Wednesday, 9 April 2014

No one ever told us what to find or not find about Lockerbie

[This is the headline over an article by retired FBI special agent Richard Marquise published in the current issue of the Scottish Review, prompted by the recent Aljazeera documentary Lockerbie: What Really Happened?.  It reads in part:]

The third segment of this programme was the most problematic. I found at least four issues with which I take exception. First of all, the producers of the film as well as several of those in it kept talking about 'evidence' they had uncovered which would have exonerated Libya and Megrahi. Unfortunately none of them, despite their backgrounds, seem to have been able to distinguish between evidence and intelligence.

Let me address each concern separately. A former Manhattan district attorney prepared a report based on interviews she had conducted with some 'unnamed sources'. These sources are (according to the report) very sensitive and they are unable to be identified. They reported on several meetings of terrorist countries and groups which took place in Malta in 1988 prior to the Lockerbie bombing.

The only documentation, or evidence, which was introduced was an alleged document written by one of the unnamed sources which memorialised the meeting(s). She intimated that the sources were reliable and unable to be named which means they could or would never testify and thus their information falls in the realm of intelligence, not evidence. This is a distinction that an experienced prosecutor should understand.

I have no idea what was contained in the report but assume the most 'damning' parts to the prosecution case were aired by Al Jazeera. This report is very similar to one prepared for Pan Am in 1989 which, among other things, said the US government was responsible for the attack and the bomb was brought on board in Frankfurt by a young Lebanese-American man.

This former prosecutor's report, 'Operation Bird', covered a series of meetings in Malta about terrorism and seemed to lay the blame for the Lockerbie bombing on an Egyptian living in Sweden. However, other than by inference, they had no evidence linking anyone at these meetings to the Pan Am attack. In fact, there was no evidence which would be admissible in court shown in the entire segment. They provided no documentary evidence that the man they blamed was even in Malta when the first of these meetings took place. His later travel to Malta in October 1988 has been well-documented in several books about Lockerbie. There is no evidence this man was in Malta in December 1988.

The so-called Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) documents that some have described as the 'smoking gun', were anything but. The documents which DIA released, presumably under the US Freedom of Information Act, although heavily redacted, had a lot of information about Lockerbie, Libya, Iran and other terrorist groups operating around the time of the bombing. Almost every page has a statement on it which says: 'This is an information report, not finally evaluated intelligence'. In other words, none of it was or ever could be evidence. Most of the reporting in the DIA release was rumour, newspaper articles or analysis of information written by DIA analysts. Not one bit of it was provable and able to be introduced into court. No smoking gun here.

An alleged former senior Iranian official was interviewed and he stated that Iran committed the Lockerbie bombing yet he provided no proof of his statement. In 2000, a young Iranian refugee in Turkey made similar claims. Although he alleged that Iran carried out this attack and that he had documents to prove it, he had no documents and he was unable to provide any information on the attack. Although the government of Iran's hands are not clean as it relates to terrorism around the world, there is no evidence which can be used against anyone in that country to charge with the Lockerbie attack.

The final issue in this segment was an interview with a retired CIA agent. He has often been described as having been involved in the Lockerbie investigation. Using his logic, any FBI agent who interviewed a family member one time could say that he too was involved in the investigation. This agent worked in Paris and at best saw some of the cable traffic about the case but he had no day to day knowledge of the evidence and the investigation. He said the FBI and CIA diverged and never came together on the investigation. After some initial operational issues, the FBI, CIA, British security service and Scottish police worked as a team and at the time of the indictments in 1991 were in total agreement with the results.

This man also claimed that there was an executive decision to put the blame on Libya rather than any other country. In September 2009 this former agent claimed on national television in the United States that in 1992 President Clinton ordered the FBI to find evidence against Libya and charge them for the Lockerbie bombing. Clinton was not president in 1992 and the indictment against Megrahi and Libya was returned in 1991. If he had so much information about the so called 'executive decision', one would think he would have got the date and the name of the president correct.

Others have reported to me that after Gaddafi was killed, this same former agent who now claims that Iran was responsible for the bombing and stated this was the opinion of the CIA 'to a man', commented on a national news programme that Gaddafi was responsible for the Pan Am 103 bombing. This agent too only talked about intelligence which is never to be confused with evidence, that which can be used in court.

This former CIA agent and others have said that high-level officials either in Washington or London told investigators not to link Syria or Iran to the Lockerbie bombing. This is categorically false. No one ever told any of us to find or not find something.

We followed the evidence, not speculation, rumour and the other things that often make up intelligence.

I saw nothing on any of these three programmes to cause me or any of my colleagues to doubt the evidence against Megrahi and Libya. The US indictment which was returned in 1991 indicted Megrahi, his co-accused Lamen Fhimah and 'others unknown to the grand jury'. I cannot and have never said that Iran may not have had a role in the attacks but there is absolutely no evidence to support that claim.

The forensic evidence and investigation conducted by non-political and dedicated police officers/agents as well as intelligence agents indicated that this was a Libyan operation and that Megrahi not only bought the clothes but facilitated the bomb getting into the baggage system. Megrahi, using his false passport, departed Malta on the morning of 21 December 1988, 30 minutes after the bomb bag had left for Frankfurt and then on to London. Megrahi took a LAA flight to Tripoli and was accompanied by a Libyan bomb technician who we believe armed the bomb.

Any 'investigative report', especially on a topic so sensitive and raw, should include interviews of all sides of the issue. A one-sided commentary on rumours, innuendo, previously litigated testimony and intelligence is bound to end in failure. Al Jazeera set the bar pretty low as this special did not answer the question 'Lockerbie: What really happened?'

Any prosecutor will tell you that the wild speculation and rumour contained in this report would never be acceptable in a courtroom. Intelligence is that information used by law enforcement agencies to help them gather evidence which can be used in a court of law. There is a big difference between intelligence which cannot be proven and evidence which can. The evidence convicted Megrahi – the information provided in the Al Jazeera report will convict no one.

[RB: “The evidence convicted Megrahi.” But as I have written (and as the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission has confirmed) it clearly ought not to have done.]


  1. I don't disagree with what Mr. Marquise has said above. It's what he hasn't said that's disingenuous, or dishonest, or maybe he looked away at the time.

    The programme included the information that a detalied analysis of the evidence from Heathrow, and in particular the damaged suitcases, shows that the bomb suitcase was introduced at Heathrow not Malta. Admittedly the analysis wasn't explained in detail on-screen - the director cut that for reasons of length; it was actually filmed. However, it was made clear what the analysis demonstrated and that this was based on hard physical evidence, not intelligence or speculation.

    If the bomb went on at Heathrow, which it did, this exonerates Megrahi completely. I find it very telling that Mr. Marquise didn't even refer to that aspect at all.

  2. MISSION LIFE WITH LOCKERBIE AFFAIR - 2014. (google translation, german/english).

    Ex FBI Special Agent Richard A. Marquise led the U.S. Task Force which included the FBI, Department of Justice and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), said in his commentary to third film "Lockerbie: What really happened ?" from Al Jazeera:
    "We Followed the evidence, not speculation, rumor and the other things did Often make up intelligence."

    MEBO asks Mr Marquise - Why wander in the distance ? A crucial part of the Truth is so close ?...
    Why you give not a new order or support to the Scottish Justiciary, to make a new investigation with the latest high-tech methods over the crucial piece of evidence, the MST-13 timer circuit board (PT-35) - supposedly found in Lockerbie ?
    Are you afraid of the TRUTH ? Please remember:
    The technology today is ready that 100% can be proved, that the crucial MST-13 timer fragment (PT-35) consists of 9 or 8 layers of fiberglass and can be proved, within (timewindow +/- 10 days) that the 'PT-35' fragment had trace of powder from a bomb explosion on 21st of Dec. 1988.

    9 layers of fiberglass and traces of explosive powder, can have indicate to Libya ?

    8 layers of fiberglass, with no traces of explosive powder, indicate to a Scottish fatal fraud - against Libya ?

    Abdelbaset al Megrahi and Libya have nothing to do with the bombing of PanAm 103, over Lockerbie. The MST-13 Timer Evidence (PT-35) is a Scottish Fraud against the former Gadhafi regime !

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:


  3. LIFE WITH THE LOCKERBIE AFFAIR - 2014, (google translation, german/english:

    Ex FBI agent Richard Marquise's staunch belief, that Abdelbaset al Megrahi is guilty for the PanAm 103 bombing, is in Marquise's theory between evidence and intelligence, only constructed on Megrahi's ill-fated *Lie.

    Marquise's *Trump card" has a certain permission. On this time, Al Megrahi claimed convincingly in a TV interview that he traveled not to Malta on 20th December 1988, and back the other day to Tripoli.
    But at the Court in Kamp van Zeist (2000), it was announced that Al Megrahi, was on this date in Malta with a "alias" Libyan passport under wrong name "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad". Al Megrahi, brought the passport with his photo to the Court by himself.

    Today we know Al Megrahi's visit in Malta was very private - it had nothing to do with the "PanAm 103 bombing" and it is absolutely understandable, that Al Megrahi, with a white lie not want to be wilful involved in the bombing. Mr. Marquise can therefore also this "life preserver" buried...


    Ex FBI Agent Richard Marquise's überzeugter Glaube an der Schuld von Abdelbaset al Megrahi, am "PanAm 103 Attentat", stützt sich bei Marquise's Theorie, zwischen Evidence und Intelligence, nur auf Al Megrahi's verhängnisvolle *Notlüge ab.

    Marquise's *Trumpfkarte" hatte vorerst eine gewisse Berechtigung, behauptete damals Al Megrahi, in einem TV-Interview überzeugend, dass er am 20. Dezember 1988, nicht nach Malta eingereist und anderntagts nach Tripoli ausgereist war...
    Am Gericht in Kamp van Zeist (2000) wurde aber bekannt, dass Al Megrahi, tatsächlich mit einem Libyschen Passport, unter dem Decknamen "Ahmed Khalifa Abdusamad", an diesen Datum nach Malta ein- und ausgereist war...
    Al Megrahi, brachte persönlich den "alias" Passport (mit seinem Foto) zum Gericht.

    Heute ist bekannt und absolut verständlich, wieso Al Megrahi seinen privaten Besuch in Malta, nicht mit der "Lockerbie-Anklage" in Zusammenhang bringen wollte - und zu einer fatal auswirkenden Notlüge griff.
    Sein Privatbesuch in Malta hatte nichts zu tun mit dem PanAm 103 Attentat und Mr. Marquise kann somit auch diesen "Retungs-Ring" begraben...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage:

  4. "There is no evidence this man was in Malta in December 1988." - probably true Mr Marquise but then you have no evidence the bomb rigged Toshiba radio cassette recorder or Samsonite suitcase was in Malta in December 1988 (or any other month for that matter) either.

  5. Something is intriguing me. I first saw the photos of the damaged luggage in February last year, and figured out what had happened. I compiled a report on this and sent it to the police in March. That's more than a year ago.

    In August I was interviewed by the senior investigating officer, but this aspect wasn't addressed. He said he'd read the report and it was very interesting, but then didn't discuss it in detail.

    In December I published an entire book explaining the whole thing. In January I sent additional material to the police, which included a reiteration of the suitcase evidence.

    I've been on both radio and TV explaining that I have evidence the bomb suitcase was introduced at Heathrow. I've written articles, and discussed it on this blog and elsewhere. If the Crown Office doesn't keep an eye on this blog I'd be very much surprised.

    The question is, do they get it? Do they actually understand that their case is holed below the water line and can never recover? First, Megrahi didn't buy the clothes. Then, PT/35b wasn't part of one of the timers sold to Libya. Now, the bomb didn't start from Malta at all but from Heathrow.

    They're procrastinating and dragging their heels, but the one thing they have never done is come out and said, you're wrong about the suitcase arrangement and here is why. (Just as they have never said to John Ashton, you're wrong about the MST-13 thing and here is why.) They have had ample opportunity to examine my analysis and challenge it. I've been shoving it in their faces begging them to do that for over a year, but nothing.

    Is it cognitive dissonance, so that they can't imagine they could possibly be wrong and if they keep ignoring it maybe it'll go away? Or is there anyone within the Crown Office or the police inquiry who actually, in their hearts, realises that this case was fouled up almost from the get-go, and not only did they get the wrong man, they got the entire modus operandi of the crime wrong?

    Once you do realise that, from the point of view of someone within the establishment, what do you do? Do you keep stalling? Do you scratch around soliciting obfuscatory articles to make it look as if you're not sinking? Or do you face up to it and figure out how to do the right thing while retaining as much dignity as possible?

    I know what I think they ought to do, but will they do it?

  6. All,

    I am just wondering. Whilst Richard Marquise does make the occasional blog contribution from over the Pond, he does not normally elaborate so formally in the UK press. Why here and why now? Far be it for me to suggest some are beginning to become a tad rattled.

    Police Scotland are having to contend with now 9 cogently argued allegations against Crown, police and forensic officials. There is a potential application for a third appeal in the offing. In other words, fingers are beginning to twitch on the handles of sabres.

    Like Marquise, I was disappointed by the third documentary in the al-Jazeera series for similar reasons to his own. I also respect Marquise as a particularly sharp operator. However, if the Crown has invited him to present cogent arguments to demolish their opposition, he has failed them.

    Ultimately, this conviction is going to bite the dust since the shortcomings of the Crown case at Zeist are going to be exposed and shredded not because of speculation upon who dunnit but because of their inherent frailties. He has no arguments to counter that evidential onslaught and nor does the Crown. Let's face it, all they've come up with so far is knee jerk vilification of those who have had the gall to challenge the conviction: hardly reasoned argument.

    This latest contribution is yet another example of the establishment applying another bandage over a gaping wound. The blood will always seep through, and, one of these days, they are going to run out of sticky plasters.

    Pip, pip.

  7. PS

    Here's a thought.

    Dear Mr Marquise,

    At the beginning of May all members of the JFM Committee will be present in Scotland. Therefore , I was wondering if we could entice you to our favourite hostelry in Edinburgh in order to have a deep and meaningful discussion on the subject at hand over s pint or two of our beverage of choice accompanied by a traditional dish that goes by the name of smoky bacon stovies. You could, of course, catch up with our Lord Advocate whilst in the neighbourhood too in order to compare notes. Indeed, if he were willing to partake of some stovies and IPA in our company, we would be quite elated.

    All in all, it might be a most productive and illuminating adventure.

    I feel confident, in fact, I can guarantee that your every requirement would be most admirably looked attended to, and you would have the opportunity to take in the sights that you may have missed when otherwise distracted by the painful tragedy of 103.

    Personally, I would be delighted to accommodate you down here in Reiver Land just as I am equally sure that my associates further north would be similarly welcoming. We are really quite nice folk despite our reputation.

    What do you say?

    Robert Forrester (JFM).

  8. Well Robert, as I said in the other thread, I imagine Mr. Marquise's article was solicited. Mr. Linklater's didn't really stand up too well, but he's just another commentator. Get an insider on to it!

    An awful lot of people have an awful lot invested in their having been right about this case over the past 25 years. Unfortunately they were wrong, but it seems they aren't going to admit error gracefully, they're going to make a fight of it. And that fight includes, and in fact relies heavily on, balderdash pronouncements in the press delivered in an authoritative, obfuscatory style. This is the latest contribution in that respect.

    The Aljazeera documentary was indeed disappointing, because it presented yet another weak, flawed theory that can be attacked and rubbished. And look how quick they all were to do that! You knew and I knew and John Ashton knew that the whole Mesbahi thing was shaky, dubious hearsay. We could have shredded it just as well as the opposition.

    This really intrigues me. Faced with a weak theory which can be easily criticied and countered, they do that promptly and with reasonable facility. But what have they done with our submissions? Nothing. They've had every opportunity to go to the press and explain exactly how John Ashton is mistaken about the meaning of the metallurgy results, and how I'm mistaken in my analysis of the suitcase positioning, and how PT/35b really was part of one of the Libyan timers and how the bomb suitcase was really on the second level with the Coyle case under it.

    Crickets. Crickets and tumbleweed.

    I think that's what irritated me most about the Aljazeera thing. That they presented the authorities with yet another straw man to attack, so enabling them to continue giving the impression that their official version is secure and the alternatives are tinfoil hat material.

    One day, though, they're going to have to admit that PT/35b, whatever the hell it was, wasn't part of one of the timers sold to Libya. And that the bomb suitcase was on the floor of the container and was the case Bedford saw at quarter to five.

    Eppur si muove.

  9. Hmmm. Edinburgh is delightful in May. Would the surprisingly well-heeled Mr. Marquise deign to show up from the other side of the pond?

    While I would be delighted to participate in a discussion such as Robert proposes, I suspect I may have burned my bridges with Mr. Marquise. To a large extent because I don't regard him as anything close to a "sharp operator" - unless you're talking about political machinations maybe. I've read his book, remember? Sharp is not the first word that would spring to my lips to describe the thinking on display.

    I've also watched him on TV, and taken part in a TV programme with him - albeit one where we weren't permitted to discuss or even interact, but were merely asked for our opinions one after the other. He's dogmatic and shouty and lays down the law as one who espects his assertions to be accepted unchallenged. He speaks in weasel words which may not be flat-out lies but are certainly intended to convey flat-out untruths. For example his pontifications about the money paid to the Gauci brothers, in which he repeatedly and belligerently asserted something that was not in fact an answer to the precise question being put to him.

    He's not someone who discusses or debates. He's someone who asserts and makes pronouncements, and then shouts at you if you have the temerity to challenge him or question him or even ask for additional information.

    I don't think he'd dare show up anyway.

  10. Oh, and if he comes, take him somewhere nice. Your favourite hostelry is a howff.

  11. Mr Marquise does a wonderful job of demolishing straw men - the Al-Jazeera film centred on "Operation Bird" was atrocious.

    I note the article refers to Mr Marquise's book (which I haven't read) as "Scotborn"! I didn't know he was a sweaty!

  12. Dear Mr Marquise,

    I don't have much to say really other than I, and I am confident that other JFM Committee members, would be delighted to entertain you, Mr Marquise, should you decide to grace our shores and we will welcome you whenever and wherever you touch down and we will endeavour to attend to your every need.

    Whist we may differ on many issues surrounding 103, personally speaking, I find eye to eye contact the best.

    I am not saying you are wrong or right, I find you an interesting and intriguing character. Although I profoundly disagree with your analysis of the case.

    So. Why not meet up over here in Edinburgh with us soon. It would make a smashing pic: us lot together. I don't hate anybody in this affair. I just want to see justice (not punishment) served. Like I suggested before: We are fairly straightforward, warm and welcoming folk.


  13. If he actually comes, I will personally pay for the drinks.

  14. Dear ROLFE
    Please I want to be there and will see Mr Marquise in the eyes and confront him with detailed questions of which he had in February 1991, at the FBI headquarters in Washington, offered to me and denies today ....

    ( Offer: Up to . $ 4 million and a new identity, when I change to USA) - after I signing a police report, which confirms that the MST-13 timer fragment (PT-35) comes from a MST-13 Timer: supplied to Libya !

    under oath, Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd, Switzerland,

  15. A 'a howff'? Bugger off ! Tis a gem in a sea of dross! In any case, they serve the very best of Deuchars IPA, not to mention smoky bacon stovies to die for! In fact, the good prof and I made it quite plain to them when they had deviated to some poncy Italianesque style menu that if they didn't get their act back together sharpish, we would fire bomb the establishment! Well, whatdjano! smoky bacon stovies on the menu the next day.

    Anyway, no accounting for taste. Feel sure you and Dick would get along just dandy.

    Pip, pip.

    1. Not if he repeatedly bellows the same irrelevant sound-bite in my face instead of answering the actual question, which seems to be his style.

  16. Dearest,

    You take him far too personablly. In fact, every time I see him on camera, I think: 'This guy is having a hoot. He's pulling everybody's chain.' You can see it in his eyes. you can hear it in his voice, you can see it in his body language He's the joker in the pack. Make no mistake Marquise is no dummy. why else would I wish to eat smoky bacon stovies with him?

  17. Come on, give the guy a break. If you don't, he might not want to meet you, ya dafty! Strikes me that he's got a sense of humour. Frankly, and despite the tragic subject matter, we could do with a bit more of that round here.

  18. Like I said in my first message, I think I already burned my boats on that one. I have said what I think of him more than once and it ain't complimentary. I wouldn't mind meeting him at all, but pompous self-important types don't usually want to meet interfering busybodies who've said unflattering things about them.

    And if you seriously think he knows the whole thing was a farce and is just going through the motions or something, I have to respectfully disagree. I think he was genuinely convinced at the time that they had the right guy, and now he's sticking his fingers in his ears and humming real loud. That article was part of the humming real loud.

  19. "And if you seriously think he knows the whole thing was a farce and is just going through the motions or something, I have to respectfully disagree."

    I don't know. Where is his answer about that damned Sn-only? And his comments to your suitcase conclusions?

    Mr. Marquise is an investigative nature.
    He will perfectly know, that without answer to that, he is discredited by anyone who knows just a bit more than gets into the press.

    I just can't see him as a guy who wouldn't mind or wouldn't know the importance, waiting for the first spectator in one of this lectures to ask the question.

    Mr. Marquise, history will either know you as a faker who wasn't in good faith - or as a man who broke loose, and did the right thing.

    Your choice.

  20. You've certainly got a point, sfm. Mr. Marquise isn't an ordinary member of the public on this one. He knows enough about the case that he should be in a position to tackle these two crucial issues - IF he understands the questions.

    However, his pathetic obfuscations with John about the metallurgy results are either an extremely sophisticated means of avoiding the issue, or an indication that he doesn't understand the question. Of course he should have taken the trouble to understand, but has he? It's human nature not to want to look too closely at an argument that shows you up as having been wrong about something really important for 25 years, and I suspect he hasn't examined the details. He just produced an obfuscatory article to order, to help out his mates in the Scottish Crown Office.

    Similarly with the suitcase evidence. I've read his book, boring and repetitive and poorly presented as it is. Has he read mine? I'll just bet he hasn't.

  21. I've never read Mr Marquise's book "Scotbom" but found myself re-reading Emerson & Duffy's "The Fall Of Pan Am 103", David Johnston's "The Real Story" and Leppard's "Only The Trail Of Terror" for the first time in many years after reading Rolfe's fine book regarding Heathrow evidence. Got to final chapter of Leppard' book today and was struck by a few lines on page 219 - it's a quote from a Senior German official just after PT35b is "discovered". He says "If you have a point and you like that point you try to fit everything into that scheme. That's what they are doing. The evidence is in the hands of the Scottish Police. They might not like it but it's there". I see this statement in a totally different light now that I have read Rolfe's book. I can't help but think that they have known all along that Samsonite suitcase started it's journey at Heathrow. The German official sure ain't talking about Malta.

  22. MISSION LIFE WITH THE 'LOCKERBIE AFFAIR', 2014 - (google translation, german/english):

    The former FBI Special Agent Richard A. Marquise led the U.S. Task Force which included the FBI, Department of Justice and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - but Marquise's statements are long time already unmasked...
    Mr. Marquise previously managed all aspects of the questionable investigation about the bombing of 'PanAm 103' over Lockerbie - executed allegedly by Abdelbaset al Megrahi and Libya... ???

    On Mr. Marquise's reactions, we can be curious, when the truth is present over the timer fraud (MST-13 / PT-35) after the next official forensic result.

    The late Abdelbaset al Megrahi and Libya have nothing to do with the 'Lockerbie Affair'.

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Telecommunication Switzerland. Webpage: