Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Maltese Double Cross (1994) - Lockerbie

The Maltese Double Cross was written, directed and produced by the late Allan Francovich.

Faced with threats of legal action, it has been given scant exposure in the UK and the US. It was shown on Channel 4 in the UK in 1995 and was followed by a discussion on the issues the film raised. This was chaired by Sheena McDonald and included Allan Francovich, Jim Swire, Sir Teddy Taylor, Jim Duggan, David Leppard and Oliver 'Buck' Revel. Sadly, the discussion subsequent to the film is not included below.

This is however the best version of the 1994 film available.

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:48 AM  
Blogger baz said...

Having watched the version televised by Channel 4 before the "Lockerbie debate" many times I found this version of "The Maltese Double Cross" fascinating. It is far longer than the televised version and is significantly different.

I have long been a critic of "The Maltese Double Cross" and "Cover-up of Convenience" written by the film's researcher John Ashton and Ian Ferguson.

I have no objection to the first 1 hour and 36 minutes which was, to be honest, really very good.

My objection is to the introduction of the "drug conspiracy theory" between 1.36 and 2.16, in particular the section 1.55-2.16 and above all the blatantly fraudulent "hotel room scene" featuring Oswald Le Winter between 2.12.50 and 02.15 (which was longer than the televised version and mentioned the character "Lovejoy".)

In the far briefer televised version of Steve Donahue's "evidence" he is described as an "undercover DEA agent" with no mention of his being a convicted trafficker. The section concerning "Mr Goldberg" and his supposed meeting with Khald Jafaar is greatly different.

While some of the "evidence" is this fourty minute section (1.36-2.16) is demonstrably fabricated my point is that even if these allegations of "contolled" drug deliveries is true, is it of any relevance to the bombing? I would also point that the only evidence in the film that drugs were recovered at Tundergarth was an article in Private Eye for whom John Ashton works.

I also note that the evidence of Linda Forsyth that Matthew Gannon was sitting in 1st class was expunged although elsewhere the film claims on two other occassions that he was (once in LeWinter's staged "evidence".) The official version is that he was in Business Class.

My central criticism of "Cover-up of Convenience" is that most of the book was devoted to "proving" this fraudulent section of the film. Without their obsession with Khalid Jafaar (which continues to this day in the pages of Private Eye) Messrs Ashton and Ferguson might have written an important book.

Indeed without the "drug conspiracy" section The Maltese Double Cross might have been a good film. Pity francovich didn't grasp the bomb was introduced at Heathrow.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Eddie said...

Baz, thanks for your comment. Perhaps if Francovich, (and the court at Zeist) had known of the break-in at Heathrow in the early hours of the 21st December, he would have viewed any possible complicity of the 'drugs sting operation' somewhat differently. I suspect so, although I doubt this would have altered his view that the operation was indeed still on-going at the time. It still retains relevance to the whole investigation if this played it's part in the diversion of the investigators away from Frankfurt (and Heathrow) towards Air Malta and Luqa Airport. The destroying of all computerized records bar one handy printout from Frankfurt, depsite Frankfurt being the origin of 103, thru 103A (the MAIN feeder to 103) and the German authorities knowledge of the devices uncovered in Neuss in October. This loss of records is simply incomprehensible. Unless they had other reason not to disclose these records? Aside from the break-in reported by Manly and the bags spotted by Bedford at Heathrow, why was this airport simply discounted very early into the investigation? I think it's fair to assert that Francovich may well have erred somewhat on the drugs theory playing an integral part, but as a sincere mistake, rather than a diliberate falsehood or malicious misdirection.

12:48 PM  
Blogger baz said...

I do not know the significance of the "Manley break-in" or if it is of significance at all save it was another good reason why "Heathrow" should not have been eliminated.

I do not know that records were destroyed but if they were it makes no difference to where, in reality, the primary suitcase was introduced.

Why besides "Manley" and the "Bedford bags" was Heathrow eliminated so early? Because the Police were convinced that the bomb had been built in Neuss by Marwan Khreesat of the PFLP-GC (as indeed it may have been) and concluded that it had also been introduced into the system there. (see David Leppard's "On the Trail of Terror" in particular the chapters "Mechenheim" and "London or Frankfurt the Forensic Argument" a wealth of useful indeed vital information.)

I disagree that Francovich erred by a sincere mistake. Doubtless he believed the "drug conspiracy theory" was true but was stuck for real evidence he fabricated it. Even Francovich's deputy John Ashton (employed by Eddie McKechnie) admitted in his book what Francovich denied that Oswald Le Winter was a "known fabricator". It was Francovich who exposed him as a fabricator in relation to the "October surprise"
hoax!

Evidence of the "drug conspiracy" in The Maltese Double Cross was risible. A drug trafficker described as an "undercover DEA agent." The creation of evidence to "prove" Jafaar met Abu Talb through the evidence of "Mr Goldberg" who met Jafaar on a train and made a note, not only of where he was staying but where he stayed the previous night! "Goldberg" reveals himself to a Pan Am employee then disappears off the face of the earth!

The "evidence" Jim Wilson found a suitcase of drugs? A shot of a Private Eye story that claimed Wilson told an unknown relative of an un-named victim that he had! Of course Francovich's "Deputy" wrote for Private Eye.

Above all the ludicrous "Hotel room" scene, evidence so blatantly fabricated even the Crown Office picked up on it! Just watch it.


"Gannon was Jafaar's keeper on the plane?" says the incredulous Le Winter.

"Up there" says his "CIA contact" (whom Le Winter had assured that he was not being recorded!)"that big m...f... was sitting up there in 1st Class! (clearly confusing him with Major McKee). Of course Gannon was never at Frankfurt but Francovich's excuse was that he did not say at which airport "SPAG" escorted Jafaar to the plane. Narita? Kai Tak?

This is as you say deliberate falsehood,malicious misdirection the fabrication of evidence.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Eddie said...

The UK anti-terror police and Heathrow authorities were already aware long before the 6.20pm departure, and before 103's demise that, early on 21 Dec, a breach of security from landside to airside, had been reported at the Pan Am gate at Heathrow. Together with the warnings posted by the FAA and the BKA discovery at Neuss, why indeed the flights at Heathrow and indeed around Pan Am were not suspended, or at the very least given more scrupulous security is another strange and unaccounted for decision. However, it would have been immediately obvious that with the security failure, the first point of investigation was Heathrow, not Frankfurt. Seemingly however, none of these issues were remarked, and so Frankfurt and latterly Malta became the focus.

The first opportunity for the diversion away from Heathrow being the point of insertion for the bomb bag arose when it was determined that container 4041 was that which had housed the bomb. With the knowledge of the break-in at the Pan Am gate at Terminal 3, and the fact that Bedford had seen 2 extraneous suitcases in the location within that container, precisely where we're led to believe was the the exact optimum position to cause a fatal breakup of the aircraft, once again this was fudged by the UK investigators in favour of the fanciful notion that since a majority of bags within that container had arrived via 103A, on the balance of probabilities, the bomb had also arrived via that route.

So, a break-in, unaccounted and unknown suitcases added to 4041, and as Jim Berwick, Pan Am security had stated, warnings known about and had been circulated around Heathrow referring to the Helsinki warning and the devices uncovered at Neuss, the UK police, still were quite happy to direct everyone towards Frankfurt on the basis of probabilities of baggage.

The destroying of records, or the more likely suppression of, is indeed a very pertinent issue, perhaps not to the introduction of the device, but as to misdirection of the investigation - not too mention the withholding of vital evidence in relation of the biggest murder enquiry in Britsih history. Whether this eventually has any bearing on the insertion of the bag is immaterial, it is extremely suspicious as to what these records would reveal.

The 'drugs conspiracy' is not something that has been simply espoused by Le-Winter or Francovitch alone. Private Eye has a long and very creditible history of uncovering corruption and miscarriages of justice, and Paul Foot who initially was somewhat wary of Francovich, Coleman and Aviv's claims, latterly seemed conviced that the completely unfounded slandering of all these individuals (and the many others who dared even hint at drug operation complicity) together with the admittance by Cyprus station chief Hurley, and the reply to Tam Dalyell in the House of Commons, that drugs operations were indeed conducted through Frankfurt and Heathrow in 1988, with the bag switch was a known method, therefore suggested it may have played some part in the attack on 103, or at very least the diliberate misdirection of the investigation away from Heathrow and Frankfurt as points of ingestion of the bomb bag.

Neither McKee nor Gannon were in First Class on 103, but they were 'up there', seated in Clipper Class, Main Deck in 14J and 15F respectively.

10:48 AM  
Blogger baz said...

There is very little I disagree with here and we seem to agree that the decision to "eliminate" Heathrow marked the end of an objective investigation.

I am a bit confused as to what "clipper class" actually was. (In the "Maltese Double Cross" Linda Forsyth said McKee upgraded from Economy to Business Class.) I have some doubts as to whether Mr Gannon (due to his relationship with the CIA's DD Ops and the introduction of a "coffin" at Longtown) was on the flight at all and do not take the manifest as conclusive evidence.

While Gannon and McKee were on the manifest of flight PA103 there is no evidence (save for that fabricated by LeWinter in "The Maltese Double Cross") either was on PA103A as Khalid Jafaar's "keeper". (As Ashton/Ferguson admit LeWinter was "a known fabricator" so why use him except as a fabricator?)

I am not aware that Michael Hurley made any such admission or the details of Tam Dalyell's question and answer. I was very disappointed by his ringing endorsement in the foreward to "Cover-up of Convenience" of the charlatan Francovich and his "deputy".

"Cover-up of Convenience" featured a tedious recitation of the various Legal problems encountered by proponents of the "drug conspiracy theory" (and many others) the inference being that because they had these problems therefore their claims were true an argument whose logic escapes me.

Coleman's story is very interesting but has it anything to do with Lockerbie? LeWinter's legal problems may be related to the fact he is a crook!

Paul Foot wary of these claims? The "evidence" Jim Wilson "found" a suitcase of drugs was a story in Private Eye placed to corroborate Francovich's claims!

Has Aviv ever come up with a shred of evidence? where is his video of a baggage handler putting a suitcase on a trolley (which is what they do!) or his recording of the baggage handler phoning the US Embassy to report claiming the bag was heavier than usual? That shouldn't be hard to create. Were not his unfounded claims in the McKee case the start of another colossal red herring?

Coleman is the partner of the professional fabricator LeWinter and both appeared in The Maltese Double Cross! Ashton is describes as Francovich's Deputy and co-wrote articles with Foot!(Some quite good!) Ashton and his partner Ian Ferguson were intimately related to the defence teams although the defence did not touch the "drug conspiracy theory" with a bargepole.

I doubt Francovich would have had any interest in the Manley break-in but he was more interested in advancing his own crackpot theory. Thanks to Leppard the "Heathrow evidence" was largely in the public domain. The drug conspiracy theory was and is the most enormous red herring. Just because the official version of events is untrue is does not mean that any alternative is true. The drug conspiracy theory has always been a complete red herring unsupported by a shred of real evidence.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Caustic Logic said...

This movie is almost the "Loose Change" of Lockerbie Truth. It's classier, and useful in far more ways, but I agree it's at the pinnacle of assembling mumbled inside intelligenge blah blah blah, still driven by the force of genuine questions but without proper guidance, it's redirected like a misfired rocket into useless spirals. Accident? Design? I dunno. It's worth watching at least.

12:15 PM  
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5:27 PM  
Blogger baz said...

"Algarve flight"? Is "anonymous" Oswald Le Winter?

9:53 AM  
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12:49 PM  
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4:21 AM  
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2:44 PM  
Blogger SEO said...

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10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:08 PM  
Blogger sam samu said...

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1:50 AM  

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