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.

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