Saturday, April 13, 2019

March 1989: On this day 30 years ago in the radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud

© Stephen E. Jones[1]

This is part #15, "March 1989" [originally "April 1989"] of my series, "On this day 30 years ago in the radiocarbon dating of the Turin Shroud." For more information about this series, see part #1. Installments will be to the whole post and not specifically linked. Emphases are mine unless otherwise indicated.

[Index #1] [Previous: 16Feb89: #14] [Next: 23May89 #16]

March 1989 In the Northern Hemisphere Spring (i.e. March-May) of

[Above (enlarge)[2]: Karl Koch (1965–89). "The hacker Karl Koch was only 23 years old. On 1 June 1989 they found his burnt corpse in a forest near Gifhorn (Lower Saxony) [about 63 km (39 mi.) from Hanover, Germany]"[3].]

1989, a well-known American Shroud author ["Harry" - see below], whose name I know, but who does not want to be publicly identified [he clarified by email today, 17 April 2019, that the "reason ... has nothing to do with the phone call per se"], received a late night phone call from a distraught male with a German-sounding accent [see 01Jun16, 02Jun16, 24Oct16 & 15Jul18].

"Harry" had originally said that this phone call was " probably around April 1989" [see 01Jun16 & 02Jun16.] but now his "best guess" is that it was in March of that year (see below). So I have changed the title of this email from "April 1989 ..." to "March 1989 ..." and links to it, as well as, where applicable, changed "April" to "March" in this post.

As quoted by Joe Marino, who this Shroud author told it to, a "distraught" German-sounding male phoned a "prominent Shroud researcher, who does not want to be identified" and begged forgiveness for "falsifying the results of the 1988 dating" through "espionage":

"1989 Spring. A prominent Shroud researcher, who does not want to be identified, has told only a few other Shroud researchers, including myself, about a curious phone call he had received one day at about 1:30 in the morning. His recollection was that it was not long after the C-14 dating results were announced in October 1988 and sometime in the spring. I will call the researcher `Harry.' Harry indicated the (male) person, who did not apologize for calling so late, sounded distraught. The person told Harry he had been involved in falsifying the results of the 1988 dating. Harry thought the accent might have been German and thought the person was in his 40s but wasn't sure because of the accent and emotional nature of the call. The person would not reveal his name (the person claimed it wasn't important) or from where he was calling. He kept asking Harry if he would forgive him for having done a disservice to humanity. The person even mentioned the word `espionage' in relation to the event. The only detail he gave about the procedure was saying that the real Shroud sample was thrown in the trash. Harry tried repeatedly to get the man to identify himself and when he (Harry) tried to get more details, the man said he couldn't say more as he could get in some real trouble. Harry said the person said he also planned to call other Shroud researchers, but as far as we know, no one ever did. Harry has wondered over the years whether the call itself could have been a fraud, but he is firm that the person sounded distraught to the point that Harry said he wouldn't have been surprised if the guy would have said `I've got a gun and I'm going to shoot myself.' Even now, Harry just isn't sure what to think"[4].
For this caller having been Koch:
• "it was not long after the C-14 dating results were announced in October 1988 and sometime in the spring." A hoaxer would not have waited ~6 months after the 13 October 1988 announcement that the Shroud's radiocarbon date was "1260-1390" nor even ~2 months after the 16 February 1989 Nature article which `confirmed' that dating, but would have `struck while the iron was hot.' But if Koch, who had became a Christian in late 1988/early 1989[5], had realised when the 1989 Nature article came out that the program (Linick's) he had installed for the KGB on computers in laboratories in Zurich and Oxford, had generated those laboratories' false "mediaeval ... 1260-1390" radiocarbon dates of the Shroud, he would likely have felt guilty and sought forgiveness from a Shroud author well-known even in Germany.

• "the (male) person ... sounded distraught." The caller sounded so "distraught" to `Harry' that he remembered it long afterwards and even told other Shroud researchers about it. It would be hard for a hoaxer who is not a trained actor to sound so distraught that it would leave a lasting impression on `Harry,' who is not someone who would be easily fooled.

• "The person... had been involved in falsifying the results of the 1988 dating." If it was Koch and he did hack Zurich and Oxford's radiocarbon dating computers (according to my theory), then that is exactly what he had been involved in. This nullifies the Against (see below) that the caller claimed to have (literally) thrown the Shroud sample in the trash.

• "Harry thought the accent might have been German." Koch was German. Why would a hoaxer fake a German accent? Or if he was a German hoaxer, phoning `Harry' in the USA from Germany, why would he do that? `Harry' had nothing to do with the 1988 radiocarbon dating. And as far as I know, he had not in 1988-89 written or spoken about it. But Harry had authored a popular pre-1988 book supporting the authenticity of the Shroud that could have been given to Koch by his new Christian friends.

• "The person would not reveal his name (the person claimed it wasn't important) or from where he was calling." A hoaxer could have given a false name and a vague or false location (e.g. "the USA"), but Koch, since he was now a Christian, would not be able to tell the truth of who he was and where he was calling from, but neither could he lie.

• "He kept asking Harry if he would forgive him for having done a disservice to humanity." A hoaxer would be most unlikely to ask `Harry' for forgiveness for having done a disservice to humanity." But the new Christian Koch, if he had played a part in falsifying the Shroud's carbon dating, might well have.

• "The person even mentioned the word `espionage' in relation to the event." This is the strongest evidence that the caller was Koch. Under then West German law there was a standing amnesty for those who confessed to the crime of espionage, providing it was before it was discovered and they then cooperated fully:

"In the summer of 1988 both Pengo [Hans Heinrich Hübner] and Koch, independently, approached the authorities, hoping to take advantage of an amnesty provision in German espionage legislation. This provision guaranteed lenient treatment to those who had not previously been under suspicion and now confessed, provided they co-operated fully. The two confessed to espionage, the only offence covered by the amnesty. Paradoxically, confessing to any lesser offence could have resulted in a severer penalty"[6].

"Several months after Pengo's unexpected trip to the prosecutor's office and his confession [in July 1988], he discovered just how fortunate his timing had been. It turned out that Hagbard [Koch] had done exactly the same thing at the advice of his own lawyer a few weeks before Pengo did. The handling of the two cases was strikingly parallel. Hagbard's lawyer, too, had invoked a section of the amnesty provision in the espionage laws and had his client turn himself in. It was a close call, to be sure. If Pengo had waited even another week, the authorities might have been ready to open a formal case against him, and might not have offered him the promise of lenient treatment"[7].
It would have been most unlikely that a hoaxer would know that (bearing in mind that a hoaxer would not be pretending to confess to hacking the Shroud's dating), and he would not use the word "espionage" to describe his "falsifying the results of the 1988 dating" or his throwing "the real Shroud sample ... in the trash." But if the caller was Koch and he did hack Zurich and Oxford's Shroud dating computers, then "espionage" (or hacking) would be exactly the word he would have used in his confession to `Harry' what he had done to the Shroud's dating!

• "the man said he couldn't say more as he could get in some real trouble." A hoaxer would not "get in some real trouble" even if he gave `Harry' his true name and location. But if Koch had hacked Zurich and Oxford's AMS computers on behalf of the KGB he definitely "could get in some real trouble" if he told `Harry' more and the KGB found out about it. In fact, see next.

• "Harry said the person said he also planned to call other Shroud researchers, but as far as we know, no one ever did." If the KGB, or its surrogate the East German Stasi, were monitoring Koch's phone calls, it may have been this very phone call by Koch to `Harry' (which would have been late May [however `Harry' replied by email today, 17 April, that his "best guess" was the phone call was in March]) that led to Koch's abduction, torture and murder made to look like suicide by the Stasi/KGB (see future "23May89"). That would explain why the caller planned to phone other Shroud researchers but never did. [But equally if Koch was warned by the KGB after his March call to "Harry" and Koch had heeded that warning not to phone Shroud researchers, but Koch was still talking to others about his hacking of Zurich and Oxford laboratories' Shroud's radiocarbon dating computers, that would also explain why the KGB decided to permanently silence Koch in late May 1989]. Moreover, Koch's fear that his phone calls were being monitored by the Stasi/KGB would explain why he was not more specific in describing to `Harry' how he had "falsif[ied] the results of the 1988 dating." Indeed if the caller (Koch) had told `Harry' that he had hacked Zurich and Oxford's AMS computers for the KGB, then `Harry' might have been killed by the KGB also (as Linick was [see 22Feb16])!

• "Harry has wondered over the years whether the call itself could have been a fraud, but he is firm that the person sounded distraught to the point that Harry said he wouldn't have been surprised if the guy would have said `I've got a gun and I'm going to shoot myself.' Even now, Harry just isn't sure what to think." Clearly 'Harry' does not think the caller was a fraud, because if he did he would have dismissed it long ago. Also see above that the caller would have had to have been a trained actor to have fooled `Harry'.

Against this caller having been Koch:
•"Harry ... thought the person was in his 40s." Koch was nearly 24 (23.05.1989-22.7.1965 = 23 years and 10 months old)[2]. But Harry "wasn't sure because of the accent and emotional nature of the call." Also, we don't know how old Koch sounded on the phone.

• "The only detail he gave about the procedure was saying that the real Shroud sample was thrown in the trash." This cannot have been literally what the caller meant. He had previously told `Harry' that "he had been involved in falsifying the results of the 1988 dating." Falsifying the results of the 1988 dating does not cover throwing the Shroud sample in the trash. There would not have been any "1988 dating" if the Shroud sample was in the trash! As the composite photograph below of the Shroud sub-samples show, the sample cut

[Above (enlarge)[8]: Extract of a composite photograph of the Shroud sub-samples, cut from the Shroud on 21 April 1988 (see 21Apr88). Their different textures are explained by some having been photographed from the underside. The sub-samples given to the laboratories to carbon-date were: a and d Arizona, b Zurich and c Oxford. e was retained by the Turin Archdiocese. To the right of the laboratories' sub-samples a, b and c are trimmings removed by Turin's Giovanni Riggi (1935-2008) and retained by him. The bottom right-hand triangular piece was that which was given to Prof. Gilbert Raes (1914-2001) in 1973 to study and returned to Turin by him in 1977 [see 15Aug17].]

from the Shroud, subdivided into sub-samples and given to the three laboratories was that which was dated. Clearly this "distraught," "emotional" and presumably "German" caller was speaking figuratively, and he meant the German equivalent of that he had `trashed' the Shroud.

There are four basic options:
1. The caller was a hoaxer, either faking a German accent, or actually a German, either phoning `Harry' from within the USA or internationally.

2. The caller was someone present at the 21 April 1988 cutting of the Shroud sample in Turin Cathedral and the subdividing of that sample into sub-samples which were given to the three laboratories. And he literally threw the Shroud sample into the trash.

3. The caller was Koch's fellow hacker, Hans Heinrich Hübner, who was the only person other than Koch at that time who confessed to "espionage" for his hacking of business, government and military computers for the KGB, to take advantage of the amnesty for those crimes under then West German law.

4. The caller was German hacker for the KGB, Karl Koch, who was the only person other than Hübner at that time who confessed to "espionage" for his hacking of business, government and military computers for the KGB, to take advantage of the amnesty for those crimes under then West German law. And who after that became a Christian and (according to my theory), realised after reading the 16 February 1989 Nature article, that the Zurich and Oxford laboratory computers on which he had installed a program for the KGB, had helped generate the bogus "mediaeval ... 1260-1390" radiocarbon date of the Shroud[9].

Option 2 can be eliminated. On 21 April 1988 in Turin Cathedral, a sample was cut from the Shroud, and that sample was subdivided into sub-samples which were given to the three laboratories to carbon-date. For the caller to have literally thrown the Shroud sample in the trash he would have to have been one of those present. The only person present who had a German-sounding accent, as far as I am aware, was the Director of Zurich laboratory, Willy Wolfli[10], who presumably was Swiss. But he was evidently a non-Christian[11] and an anti-authenticist[12], so he would not have been distraught (to put it mildly) that the Shroud's carbon date was medieval. And even if Wolfli (or anyone else) wanted to, he could not have thrown the Shroud sample in the trash without it being noticed by others present. And as we saw above the sub-samples given to the three laboratories on 21 April 1988 were the samples that were carbon dated.

Option 1, the caller was a hoaxer, can also be eliminated for reasons given above: a hoaxer would not have waited ~6 months after the 13 October 1988 announcement that the Shroud had carbon dated "1260-1390"; he would have had to be a trained actor to sound so distraught that it left a lasting impression on `Harry' who is not one to be easily fooled; a hoaxer would not have phoned `Harry' who had nothing to do with the 1988 radiocarbon dating, nor had he written or publicly said anything about it; a hoaxer could have given a false name and a vague or false location, or even given his real name and location; and finally a hoaxer would not have used the word "espionage" to describe his "falsifying the results of the 1988 [Shroud] dating", as that was the very crime under then West German law which attracted an amnesty, and to which the German hackers Karl Koch and Hans Heinrich Hübner had confessed to less than a year before.

Option 3, the caller was Koch's fellow hacker Hans Heinrich Hübner, can also be eliminated. While only he and Koch would have used the word "espionage" to describe their confessed crimes of hacking, unlike Koch, there is no evidence that I am aware of that Hübner became a Christian at that time, and so could have been "distraught" at the Shroud having been falsified by the 1988 radiocarbon dating.

That leaves remaining only option 4, the caller was German hacker for the KGB, Karl Koch. As we saw above: Koch was the only person other than Hübner at that time who confessed to "espionage" for hacking on behalf of the KGB, to come under the amnesty for that crimes under then West German law; Koch "could get in some real trouble" if he had hacked Zurich and Oxford's radiocarbon dating computers for the KGB (according to my theory) and told `Harry' more about that; and Koch became a Christian in 1988/89 and so could have become distraught when he realised after the publication of the 1989 Nature article, that the program he had installed for the KGB on computers in Zurich and Oxford laboratories, had helped "falsif[y] the results of the 1988 dating."

In view of option 4 above, this phone caller to a "prominent Shroud researcher, who does not want to be identified" [`Harry'] by a "distraught" German-sounding male, who begged "forgive[ness]" for "falsifying the results of the 1988 dating" through "espionage," can only have been Karl Koch! It is therefore a `two factor authentication' of my hacking theory that:

"[T]he 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin as `mediaeval ... AD 1260-1390'[13] was the result of a computer hacking, allegedly by Arizona radiocarbon dating laboratory physicist Timothy W. Linick (1946-89)[14], aided by German hacker Karl Koch (1965–89)[15], on behalf of the former Soviet Union, through its agency the KGB" [23Jul15].]
To be continued in the next part #16 of this series.

Notes
1. This post is copyright. I grant permission to quote from any part of it (but not the whole post), provided it includes a reference citing my name, its subject heading, its date, and a hyperlink back to this page. [return]
2. Photo, "In memory of Karl Koch. Hagbard Celine. 22.7.1965. 23.05.1989." Translated by Google. http://www.hagbard-celine.de/. [return]
3. Clauss, U., 2012, "Ancestor of the Pirate Party was charred in the forest," Die Welt, 25 May 2012. Translated by Google. [return]
4. Marino, J.G., 2016, "The Politics of the Radiocarbon Dating of the Turin Shroud, Part III: Post-April 21st, 1988," 9 September. [return]
5. Hafner, K. & Markoff, J., 1991, "Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier," Corgi: London, reprinted, 1993, p.302. [return]
6. Clough, B. & Mungo, P., 1992, "Approaching Zero: Data Crime and the Computer," Faber & Faber: London & Boston, pp.183-184. [return]
7. Hafner & Markoff, 1991, pp.267, 277. [return]
8. Wilson, I., 2010, "The Shroud: The 2000-Year-Old Mystery Solved," Bantam Press: London, p.88. [return]
9. Damon, P.E., et al., 1989, "Radiocarbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin," Nature, Vol. 337, 16 February, pp.611-615, 611. [return]
10. Guerrera, V., 2001, "The Shroud of Turin: A Case for Authenticity," TAN: Rockford IL, p.125. [return]
11. Sox, H.D., 1988, "The Shroud Unmasked: Uncovering the Greatest Forgery of All Time," The Lamp Press: Basingstoke UK, p.139. [return]
12. Sox, 1988, p.135. [return]
13. Damon, 1989, p.611. [return]
14. Jull, A.J.T. & Suess, H.E., 1989, "Timothy W. Linick," Radiocarbon, Vol 31, No 2. [return]
15. "Karl Koch (hacker)," Wikipedia, 9 February 2019. [return]

Posted: 13 April 2019. Updated: 27 May 2019.

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