Monday, 15 November 2010

Lead Pan Am 103 investigator recalls search for suspect

[This is the headline over the report of Richard Marquise's recent talk at Syracuse University, NY in the university's newspaper The Daily Orange. It reads as follows:]

Richard Marquise searched the 845 square-mile crime scene for a piece of circuit board that would link Libyan terrorists to the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing.

"The piece of evidence that cracked the case could fit on the tip of my finger," Marquise said. "I said, ‘If someone sneezes, we're going to need to do another crime scene search for evidence.'"

Marquise is a former FBI special agent and lead investigator of the task force assigned to the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 35 Syracuse University students. Marquise, who spoke Thursday in the Life Sciences Complex, worked in the FBI for more than 30 years.

Marquise walked the audience chronologically through what he called the "10-year odyssey" of the investigation. The tiny piece of circuit board evidence eventually led Marquise's task force to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was eventually convicted as a Libyan intelligence officer and the man behind the bombings. Al-Megrahi was tried before a Scottish court in the Netherlands.

"It was an electric moment. They don't have commercials in situations like this. The judge just stood up and said that they found Mr. Megrahi guilty on all accounts," Marquise said.

Al-Megrahi was released from prison in August 2009 on compassionate grounds that terminal prostate cancer could end his life in three months. He remains alive today. New York senators and other U.S. leaders have called for al-Megrahi to be put back in prison after he survived nearly a year longer than expected and after questions arose about a possible backdoor deal between British Petroleum and the British government to have him released.

Marquise showed the audience a picture of a baby's shoe embedded in the ground after falling from the plane and another of the broken tail of the plane emblazoned with an American flag.

"It hits home here in Syracuse maybe more than in any other city in the United States," Marquise said.

Marquise finished the lecture with a short video that showed interviews with some family members of the victims of the tragedy.

In one video, the mother of a Syracuse student who died in the crash was directed to the imprint that her son's body had made in the ground after falling from the plane. She said she lay down in the imprint and was able to feel close to her son once again. Several audience members wiped their eyes at the end of the video.

Marquise retired from the FBI in 2002 but remains active in the intelligence community by teaching and consulting.

He said: "I'm going to keep doing this because I don't think man was meant to retire."


  1. Richard Marquise searched the 845 square-mile crime scene for a piece of circuit board that would link Libyan terrorists to the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing.
    Amazing. What are the chances of that?
    Even FBI Special Agents Mulder and Scully would have found that incredible.
    However, at OKBOM a similarly incredible find happened too; FBI agents are said to have tracked down McVeigh's truck rental agency by finding a vehicle identification number (VIN) on the truck's rear axle. This axle was found either in the bomb crater, according to the mayor of Oklahoma City's initial press statement, or three blocks away according to the later FBI version.
    Those two solved, but to date, there has been no arrests over the 1985 attempted murder of Dr. Emmett Brown by Libyan Nationalists at the JC Penney car lot, Loan Pine Mall, Hill Valley.

  2. He said: "I'm going to keep doing this because I don't think man was meant to retire."

    Is it not more a case of, "I'm going to keep doing this because other theories are eclipsing my own when it comes to Megrahi's guilt."?

  3. Is it not more a case of, "I'm going to keep doing this because other theories are eclipsing my own when it comes to Megrahi's guilt."?

    Is it not more a case of, "Gosh, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm getting so much gorgeous money for it that I'd be really nuts to stop!"

  4. Clearly it is not possible to believe everything one reads in the press since no FBI agent ever searched the crime scene--myself included. It was done by Scottish police--a point I made at my presentation. However, suffice it to say my life goes beyond Lockerbie and teaching state and local police about terrorism prevention rarely includes any discussion of Lockerbie-- probably to the chagrin of readers of this blog. Unlike some who contribute to this blog, I have no comments which are unsuitable for a "family newspaper."

    Marquise searched 845 sq miles of Scotland.

    I don't think Marquise searched anything. He did not have formally investigatory powers in Scotland, which were in Scottish hands. If we are referring to the chip, that was found in evidence retrieved by Scottish police in the Kielder Forest, not Mr Marquise and he should not have known about that until the Scottish police told the FBI privately just before the Lockerbie conference at the start of 1990. Of course we have worked out what was found there was transformed at RARDE (two suspects there), when material obtained from Mr Lumpert was manufactured and inserted into the evidence stream.

    The alternative understanding of Lockerbie is so profound now and thorough now that none of the suspects can as much say a word off message before it is turned over and revealed for the lie it is.

    Mr Marquise may recall going from Lockerbie to Oklahoma and there is a stench about that as there is a stench about Lockerbie. Mr McVeigh was executed, which I am sure would have been the fate that Mr Magrahi would have suffered if he had been illegally extradited from Libya to the USA (on the cards) and put on trial there.

    I don't think Mr Marquise will both the respond to this, but he must be much more careful when opening his mouth in future.

    Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland, URL:

  6. Mr. Marquise,

    Thank you for joining us. I hope you will stay to answer some questions:

    So, you didn't actually find this fragment, we know that. But you held it on the tip of your finger? And made a remark about its vulnerability to sneezes?
    Where did this take place - in the Calder Forest or a laboratory somewhere? If so, where please?

    Were you surprised that this fragment was never tested for explosive residue, given your suspicion that it might be part of a bomb that killed so many people?

    Were you dismayed at all by the fact that so many of the scientists who handled the fragment were later utterly discredited?

    Did you think that Tony Gauci's identifications of Al-Megrahi were convincing and if so, in what way?

    How do you feel about the fact that all the significant Crown witnesses have been proved to be recipients of colossal amounts of US tax-payers money for their evidence?

    Why do you rarely include mention of Lockerbie in your anti-terrorism teachings? Surely, in the current climate and post 9/11, Lockerbie is of profound importance and you who, let's face it, SOLVED THE CASE must have much to tell your students that would be of use.

    Your answers would be much appreciated and please, in language that could be published in a 'family newspaper' (whatever that is). We are very sensitive souls here, your snotty final comment notwithstanding.

  7. The report, perhaps incorrectly, quotes Mr Marquise as saying:

    "The judge just stood up and said that they found Mr. Megrahi guilty on all accounts".

    The judges said in paragraph 1 of their Opinion:

    "it was originally contended that the accused were guilty of conspiracy to murder, alternatively murder, alternatively contravention of section 2(1) and (5) of the Aviation Security Act 1982. At the
    conclusion of the Crown’s submissions, however, the libel was restricted to the charge
    of murder."

    If Mr Marquise did say what is quoted above, what did he mean, and was it not misleading?

    Secondly, Mr Marquise has chosen in his comment on this blog post to

    a) write about someone's language - as he did recently over whether someone used the phrase "star witness" - rather than

    b) making any substantive point about the conviction, knowing that people contributing here doubt it. He still has not said why he thinks a court should have convicted Mr Megrahi in spite of the problems, for example, relating to

    i) the identification,
    ii) the date of purchase,
    iii) the likelihood of Mr Bedford seeing the right type of suitcase in roughly the right place but before the Frankfurt flight arrived;
    iv) the likelihood of iii) combined with the likelihood of a long-period timer being set for the right time for a barometrically-triggered device.

    Talking about Giaka, as he has done in the past, will not get him very far unless he can find some people in Scotland who believe Giaka's evidence that the judges threw out.

    Mr Marquise himself said that evidence, in contrast to intelligence, had to stand up in court.

    So it is not clear how he can be taken seriously if he

    i) cannot find any Scottish people who would have convicted on the basis of Giaka's evidence and/or

    ii) cannot tackle any of the objections from the international observers, the doubting relatives, or the official Commission; or

    iii) cannot tackle the evidence which emerged since the trial.

    I cannot recall any Scottish person outside the prosecution who has said Giaka's evidence on a suitcase and explosives was reliable.

    Thirdly, Mr Marquise said in another report this week that the judges had to believe all the circumstances in order to convict.

    They did not believe all the circumstances of the prosecution case, as the Giaka episode shows.

    Fourthly, if he meant to indicate in his argument about prisoner transfer that there was only one Libyan prisoner in a UK jail in 2009, that would not be true either. There was only one in Scotland, not the UK.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. We now know of course that the judges did not know all of the circumstances: information about the break-in at Heathrow on the morning of the day Pan Am 103 was to be blown out of the skies was withheld from the trial. Does Mr Marquise have any comment on that?

    Does he have any comments on the findings of the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission which led them to conclude that a miscarriage of justice could have occurred at the trial?

    Does he have any comment about the Crown being exposed as liars when asked if there was anything in the cables concerning Giaka's reliability as a witness which the defence should have access to? The Lord Advocate declared there was nothing controversial in the cables. Now he personally hadn't checked out the cables but his staff had. Nevertheless it was Colin Boyd who delivered the lie to the judges, a lie which was only exposed because the judges chose to have the cables released anyway. And we all know what happened then: Giaka was rejected as a reliable witness. The big question was however, if they rejected Giaka, being, as he was, in the pay of the US security services how on earth could they have carried on with the trial? Giaka had implicated Megrahi and Fhima. If Giaka was untrustworthy as a witness because he had been getting paid, coached even, by the US authorities the entire trial should surely have collapsed. If a witness is unreliable they are unreliable across the board and ALL evidence obtained from them should be disregarded.

    And that's before we even knew that the other guy, Gauci, was to be paid 2 million dollars by the US authorities for a testimony in which he didn't even positively identify Megrahi.

  10. Ah, back again. Blogger decided to throw me off for about a week!

  11. Perhaps Mr Marquise might confirm whether a journalist was mistaken in reporting either of the following, to make sure that he was not in these passages misleading the public about the case.

    First, a reporter writes,

    "The normal investigative tools weren’t an option for FBI agents trying to track down whoever planted a bomb aboard Pan Am 103 in 1988.

    They couldn’t tap the phones of suspects in foreign countries ...said Richard Marquise".

    That might conflict with, or give a different impression from, the evidence of another investigator, under oath at the trial - the police officer Henry Woods Bell:

    "Q Just one other matter, Mr. Bell. Do you recollect the time arrived, during your inquiries in Malta, when a number of police officers, British, American, and
    German, were expelled from the island of Malta by the Maltese authorities?

    A We weren't expelled. The inquiry was suspended, yes.

    Q You were asked to leave?

    A The inquiry was suspended, as far as I can recollect, sir. We were never -- the Maltese never
    asked us to leave. They suspended the inquiry at various times.

    Q Was that related to the discovery of unauthorised telephone tapping on the island? And when I say "unauthorised," I mean unauthorised by the Maltese

    A That was one occasion, yes.

    Q And did the Maltese authorities take it rather amiss that the policing methods being employed by the foreign police forces did not in fact accord with the requirements of Maltese law and the requirements of the Maltese authorities?

    A The Maltese authorities were clearly annoyed that such action had been taken."

    In the same article, Mr Marquise is quoted as saying,

    “If I thought someone framed someone, manipulated evidence or fabricated evidence, I would’ve been the first guy jumping up and down”.

    Is he implying

    a) the CIA did not attach misleading labels to evidence - namely, censored passages of CIA telegrams about Giaka

    (even though the prosecution did not contest that)


    b) if someone attaches such labels, giving a false impression that the hidden passages are not relevant to the case, they are neither manipulating nor fabricating evidence;


    c) (in the context of those alterations) something else?

  12. Listen up. The exact field where that grey shirt collar was alleged to have been found was pinpointed in court. It wasn't in the Kielder Forest - it couldn't have been if it was found by Scottish cops because the Kielder Forest is in England. (There's no such place as the "Calder Forest".)

    It was found very close to the edge of the Newcastleton Forest, but not actually in the forest. The spot was actually a big field of rough grazing up behind the steading of Blinkbonny Farm, near the village of Newcastleton, in Roxburghshire.

    It was pretty much at the tail end of the defined "southern debris trail" as mapped by the AAIB.

    So can we maybe get this right some time?

  13. And my God, has someone hacked into Edwin's login, or has he found himself a competent translator? Keep that up, Edwin, and we might actually start reading your posts! It was even relevant!

    There's a lot of notable truth in that post. The depth of understanding people are coming to as regards the Lockerbie affair is indeed approaching critical mass.

    Now I don't give a lot of credence to this Lumpert story. All that guff about brown boards and green boards and scratched Ms and half the exhibit being green and half brown at one point is fairly obvious eyewash. The chip is the same basic item all the way through the evidence chain, that's clear from the photos.

    But having said that, the evidence does fit Edwin's assertion. If that chip was fabricated, it happened around about June 1989. And one peculiarity of all the photos we have is that the colour is weird and it shows as neither green nor brown. So right now, I'm not entirely discounting this story.

  14. If we're listing things we'd like to ask Richard (mind you I'll be surprised if he comes back...), here's my tuppenceworth.

    How long was it from Tom Thurman getting his hot little hands on the famous photo of the famous timer fragment, to him identifying it?

    Was it "literally months" as Tom has repeatedly said, during which he painstakingly compared it with countless items in the FBI files, wearing his fingers to the bone, almost went blind, you know the tale of intrepid Tom Thurman?

    Or was it less than 48 hours, so fast that Stuart Henderson pretty much had to turn round at Heathrow and come back to the USA, after the June case conference? As it says in your book, you know?

    Guess what. On this one, I believe our Dickie-boy. Why did Tommy come out with his alternative tale, I have to ask myself.

  15. Mr Marquise has been lurking as I have. It's good that he's reading here.

  16. In my view Mr. Marquise is not about to get into a complete debate anywhere or anytime about Lockerbie facts, probably for fear of losing, and he has already shown that by popping in to post the odd comment then not responding fully to issues he raised or commented on, and his lack of further commment here despite many valid questions having been raised, all supported by the fact that he is indeed lurking around this blog as pointed out.

    The very fact that he published a book should mean he should be willing and able to defend what he has written about. If he won't, the subject matter of the book has to be labelled biased at best if not tossed on the rubbish heap.

    He would rather embellish things to friendly audiences or TV cameras that won't ask hard questions, or in a book. Presumably these are more profitable and less embarrassing pursuits.

    Ultimately he will use the conviction of Megrahi as justification for masking the truth and avoid any debate with respect to whether or not justice was done. After all the FBI's job is to get their man and be part of the prosecution, as opposed to being involved in the administration of justice. He can pass responsibility for the latter to the judge that "jumped up and said Megrahi was guilty on all counts". Because that judge agreed with his twisted version of certain things Mr. Marquise clearly feels entitled to state such things as proven facts.

    Bias is okay from where Mr. Marquise stands. For truth seekers the biases of those contributing to the debate have to be identified.

    In my view it is a good thing that Mr. Marquise jumps in every once in a while with a comment - it increases the positng of comments and enlarges the list of valid questions he is afraid to address. This alone exposes his bias and tells the story.

  17. Mr Marquise, are you still here? The silence is deafning....

  18. Well, he's obviously not going to be pulled into what now appears to be a baiting gallery!
    If you could have just all curbed your enthusiasm to see whether he would have responded to a good summary of questions by Rasselas then maybe - but you couldn't...sheeesh.

  19. A baby shoe, US flag, a body imprint. Poignant. What was he, former head propagandist for the FBI? A smooshed apple pie might have worked if there was one.

    No it was former lead investigator. Still staying nice and vague about the actual "evidence and the Lockerbie investigation" that led to figuring out who was responsible for this 'teachable moment.'

    How about the points Matt Berkley makes about the total similarity the attack as it happened and was reported by baggage handlers bears to just what another group was trying and capable of of doing at just that same time? A coherent but shunned narrative, compared to the over-praised imbecile of a case the investigation gave birth to?

  20. Oh, this must be fun for Marquise to see how many yipping critics come out hoping for a discussion or some attention, over a simple comment ...

    There will be no answer of course. I just haven't commented here enough lately is all.

  21. Blogiston, I for one wasn't trying to bait him. I don't think anyone was. He appeared here. It was natural to ask questions. I don't think there was any reason for any of us to think we should not ask questions. We hear so much of his views at times so an appearance here was bound to attract questions. I don't see the point of him jumping in to make quick statements and running off again like that. It really isn't baiting him to ask him the questions we would all like him to answer.

  22. "Oh, this must be fun for Marquise to see how many yipping critics come out hoping for a discussion or some attention, over a simple comment ...

    There will be no answer of course. I just haven't commented here enough lately is all."

    Caustic, do you want to explain that please? Who exactly are the "yipping critics hoping for attention"?

    And what is that final sentence all about?

  23. The terminology "yipping" was spoken from what I imagine to be his perspective. And I was referring only to myself. I was definitely taking the chance to be the smart one who had such a stumper that Marquise finally broke and switched over. I may have imagined one other poster here was similarly motivated, (no idea who, it's hypothetical), leading to a use of plural. He probably does not find it fun, or wouldn't admit it, but he could. I'm like a dog in the yard when the big man rides by on his bicycle. Then I catch myself half-fence and get self-conscious, and explain to the big man that I see no need to chase after him. Lol. That is it.

    Hope that explanation helps. I'm pretty sure that's what I meant.