The MST-13 Timers

Table of Content

  • Facts
  • Question
  • Order from Libya
  • Delivery to Libya
  • Circuit diagram
  • Thuring Boards
  • NYMPH Quartz
  • HEF 4518BT
  • HEF 4521BT
  • ROSE BOXES
  • Lumpert Statement
  • Control Samples
  • Lockerbie Trial: § 49, 73 and 74
  • SCCRC CHAPTER 25: Undisclosed protectively marked documents
  • CONTROL BOARD
  • HOW MANY TYPES?
  • HOW MANY?
  • The Copper Clad Laminate
  • Conclusions
  • References

FACTS

PT/35(b) is the critical piece of evidence that pointed the investigation towards Libya. (See HOMEPAGE: The Story of PT/35(b)35(b): “A RIDDLE, WRAPPED IN A MYSTERY, INSIDE AN ENIGMA.” )

As Richard Marquise himself said:  “Without PT/35(b), there would have been no indictment.” ( See: FBI Richard Marquise: “No PT/35(b), No Case.”)

PT/35(b)

PT/35(b)

PT/35(b) may very well have been necessary to “solve the case”, but it was certainly not sufficient. It was also necessary to match PT/35(b) to the MST-13 timers which had “solely” been supplied by MEBO to Libya.

Main board of the MST13

Main board of the MST13

QUESTIONS

What do we know about the MST-13 Timers? Who designed it and who built them? When? Where? Which companies did supply the boards and the various components? Who ordered them and for what purpose. When were they supplied to the “purchaser”? How many different types were designed and how many were built? These are some of the questions we need to answer.

ORDER FROM LIBYA

Evidence that MEBO received an order for electronic timers in July 1985 is supported by the orders for circuit boards which MEBO placed with Thuring AG in August and October 1985.

In evidence Astrid Thuring spoke to the order card relating to an order  that MEBO placed with Thuring on 13 August 1985 for 20 MST-13 circuit boards (CP 402, photograph 2-575).

She stated that, according to a delivery note (CP 319, image 1), Thuring supplied 24 such circuit boards on 16 August 1985. In addition,  she spoke to the order card relating to an order that MEBO placed with Thuring on 8 October 1985 for 35 MST-13 circuit boards (CP 402, image 208).

According to a further delivery note (CP 400, image 1), Thuring supplied 34 such circuit boards on 5 November 1985. [SCCRC REPORT 20.28]

DELIVERY TO LIBYA

The Commission notes that no documentary evidence was led at trial that
directly vouched Mr Bollier’s evidence about the supply of MST-13 timers to Libya
(although Mr Meister understood that Mr Bollier had personally delivered these in
1985: Trial day 22/ page 3741). Accordingly, it seems that the court was prepared to accept Mr Bollier’s evidence on this issue on the basis that it had not been challenged and
appeared to have been accepted by the defence.

Although the Commission recognises that any assessment of the reasonableness of the verdict must proceed purely on the evidence before the trial court (King; Campbell v HMA 1998 SCCR 214), the account given to the defence by Hinshiri is of assistance in understanding why no such challenge was made.

In his defence precognition (see appendix) Hinshiri confirmed that he had ordered a quantity of MST-13 timers and that these had subsequently been delivered to him. A similar account was given by him when questioned by the Scottish police in Libya on 30 October 1999 (see appendix). [SCCRC REPORT 20.29]

Richard Marquise gives a good description [SCOTBOM, Richard Marquise. Page 69] of the supply of the 20 MST-13 timers to Libya.

 In August 1985, Said Fazani*, a high ranking official of the Libyan Jamahiriya Security Organization (JSO),  asked Bollier to design and build a small electronic timer for use by the military intheir war with Chad.

A total of twenty were built by Lumpert, ten for use in a waterproof container (boxed) and ten which were free standing (unboxed).

The first five were delivered by Bollier to Fazani* in Libya  in the late fall of 1985.

The second five were delivered by Bollier to an individual at the Libyan people’s Bureau in East Berlin around November 1985.

The last ten were delivered Hijazi*, a high ranking Intelligence officer, in tripoli [in late 1985].

We now know that Said Fazani* and Hijazi* are Said Rashid and Ezzedin El Hinshiri.

Based on varoius interviews, the “Fuhl Report” has come to the following conclusions:

  1. The first five MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on one side only and were built into boxes.

2. The second five MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on both side  and were built without boxes.

3. The last ten MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on both side and were built into boxes.

At the time of this writing, I am not satisfied with the official story regarding the timeline of the delivery of these timers to Libya. (See: MST-13 Delivery to Libya. UPDATE. VISA Issues)

CIRCUIT DIAGRAM

Here  is the circuit diagram of the timer as designed by MEBO Uli Lumpert on 07/08/1985.

DP113-01

You may want to compare this with the drawing presented in the CIA report about the TOGO Timer.

DE52-8

THE THURING BOARDS

Here are the documents regarding the orders of the Thuring boards.

This the design of the main MST-13 board.

DP114-CB1

Here is a good quality pic of the board design:

PT92-P9

1st order

Ordered on 13 August 1985

20 ordered, 24 delivered on 3 September 1985

“solder masked” on one side [Lötstopp eins.(eitig)]

No bore holes

“Tin” plated

DP473-575

2nd order

Ordered on 9 October 1985

35 ordered, 34 delivered on 12 November 1985

“solder masked” on both side [Lötstopp doppelseitig)]

3 x Fenster Fräsen (Mill three windows)

No bore holes

“Tin” plated

DP473-208

Notice the now infamous “ZINN” . (To tin)

However, in this technical field, neither “Zinn” nor “Tin” means ‘Tin’ in a literally sence. It is just slang for the process and does not tell anything about the material itself. In the case of these Thuring boards, it is actually a mix of Lead and Tin. This is absolutely crucial to this case because we now know that PT/35(b) is covered with pure tin!

THE NYMPH QUARTZ

In order to build the MST-13 timers, Lumpert ordered the NYMPH quartz from COMPONA AG. (SARONIX Quartz Data sheet )

Photo 8 - DP 124

Here is the first invoice.

DP105-1

Here is the second invoice.

DP104-1

Notice that the frequency on the quartz does not match the frequency on the order. I have found the explanation to this discrepancy. It seems to be an honest mistake from COMPONA AG. (SEE: Building the MST-13 Timers. Solving a 30 years Old Mystery. )

HEF 4518BT

Here is the invoice for the MSI  IC HEF 4518BT.

DP108-1

 

HEF 4521BT

This is the invoice:

DP107-1

Here is a pic of this component mounted on K-1 (The Togo Device)

 Photo 6 - DP 124

Comment: Notice the not very professional handiwork.

CAPACITORS

Here is the invoice for the capacitors.

DP109-1

Quartz Crystal (Design Note)

THE ROSE BOXES

On 30 July 1985, Edwin Bollier ordered 12 ROSE boxes for the MST-13 timers.

DP123-1

=

DM141-P313

These boxes raise an important question. (I will discuss this once we have read CIA John Orkin CP and DP.)

LUMPERT STATEMENTS

On 23 May 1991, in Zurich, MEBO Uli Lumpert was questioned by Swiss Inspector Fluckiger in the presence of Scottish Police officers PC Buwert and DI W. Williamson as well as FBI agent Edward Marshman.

Lumpert is shown ten photos from the DP 124 file. His answers are reproduced under each picture.

Photo 1 - DP 124

Photo 1 is one of our timers although I do not recognize the black electric cable. (Please, look at the bottom of this page for a picture of a “Control Sample” built by Lumpert.)

DP124-02

 

Photo 2 is the rear side of a MST-13 timer assembled by me.

 

PHOTO 3 - DP 124

Photo 3 is a MST-13 the circuit board without the time switch.

 

PHOTO 4 - DP 124

Photo 4 is a MST-13 timer with a 2 position timing switch. I guess that Bollier did the soldering. This is a pre-series timer because the condenser has been soldered diagonally and the soldering points near the switches of the power cable have not been covered with a plastic protective sheet

On the other hand I can verity that the circuit board has been coated with a protective lacquer which points to a later development of circuit board. Bollier often visits me in the laboratory and helps with simple technical work and I remember that in about the summer of 1985 he soldered a battery and cable onto an MST-13 timer.

 

PHOTO 5 - DP 124

 

Photo 5 I recognize one of our timers.

 Photo 6 - DP124

Photo 6 This is one of our secondary circuit boards.

 

 Photo 7 - DP 124

Photo 7 This is an oscillator with the resistors which were added later. It must be one of the pre-series timers.

 

Photo 8 - DP 124

Photo 8 an oscillator crystal.

 

Photo 9 - DP 124

Photo 9-MST 13 timer built into housing

 

Photo 10 - DP 124

Photo 10 a housing with the loud-speaker clips put on by me and the light diode that fits the MST-13.

===

Additional statements

“Now that I have seen DP 123 invoice, I see that only 12 boxes were ordered and delivered in 1985 and I conclude that only 10 housed versions were produced because two further housings went with the sample delivery in 1990.” Lumpert

“It is correct that only five or six timers with 4 positions switch were made and they were pre-series ones. The pre-series timers had protective lacquer only on one side.” Lumpert

CONTROL SAMPLES

Here is two “control samples” built by Lumpert for the Police.

DP/100

Control Sample: DP/100

 

DP/111

DM141-P313

These control samples are analysed in the Joint Report of RARDE. (More later)

LOCKERBIE TRIAL: § 49, 73 and 74

The following § deal with the MST-13 Timers.

[49] We do however accept certain parts of Mr Bollier’s evidence despite finding him at times an untruthful and at other times an unreliable witness. We have done so when his evidence has not been challenged and appears to have been accepted, or where it is supported from some other acceptable source.

We accept, for example, that in or about July 1985 on a visit to Tripoli, Mr Bollier received a request for electronic timers from Said Rashid or Ezzadin Hinshiri and that he had had military business dealings in relation to the Libyan Government with Ezzadin Hinshiri since the early 1980s. The potential order was for a large number of such timers.

Mr Lumpert was told of the requirements by Mr Bollier and proceeded to develop two prototypes. There is a dispute in the evidence between Mr Bollier and Mr Meister on the one hand and Mr Lumpert on the other about the colour of the circuit boards in these prototype timers. Mr Bollier said they were brown, Mr Meister thought they were grey or brown, whereas Mr Lumpert said that they were manufactured from the green coloured circuit boards supplied by Thuring.

What we do however accept is that later in the summer of 1985 the two prototypes were delivered by Mr Bollier to the Stasi in East Berlin, whatever be the colour of their circuit boards. This is consistent with the evidence of Mr Wenzel who at the material time was a major in the Stasi and with whom Mr Bollier then dealt.

Despite this evidence we cannot, however, exclude absolutely the possibility that more than two MST-13 timers were supplied by MEBO to the Stasi, although there is no positive evidence that they were, nor any reasons why they should have been. Similarly, we cannot exclude the possibility that other MST-13 timers may have been made by MEBO and supplied to other parties, but there is no positive evidence that they were.

Equally, despite the evidence of Mr Wenzel that after the fall of the Berlin wall he had destroyed all timers supplied to the Stasi, we are unable to exclude the possibility that any MST-13 timers in the hands of the Stasi left their possession, although there is no positive evidence that they did and in particular that they were supplied to the PFLP-GC.

[73] We turn next to the evidence in relation to members of the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (“PFLP-GC”). No member of that
organisation gave evidence but it was clear from other evidence that we heard, in
particular from officers of the German police force, the BKA, that a cell of the PFLPGC
was operating in what was then West Germany at least up until October 1988.

The evidence which we accept showed that at least at that time the cell had both the
means and the intention to manufacture bombs which could be used to destroy civil
aircraft. On 26 October 1988, after a period of surveillance, the BKA made a series
of raids and arrested a number of individuals in an operation code-named Autumn
Leaves. In particular they raided premises at Sandweg 28, Frankfurt and the home of
Hashem Abassi in Neuss and they seized a car which had been used by Haj Hafez
Kassem Dalkamoni, apparently the leader of the cell.

In these premises they found radio cassette players, explosives, detonators, timers, barometric pressure devices, arms, ammunition and other items, including a number of airline timetables and seven unused Lufthansa luggage tags. From other evidence it appeared that one of theairline timetables was a PanAm timetable. There was considerable evidence of bombs being manufactured so as to be concealed in Toshiba radio cassette players.

The models being used were, however, different from the RT SF-16 used in the
PA103 disaster, and the timers were of a type known as ice-cube timers. These were
quite different from MST-13s, much less sophisticated and much less reliable, and the
intention was no doubt to use them in conjunction with the barometric pressure
devices to detonate the explosive.

[74] While all this material was seized by the BKA on 26 October 1988 and the
principal members of the PFLP-GC cell in West Germany were arrested on that date,
the evidence was that most were released shortly thereafter. Dalkamoni, however,
was not, and he was later convicted in relation to bomb attacks on a railway line in
Germany in 1987 and 1988 and possession of the weapons found at Sandweg 28. He
was sentenced to imprisonment for fifteen years. It is possible, of course, that the cell
could have re-grouped and re-stocked with the necessary materials by 21 December.

In April 1989 three further explosive devices were recovered at Hashem Abassi’s new
address in Neuss, but the indications were that these were items which had formed
part of the stock in October 1988. There was no evidence that the cell had the
materials necessary to manufacture an explosive device of the type that destroyed
PA103. In particular there was no evidence that they had an MST-13 timer.

For the reasons given elsewhere, while a small quantity of such timers was supplied by
MEBO to the East German Stasi, there is no evidence at all to suggest that any of
them found their way into the hands of organisations such as the PFLP-GC. On the
evidence which we heard we are satisfied that the explosive device which destroyed
PA103 was triggered by an MST-13 timer alone and that neither an ice-cube timer nor
any barometric device played any part in it.

It is also to be noted that the cell’s principal bomb-maker was one Marwan Khreesat who was in fact an agent who infiltrated the cell on behalf of the Jordanian Intelligence Service. His instructions from them were that any bomb he made must not be primed. Moreover, while he himself did not give evidence, there was evidence of a statement given by him to FBI agents (production 1851) in which he said that he never used radio cassette players
with twin speakers (such as the Toshiba RT-SF 16 had) to convert into explosive devices.

SCCRC CHAPTER 25:

“UNDISCLOSED PROTECTIVELY MARKED DOCUMENTS”

25.1 In 2006 Crown Office informed the Commission of the existence of two protectively marked documents in its possession.

25.2 These documents were examined by a member of the Commission’s enquiry team whose notes are currently in the possession of D&G.

25.3 By letter dated 27 April 2007 Crown Office confirmed that neither of the protectively marked documents was disclosed to the defence. (…)  It was also pointed out in the letter that:

“it has never been the Crown’s position in this case that the MST-13 timers were not supplied by the Libyan intelligence services to any other party or that only the Libyan intelligence services were in possession of the timers.”

25.5 On 27 April 2007 the Commission was informed by Crown Office that such consent could not be given without the permission of the relevant authorities of the country from which the documents originated. Although attempts were made on behalf of Crown Office to obtain the consent of those authorities, as at the date of issue of the Commission’s statement of reasons this had not been given.

25.6 In the Commission’s view the Crown’s decision not to disclose one of the documents to the defence indicates that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred in applicant’s case. In reaching this decision the Commission has taken into account paragraphs 49, 73 and 74 of the trial court’s judgment.

25.8 The Commission considered applying to the court for an order under section
194I of the Act requiring Crown Office to produce the documents. However, given
the need to finalise the review, and the fact that other grounds of referral had been
identified, the decision was taken not to do so.

In any event, even if an order had been obtained by the Commission under section 1941 of the Act, in terms of paragraph 6(5) of Schedule 9A it would have been open to Crown Office to notify the Commission that onward disclosure might be contrary to the interests of national security.

In such circumstances, the Commission would have been bound to deal with the material in a manner appropriate for safeguarding the interests of national security. It is therefore
unlikely that the Commission would have been any less constrained in its ability to disclose the documents had it made use of its statutory powers.

CONTROL BOARD

DP/347(a)

MST13_BOARD

Of course, a crucial part of the investigation is to compare all aspects of PT/35(b) and DP/347(a). Our investigation is described here: Forensic Analysis of PT/35b

HOW MANY TYPES?

In a recent post (MST-13 Timers Delivery Timeline), I have already told you that:

MEBO used the following terms to describe the various production stages of these timers: prototypes, pre-series and production-series.

  1. The first five MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on one side only and were built into boxes.

2. The second five MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on both sides  and were built without boxes.

3. The last ten MST-13 timers have a circuit board with “solder mask” on both sides and were built into boxes.

I must now tell you about another feature of the MST-13 Timers: 2 vs. 4 positions switch.

Some timers could be set between 1 and 99 Minutes/Hours.

DM141-P315

Some timers could be set between 1 and 9999 Minutes/Hours.

DM141-P312

Lumpert stated that all (5 or 6) 4 digits timers were pre-series.

“It is correct that only five or six timers with 4 positions switch were made and they were pre-series ones. The pre-series timers had protective lacquer only on one side.”

This is a rather simple fact. Yet, its consequences are not without merit. FBI Richard Marquise’s beloved principle of “attention to details” may take a serious hit… Stay tuned!

HOW MANY MST-13 TIMERS BUILT BY MEBO?

LORD SUTHERLAND:  Then I call upon the Clerk of Court to read the indictment and the special defences.

THE CLERK:  Adelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah are indicted at the instance of the Right Honourable My Lord Hardie, Her Majesty’s Advocate, and the charges against them are that: […]

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah did between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 1985, both dates inclusive, through the hands of Said Rashid and Ezzadin Hinshiri, both also being members of the said Libyan Intelligence Services, and others at the said premises occupied by MEBO AG, in Zurich, aforesaid, at the said premises of said Libyan Intelligence Services, in Tripoli, aforesaid, at the said Libyan People’s Bureau, East Berlin aforesaid and elsewhere to the Prosecutor unknown, order, cause to be manufactured and obtain from the said firm of MEBO AG twenty electronic timers capable of detonating explosive devices;

Richard Marquise gives a rather precise description [1] of the supply of the 20 MST-13 timers to Libya.

In August 1985, Said Fazani [2], a high ranking official of the Libyan Jamahiriya Security Organization (JSO), asked Bollier to design and build a small electronic timer for use by the military intheir war with Chad.

A total of twenty were built by Lumpert, ten for use in a waterproof container (boxed) and ten which were free standing (unboxed).

The first five were delivered by Bollier to Fazani in Libya in the late fall of 1985.

The second five were delivered by Bollier to an individual at the Libyan people’s Bureau in East Berlin around November 1985.

The last ten were delivered Hijazi [2], a high ranking Intelligence officer, in Tripoli.

Here is a simple question: Where does the number “twenty” come from?

Once the link between MEBO and PT/35(b) had been made, the investigators interviewed the MEBO people. One of their goals was to estimate the numbers of MST-13 timers that had been built and supplied.

Contrary to what Marquise seems to believe [3], this number was not deduced from the number of Thuring boards MEBO had ordered. Nor was it calculated on the basis of the number of NYMPH quartz MEBO had bought from COMPONA AG. [4]

The upper limit of twenty timers was actually deduced from the following analysis. The investigators learned that MEBO had ordered 20 HEF 4521BT and 60 HEF 4518BT.

So with the help of Bollier, they studied this photo of the Togo timer.
DP127-01

The timer has obviously 1  HEF 4521BT and 2 HEF 4518BT on the main board. Additionally, it has 1 HEF 4518BT on the secondary smaller board.

Therefore, all (Bollier and the policemen) were totally satisfied that, at most,  twenty timers had been built  as twenty timers clearly required 20 HEF 4521BT and 60 HEF 4518 BT to be built. Pretty good, don’t you think? The reasoning is nevertheless flawed.

You may remember that some timers had a “2 digits” counter while some (5 or 6) had a “4 digits” counter. The main board is exactly the same in both cases. This point was clearly noticed in the CIA Report. ( See page 7/ Provisions exist for another dual counter chip to handle two more thumbwheel switches.)

CIA_Circuit_RED

But the construction of a “4 digits” timer requires TWO HEF 4518BT  on the secondary small board!

DM141-P314

Obviously, if Lumpert built six “4 digits” timers, he needed 24 (4×6) HEF 4518BT and only 36 were left to build “2 digits” timers. Therefore only 12 (36/3) of those could possibly have been built. If he built five “4 digits timers”, he could have built 13 “2 digits” with the 40 HEF 4518BT left. In either case, he could not have built twenty MST-13 timers, but only eighteen at most.

You may say that it is only a small error that has no important consequences. And you may very well  be right. But sometimes, small errors lead to a huge disaster. Come to think of it, the Lockerbie trial is a case in point.

THE COPPER CLAD LAMINATE

According to a well-informed source, THURING AG always ordered the Copper Clad Laminates from a Swiss branch of ISOLA: Schweizerische Isolawerke AG in Breitenbach. (SIB)

The FBI report on the Togo timer does not mention the watermark on the main board of the timer. This is not surprising as the report signed by Thurman is almost a copy of the CIA report. (Here is  this undated FBI report. I think that it must have been written between 26 September and 11 December 1990.)

2IB

DP/124-03 (Flipped vertically)

DP/124-03 (Flipped vertically)

However, a FBI document dated 20 August 1990 mentions the following:

“Special photography techniques were utilized on specimen K-1 to identify the number/letter “21B” which is contained within the figure of an oval. The number/letter appears in the upper left quadrant of the circuit board, within the lamination and not on the surface of the board. This identification was added during the manufacturing process, and may offer a code to identify the source of this board. It should be noted, however, that the company which applied the actual  printed circuit, may not be the company which manufactured the green circuit board.”

One may perhaps honestly confuse “MEBO” for “M580” or “MEBQ”. But why would anyone misread “SIB” for “21B” when the “B” is asymmetrical is puzzling to say the least…

I believed that this was a good place to begin our investigation. As I have written before:

“Don’t you think that it would have been a good and obvious place to start if the CIA (and later the FBI ) really wanted to trace the origin of the TOGO timer? (NB: DP/124 is the TOGO timer.) There is not a single reference to this watermark either in the CIA report nor the FBI report about K1 (the TOGO timer). And to the best of my knowledge, neither Dr Hayes nor Feraday ever noticed it. I am quite sure that Feraday’s report does not mention it.”

According to a well-informed source, THURING AG always ordered the Copper Clad Laminates from a Swiss branch of ISOLA: Schweizerische Isolawerke AG in Breitenbach. (SIB)

The study of the copper clad laminates (both PT/35(b) and DP/347(a)) is detailed here: Forensic Analysis of PT/35b

CONCLUSIONS

To be written…

REFERENCES

LUMPERT STATEMENTS

MST-13 and the NYMPH QUARTZ

MST-13 Circuit Diagram and Updates

K1 – CIA REPORT 1988. Full Report

Building the MST-13 Timers. Let’s get started!

Building the MST-13 Timers. The Thuring Boards

Building the MST-13 Timers. The NYMPH Quartz Mystery

Building the MST-13 Timers. Solving a 30 years Old Mystery.

Building the MST-13 Timers. Let’s keep going! (HEF 4521BT)

Building the MST-13 Timers. Buying the Capacitors.

Building the MST-13 Timers. Solving a 30 years Old Mystery. UPDATE. NEWS from Edwin Bollier (MEBO)

Building the MST-13 Timers. JUST DO IT!

MST-13 Timers Delivery Timeline

MST-13 Timers: How many types?

MST-13 Timers: “History is the Lie Historians Agree upon.”

MST-13 Delivery to Libya. UPDATE. VISA Issues

SCCRC: Undisclosed protectively marked documents

THURING AG PCB BOARDS SUPPLIER IDENTIFIED

The THURING Board Watermark: FBI Analysis

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