Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Calls for investigation into 'planted' evidence in Lockerbie Trial

The Lockerbie Case comes back again to haunt Scots Law as the makers of the timer used to explode the Lockerbie Bomb travel to Scotland following revelations that one of their employees planted vital evidence.

Some seem to feel this evidence planting culture in Scots Law has been around for a long time ... but with big headline cases such as Lockerbie, now may be the time to expose it ...

The Herald reports :

Probe into Lockerbie timer claims

LUCY ADAMS, Chief Reporter

The makers of the timer used to explode the Lockerbie bomb will travel to Scotland following the revelation that their former employee planted vital evidence.

Edwin Bollier, whose now bankrupt company Mebo manufactured the timer switch that prosecutors used to implicate Libya, plans to visit Scotland with police forensics experts, following news that an engineer was asked to fabricate evidence.

Ulrich Lumpert, formerly an electronics engineer with Mebo AG, Zurich, has signed an affidavit admitting he committed perjury before the Scottish Court in the Netherlands.

In his affidavit he states that he stole a handmade sample of an "MST-13 Timer PC-board" from Mebo in Zurich and handed it over, on June 22 1989, to an "official person investigating the Lockerbie case."

He further states that the fragment of the timer, cut into two pieces for "supposedly forensic reasons," which was presented in court stemmed from the same piece.

He further states that when he became aware that this piece was used for an "intentional politically motivated criminal undertaking" he decided, out of fear for his life, to keep silent on the matter.

Mr Bollier has already spoken to prosecutors in Switzerland who will begin their investigation into charges of perjury next week.

The timer was used as a key part of the evidence against Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the 1988 bombing which killed 270 people. The revelation will strengthen Megrahi's fresh appeal which was granted in June by the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission.

Despite Megrahi's conviction, there have been persistent claims that Libya was not responsible, some evidence was rigged, and the finger of suspicion pointed elsewhere.

The commission rejected allegations that evidence had been falsified or "spirited away" by the investigating teams, but the affidavit by Mr Lumpert suggests otherwise.

Mr Bollier told The Herald last night: "We hope to go to Scotland with the police and forensics people from Switzerland to see the manipulated fragment. We have forwarded on the papers and affidavit to prosecutors here and they will also be passed to the lord Advocate in Scotland."

In 2001, Mr Bollier spent five days in the witness box at the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands.

He told The Herald that the fragments he was shown at the trial were different to those originally shown to him. "The fragments kept changing," he said. "The procurator-fiscal showed me one fragment then the police showed me a fragment in two parts - one was green, one was brown.

"Later in the witness box I was shown a screen and the smaller piece was completely carbonised - you could not even see the colour. It had been manipulated, but when I tried to say that the judge cut me off."

Dr Hans Koechler, international UN observer at the Scottish Court in the Netherlands, has seen a copy of the affidavit made on July 18. He said: "The Scottish authorities are now obliged to investigate this situation. Not only has Mr Lumpert admitted to stealing a sample of the timer, but to the fact he gave it to an official and then lied in court."

1 comment:

Peter Biddulph said...

Having worked for eight years with Jim Swire in close examination of the investigation, trial and subsequent events, I continue to be amazed at the inability of apparently highly intelligent lawyers to see what lies before them.
1. The label containing the famous fragment had been carefully and precisely altered by unknown persons from CLOTH to DEBRIS. Under cross examination and then under a friendly prosecution advocate, the finder of the shirt collar in which the fragment was said to be embedded, DC Gilchrist, admitted "not all the writing is mine". If not by him, then by whom was the label altered, and for what purpose other than to change the identity of the contents?
2. In 36 out of 52 cases, lead FBI forensic officer Thomas Thurman was proved by his own Department of Justice to be a habitual showboater, a manipulator of evidence to favour prosecution cases. He claimed to be the first to spot that the timer from which had come the Hayes fragment had come, had been made by MEBO.
3. Dr Thomas Hayes, even as the shirt collar lay on his workbench (early 1989), was aware that Parliament was about to launch an investigation into his conspiracy with others to with-hold evidence in the case of the alleged IRA Maguire Seven. And so he conveniently exited stage left by resigning to become a chiropodist. And that from his highly paid and honoured post as head of department. Could he no longer handle the pressure to produce results which others wanted him to produce?
4. His finding of the fragment was recorded on an obviously inserted page 51 in his loose-leaf machine-numbered notebook. That page and subsequent pages were overwritten in Hayes own hand to pages 51 to 56.
5. Hayes could give no explanation for why he had altered the pages. There was no need whatever for him to do this, since each entry in the book had alongside it a date on which that piece of evidence was examined. But still, he altered the pages, and could offer no explanation to the court as to why he had done it.
6. Completely contrary to standard procedure, and totally at odds with all similar pieces of material examined by him, Hayes carried out not a single chemical residue test on the fragment, even though he later commented that the piece was from a fragment from a bomb timer made by MEBO. This was confirmed by his colleague Alan Feraday, who stated in his notes and to the court, that the fragment was "the only piece of the delayed action bomb" that was found at the crash site.
7. A factor in the case which may or may not have been known to the court was the proven history of the man who headed the CIA's Lockerbie team, Vincent Cannistraro. Cannistraro was Oliver North's task force officer in the Iran-Contra Nicaraguan campaign. There are emails written by Cannistraro and published by the National Security Archive of America which prove that he was active in secretly arming the Afghanistan Mujahedeen to expel the Russian forces. A 1986 email has been published by the NSA in which Cannistraro is proved to be the instigator of a phase of secret CIA kidnappings and renditions around the world. In it he laments the fact that Dewey Clarridge was refusing to sign off his programme, and talks to others as to how Clarridge might be persuaded. Finally, a senior White House member and colleague of Cannistraro's, Richard Stark, speaks in yet another published email regarding the consideration of manufactured evidence to bring down the legal government of Yemen.
8. Cannistraro confirmed in a filmed interview for the documentary film "The Maltese Double Cross", that his name was on the original list of witnesses for the Lockerbie trial. His explanation as to why he would not be attending was "I imagine it was the Department of Justice who removed my name." For someone of his experience and position in the White House heirarchy not to know the true reason beggars belief.
9. In the light of all the above, it is extremely difficult to understand why the trial judges could not at the very least find reasonable doubt regarding the provenance of the Hayes fragment. The fragment may in time prove not only to be famous, it may indeed prove to be miraculous.