Edwin Bollier with a MEBO MST-13 timer
A key witness in the Lockerbie trial
MEBO's sophisticated MST-13 timing device was alleged by forensic expert Alan Feraday at the Lockerbie bombing trial in 2000 to have been the trigger for the bomb that brought the aircraft down over Lockerbie in Scotland on 21 December 1988.
- 1 Radio North Sea International
- 2 Brighton bombing
- 3 Lockerbie bombing
- 4 Bollier at the Lockerbie trial
- 4.1 Crown Office letter
- 4.2 Professor Black on Edwin Bollier
- 4.3 MEBO Partner testifies
- 4.4 Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 16
- 4.5 Bollier’s MEBO report update
- 4.6 Key Crown witness
- 4.7 Meister and Bollier testify
- 4.8 Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 19
- 4.9 Bollier's evidence continues
- 4.10 Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 20
- 4.11 Summary by Black June 20
- 4.12 Co-conspirator Edwin Bollier?
- 4.13 Professor Black's analysis
- 4.14 Bollier's testimony continues
- 4.15 Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 22
- 4.16 Hostile Crown witness
- 4.17 Cross-examination continues
- 4.18 Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 23
- 4.19 Former Stasi agents testify
- 4.20 Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 27
- 4.21 Lumpert testimony
- 4.22 Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 28
- 5 FBI "$4 million offer"
- 6 Gaddafi "$200 million offer"
- 7 Bollier sues for $53 million
- 8 Western Intelligence Asset
- 9 Related Documents
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Radio North Sea International
In 1969, the partners Meister and Bollier established the pirate radio station Radio North Sea International (RNI) aboard the radio ship MEBO II, anchored off Scheveningen, Netherlands. Transmissions began in January 1970. By 1971, the station was highly popular, especially in the Netherlands, but also Western Europe, its programmes beamed by powerful medium and dual shortwave transmitters. After transmissions ceased in 1974, and following a lengthy legal battle with the Dutch government over its impounding of the vessel, MEBO II sailed for Tripoli, Libya, in 1977 where it was initially leased to the Libyan government for use as a radio station; then later sunk during military target practice in the Gulf of Sidra. The deal marked the beginning of a long business relationship with Libya.
On 27 March 2014, Edwin Bollier posted the following message on Facebook:
- Dear Radio Friends,
- I was informed by Victor Pelli (RNI) that the RadioDay in Amsterdam was a great event. I am very touched about all the greetings from our RNI DJ’s, other stations, offshore radio fans and organisers. I feel sad that I was not able to attend the RadioDay. Ongoing fact-finding activities by MEBO around the tragic Lockerbie case prevented me again from coming.
- Some guys asked if this is really the true reason or perhaps unadmitted health problems. Luckily I can tell you that I enjoy very good health. Regular walks in the forest up to Zürich’s Uetliberg are keeping me fit.
- Erwin Meister returned from Singapore and also enjoys life in Switzerland. I can endorse Victor’s words at the end of the RNI panel:
- "We had a unique colourful radio ship, a unique team and a unique sound. Thanks to you all of you for keeping up the spirit of Radio Northsea International."
- All the best from the MEBO Office Zurich/Switzerland,
- Edwin Bollier
- Full article: Brighton bombing
- Full article: Brighton bombing
The bomb was placed between 14 and 17 September 1984 and was triggered by a sophisticated long-delay timer to explode one month later, as Mrs Thatcher and her cabinet were asleep in their rooms.
- Full article: Pan Am Flight 103/The Trial
- Full article: Pan Am Flight 103/The Trial
At the Lockerbie trial, the Judges determined that the Swiss firm MEBO had supplied Libya with the timer which detonated the Pan Am bomb just 38 minutes after take-off from Heathrow. There is a large body of opinion that disputes this finding, preferring instead to believe that the Lockerbie bomb was triggered by a short-delay barometric device. On Professor Robert Black's blog Patrick Haseldine posed the question:
- "Was it therefore a case of 'if we can't get them for the Brighton bombing, let's frame them for the Lockerbie bombing'?"
When challenged in January 2012 as to whether the Brighton bomb's sophisticated long-delay timer was a MEBO MST-13 timer, Edwin Bollier responded:
- "A1. I and MEBO Ltd have never delivered timers and other electronic devices to the IRA or to Father Patrick Ryan. I had no contact with Fr Ryan.
- "A2. The first MEBO MST-13 timer (prototype) was constructed in spring 1985. The Brighton bomb blast was on 12 October 1984. I and MEBO Ltd. were never contacted by UK Police because of an MST-13 timer or another's materiel in connection with the IRA and Mrs Thatcher's/Brighton bombing."
On 4 November 2017, when wishing Edwin Bollier a happy 80th birthday on Facebook, Patrick Haseldine returned to the charge:
- Two weeks ago, Ludwig De Braeckeleer wrote an article about the MST-13 timer entitled "PT35B - The Most Expensive Forgery in History" in which Ludwig said:
- If the first prototype MST-13 timer wasn't constructed until spring 1985, Edwin, how do you explain the device found in Chad in September 1984?
Edwin Bollier replied on 6 November 2017, avoiding the question:
- "Dear Prof. Patrick Haseldine
- "Thank you very much for the excellent collection about Radio Nordsee International (RNI) and about the partly fabricated MST-13 Timer Liar story in the 'Affair Lockerbie-PanAm103',
- "best Edwin Bollier / MEBO Ltd, Switzerland"
Vetted by Morag
- I think Patrick's needle's stuck. He's still pasting the exact same post suggesting a MEBO timer was used for the Brighton bomb, not simply after being told that the timer used at Brighton was taken from a video-recorder, but even after the MD of MEBO himself comes along and says it wasn't a MEBO device.
- He's raving. As usual.
Silenced by Suppressor Black
Professor Robert Black declaimed:
- Once I have a fully functioning computer again (probably tomorrow) I shall remove Patrick Haseldine's comments and disable the blog's comment facility. I regard this as deeply regrettable, but I am not prepared to tolerate Patrick Haseldine's ravings on a blog administered by me.
Bollier at the Lockerbie trial
"TheLockerbieTrial.com website" was last edited by site owners Robert Black QC (Professor Emeritus of Scots Law at Edinburgh University) and Ian Ferguson (author and journalist) on 18 October 2002. The following extracts relating to Edwin Bollier have been taken from the archive of that website:
Crown Office letter
Text of letter dated 9 June 2000 from the Scottish Crown Office to Edwin Bollier:
- Dear Mr Bollier,
- HMA v ABDELBASET ALI MOHMED AL MEGRAHI and AL AMIN KHALIFA FHIMA
- I refer to the citation served upon you in connection with the above proceedings and confirm that you have been cited to appear as a witness at the High Court of Justiciary, sitting in the Netherlands and not as an accused person. As such, you cannot be proceeded against, sentenced, detained or otherwise be restricted in your personal freedom within Camp Zeist in respect of any offences committed before your departure from Switzerland.
- (The letter is from the office of Norman McFadyen, Procurator Fiscal.)
(As a discouragement to the prosecution, Bollier is alleged to have let it be known before the start of the trial that if he were to be charged for the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing he would call some high-ranking and controversial witnesses to appear, for example: former United States President George H W Bush, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Gerrit Pretorius, private secretary to South Africa's former foreign minister Pik Botha.)
Professor Black on Edwin Bollier
If the Crown choose to call as a prosecution witness someone who might have featured on the indictment as an accused person (for example, someone with whom the two Libyans are alleged to have conspired in the circumstances narrated in Charge 1 of the indictment) that witness under Scottish procedure enjoys immunity from prosecution in respect of charges contained in the indictment in respect of which he is called to give evidence. In other words, an accomplice or accessory of the actual accused (in Scottish terminology, a socius criminis) called as a prosecution witness receives in return for his evidence an automatic grant of freedom from prosecution on the charges in the indictment.
The Procurator Fiscal's letter of 9 June 2000 to Edwin Bollier goes much further than this. It states that he cannot be proceeded against, sentenced, detained or otherwise restricted in his personal freedom within Camp Zeist in respect of any offences committed before his departure from Switzerland. The immunity thus granted, and which is legally binding, is not restricted to any alleged participation in the three offences set out in the indictment against Messrs Megrahi and Fhimah.
There are those who have been prepared to suggest that some of Mr Bollier's successful efforts to place material in the public domain (e.g. scientific reports questioning the prosecution version of where the bomb was situated and how Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed) in advance of the trial, might amount under the law of Scotland to the crime of an attempt to pervert the course of justice. The Crown has now deprived itself of any right that it might ever have had to bring such criminal proceedings against him.
MEBO Partner testifies
Crown witness number 549, Erwin Meister (the ‘ME’ in MEBO) a partner in the Zürich-based firm gave evidence today [16 June 2000] in the Camp Zeist courtroom. Meister, 62, told the court of MEBO's links with Libya. In Court, Meister said he recognised the defendant al-Megrahi from business meetings in Zürich and Libya prior to the Lockerbie bombing. Meister told the court that MEBO first had business dealings with the Libyan army about 1980 and that these meetings took place in Tripoli and Benghazi. Meister said that sometimes his contacts wore army uniforms and at other times civilian clothes. He named his contacts as Ezzadin Hinshiri and Said Rashid, both named in the indictment as being officers of the Libyan Intelligence Services. During 1985 MEBO, according to Meister, was doing regular business with Libya supplying them radio and communications equipment and had sold them a batch of 20 of their own MST-13 timers.
Meister went on to say that on several occasions in Tripoli and once in Zürich he met a man called Abdelbaset and he pointed him out in court. Meister said he got the impression that Abdelbaset was "on the same level or even higher than" Ezzadin in the Libyan Army structure. Meister told the court that MEBO received an urgent order from Libya for timers from the Libyan army a few weeks before the Pan Am bombing, but he explained that when the order came through, MEBO did not have the correct materials to produce its own-brand timers in time. Instead, they purchased Olympus timers which were to be delivered to Libya by Edwin Bollier, Meister's partner in MEBO. According to Meister, Bollier returned from Libya with the timers as they were said to be unsuitable.
Meister said he had heard about the Pan Am disaster from TV reports and that he and Bollier had discussed the tragedy. During the first fortnight of January 1989, Meister said that Bollier looked at the batch of Olympus timers that had lain on a shelf in the MEBO office since he had returned from Libya on the 20th December 1988. Meister said: "Mr Bollier called me and said look what I've discovered. In his hand he had a one of the Olympus timers and he asked me to look at it. It was programmed for 7:30pm and the day of the week was Wednesday." The Lockerbie bombing took place just after 7:00pm GMT on Wednesday 21st December 1988. Meister told the court that the Scottish Police first visited the MEBO offices in 1990 to request an interview and ask about the production of MST-13 timers.
The trial was adjourned until Monday 19 June 2000.
Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 16
The Crown is attempting to establish a link between MEBO and the accused and timers produced by MEBO. Wire reports on the trial today claim that Meister said that Bollier returned from Libya just before the Lockerbie bombing via Malta.
In an interview last year at his office in Zürich, Bollier told me that he did not fly back to Zürich via Malta but that he caught a Swissair flight later that day direct from Tripoli and he showed me his ticket stubs. He also showed me the duty paid receipts on the returning timers. Bollier claimed at that interview, that he was very glad that he did not go via Malta when he discovered later that Police were saying that the bomb that blew up Pan Am 103, started its journey in Malta. He felt that he might have been accused of the bombing if he had been in Malta that day.
As he is unwilling to talk with the media, it is unclear whether Erwin Meister shares the same views as his more publicly available partner. In developments outside of the courtroom, informed sources close to the trial have told us that the report submitted to the Crown several weeks ago by Edwin Bollier has been examined and dismissed by all parties to the trial.
Bollier’s MEBO report update
Sources close to the trial have indicated that the Report commissioned by Edwin Bollier into an alternative theory on where the bomb which blew up Pan Am 103 was situated is being discounted entirely. This will clearly come as a blow to Bollier who is expected to give his evidence on Monday or Tuesday.
Key Crown witness
Key Crown witness, Edwin Bollier, has been informed that his testimony at the trial will be delayed. Reasons given to him by the Crown office were that as today (Monday) is out due to the regular long weekend and that the court will be in recess Wednesday, as it is the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. Bollier has been advised to be prepared to be at the Court Thursday.
Bollier also states that he was called by a journalist from a Scottish Sunday Newspaper based in Edinburgh, advising him that there was a rumour that Bollier might be arrested when he arrives At Camp Zeist. Bollier says he has checked with Swiss authorities who confirmed that they have received assurances from the Crown that this will not happen.
It is very puzzling why the court has decided to close on Wednesday. One has to ask if the Crown are setting precedents by allowing a court to adjourn out of religious sensitivity issues of accused persons. Can we expect to see accused Catholics, Jews, Buddhists or any other religious persuasion asking the court to be adjourned?
If so, the Scottish Courts are going to have a huge backlog and there may be a mass spiritual conversion by those currently awaiting trial and aligning themselves with a religion that has a lot of "Holy" days.
Meister and Bollier testify
Erwin Meister, the co-owner of MEBO, resumed his testimony under cross-examination today [19 June 2000]. Questioned by the defence he agreed that his earlier identification of the accused Megrahi may have been from seeing press photos of him rather than his own recollections. He admitted that he suffered from a poor memory, which was getting worse.
Defence counsel later charged Meister of lying, forging documents, fabricating evidence and blackmailing the Libyan government. Meister denied the allegations. Counsel cited written statements taken from Meister by Swiss and Scottish police in 1990 and 1991 that said Meister had "willingly lied to achieve financial gain." Meister did admit that MEBO was in the process of arranging loans from Libya during the time of the early investigations into the crash. Challenged by the defence that he and MEBO had offered to cover for Libya by stating that they had sold timers to an extremist group in Beirut, Meister denied this.
Edwin Bollier, witness number 548, and the 'BO' in MEBO, spoke of how MEBO established business links with Libya. He sold Libya a vessel, a former Pirate Radio ship from the North Sea and he told how he supplied electronics equipment to the Libyan Army. Bollier later admitted his company fitted briefcases with the technology to detonate remote-controlled bombs.
Bollier told the court that his Zurich-based firm adapted Motorola pagers into radio-controlled detonators and secured them into the cases. Some of these devices were delivered to the Stasi, East German secret police, in East Berlin. He said MEBO did not supply the explosives.
Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 19
There has never been any serious doubt that MEBO supplied the Libyan Army with timers. The questions will focus on which particular type and when. It is clear in the world within which MEBO conducted its business there is not much in the way of trust. The ship referred to by Bollier did not survive long off the coast of Libya. Apparently the Libyans, suspicious of the various antennae and aerials, decided that it might be some sort of spy vessel and sunk it.
The Stasi gave Bollier the codename of "Rubin" and let him think he was trusted but Stasi files reveal they considered he might be a CIA agent. It is difficult to imagine that MEBO only sold their electronic timers and electronic equipment to the Libyans and the Stasi. We will be reporting soon on some other countries and organizations where MEBO have been active.
Bollier's evidence continues
Giving evidence today [20 June 2000], Edwin Bollier, a partner in the Zürich-based company MEBO, told the court that the timer fragments he was shown had been modified. The Crown alleges that the timer, which was used in the detonation of the bomb that blew up Pan Am 103, was manufactured by MEBO and supplied to Libya.
After studying the fragments with a magnifying glass, Bollier said: "They have been modified, I swear they have been modified." He identified the two fragments as appearing to come from a MST-13 circuit board. He went on to say though, that the pieces seemed to have been burnt since he first saw them at a Scottish police office last year and one fragment was slightly smaller than a photo taken a short time after it was discovered.
Alan Turnbull for the Crown, said small pieces were shaved off from the fragments so forensic scientists could perform tests, but Bollier claimed that several versions of the fragments might be floating about. Bollier then claimed the fragments he viewed could have come from timers he sold to Libya or to East Germany or might even be counterfeit copies since the blueprints MEBO used to make the circuit boards had mysteriously disappeared.
When asked where the fragment could have come from Bollier said, "It could be counterfeit."
According to Bollier, Libya in 1985 ordered 20 timers with MST-13 circuit boards. These he claimed were samples produced by his company in hopes of getting further and bigger orders from Libya. But MEBO was also hoping to sell the same type of timer to the Stasi in East Germany and delivered two prototype versions to them in 1985. Bollier then claimed that the prototypes were different colours with the green circuit boards going to Libya and the brownish grey boards going to the East Germans. Bollier then announced that a man who had a company in Florida claimed to have made replicas of MEBO's MST-13 timers and supplied them to the US Central Intelligence Agency. He did not name the firm or the man, but said he had a letter from the man, who had also published the information on the Internet.
Earlier in his testimony Bollier said he witnessed tests, at a special forces training area near Tripoli, of timers he had sold to members of the Libyan Army in 1985. Bollier said he was present when two of the timers were used on bomb cylinders, and he went to say that they were to be used in aircraft. Bollier said that the Libyan Army would also use them in their war with Chad, blowing up camps to stop them falling into enemy hands. Bollier had earlier identified Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, one of the accused, as a man he did business with on several occasions before the bombing. He pointed him out in the courtroom. Bollier was not sure what position Megrahi held, but he thought that he was a fairly high official and well connected. Bollier described meeting Megrahi several times at the MEBO office in Zurich and in Tripoli.
Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 20
Since he was shown the fragments of circuit boards in Scotland last year, Bollier has claimed that the fragments were "manipulated". His official police statements show that he saw two fragments individually. One of the fragments he said showed no signs of solder. When he asked to see the two fragments together on the following day, he said that solder had been added to the fragment he had seen the day before.
The continuing mystery surrounding these circuit board fragments will no doubt continue throughout this trial. One man who may be called is Thomas Thurman formerly of the FBI Laboratories and the man who announced to the world that he was "euphoric" when he claimed that he had made the positive identification of the fragment. Differing stories surfaced about this discovery, with Thurman admitting that he had seen the actual fragment and then admitting he had only seen photographs. Thurman was later the subject of an inquiry, which found that he had altered FBI reports, not connected with Lockerbie, and made them more favourable to the Prosecution.
Speaking to me in an interview last year, Oliver 'Buck' Revell, who at the time of the Pan Am bombing was Executive Assistant Director at the FBI, was asked if Tom Thurman had examined the fragment in the USA, said "I don't know. I don't believe so." He went on: "I know he had blown-up photographs, because I don't believe RARDE or any of the Scottish officials released the physical evidence in order to maintain that very careful chain of custody."
Earlier in the trial we saw the defence explore that "very careful chain of custody" by highlighting gaps in the recording of evidence and it was touched on again in Allen Feraday's evidence, when he disputed the police logs because they did not match with his own notes. We can reveal though that the fragments were indeed taken to the USA by Allen Feraday accompanied by a police officer, Mr Henderson.
Breaking News: Informed sources tell us that Edwin Bollier is considering making a formal complaint to the Procurator Fiscal regarding issues with the timer fragments. More soon.
Summary by Black June 20
Apart from graphically setting the scene by establishing that Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed over Lockerbie and that 270 people were killed as a result, how far does the evidence led to date go towards establishing the case set out in the indictment against the two accused persons?
On the assumption that the witnesses who have given evidence so far are accepted by the judges as being credible (i.e. honest and truthful) and reliable (i.e. accurate in their observation and recollection of events) — and in the light of defence challenges in cross-examination regarding e.g. the accuracy of record keeping, the provenance of certain crucial items of wreckage (where, when and by whom they were found; through whose hands they thereafter passed) and the competence and neutrality of certain expert witnesses, judicial acceptance of the credibility and reliability of witnesses cannot be regarded as a foregone conclusion — it is possible that the following might be held to have been provisionally established, always subject to any later contrary evidence which may be led by the prosecution or the defence.
1. That the seat of the explosion was in a particular Samsonite suitcase (which contained clothing manufactured in Malta and sold both there and elsewhere) at or near the bottom of a particular aluminium luggage container (AVE 4041).
2. That the bomb had been contained in a black Toshiba RT SF 16 cassette recorder.
3. That a fragment of circuit board from an MST-13 timer manufactured by MEBO AG formed part of the timing mechanism which detonated the bomb.
4. That MEBO AG supplied MST-13 timers to the Libyan army, as well as to other customers such as the East German Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (Stasi).
5. That the first-named accused, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, was known to the owners of MEBO AG, that he was involved in obtaining for Libya electronic equipment from MEBO and that a company of which he was a principal for a time had accommodation in the premises occupied by MEBO in Zürich.
No evidence has as yet been led to attempt to establish (a) that the Samsonite suitcase containing the bomb was launched on its fatal progress from Malta (as distinct from being directly loaded onto Pan Am 103 at Heathrow, or starting its journey at Frankfurt) or (b) that the clothing in the suitcase was purchased in Malta by either of the accused. It is when the prosecution advances evidence on these two matters that it will be possible to say that evidence which is positively incriminatory of the accused has been led. That stage has not yet been reached.
Co-conspirator Edwin Bollier?
The Crown admitted today for the first time that they considered charging Edwin Bollier of MEBO with conspiracy to murder. The admission came about during a legal discussion between the Crown and the defence, when David Burns QC, objected the Crown's line of questioning of Edwin Bollier.
Bollier had flown to Libya to deliver 40 timers and Alan Turnbull QC for the Crown quizzed him about the details of his return trip. Crown Counsel David Burns, challenged and said that if the Crown planned to inquire further about Mr Bollier's movements and suggest he was a co-conspirator, then the defence would be forced to object, as it had not been given notice of that position.
Turnbull for the Crown responded to the court and said: "If we were going to libel him, we would have done so. These issues have been considered." Turnbull went further saying: "The decision not to include him as a co-conspirator is not a recognition that he has nothing to do with the matter. The extent of his involvement is yet to be developed in evidence. It may be he has involvement in what occurred but, unless the Crown is able to adduce evidence that places him in the conspiracy, it is not appropriate to libel him as a co-conspirator."
Professor Black's analysis
On Wednesday 21 June 2000 the prosecution continued its examination-in-chief of Edwin Bollier. In the course of questioning by Alan Turnbull QC, Bollier was asked in detail about his movements in the days immediately preceding 21 December 1988, the date when Pan Am 103 was destroyed. David Burns QC for the accused Megrahi objected to this line of questioning since it appeared to be based on the suggestion that Bollier was a co-conspirator along with the two Libyans, and the defence had been given no advance notice in the indictment that that was the Crown's position. In the course of legal debate on the issue Mr Turnbull indicated that charging Mr Bollier with conspiracy along with Megrahi and Fhimah had been an option considered by the prosecution, and the fact that the Crown had eventually chosen not to do so did not mean that he therefore was not involved.
As indicated in an earlier commentary, Mr Bollier is now immune from prosecution for any part that he could be alleged to have played in the events leading up to the destruction of Pan Am 103. If he had been called into the witness box in the capacity of a co-conspirator being asked to give Queen's evidence against fellow conspirators, then he would automatically have benefited from the immunity from prosecution, in respect of the charges libelled in the indictment, that is granted to any prosecution witness who is called in this capacity. But in any event, the letter of 9th June 2000 to Mr Bollier from the office of the Procurator Fiscal in charge of the Lockerbie proceedings, specifically grants him immunity in respect of any conduct on his part before he left Switzerland to attend the court at Camp Zeist.
The Crown have accordingly lost any opportunity that they may once have had to bring charges against Edwin Bollier in respect of any pre-trial activities on his part. This being the case, the prosecution's motives and tactics in seeking to brand Mr Bollier, one of their own witnesses, as a conspirator (or near conspirator) with the two accused, is obscure.
Bollier's testimony continues
In what was to be his last day of examination-in-chief today, Edwin Bollier, the partner in the Swiss firm MEBO, the alleged manufacturers of the timer which detonated the bomb aboard Pan Am 103, attempted to explain to the court the details of the mystery caller at his office.
Bollier alleges that on 30 December 1988, a man called at his office and blackmailed him into writing a letter implicating the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his associate Abdullah al-Senussi. Bollier claimed that the man spoke German but with an English Accent. Bollier said the man knew a good deal about his recent trip to Libya although on some details he was wrong. "You are smart enough to write such a letter and all I can say is do it. Otherwise you’ll have to suffer the consequences..." was what the man said claimed Bollier.
According to Bollier, the mystery man also gave him instructions to type the letter on a typewriter with Spanish key format. Bollier claimed that he hand-delivered the letter to the US Embassy in Vienna, Austria en route to East Germany. The contents of the letter were alleged to say that Gaddafi had called for a "secret conference" and that a suitcase containing the bomb and stuffed full of dollars was checked in to Tripoli airport on 20 December 1988, the day before the Pan Am attack. Bollier later admitted that he had made up the story of the contents as part of a ploy. "It was a made-up letter, it was fantasy. I wanted to find out who the person was who came to my office and more or less blackmailed me," he said.
David Burns QC, defence counsel for Megrahi, in cross-examination, accused Bollier of inventing the "mystery man" and writing to the CIA out of an insatiable greed for money, believing he could earn a big reward for giving information on Lockerbie. Bollier insisted he wrote the CIA letter purely because he wanted to find out the identity of his mystery visitor and the truth behind the Lockerbie bombing. Burns charged that Bollier had implicated Libya to deflect attention from a Palestinian guerrilla group, who were early suspects in the Lockerbie bombing.
Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 22
If ever a courtroom sounded like the script for a bad spy movie, today must have been that day. Talk of a mystery man, a typewriter with Spanish key format, trips to Vienna and then on to East Germany. This sounded like the plot for a cold war thriller, with echoes of Bollier in a remake of Orson Welles role in "The Third Man" set in cold war Vienna but with secret notes on special typewriters and a rendez-vous at the American Embassy, before the final scene of a trip into the arms of the Stasi in East Germany.
When Bollier first told me of this mystery man meeting the date the man arrived was the 29th December 1988 and not as he said today the 30th and the mystery man's name I was later to discover was Wideman. Bollier claimed that he was given a telephone number to call Wideman in the USA and some sort of secret Morse code signaling arrangement was made between the two. Bollier explained to me that he called the man when he (Bollier) was on one of his trips to the FBI HQ in Washington DC. On one occasion he called Wideman who told him never to call back on this number. Bollier made these trips and others without a lawyer so it must have never occurred to him that he might be charged with conspiracy. He also claimed to have seen his "Vienna Embassy" letter on a desk at the offices of the FBI. It was unclear from court reports today whether Bollier was claiming the whole incident was "made up" or just the contents of the letter. It became clearer, I think, later that he was referring to the contents.
Whatever the authenticity of the letter, there may be further discussion of the letter which bore a date which was prior to the date of purchase of the typewriter. On numerous occasions, I pressed Bollier for the telephone number that Wideman gave him but he would not release it.
If Bollier was surprised at the aggressive questioning by the Crown Counsel, he will undoubtedly be stunned by more of the same from the Defence team.
The Editors of this Website (Professor Robert Black and Ian Ferguson) have made strenuous efforts in an attempt to have the daily transcripts made available to the public through the Scottish Courts official Website. We have written three times to the Scottish Executive and asked them to consider in the interests of "Justice being seen to be done", to have these transcripts available free of charge and in a timely manner.
Seriously inaccurate reporting of this trial is currently a problem and having the transcripts made available will go a long way to ensuring accuracy in reporting. Some of Bollier's comments made in Court on Wednesday were wrongly reported. We are awaiting a reply from the Executive but informed sources have told us that it is actively being discussed.
Hostile Crown witness
It is clear that the prosecution on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 June 2000 were treating Edwin Bollier, a witness called by them, as a hostile witness, at least on certain issues. In Scottish procedure, there is no need for a party to ask the court to allow him to treat one of his own witnesses as hostile. As a distinguished Scottish judge once said: "I understand that it is the practice in England that, where a witness has failed to give the evidence expected from him, counsel who has put him into the witness-box must either be content to take what the witness says in an uncritical spirit or he must ask leave of the Court to treat the witness as hostile. Such a rule is unknown in our practice, and it is for the counsel to make up his mind, subject to the Court's seeing that the witness has fair play, how he will examine his witness, and for the counsel at the end of the day to lay his submissions before the Court, having in view his own method of handling the witness, and, if he so chooses, to ask the Court to disbelieve the witness, provided that he has given him a fair opportunity of answering any charge of unreliability or untruthfulness which may emerge from his evidence. I think it is important that we should adhere to our own practice. The practice in England has an origin with which we are unfamiliar, and it may also have consequences with which we are unfamiliar. Our own practice is known to us, and should not be departed from."
Where a witness is treated as hostile, the main practical consequence is that he may be asked leading questions in examination-in-chief, a type of question which is normally permissible only in cross-examination. As is stated in "The Laws of Scotland: Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia", volume 10 para 552: "Leading questions on matters in dispute are also permitted in examination-in-chief where the witness displays an unwillingness or reluctance to give evidence, or hostility to the party calling him. The examiner may treat the witness as hostile, or unfavourable to his case, and ask leading questions and in effect subject him to cross-examination. He may do so without the leave of the court."
Edwin Bollier spent his fifth day in the witness stand Friday and had to sustain further blistering attacks from Richard Keen QC, counsel for Fhimah. Keen suggested that Bollier blamed Libya because at the time of the bombing he was a Stasi collaborator. Keen was relentless in his attacks on Bollier's credibility. He charged that Bollier was a liar who tried, on behalf of the Stasi, to deflect attention away from the PFLP-GC and on to Libya: "Isn’t it the case that at the beginning of the investigation you were still a Stasi collaborator and you became drawn into a web of cunning and deceit and lies in which you are still enmeshed?" Keen asked.
Bollier, co-owner of Swiss firm MEBO, has admitted supplying equipment such as timers to Libya and the Stasi. But he insisted the relationship with East Germany was a legal business one. Yesterday Bollier had told the tale of a mystery man who had arrived at his office and blackmailed him into writing a letter blaming Libya for the bombing. Keen attacked Bollier's "mystery man" explanation for his CIA letter and said a legitimate businessman could not have known at that stage that investigators suspected the PFLP-GC. "But a legitimate Swiss businessman who was a Stasi collaborator could have been advised by the Stasi that investigators were on the track of the PFLP-GC," said Keen.
Bollier replied that he had simply read media speculation of Palestinian involvement. Keen, seizing the moment, took the opportunity to pour scorn on the mystery man and asked: "Was he wearing a mackintosh by any chance?" When Bollier said "Yes," Keen pressed on asking: "He didn’t happen to have a trilby pulled down over his eyes, did he?" Bollier said: "No he didn't."
Bollier said he met East German spymaster Markus Wolf on his first visit to the Stasi in East Berlin in 1970. He admitted he was often in debt to the Stasi but said that was because they paid him in advance for goods such as devices for the remote control of detonators, encryption systems and electronic timers. In contrast to Libya who often delayed paying him, East Germany gave him lump sums plus credit for material and information supplied, he said, acknowledging that the Stasi paid him around a million Swiss francs in 1970-1980 and half a million thereafter. He had an arrangement with the Stasi, which mean his passport would not show entry into East Germany. Bollier told of a meeting with two Stasi members in East Berlin in January 1989.
Keen showed Bollier a record of a 1991 interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in which Bollier was recorded as saying he thought of writing to the CIA after having met a Libyan and a Stasi agent in East Berlin in early January 1989. But Bollier rejected this, saying there must have been a mistake. Time and again he rebutted the defence’s charges he was a liar and insisted he was in court to tell the truth. Bollier accused Keen of trying to water down his testimony. The Trial continues Tuesday.
Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 23
Bollier is most certainly feeling very uncomfortable having now been savaged by both Crown and defence. Keen picked up my "Third Man" routine when he spoke of Bollier's mystery man wearing a mackintosh and Trilby, the Hollywood trademarks of the 'Film Noir' genre.
Bollier's links with the Stasi are well documented and he probably fitted in very well. The Stasi were renowned for being paranoid in the extreme and obsessed with the belief that everyone was some form of double or triple agent. The Stasi also felt that Bollier must know "someone with influence" in the West and they continued to suspect him of being a double agent for the CIA. Bollier will resume his testimony on Tuesday as the court is in recess for its regular long weekend.
Former Stasi agents testify
Joachim Wenzel, a former Stasi officer described in court simply as "Mr Wenzel" confirmed that Edwin Bollier who allegedly supplied a timer used to blow up Pan Am 103 also provided timer devices to the East German secret police. Wenzel, Crown Witness number 562, said he had dealt with Edwin Bollier, the co-owner of MEBO, between 1982 and 1985 and had been his 'handler'. Bollier and his partner Erwin Meister testified last week, that they had supplied MST-13 timers to both Libya and the Stasi. Hidden from the public's view by a curtain and with his voice digitally distorted, the former Stasi man, referred to only as "Wenzel", said Bollier had visited him in East Berlin, each time bringing items of equipment that had been ordered by the Stasi.
Wenzel said Bollier had supplied: "Receivers, recognition devices and everything to do with radio technology," for the Stasi, including timers with digital and rotary switch displays for setting the countdown. Advocate Depute Alan Turnbull focused on Wenzel's memory of the number of timers supplied by Bollier and their description. "Perhaps an MST-13 was among the timers?" Turnbull asked. "All I can say is I believe so, but I cannot be sure," said Wenzel.
Turnbull also called two further witnesses, both former Stasi agents who said they had been Bollier's handlers before and after Wenzel and had received equipment from him. Neither "Mr Arnold" (witness number 560) nor "Mr Gerber" (witness number 564), as they were identified in court, could positively confirm that MST-13 timers had been supplied to the Stasi by Bollier.
Wenzel testified that all the timers he received, along with a lot of the other equipment and information held by the Stasi, were destroyed at the time of the fall of the Berlin wall. "I did that myself," he told the court. But defence lawyers, challenged Wenzel, asking him whether he had perhaps "forgotten" about the letters MST-13 that may have been on the timers. Counsel then also charged that Wenzel had moved to another Stasi department, which the defence claimed had links with guerrilla groups operating outside East Germany. In that department, Counsel said that Wenzel's superiors would have had access to stores of equipment, including the timers, and could have taken them without informing Wenzel. Defence Counsel said that the period around the fall of the Berlin Wall would have been a time of "great panic and confusion" and said Wenzel could not be sure that the timers had been destroyed. But Wenzel said: "I think that all the timers I received stayed with me until this time and then I destroyed them all."
Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 27
It is interesting to find members of one of the most feared and hated groups responsible for terrible repression and torture in the former East Germany, giving evidence for the Crown.
The Stasi were notorious for encouraging people to inform on their own family members, setting sons against fathers and sisters against brothers. In an interesting development reported in October 1999, around the time the final indictment was handed down against Megrahi and Fhimah, the CIA agreed to hand over Stasi files to the German Government.
Under the agreement, the CIA will gradually turn over copies of Stasi files "that touch on German affairs," Ernst Uhrlau was quoted as telling a Bonn newspaper. Germany has long sought to obtain the secret police records, allegedly stolen by the CIA after the East German government fell in 1989.
In October 1999, a German government spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the CIA had agreed to return copies of the Stasi records, but she declined to offer details. Officials believe the files will identify as yet undiscovered Stasi spies, including Cold War agents in former West Germany. The CIA will be giving CD-ROMs with the records to the German Interior Ministry, Uhrlau was quoted as saying. The files are said to contain the code names and real names of former Stasi agents. Perhaps among them lie details of MEBO's dealings with Wenzel, Gerber and Arnold. The Stasi were known supplier's of materials to terrorist groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), whose members were busy building "Toshiba bombs" in Germany several weeks before Pan Am blew up allegedly with a similar bomb.
Ueli Lumpert, Crown witness number 550, gave evidence today. Lumpert, a technician, is the former employee of MEBO, Zürich and the man credited with designing the timer that was subsequently given the model number MST-13. Today, Lumpert admitted there were discrepancies between what he told Lockerbie investigators. Lumpert said he drew up a blueprint for the electronic component in 1985 after Edwin Bollier, came to him with an urgent order. Two prototypes were completed and Lumpert, 58, from Switzerland, assumed were delivered to Mr Bollier's contacts in the East German secret police, the Stasi.
Describing how he came to devise the MST-13 timers, Lumpert said: "Mr Bollier came to me and said he simply had to have two timers as soon as possible. So I worked on that Saturday and Sunday in order to make them ready and after that I found out that he went to the GDR and took the two timers with him." In earlier interviews Lumpert did not mention the Stasi connection and it was only brought up in an interview at the Swiss prosecutor’s office in October 1993. The references to East Germany and the Stasi customers only arose in later interviews because he had "remembered all of a sudden" about Mr Bollier's trips to East Berlin after discussing the matter with his wife, said Lumpert.
Lumpert told the court that he had discussed what he described to as "the timer problem" with Edwin Bollier and MEBO's other partner Erwin Meister after it emerged that their equipment had allegedly been used in the Lockerbie bomb.
Advocate Depute Alan Turnbull QC asked: "Have you not given thought many times over the years to the question of MST-13 timers?" Lumpert replied: "No, not really. I had so many other things had to make I could not concentrate on the MST-13 alone." Turnbull then asked: "You have only been interviewed in connection with one mass murder in the last few years, have you not?" "Yes," replied Lumpert. "These interviews have all concentrated around the MST-13 timers. Have you not given much thought to your involvement with MST-13 timers?" Turnbull asked. "Naturally," replied Lumpert.
Turnbull went on to suggest there were discrepancies in what Lumpert told investigators about who had been supplied with the MST-13 timers. Turnbull asked, "In July of 1991 you said that you had no idea to whom Bollier was selling these items. Why did you not say that you thought that they were going to East Germany?" Lumpert replied that it was "Because I couldn't remember it at that point."
Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 28
Lumpert, who now works for IBM in Switzerland, seemed to suffer from the same problem that affected his former bosses Meister and Bollier during their testimony: a poor memory. There certainly appeared to be a collective memory problem for all three MEBO witnesses and no doubt their departure from the court will be met with a sigh of relief by at least the Megrahi defence team.
Considering the trial is now in its ninth week, hardly a word has been mentioned about the accused Fhimah. Despite the often lengthy testimony by various witnesses to date, the trial is still a long way off from establishing the connection between Libya, Bollier, timers, the bomb which blew up Pan Am 103 and the two accused Libyans.
FBI "$4 million offer"
In October 2007, Bollier told UN-observer Dr Hans Köchler that the FBI had offered him $4 million – plus a new identity in the United States – if he would agree to "write in a police statement" that the timer fragment allegedly found at the Pan Am Flight 103 crash site was actually part of a MEBO MST-13 timer that his firm had supplied to Libya. He apparently turned down the offer.
Gaddafi "$200 million offer"
Bollier sues for $53 million
In March 2012, Edwin Bollier announced that he plans to sue the Crown Office and Scottish Police for $53 million (£33.75 million) following new revelations about critical evidence in the case.
After the Lockerbie trial, MEBO was forced into bankruptcy after facing a lawsuit from Pan Am, which itself went bankrupt in 1991. MEBO had also lost major clients, such as the German federal police to which it supplied communications equipment. Bollier claims he lost millions as a result.
However, Megrahi's official biography by John Ashton claims new evidence shows the fragment of circuit board found at Lockerbie was 100% covered in tin and did not match those in the timers sent to Libya. It also alleges the Crown's forensic expert at trial, Allen Feraday, was aware of the disparity but failed to disclose it.
Documents from the Ministry of Defence Royal Armaments Research and Development Establishment, disclosed by the Crown just before Megrahi's appeal was dropped, revealed contradictory notes from Mr Feraday saying the coating was pure tin and then "70/30 Sn/Pb" (70% tin and 30% lead). Edwin Bollier said:
- "It is now absolutely clear this fragment was not from a timer we delivered to Libya. We told the police in 1999 this was the case but they would not believe us. We lost our company and had to pay a big damages claim. I have instructed lawyers in Switzerland and I am looking for a lawyer in the UK. The counter claim we would have against the Crown and Scottish police is for $53m. This is for the money lost plus interest."
A Crown Office spokesman said:
- "Prior to the original trial the defence instructed its own independent analysis of the timer fragment, which necessitated a review of the examinations carried out by those consulted and instructed by the Crown. In respect of the timer fragment the defence experts were satisfied it had suffered damage consistent with it having been closely associated with an explosion and that it had come from an MST-13 timer."
On 7 November 2014, Edwin Bollier announced on his Facebook page that MEBO will bring "its 52 million US$ claim for damages against the Swiss State (State liability) on 10 November 2014 at the European Court of Justice (ECHR)."
Western Intelligence Asset
On 17 October 2013, Patrick Haseldine posted the following question on Edwin Bollier's Facebook page:
- Western Intelligence Asset
- Today, the author and film researcher, John Ashton, said:
- "Another, Edwin Bollier, was also almost certainly a Western Intelligence Asset (the Stasi, with whom he had been dealing since at least the early Seventies, kept close tabs on him and were convinced that he was)."
- "Edwin, are you BND, CIA or MI5?"
On 18 October 2013, Edwin Bollier responded as follows:
- Dear Prof. Patrick Haseldine,
- Here's the answer to: Edwin, are you BND, CIA or MI5?
- I've never been an agent for any Intelligence Agency, such as the STASI, BND, CIA or MI5.
- Between 1971 and 1989, I was in contact with the East German State Security Service (STASI) as a supplier (MEBO Ltd) of electronic components and spares.
- It was while Commissioner Fuhl of the West German BND was conducting enquiries in Konstanz in 1991 that I first discovered that the STASI had labelled me "IM" with the codename "Rubin". This was apparently normal for the STASI's suppliers, and has nothing to do with spying!
- There wasn't an embargo on the goods we supplied, and all deliveries had been approved by the Swiss export licensing authorities.
- The spy accusation dates from 1973 when the media in the UK reported that my pirate radio vessel MS MEBO II (Radio North Sea International - RNI) was spying for the STASI and intercepting international communications between Holland and the UK.
- This completely untrue story was put about by a sacked RNI disk jockey. To this day, I can still hear that first BBC news broadcast: "The ship MEBO two, is a spy ship" ....
- Edwin Bollier
- MEBO Ltd. Telecommunications
- PS. DJ Andy Archer (UK) and later the ex 'MI6' investigator, Paul Harris, with his book were responsible for the dirty spy story of the radio ship MS MEBO II. A collage of 1970s archive material related to the suspicion that RNI might have been a front for GDR spying activities as a numbers station concludes with a BBC Radio Humberside interview on 30 August 2004 in which RNI's DJ Steve Merike, a bizarre choice to 'disprove' the rumours, sought to dispel the spy ship theory.
- "Also in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf stories about the espionage occurred, about which Meister & Bollier and DJ Andy Archer complained at the Council of Journalists."
- by Edwin Bollier,
- MEBO Ltd
|How Megrahi and Libya were framed for Lockerbie||article||22 July 2010||Alexander Cockburn|
|Lockerbie case: new accusations of manipulation of key forensic evidence||Statement||28 August 2007||Hans Köchler||Those responsible for the mid-air explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 will have to be identified and brought to justice. A continuation of the rather obvious cover-up which we have witnessed up until now is neither acceptable for the citizens of Scotland nor for the international public.|
|PT35B - The Most Expensive Forgery in History||Article||18 October 2017||Ludwig De Braeckeleer||Ludwig De Braeckeleer proves that the Lockerbie bomb timer fragment PT(35)b is a "fragment of the imagination"|
|Was the MST-13 timer fragment planted in the wreckage of Pan Am 103||Blog post||15 September 2009||Morag Kerr||You can set the MST-13 timer for any time you like from 1 minute to 999 hours before the bomb explodes. So you set it to go off only an hour after Pan Am Flight 103's scheduled take-off from Heathrow on an 8-hour flight. Really?|
- "Meister and Bollier testify at the Lockerbie trial"
- "Shadow Over Lockerbie"
- Dr Martin van der Ven. "Target practice in the Mediterranean". Offshore-radio.de. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- "Edwin Bollier - Radio Day 2010"
- "Edwin Bollier is 'very busy with this dirty Lockerbie case'"
- "2014 RadioDay in Amsterdam"
- "The Hunt for the Bomber", BBC News Special, 1986
- "Bomb expert links hotel device to Glasgow cache"
- "So, if we can't get them in revenge for the Brighton bombing, let's get them for the Lockerbie bombing!"
- Lockerbie Judgment
- "The Iron Lady's Revenge?"
- "Edwin Bollier's response"
- "UK Police did not contact Edwin Bollier about Brighton bombing"
- "Document:PT35B - The Most Expensive Forgery in History"
- "When was MST-13 born?"
- "Edwin Bollier replied avoiding the question"
- "Vetted by Morag"
- "I shall remove Patrick Haseldine's comments and disable the blog's comment facility"
- "Crown Office letter dated 9 June 2000 to Edwin Bollier"
- "Calling high-ranking/controversial witnesses"
- "Black on Bollier"
- "Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 16, 2000"
- "Ian Ferguson on Bollier"
- "Key Crown witness"
- "Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 19"
- "Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 20"
- "Summary by Black June 20"
- "Co-conspirator Edwin Bollier?"
- "Bollier 'was Lockerbie suspect'"
- "Professor Black's analysis"
- "Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 22"
- "Hostile Crown witness"
- "Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 23"
- "Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 27"
- "Commentary by Ian Ferguson June 28"
- "Lockerbie trial: an intelligence operation?"
- "Gaddafi's son attacks "greedy" Lockerbie relatives in BBC Two documentary"
- "Lockerbie: was Libya really behind it?" Beobachter magazine (with John Ashton)
- "Lockerbie witness to sue"
- "MEBO's claim at the European Court"
- "Edwin Bollier on Facebook"
- "An open letter to Magnus Linklater"
- "Edwin Bollier: Western Intelligence Asset"
- "Here's the answer to: Edwin, are you BND, CIA or MI5?"
- "RNI: A front for GDR spying activities?"
- "Raad voor de Journalistiek"
- "DJ Andy Archer and ex MI6 investigator, Paul Harris, were responsible"
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