The Chronology of PT/35(b): 14 February 1990

14 February 1990

Removal of 2nd sample – DP/11 (Crown label n°.415) – strip above “1” – laminate test

Williamson and Harrower attended at New England Laminates, Skelmersdale, and
met George Wheadon again, to allow him to examine PT/35(b) thoroughly in lab
conditions. DP/11, a cross section sample, was removed from PT/35(b) and was set
in a potting compound to allow it to be viewed microscopically in cross-section. Paul
Boyle (S5577), laboratory manager, cut DP/11 fiom PT/35(b) (in his evidence
Wheadon confirmed that he had signed the label for DP/11). According to Boyle’s
defence precognition the cut was done in front of the officers using a low speed saw,
and he also describes in detail the process of setting the sample in the potting agent
and grinding and polishing it down to get a clear image. Wheadon and Boyle
confirmed the fragment was nine layers of glass cloth, with solder mask on the
underside but they could not be sure if it was a double-sided board [i.e. if it had
tracking on both sides] (although in his CP dated 4/8/99 Wheadon says he thought it
probably was double-sided, based on the presence of solder mask on the underside
and that most material produced at the time was double-sided). They said it was from
an “FRY type board (fire retardant value) of standard thickness (1.6mm) including
the copper cladding and the glass cloth was American designation 7628, which was
very common. The copper tracks were plated with what appeared to be tin lead.

Wheadon took Polaroid photos of DP/11, the first photo showing the top layer of tin
lead, the second layer of copper foil and the remaining nine layers of glass cloth; the
second photo showing a close up of the tin lead and copper foil, and the third showing
the middle line solder mask. These photos were given the designation DP/19 (prod
339, the police label for which was filled out and signed by Harrower, according to
his ch10 CP; according to Wheadon’s CP dated 4/8/99 and Boyle’s CP dated 2/3/00,
they signed the label for DP/19; in evidence Wheadon said he thought Boyle had
taken the photos, although other indications are that it was Wheadon). (In his
defence precognition Boyle examined the photos in DP/19 and said that “Middle-Line
Solder Mask” meant nothing to him at that time and the quality of the photo did not
help him, although as he signed the label he thought it must have meant something to
him at the time.)

DP/19

DP/19

According to Wheadon’s defence precognition and evidence, 9 layers of cloth was
unusual in that the industry standard at the time was 8 layers, and he thought a
company, Piad in Italy still used 9 layers, but other manufacturers might have
remaining stocks of 9 layers. (This seems roughly consistent with Williamson’s
memory, as recorded in his ch 10 CPs, except that Williamson thought Wheadon said
these things after the initial meeting on 26 January (above). Likewise Wheadon’s
own CP dated 4/8/99 seems to suggest he said these things after the initial meeting.)
Williamson’s ch 10 CPs record only that it was established by Wheadon after the
examination of DP/11 that the copper was standard one ounce weight.

One thing of note in Paul Boyle’s CP dated 2/3/00 is that he states that a few weeks
after this visit, the police returned with DP/11 and it was clear that the sample had
been examined by someone else. It had been altered, the potting compound had been
further ground down and the sample was now sitting at a 90 degree angle. He
examined the sample in its new state and saw nothing which altered his previous
conclusion. He stated a similar thing in his defence precognition, stating that whoever
had altered DP/l l must have known what they were doing and would have been an
expert. The Commission has seen no record anywhere else of the police returning to
New England Laminates. However, it appears that they must have done so, given
Boyle’s very specific recollection of the changes to DP/11. The changes he describes
appear consistent with what Allan Worroll of Ferranti did to DP/11 on 11 April 1990
(see under that date, below), indicating that the return visit to New England Laminates
must have been some time after that.

[Re DP/11, note that Feraday sent a memo to the SIO on 8 July 1991 (see under that
date, below for more details on this) suggesting that he did not think DP/11 originated
from PT/35(b).] NB Note also that Boyle’s signature appears on the label for DP/11
although it is difficult to identify Wheadon’s in the labels for DP/11 and PT/35(b) and
Boyle’s signature in the PT/35(b) label.

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4 Responses to The Chronology of PT/35(b): 14 February 1990

  1. Craig says:

    Thank you for the continued work and information contained within the blog, updates and the informative and interesting information on Diary of Vengeance Foretold website.
    Must be a significant amount of work and time to complete many tasks, very much appreciated, thank you.

    I’m a bit unsure about two issues within latest update;
    1. Is there a date / time log of the fragment known as PT35b being handed over from RARDE to the police. I appreciate there are memo’s etc about photographs but not sure when the fragment was actually released from RARDE and handed over to Scottish police control.

    2. The term “potting” and/or “potting compound”. I looked on the web and is this some kind of gelatine or non-destructive polyurethane substance and process?
    Would this procedure involve some kind of container even to just complete the initial mould?

    There is another reason with regard to the noted “potting” procedure;
    https://pt35b.wordpress.com/pt35b-2/the-senegal-timer/cia-cables/cia-cable-07031988/
    CIA Senegal cable 07/03/1988;
    Paragraph 2 –
    “A MORE DETAILED STUDY OF THE TIMING DEVICE INTERNAL MECHANISM COULD NOT BE CONDUCTED WITHOUT DESTROYING THE “POTTING” AROUND THE ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS. [“”emphasis added]
    AN ATTEMPT TO X-RAY THE TIMER WITH THE ANTIQUATED [REDACTED] MINOX SYSTEM PROVED UNSUCCESSFUL.
    S/2 HAS PROMISED ACCESS TO THE TIMER AFTER THE TRIAL AND APPEAL PROCESS HAS BEEN COMPLETED”.

    From the CIA cables, the aforementioned cable is the sole CIA Senegal inspection of a timer but clearly raises a number of questions about further statements made by the CIA photography & technical team, Warren Clemens et al;

    https://pt35b.wordpress.com/pt35b-2/the-senegal-timer/cia-agents/warren-clemens/ – Precognition 16/09/1999, Page 2 – “My partner and I were concerned that the device itself might be wired with explosives behind the face plate of the timer. Therefore, I took the screws out of the face plate of the timer – I had the “guts” in one hand – everything came out on the board – and was getting ready to photograph them when the Senegalese became unhappy. I was never able to get a picture of the circuitry on the inside of the timer.”

    I can’t understand how an electronic device components which are noted as “potted” and attempt to x-ray the item for this reason then somehow changes to apparently being easily accessible with the screw fixings being removed and “the guts” available for view.
    Whatever is being described by Clemens from this cable note was not possible in Senegal, possibly back at CIA HQ either Senegal or US.
    Also, I’m surprised Warren Clemens as a trained commercial photographer & CIA technical representative attended and flew to Senegal, West Africa with a colleague on a pre arranged technical & photography analysis and inspection with another CIA Senegal station officer present [Steiner], these folks could not get a photograph of the inner components due to a Senegalese officer being “unhappy”.
    Frankly, that explanation is bordering on the ridiculous and is also contradicted by Steiner who states the Senegalese were ok with any inspection as long as nothing was broken.

    There is one CIA cable missing, Ref: 50553 which is continually referred but not available or shown.

    CIA cable 07/03/188 [1]
    https://pt35b.wordpress.com/pt35b-2/the-senegal-timer/cia-cables/cia-cable-07031988-1st/
    This CIA cable confirms the inspection analysis was completed on 5th March 1988.
    I believe this cable was necessary as the following CIA cable could be erroneously noted as inspection on the 7th March as the cable is dated and sent on this day 07/03/1988;
    CIA Cable 7/03/1988 [2]
    https://pt35b.wordpress.com/pt35b-2/the-senegal-timer/cia-cables/cia-cable-07031988/

    https://pt35b.wordpress.com/pt35b-2/the-senegal-timer/cia-cables/cia-cable-05031988/
    This leaves one piece of info which I think has been noted incorrectly as a CIA cable 05/03/1988, I don’t think this has been helped by Warren Clemens stating in precognition that this was a cable sent on that day from Senegal although there is comment about the first page being different etc.
    Firstly, it is not in the form of a cable and does not carry the usual date and time stamp. The first part notes specific reporting regions the information is applicable to.
    It notes DOI – Date of Inspection as early March, if this was a cable of a specific day this would note the date.

    This information is noted as – “TERRORISM: PRELIMINARY TECHNICAL ANALYSIS OF CAPTURED LIBYAN ELECTRONIC FIRING DEVICES, DEMOLITION MATERIALS, AND WEAPONS”
    I think the wording of this is as a report but the ‘preliminary’ aspect could not be the 5th March inspection, it seems it is based on prior completion of technical analysis by CIA HQ technical ops similar to the likes of Scott Orkin technical folks where items are fully dismantled [or built] and a full technical report is subsequently completed and issued.

    At the very last page of this ‘preliminary’ technical analysis of captured Libyan electronic firing devices, demolition materials, and weapons which from the cables we know where inspected on 5th March 1988.

    ‘ACQ: [redacted] (5 MARCH 1988)’
    Could the ACQ mean the timer was acquired 5th March 1988?
    https://pt35b.wordpress.com/pt35b-2/the-senegal-timer/cia-cables/cia-cable-05031988/

    The issue is this CIA cable of 14/03/1988
    https://pt35b.wordpress.com/pt35b-2/the-senegal-timer/cia-cables/cia-cable-14031988/
    CIA Warren Clemens stated in precognition, when the items were inspected his [nameless] colleague took notes which on the sending of the [7th March] cable all the notes were destroyed but Warren Clemens contradicts this with regard to the cable ID numbers –
    “After leaving the Senegalese installation, we returned to the office and reported the results of the examination of the seized items in cable 50553.”

    We are then led to believe that the preliminary technical report is cable 50553, this is not correct and it does seem Warren Clemens has mislead or erroneously noted this to the precognition investigative staff as cable 50553.

    The wider issues are at least twofold – Clemens stated the inspection and examination notes were destroyed on sending of the cable [7th March 1988], it can’t be the noted preliminary report because this is not cable 50553.
    How on earth could there be a much later preliminary technical report issued and completed without either the examination notes and the timer itself ?

    A preliminary technical report is of course prior to a full technical report, one would not word a document ‘preliminary’ if it was known a full technical report would not be forthcoming.
    If one reads the information contained within CIA cable 7th March [2] of the actual inspection, the cable which is noted as 5th March but is actually a preliminary technical report of a much later date, the report document noted as 5th March cable, due to its content could not be issued before the 7th March cable [2].
    The information contained within these noted cables is back to front.

    Therefore, the ‘preliminary’ technical report which can only be of a much later date could only be completed with the timer being present as the notes have been destroyed, subsequently this document has been crowbarred into and essentially back dated to appear as the 5th March 1988.

    Like

    • Ludwig says:

      Question 1.

      See Chronology of PT35B for 25 January 1990 ( https://pt35b.wordpress.com/chronology-pt35b/ )

      Harrower (S929AC) collected PT/35(b) from Goulding (RARDE police liaison officer) at Heathrow airport. This is confirmed by a RARDE note (a copy of which was obtained from the Dstl files) which appears to be in Goulding’s handwriting and appears to be signed by Harrower, which simply records that the signatory received production PT/35; and also by McManus’s movement records (DP/29), and the production logs, which record 25/1/90 as the first date PT/35 was received back from RARDE; and RARDE’s formal records of movements (obtained from Dstl). In Williamson’s ch 10 CP dated 6&7/6/90 he states that his recollection was that he and Harrower both collected the fragment from Goulding at Heathrow. There is no mention in Williamson’s HOLMES statement of him having done this, nor is there mention in Harrower’s HOLMES statement or his ch10 Crown CP that Williamson was present.

      Like

      • Morag says:

        25th January 1990. That was the date I was after. No particular reason, just wanted to know.

        Well, I suppose there is a reason. This date is possibly the first incontrovertible record of the fragment being in actual physical existence. I can’t see a fictional handover of a non-existent piece of evidence being fabricated, and the amount of activity generated by the Scottish police after receiving the item indicates it was really there.

        Like

    • Ludwig says:

      “There is one CIA cable missing, Ref: 50553 which is continually referred but not available or shown.”

      OK. This is the cable from 05/03/1988
      see https://pt35b.wordpress.com/cia-cable-05031988/
      it was filed and sent on 07/03/1988.

      I hope this helps… Best

      Like

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