Monday, 24 April 2017

Can you believe it?

[What follows is Dr Jim Swire’s account of the showing of Gideon Levy’s Lockerbie Revisited in the Scottish Parliament the previous evening:]

I saw the film last night in the Scottish Parliament. Lord Fraser, Stuart Henderson, Richard Marquise, Fred Whitehurst, Tom Thurman, Prof Hans Koechler and Robert Baer all made contributions in it.

The subject was the famous 'timer circuit board fragment', called PT35B in the court records.

There was evidence of widespread confusion over what was supposed to have been the way in which PT35B was handled, some claimed it had been to the USA others that it had not. The impression was that at least some of these were trying to contribute to a story the truth of which they did not want us to know.

Their stories could not all be true, for they differ widely.

'Oh what a complex web we weave when first we practice to deceive'

For me Robert Baer of the CIA was the most significant. His view was basically that of course it was a Iranian/Syrian job, but that even the USA (and therefore the UK) could not confront Iran militarily over it. That would, without question, have been to strangle the straits of Hormuz and therefore US oil supplies for a start. That sounds common sense to me.

The interviewer of these men was Gideon Levy himself [the film-maker], who showed great skill in extracting a maximum of information from them.

There was one criticism and that was that the film did show the famous picture of a tiny piece of circuit board on someone's finger tip. This is a picture of a shattered piece from a domestic cct board such as a tape recorder. It carried the codes of the former components printed in white on the fragment which appeared to have been of 'Paxolin' (mid brown) and bore no resemblance to a piece of fibre-glass board.

Use of this image will cause some confusion and allow the critics to get their knives in.

Otherwise it gave excellent support to the idea that the PT35B fragment has a very suspicious history, lacking the confirmed freedom from interference required of any significant item of 'evidence' for use in a murder trial.

I was able to point out at the end that PT35B also appeared to be something that could hardly have survived such close proximity to the Semtex charge, and that at least two independent explosives firms have confirmed this. Also that its police evidence bag had had its label interfered with, while its entry into the UK forensic report appeared to have been a hasty afterthought, requiring renumbering of the subsequent pages.

There is also said to be evidence that PT35B was never tested prior to the trial, for explosives residues, but that this has now been done and shown no trace of such residues.

Incredibly one contributor to the film claimed that the failure to do this was 'for reasons of economy'. Can you believe it? PT35B was only the most important forensic item in the entire 'evidence' armoury.

1 comment:

  1. Ann important point apparently not covered by the film is the gross negligence or perjury of forensic witness Allan Feraday.

    He had compared PT35(b) with control samples from MST13 timer circuit boards similar to those supplied to Libya in 1985 by MEBO.

    He told the trial judges: "the fragment materials and tracking pattern are similar in all respects" to that of the MST13 timer. But the defence and judges were unaware that in his forensic notebook were hand-written comments that the two items were metallurgically different.