[This is the headline over a long article by Dr Ludwig de Braeckeleer that was published on the Global Research website on this date in 2007. The whole article is well worth reading. The following are excerpts from six of its fourteen sections:]
The Lockerbie Affair has taken yet another extraordinary twist. On Friday, August 31st, I received from Edwin Bollier, head of the Zurich-based MeBo AG, a copy of a German original of an Affidavit.
The document is dated July 18th 2007 and signed by Ulrich Lumpert who worked as an electronic engineer at MeBo from 1978 to 1994. I have scrutinized the document carefully and concluded that I have no reason to doubt its authenticity or the truthfulness of its content.
Lumpert was a key witness (no 550) at the Camp Zeist trial, where a three Judges panel convicted a Libyan citizen of murdering 270 persons who died in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.
In his testimony, Lumpert stated that: “of the 3 pieces of hand-made prototypes MST-13 Timer PC-Boards, the third MST-13 PC-Board was broken and [he] had thrown it away.”
In his affidavit, certified by [notary] Walter Wieland, Lumpert admits having committed perjury.
“I confirm today on July 18th 2007, that I stole the third hand-manufactured MST-13 Timer PC-Board consisting of 8 layers of fibre-glass from MEBO Ltd. and gave it without permission on June 22nd 1989 to a person officially investigating in the Lockerbie case,” Lumpert wrote. (The identity of the official is known.)
“It did not escape me that the MST-13 fragment shown [at the Lockerbie trial] on the police photograph No PT/35(b) came from the non-operational MST-13 prototype PC-board that I had stolen,” Lumpert added.
“I am sorry for the consequences of my silence at that time, for the innocent Libyan Mr. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi sentenced to life imprisonment, and for the country of Libya.”
In just seven paragraphs, the Lumpert affidavit elucidates the longstanding mysteries surrounding the infamous MST-13 timer, which allegedly triggered the bomb that exploded Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie on December 21st 1988.
The discovery of the MST-13 timer fragment
In the months following the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, someone discovered a piece of a grey Slalom-brand shirt in a wooded area located about 25 miles away from the town. According to a forensics expert, the cloth contained a tiny fragment – 4 mm square – of a circuit board. The testimony of three expert witnesses allowed the prosecutors to link this circuit board, described as part of the bomb trigger, to Megrahi.
There have been different accounts concerning the discovery of the timer fragment. A police source close to the investigation reported that it had been discovered by lovers. Some have said that it was picked up by a man walking his dog. Others have claimed that it was found by a policeman “combing the ground on his hands and knees.”
At the trial, the third explanation became official. “On 13 January 1989, DC Gilchrist and DC McColm were engaged together in line searches in an area near Newcastleton. A piece of charred material was found by them which was given the police number PI/995 and which subsequently became label 168.”
The alteration of the label
The officer had initially labelled the bag ‘cloth (charred)’ but had later overwritten the word ‘cloth’ with ‘debris’.
The bag contained pieces of a shirt collar and fragments of materials said to have been extracted from it, including the tiny piece of circuit board identified as coming from an MST-13 timer made by the Swiss firm MeBo.
“The original inscription on the label, which we are satisfied, was written by DC Gilchrist, was “Cloth (charred)”. The word ‘cloth’ has been overwritten by the word ‘debris’. There was no satisfactory explanation as to why this was done.”
The judges said in their judgement that Gilchrist’s evidence had been “at worst evasive and at best confusing”.
Yet the judges went on to admit the evidence. “We are, however, satisfied that this item was indeed found in the area described, and DC McColm who corroborated DC Gilchrist on the finding of the item was not cross-examined about the detail of the finding of this item.” (...)
The new page 51
According to documents obtained by Scotland on Sunday, the entry of the discovery is recorded at widely different times by UK and German investigators. Moreover, a new page 51 has been inserted in the record of evidence.
During the Lockerbie investigation, Dr Thomas Hayes and Allan Feraday were working at the DERA Forensic laboratory at Fort Halstead in Kent.
Dr Hayes was employed at the Royal Armament Research Development Establishment (RARDE). In 1995, RARDE was subsumed into the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA). In 2001, part of DERA became the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
Dr Hayes testified that he collected the tiny fragment of the circuit board on May 12th 1989. He testified that the fragment was green. (Keep in mind that the board stolen from Lumpert is brown.) His colleague, Allan Feraday, confirmed his story at the Zeist trial.
The record is inserted on a loose-leaf page with the five subsequent pages re-numbered by hand. Dr Hayes could not provide a reasonable explanation for this rather strange entry, and yet the Judges concluded that: “Pagination was of no materiality, because each item that was examined had the date of examination incorporated into the notes.”
The argument of the Court is illogical as the index number Dr Hayes gave to the piece is higher than some entry he made three months later.
And there is more. In September 1989, Feraday sent a Polaroid photograph of the piece and wrote in the attached memorandum that it was “the best he could do in such short time.” So, are we supposed to believe that it takes forensic experts several months to take a Polaroid picture?
Dr Hayes could not explain this. He merely suggested that the person to ask about it would be the author of the memorandum, Mr Feraday.
This however was not done. At the young age of 43, Hayes resigned just a few months after the discovery of the timer fragment.
Based on the forensic Dr Hayes had supplied, an entire family [The Maguire Seven] was sent to jail in 1976. They were acquitted in appeal in 1992. Sir John May was appointed to review Dr Hayes forensic evidence.
“The whole scientific basis on which the prosecution in [the trial of the alleged IRA Maguire Seven] was founded was in truth so vitiated that on this basis alone, the Court of Appeal should be invited to set aside the conviction,” said Sir John May.
In the Megrahi’s case, Dr Hayes did not even perform the basic test which would have established the presence of explosive residue on the sample. During the trial, he maintained that the fragment was too small while it is factually established that his laboratory has performed such test on smaller samples.
Had he performed such test, no residue would have been found. As noted by Lumpert, the fragment shown at the Zeist trial belongs to a timer that was never connected to a relay. In other words, that timer never triggered a bomb.
Allan Feraday’s reputation is hardly better. In three separated cases,where men were convicted on the basis of his forensic evidence, the initial ruling was overturned in appeal.
After one of these cases in 2005, a Lord of Justice said that Feraday should not be allowed to present himself as an expert in the field of electronics.
According to forensic scientist, Dr Michael Scott, who was interviewed in the documentary The Maltese Double Cross – Lockerbie, Feraday has no formal qualifications as a scientist.
The identification of the MeBo timer
Thomas Thurman worked for the FBI forensics laboratory in the late 80’s and most of the 90’s. Thurman has been publicly credited for identifying the fragment as part of a MST-13 timer produced by the Swiss company Mebo.
“When that identification was made, of the timer, I knew that we had it,” Thurman told ABC in 1991. “Absolute, positively euphoria. I was on cloud nine.”
Again, his record is far from pristine. The US attorney General has accused him of having altered lab reports in a way that rendered subsequent prosecutions all but impossible. He has been transferred out the FBI forensic laboratory.
“He’s very aggressive, but I think he made some mistakes that needed to be brought to the attention of FBI management,” says Frederic Whitehurst, a former FBI chemist who filed the complaints that led to the Inspector General’s report.
“We’re not necessarily going to get the truth out of what we’re doing here,” Whitehurst concluded.
The story shed some light on his formation. The report says “Williams and Thurman merit special censure for their work. It recommends that Thurman, who has a degree in political science, be reassigned outside the lab and that only scientists work in its explosives section.” (...)
The modification of the MST-13 timer fragment
Forensic analysis of the circuit board fragment allowed the investigators to identify its origin. The timer, known as MST-13, is fabricated by a Swiss Company named MeBo, which stands for Meister and Bollier.
The company has indeed sold about 20 MST-13 timers to Libyan military (machine-made 9 ply green boards), as well as a few units (hand-made 8 ply brown boards) to a Research Institute in Bernau, known to act as a front to the Stasi, the former East German secret police.
The two batches are very different but, as early as 1991, Bollier told the Scottish investigators that he could not identify the timer from a photograph alone. Yet, the Libyans were indicted in November 1991, without ever allowing Bollier to see the actual fragment, on the ground that the integrity of the evidence had to be protected.
But in 1998, Bollier obtained a copy of a blown-up photograph that Thurman had shown on ABC in 1991. Bollier could tell from certain characteristics that the fragment was part of a board of the timers made for East Germany, and definitely not one of the timers delivered by him to Libya.
In September 1999, Bollier was finally allowed to see the fragment. Unlike the one shown by Thurman on ABC, this one was machine-made, as the one sold to Libya. But, from the absence of traces of solder, it was obvious that the timer had never been used to trigger a bomb.
“As far as I’m concerned, and I told this to [Scottish Prosecutor Miriam Watson], this is a manufactured fragment,” Bollier says. “A fabricated fragment, never from a complete, functional timer.”
The next day, Bollier was shown the fragment once more. You may have already guessed that it now had the soldering traces. “It was different. I’m not crazy. It was different!” says Bollier.
Finally, at the trial, Bollier was presented a fragment of a circuit board completely burnt down. Thus, it was no longer possible to identify to which country that timer had been delivered. As he requested to explain the significance of the issue, Lord Shuterland told him that his request was denied.
How did the Judges account for all the mysterious changes in the appearance of the fragment? They simply dismissed Bollier as an unreliable witness.
“We have assessed carefully the evidence of these three witnesses about the activities of MEBO, and in particular their evidence relating to the MST-13 timers which the company made. All three, and notably Mr Bollier, were shown to be unreliable witnesses. Earlier statements which they made to the police and judicial authorities were at times in conflict with each other, and with the evidence they gave in court. On some occasions, particularly in the case of Mr Bollier, their evidence was self contradictory.” (para 45)