The Chronology of PT/35(b): 9 March 1990

9 March 1990

Removal of 5th sample – DP/16 (Crown label n°418) – solder mask scraping – solder mask test)

Williamson and Harrower visited Morton International Dynachem Limited in
Warrington, after previous telephone contact (according to Robert Linsdell’s
statement S5585). The company produced chemicals and solder masks used in the
PCB industry. They met Robert Linsdell (S5585) (it is wrongly spelt Linsdale in
some HOLMES statements), technical manager, who agreed to analyse the solder
mask on PT/35(b). A senior analyst, Steven Rawlings (S5581) removed a solder
mask scraping, designated DP/16, from the side of the fragment which did not have
the copper tracks and land, and a spectra printout, DP/17 (prod 341, the police label
for which Harrower confirmed in his CP was completed and signed by him) was
obtained after analysis on an infrared spectrometer.

DP17-L

According to Linsdell’s statement he compared this with a sample two-part epoxy and
a dry film solder, and concluded that PT/35(b) had a green coloured two-part epoxy solder
mask applied during manufacture. The normal way of applying this was by screen printing
and, once on, it could not be discerned who manufactured the solder mask.

Two part epoxy solder mask was the most common. Linsdell also microscopically examined PT/35(b) and DP/11 and concluded that, on the opposite side from the copper tracks, there was evidence of copper having been scraped away, indicating that originally the board had been double-sided (i.e. copper tracks on both sides) and that solder mask had been applied to the side of the fragment without the copper tracks on it. Rawlings’ defence precognition gives more details about the tests carried out.

In Rawlings’ ch10 CP he stated that he could no longer remember for sure whether
the solder mask was on one or both sides of the fragment, but he thought it most likely
that there was solder mask on only one side as he only took one scraping. He also
stated that he would be unable to say in court for certain that the solder mask coating
on PT/35(b) was not acrylete based as it was theoretically possible that, in the event of
exposure to high temperatures, the acrylete could have decomposed leaving other
materials which suggest that it was epoxy based, as acryletes burn off at much lower
temperature than other components of solder mask. He stated that this was only a
theory, and he had not conducted any tests. He gave evidence and confirmed that the
solder mask on the fragment was consistent with epoxy solder mask, and was not
acrylate-based solder mask so was not produced by his company, Morton. He made
no mention of the doubts he expressed in the CP. He confirmed in evidence that he
signed the label for DP/16.

According to Williamson’s ch 10 CP dated 17/11/99, both Linsdell and Rawlings
concluded that the sample DP/16 was a “standard sample” and they were of the strong
opinion that the solder mask had been applied to only one side of the fragment of
circuit board.

According to Linsdell’s ch10 CP the police were interested in distinguishing the
fragment fiom a Toshiba radio board. Linsdell’s CP states that radio cassettes are
mass-produced, constructed from cheap materials and a simple design, and the
fragment was clearly different as the material was not cheap, being a professional
base substrate widely available in the circuit board market.

It is unclear why there would be any need to distinguish the fragment from a Toshiba
circuit board. In Williamson’s memo to Henderson of 16 March 1990 he recites the
history of PT/35’s discovery and specifically states that the circuit board that
controlled the Toshiba SF16 RCR was constructed of Phenolic paper, whereas
PT/35(b) was made of fibreglass laminate, so though closely involved with the debris from the RCR, it was not part of the RCR. That conclusion is also clear from various other sources e.g. RARDE report.

Linsdell’s CP states that the officers also wanted to know if the fragment was
commercially or domestically manufactured, and Linsdell felt that domestically no
solder mask would be placed on either side and the curved edge had been
professionally routed to fit a specific container, and such a neat finish would not have
been possible if they hand cut the corner, as it was very neat and strongly suggested a
machine had been used in the process. He felt the design was constructed in a
professional shop but the design was not suitable for mass production, rather would be
used to construct 20-30 samples. [This all seems accurate when compared to the set
up at MEBO and the no. of timers they produced, but there is no record of these
opinions in Linsdell’s HOLMES statements.] He explained that Rawlings was the
expert analyst and he was not qualified to speak to the analysis carried out on DP/16.

He confirmed he had signed the label for this sample. Note however that according
to the statement of Rolf Buwert S4649U, he arranged for Linsdell to sign the label for
DP/16 on 14 January 1992.1 He could not recall examining DP/11 by microscope but
accepted that if his police statement said this, it was likely to be more accurate than
his recollection. He was asked why a board manufacturer would put solder mask on
the non-track side of a board and not the track side, and he accepted that this would be
unusual, suggesting that the solder mask gives the board a more professional look so
if the non-track side is exposed to view, that might be the reason. As noted below
(see under 17 May), at CP Linsdell was shown DP/141, Williamson’s report on the
fragment, and saw nothing wrong with the terms of it, despite it saying that the board
was solder masked on both sides, whereas Lmsdell at CP stated that it only had solder
mask on the non-track side. At the end of the CP there is another PF’s note which
indicates that the police statements overstated Linsdell’s role in the examination and
that he was not qualified to speak to the tests, which were done by Rawlings. Only
Rawlings gave evidence, Linsdell did not.

NB Linsdell examined the fragment again on 14 June 1990 at the PCB industry
convention at the SECC (below).

NB Linsdell and Rawlings were also seen by police in 1992 and asked to examine a
control sample MST-13 circuit board – see 2 March 1992 below. NB The signatures
of Linsdell and Rawlings are visible on the label for DP/16. As stated below, it seems
that Buwert arranged for Linsdell to sign the label “late”, on 14 January 1992. There
is no indication that Rawlings signed the label later, and the position of his signature
might indicate that he did not sign it late. The signatures of both do not appear to be
on the label for PT/35(b).

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2 Responses to The Chronology of PT/35(b): 9 March 1990

  1. Craig says:

    Thank you for continued updates.

    The matter of the Scottish police hawking around the now cut fragment PT35b at SECC, 14th June 1990.
    http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/eb046113
    “Printed Circuit World Convention which took place at the Forum Hotel and Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, Glasgow, from 12–15 June 1990”

    15th June 1990 – Thomas Thurman confirms identification of PT35b.
    https://pt35b.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/36-fbi-report-dated-20-august-1990.pdf
    Thomas Thurman FBI report of 20th August 1990;

    “……….were purchased by an unidentified individual, on or about December 7, 1988 at Mary’s House, Sliema, Malta. Mary’s House in Sliema, Malta”

    Keep in mind the date – 20th August 1990 – of Thomas Thurman report.

    Furthermore;
    “Personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Explosives Unit discovered a similarity between the circuit board fragment (PT 35) and a printed circuit board, which is a component part of an electronic timer recovered In Africa in September, 1986 (now referred as specimen K-l).

    On June 22, 1990, a side by side comparison of specimen K-l and PT 35, resulted in a positive identification of PT 35, as being similar to specimen K-l.”

    https://pt35b.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/35-thomas-thurman-pre-trial-defence-precognition-undated.pdf
    When one reads Thomas Thurman precognition alongside other info such as his initial finding of pitted material, his and other colleagues presence at crash site, Longtown, Dextar, Indian Head tests, Marwan Kressat interview, PT 35b ID, 7th December 1988 clothes purchase etc etc

    Has anyone ever mapped the involvement and presence of this individual at numerous significant junctures of this whole enquiry ?
    I find it astonishing that one individual appears to be instringently involved from the very beginning in so many crucial areas but also states at precognition that they were never really involved and more or less a bystander.

    The following are two [2] matters of CIA / FBI investigative collusion which were omitted, not impartially dealt with, shared or ever investigated.
    Effectively CIA / FBI were acting as one investigative force, this is a wholesale contradiction of the Crown Advocate whom stated at trial, CIA were a non law enforcement agency and were not investigating or charged with investigating this matter.
    On that proviso, the Crown Advocate stated their information cannot be requested, fully provided and/or shared.

    http://www.paperlessarchives.com/FreeTitles/PanAmFlight103CIAFiles.pdf
    “255 pages of CIA files related to the Pan Am Flight 103, Lockerbie Bombing. The files date from 1984 to 1999. This set of files is unique because it includes memos on the direct handling of an intelligence source. This type of information is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and is not often released by the Agency.”

    Trial Transcript – Page 1505 on PDF
    Gauci interview and statement at Maltese police station, 14th September 1989;
    This was the initial attempt at identification of various clothing.
    “There was four officers present in the room (Detective Chief Inspector Bell, Inspector Scicluna, Kok, Tepp, and SA Bolcar.”

    Note – Unless Gauci is excluding one party, there are actually five [5] law enforcement officers present which could appear overboard & intimidatory.
    Maltese, Scottish, German and American investigators were present.

    Then matters get interesting –
    From the PDF available CIA Cables: Page 197
    1/9/1989 [same date DCI Bell & others interview Gauci for the first time]

    The following request is put to the CIA Malta station;

    1 WOULD APPRECIATE STATION QUERYING (P/I) ABOUT THE FOLLOWING:
    A. WHAT HAS P/1 LEARNED FROM LIBYAN INTEL CIRCLES REGARDING PAN AM 103?
    B. WHAT ARE LIBYAN OFFICIALS SAYING ABOUT THE INCIDENT?
    C. IS P/1 AWARE OF THE USE OF MALTA AS A STAGING AREA FOR RADICAL PALESTINIANS?
    D. DOES P/1 KNOW AN ABU TALEB FROM SWEDEN?
    E. IS P/1 AWARE OF ANY RADICAL PALESTINIAN ACTIVITY IN DENMARK OR SWEDEN?

    Obviously FBI are aware of a Libyan asset [?] in Malta regardless of how much of a fantasist the individual turned out to be.
    The basis being on the 1st of September 1989 as noted above, someone forwarded those questions to the CIA station, Malta.
    It can’t be CIA HQ asking station because according to Crown Advocate, the CIA are not investigators or investigating this matter.

    Forward to CIA cable 20/9/1989
    From the PDF available CIA Cables: Page 206
    SUBJECT: REPORTING ON PAN AM 103
    1. ACTION REQUIRED: NONE, FYI.

    2. AT 19 SEP MEETING [REDACTED] COULD NOT IDENTIFY INDIVIDUAL WHO PURCHASED CLOTHING FOUND IN SUSPECT SUITCASE ABOARD PAN AM 103 FROM EITHER [REDACTED] SKETCH OR FROM [REDACTED] COMPUTER IMAGE.

    P/1 PLANS TO REMAIN IN MALTA AN ADDITIONAL 20 DAYS AND WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR FURTHER TASKING AS REQUIRED.
    NEXT MEETING SCHEDULED FOR 29 SEP.

    When one references the trial transcript as noted PDF page 1505;
    FBI Bolcar was present at both the sketch and computer image of 14th September 1989 and here we have the CIA presenting both these same ID formats to Gaika just six [6] days later.
    Obviously FBI/CIA sharing of information and collusion.
    Amazingly, Gaika [who of course knows Abdelbaset al-Megrahi does not recognise Megrahi of the two [2] photo fits presented.

    Here you have from September 1989, two [2] sources – Gauci & Gaika both do not accept the photo fit and computer image resembles Megrahi.

    Lets rewind to CIA cable 22/12/1988
    From the PDF available CIA Cables: Pages 126 / 127
    Incredulously, the day after the downing of Pan Am 103, CIA cable noted Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and the 7th December 1988.
    This one [1] day crime solving circumstance has got to be unprecedented in modern day intelligence gathering and/or policing.

    Knowing what we know now about CIA cables – Who provided the information in this cable ?
    The last meeting with CIA informant Gaika was 5th December 1988 with a next meeting planned in January 1989.
    Gaika was already known to be a complete idiot there was no notes of following folks to the Holiday Inn etc and then reporting back.

    From the CIA cable of 22/12/1988 it is clear there was surveillance going on in Malta which also noted Abdelbaset al-Megrahi arrival and presence 7/12/1988, including staying at the Holiday Inn and subsequent onward travel.
    One flight date was noted wrongly but my point is someone was watching from at least 7/12/1988 and someone had been instructed to watch.
    Also appears on the basis of ridiculous information of 8-10 kgs explosives being kept in a drawer at the airport or a villa whatever story the clown Giaka would tell of his believers.

    This date [7/12/1988] was subsequently held up and through misfeasance and malfeasance used as a target date against this individual.
    As is shown through Thomas Thurman report of 20th August 1990 which notes an individual bought the clothes on 7/12/1988, Thurman can only be relying on the information contained from the CIA cable 22/12/1988

    DCI Bell actions and rational follows the same argument as it is impossible for Thurman to report at 20th August 1990 the clothes buyer of 7/12/1988, it is the exact same impossibility for DCI Bell to agree and assert this information, expressly without the information and knowledge of the CIA cable 22/12/1988.

    The record shows the Scottish police only began investigating certain individuals movements and presence on Malta significantly later.
    For example: Scottish police officer Avent defence precognition of 24/8/1999 confirms the commencement of identifying individuals through transit and embarkation records began on or around 27th November 1990.

    This notes at least two [2] issues;
    To 27th November 1990, no one had inquired or requested Maltese information and records on any travelling passenger.
    Ask the question – Why was that ?
    Was it because the suspect passenger records did not exist or was it because the Scottish police et al already had information of the 7/12/1988 which was consciously being relied on and used.
    Nobody thought or required to obtain the records from the immigration or airport authorities because the 7/12/1988 was already known.

    Like

  2. Scott says:

    Great blog. Eagerly anticipate each instalment.
    Have to agree Craig. Mr Thurman was involved from day one and seems to be present in a heck of a lot of the investigation. Maybe a trail was laid for Dumfries & Galloway Police to follow?

    Like

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