DENNIS CUNNINGHAM (#112910)
3163 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-285-8091 / fax: 285-8091
Attorneys for Plaintiff
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
THE ESTATE OF JUDI BARI,
and DARRYL CHERNEY,
FBI Special Agent FRANK DOYLE, Jr., et al.,
and the UNITED STATES,
Case No. C-91-1057 CW (JL)
DECLARATION OF ROBERT JAEGER IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS’ MOTIONS IN LIMINE
DATE: August 31, 2001
TIME: 10:00 a.m.
I, ROBERT JAEGER, declare as follows:
1. I am over the age of 18, and if called as a witness, I could testify to the following from personal knowledge and experience:
2. I am an expert in the area of bomb reconstruction. I reside in Seattle, Washington. I have been retained in this case as an expert rebuttal witness. I am submitting this declaration in criticism of certain practices, observations, and conclusions reached by the defense experts in this case, so it is not meant to contain all of my opinions in this case.
3. From my examination of the Air Force Safety Center’s (AFSC’s) Final Report, entitled “Reconstruction of the 1990 Car Bomb Incident” (May 2001), along with various photographs, documents, the full deposition of Paul Price and Firooz Allahdadi, the incident car (Judi Bari’s 1981 wagon), and the remains of the four “Admiral Test” cars blown up by the AFSC, I conclude that the AFSC’s methodology was deeply flawed and unreliable, and their conclusions wrong and unsupported by their own test results. My own unequivocal conclusion is that the bomb in Judi Bari’s car exploded underneath the driver’s seat.
4. The AFSC failed to accurately model the explosion in Ms. Bari’s car, hampered by their inability and/or unwillingness to control for numerous important variables with the potential to affect the blast dynamics and resulting damage, including the orientation of the pipe seam, and the strength of the pipe and end caps. We also do not know the actual material properties of the items used in the experiments, as they were not individually tested. The tests, therefore, attempt to model unknowns with other unknowns — a technique not well regarded in industry or science. This leaves one only able to look at the gross, external forensic effects and not at the details.
5. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that the AFSC never even succeeded in reproducing a hole (in the witness plates or actual car floorboards) of the same size or shape as the one in Ms. Bari’s car, or that the tests all yielded different effects on the pipe and end caps than the original event, as Dr. Allahdadi admitted in his deposition (pg. 176, ln. 12-).
6. Even when they tried to change just one variable in Car Test #2 vs. #4 — namely, the location of the bomb from behind to underneath the seat — they effectively changed at least two variables, due to the “confining effect” of placing the bomb under the seat, with results similar to increasing the explosive charge, demonstrating how complex the blast physics in this case are.
7. As such, the AFSC’s testing conditions and results cannot be repeated according to the fundamental scientific method, and their results are thus unreliable.
8. Other influential variables not even mentioned in the Report include the effects of unfilled space inside a bomb, the thoroughness with which the powder is mixed, the presence of even trace amounts of water in the mixture, the effects of carpet over the metal floorboard, or the potential effects of using sand bags to simulate people, where sandbags and earth are commonly used as blast shielding materials, and people are more like water bags than sand bags.
9. Some specific mistakes made by Mr. Price and Dr. Allahdadi include:
a. Dr. Allahdadi stated in his deposition (at pg. 98, ln. 6) that ‘ridges’ due to manufacturing in the floorboard or in a witness plate would have no significant effect on the response to an explosion. I believe this statement to be factually incorrect. The ridges and shapes are specifically placed there to change stiffness of the panel, and also are known to affect the tensile strength of the material.
b. Mr. Price stated (at pg. 131, ln. 25) that the burning rate of small-arms ammunition propellants is “much less than the speed of sound,” to differentiate them from explosives. However, this is not so simple. Some smokeless powders actually detonate in a small-arms cartridge, under unusual conditions. If mixed to one degree, ammonium nitrate and sugar will reliably go off “low order.” But if well-enough mixed, they will just as reliably detonate high-order. The point is, the conditions of the reaction are just as important as the chemistry.
c. Mr. Price stated in his deposition (at pg. 136, ln. 13) that he did not know that the original pipe is believed to have been 11” long (not 12” like they used in most of their tests), and he also stated that he did not think it would make any difference. I disagree and think that a reduction in volume of about 8% would make a significant difference.
c. Mr. Price stated (at pg. 149, ln. 25) that the fraction of the internal volume of the incident pipe that was actually filled with propellant was not determined, but he thought this was not important. In my opinion, this is very important.
d. Dr. Allahdadi stated (at pg. 165, ln. 23) that the method of initiation of the original bomb was “totally irrelevant” to him and he “couldn't care less” about that part of the device. I am surprised that he thinks so, since the method of initiation can substantially change the yield of the device and nature of the energy release.
e. Dr. Allahdadi stated (at pg. 171, ln. 13) that the amount of moisture present in the powder does not make any difference in the outcome. On the contrary, even trace amounts of moisture can make a significant difference.
10. On August 15, 2001, I traveled to the EMRTC testing facility in Socorro, New Mexico with Ben Rosenfeld, intending to spend hours thoroughly inspecting and photographing the four “Admiral Test” cars. I brought two 35mm cameras and 20 rolls of film, as well as a digital camera. We arrived at about 11:15 am., and were met by Marvin Banks, Paul Price, and Joe Sher. We spent about 15 minutes checking in and receiving passes, and about another 15 minutes being driven by Mr. Banks, an EMRTC Director, to the site of Car #4.
11. When we arrived at Car #4, I was dismayed to see that it was outside and completely exposed to the elements. I was further dismayed when Mr. Banks explained that much of the debris that blasted outward from the car had been collected and piled inside the car. It was thus evident to me that the car had not been well preserved.
12. Mr. Banks informed us that we had about 45 minutes to inspect the car, so with too little time, we set to work hastily photographing as much as possible. At about 12:30, Mr. Banks informed us that our time was up, so having no choice, we prepared to leave. As we drove away, he explained that he could protect Car #4 in the location where it now sat, because he controlled that testing site.
13. Next, Mr. Banks drove us to the junk or “salvage” pile containing the remains of Car #s 1 - 3. We arrived at about 1:00 pm. Car #1 sat on top of Car #2, and Car #3 sat atop other scrap, elsewhere in the pile. It was clear at once that not only would the cars be hard (and dangerous) to examine, but that they had seriously altered from their original. post-experiment state. Mr. Banks explained that the cars initially had been set in front of the pile, but had probably been pushed up into it by a “front loader”, or otherwise roughly handled. He said he considered them too altered to be of value, but urged on us the view that the photographs he and others took right after the experiments told an accurate and complete story.
14. During our drives around the facility, I observed many other vehicles, airplane fuselages, etc. stored on the EMRTC grounds, some of which Mr. Banks remarked had to be regularly inventoried. Therefore, it was not clear to me why the Admiral Test Cars had to be so quickly junked.
15. Mr. Banks admonished us to watch out for rattle snakes. I asked if we had a time limit, and he said jokingly we had until the top of his head began to burn under the sun. We began photographing the three cars as best we could, but we were limited by other impeding junk, and the mangled and compressed condition of the cars. We could not get high enough to photograph the interior of Car #1 at all. Our work progressed slowly, but we were expecting to be given ample time. Then, at about 1:40, Mr. Banks alerted us that we had just three more minutes. Frustrated, we raced to take a few more exposures, before Mr. Banks drove us out of there at about 1:45.
16. I needed several more hours to thoroughly examine, label, and photograph the four cars as I had intended to, and I rushed my work in response to being rushed by our hosts. Nevertheless, I was able to make a few important observations:
a. The driver’s seat in Car #2 had not one but two holes in the back rest, including a large hole through the middle of the back rest, not clearly visible in Fig. 6-17, or discussed at all in AFSC Report, which suggests there was just one hole in this seat.
b. The driver’s seat in Car #4 shows very little scorching, notwithstanding the statements made in the Report. Regardless, an explosion does not automatically cause scorching; whether the fire from an explosion lasts long enough to cause scorching of nearby material depends on a host of variables which the AFSC did not try to model or control for in these experiments. Moreover, the AFSC has not clearly distinguished this alleged scorching from the mysterious dark deposit they cannot explain on the pipe remnants. (See Report, pg. 54.)
c. The cars’ headliners were made of a thin fabric or plastic material over corrugated cardboard. I could tell this because Car #2’s headliner had become separated from the roof. The nail which ricocheted and embedded in the back of the driver’s seat in Car #4 (Fig. 6-37 in the Report) likely had enough momentum to penetrate the soft headliner.
d. The headliner of Car #4 was not just dirty, but scuffed and ripped in places, with what appeared to be small rocks or gravel adhered to it in places, along with some small pieces of plastic. One fairly large piece of plastic (about a centimeter and a half) was embedded in the headliner above the driver’s side sun visor. I observed the nails in the headliner of Car #2 depicted in Figure 6-21 in the Report. It appears the punctures are hardly any larger than the diameter of the nails sticking out of them — that is, the fabric is not generally ripped around the nail holes.
17. On August 16, 2001, I inspected Judi Bari’s Subaru in storage in Santa Rosa. I saw no apparent nail punctures in the headliner, but only small rips and dirt qualitatively similar to the marks on the headliner of Test Car #4. I also observed a piece of plastic which had penetrated both the driver’s sun visor and the headliner above it. I believe this plastic came from a panel beneath the driver’s door, and had been blown up there by the blast pressure jetting out from the pipe bomb directly underneath the driver’s seat.
Sworn and subscribed to under penalty of perjury at Seattle, WA on August 20, 2001.
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