“Your White House, specifically your national security adviser, constructed an operation whereby the free press in this country was going to be used to convey a false story to the world, namely that Qaddafi was planning new terrorist operations, and that we were going to hit him again, or we might hit him again – full well knowing that this was not true. Now, if that’s the case, then the press is being used, and we will in the future not know when we’re being told information from the White House whether it’s true or it’s not.”
President Reagan’s interview — White House (Oct 2 1986)
“However desirable it may be to get rid of this unstable, dangerous dictator, the chosen technique was worthy of the KGB. To the Reagan Administration’s shame, the disinformation worked all too well, but only here in the land of the free. (…) There is no place in America for those who envy the Communists their deceptions. There is no place in America for disinformation.”
“Lies Wound America, Not Libya” — New York Times (October 1986)
“I was shown a large amount of military vehicles and hardware that had been seized by the Togo Government following this attempted Coup, but saw that what the perpetrators had intended to use were flash timers, which bear absolutely no relation to MST-13 Timers.”
DI Watson McAteer — Lockerbie Investigator
“You are right on the button with this splendid explanation. I have in my possession one of the original ‘pageboy’ timers which were being used in the briefcase bombs. The USA AUTHORITIES WERE WELL AWARE YEARS BEFORE Lockerbie that MEBO was supplying this kind of circuitry to LIBYA and that knowledge allowed them to act in the manner described in your article. Very well done thank you.”
Lockerbie Investigator George Thomson — Email to Intel Today (Nov 27 2016)
November 21 2018 — PT/35(b), a small fragment of a timer circuit board found among the debris of Pan Am 103 at Lockerbie, was the critical piece of evidence that pointed the investigation towards Libya.
As FBI agent Richard Marquise — the man who led the US side of the investigation under the direction of Robert Mueller — himself said: “Without PT/35(b), there would have been no indictment.”
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 the Swiss company MEBO to Libya.
It turned out that the CIA was “fortunately” in possession of such a MST-13 timer (also known as K1) which had been allegedly brought back to the US by some US Government employees following a visit to Togo in the fall of 1986.
The story of the two Togo timers is weird and murky. And the fact that this occurred during a well documented disinformation operation against Gaddafi can only add to our suspicion.
To mark the 30th Anniversary of the Pan Am 103 tragedy, INTEL TODAY will re-post one of our best Lockerbie stories every Wednesday until the end of the year. We would like to know what you think. Please, take this poll and encourage your friends to participate.
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RELATED POST: Remembering Lockerbie — Pan Am 103 Quotes
We assess with ‘High Confidence’ that the Togo Timers — known as the MST-13 — were actually planted by the CIA in order to feed false accusations to the US media about “Libyan Terrorism” activities in the context of the well documented White House 1986 Disinformation Campaign against Gaddafi.
There is no evidence that MST-13 timers were ever found in Togo. These timers do not appear on historical records. The Togolese authorities stated that they never saw such devices.
The MST-13 timer does not appear on the initial US report. It was added at a later time.
The presence of a CIA officer among the US investigators was never revealed until an INTEL TODAY investigator found out about it almost 30 years after the event.
BATF agent Richard Sherrow has admitted that he never took any pictures of the MST-13 timer in Togo as he had initially suggested. After retiring, Sherrow has alleged that the timer had been manufactured in Florida at the request of the CIA.
In any case, the timer allegedly recovered in Togo is highly suspicious as its design it anachronistic. The design corresponds to an early type but the board belong to a late manufacture.
The CIA had known since 1984 that a Swiss Company named MEBO had provided this unique timer ‘solely’ to Libya and the CIA was in direct contact with MEBO owners and their only employee, Ulrich Lumpert.
In his analysis of the timer, CIA technical expert Jack Christie –who testified under the name of John Orkin — failed to identify MEBO despite the facts that he knew the company had manufactured that device and that ‘MEBO’ was actually written on the board.
As the SCCRC is likely to allow a full review of the Lockerbie case, let us hope that the Commission will once and for all expose the fairy tale of the MST-13 timers and the infamous fragment PT/35(b).
Without the Togo timer, PT/35(b) could not have been identified and therefore there would have been no case, let alone an indictment, against Megrahi and Fhimah.
Is the story of the Togo timers true, or a complete lie? Do we really know that there were some MST-13 timers in Togo? If it is indeed the case, were the timers really seized from the rebels or were they planted by someone? And if these timers were planted, when, why and by whom?
In this second scenario, one may also wonder if the MST-13 timers from Togo (K1 and its twin taken to France) are genuine MEBO timers or ‘pretty good’ forgeries.
If K1 is a forgery, who would have possibly built it. Keep in mind that the “second timer” was allegedly given to the French. So, if the story of K1 is a fabrication, the French government may have played an accomplice role in the affair.
I strongly recommend that you keep the 1986 timeline (Disinformation campaign against Libya) in mind as you read this report.
Indeed, we know for fact that the US had launched that year a full campaign of disinformation against Libya with the goal of giving Gaddafi the “coup de grâce”.
RELATED POST: Disinformation — Who Coined That Word Anyway?
The Fuller Memorandum (1985) was instrumental in persuading some top-ranking Reagan Administration policy makers to begin considering covert contacts with Iranian leaders. It eventually led to the covert sale of United States weapons to Teheran in what became the Iran-contra affair.
But the Fuller Memorandum also recommended to unseat Gaddafi. A key part of the document reads:
“We have every reason in the world to want Gaddafi to collapse.
Bold US policies leading to his downfall would have chilling effect on Iran and shake its confidence that the correlation of radical forces was with them.
(Pressure on Syria would have less effect and could ideally only come from Israel — which is hardly interested in a confrontation with Syria at this point.)
This ‘indirect strategy’ would demonstrate US resolve against radicalism without directly pushing Iran in the wrong direction.
Unlike Iran, we have nothing to lose in Libya and everything to gain.”
The Poindexter memorandum was adopted at a White House meeting on 14 August 1986.
The three-page document — written by the president’s national security affairs adviser to President Reagan — recommends planting piece of disinformation about Gaddafi and his support of terrorism.
As a consequence of the plan outlined in this memo, American news media reported as fact much of the false information generated by this plan.
For instance, these articles stated that Libya was backing terrorism activities again.
“Soon after the meeting, administration officials told reporters that the United States had new intelligence indicating that Gadhafi was again stepping up his terrorist plans, following a four-month lull after the April 14 American bombing raid against Libya.”
The Historical Context (1985/1986)
France and Libya are at war in Chad. France provide military support to Hissene Habre. French airplanes bombed Libyan bases in February 1986. The CIA is also providing help to Habre.
“on 14 February 1986 Opération Epervier was started, bringing 1,200 French troops and several squadrons of Jaguars to Chad. On 16 February 1986, to send a clear message to Gaddafi, the French Air Force bombed Libya’s Ouadi Doum airbase.”
Libya supplies PIRA with weapons and most importantly large amount of SEMTEX which turns this organization into a real threat to the UK National Security.
“For almost 25 years, virtually every bomb constructed by the Provisional IRA and the groups that splintered off it has contained Semtex from a Libyan shipment unloaded at an Irish pier in 1986.” (October 26 1986)
“The IRA’s relationship with Tripoli intensified in the 1980s, particularly after 1986 when American planes, stationed in the UK, took part in a bombing raid on Libya.” (BBC 07/09/2009)
Despite the US bombing of Tripoli in April 1986, Gaddafi remains firmly in power contrary to expectations. Some folks in certain US circles are not amused… Their plan to unseat Gaddafi has failed.
Finally, the relation between Togo and Ghana is tense. And, if there is no evidence of a Libyan coup in Togo, there is certainly some rumors of an attempted CIA coup in Ghana.
“The two men, Timothy M. Carmody of San Francisco and Steven W. Hedrick of Ocala, Fla., were among eight Americans arrested 10 months ago off Brazil, with a ship bearing six tons of weapons. They say they were headed for the West African country (Ghana) to join in a coup attempt aimed at the military Government of Lieut. Jerry Rawlings.
Mr. Carmody and Mr. Hedrick said in interviews today that they believed they were participating in a plan sanctioned by the United States Government… A C.I.A. spokesman, today denied that the agency had anything to do with an effort to overthrow the Government of Ghana” (NYT 27/12/1986)
“The most ambitious coup came to grief on 16 March 1986 when eight American mercenaries and a ship loaded with six tons of arms bound for Ghanaian dissidents in West Africa were seized in Brazil. The plot was led by te ubiquitous Godfrey Osei and was thought to have the backing of the CIA.” (Roy Pateman)
Togo — The 23/07/1986 Event
Very little is known about this event but the New York Times reported on 11 August 1986 the following story:
“A terrorist attack on the United States Embassy here using explosives sent from Libya has been thwarted with the arrest of nine people and the discovery of the explosives, Togo’s Interior Minister said today.
He said Togolese security forces intercepted two suitcases packed with explosives along with an automatic pistol and three grenades and made the arrests on July 23.”
Considering the Poindexter MEMO, I believe that the description of this event must be taken with a pinch of salt.
The memo (14 August 1986) states: “Current intelligence community assessment is that Gadhafi is temporarily quiescent in his support of terrorism.”
The same day, Poindexter “lavished praise on Defense, saying that the April 14 raid had been technically impressive, that it had deterred terrorism…”
On 03 October 1986, following the Washington Post article of Bob Woodward published the day before, both Reagan and Shultz admit that there is no evidence of Libyan terrorism since the US Raid of April 1986. [1986 timeline ]
On 04 October 1986, Senator William S. Cohen, Republican of Maine, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he grew worried during the previous summer while reading news reports about Colonel Qaddafi.
“That did not seem consistent with other information I was looking at, Cohen said.
I can only conclude that the reports were without foundation or someone was deliberately seeking to plant such information.”
I think that it is safe to say that “the Libyan plot to bomb the US Embassy” in Lomé was a piece of disinformation.
Togo — The 23/09/1986 Event
Here is a description of the event from a US academic source:
“Members of Togolese Movement for Democracy (Mouvement Togolais pour la Democratie-MTD) rebelled against the government of President Gnassingbé Eyadéma in Lomé on September 23-24, 1986, resulting in the deaths of at least 26 individuals.
The government of Togo accused the governments of Ghana and Burkina Faso of involvement in the rebellion, and requested French military assistance on September 25, 1986.”
This event is obviously real. You can read about it, watch some pictures taken in the aftermath, and there are still pretty decent videos available on internet.
The US investigation in Lome
Richard Sherrow (BATF) left Washington DC on 27 September 1986 for Lomé (Capital of Togo) at the request of the U.S. Department of State.
Sherrow was accompanied by Edward Owen (BATF) and James Casey (Dept. of State). And, as I discovered, a fourth man.
On 4 October 1986, Sherrow and his colleagues departed from Togo and returned to Washington DC.
James Casey took one of the two MST-13 timers back to the US in a diplomatic pouch and then to the BATF laboratory.
These three men were actually accompanied by a fourth person from the Central Intelligence Agency. None of them have ever mentioned this CIA person during the Lockerbie trial. His identity is unknown to this day.
Richard Sherrow stated that several of the items on display:
“may have been added to the weapons seized by the Togo military, including the two [MST-13] timers, which had been handled and manipulated by unknown parties.”
According to him, the MST 13 timers were located on the table with the explosives.
The pictures from Togo
A comparison between the INA (Institut National des Archives – France) videos and the pictures taken by Richard Sherrow and his colleagues is excellent.
However, there is no evidence of two MST-13 timers among the items seized from the rebels.
Moreover, there is not a single photo of the 2 MST-13 timers next to each other. And there is not a single picture of the MST-13 Timer with a background that locates it in Lomé 1986.
Finally, Richard Sherrow retracted part of his own account and stated that all pictures of the MST-13 timer were actually taken in Washington.
The US Report
On 7 October 1986, James Casey wrote a report entitled: “Investigation of the “Terrorist Activity in Lome, Togo”.
The report clearly states – twice – that beside the two people from BATF and one from the Department of State, a person from the CIA had also travelled to Togo.
The Casey Report goes on to list the weapons and equipment seized from the rebels. The list run from A to X and does not mention a MST-13 timer.
In his FD 302, Casey’s list has been extended to (Y)… which is a description of a MST-13 timer!
The Scottish investigation
In September 1990, Detective Inspector Watson McAteer, Detective Sergeant Peter Avent went on a mission to Togo.
As always in the Lockerbie case, the Yanks were on the ground a bit before them. FBI agent Craig Bates had arrived a day before them.
“I was sent out to view those weapons and also to show the authorities these photographs of the timer we thought had been used in the Lockerbie incident.” DS Peter Avent
“I was shown a large amount of military vehicles and hardware that had been seized by the Togo Government following this attempted Coup, but saw that what the perpetrators had intended to use were flash timers, which bear absolutely no relation to MST-13 Timers.” DI Watson McAteer
President Eyadema and his chief of Police, Colonel Walla, welcome them and showed them one of the seized timers.
That is already a bit of a surprise because one of the two MST-13 timers had been taken back to the US by Sherrow and the other had been given to the French!
The timer showed to them does not resemble in any way to a MST-13 timer. Moreover, it bears the name “FLASH”.
The inspectors went on to view the hut in which all the material seized from the rebels had been displayed on tables. Everything was still laid out exactly the way it was when BATF Sherrow and his colleagues had visited the place four years earlier.
And lo and behold, they could indeed locate a second identical “FLASH” timer on the table. Keep in mind that Casey’s list does not mention a FLASH timer.
D.I. McAteer decided to show the president, his chief of Police and the officer in charge of the coup investigation (Colonel Assih) some pictures of the MST-13 timer that Sherrow had taken back to the US.
The three men categorically stated that they had NEVER seen such a device before.
The Togo timer (K1)
On 23 May 1991, in Zurich, 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 so-called “DP 124″ file. Here is what he has to say about this picture (n° 4) of the MST-13 timer allegedly recovered in Togo in September 1986.
“Photo 4 is a MST-13 timer with a 2 position timing switch. This is a pre-series timer because the condenser (capacitor) 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. (Lumpert is able to conclude this correctly because he can see that the circuit tracks are not shiny and thus have been covered with the green lacquer.)”
Note: I remind you that a “pre-series timer” is not a prototype. It is a timer built upon a single side lacquered board. It is a fully functional device.
Lumpert’s comments beg an obvious question. How is this possible?
The assembling of the component is clearly the one used in the pre-series. However, the board comes from the second order of boards made to the Thuring company which were used for the production-series.
The “French” Timer
The French supposedly took the second MS-13 timer. Although there is evidence that
the French authorities had an unboxed MST-13, which was passed on to Detective Inspector William Williamson in 1999, there is no paperwork to prove that they obtained this timer from the Togolese authorities.
According to Sherrow’s trial evidence, the timer was: “handed over by Judge Bruguiere, Paris, Ministry of Justice on 27/10/1999.”
On 13th February 2000, Allen Feraday received the “French” timer from DC M Stryjewski of the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary. It is labelled DP 544.
Feraday‘s report dated 24th February 2000 states that: DP544 and DP84 (The US Timer aka K1) are virtually identical.
FBI James Casey’s recollection of the event
“After a run-in with some Libyans, Casey recovered a complete MST-13 timer.
This was a very sophisticated timer complete with its own printed circuit board. Jim (Casey) saw it and thought it looked out-of-place with the other run-of-the-mill Dark World gear the LSO types were carrying.
He palmed it, brought it back to Washington and sent it to the FBI for analysis.” — Ghost, Fred Burton (Stratfor)
It would seem that this “embellished” version of the event is actually a mix of the 23 July and the 23 September events. You may want to read Casey’s Bio.
FBI James Casey’s FD 302
James Casey’s FD 302 acknowledges the presence of a 4th US Government employee but does not state that this person works at the CIA.
As you can see, his list has now been extended to (Y)… which is a description of a MST-13 timer!
Casey alleges that the attempted overthrow was conducted by troops from neighboring GHANA, who were in turn, backed and supplied by LIBYA.
To my knowledge, the government of Togo has never made such an allegation. The government of Togo has accused the governments of Ghana and Burkina Faso of involvement in the rebellion, and requested French military assistance on September 25, 1986.
Casey states that “access to prisoners” has not been granted. Surely, if he was interested in the origin of the MST-13 timer(s), it would have been obvious to question the prisoners about it.
Casey contradicts Sherrow who stated in his FD302 that they declined to interview the rebels.
The Togolese Puzzle
Avent’s statement (S5388AW) ends with the following, rather strange passage:
“In the presence of FBI Agent Craig Bates and Security Officer Dan Garner, I made notes of Mr. Memene’s replies to a number of prepared questions and subsequently transferred these replies into the format of a statement. This statement was read by Agent Bates who agreed that its contents was identical to his notes on Mr. Memene’s replies.
On completion of the interview, Agent Bates, Dan Garner and I were then taken to an office in the Military Compound where we were shown some items which the Togolese had omitted to display the previous day. Of these, the only item of significance was a Beretta handgun, Serial No. 326413, which Agent Bates stated he would attempt to trace the origin of.
In view of Mr. Memene’s response to being shown the Prod No. Photocopies of Photographs of timer MST13 (Label No. DP94) a request was made of Colonel Walla to re-interview Mr. Assih.
Colonel Walla agreed to do this, to supply the personal information and fingerprint cards for those arrested on 23 September, 1986 and also to make enquiry to establish if timer MST-13 was ever in Togo in 1985/1986.
By Monday 1 October, 1990 no response had been received in relation to these requests and I was instructed to return to the United Kingdom, which I did that evening.”
BATF Richard Sherrow’s Strange Story
“Devereux says that Sherrow told him that while working for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) when asked to identify the timer in the photograph he was certain that he knew the origin.
Rather than implicating the MST-13’s original manufacturer MEBO, Sherrow said a company in Florida made the timer, and made it exclusively for the CIA.
Sherrow allegedly told Devereux, that he brought this information to the attention of senior personnel at the ATF he was reprimanded and immediately removed from active duty and taken off the Lockerbie investigation.” (Cover-up of Convenience. John Ashton, p 269.)
The Togolese Police reports on the 23 July and 23 September events have not been forwarded to the defense team of Megrahi. These documents could be extremely useful.
D.S. Peter Avent took photographs of the timers, which he compiled in an album, DP92, which was not a production at the trial.
In our opinion, it is very likely that the Togo Timers were actually planted by a US Intelligence Agency in order to feed false accusations to the media about “Libyan Terrorism” activities in the context of the 1986 Disinformation Campaign.
How and why? There was probably a minor event on or around 23 July 1986. Because of the ongoing disinformation operation, the US decided to blow this story out of proportion and claimed that those folks were about to bomb the US Embassy!
But then, a real event occurred in September 1986. And this was a golden opportunity to frame Libya.
The CIA knew full well since 1984 that a Swiss Company named MEBO had provided a unique timer to Libya and the CIA was in direct contact with MEBO owners and their employee: Ulrich Lumpert.
So, it seems quite likely that the CIA sent one person to Togo to pretend that the team had recovered MEBO MST-13 timers from Lomé which would have been a clear proof that Libya was behind an act of war against the US.
However, the paper from Bob Woodward — published on October 2 1986 — killed the plan. At least at the time. But people have short memory. And when the time was right, the “evidence” was resurrected.
Three years later, these very same two timers will become instrumental in establishing the responsibility of Libya in the destruction of Pan Am 103.
Many experts believe that PT/35(b) — the infamous fragment of the Swiss timer found at Lockerbie — was indeed fabricated and planted at the site to point the finger at Gaddafi.
There are serious, undisputable scientific reasons to believe that this is indeed the case.
PS: People have noticed that MST-13 timers tend to appear wherever Herr Bollier — owner and founder of MEBO — was travelling. In February 1988, he visited Tripoli and soon after that, a MST-13 timer was caught in Senegal in a luggage ‘belonging’ to a Libyan agent. In December 1988, Bollier travelled again to Tripoli and a couple of days later, PAN AM 103 exploded over Lockerbie, allegedly destroyed by a bomb activated by a MST-13 timer.
Here is a scoop. Just prior to the mysterious appearance of the MST-13 timers in Lomé, Herr Bollier had visited Togo… to enjoy a few days of vacation. If the CIA wanted to frame Libya, Bollier was the perfect ‘target’ and PT/35(b) — the infamous fragment of a MST-13 timer found at Lockerbie — was the perfect ‘evidence’ to plant. I believe that this is exactly what happened.
Papers & Books
Residual Uncertainty: Trying to Avoid Intelligence and Policy Mistakes in the Modern World. Roy Pateman p 167
Lockerbie — The Fairy Tale of the Togo Timers
Lockerbie 30th Anniversary — PT/35(b) : The Fairy Tale of the Togo Timers