Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Timer fragment "has emerged as a probable fake"

[On this date seven years ago, the first of the British media picked up the story of Ulrich Lumpert’s affidavit stating that the evidence that he had given at Camp Zeist about the MST-13 timer fragment had been false. The report in The Observer of 2 September 2007, as reproduced on this blog, reads as follows:]

The key piece of material evidence used by prosecutors to implicate Libya in the Lockerbie bombing has emerged as a probable fake.

Nearly two decades after Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Scotland on 21 December, 1988, allegations of international political intrigue and shoddy investigative work are being levelled at the British government, the FBI and the Scottish police as one of the crucial witnesses, Swiss engineer Ulrich Lumpert, has apparently confessed that he lied about the origins of a crucial 'timer' - evidence that helped tie the man convicted of the bombing to the crime. 

The disaster killed 270 people when the London to New York Boeing 747 exploded in mid-air. Britain and the US blamed Libya, saying that its leader, Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, wanted revenge for the US bombing of Tripoli in 1986. At a trial in the Netherlands in 2001, former Libyan agent Abdulbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for life. 

He is currently serving his sentence in Greenock prison, but later this month the Scottish Court of Appeal is expected to hear Megrahi's case, after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission ruled in June that there was enough evidence to suggest a miscarriage of justice. Lumpert's confession, which was given to police in his home city of Zurich last week, will strengthen Megrahi's appeal. 

The Zurich-based Swiss businessman Edwin Bollier, who has spent nearly two decades trying to clear his company's name, is as eager for the appeal as is Megrahi. Bollier's now bankrupt company, Mebo, manufactured the timer switch that prosecutors used to implicate Libya after they said that fragments of it had been found on a Scottish hillside. 

Bollier, now 70, admits having done business with Libya. 'Two years before Lockerbie, we sold 20 MST-13 timers to the Libyan military. FBI agents and the Scottish investigators said one of those timers had been used to detonate the bomb. We were shown a fuzzy photograph and I confirmed the fragments looked as though they came from one of our timers.' 

However, Bollier was uneasy with the photograph he had been shown and asked to see the fragments. He was finally given permission in 1998 and travelled to Dumfries to see the evidence. 

'I was shown fragments of a brown circuit board which matched our prototype. But when the MST-13 went into production, the timers contained green boards. I knew that the timers sold to Libya had green boards. I told the investigators this.' 

Back in Switzerland, Bollier's company was in effect bankrupt, having faced a lawsuit from Pan Am and having lost major clients, such as the German federal police to which Mebo supplied communications equipment. 

In 2001, Bollier spent five days in the witness box at the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands. 'I was a defence witness, but the trial was so skewed to prove Libyan involvement that the details of what I had to say was ignored. A photograph of the fragments was produced in court and I asked to see the pieces again. When they were brought to me, they were practically carbonised. They had been tampered with since I had seen them in Dumfries.' 

Few people apart from conspiracy theorists and investigative journalists working on the case were prepared to believe Bollier until the end of last month, when Lumpert, one of his former employees, walked into a Zurich police station and asked to swear an affidavit before a notary.

[The Lumpert affidavit saga can be followed on this blog by clicking here

We now also know, of course, that the fragment of circuit board produced at the Lockerbie trial did not come from a MEBO MST-13 timer: its tracking coating was pure tin, whereas the timers supplied by MEBO to Libya all had a tracking coating of a lead/tin alloy, as confirmed by the manufacturer, Thüring. Read more here.]


  1. Well if Mr Megrahi's Solicitor Tony Kelly commissioned two metallurgists Chris McArdle and Jess Crawley to refute claims that the lead content of the solder could have been burned off why did this evidence not feature in a proper submission to the SCCRC rather than being simply material for John Ashton's books and an accompanying Al-Jazeera documentary? Few if any of Ashton's other claims have ever panned out.

    This article concludes with the words that "we know of course that the fragment of circuit board produced at the Lockerbie trial did not come from a MERBO MST-13 timer." Why "of course"? The article refers to Herr Bollier describing the fragments actually shown to him as "practically carbonised".

    Like all evidence the claims of Herr Bollier and Herr Lumpert should not be taken at face value. Why did Lumpert decide to confess to perjury and the theft of a prototype timer and handing it over to some unspecified Lockerbie investigator on the 22nd June 1989?

    The fragment of timer was almost certainly photographed a month before Lumpert claims to have handed it overhanded it over. (photograph 117 of the 22/5/89).
    But then who was falling over themselves to implicate Libya shortly after the bombing? Perhaps the CIA were given some prototype of circuit board -but long before the 22nd June 1989!

    There is no credible evidence the fragment came from one of the 20 timers sold to Libya but was created (likely by the CIA) both to implicate Libya and to further implicate Libya vby giving some credibility to the claim the primary suitcase arrived on flight PA103A. We do not know how the IED was detonated or indeed that it was contained within a radio-cassette recorder. As I have proven there is no credible evidence Dr Hayes discovered PT 35(b) or PT/2 in a piece of Slalom shirt on the 12th May 1989. Pity neither Mr Kelly or Mr Ashton ever noticed this. They might have got somewhere.

  2. The application to the SCCRC was submitted in September 2003. Tony Kelly became Megrahi's solicitor in August 2005.

    Baz, we all know by now that you are the only person who has ever got anything right about the whole Lockerbie affair. Just give it a rest, please.

  3. So Mr Kelly commissioned these two metallurgists for research for Mr Ashton's book?

    Well I am sorry you have taken this attitude. To be honest I regard you as largely responsible for Megrahi's actual conviction (through the design of the Micky Mouse tribunal that actually convicted him) but then I regard Justice for Megrahi as an oxymoron.

    Still you are probably right - I really should take notice of Matthew 7.6.

  4. He commissioned the experts for the appeal that the SCCRC allowed in 2007.

    The above is your last comment on this blog, baz. Find another platform for your bitterness and bile.