Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My theory that the radiocarbon dating laboratories were duped by a computer hacker #9

Copyright ©, Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is part #9 of my theory that the three laboratories (Arizona, Zurich and Oxford) which in 1988 radiocarbon dated the Shroud of Turin as "mediaeval... AD 1260-1390"[2] were duped by a computer hacker, Arizona physicist Timothy W. Linick[3]. Previous posts in this series were part #1, part #2, part #3, part #4, part #5, part #6, part #7 and part #8. Newcomers should read those previous posts as this part of my theory will be brief and will rely on evidence provided in some of those previous posts. In my next and final post in this series, part #10, I will summarise my theory, bringing together my evidence and arguments in the previous nine posts in this series.

[Above: "Sergei [or Sergey] Markov in February 2012"[4]. The Soviet official who the German hackers (including Koch) sold their hacked secrets to was a "Sergei Markov":

"For both Dob and Carl it became apparent after an hour or so of being questioned that Pengo and Hagbard had gone to the authorities. Eventually, both of them confessed to espionage. But they weren't to be accorded the same leniency that Markus Hess got. Dob and Peter Carl had previous arrests on their records, and both were considered flight risks-Carl for his plans to go to Spain and Dob for his avoidance of military duty. Both were taken into custody. Carl's ex-wife came forward to say she would take out a loan for 1,000 marks for bail, but prosecutor Kohlhaas felt uneasy about setting Carl free and urged the judge to deny bail. Kohlhaas saw his case strengthen when, during the search of Carl's apartment, a Casio pocket calculator was found. It contained the telephone number for one Sergei Markov"[5].

The Sergey Markov in the photo above has been described as "Putin's man"[6]. In 2009 this Sergey Markov reportedly admitted to being behind a hacking cyber-attack on Estonia [7]. While I can as yet find no evidence that this Sergey (or Sergei) Markov was a former KGB agent (he need not have been), I assume that he is the "Sergei Markov" who was the Soviet Union's point of contact with the German "KGB hackers" which included Karl Koch[8].


• The Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse in the 1980s. By the mid-1980's the former Soviet Union (USSR) was on the verge of collapse:

"In October 1977, the third Soviet Constitution was unanimously adopted. The prevailing mood of the Soviet leadership at the time of Brezhnev's death in 1982 was one of aversion to change. The long period of Brezhnev's rule had come to be dubbed one of `standstill', with an aging and ossified top political leadership ... Two developments dominated the decade that followed: the increasingly apparent crumbling of the Soviet Union's economic and political structures, and the patchwork attempts at reforms to reverse that process ... In 1988, the Soviet Union abandoned its nine-year war in Afghanistan and began to withdraw its forces ... In the late 1980s, the constituent republics of the Soviet Union started legal moves towards potentially declaring sovereignty over their territories ..."[9].
See also "1988 Soviet Union centre – starting to lose control"[10]. And in fact the USSR did collapse in late 1989, epitomised by the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989[11].

[Above: Germans on and around the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate, 10 November 1989[12].]

• A first century radiocarbon date of the Shroud would have been a threat to the atheist USSR. The Soviet Union was an atheist State[13]. Yet, despite its attempts to eradicate religion since the 1917 revolution, the USSR continued to have a large Christian population[14]. In the 1980s, four Christian denominations alone, had a total of about 61 million adherents:

"According to both Soviet and Western sources,in the late 1980s the Russian Orthodox Church had over 50 million believers ... The Georgian Orthodox Church ... [had] an estimated 2.5 million followers ... The Armenian Apostolic Church is an independent Oriental Orthodox church. In the 1980s it had about 4 million adherents ..." [15]

And that does not count the 5.5 million Roman Catholics mainly in the satellite republics:

"The majority of the 5.5 million Roman Catholics in the Soviet Union lived in the Lithuanian, Belarusian, and Latvian republics, with a sprinkling in the Moldavian, Ukrainian, and Russian republics"[16].

Nor does that count the Roman Catholics in Poland, which assuming they were 80% of the population:

"There are 44 Catholic Dioceses in Poland ... Ever since Poland officially adopted Latin Christianity in 966, the Catholic Church has played an important religious, cultural and political role in the country ... As of 2005 a majority of Poles, approximately 88%, identified themselves as Roman Catholic, and 58% said they are active practicing Catholics, according to a survey by the Centre for Public Opinion Research. ... The CIA Factbook gives a number of 87.2% belonging to the Roman Catholic Church in 2012"[17].

and given a 37.5 million population in Poland in 1987 (see graph), that means there

[Right (click to enlarge): Graph showing the population in Poland was about 37.5 million in 1987[18].]

were about 30 million Roman Catholics in Poland in the late 1980s.

That totals about 96.5 million Christians in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. And if Protestants and other Christian denominations are included, that means there would have been over 100 million Christians in the crumbling, officially atheist, Soviet Union in the mid- to late 1980s!

So a first-century radiocarbon date of the Shroud of Turin would have been perceived as a huge threat by the embattled Soviet leadership.

• If Timothy W. Linick had offered the Soviets a 14th century carbon-date of the Shroud they would have accepted it. So if Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory physicist, Timothy W. Linick (see part #6) had approached the Soviet Union (through for example the Soviet consulate in San Francisco):

"Since most of what they [the Soviet Union] were interested in, especially technology for advanced computing, was on a list of highly restricted technologies maintained by a consortium of Western nations known as COCOM, the Soviets had long since resorted to extralegal means of procuring hardware and software. The FBI liked to maintain that Northern California's Silicon Valley, where much of American computer innovation resided, was crawling with KGB agents. The FBI claimed that one of the primary missions of the Soviet consulate in San Francisco was to funnel U.S. technology into the Soviet Union"[19].
with an offer to guarantee that the Shroud would be radiocarbon-dated to about 25-30 years before the Shroud first appeared in undisputed history at Lirey, France, in the 1350s (see part #1), the Soviets would certainly have accepted that offer.

• Linick was found dead of suspected suicide on 4 June 1989 Linick was found dead of suspected suicide in Tucson, Arizona on

[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).]

4 June 1989. (see part #7).

• Koch had been murdered between 23 and 30 May 1989, i.e. between 12 and 6 days before Linick's `suicide.' The German police would have needed to identify the charred body as that of Koch (see part #8) before they publicly released the information that Koch's burned body had been found. So Linick's `suicide' would have been very soon after the KGB learned that Koch's burned body had been found.

• Koch and Linick could have been killed by the KGB to prevent the Soviets' hacking of the Shroud's dating being revealed. Koch's murder was disguised as suicide, presumably by the KGB, since no one else is known to have had a motive to kill Koch. But that the KGB had killed Koch seemed inexplicable because Koch had long since finished confessing his hacking for the KGB, as had his fellow hackers for the KGB, but none of them were killed (part #8).

But it is explicable if the KGB executed Koch (and then Linick) for fear they would betray the KGB's own secret, as hacking the Shroud of Turin's radiocarbon dating would have been. With the publication of the Nature paper of 16 February 1989, which claimed that the Shroud was "mediaeval ... 1260-1390":

"Very small samples from the Shroud of Turin have been dated by accelerator mass spectrometry in laboratories at Arizona, Oxford and Zurich. As Controls, three samples whose ages had been determined independently were also dated. The results provide conclusive evidence that the linen of the Shroud of Turin is mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390 ..."[20]
Koch may have realised what his hacking into the Oxford and Zurich university computers and running a program on them had done, and as he had since "embrace[d] ... conventional religion" (my emphasis):
"It looked as if Hagbard [Koch] was beginning to straighten out his life. Before the news of the KGB activity broke, a friend had helped him get a job as a messenger in the Hannover office of the conservative Christian Democratic Union ... Even after his spying came to light, along with his dependence on drugs, the CDU office kept him on, convinced that he deserved another chance. Some of Hagbard's friends viewed the CDU job as further proof that this erstwhile social democrat's political perspective had gone completely awry. Others saw the job as Hagbard's first small step toward folding himself back into society. His life, at least to outsiders, seemed more stable. After years of rootlessness, he was finally planning to move into an apartment of his own. And a recent embrace of conventional religion had probably added to his calm bearing"[21].

he may have started to talk about it. But to others, including his fellow hacker Pengo (Hans Hübner), it sounded like "conspiracies and ... religious hallucinations" (my emphasis):

"After that first trip, Pengo testified, he waited for Sergei's feedback. To his great disappointment, none came, and by the beginning of 1987 Pengo's role in the enterprise had fizzled. Carl continued to drop by 'for coffee' and ask him for source code, but Pengo couldn't deliver them. 'The whole thing was more hot air than anything else,' he declared. After a while, Carl stopped calling. By that summer, Pengo said, he and Dob were no longer speaking, and he had never had much contact with Hess. Hagbard, he said, was completely `outgespaced,' talking of nothing but conspiracies and having religious hallucinations"[22].

But if, according to my theory, the KGB had arranged for Koch to install Linick's program on Zurich and Oxford radiocarbon dating laboratories' AMS computers (see part #8), they would have realised what Koch was saying, and silenced him permanently. But then because Linick (who may have had to communicate with Koch on how to run his program) would probably learn of Koch's `suicide' and out of fear and/or remorse, might confess his hacking to the US authorities, the KGB would have to permanently silence Linick as well, by a second contrived `suicide'.

To be concluded in part #10.

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. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16th February, pp.611-615, p.611. [return]
3. Jull, A.J.T. & Suess, H.E. , 1989, "Timothy W. Linick," Radiocarbon, Vol 31, No 2. [return]
4. "Sergey Alexandrovich Markov," Wikipedia, 22 June 2014. [return]
5. Hafner, K. & Markoff, J., 1991, "Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier," Corgi: London, reprinted, 1993, pp.292-293. [return]
6. "Putin’s Man Warns Finland About NATO Membership and Russophobia," Finbay, 9 June 2014. [return]
7. Coalson, R., 2009, "Russia admits to Cyber Attack on Estonia," La Russophobe, March 9. [return]
8. Hafner & Markoff, 1991, p.293. [return]
9. "Soviet Union," Wikipedia, 29 August 2014. [return]
10. "Dissolution of the Soviet Union," Wikipedia, 22 August 2014. [return]
11. "Berlin Wall," Wikipedia, 16 August 2014. [return]
12. Ibid. [return]
13. "State atheism: Soviet Union," Wikipedia, 19 August 2014. [return]
14. Ibid. [return]
15. "Religion in the Soviet Union," Wikipedia, 16 August 2014. [return]
16. Ibid. [return]
17. "Roman Catholicism in Poland," Wikipedia, 23 August 2014. [return]
18. "Demographics of Poland," Wikipedia, 12 August 2014. [return]
19. Hafner & Markoff, 1991, p.226. [return]
20. Damon, 1989, p. 611. [return]
21. Hafner & Markoff, 1991, p.301-302. [return]
22. Hafner & Markoff, 1991, p.316. [return]

Posted: 3 September 2014. Updated: 16 April 2021.


bippy123 said...

Its very interesting that Koch and Linick were both dead within so close time intervals of each other. Suicide was the typical liquidation methods of intelligence agencies and they were very good at what they did.

Its interesting that not much information can be found on Linick's death.

Something smells funny here about these 2 deaths.

Stephen E. Jones said...


Thanks for your support. I have had little (or no) expressions of support for my theory from pro-authenticists. Perhaps Porter's "conspiracy theory" scare campaign against my theory is working? No matter, I am not intimidated by the likes of Porter. I will leave it to the Lord to repay (Rom 12:19) Porter and his ilk for the personal attacks and nastiness that they have directed at me.

>Its very interesting that Koch and Linick were both dead within so close time intervals of each other.

Yes. I initially thought that my theory was weakened when I re-calculated that Koch was killed sometime between 23 and 30 May 1989 (since Koch went missing on 23 May and a farmer called the police after he noticed Koch's car abandoned three days in a row), which was between 12 and 6 days before Linick's `suicide.'

But then I remembered that the police would havehad to formally identify the charred body as Koch's:

"The body was LATER IDENTIFIED as that of the twenty-four-year-old Karl Koch." (Clough, B. & Mungo, P., 1992, "Approaching Zero," p.163. My emphasis).

before they could release the news to the public, which would presumably take at least a few days.

So the KGB would probably not have known that Koch's body, which they had tried to hide so it would not be found for a long while:

"Koch left his workplace in his car to go for lunch; he had not returned by late afternoon and so his employer reported him as a missing person. Meanwhile, German police were alerted of an abandoned car in a forest near Celle. When they went to investigate, they found an abandoned car, that LOOKED LIKE IT HAD BEEN THERE FOR YEARS, AS IT WAS COVERED IN DUST. Near to the car they found a burned corpse (Koch). His shoes were missing and have never been found. There was a patch of burned ground around him, which although it had not rained in some time and the grass was perfectly dry, was controlled in a small circle around the corpse. It is thought to be highly unlikely that this type of controlled burning could have been achieved by Koch himself which leads many to believe that his death was not suicide." ("Karl Koch (hacker)," Wikipedia, 30 May 2014. My emphasis).

had been found until they read, or heard it, via the news media. And then it was BIG news:

"The news of Hagbard's [Koch's] death brought the case of the hacker spies once again into public view. West German magazines and newspapers carried lengthy, speculative articles about the death. Just how sensitive was the material that landed in the hands of the KGB? And just who might have had an interest in seeing Hagbard dead? Could such a hideously painful death really have been the result of suicide? Unlike a drug overdose or suicide by gunshot, death by burning usually leaves the cause more ambiguous." (Hafner, K. & Markoff, J., 1991, "Cyberpunk," pp.302-303).

But the police did not find Koch's body until "NINE days later" than 23rd May, i.e. 1st June, or it could have been 31st May if the day Koch went missing was included in the 9 days:


Stephen E. Jones said...


"Karl Koch was last seen alive on 23 May 1989. That morning he had turned up to work as usual at the Hannover office of Germany's ruling Christian Democratic party. Just before twelve o'clock he drove off alone to deliver a package across town. He never arrived. In the late afternoon, his employers notified the police of his disappearance. NINE DAYS LATER the police went to a wood on the outskirts of the small village of Ohof, just outside Hannover, on a routine inquiry. They were investigating a report of an abandoned car, its roof, hood and windscreen thick with dust. In the undergrowth near the car, the police stumbled on a charred corpse lying next to an empty gasoline can. The vegetation around the body was scorched and burned. The police noticed that the corpse was barefoot - but no shoes were found in the car or in the surrounding area. The investigators were perplexed. There had been no rain for five weeks and the undergrowth was as dry as matchwood. But the scorched patch around the body was contained, as if the fire that consumed the victim had been carefully controlled. The body was later identified as that of the twenty-four-year-old Karl Koch. The police assumed he had committed suicide. But still there were questions: principally, if Koch had killed himself, how had he been able to control the fire? Why had it not spread outside the confined perimeter?" (Clough & Mungo, 1992, p.163. My emphasis).

So, since Linick was found dead of "suicide in mysterious circumstances" on 4th June, then that would have been IMMEDIATELY AFTER the KGB learned that Koch's body had been found.

>Suicide was the typical liquidation methods of intelligence agencies and they were very good at what they did.

Indeed. The coincidence seems too great that a KNOWN hacker for the KGB (Koch) was killed, presumably by the KGB (who else?), for no apparent reason, and then immediately after his body was found, a THEORISED hacker for the KGB (Linick) was found dead of "suicide in mysterious circumstances."

>Its interesting that not much information can be found on Linick's death.

Yes. You would think that the sudden death of a 42 year-old local scientist in Tucson, would at least be mentioned in the local media. But the Library of Congress could only find a death and funeral notice.

It is consistent with the US security agencies having suppressed the news. Although it is possible that the suicide was in a category that the media don't report, to avoid copy-cat suicides, like jumping in front of a moving train. Which of course the KGB could have arranged.

But when Koch was found dead by simulated suicide presumably the US security agencies took note of it, because Koch had hacked US secrets and sold them to the KGB. Then when Linick committed "suicide in mysterious circumstances" only days later, since the Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory is a US Government funded facility:

"Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory focuses on the study of cosmogenic isotopes, and in particular the study of radiocarbon, or Carbon-14. ...Established in 1981, this facility is a National Science Foundation research facility." ("Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory," Wikipedia, 9 August 2012)

it is possible that the US security agencies put two and two together, and had the news of Linick's death suppressed on national security grounds.


Stephen E. Jones said...


>Something smells funny here about these 2 deaths.

Agreed. Apart from my theory, there is no known reason for Koch's simulated suicide. He had ~9 months before finished confessing his hacking of computer secrets for the KGB and so had his fellow hackers. But none of the latter were killed.

Besides, the KGB would not be unduly upset that news of it's sponsored hacking of the computer secrets of OTHERS became known. It would only be the KGB's OWN hacking, e.g. ensuring the C14 dating of the Shroud returned a 1st century date, that the KGB would kill to ensure it remained secret.

What also seemed strange was when Hugh Farey copied my early comments on Porter's blog, proposing that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud were the result of a computer hacking, to Profs. Timothy Jull and Prof. Christopher Ramsey, Directors of the Arizona and Oxford radiocarbon laboratories respectively, who both were signatories to the 1989 Nature paper, they both responded promptly. I thought that "smells funny" because why would they respond AT ALL to an unknown blogger (Farey said he did not tell them my name)?

But what also smelled even funnier is that they were both very defensive and Prof. Ramsey effectively LIED, claiming that I was "someone who does not know what computers were like in the 1980s":

"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" (my emphasis).

when in fact I was there at the beginning of the personal computer revolution of the 1980s and grew with it, becoming a SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR of a Health Department of Western Australia wide-area network of 7 hospital UNIX computers in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

And besides it MADE NO SENSE because Prof. Ramsey KNEW that the AMS System computer at Arizona, Oxford and presumably Zurich, was a very powerful DEC PDP or VAX MINICOMPUTER.

So what was Ramsey's POINT, if it was not to MISLEAD? And mislead it did, with those on Porter's blog interpreting Ramsey's "The software was very simple ... Age calculation was done offline and could just be done with a calculator," as saying that the AMS computer was little better than a calculator, and Porter himself questioned whether it was even programmable!

So I assume that Profs Ramsey and Jull know things that would support my hacking theory, but are trying to cover it up. Which is not to say that they KNOW they were hacked. Linick could, and probably did, include in his program that it would erase itself on the three laboratories AMS computers after it had been run, and then was not run again for (say) three months, when all dating of the Shroud would have finished.

But Jull and Ramsey may SUSPECT that they COULD have been hacked, but they wouldn't want that to be known.


Stephen E. Jones said...


I am quietly confident that my theory is basically correct, because it explains, and takes account of. as no other theory does, so many different things:

1) how the 1st century Shroud had a C14 midpoint of 1325, only 25-30 years before the Shroud's first appearance in undisputed history at Lirey, France in the 1350s;

2) other pro-authenticist explanations of 1) don't work, e.g. contamination; neutron flux; sample switching, because: a) it would require 60% of the Shroud samples to be contamination when Arizona's undated sub-sample sample clearly isn't; b) it would be a MIRACLE if a neutron flux `just happened' to reset the Shroud's 1st century date to 1325; and c) if the Shroud samples were switched the Table 2 of the 1989 Nature would not have wide variances between laboratories (see below), since they would be real dates.

3) why Linick was quoted surprising in Sox's 1988 book as an extreme anti-authenticist and in direct contact with Sox, in breach of his signed undertaking not to communicate with anyone outside the lab;

4) that Linick therefore was probably the leaker of Arizona's 1350 first run date to Sox who leaked it to the media;

5) the otherwise inexplicable wide variances between the laboratories' Shroud samples C14 dates in Table 2 of the 1989 Nature paper, i.e. they are not real dates but computer-generated;

6) that the entire process of C14 dating and displaying the results was under the AMS computer's control, so a hacker COULD install a program on it, at each of the three AMS laboratories, Arizona, Zurich and Oxford, to substitute the Shroud's 1st century date with dates that clustered around 1325;

7) that Linick wrote the paper describing in detail Arizona's AMS C14 dating system, including its computer control, so he was probably thoroughly familiar with the AMS computers at Arizona and indirectly at Zurich and Oxford since they were `clones' of each other.

8) that university laboratories (as the three AMS laboratories are) were insecure, both physically and computerwise, in 1980s;

9) that the laboratories' AMS DEC computers' operating system, would probably have been VMS, which in the late 1980s had a huge hole, known to and exploited by hackers, including Koch, which allowed a hacker to enter the computer and become a superuser, after which he could install a program that would come between the output of the AMS C14 dating system and the AMS computer's display of the C14 dating results;

10) why Koch was killed, probably by the KGB, between 23 and 30 May, in a simulated suicide and Linick was killed, by a "suicide in mysterious circumstances, again probably by the KGB, at most only 4 days after Koch's death became public; to ensure that the hacking of the Shroud's C14 dates, sponsored by the KGB, remained a secret.


Stephen E. Jones said...


I am therefore quietly confident that more information will come to light that will support and even confirm my theory. Although being a theory, not a fact, I am open to any evidence that might require it to be modified, or even abandoned as wrong (although I think the latter is unlikely).

But if I WAS wrong, in Science there is no shame in that, despite what Porter, who has no science qualifications (unlike me) might think. Most scientific theories have been wrong and all science theories are potentially wrong.

Scientists ADMIRE (albeit often grudgingly) when someone sticks their neck out and proposes a bold theory which attempts to explain much.

What is DESPISED in Science are those who sit on the fence (like Porter) and propose NO bold theories (or even a theory AT ALL) but hold an UNFALSIFIABLE position that is "not EVEN wrong," e.g. "Is the Shroud of Turin real? Probably"!

But as I have written before, Koch is not essential to my theory, since Linick could have done all the hacking himself. It would not have been too difficult for Linick to take a week off work and fly to Oxford and Zurich and install clandestinely his program on their AMS computers, as he had done on Arizona's (although if Linick did not know how to break into Zurich and Oxfrord's computers, then that would explain Koch's involvement).

It is not even essential to my theory that the KGB was involved, as Linick could have done the hacking alone (again assuming that he could break into Zurich and Oxford's AMS computers) for no financial gain but just out of his extreme anti-authenticism.

However, I believe that my theory should try to explain as many facts as possible (the mark of a good theory), which is why I have stuck my neck out, giving Porter and anyone else, the opportunity to chop it off!

Stephen E. Jones
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