Saturday, July 5, 2014

My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker #7

Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is part #7 of my series, "My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker." Previous posts in this series were part #1, part #2, part #3, part #4, part #5 and part #6. See those previous posts for the background of my theory.

[Above: Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory staff and Rochester radiocarbon dating laboratory's Prof. Harry Gove (second from right) around the AMS control console computer terminal[2], after it had, on 6 May 1988 displayed the alleged hacker's bogus radiocarbon age of the Shroud, "640 years"[3], which was then calibrated to "1350 AD"[4]. The alleged hacker, Timothy W. Linick, is the one in a black shirt standing the most prominently in the foreground[5].]


• Linick was an extreme anti-authenticist who would not accept that the Shroud was authentic, even if its carbon-date was 2000 years old:

"Timothy Linick, a University of Arizona research scientist, said: `If we show the material to be medieval that would definitely mean that it is not authentic. If we date it back 2000 years, of course, that still leaves room for argument. It would be the right age - but is it the real thing?'"[6].

• Linick was probably aware of McCrone's prediction that the Shroud's carbon date would be "about 1355." Linick's words above are similar to those of the late extreme anti-authenticist Walter McCrone (1916-2002) who wrote in 1980 of a future "carbon-dating test" that "A date placing the linen cloth in the first century, though not conclusive in proving the cloth to be the Shroud of Christ...", which were in the context of McCrone's claim that "the image" on the Shroud "was painted on the cloth shortly before the first exhibition, or about 1355":

"My conclusions published in October 1980-March 1981 (McCrone and Skirius 1980) (McCrone 1981) were as follows: `Our work now supports the two Bishops [Henri of Poitiers and Pierre d'Arcis] and it seems reasonable that the image, now visible, was painted on the cloth shortly before the first exhibition, or about 1355. Only a carbon-dating test can now resolve the question of authenticity of the 'Shroud' of Turin. A date significantly later than the first century would be conclusive evidence the `Shroud' is not genuine. A date placing the linen cloth in the first century, though not conclusive in proving the cloth to be the Shroud of Christ, would, no doubt, be so accepted by nearly everyone"[7].

Although McCrone did not use the words "predict" or "prediction" in the above quote, that he regarded it as a prediction is evident in that: 1) he later claimed it was a prediction: "I could predict with complete confidence what the result of the radiocarbon dating of the linen cloth would be," followed by an excerpt from the above 1980 quote:

"From my view after all of the work I had done on the `Shroud' tapes I could predict with complete confidence what the result of the radiocarbon dating of the linen cloth would be. Some of my predictions more than two to nine years before the carbon-dating follow: In October 1980-'our work now supports the two Bishops [in Lirey] and it seems reasonable that the image now visible was painted on the cloth shortly before the first exhibition in 1356' (McCrone 1980)"[8]

and 2) in a 1980 letter to David Sox (see part #6), McCrone wrote: "The carbon date will be helpful here; I predict the range of dates found will include the 1350's but it could be earlier":"

"20 February 1980 Dear David: I am enclosing a copy of a letter recently sent to Father Rinaldi [see p. 174]. It speaks pretty much for itself, and you should read it before continuing here. The only remaining question is the date the `Shroud' was painted. The carbon date will be helpful here; I predict the range of dates found will include the 1350's but it could be earlier. [Eight years later it was carbon-dated to 1325 ±65 years (see p. 246).] The Pilgrim's medallion associated with the Lirey exhibition in about 1357 seems to be the first obvious copy of the full double image. I am sure Henri, the Bishop of Troyes, was right when he claimed knowledge of the artist who painted it" (words in brackets McCrone's)[9].

• Linick was the leaker of Arizona's "1350" first date of the Shroud. The above quote of Linick by Sox is proof beyond reasonable doubt that Linick was the leaker who told Sox that Arizona's first calibrated radiocarbon date of the Shroud was "1350"[10], in breach of his signed undertaking "not to communicate the results to anyone ... until that time when results are generally available to the public"[11]. See part #6.

• Linick was found dead of suspected suicide on 4 June 1989 Linick was found dead in Tucson, Arizona[12] on 4 June 1989[13], at the age of 42[17].

[Right: Photograph of Linick and report that "He died at the age of forty-two on 4 June 1989, in very unclear circumstances, shortly after the campaign of the Italian press reporting our [Bonnet-Eymard's] accusations" (my emphasis)[14].This is consistent with my theory that the KGB executed confessed KGB hacker Karl Koch on 3 June 1989)[15], and Linick a day later[16] [but see 17May15 where Koch's death was between 23 and 30 May 1989, and police publicly identified the body as Koch on 3 June 1989], to stop them revealing that the radiocarbon dating of the Shroud to 1325 ±65 was the result of a KGB-sponsored computer hacking by Linick, aided by Koch.]

Linick's obituary in Arizona laboratory's journal Radiocarbon said that his death was "untimely"[18], and the lack of details (e.g. "after a short illness," "as a result of a road accident," etc) suggests that Linick's death was sudden, unexpected and embarrassing (as a suicide would be). Ian Wilson recorded Linick's death in his chronology of the Shroud and noted that it was "in unclear circumstances"[19]. Vatican Insider reported that Linick's death was "suicide in mysterious circumstances"[20]. Those who alleged that there was fraud in dating the Shroud, such as Roman Catholic scholar Br. Bruno Bonnet-Eymard[21], suspected that Linick was murdered to cover up his part in the radiocarbon dating fraud[22]. Linick's death occurred shortly after a campaign in the Italian press reporting Bonnet-Eymard's accusations of fraud in the radiocarbon dating [23]. No other signatory to the 1989 Nature paper[24] appears to have met an untimely death.

Yet, despite my trying (e.g. emailing Arizona news media, police departments, etc), I have been unable to find any further information on Linick's death. Arizona is a "closed record" state, which means that death records are not normally available to the public[25]. The US Library of Congress could only find for me two newspaper items about Linick's death, a funeral notice in the Arizona Daily Star of June 6 and a death notice in the Los Angeles Times of June 9 (see below). That Linick's death was apparently not reported in at least the local Tucson or Arizona state newspapers, supports that there was something mysterious about Linick's death. The sudden

[Left: Timothy W. Linick's funeral and death notices sent to me by the Library of Congress. In the words of the librarian: "I am attaching two death notices, one from the Arizona Daily Star (June 6), and one from the Los Angeles Times (June 9)" and "I have not been able to find any additional information on the cause of Linick's death"[26]].

"untimely" death of a 42 year-old local scientist (especially one who had only a year before been involved in carbon-dating the Shroud of Turin) is sufficiently unusual to have been newsworthy, so there may have been a high-level suppression of news about Linick's death, due to its circumstances which may have made US security agencies suspect the KGB's involvement.

• Linick's role at Arizona laboratory included the AMS measurement procedures Linick was mentioned in a footnote to the 1989 Nature paper as the lead author of a 1986 paper which covered the "specific measurement procedures" for Arizona laboratory:

"The specific measurement procedures for each laboratory are given by Linick et al. 9 for Arizona , by Gillespie et al. 10 for Oxford and by Suter et al. 11 for Zurich"[27].

It may be significant that Linick is the only one of those three who originally described the AMS measurement procedures at each of the laboratories, who was a signatory to the 1989 Nature paper.

At footnote 9 of the Nature paper that previous paper is cited as:

"Linick, T. W., Jull, A. J. T., Toolin, L. J. & Donahue, D. J. Radiocarbon 28, 522-533 (1986)"[28]
In that paper[29] Linick described in minute technical detail how the AMS system at Arizona measured the carbon 14 content of samples, for example:
"At the start of operation, the carbon targets are mounted in aluminum holders (see Jull et al, 1986), placed into a circular target wheel, which has a capacity of 10 targets, and inserted into the vacuum system. Typical vacuum levels in the source during operation are 8 x 10-7 torr. After a 25kV bias is applied to the target plate and the Cs beam is focused on the 1 mm-diameter target, each target is sequentially left in the Cs beam for five minutes to cesiate the target surface and to remove surface contamination. ... In each target wheel, there are normally two targets made from standard material (usually, 11 oxalic acid I and II) in positions 1 and 6, and either 8 sample targets or 7 sample targets plus a target made from a material containing no 14C before preparation"[30].

So Linick would have had access to Arizona's AMS control console computer and would understand what its carbon 14 measurement program did, and indeed may even have written that program! Also, the above standard order of samples explains how Linick could write a program, not only for Arizona, but also for the other two laboratories, Zurich and Oxford, and the program would know which sample was the primary one. Which sample was the Shroud was known by its distinctive weave and a unique identifying code for the Shroud and the control samples was imposed upon the laboratories by the coordinator of the dating, Prof. Tite of the British Museum[31]. It would therefore not be difficult for a competent programmer, as the "extremely mathematically gifted"[32] Linick presumably was, to write a program which could detect that the test was of the Shroud and then substitute the dates of the primary sample with random dates within limits which, when they were calibrated, totalled and averaged, would make the flax of the Shroud appear to have been harvested a plausible period of time before McCrone's prediction of "about 1355" above.

• Linick had sufficient time to prepare and carry out his hacking On 10 October 1987 the Archbishop of Turin, Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero (r. 1977-89), advised the seven laboratories that were originally proposed to carbon-date the Shroud, using two different methods, that their number had been reduced to three AMS laboratories: Arizona, Oxford and Zurich[33]. So after that Linick could have realised that it was feasible for him to write a program to be installed on the AMS control console computers at the three laboratories (which were effectively clones of each other[34]), to replace the Shroud's carbon 14 dates coming from their AMS systems, with computer-generated dates which would ensure the Shroud appeared to date a plausible time before the Shroud's debut in undisputed history at Lirey, France, in about 1355[35]. On 21 April 1988 the sample was cut from the Shroud and sub-samples in turn were cut from it and distributed to leaders of the three laboratories[36]. The first actual dating of the Shroud was over six weeks after that when Arizona carried out its first run on 6 May 1988[37]. Zurich was next with its first dating on or about 26 May[38], nearly three weeks after Arizona's. Six weeks after that, on 9 July, Oxford still had not begun dating the Shroud [39]. So Linick had enough time after he had proved his program worked at Arizona to have it installed on Zurich and Oxford's AMS computers. Although because he may have been unsure when each laboratory would date the Shroud, Linick may have written his program and had it installed on all three laboratories' AMS computers even before, or shortly after, the sample was cut from the Shroud.

• The AMS control console computer at Arizona was a "DEC computer system" In the above 1986 paper Linick also mentioned that the AMS control console computer was a "DEC computer system" which "largely controls the ... calculation of results for each 15-minute run":

"The DEC computer system largely controls the cycling of isotopes, accumulation of data, and calculation of results for each 15-minute run"[40]

This is consistent with the computer in the photo above, from page 176H of Prof. Gove's book, appears to be a DEC VT-100 terminal, which were

[Right: A DEC VT-100 terminal[41].]

typically networked to a DEC mini-computer (i.e. a mini-mainframe-computer). "DEC" stands for Digital Equipment Corporation, the maker of the powerful PDP-11 and VAX-11 mini-computers which were very popular in science laboratories in the 1980s.

• Arizona's Prof. Jull's and Oxford's Prof. Ramsey's misleading and false responses to my hacking proposal A copy of a comment I made on Dan Porter's blog, proposing that the radiocarbon dating laboratories may have been duped by a computer hacker (at that early stage I did not claim it was a theory) was sent without my permission to Prof. A.J. Timothy Jull, Director of the Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory.

[Left: Prof. A.J.T. Jull: Hungarian Academy of Sciences[42]. Prof. Jull was a signatory to the 1989 Nature paper[43] and is in Prof. Gove's photo above of those present at Arizona's first dating of the Shroud.]

Prof. Christopher Ramsey, by the anti-authenticist Editor of the BSTS Newsletter, Hugh Farey[44] and then posted by Porter to his blog[45] .

Prof. Jull's reply (copied to my blog [46]) was as follows:

"This is impossible. In our case, the software for the calculations is offline. In any case, the calculation does NOT require software, it was done offline and plotted on a graph, as I recall. Indeed, in 1988 the internet (as we know it today) didn't exist – there was a pre-existing network run by the US government which was quite restricted. Anyway, the machine we used at that time couldn't have been attached to it, and that one still isn't."

First I was (and still am) amazed that two Professors and Directors of major radiocarbon laboratories would bother responding to an anonymous (Farey said he did not give them my name) blog comment. I don't know what Farey prefaced my comment with, but as I pointed out in my response on Porter's blog (copied to my blog[47]), I said nothing about "the Internet" and Prof. Jull's "the software for the calculations is offline ... the calculation does NOT require software, it was done offline and plotted on a graph" is both misleading and false. As we have seen above, while the final calibration was "done offline and plotted on a graph," as I did in part #5, the actual "calculation of results for each 15-minute run" was done by the very powerful "DEC computer system."

So I found (and still do find) Prof. Jull's (and Prof. Ramsey's - see below) downplaying of the role of the AMS control console computer and his attempted `red herring' diversion away from the calculation of results by the computer to the calibration of those computer results using a graph, as very strange. And not only very strange but suspicious, when coupled with his (and Prof. Ramsey's) prompt response to my anonymous (to them) blog comment.It causes me to suspect that after Linick's "untimely" death, the circumstances of it may have prompted an investigation which found that Linick may have hacked into Arizona's AMS control console computer and therefore Arizona's radiocarbon dates may have been bogus. However, it may be that Linick covered his tracks so well and they could not prove it, and they could not conceive how Linick could have also hacked Zurich and Oxford's computers.

Nevertheless I did accept at face value Prof. Jull's (and Prof. Ramsey's - see below) word that the AMS control console computers at Arizona and Oxford (and presumably also at Zurich) were never online. This however was not a problem for my theory because I had previously stated that if those computers were never online, they could still have been hacked manually and locally.

My surprise that Prof. Jull had responded to an anonymous (to them) comment of mine on Dan Porter's blog turned to amazement when my further reading of those comments revealed that the Director of the

[Right: Prof. Christopher Bronk Ramsey[48, 49], who as "C.R. Bronk" (for his original name Christopher Ramsey Bronk[50]) was also one of the signatories to the 1989 Nature paper[51].]

Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratory, Prof. Christopher Ramsey, had also responded to my comment sent to him by Farey, as follows:

"Yes – I agree with all that Tim [Jull] says. This would seem to be a suggestion from someone who does not know what computers were like in the 1980s. In the case of Oxford the AMS had no connection to any network (and indeed even today our AMS control computers have no network connections). The software was very simple just outputting counts of 14C and currents measured. Age calculation was done offline and could just be done with a calculator, or by a simple program into which you typed the numbers from the AMS"[52]

As can be seen above, Prof. Ramsey's response was also misleading in that like Jull, he also strangely, and suspiciously, downplayed the role of the AMS control computer. Indeed some on Porter's blog (including Porter himself) took Prof. Ramsey to be claiming that the AMS computer was little better than a calculator, and Porter even questioned whether it was "programmable"! When as we have seen, both Jull and Ramsey knew it was a "DEC computer system", probably either a PDP-11 [right][53], or more likely a VAX-11 [below left][54], both of which were very powerful, programmable, and therefore hackable computers! In fact as we shall see in part #8, some versions of VMS, the operating system of PDP/VAX computers, were very vulnerable to hacking.

Moreover, in his reply above, Prof. Ramsey's "This would seem to be a suggestion from someone who does not know what computers were like in the 1980s" is not only false, it must be deliberately false, given that Ramsey, like Jull, knew that the AMS computer was a very powerful "DEC computer system." In fact, as I pointed out in my reply to Ramsey's response on Porter's blog, copied to my blog[55], far from me being "someone who does not know what computers were like in the 1980s":

"I was one of the first to have a personal computer in 1980. I pioneered the introduction of computers into Health Department of WA [Western Australia] hospitals in the mid-to late 1980s and in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I was the Systems Administrator of a network of 7 hospitals' UNIX systems."

Prof. Ramsey's response cannot be explained by a lack of computer literacy, since he is the author of OxCal, a radiocarbon dating calibration computer program[56].

Prof. Ramsey's (and Prof. Jull's) prompt response to an anonymous (to them) blog comment, coupled with their misleading and even false replies, suggests that they both may know, or at least suspect, given the circumstances of Linick's death and that he was probably the leaker of Arizona's 1350 date, having been quoted in Sox's book (see part #6), that I am on the right track with my theory. Which is that the 1260-1390, 1325 ±65, radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin, by three AMS radiocarbon dating laboratories, Arizona, Zurich and Oxford[57], all using the same "tandem Van de Graaff" accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) system[58] was bogus, being the result of a hacking of each of their AMS control console computers by the late Arizona physicist, Timothy W. Linick, aided by confessed KGB hacker, Karl Koch. Although I don't claim that the laboratories, or even Linick, knew about Koch.

Professors Jull and Ramsey, being signatories to the 1989 Nature paper, were involved in their respective laboratory's 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud and while they were not then leaders of their laboratories, they are now. If they do know, or suspect, that they were all duped by Linick, they would have a strong incentive to resist admitting it, and even covering it up. So I don't expect them to confirm that my theory was true, and indeed given their misleading and false responses above, I expect the opposite!

Continued in part #8.

1. This post is copyright. No one may copy from this post or any of my posts on this my The Shroud of Turin blog without them first asking and receiving my written permission. Except that I grant permission, without having to ask me, for anyone to copy the title and one paragraph only (including one associated graphic) of any of my posts, provided that if they repost it on the Internet a link to my post from which it came is included. See my post of May 8, 2014. [return]
2. Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," Institute of Physics Publishing: Bristol UK, p.176H. [return]
3. Gove, 1996, p.264. [return]
4. Ibid. [return]
5. Jull, A.J.T. & Suess, H.E. , 1989, "Timothy W. Linick," Radiocarbon, Vol 31, No 2. [return]
6. Sox, H.D., 1988, "The Shroud Unmasked: Uncovering the Greatest Forgery of All Time," Lamp Press: Basingstoke UK, p.147. [return]
7. McCrone, W.C., 1999, "Judgment Day for the Shroud of Turin," Prometheus Books: Amherst NY, p.138. [return]
8. McCrone, 1999, p.245. [return]
9. McCrone, 1999, p.178. [return]
10. Gove, 1996, p.264. [return]
11. Gove, 1996, p.262. [return]
12. Suess, H.E. & Linick, T.W., 1990, "The 14C Record in Bristlecone Pine Wood of the past 8000 Years Based on the Dendrochronology of the Late C. W. Ferguson," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Vol. 330, April 24, pp.403-412. [return]
13. Jull & Suess, 1989. [return]
14. Bonnet-Eymard, B., 2000, "The Holy Shroud is as Old as the Risen Jesus, IV. Caution! Danger!, The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the XXth Century, No 330, Online edition, May. [return]
15. "WikiFreaks, Pt. 4 `The Nerds Who Played With Fire'," The Psychedelic Dungeon, 15 September 2010h. [return]
16. Jull & Suess, 1989. [return]
17. de Nantes, G. & Bonnet-Eymard, B., 2014, "The Holy Shroud of Turin: II. The conclusion of a new trial," The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 21st Century, 27 March. [return]
18. Jull & Suess, 1989. [return]
19. Wilson, I., 1998, "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, p.311. [return]
20. Galeazzi, G., 2013. "Never solved: The enigma that still divides the Church: The Shroud," Vatican Insider, 1 April. Translated from Italian by Google. See English translation, "Unsolved Enigma that Still Divides the Church: The Shroud." [return]
21. Petrosillo, O. & Marinelli, E., 1996, "The Enigma of the Shroud: A Challenge to Science," Scerri, L.J., transl., Publishers Enterprises Group: Malta, pp.128-129. [return]
22. "Examination of the carbon-14 dating of the Shroud," Wikipedia, January 4, 2014. Translated from Italian by Google. [return]
23. Bonnet-Eymard, 2000. [return]
24. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp. 611-615, p. 611. [return]
25. "Who Can Obtain a Death Certificate,"Arizona Department of Health Services: Office of Vital Records, April 15, 20141. [return]
26. Email reply from the Library of Congress, received on 2 May 2014. [return]
27. Damon, 1989, p. 613. [return]
28. Ibid. [return]
29. Linick, T.W., et al. , 1986, "Operation of the NSF-Arizona accelerator facility for radioisotope analysis and results from selected collaborative research projects," Radiocarbon, Vol. 28, No. 2a, pp.522-533. [return]
30. Linick, 1986, p.522. [return]
31. Sox, 1988, pp.138-139. [return]
32. Jull & Suess, 1989. [return]
33. Gove, 1996, pp.213-214. [return]
34. Wilson, I., 1991, "Holy Faces, Secret Places: The Quest for Jesus' True Likeness," Doubleday: London, p.178. [return]
35. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.222. [return]
36. Gove, 1996, pp.260-261. [return]
37. Gove, 1996, pp.263-264. [return]
38. Guerrera, V., 2000, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.131. [return]
39. Petrosillo & Marinelli, 1996, p.91. [return]
40. Linick, 1986, p.524. [return]
41. "VT100," Wikipedia, 22 June 2014. [return]
42. "Prominent guest researchers arrive in Hungary," Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2013. [return]
43. Damon, 1989, p. 611. [return]
44. Farey, H., 2013, "Editorial - by Hugh Farey," BSTS Newsletter, No. 78, December. [return]
45. "Comment Promoted: On the Hacking Hypothesis," Shroud of Turin Blog, March 9. [return]
46. Jones, S.E., 2014, "Were the radiocarbon dating laboratories duped by a computer hacker?: My replies to Dr. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey," The Shroud of Turin blog, March 13. [return]
47. Jones, 2014. [return]
48. "Professor Christopher Ramsey" Merton College, Oxford, 2014. [return]
49. "Christopher Bronk Ramsey," Wikipedia, 23 March 2014. [return]
50. Bronk, C.R., 1987, "Accelerator Mass Spectrometry for Radiocarbon Dating: Advances in Theory and Practice," PhD Dissertation University of Oxford. [return]
51. Damon, 1989, p. 611. [return]
52. Jones, 2014. [return]
53. "PDP-11," Wikipedia, 17 May 2014. [return]
54. "VAX," Wikipedia, 20 June 2014. [return]
55. Jones, 2014. [return]
56. Ramsey, C.B., 2014, "OxCal," Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 24 May. [return]
57. Damon, 1989, p. 611. [return]
58. Gove, 1996, pp.10-11. [return]

Posted 5 July 2014. Updated 2 December 2023.


Anonymous said...

Do you think the programming of the computers affected the other samples that they were testing. Perhaps you can clarify this or was it designed simply to misdate the samples from the Shroud?

Stephen E. Jones said...


>Do you think the programming of the computers affected the other samples that they were testing.

No. That was my point about the hacker's program would need to be able to identify which sample was the Shroud.

Otherwise even the control samples' C14 dates would be replaced by bogus dates clustering around 1325.

>Perhaps you can clarify this or was it designed simply to misdate the samples from the Shroud?


Stephen E. Jones
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