Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter VIII : PT/35(b) — The Most Expensive Forgery in History]

“Without PT/35(b), there would have been no indictment.”

Richard Marquise — FBI agent who lead the Lockerbie investigation

“PT/35(b) was extremely, extremely dodgy. It was very, very suspicious. The way it suddenly appeared, embedded in a shirt collar, with the information on the page overwritten and changed, all police procedures were thrown out of the window.”

Reverend John Mosey

“Dr. Hayes seemed to have no real recollection independently of his notes of having found PT/35(b).  The sequence of the PT numbering and the absence from the notes of a drawing of the circuit board are unusual features.  The pagination of the notes was described by Hayes as ‘an unfathomable mystery’, for which he did propose an explanation, but unfortunately one that does not work. The memorandum of the 15th of September 1989 is difficult to understand if the fragment was indeed found on the 12th of May 1989. PT/35(b) is an important piece of evidence on which the Crown rely and in respect of which it is for the Crown to satisfy the court as to its provenance.  I submit that the irregularities and peculiarities which attend this item are some which the court ought to have some hesitation in being satisfied as to the item’s provenance.”

Defence counsel Richard Keen QC — Lockerbie trial (p. 9624)

“Please tell me what you do not believe about PT/35(b). (…) if anyone ever could show me one shred of evidence that anyone other than Megrahi and Libya did it, I would be willing to rethink my ideas. I have yet to see the one item of evidence.”

FBI Richard Marquise –Email to Intel Today (September 6 2008) 

July 6 2020 — PT/35(b) is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. PT/35(b) is a small fragment of a timer circuit that, according to the Lockerbie verdict, triggered an IED onboard Pan Am 103. PT/35(b) was allegedly found among the debris of Pan Am 103 near the town of Lockerbie. After many years of study and research, I have come to the conclusion that PT/35(b) is a forgery that was planted among the debris to implicate Libya in the bombing of Pan Am 103. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter I : A week in December]

RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter II : The Usual Suspects]

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter III : Operation Autumn Leaves]

RELATED POST: Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter IV : The ‘Wait & See’ Strategy]

RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter V : Blame it on Gaddafi!]

RELATED POST: Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter VI : A spectacular miscarriage of Justice]

RELATED POST:  Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…![Chapter VII : The SLALOM Shirt]

Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

QUICK NOTES — To make it easier for the readers to retrieve various chapters of this book, I have created a special page  “Lockerbie” where all the links to the chapters will be listed with a brief description. You can access that page directly as it appears at the far right of the top bar of this blog.

A procedural hearing in the Megrahi appeal was due to take place on 17 April 2020, but was postponed when court business was suspended because of the Covid-19 emergency. A rescheduled procedural hearing has now been fixed to take place before five judges of the High Court of Justiciary on Friday, 21 August 2020 at 10 am. The hearing will be held using Webex. [The Lockerbie Case — Procedural hearing in Megrahi appeal rescheduled]

END of NOTES

Chapter VIII : PT/35(b) — The Most Expensive Forgery in History

According to the official narrative, Dr. Hayes and Allen Feraday examined PI/995 on May 12 1989 and from the collar of this SLALOM shirt, they extracted the foreign materials shown at the bottom of photograph 117.

These items were collectively identified as PT/35 (a), (b), and (c) and PT/2. They comprise:

PT/35 (a) — nine fragments of black plastics from the Toshiba RT-SF16.          

PT/35 (b) —  a fragment of circuit board from MEBO timer.          

PT/35 (c1) —  a small fragment of tinned copper wire         

PT/35 (c2) — a small fragment of loudspeaker mesh from the Toshiba RT-SF16.          

PT/35 (c3) — a small iron-based fragment.

PT/2 — parts of a Toshiba RT-SF16 manual

This story is pure nonsense. If Hayes and Feraday had the manual and fragments of a black Toshiba RT-SF16 in May 1989, why did they claim for months after that the the IED was hidden in a white Toshiba RT-8016?

As David Leppard wrote:

“Incredibly, none of the search teams had noticed a partly burnt Toshiba radio instruction manual for a Bombeat SF 16 which had been recovered from the crash site. It was to be left lying in Superintendent Roxburgh’s property store at the Dexstar warehouse for months. […] Details had been logged on to the HOLMES computer, but were left forgotten, buried in a mass of data until August.” [1]

And why did they not ask the police to investigate the origin of the Slalom shirt until January 1990? [2]

Obviously the SLALOM shirt is a fabrication and therefore, so must be the items discovered inside it, including PT/35(b) the infamous fragment of the MST-13 timer.

The Official Narrative

On January 13 1989, Detective Constables Thomas Gilchrist and Thomas McColm found a fragment of charred clothing in search sector I, near Newcastleton.

This piece of charred grey cloth was bagged, labelled “Debris (Charred)” and given a reference number: PI/995. On January 17 1989, the item was registered in the Dexstar log.

On February 6 1989, PI/995 was sent to the Forensic Explosives Laboratory at Fort Halstead in Kent for forensic examination.

On May 12 1989, Dr. Thomas Hayes examined PI/995. Inside the cloth, Dr. Hayes found fragments of paper, fragments of black plastic and a tiny piece of circuitry.

Dr. Hayes gave to these items the reference number PT/35 as well as an alphabetical suffix to each one of them. The fragment of the circuit board was named PT/35 (b).

In June 1990, with some help from the FBI, Allen Feraday of the Explosives Laboratory was able to match PT/35 (b) to the board of  a Swiss timer known as a MST-13 timer.

Two MST-13 timers had been seized in Togo in September 1986. BATF agent Richard Sherrow had brought one of these back to the US.

Two Libyan citizens were caught in possession of another MST-13 timer in Senegal in February 1988.

An analysis of the Togo timer led the investigators to a small business named MEBO in Zurich.

The owners of MEBO told the investigators that these timers had been manufactured to the order of two Libyans: Ezzadin Hinshiri, the director of the Central Security Organisation of the Libyan External Security Organisation [ESO] and Said Rashid, the head of the Operations Administration of the ESO. [3]

MEBO & the Story of the MST-13 Timers

MEBO Telecommunications AG (formed in 1969 and registered in Zurich on 24 March 1971) was owned by Swiss businessmen Erwin Meister and Edwin Bollier. MEBO employed a single technician: Ulrich Lumpert.

Evidence that MEBO received an order for electronic timers in July 1985 is supported by the orders for circuit boards which MEBO placed with Thuring AG in August and October 1985. [4]

In his defence precognition, Hinshiri confirmed that he had ordered a quantity of MST-13 timers and that these had subsequently been delivered to him. A similar account was given by him when questioned by the Scottish police in Libya on 30 October 1999. [SCCRC REPORT 20.29]

Richard Marquise — The FBI agent who led the US side of the Lockerbie investigation– gives a good description [SCOTBOM, Richard Marquise. Page 69] of the supply of the 20 MST-13 timers to Libya. [5]

Based on various interviews, the “Fuhl Report” has come to the following conclusions:

The first five MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on one side only and were built into boxes.

The second five MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on both side  and were built without boxes.

The last ten MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on both side and were built into boxes.

THURING AG always ordered the Copper Clad Laminates from a Swiss branch of ISOLA: Schweizerische Isolawerke AG in Breitenbach. (SIB)

However, a FBI document dated August 20 1990 mentions the following:

“Special photography techniques were utilized on specimen K-1 to identify the number/letter “21B” which is contained within the figure of an oval.

The number/letter appears in the upper left quadrant of the circuit board, within the lamination and not on the surface of the board.

This identification was added during the manufacturing process, and may offer a code to identify the source of this board. It should be noted, however, that the company which applied the actual  printed circuit, may not be the company which manufactured the green circuit board.”

Why would anyone misread “SIB” for “21B” when the “B” is asymmetrical is puzzling to say the least…

PT/35(b) is a Forgery!

As I explained in the previous section, THURING AG — the company that supplied the PCB to MEBO  —  always ordered the Copper Clad Laminates (CCL) from a Swiss branch of ISOLA — Schweizerische Isolawerke AG in Breitenbach that used the logo SIB.

And indeed, the SIB logo is clearly visible on the Togo timer as well as on the photograph of the Senegal timer. [Please, note that he logo is clearly NOT “21B”!]

But scientists had determined early in the investigation that PT/35(b) was not made from a SIB CCL.

After a visit to CIBA GEIGY PIc. (Plastics Division, Duxford, Cambridgeshire) on February 8 1990, Detective Constable Keith Harrower (Strathclyde Police) made contact with a number of companies involved in the production of fiberglass laminate used in the manufacture of PCBs, and obtained samples of the various laminates they produced for comparison with PT/35(b).

Harrower received in total 23 different sample laminates from producers in Europe and the Middle East, which he understood covered all the production companies. [6]

Harrower then provided the 23 samples to John French — Senior Chemist, Research Analysis Department at CIBA GEIGY — on March 8 1990 for comparative analysis. [7]

After his analysis (Fourier Transform Infra Red Spectrometry) of the various samples he found that two types of laminate, Ditron (manufactured in Italy) and Sefolam (manufactured in Israel) were the closest match to the spectrum obtained from DP/12, a sample extracted from PT/35(b). [8]

Among the 23 samples, there are three from ISOLA, including one from ISOLA Switzerland. And yet, the report goes on with this conclusion:

“The results of the test carried out by Mr French were analysed on computer and two types of laminate, Sefolam and Ditron appear to give the closest match to Production PT/35(b).”

In other words, by March 1990, French had clearly ruled out SIB as the source of PT/35(b)!

How was PT/35(b) Fabricated?

The copper tracks on fragment PT/35(b) are protected by a layer of pure tin while the tracks on the circuit of a control sample MST-13 board are covered by a mix of 70% tin and 30% lead.

The thickness of the Tin, its uniformity, the shape of the copper track’s cross-section and the presence — or not — of Tin on the sides of the tracks provide some clues.

The properties of the tracks on PT/35(b) all indicate that the copper sub-layer has been coated with tin using a tin immersion process, as used by hobbyist all over the world.

So, not only is PT/35(b) not a fragment of a MST-13 timer, it appears to be home-made, not even professionally produced as the THURING AG boards. [9]

When was PT/35(b) Fabricated?

Before and after the identification of PT/35(b), the police consulted a British company called Circuit Foil UK about the copper used on both PT/35(b) and the Thuring boards.

One of their project managers – Michael Whitehead – looked at both PT/35(b) and DP/347(a) – The Thuring board supplied to MEBO – and concluded that the copper on the Thuring boards had been made earlier.

“Michael Whitehead was also of the opinion that the copper foil for DP/504 [a part of the control board DP/347(a)] was manufactured some time earlier than the copper foil for PT/35(b).”

Unfortunately, the police officers seemed to have completely misunderstood his statements.

The consequences are far-reaching. His statements clearly support the theory that the board from which PT/35(b) originated was produced at a later date than the Thuring boards.

Conclusions

Let us summarize:

I. The “Tinning” of PT/35(b) is wrong. (Pure Tin for PT/35(b) vs Tin/Lead alloy for the Thuring boards).

II. The density of the copper nodules on the “Matte” side of the copper foil is evidence that PT/35(b) was built on a copper clad laminate manufactured after the time the THURING boards delivered to MEBO in 1985 had been produced.

III. The epoxy resins used in PT/35(b) and in the Thuring boards are obviously different. (Probably to take advantage of the higher density of the copper nodules in PT/35(b) as noted above.)

It is abundantly clear that the fragment PT/35(b) did not come from a Thuring circuit board supplied to MEBO to fabricate the MST-13 timers delivered to Libya.

Had the SIB logo been read correctly, instead of the ridiculous “21B”, the case would have collapsed on the spot.

Once more, careful analysis of tiny bits of evidence and expert opinions appears to show that police and other officials have misrepresented and distorted the facts.

It brings us back, yet again, to the question: can all of these misrepresentations of evidence really be adequately explained by stupidity?

PS — How many MST-13 were actually produced? According to Marquise, TWENTY. For once, the indictment is indeed very precise.

“you ABDELBASET ALI MOHMED AL MEGRAHI and AL AMIN KHALIFA FHIMAH did between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 1985, both dates inclusive, through the hands of Said Rashid and Ezzadin Hinshiri, both also being members of the said Libyan Intelligence Services, and others at the said premises occupied by MEBO AG, in Zurich, aforesaid, at the said premises of said Libyan Intelligence Services, in Tripoli, aforesaid, at the said Libyan People’s Bureau, East Berlin aforesaid and elsewhere to the Prosecutor unknown … Order, cause to be manufactured and obtain from the said firm of MEBO AG twenty electronic timers capable of detonating explosive devices;”

The FBI learned that MEBO — a Swiss company — had produced 2 types of MST-13 timers. Type I had 2 digits while Type II had 4 digits. (See pictures below.)

Did you notice the FBI logo? Take a good look at the B in FBI. There is simply not one font in the world that has the top part of the B bigger than the bottom part! The FBI experts have no excuse for reading 21B instead of SIB. This mistake is incomprehensible and unforgivable.

A MEBO engineer remembered that he had built FIVE Type II timers (4 digits) but he was not sure about the number of Type I timers (2 Digits) he had manufactured.

The construction of one Type I timer requires THREE 4518BT chips while the construction of one Type II timer requires FOUR 4518BT chips.

According to the company records, SIXTY 4518BT chips were ordered to build all these timers.

With SIXTY 4518BT chips, MEBO could simply NOT have built FIFTEEN (15) Type I MST-13 timers and FIVE (5) Type II MST-13 timers, as this requires SIXTY FIVE 4518BT chips!

These FBI experts cannot even do basic arithmetic. The indictment is that stupid! I hope that I have answered the question of former FBI Richard Marquise.

Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

Chapter VIII : PT/35(b) — The Most Expensive Forgery in History

I wish to dedicate this story to Swiss investigative journalists John Ashton and Otto Hostettler.

John Ashton is a writer, researcher and TV producer. He has studied the Lockerbie case for 22 years and from 2006 to 2009 was a researcher with Megrahi’s legal team. He is the co-author of What Everyone in Britain Should Know about Crime and Punishment (with David Wilson), Blackstone Press 1998, What Everyone in Britain Should Know about the Police (with David Wilson and Douglas Sharp), Blackstone Press 2001, and Cover-up of Convenience: The hidden scandal of Lockerbie (with Ian Ferguson), Mainstream 2001.

His second book on Lockerbie — Megrahi: You Are My Jury — makes a compelling argument that we have to look elsewhere for the murderers of the 270 Lockerbie victims and that Libya was wrongfully accused and punished. Megrahi was denied an appeal in a court of justice by ill-health and his return to Libya.

“It is quite possible that the CIA decided to frame Megrahi and worked backwards, planting PT/35(b), priming Giaka and leaving the unwitting Scottish police and the FBI to piece together a case with the remaining circumstantial evidence.”

John Ashton — Scotland’s Shame: Why Lockerbie Matters

“While it’s impossible to prove such a conspiracy, it can now be proven that the Lockerbie fragment PT/35(b) did not originate from one of the timers supplied to Libya. Who exactly made it? We may never know.”

John Ashton — Megrahi: You Are My Jury 

Otto Hostettler is an investigative reporter for the Swiss magazine BEOBACHTER. He stumbled over the Lockerbie case when he investigated the unexplained Swissair-Crash from 1970 (Würenlingen).

According to his research, the perpetrators of that crime have been known for more than four decades. And yet, they never had to stand on trial. (One of them was a prime suspect in the early stage of the Lockerbie investigation.)

Otto Hostettler is a board member of the Swiss Association for Investigative Journalism INVESTIGATIV.CH (who is part of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, GNIJ) and a Co-founder of the association Lobbywatch.ch, a non-profit research-tool for journalists.

Many years ago, I stumbled on a serious anomaly. I noticed that the reference number of the quartz quoted in the MEBO invoices (as well as in the 1983 SARONIX catalogue) did NOT match the quartz mounted on the MST-13 from Togo.

As John Ashton wrote to me, this was seriously disturbing as it could have been a clue that the Togo timer itself was a forgery.

“You have hit upon a potential mystery, which I did not explore in the book, because, by the time Megrahi went home, we had not gained disclosure of the necessary material. The Togo timer and the two control samples provided by Mebo (DP/100 & DP/111) all contained 304 crystals, yet the ones ordered from Compona were 303.” [John Ashton. Email to the author dated 08/05/2012]

In early 2015, I decided to go straight to COMPONA AG and find out what they had to say.

Again, my good friend Otto volunteered to call the owner of the company, who has been leading the company since the 80’s

Otto asked about the difference between the quartz used in the Togo-timer and the one mentioned in both invoices of the quartz delivered to MEBO.

After looking at the 1985 catalogue, the owner of COMPONA, Urs Horat, confirmed that the quartz delivered to MEBO had  a  frequency of 4.194304 MHz. There could be no doubt about it.

Although they already relied on computer-made invoices in 1985, there was a mistake on both invoices because of an encoding error. That error was also printed in the SARONIX catalogue.

Again, this anecdote speaks volumes. How can it be that none of the CIA, FBI and RARDE experts ever noticed this anomaly?

REFERENCES

1) David Leppard — On the trail of terror, p 81

2) See : Chapter VI : A spectacular miscarriage of Justice

3) Neither Said Rashid nor Ezzadin Hinshiri can help us with the truth anymore. Both men have been killed.

Said Rashid — alleged to have been a former head of JSO’s operations section and a close friend of Gaddafi — was killed in a shoot-out with rebels in February 2011 following a speech by the dictator’s son, Saif Gaddafi.

Ezzadin Hinshiri —  a senior Libyan figure who became a top official and one of Gaddafi’s most loyal lieutenants — was killed along with 52 other regime supporters in an infamous massacre at a seafront hotel in Sirte in the final days of the uprising in April 2011.

4) In evidence, Astrid Thuring spoke to the order card relating to an order  that MEBO placed with Thuring on 13 August 1985 for 20 MST-13 circuit boards (CP 402, photograph 2-575).

She stated that, according to a delivery note (CP 319, image 1), Thuring supplied 24 such circuit boards on 16 August 1985.

In addition,  she spoke to the order card relating to an order that MEBO placed with Thuring on 8 October 1985 for 35 MST-13 circuit boards (CP 402, image 208).

According to a further delivery note (CP 400, image 1), Thuring supplied 34 such circuit boards on 5 November 1985. [SCCRC REPORT 20.28]

5) Richard Marquise — SCOTBOM

In August 1985, Said Fazani*, a high ranking official of the Libyan Jamahiriya Security Organization (JSO),  asked Bollier to design and build a small electronic timer for use by the military in their war with Chad.

A total of twenty were built by Lumpert, ten for use in a waterproof container (boxed) and ten which were free-standing (unboxed).

The first five were delivered by Bollier to Fazani* in Libya  in the late fall of 1985.

The second five were delivered by Bollier to an individual at the Libyan people’s Bureau in East Berlin around November 1985.

The last ten were delivered Hijazi*, a high-ranking Intelligence officer, in Tripoli [in late 1985/early 86].

6) Harrower produced DP/143 (prod 337), a schedule showing the laminate samples and suppliers.

7) Harrower later obtained a statement from French of the results of the analysis.

8) According to French’s HOLMES statement

9) According to the method used, the “etch profiles” will look quite different. A concave profile is indicative of an industrial etch machine production. A round profile is typical of DIY immersion method.

The expert consulted by the Lockerbie investigators on this issue — Dr. David Johnson from Manchester University — concluded  that: “The etch profile on the copper tracks and pad suggest that the circuit could have been home-made.” See:

Lockerbie 30th Anniversary — PT/35(b) : How was the Lockerbie Key Evidence Forged?

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Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter VIII : PT/35(b) — The Most Expensive Forgery in History]

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