Richard Marquise to Speak at Syracuse University

10 November 2010

Attention, students of Syracuse University! You won't want to miss the lecture tomorrow to be given by Richard Marquise, who headed the FBI's investigation into the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103. (thanks to Ben Six for the tip). Marquise even wrote a book about his work on the case: SCOTBOM: blahblahblah [2006 - Google books, partial preview]. As you've surely been reminded lately, 35 of your historical classmates, eternal alumni, were among the 270 killed in a bombing that an increasing number worldwide consider to be unsolved. But don't let that bother you - Mr. Marquise will assure you he helped get the right man. It's easy when the whole world seems to agree. Just don't worry about it.

Nonetheless, as the years have grown, so have the doubts about his and others' work in this case. All the points of evidence led at trial and before fall apart upon scrutiny, at the latest. I'll spare the full explanation here (but feel free to look around). To put it simply, besides the much-touted verdict against this "Lockerbie bomber," there is a second legal ruling, by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, that the first one "may have been a miscarriage of justice," and should be heard again. But it wasn't. Roadblocks, as always. This has been happening consistently for nearly a decade, something protecting the verdict, and the largely FBI case behind it. And it's not the verifiable truth, this much is clear.

I don't want anyone to be too mean to Mr. Marquise, but he is, as one friend has put it, "crooked as a corkscrew." Or as I've put it, like a broken Speak-and-Spell, programmed in 1991 with no updates since, full of pre-programmed statements, and no good at answering real questions. He should be asked questions. Here's some good material to consider.

Marquise on Giaka
Richard Marquise is quite keen on the 2001 conviction of Megrahi by three Scottish judges sitting at Camp Zeist, in the Netherlands. But he's rather selective in accepting the Zeist judges' decisions. They found Megrahi's necessary accomplice, Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, flat-out not guilty (skipping a softer option of "not proven"). And the reason for that was the almost total lack of evidence against him, aside for the abundant claims of the prosecution's witness, a Libyan defector turned CIA-FBI asset, Abdul Majid Giaka.

Mr. Marquise is annoyed by the frequent description of Giaka as a "star witness," but he was presented with some fanfare at trial, was hyped heavily by Vincent Cannistraro in the 1990s when we were choking Libya over this, and contributed roughly half of the claims in the 1991 indictments. Giaka and his wife also consumed five chapters of Marquise's 2006 book.

The judges were presented with this witness, star or no, and also grudgingly allowed to see the full text of CIA cables about his debriefings in 1988-1991. What was redacted was where the CIA itself complained that he was unreliable, making things up but nothing good enough, offering little and asking for money and all sorts of help. Someone deliberately chose to conceal all these doubts from the court and, essentially, present a sham witness as a credible one.

This did not go unnoticed by the defense. William Taylor QC ripped into Giaka epically, calling him a liar many, many times, and colorfully. The prosecution didn't even bother to object. Consider these mainstream news article about the episode:

The judges found the witness as a whole unacceptable. They did credit his basic knowledge of Megrahi's comings and goings, and of the Libyan intelligence operation at Malta's airport. But everything directly relating to the case was dismissed. Explosives in the desk, bomb studies, the suitcase, and a number of peripheral claims verging into the ridiculous. Having lost the most important witness, nearly everyone expected the charges to be dismissed. But only Fhimah was so lucky, as the judges managed to accept the flimsy case left against Megrahi.

Belated Claims
In mid-1991, after being in touch with the CIA for nearly three years, Giaka was finally taken on board by the FBI as a witness. Desperate to escape Libya's clutches, and faced with a tough choice, he enabled this by telling them amazing information he never told the CIA at the time it supposedly happened. He'd forgotten to mention seeing the two accused arrive on Malta carrying a style of suitcase just like the one that held the bomb. He only remembered in 1991 that he'd been asked by Megrahi to look into how to bomb a "British plane." And so on. The improved memory had him selected, and given a vaunted new life in America under witness protection, quite likely with a planned $2 million DoJ prize. Bare months later, the indictments came into effect and Libya started to suffer.

The judges found his sudden 1991 remembrance unacceptable, and one of the main reasons they tossed his whole celebrated roster of detailed inside clues.

But Mr. Marquise just sees it differently, and feels Giaka got a bum deal. He was telling the truth as best he could all along, he recently said, to much wicked rebuttal. Matt Berkley, who lost his brother Alistair in the bombing, took issue there with a 2009 article where Marquise put forth as fact several of Giaka's claims, contrasted with the Zeist judges' own feeling on each. (double-check these if you like here)
Marquise: "a senior Libyan official asked a Libyan Arab Airline (LAA) employee about the feasibility of getting a “bag” onto an American or British flight leaving Malta."
Judges: "we are quite unable to accept this story"....

Marquise: "Evidence was elicited that the Station manager of LAA in Malta kept explosives in his desk..."
Judges: "we are unable to place any reliance on this account"

Marquise: "He was described as carrying a “brown suitcase” similar to that which blew up Pan Am Flight 103..."
Judges: "We are ... quite unable to accept the veracity of this belated account"
The former SCOTBOM chief investigator does provide in his book some explanation for his different view. For example, on page 216 (readable on-line) he affirms that Giaka didn't make things up in 1991, he just had a better memory then and the investigators themselves had "an advantage ... a wealth of information about Lockerbie and were able to ask questions not available to the CIA handlers who spoke with him in [1988 and] 1989."

For one thing, they may have been willing to stoop lower than the CIA (???) and tell him, from their wealth, that Megrahi used a brown hard-shell Samsonite, triggering a desperate memory of seeing him with one. They might have asked him, if he'd like to come to America, did Megrahi ever show any previous interest in bombing airplanes? A memory emerges of the 1986 report.

This wishful thinking is clearly nothing but self-interest. Why on Earth should someone not be questioned about something like this?

Belated Note: See comments below for at least one other very worthy question about the evidence of Tony Gauci, Giaka's "co-star" at trial.


ebol said...

Reaction and attacke of the powerful campaign for a new inquiry...

Ex FBI Special Agent Richard Maquise, Task For chief and cordinator, between FBI and CIA in the "Lockerbie-Affair", tries at Syracuse University with its Lies story "SCOTBOM" to attack the truth facts in the case of the real Lockerbie-Tragedy !

We hope in the same seminar, Richard Maquise will give the OK for indicate the documentary *film "Lockerbie Revisited of Gideon Levy ?

* 'Lockerbie Revisited' is a Backlight documentary by Gideon Levy which shows that FBI , CIA and Scottish police have cooperated in tampering...

Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd., Switzerland.
our webpage:

FullInquiry said...

No doubt Richard Marquise will continue to say the date of purchase of the clothing on Malta was Dec. 7, 1988 as if that were an established fact, as he did in his book and as he has done in filmed interviews.

Hopefully Prof. Black's filmed November 9, 2010 explanation of the unchallenged meteorological records and how they cast enormous doubt, if not totally blow away the December 7 date as being the date of purchase, will now receive equal play any time Richard Marquise tells his slanted view of events.

If Syracuse students want to truly honour their fallen alumni they should ask Marquise why he doesn't tell the full story regarding the date of purchase. Why does he need to lie? Why is he so afraid of explaining what the Court heard instead of putting his spin on the date of purchase and representing his personal view as fact? Of course there is only one answer - the facts point far more to November 23, 1988 as the real date of purchase - a day Megrahi was not on Malta, and that means Richard and his team DID NOT follow the evidence as he so strongly maintains they did.

No doubt Marquise is aware of the events of yesterday in Scotland. I bet he is starting to sweat.

Caustic Logic said...

Rather than update the post, I'll allow other questions to collect here in comments. But I should have mentiooned the clothing purchase date. As FI mentions, Prof. Robert Black does give a great explanation of this is the other day's video.

Viewable here:

See to the 11:30 mark up to 16:30, Gauci's "ID" and purchase date. A little long, but the weather is most important, at 14:30

FullInquiry said...

Not to mention that Prof. Black takes great care to deal in facts, and therefore makes his statements and presumably comes to his conclusions based on facts, as opposed to Richard Marquise's decision making process, which he has clearly shown is biased, presumably by the FBI's need to convict someone for Lockerbie.

I don't know that Marquise is as bad as some have accused him of being. I do feel he is misguided and there is no question whatsoever that he is misleading the world through his book and interviews he gives, and presumably in his speeches, with respect to key facts about Lockerbie, and such actions need to come to light.

Anyone masking the truth in the manner Marquise is needs to be held accountable.

Come on Richard - give the full details of the possible dates of purchase for once - show clearly you are not trying to bias public opinion. Say why Dec. 7 1988 makes sense to you and why November 23, 1988 does not rather than leading people to believe that December 7 was factually the date of purchase.

Hopefully there are some keen students of history there at Syracruse and they'll run him out of town.

Anonymous said...

A comment left on the Daily Orange article;
I note the University of Syracuse Symposium topic is entitled, Conflict: Peace and War.
In January, it will be fifty years since that great American statesman, Dwight D Eisenhower, addressed the American nation in his farewell address; a speech which has transpired to be uncannily prophetic in its vision.
In it, he soberly cautioned, ” In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
A couple of years later John F Kennedy, addressing university students and the wider nation said, on the subject of peace, “And that is the most important topic on earth: peace. What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.”
It may be pertinent to ask in 2010, is our government, including the military-industrial complex, serving our people to the best of their ability to attain that peace, which still eludes us, or serving their own misplaced needs, as warned by those giants of the last century.
What happened at Lockerbie, in a growing number of peoples' minds, is not the clean-cut version of events as recorded and defended by others to a fault – some think the service of misplaced needs took place. There is more to be known.
John F Kennedy also said in that address, “University is a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.”
The baton for truth, however ugly that truth may turn out to be, is passing to a younger generation.

Caustic Logic said...

I'm a little slow to respond last couple of days. But I just checked out the interview two SU students did with Marquise before the lecture.

As I just typed up over at Prof. Black's place,

"you just can't discount something that has been that big a part of your life for such a long time."

What a strange comment. Why is he even discussing the possibility of someone "discounting" his work here? The interview didn't do it. I'm listening now for the slightest sign of meaningful questions. A lot of crap it seems, robotic Americana on both sides.

But at about 7:00 I hear possible probing to see if he's willing to acknowledge anything we don't know, not well publicized, not "kept a secret, or anything like that, but..." If so, no luck. Marquise speaks about airport security and 9/11 and families and so on ... Is the interviewer's awkward little response unimpressed?

At 9:24 the interviewer does about the same thing, about the book. "what really happened that maybe we're not fully up to date on?" He recaps the whole story briefly, BUT uncharacteristically, does not mention a single Giaka clue here. And while saying Megrahi was identified as the clothes buyer, he doesn't mention the date of purchase this time. He also looks grumpy to me.

With a little imagination, I can see this interviewer having done his research and probed the subject a little. If so, I hope he noted that Mr. M. is NOT inclined to come level with us, and is increasingly on the defensive against offering any leverage to questions he fears will strike at any moment.

Man, it's awesome having imagination.

blogiston said...

CL: Yes, 'awesome imagination' and wishful thinking. :)

My take was slightly different, but're the American dissecting two other Americans, so maybe you are seeing and hearing subtleties, I'm not picking up.
I thought Mr Marquise appeared a decent guy. He was very relaxed, both with the subject matter and the interview environment - this inevitably leads to confidence and good supporting body language. He has spoken about this subject for years and years and probably believes beyond any self-doubt, what he says. He would pass a lie-detector test on this subject. The reporter (if that's what you call a slightly vacuous guy with a microphone) was the nervous one because he did not know the subject and was in deference to Mr. Marquise - constantly, making encouraging wow! sounds, for example. This interview was never really going to trouble the subject - was it? Despite asking him if there was anything we didn't know about Lockerbie. LOL! I had to laugh at that - "Marquise cracks under the weight of compliments from NewsChannel9 wimp!" - not likely.
That said, Mr Marquise stuck to a lot of things that are not in dispute, the feelings of the victims' families, the good cooperation and relations with the Scottish investigators etc.
The more disturbing aspect this demonstrates is, there continues to be a polar opposite of views across the Atlantic on 'whodunnit'. The support of US victims' families could be vital under some inquiry formats, if indeed an inquiry is granted. The need to establish a bridgehead in the US is obvious. It may be worth investing time and effort trying to establish this.

Laird Blogiston of Phlogiston

Caustic Logic said...

To be sure there was nothing groundbreaking here, but those little clues will keep me from being sure the interviewer was not probing. But that's all for now - a note just in case, to let the kid know I was paying attention.

I'm waiting next to see if any video of the lecture itself will be posted anywhere.

On belief, I kind of want to say he knows he's lying, on some level. But then, I suspect religious folks know they're wrong on some level as well, but it remains locked away and ineffectual. So I suppose "believes beyond any self doubt" is about right.

Thanks for the comment, and same for ebol, Full Inquiry, and anonymous.

Caustic Logic said...

For abyone hearing about these questions here the first time, I also should offer this link that explains in full the date-of-purchase issue. It's a smoking gun for Megrahi's innocence on the weather front, decorations/lighting front, the football match. Further, the reason Dec. 7 was finally decided upon against the evidence is made clear there by the top Scot on Malta - it was the day Megrahi was there.

That's not how a real criminal investigation works, but it might be appropriate for a shady intelligence operation.

FullInquiry said...

I watched the interview. Marquise did what he typically does, embellishing on certain issues and putting them forward as fact when they are not. Most notably he claims Megrahi was postitively identified as the clothing purchaser and that Fhimah had a note in his diary about getting airline tags from Air Malta. No surprise.

Caustic Logic said...

Sorry typo above, trying to limit those....

Agreed Marquise's overall take is not unusual or impressive.

I should note that where above I said I wondered if the interviewer "did his research," but really waht I meant was did he do a quick Google search and actually read this post?

And as for Marquise, he often doesn't mention Giaka, and this post's Giaka stuff is a reflection of a reflection of the tsunami he most likely saw at Prof. Black's blog.

But (imagination), if Marquise had done a quick Google search of just his own name before the lecture, he might've seen this post. IF that were so, he might get mad, and then get nervous hearing a question from a Syracuse student about "secrets" the public "hasn't heard about."

He'd opt to not mention Giaka or, if he knew what was in the comments, he'd want to avoid harping on 7 December. And he did walk around both of these while mentioning several other points. Like Megrahi's presence under an alias, but NOT his later denial, another fave point and the "biggest lie" which I've recently blogged on.

But the main thing is, I'm just looking for patterns and signs of my impact on the world around me. So naturally I'm prone to see it even if it just might be there. So I appreciate the "ground control."

FullInquiry said...

If the interviewer did any research at all it didn't show. It could easily have been the easiest interview Marquise ever gave.

ebol said...

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.
by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd. URL:

Caustic Logic said...

FI: If the interviewer did any research at all it didn't show. It could easily have been the easiest interview Marquise ever gave.

Well, the one STV gave him was probably not challenging either. And I've never seen anyone else but G. Levy ask him if there was anything concealed from the public.

Edwin: Since you're plugging for your engineer's story, I must link to my partial rebuttal. I'll continue my rebuttal in a new comment there you can respond to if you like, but it's off-topic here.

Caustic Logic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.