MST-13 COMPARATIVE GRAPHICS no. 4
[Pan Am 103 Series]
Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
January 1 2010 (last edit 1/2)
There's a plot device I must've seen once in a horror movie - a whole village, space station, whatever, was wiped out by something horrible, left desolate and stumbled on by a ragtag group of (4-7) likable misfits banded together by fate or conscription. Among the ruins they find one survivor - perhaps a young girl - who miraculously survived. The wandering Samaritans take her in of course as they moved on to whatever their new plan became. Up front I'm wondering, hey, just how did she survive? Only too late will they learn what I shouted twelve minutes in ... she IS the disguised monster that killed the (village, space station, etc) and then kills most (but not all) of the characters we had earlier bonded with through subtle cues.
Anyway, that feeling is similar to one I get about at least two of the crucial few bits of evidence against Libya, one being that timer fragment PT/35(b). In past readings and discussions I've run across some intriguing doubts about whether any such fragment would be expected to survive the semtex explosion required to bring down a plane. I know not the forensics, and am probably not going to. I do suspect the fragment was inserted into the evidence pool, but didn't want to say, as some did, that it must be a plant simply due to existing.
But its existence is odd, first of all in being found on land when it was fully capable of hiding itself in the deep ocean. Then its loneliness - parts of the radio itself were found, but nothing else from what was added. RARDE scientist Alan Feraday's final report noted "this piece of circuit board is the sole recovered fragment originating from the mechanism of the IED itself."
Now if the explosion were not strong enough to vaporize everything, I would expect a few surviving pieces, with this probably the largest. Rather it's the single and only. Luckily it was a piece of the highly-identifiable and highly-Libya-linked MST-13 circuit board that triggered the bomb, says the official papers. Discovered within a piece of exploded clothing, the fragment of fiberglass circuit board, about a millimeter thick, itself looks hardly exploded. Note its fracture lines, left, bottom, and lower right edges - are all straight lines at right angles to each other. I imagine there are reasonable explosion-related causes for this, but it strikes me as unnatural, FWIW.
Approximately one cm square (hugely magnified above), its printed surface is dominated by a touch pad that uncanilly resembles an upright number one, and double-underlined at that. Considering the entire board (below, right - color adjusted, touch pad area outlined), there is no other spot on the board that contains a recognizable symbol. There are plenty of spots with little lines that might be shown to match, but they don't seem to really say anything. When you're like Tom Thurman, searching with intrepid zeal for the one clue you need, that must be almost a religious experience to see... bam. THE ONE, telling its discoverers "There is but one way to conviction, and it is by me. I shall be thine number one evidence, and only savior." Subtly, it evokes the PA one-oh-three it was alleged to have brought down, and wispers in our left ear "we're number one" for solving this most awesome forensics puzzle and gettin the baddies.
Or less hyperbolically, when one sees this, the temptation is too much to turn it so that's visible. But in fact, the boxed MST-13 trial exhibit DP/111 (above left) shows the readout from the front (circuitry traced here for reference). We've been reading it upside down. Consider the other trial photo at right, with upside-down board, and the area of PT35(b) indicated in red, apparently on top and to the right. What a better place for an underlined number one could there be? Bottom sucks. Left, evil. Turn the whole world upside down if need be to make sure we're number one, double underlined, on the right and at the top. And can "prove" libya did it in the process. Who's writing this stuff? Random fate? Really? You aren't believing in God by now?
In addition to the fragment's clear and powerful message, we have its perhaps-miraculous existence. Previously I had wondered if maybe such a piece could have been shielded behind a larger element attached to the board before nestling in that shirt collar. But I knew it was a bit of a stretch. At left is a duplicate MST-13 with elements attached. The photo is from the website of a Mr. Byers, who claims the CIA was making these fake MST-13s in Florida. At any rate, I don't know what these things all do or are called I've even been told but it didn't sink in. Do note the largest block is the timer dispaly, seen here from the back, and set just south of middle. The rest is surely capacitors, flux inhibitionists, and some grommets around the outer parts.
Some of these things are probably made of metal and materials stronger and thicker than fiberglass board and could shield our PT/35(b) in the chaos of explosion. But if something like that happened, then where is that protector now? Did it vaporize itself? Or plunge irrecoverably into the mud at the bottom of a Scottish loch? Maybe, but then all elements of the bomb except this "number one" corner of that Mebo-traceable, indictment-enabling layout wind up disappearing into the ether? I'm a reasonable chap but I find that harder to swallow than what so many other clues are already saying - the rest was cut or blown off elsewhere, and only THE ONE was ever near this crime scene, after being carefully selected for the job. I can't see just why fate would have any interest in making sure the evidence "says something to us." A false God playing with reality and feeling immune in orbit might just take the chance.