case, 12 July 1990, and Second Report on the Maguire Case, 3 December 1992.

[An outline of Justice for Megrahi's allegations of forensic scientific misconduct in the Lockerbie case can be read here (allegations 5, 6 and 7). A further related allegation has since been lodged with Police Scotland.]


  1. One of the big questions regarding the Lockerbie forensics is, did Hayes know?

    On 19-1-89 he noted in a memo his intention to identify the luggage in the container and figure out where each piece had been positioned in relation to the centre of the explosion. On 20-1-89 he drew the McKee Samsonite sitting upright the way Bedford loaded it into the back row, and showed the blast hitting it right at floor level. Did he work it out or not?

    There's no record of his having figured out where the rest of the blast-damaged cases were loaded, although it's extremely easy to work it out. Did he forget about this wee job? Or did he do it then conceal the report because it showed the bomb suitcase was on the floor of the container - exactly where all the investigators were apparently being urged to say it wasn't?

    His evidence on this point at Zeist was a masterclass in obfuscation and evasion. It's absolutely jawdropping. Asked whether he'd recorded this "jigsaw" he was referring to (by then trying to represent the Coyle case as having been under the bomb, which is a complete nonsense), he replied "I can't help you with that."

    They were all at it. Feraday, Cullis, Claiden and Protheroe all joined in the chorus of "not the bag on the bottom." It was the bag on the bottom. Genuinely mistaken, even in the face of the evidence? Or lying to protect BAA?

    But Hayes was the one, of all of them, who should have worked it out. It was his baby. He recognised the job he should be doing. He was eminently qualified to do it - a moderately bright schoolboy could do it. But he resigned. Toenail-trimming was his new calling.

    I would give a minor body part to know whether he solved that suitcase jigsaw, then colluded in the report being concealed.

    In order to bring out the truth in the 'Lockerbie case' to a standstill intentionally with right delays, similar methods are in Switzerland as applied in Scotland. (only in german language):

    Um die Wahrheitsfindung im Lockerbie-Fall zum Stillstand zu bringen, werden In der Schweiz vorsätzlich, ähnliche Verzögerungs Methoden angewendet wie in Scotland.
    Dessen ungeachtet schreitet die Wahrheitsfindung zu ihrem Ziel und wird zeigen, dass wenn in einem Kriminalfall Rechtsverzögerungen während der Wahrheitsfindung von offizieller Seite "angeordnet" werden, sich die Suche nach der Wahrheit rechtfertigt und sich lohnt.

    Edwin Bollier & MEBO AG machen sich erneut Gedanken über ein
    - mögliches "Ränkespiel" - beim schweizerischen Nachrichtendienst des Bundes (NDB).

    In Sachen unerlaubte in Besitznahme einer MST-13 Timer Platine, welche offensichtlich später teilweise als entscheidender Indizienbeweis im "Lockerbie-Prozess" verwendet wurde, hatte am 10. November 2011, Ed. Bollier & MEBO AG, bei der schweizerischen Bundesanwaltschaft eine *Strafanzeige eingereicht. Diese richtet sich gegen einen namentlich bekannten Bundesbeamten der früheren Bundespolizei 'BUPO', heute Mitarbeiter des Nachrichtendienstes 'NDB', sowie gegen weitere mögliche unbekannte Mitbeteiligte.

    *Die Strafanzeige bezieht sich auf unerlaubte in Besitznahme einer MST-13 Timer Platine, welche später möglicherweise teilweise als Fragment (PT-35) bezugsweise als entscheidender Indizienbeweis im "Lockerbie-Prozess" verwendet wurde; u.a. abgestützt auf ein Affidavit vom 18. Juli 2007.

    Im Rahmen von Vorabklärungen im Kontext einer Staatshaftungsklage nach dem Verantwortlichkeitsgesetz, zusammenhängend mit dem Attentat auf Flug PanAm 103, über Lockerbie 1988, hatte das Eidgenössische Justiz- und Polizeidepartement (EJPD) gegen einen Mitarbeiter des Nachrichtendienst des Bundes, am 17. März 2014, eine Ermächtigungsverfügung für eine Strafuntersuchung erteilt. (Art. 15 Abs. 1 Verantwortlichkeitsgesetz).

    Im Hinblick auf diese Ermächtigung hatte die Aufsichtsbehörde über die Bundesanwaltschaft (AB-BA) für die Durchführung der Strafuntersuchung, am
    9. April 2014, den ausserordentlichen Staatsanwalt, Felix Bänziger ernannt.

    Obwohl der Entscheid vom 17. März 2014, in der Ermächtigungsverfügung, nach Art. 15 Abs. 4 VG, endgültig war, liess der Angeklagte Mitarbeiter des 'NDB' am 8. Mai 2014, die Verfügung beim Bundesverwaltungsgericht, anfechten...

    Durch diese neue denkbar gezielte Rechtsverzögerung, wurde die Strafuntersuchung bis zur gerichtlichen Abklärung vorläufig sistiert...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage: www.lockerbie,ch

  3. Scapegoating is standard statecraft and designed to protect the public interest from the alternatives which are often far worse.

    The Guildford 4 and Maguire 7 were victims of the British State, but they were first and foremost the victims of the IRA bombs, because without the IRA bombs there would be no need to satiate public anger with scapegoats.

    For example unless public anger is satiated [the pub bombings] you can end up with an escalation of communal violence and war.

    This is why the British approach [despite the undoubted casualties] is compared favourably to the US approach [gratuitous and indiscriminate bombing] that prolongs rather than ends conflict.

    And when the IRA decided to end their sectarian war all the victims/prisoners of war are released as part of the peace process.

    But my point is if the State promotes the public and national interest by convicting [on purpose] innocent people [the Who did it] then it is quite capable of covering-up [the What caused it] too, particularly when the same forensic experts are involved!

  4. "The Guildford 4 and Maguire 7 were victims of the British State, but they were first and foremost the victims of the IRA bombs, because without the IRA bombs there would be no need to satiate public anger with scapegoats."

    You would be the man to establish such an arbitrary chain of guilt, infinitely extensible in all directions, leading to the unusable conclusion that those mentioned first and foremost were victims of a complex and cruel world.

    No, the G4+M7 were first and foremost victims of trusted policemen who, deliberately it seems, manipulated evidence.

    In fact, such actions, which only can be blamed on the person doing it and the system that does not punish it, is a primary inducement of other wrongdoings.

  5. In the case of the Birmingham 6 it was a forensics expert at Morecambe police station who convinced the police that that at least two of the five men in custody had been in contact with explosives. The Greiss test was later discredited.
    The same Greiss test would obviously have been used to establish Annie Maguire & family had also been in contact with explosives.

  6. In the case of Lockerbie, there was a concerted effort to represent that the explosion had NOT occurred in the case that was in the position of the one Bedford saw in the container before the feeder flight landed. This all happened a long time before Megrahi or even Libya was in the frame.

    The explosion was in the case in the position of the one Bedford saw. And these cases were not moved after he saw it, either. The position of the bomb suitcase in relation to the other cases in the container is easy to work out. Hayes was the one whose job it was to work it out.

    As far as we know, he didn't do the job although he said he was going to. Without a proper systematic analysis of the data and a report, everyone was just flailing around making it up as they went along to suit their own preferred narrative.

    I want to know if Hayes really didn't do the job, or if he did, then colluded in concealing the results because they contradicted the preferred "not the bag on the bottom" mantra.

  7. sfm
    Of course you’re right the person who pulls the trigger, plants a bomb or doctors the evidence is first and foremost responsible for their actions.

    I used the term in a more general political sense of who bears responsibility for creating the conditions in which these things happen.

    Otherwise if the term is applied in a literal sense it means only those soldiers who fight a war are responsible for the killing and not their commanders who give the orders.

  8. If there was a concerted effort by the experts to misattribute the location of the explosion then they could equally be guilty of misrepresenting the explosion and its cause and affects?

  9. No. It doesn't work like that.

    Dave, can't you be content with the wrongdoing and the mistakes and the possible conspiracies implied by what the evidence actually shows? Why this compulsion to invent fairy-stories that are completely contradicted by the stuff that was actually recovered from the crash scene?

  10. Just to clarify, for what Dave believes to be true, it would be necessary for a huge amount of wreckage to have been removed from the crash scene, and replaced by pre-prepared wreckage showing an explosion in a particular place in a baggage container, and a break-up of the airframe entirely consistent with an explosion in that particular place.

    And that would all have to have been done before sunrise on 22d December.

    His fantasy of the accidental plane crash due to a structural fault is completely contradicted by the wreckage found on the ground. It's been proposed by one man, a John Barry Smith, who has some sort of a bee in his bonnet about cargo door failures on 747s. Smith wrote a fake Air Accident Report claiming this interpretation, which has fooled a number of people into taking it seriously - until they read it in detail. It completely ignores the incontrovertible evidence of the explosion in the baggage container in favour of imagining that there must be something sinister about the official AAIB report not describing certain items in detail - items that weren't relevant to how the plane came to break up.

    Exactly how the authorities happened to have all this faked-up evidence of an explosion to hand that they could get out there and plant it within hours of a fairly routine air accident, in order to spark an international terrorist manhunt, has also not been addressed.

  11. You do not need to swop any wreckage or fake any evidence and suppress any evidence [although that helped at Zeist] you just need experts to misinterpret and misrepresent the evidence at the fatal accident enquiry.

    And then rely on no one questioning the forensics or reporting the fatal accident enquiry or using reasonable doubt about the causes of the crash.

    Most planes crash due to accident, structural failure, pilot error, not IEDs and thus are a more likely explanation than the hare-brained Heathrow plot.

    That said, only a public enquiry can establish the official truth.

  12. The evidence exists. Multiple high-quality photographs of it exist. These exist independently of anything said about the evidence in any court.

    The evidence shows that an explosive device detonated inside a brown Samsonite hardshell suitcase in the bottom front left-hand corner of baggage container AVE4041. This is absolutely beyond any dispute at all. As is the fact that this explosion caused the catastrophic break-up of the plane.

    There is no room for any doubt about this, reasonable or otherwise. Most swans may be white, but some are black. This was a black swan.

    The evidence was misinterpreted and misrepresented, both at the FAI and at Zeist. The misrepresentation took the form of assertions that the explosion had been inside the suitcase on the second layer of luggage, not the bottom one. And other stuff. That allowed the investigators to claim the bomb came in on the feeder flight, and let Heathrow off the hook.

    But the evidence is still there. It is capable of being analysed. Competent analysis shows the bomb was in the suitcase on the bottom layer. That's it.

    You don't get to say, because the evidence was misrepresented, anything at all I happen to dream up might have happened.

  13. This thread is now closed.