Allen Feraday

The Political Scientists of Lockerbie, part 2/3
First Posted 26 October 2010
last edits 29 October

Introducing Allen Feraday  
At the time of the Pan Am 103 bombing, Allen William Feraday was the top deputy to Dr. Thomas Hayes, head of the forensic explosives laboratory for RARDE, the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment. Following Hayes’ departure in latter 1989 - to become a foot doctor - Feraday took his position as the lab‘s director. Both men were formative in the science of the Lockerbie bomb suitcase, as officially understood. Their work on that ran parallel to the shuffling about, which was apparently connected to a probe of Hayes’ involvement in the shady Maguire Seven case of 1976 (see link above).

Patrick Haseldine’s famously deleted Wikipedia page on Alan Feraday sums up nicely that he “has appeared as an expert witness at criminal trials leading to convictions in at least four high-profile cases, three of which were subsequently overturned on appeal. The appeal in the fourth case is ongoing.” [1] Of course that last is no longer pending, as of August 2009 when Abdelbaset al-Megrahi surrendered his appeal of conviction for the bombing of flight 103. I’m not entirely sure how many other cases he’s been involved in and how these turned out, but the four are interesting and I’ll opt to show the same basic bias, aside from mention of a fifth case that has been challenged but not to my knowledge overturned.

On the other side of the spectrum of opinion, David Leppard, in On the Trail of Terror, offers effusive praise for the man erroneously named in the index as “Dr. Allen Feraday.” [2] It’s been widely acknowledged he has no formal training on a doctorate level, only a Higher National Certificate in Applied Physics and Electronics that was apparently pretty old; according to Leppard, the good “doctor” had beneath his belt a solid “34 years explosives experience” as of writing in 1991 (or since 1957, by my math). [2 p74] A 2005 article by Michael Tierney and run in the Herald (Scotland) said Feraday was then “in his sixties,” and had retired a decade earlier with “42 years” experience. [3] If that’s all true, he could be born no later than 1935, and started work with bombs in 1953, at around age 18 at the oldest.

Just what he was doing there for the decades before the 1980s is unclear from available evidence. But he acts like a paranoid spook, as Leppard’s book expands:
"Not surprisingly both Feraday and Hayes were high on the IRA’s death list. ‘He’s very, very good, so obviously he’s subject to high-level security precautions,’ said a Scotland Yard Bomb Squad expert who has worked closely with Feraday on IRA cases.  
Feraday is the archetype of the secret scientist. He travels to work in a hire car which he changes every week. Even some of his closest colleagues do not know where he lives; just that he has a wife and family and they live somewhere in the south of England.” [2 p74-75]
Fighting Terrorism with Circuitry
But the phase of his career under consideration here is less about bombs than about electronics. The oldest of the high profile cases in question was only in 1983, with the prosecution of businessman John Berry, a former Royal Marine Commando. His company was selling electronic timers to the Syrian government. He didn’t seem to know what exactly they were to be used for, but it could have been anything, he and his defense argued. But the judge didn’t buy it after hearing the Crown's lone expert witness, the eminent Allen Feraday.
"I am of the opinion that they have most probably been specifically designed and constructed for terrorist purposes. I am unable to contemplate their use other than in a bombing context." [3]
As Michael Tierny described it in his amazing 2005 Herald article, Feraday’s assertion was that “the absence of safety devices in the timers prevented their use for legitimate purposes.” [3] Mr. Berry was sentenced to eight years for arming Arab terrorists, later reduced to six. He served less than four before he was released, Tierny reports, but was left legally guilty in his broken life. [3]

Another man locked up for supplying terrorists was a businessman named Hassan Assali, originally from Libya, but British for twenty years. He was accused, again, of constructing electronic timers for the sole purpose of making bombs. Almost robotically, the Crown’s sole scientific witness – Feraday – affirmed their case: "I am unable to contemplate their use in other than terrorist bombs.” [3] On 24 May, 1985, Assali was convicted based on this scientific basis and sentenced to a middling term. His appeal against conviction was rejected in 1986, and he served nearly seven years before managing an early release in 1992. [3] [1] While free, he remained legally guilty like Berry.

Neither of these cases involved any actual bombs going off and killing anyone, but Feraday's next case would ratchet up his profile and the gravity of his magic. In 1986 came a break in the four-year-old Hyde Park bombing by unknown elements of the Irish Republican Army. The July 1982 blast of a 25lb. nail bomb during a military ceremony, along with a near-synchronous sister bombing at Regents Park, took nearly a dozen lives, wounded many, killed several horses, and damaged much property. This was indeed a shocking crime the IRA claimed credit for, but the exact perpetrators remained unidentified for years.

An arms cache found in the woods was eventually found to feature a nondescript circuit board which was - according to Feraday - similar to the one used in the bomb at Hyde Park. Thus linking the cache to the bombing, attention turned to the few readable fingerprints on the intact board. These were actually on the tape used on the board, and were matched to one Danny McNamee, an electronics engineer in Northern Ireland.

McNamee was arrested on 16 August 1986, and tried at the Old Bailey in 1987, presented as the bombing’s mastermind. Aside from the fingerprints, Tierney writes, “the Crown's key scientific witness, Allen Feraday, said the two [boards] were matched in design and "artwork" and therefore made by the same master bombmaker.” [3] It seems there was no other class of valid evidence against McNamee – he denied IRA involvement, and the IRA backed him up. [4] But the board, the tape, and the prints, made it clear who had done it, the Crown maintained.

Electronics expert Michael Scott. PhD spoke in the documentary film The Maltese Double Cross (1994). The McNamee case was Dr. Scott’s first view of Feraday’s work. Invited to observe from the gallery, he was able to see the same pattern the RARDE man had used in the first two cases:
“I watched Feraday and I gradually became aware that he was giving the evidence a certain emphasis that really wasn't justified, that technically couldn't be justified. […] Allen Feraday maintained, wrongly in my view, that the electronics was intrinsically sinister. [… and in handling the board, McNamee] had to be knowingly involved in bomb construction.” [5]
Mr. McNamee, his planned wedding obviously cancelled, was sentenced to 25 years. His appeal of conviction was denied in 1991, and an attempted escape in 1994 didn’t help his chances of being cleared or freed. [6]

So in at least three cases prior to Lockerbie, old-time explosives expert Allen Feraday had been able to convince judges, with his advanced science and royal credentials, that any scrap of that newfangled electronics could be proven to show terrorist intent. Taken as indisputable science, his voodoo informed the legal realities created in all three cases. Men who would later be found innocent were made guilty.

Top of His Game: Gibralter and Lockerbie
In his 1991 book, David Leppard glossed over all three cases above, only claiming erroneously that Feraday had “helped Scotland Yard trap the IRA gang” responsible for the Hyde park bombing, and he did it in 1982. Instead, he wrote that “Feraday first came to public notice six years later, in 1988, during the inquest in Gibralter into the deaths of three unarmed IRA terrorists gunned down by soldiers from the Special Air Services (SAS).” [2 p74] It was a controversial action the SAS explained by each of the three reaching for their pockets or purse, presumably to detonate a car bomb they feared might exist nearby. There were no detonators, no bomb, no other weapons. Just dead IRA members, murdered, some said.

Leppard explains the role of Feraday’s testimony at the inquest was “giving a scientific rationale to the controversial decision.” [2 p74] The counter-argument, accepting the apparent plans to build a car bomb,  was that the three were too far from the car in question to have triggered it, and the SAS men should have known that. But Feraday claimed from his vast knowledge of such things that the device, as Tierney puts it, “could have been triggered from anywhere in Gibraltar, or even from Spain.” [3] Dr. Michael Scott was called on in this inquest, and told the Maltese Double Cross:
"Particularly my experience in the Gibralter casse, one thing that struck me then at the time, very strongly - the British government employs hundreds of people, extraordinarily well qualified, in the areas of radio communications and electronics. Alan Feraday is not qualified, yet they use him? I mean, I have to ask the question 'why?'" [5]
Leppard notes how Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher took an interest in Feraday following this favorable inquest. “Clearly grateful for his efforts, [she] arranged that he be awarded an OBE in the 1988 New Year’s honours list.” [2 p75] Tierney reports that this was in June 1989, for “the Queen's birthday honours.” [3] OBE is not a doctorate, it’s the Order of the British Empire, an elite club based on some type of chivalry, dating from World War I. Motto: For God and the Empire. [7]

At the same end of that celebrated year, Mr. Feraday OBE found himself taking a leading role in his most historic case yet. For an article already this expansive, a detailed look at Feraday’s involvement in the Lockerbie investigation would be rather excessive. In brief however, he again showed a fascination with the electronics end of things and what could be discerned from the radio parts and other circuitry recovered. Unlike his earlier cases against Berry and Assali, the apparent blast origin of these fragments show the terrorist intent in itself – unless, as I suspect, all electronics were planted to fit a master script. Feraday had to rely on the electronics evidence signed off for by Dr Thomas Hayes who, for what it’s worth, has been known to sign off for sham science in the Maguire Seven case.

At the moment, some glimpses of the insanity of Feraday’s science can be found in these existing articles:

"Lightly explosion damaged" deals at length with an apparently irrelevant sideline of nonsense - obvious explosion damage that must be something else. But Hayes’ rambling under questioning reveals much about the nature of his collaboration with Feraday that makes it often hard to pin down just where the one scientist ends and the other begins.

Timeline: Toshiba radio identification covers Feraday's convoluted assembly of clues to what radio was used. The model settled on finally was the same as his first guess, but with a black case instead of white. It would be found to suggest Libyan authorship.

The Indian Head forensic tests were held in Maryland, spring 1989, with Tom Thurman of FBI and Harry Bell of the Scottish police. These bomb tests were carried out with five devices made by Feraday, using the radio model he had identified at the time. These helped investigators rule out a Heathrow introduction.

Feraday's forensic follies, section sixty-seven looks at the confused timeline between the pivotal Libya-catching timer fragment PT/35(b) and a piece of radio circuit board called PT/30. He didn’t mention the former until four months after its alleged discovery, and the day after looking into the latter, whose identity was already known months ago.

And when PT/35(b) finally went across the pond to controversially visit agent Thurman in the United States, it was reportedly in the possession of Alan Feraday. This is a point I havem't sorted out, but some support can be found in this post.

Feraday’s 'backseat driver' Dr. Scott, cited twice above, was talking this whole time to a documentary about the Lockerbie investigation. On this core subject, he said:
“I haven’t seen the Lockerbie evidence, so I can’t comment on that directly. The involvement of Alan Feraday – Hmmm - that worries me.” [He mentions the Gibralter case here, as cited above, ending with] “yet they use him? I mean, I have to ask the question ‘why?’”

Post Lockerbie – Work Undone
Our anti-hero continued running the forensic explosives lab at RARDE through the early 1990s, all five of the high-profile cases above safe and sound as legal reality. David Leppard tried to interview Feraday for his 1991 book, but “the Ministry of Defence press office, citing national security, declined to give the author clearance to interview him.” [2 p74-75]

In 1992 his earliest victim, John Berry, was granted an appeal of his conviction. He was a free man by then, but wanted his name back. John Tierney describes his amazing appeal, with a roster of impressive experts assembled by his legal team. These names, which appear elsewhere in connection to the Lockerbie case, were listed as:
“Major Owen Lewis (retired), who served with the Royal Signals for 22 years […] Lt Colonel John Wyatt (retired; a 23-year veteran of the Royal Engineers, involved in bomb disposal and counter terrorist operations) […] Dr. Bora." [3]
These experts ridiculed Feraday’s lone assertion that Berry’s timers could only be used for explosive mayhem. They were simply timers and could easily be used for turning on the cameras or sprinklers, or a hot water heater. The Court of Appeals quashed Mr. Berry's conviction in 1993, noting that Feraday’s evidence was both wrong and “extremely dogmatic […] uncompromising and incriminating." [3]

In 1995 RARDE was re-organized into the less regal-sounding Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA), and ceased to exist. Feraday capped his decades and retired with it, but his legacy would continue unraveling for at least a decade more. In September of that same year the European Court of Human Rights found that the Gibralter incident showed excessive force by the SAS men. [8] "Excessive" suggests that court rejected the previous justification - Feraday’s claim that what the killers claimed made scientific sense.

In 1998, the United Kingdom established a Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), to review possible wrongful convictions that had survived the normal single appeal. This reflected the worldwide tend towards freeing innocents, largely based on the success of new DNA tests as pursued by Project Innocence in the United States. Among those to apply for review by the CCRC was Danny McNamee. After a review of his case, they approved it for another try in the court of appeals.

He was defended at different time by both Gareth Peirce and Michael Mansfield, prominent and effective defenders of the innocent. Professor Michael Scott, among others, gave evidence for the defense. [3] The nature of the electronics intent was secondary to the fingerprints in this case, but something interesting turned up there. Someone else's prints. A report from the BBC outlined it so:
Crucially, his defence was unaware that many more prints had been discovered belonging to Desmond Ellis, a self-confessed IRA member who had been extradited to the UK from Ireland to stand trial for a series of bombings. The case against Ellis collapsed when his defence successfully argued that he had already saved six years of an eight year sentence in Ireland for explosives offences relating to the bombing equipment found in Berkshire, aided by photos which showed that the equipment was indeed the same. 
The connection with Ellis was only made when Ms Pierce, who had represented him, took on Mr McNamee's case. In a submission to the Home Office, she pointed out because there were so [few] of McNamee's prints on the equipment, there were no grounds for describing him as the "master bombmaker." [9]
How on earth did the best terrorism experts at RARDE miss the flurry of prints from Ellis in order to go after the one with only a couple? He was serving time for the same equipment McNamee was later convicted for being the mastermind behind? I'm afraid I may just be confused at this point, as that makes no sense.

At any rate, McNamee's actual release was as a guilty man, coming on 17 December 1998. This was as part of a mass release of IRA suspected prisoners, ordered following the "Good Friday agreement." [10] His appeal was quashed apparently just after this, before the month was out, and Feraday's politically useful "dogma" took another gut shot.

No surprise that the Libyan Hassan Assali also applied to the CCRC in 1998. His legal team assembled an impressive roster of experts to counter Feraday’s work yet again. [1] Tierney lists these as Major Lewis, Lt.Col. Wyatt, and "Squadron Leader Michael Hoyes (retired; a chartered engineer who spent 22 years with the RAF).” [3] Again, their opinions varied from Feraday’s stale “inability to contemplate” what was evident to most. According to the Appeal Court judgment:
"There is no doubt that an important part of the Crown's case against the appellant [Assali] depended on the evidence of Mr Feraday . . . He examined all the devices that had been recovered. His evidence supported the Crown's case with regard to the nature of those devices." [3]
But the case was deeply and obviously flawed, and this time the judge recognized it. Assali's conviction was quashed in July 2005, triggering the epic Herald article so heavily cited here. Of Allen Feraday, Assali simply says: "he's a very, very experienced evidence giver. If his evidence managed to convince a judge, he must have been bloody good." [3] Been bloody good ... past tense. After this case, the Guardian reported, "the Lord Chief Justice [Woolf] finally ruled that Feraday should not be allowed to present himself as an expert in the field of electronics." [11] He had retired from RARDE, of course, a decade before. But this decision left his expert testimony in past cases just a legal inch from becoming well-burnt toast.

The final case in our exploration, the conviction of Libyan agent al-Megrahi, has famously not been overturned. In this instance where, perhaps not coincidentally, powerful (American) interests are at stake, trial, appeal, and the CCRC-second-appeal path all failed. He was convicted in January 2001, with his single and expected appeal rebuffed in 2002. In latter 2003 he applied Scotland's separate criminal case review commission (SCCRC), and they examined the evidence of the case in great detail for nearly four years.

The complexity came from the fact that Megrahi was convicted based on many points of dubious evidence, not just the opinions of trash witness Feraday. In fact the clearest causes for dismissing the case come from the evidence of Tony Gauci, which it turns out absolutely does not implicate Megrahi as the purchaser of clothing inside the bomb case. Their full findings are still secret, but the Commission did announce in June 2007 that they had found a conservative six grounds for a possible miscarriage of justice - four concerning Tony Gauci and two secret points.

The SCCRC referred his case to the appellate courts, which Megrahi pursued fruitlessly for two years before abandoning his appeal. This unprecedented move has still not been adequately explained by anyone involved and remains another mystery of the Lockerbie case, like his contemporaneous release on apparently flawed medical advice.

We do know the cause of his innocence has attracted the support of many thousands worldwide, including some of the solicitors and experts listed above. Gareth Peirce and Michael Mansfield have both made statements about the farce of Megrahi's conviction (see the big quotes post). Major Owen Lewis has publicly criticized the timer evidence (although he did so poorly), as has Lt. Col. Wyatt (brilliantly, with his twenty bomb tests). Presuming this is the same person as "Dr. John Wyatt," his tests are covered on this blog, in one post covering the BBC Newsnight episode about them, and another on a follow up article with more details.

If the legal process had ben allowed to unfold, it seems undeniable the world’s view of Megrahi would at least be rather confused, as opposed to the certainty of his guilt still held by millions. The mainstream masses have been deeply imprinted with the fantasy image based on evidence vouched for, in part, by Allen Feraday. And as we can see, he is in fact “really, really good,” even "bloody good," at being “unable to contemplate” anything but the case the Crown wants to make. For God and the Empire, against all enemies – the Irish, the Arabs, and especially the truth.
[1] The Lockerbie Case: Alan Feraday and Wikipedia.
[2] Leppard, David.On the Trail of Terror: The Inside Story of the Lockerbie Investigation. London, Jonathan Cape . 1991. 221 pages.
[3] Tierney, Michael “So Could the Lockerbie Bomber be Freed Next?” Herald (Scotland). 26 November 2005. Awkward url
[4] Danny McNamee Wikipedia entry.
[5] The Maltese Double Cross. (1994) On-site video embed - Interview with Michael Scott, in segments starting at 59:15
[8] Mills, Heather, Colin Brown, and David McKittrick. "Tory anger as European Court condemns Gibraltar killings" The Independent. 28 September 1995.

Crashing the Petition

25 October 2010

I suppose I should say something about the four-day absence of our highly successful e-petition to the Scottish government. The petition was set up by Justice for Megrahi core members Jim Swire, Robert Black, Robert Forrester, Iain McKie, and Pat Keegans, to encourage the Scottish parliament to investigate the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in 2001. It has reached at least 1,440 signatures before grinding into emptiness and "not found." Professor Robert Black's blog has been keeping a running tab:
Scottish Parliament e-petitions website crashed
Lockerbie petition hit by technical glitch
Forty-eight hours on ...
Seventy-two hours on ...
Ninety-six hours on ...
The last points out that "the website's failure has already deprived the petition of twenty per cent of the time allotted for signature." Despite the petition page being down, it can still be "signed" by sending an e-mail (at this page, which still works) with intent to sign (specify e-petition 417), and giving your name and address for verification. It's also been pointed out that thgere is good reason to expect an extension given this episode, but as Black points out, that could hurt one central goal - to have the petition done before the upcoming elections.

Each of the posts above contains lively and evolving dialog about what's going on here.  Conspiracy theories naturally arise among many commentators, naturally I think given the duplicitous handling of this case from the beginning. Others have voiced a more generous interpretation. For example, Robert Forrester (as "Quincey Riddle") said somewhere in there, three days ago, when people were starting to voice suspicions:
JFM deals in verifiable facts only. The facts concerning the current difficulties on the Scottish Parliament Petitions Site are at present:
1 The site crashed in the early hours of 21/10/10.
2 BT is still working on a solution.
[...] Speaking personally, I do not hold with the contention that those whom JFM is confronting on the Lockerbie/Zeist case are attempting to sabotage the petition. There are far more effective methods of dealing with us, also including the tried and tested 'just-ignore-them' tactic. To do something as blatant as this would simply present JFM with yet another weapon to use against them.
That's a darn good point, and considering the known issues with the occoasional ill-managed government site, and how inundated as this one was by signers and viewers, something along these lines should be the obvious default conclusion. But the days dragged on without a fix and, by number, the comments espousing the paranoiac view are predominating.

At the beginning I said only "agreed with all," but that's not fully possible. Technical details of how these things work are past me, but considering conspiracy theories is something I enjoy. You can consider the possible conspirators and their motives. For example, any number of those in power, the intelligence services, and so on, might have an eye to shutting down e-petition 417. Even if it can be gotten back up, many will have forgotten or lost interest by then, and the tally will be hurt.

Then there's the role of possible reverse psychology. By this, sympathetic Scots on the inside - or allies on the "new investigation" side - might have the most interest in faking a cyber-attack to increase its profile and interest. But then considering possible double-reverse psychology, the UK nationalist anti-SNP cabal in MI5, or the CIA, might have done this to both halt the petition AND implicate the SNP in doing it as a false flag operation.

This is all worth pondering to some degree, but in itself will get us nowhere as far as the bigger picture. Some good points are made about the size and totality of this "glitch" and what it might mean. But really, even if it is some nefarious plot, what the hell good is it going to do to anyone? The min problem with it its lack of binding power, not the number of names. But even by that it's doing fine. Forrester continued, helping put this in perspective.
Once the petition comes down on the 28/10/10, we will be able to assess any impact this breakdown may have had. However, given that the JFM petition went online on the 8/10/10 and was around the 1,500 mark at the time of the crash, there are good grounds for concluding that it had already broken existing records for the number of signees over time. [...] the average number of signees per day has been around a steady 100 plus. [...] the phenomenal response to the petition has already made a very significant point, and one which cannot easily be ignored, even if the site remains down right up to the 28/10/10. [...] I believe in sporting circles that could be described as something of 'a result'.
This is in fact a result and even if this is it, it's a possible record, and the knowledge we'd've gotten more yet is clear. Considering the timetable decided, an extension should be denied - ask for an amended note suggesting conservative and liberal estimates of expected signatories, apply 125% of the established fraud rate for good measure, etc... and just let them consider it or not as they will see fit. It's a small chapter of this movement either way, and that's already in the historical record. Good job all.

Let's do what we can to keep the word out there for a few more days, encourage e-mail submissions unless/until the petition is restored. And then come Thursday it'll be time to move on to the next things as we wait and see.  Any evil plot that may lurk here has already failed (unless it's very clever and will unfurl itself in our midst later on...).

Richard Marquise Disputes the Findings of the Zeist Court

18 October 2010
edits 20 October

Special Agent Richard Marqise was the FBI's chief investigator on the Pan Am 103 (SCOTBOM) case during its formative turn (following the evidence, of course) to focus on Libya. He's also the author of SCOTBOM: Evidence and the Lockerbie investigation (2006), frequent giver of video interviews, and infrequent internet commentator.

He emerged recently for a short post at Professor Black's blog (The Lockerbie Case) refering to an article about "star witness" Abdul Majid Giaka. Giaka is of course the Libyan defector who fed a whole lot of specific information against Megrahi and his "accomplice" Fhimah. His stories were central to the 1991 indictments, but were famously dismissed, and rightly so, by the judges at Camp Zeist for being unrealiable in a number of ways.

I wouldn't have been so surprised to see Mr. Marquise comment on the article, if I'd realized his book from six years after Zeist dedicates at least five chapters to the subject ("Lockerbie and Giaka," "TNT and a Brown Suitcase" "Mrs. Giaka," "the CIA cables," ""Star" witness"). Much of this in unreadable in the limited Google books preview, and for a couple reasons would rather not buy a copy. So do note I didn't know that yesterday while commenting (as Caustic Logic) in response to Mr. Marquise, who appears in comments 2 and 19. The many responses were brilliant and informative and all 30 so far, spanning a couple days with me only catching it at the end, are reproduced below (slightest edits only).

I take his point that constantly saying "star witness" and saying it in quotes is not the best practice. I will take that to heart, but otherwise, his performance is depressing. There really is no spark of sanity left in the bankrupt and unseaworthy position he's chained himself and so many others to.
1 - Rolfe said...
This article raises an interesting question. Giaka was the star witness, on which the entire case was founded. Without his evidence, they would never even have got the indictment. The rest of the evidence was way too circumstantial to support anything - Tony Gauci's "identification" of Megrahi as the purchaser was fraught with uncertainty, and the evidence that the bomb travelled on KM180 thin to the point of insubstantiality. So, once Giaka's evidence was dismissed, why did the judges convict?

I liken this to model-building. The investigtors laid out the pieces of actual evidence (Gauci's evidence, the Erac printout, Megrahi's presence at Luqa as "Abdusamad", plus more circumstantial matters such as the timer fragment and the radio model) in a particular pattern that implicated Megrahi in the bombing. However, these pieces of evidence wouldn't hold together to form a substantial construct.

So they brought in Giaka, as we all know, and threatened/bribed him to "remember" stuff that would provide a solid framework for that construct of the evidence. If Megrahi and Fhimah were seen on Malta that morning (or the previous day, whatever) with the bomb suitcase, then everything held together. That strengthened Gauci's tentative "looks a bit like but too young" identification into "probably him, really", and turned B8849 into yes, that will be the bomb on its way from KM180. If Giaka's evidence had been true, these inferences would have been legitimate.

The problem was that everybody had got so used to loking at the evdence laid out in that pattern, that when the framework that supported it was taken away, they allowed the pattern to remain - even though by all logic it should have collapsed in a heap. The defence's alternative pattern, that of Megrahi and Fhimah getting on with whatever they were doing at Malta that day quite independently, the clothes buyer being someone else unidentified, and B8849 being a simple coding anomaly - while 1,000 miles away at Heathrow airport a completely different terrorist was sneaking an extra suitcase or two into AVE4041, was too unfamiliar to gain acceptance.

It's a bit like the cricket story of the batsman being clean-bowled with the ball taking out the centre stump - but the bails don't fall because the hot sun has melted the varnish and stuck them together.

2 - Richard Marquise said...
Once again, The Firm has played loose with the facts using Mr. MacKechnie as the source. I would like to know who--that is normally a person--"not intelligence agencies" informed the Crown that Giaka was a "star witness." That term was unfortunately coined by some less that brilliant UK reporter during the course of the trial. No intelligence agencies were involved in the "debrief/interview" of Giaka and no one of those who did ever said he was a witness to the loading of the bomb suitcase. The facts were the facts--not speculation--- and Mr. Mackechnie knew this because I was with him when he was able to interview Mr. Giaka in America--long before the trial. This would not be the first time Mr. Mackechnie distorted the facts. His description of his ride to see and then interview Giaka which was reported in the UK media before trial was at odds in a big way with the facts of what really happened.

Those who believe that somehow American intelligence agencies were somehow involved with the outcome of the trial have no clue either.

I realize it is a losing battle to try and convince those of you who blog on this site of the truth, but at least be sure you report information which is correct and factual.

3 - Matt Berkley said...
Is this correct and factual?

"The charges are based on evidence that directly and conclusively links Abd al-Basit al-Maqrahi...and Lamin Fhimah...and other unidentified co-conspirators to the suitcase containing the bomb and to its insertion into the baggage system leading to Pan Am flight 103."
Source: State Department Deputy Spokesman Richard Boucher
1:05 PM, Washington, DC
Nov 14, 1991

Secondly, was the description "filing details" given by the CIA to censored passages relating to Mr Giaka, purely for the eyes of the defence and the judges, accurate?

Thirdly, was that not contempt of court?

4 - Jo G said...
Mr Marquise, for you to dare utter the sentence "played loose with the facts" would be hilarious if this case was anything remotely close to a laughing matter. The facts already in the public domain establish, BEYOND ALL REASONABLE DOUBT, that the conviction of Megrahi was deeply unsafe. Furthermore the part the US government played in bribing witnesses all over this case screams how unsafe it was and what a complete set up it was. I recently saw you on a UK TV programme trying to avoid admitting that yes indeed Gauci was paid! Incidentally it was TWO MILLION DOLLARS the US paid him.

And finally, if you are so sure of your case you surely can have no objection whatsoever when the time comes and that appeal can be resurrected and heard - as it should have been three years ago long before your country threw a massive wobbler because a Scottish Government dared to release the man the US framed.

5 - Jo G said...
Oh and Mr Marquise, I doubt you would recognise the truth if it walked up to you and introduced itself.

6 - Matt Berkley said...
If Mr Marquise thinks the judges said things which were beyond reason, why did he trust their verdict?
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: "This board was traced to timers, only 20 of which were ever made. All had been given to Libyan officials."
Judges: "the two prototypes were delivered by Mr Bollier to the Stasi..."...

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"

7 - Jo G said...
Sorry. That line posted itself before the rest followed.

My point about the truth is that a person can read the trial transcripts and see, repeatedly, decisions being made by judges which fly in the face of the evidence presented.

Gauci did not ever positively identify Megrahi.

Gaika's evidence was rejected utterly by the judges. (Gaika who had implicated Megrahi and his co-accused)

Air Malta proved an unaccompanied suitcase did NOT travel from Luqa.

Even those working for the Lord Advocate seemed desperate to get a conviction when they went so far to keep from the defence - and from the judges - the contents of those cables exchanged between the prosecution and the US authorities where Gaika's contribution was basically trashed.

And since the verdict....

We had a report issued by the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission raising SIX grounds to suspect a miscarriage of justice could have taken place.

We had the UK government falling over itself to ensure certain info was withheld from Megrahi's appeal. One lot of evidence involved the break-in at Heathrow. We had other evidence, to do with the timer, withheld using Data Protection law. And of course we had the bribing of Gauci with two million US dollars, something that would not have been permitted in any Scottish court of law ever! We had the date Megrahi is alleged to have visited the shop and the fact that the weather doesn't fit in with the story.

In short we have a complete shambles of a case Mr Marquise. And can I remind you that on the basis of that evidence the US would have executed Megrahi had it been given half a chance! And you talk about truth?

8 - bensix said...
Mr Marquise chides readers of this blog for using information which is less than factual. Might we return the favour? As Matt Berkley points out he's used "evidence" which had long been dismissed by the Court. In another piece, for the Times, he relied on the statements of Tony Gauci, long after the SSCRC dispatched them. He also asserted that Libya "accept[s] "responsibility"", despite appearing months before on a programme where Saif Gaddafi claimed that it had been "just wordplay". Ex-FBI Special Agent, investigate thyself?

9 - Rolfe said...
I made a post last night that has vanished this morning, but by the greatest of good luck it was still on my clipboard from my "insurance" copy. I'll re-post it in two parts, because length seems to be what's causing the disappearing acts.

I realise this is just another of Mr. Marquise's hit-and-run posts filled with inaccuracies and sidestepping the real issues, which will lie there undefended. But still.
Once again, The Firm has played loose with the facts using Mr. MacKechnie as the source. I would like to know who--that is normally a person--"not intelligence agencies" informed the Crown that Giaka was a "star witness." That term was unfortunately coined by some less that brilliant UK reporter during the course of the trial.
"Star witness" seems an appropriate enough term for Giaka, irrespective of who coined it. I've heard "supergrass" as well. Objecting to perfectly reasonable terminology on spurious grounds is always a useful smokescreen though.
No intelligence agencies were involved in the "debrief/interview" of Giaka
Do you take us for complete idiots?
and no one of those who did ever said he was a witness to the loading of the bomb suitcase.
And The Firm didn't say he was. Nor did I, in my first post on this thread. He placed Megrahi and Fhimah at the centre of events by placing them on Malta with a suitcase of the correct description, at the appropriate time. That is the point being made. Evasion and lies about claims that "he was a witness to the loading of the bomb suitcase" noted.

10 - Rolfe said...
The facts were the facts--not speculation--- and Mr. Mackechnie knew this because I was with him when he was able to interview Mr. Giaka in America--long before the trial. This would not be the first time Mr. Mackechnie distorted the facts. His description of his ride to see and then interview Giaka which was reported in the UK media before trial was at odds in a big way with the facts of what really happened.
When it comes to distorting the facts, I have to go with what I see in front of my eyes. And what I see is Richard Marquise both in person on TV and in blog comments like this, distorting in a manner that would put the Hall of Magic Mirrors to shame.

The FACTS about Giaka's evidence and how it was obtained and why it was dismissed by the judges are available to anyone who can read the Zeist transcripts. It's a shameful catalogue of bribery and threats to elicit evidence implicating Megrahi and Fhimah, to order.
Those who believe that somehow American intelligence agencies were somehow involved with the outcome of the trial have no clue either.
You're probably right, at that. No clue as to just how deep these claws of deception and control really dig. Come on, we can read Hans Kochler's report too. Was he hallucinating the US DoJ officials constantly directing the prosecution team?
I realize it is a losing battle to try and convince those of you who blog on this site of the truth, but at least be sure you report information which is correct and factual.
You mean, don't take your example? Have you any response to what Matt posted above, showing all the incorrect, non-factual pronouncements you've been making recently?

If you want to convince us of anything, you could start by telling us what evidence you rely on to support your belief that Megrahi was involved in the bombing. Giaka was lying, we know that. Tony Gauci didn't sell these clothes to Megrahi, by any reading of his evidence. Tray B8849 at Frankfurt could easily have been a coding anomaly, and the strength of the evidence from Malta (which you couldn't dent) proves it to be such.

There's no evidence at all that the bomb travelled on KM180 (bloody stupid plot if ever there was one), and no evidence that Megrahi had anything to do with it.

And that is the correct, factual information.

12 - tomcyrus said...
With what is known about how the FBI works and conducts itself, especially regarding international issues, should it be added to the UK's list of terorrist groups?.

13 - ebol said...

FBI Special Agent Richard A. Maquise led the U.S. Task Force which included the FBI, Department of Justice and the Central Intelligence Agency CIA, managed all aspects of the investigation on the PanAm 103 attack.
With the untruthful claims in his "Log Book" (Lies Book) Scotbom: Evidence and the Lockerbie Investigation, it wants to cover up the true facts and the fatal investigations errors of FBI, Scottish- and Swiss police...

Giaka, Abdul Majid Giaka, was the fundamental crucial witness, number 684, together with rouge CIA agents, in the "Lockerbie case" against Libya's Leader Moammar Gaddafi. Its criminal work started with a story claimed that there had been a complaint of sexual harassment with a Egyptian woman against Lamen Fhimah...

Excerpt of court in Kamp van Zeist:
Q And that was in case you got into trouble because of the incident involving the Egyptian lady at the airport, wasn't it, Mr. Giaka?
A When I asked her to get in touch with the embassy, I didn't know what the incident was, and I didn't know why -- what was in the telegram. I hadn't seen the telegram. All I knew was that Fhimah and myself were being called back to Tripoli. We were supposed to go back on the same day. And this was scary...
Q The lady at the airport who acted as interpreter agreed to help you?
A Yes.
Q And I take it that you were grateful to her for the help that she was prepared to give you in these circumstances? A Yes.
Q And you explained to her the high-minded principles that were driving you to go to the Central Intelligence Agency, didn't you, Mr. Giaka?
A I don't remember exactly. I can't say.
Q You see, I was wondering, Mr. Giaka, why did you go to so much trouble to hide from her the fact that you were taking money from the Central Intelligence Agency? Can you explain that? 
A Try to avoid what?
Q You tried to hide from her the fact that you were taking money from the Central Intelligence Agency, didn't you, Mr. Giaka?
A I didn't hide anything from her. We didn't talk about this subject.
Q You are a liar, Mr. Giaka.
A I do not lie. I AM NOT LYING ABOUT THIS !!!
continuation down >>>

14 - ebol said...
continuation MISSION LOCKERBIE >>>

Giaka went to see the CIA for the first time on 10th August 1988. The dirty business between Giaka and CIA against Libya was started...

Abdul Majid Giaka was interviewed by officers of the CIA, which is the Criminal Intelligence Agency of the United States of America over a period of months from the 10th of August of 1988 to the 31st of August of 1989. And productions numbers 104 -- 804 to 828 are a total of 25 cables which were sent by operatives of that intelligence organisation from Malta to their masters in the United States informing the U.S. Intelligence community of information handed over by the man Giaka.

A undisclosed cables to CIA which is cable number 32, is dated the 21st of December 1990, and relating to a meeting with Giaka on the 20th of December at 1990 in Malta. On paragraph 6. are the notes:
At the end of an hour-long meeting, Giaka asked if he was still receiving his salary. The case officer responded negative, but because of his willingness to recontact during this trip to Malta, he gave him 200 Maltese money, which is estimated as $700 U.S.
Giaka wondered aloud if it would be possible for him to obtain $2,000 U.S. to purchase bananas in Malta for his return to Libya where they sell at three or four times the Maltese price. The case officer again replied negative, since Washington is unsure of Giaka's sincerity in assisting against terrorism. They would not approve such money without more detailed information.
The case officer added, though, that he would raise the issue with the proper authorities, who might recompense him if he would be willing to be completely debriefed.
Giaka was becoming desperate as he searches for his role in life in his post-ESO world. And he is certainly milking all of his contacts and was construct lie-storys during this transition period with CIA.
The full Story: Why CIA have needed Giaka's lie information, publishes soon.

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

15 - Jo G said...
Only dropped in to see if he'd been back yet. I see he hasn't. Hmmm.

16 - Rolfe said...
He replied to me once. I considered myself privileged.

The question I asked then was the same as the question I asked this time. Please give us a short outline of the evidence on which you base your assertion that the right man was convicted.

Unfortunately all he said was that the judges brought in a guilty verdict and that was enough for him.

That was one of my major "no, they really don't have anything, do they" moments.

17 - bensix said...
Unfortunately all he said was that the judges brought in a guilty verdict and that was enough for him.

Pretty low considering he ignores them elsewhere!

18 - FullInquiry said...
Vincent Cannistraro, former CIA Head of Counter Terrorism, said the following long before the Trial:
"Oh! I think the evidence available to the Department of Justice in their case, which they’re keeping under wraps, is overwhelming, it’s conclusive. I think it is mid boggling in the amount of detail that they have. They have also….they have a live witness for one thing, who would be presented in a court of law. I think there is a tremendous amount of evidence that will allow the prosecutors to present the chronology of the operation from its very inception, and that chronology would start even before Malta and then… you know…describe and in almost excruciating detail exactly how they made the bomb, how they secreted it, how they got it on board the aircraft, and I think that’s a fairly strong case".
I can only assume, based on Richard Marquise's comments above, that Vinny had no clue either - certainly no witness at the Trial ever explained in any detail how the accused made the bomb and got it on board the Air Malta flight let alone doing so in "excruciating detail" or in a "mindboggling" manner.

The only thing that boggles the mind in this case is how anyone could conclude the accused is guilty based on such flimsy evidence.

But such statments by Vinny and others like him definitely had an affect on public opinion, and therefore on the Trial, its outcome, and public acceptance of the verdict against Megrahi.

As such, CIA actions did in fact have an effect on the outcome of the trial, which clearly shows Marquise is himself, clueless or simply and conveniently ignoring the facts.

When a head investigator gives the appearance of ignoring facts (which also include payoffs to witnesses) his credibility automatically goes down the tube.

As a result, Mr. Marquise has little more credibility than his Star Witness Giaka.

I wonder if and when he got to see the redacted portions of the Giaka cables? Surely Vinny had access to all the cables in their unredacted form but still held Giaka out to be a key witness.

What about Edwin Bollier's claim that Marquise offered him money for his testimony that MST-13's were sold only to Libya? Will Marquese address that? Who is one to believe? Marquise or Bollier? What a choice!

Please do enlighten us Mr. Marquise and back up your claims in a credible manner.

19 - Richard Marquise said...
Quite a few more misstatements here. Cannistraro was never head of the CIA CT Center--he was deputy and retired before the EVIDENCE led to Libya. As a result he was not involved in any aspect of Giaka or his statements. Anything he ever said was based on his opinion alone-- not on information he may have had access to from the investigation.

I have --many times addressed the issue of payments to witnesses--none--none--including Bollier--ever requested, or were offered or paid any money in exchange for them to tell investigators what we wanted to hear. It is my belief that all the witnesses told what they believed to be the truth at trial (except for one--not Giaka) and what they said was consistent with what they had always said. I realize I am a loner on this site with regard to Giaka but unlike all here--I am the only one who had the opportunity to speak with him and examine all his statements (I did not do original interview of him).

With regard to Giaka and the CIA file mess, I covered this quite explicitly in my book in Chapter 34. I had not seen them prior to the trial nor did I know they existed--I spoke about second guessing myself in this regard.

I would also imagine most on this site spent little (any) time at the trial and probably have read neither the trial transcripts nor my book so it is easy to criticize what you think rather than what you know. I know what the intelligence agencies contributed --early and late---I also know the role they played at trial--it was only to assist with accessing all the info contained in the cables--not influencing the outcome of the trial.

We know what we did-- the facts were obtained in a righteous manner and in accodance with the laws of the US and Scotland. They were presented to an impartial panel of judges and the facts were weighed by them and they reached their decison.

I remain amazed that so many seemingly intelligent people would continue to support someone who claimed to not be a member of Libyan intelligence, "believe me, I was here in Tripoli with my family (12/20-21)," and I never heard of MEBO or Abdusamad.... As we now know the facts are somewhat different. Mind boggling.

20 - Rolfe said...
Oh dear. Anyone who lies to a jourmalist must be guilty of mass murder, is that it?

Frankly, under the circumstances, I'm not at all surprised Megrahi went into "deny everything" mode when confronted by Salinger. Even if he wasn't under instructions from on high to do exactly that, which he might well have been.

And yes, I've read the trial transcripts (want a pdf of the whole thing, single-spaced? - ask me nicely), and as much of your book as Google Books will let me read for free since I'm certainly not paying out any money that might go into your pocket, that's for sure.

If you can seriously maintain that Giaka was telling the truth, I'm not quite sure what you're smoking, but can I have some?

21 - Rolfe said...
And another thing.

I have --many times addressed the issue of payments to witnesses--none--none--including Bollier--ever requested, or were offered or paid any money in exchange for them to tell investigators what we wanted to hear.
You've many times addressed the matter of payments to witnesses. You use different wording every time. It used to be that nobody was paid any money. Then nobody was paid any money before the trial. Then nobody was promised any money before the trial. Then nobody asked for any money.

The more information emerged, the more these various versions fell over like dominoes. Now, we've got a new one. Nobody was paid "to tell investigators what we wanted to hear."

That's neat. Because it's completely unverifiable. How can anyone know whether or how any witness altered their testimony with an eye to the main chance, once they realised there was money on offer?

A reward for a good lead to a perpetrator whose guilt can be proven by independent means is one thing - usually offered to criminals to grass on their mates of course. But paying out millions to witnesses who were independently identified by police investigation, simply to relate the details of a particular incident as well as they could remember it? This is some idea of due process you have in America, I must say. Round here, you might get your bus fare to the court, if you fill in the right forms in triplicate.

Did you make Bogomira Erac a rich woman? She at least came forward independently with her evidence.

22 - Jo G said...

You did not answer the question in the STV documentary about Lockerbie. Please answer now. I've helped you. Scroll back. I gave you the amount your government paid him!

23 - Jo G said...

24 - Rolfe said...
Cannistraro was never head of the CIA CT Center--he was deputy and retired before the EVIDENCE led to Libya.
Yes, some of us know that. Vinnie was high up in the investigation at the start. For example, a week into it, when Reagan went off on one against Libya on absolutely no evidence at all, no? A month into it, when our mutual friend Edwin was writing strange letters on Spanish typewriters accusing Libyans?

Perhaps not. Quite irrelevant, no doubt.

But he was right in there during the summer of 1989, when the bits of "evidence" that eventually seemed to point to Libya were mysteriously appearing in the chain of custody, with some very peculiar provenance. Wasn't he?

He was just out of it by the time these things went live a year later, and the general public saw the shift to Libya. Which was based on "evidence" that had appeared in mid-1989.

Some people might find that awfully interesting, you know. I couldn't possibly comment of course.

25 - Rolfe said...
Be fair, Jo. The notes said they couldn't be sure exactly how much either of the brothers had been paid. They said it might actually have been more than the $3 million between them that was the estimated (or promised?) figure.

Nice work if you can get it.

I still think it would have been awfully unfair if they didn't give Bogomira anything at all, after making the Gaucis rich like that. She even volunteered her evidence, and it was just as important (and just as completely non-incriminating, though that's another story) as Tony Gauci's.

26 - bensix said...
...what they said was consistent with what they had always said...
Richard, if that were the case the Christmas lights were both off and on; Megrahi was both too young and a lot like the customer.

Still, an intelligence agent was a bit dishonest? Well, that clinches it. A startling anomaly like that is hard to justi --- kidding.

27 - Caustic Logic said...
Richard Marquise:
... at least be sure you report information which is correct and factual.
LOL. Isn't the whole dodged point here the FBI's acceptance and promotion of an obvious fabricator of convenient evidence?

Nitpick about quoting "star witness," we never said that. Not in so many words, perhaps not. But you have even til recently cited Giaka's bogus evidence as supporting Megrahi's guilt. He was clearly the centerpiece of the grand jury hearings, was cited by Cannistraro in whatever capacity as
- scratch it, full inquiry beat me to it.

That's equivalent of star witness to me, semantics aside. And he was a major liar, telling you guys what you wanted to hear, wasn't he, sir? You needn't admit to knowing that at the time, but isn't it evident by now?

28 - Caustic Logic said...
It is my belief that all the witnesses told what they believed to be the truth at trial (except for one--not Giaka)
That's it. So you do feel, to this very day, that Abdul Majid Giaka was telling the truth, and nothing but, as he saw it? Do you realize how stupid that sounds? You're going against the Zeist judges for what reason other than a vested one?

On the rewards:
none--none--including Bollier--ever requested, or were offered or paid any money in exchange for them to tell investigators what we wanted to hear.
By the doubling of none, I'll take that as the strong and unassailable part of your statement. What seems in disppute is your understanding of the words "requested," "offered," "paid," and especially "in exchange for them to tell investigators what we wanted to hear."

All: Can we agree that everything but "not" are the potential fudge words in this semantics-based denial?
Extract from DCI Bell Diary (HOLMES version) (28/9/1989) [SCCRC Appendix: chapter 23/3] which indicates that on 28th September 1989 the FBI discussed with the Scottish Police an offer of unlimited money to Tony Gauci, with $10,000 being available immediately. Thereafter there is a comment about challenging Murray as to what he thought Gauci could give in return that he was not already giving.
Where does that fit in to such a denial?
Memo from DCI Bell to DSIO Gilchrist (21/2/91) [SCCRC Appendix: chapter 23/1] which states that Tony Gauci had expressed an interest in receiving money in recent meetings and that "if a monetary offer was made to Gauci this may well change his view and allow him to consider a witness protection programme as a serious avenue"
We can see here the attempt to backpedal and convince the brothers they won't be paid, except maybe, if Tony talks right and there's a conviction. It did seem an unlikely prospect until it happened, didn't it?

Strathclyde Police Witness Protection Report of June 10, 1999:
(a) the frustration of Tony Gauci that he will not be compensated
(b) that in respect of Paul Gauci "It is apparent from speaking to him for any length of time that he has a clear desire to gain financial benefit from the position he and his brother are in relative to the case. As a consequence he exaggerates his own importance as a witness and clearly inflates the fears he and his brother have. He is anxious to establish what advantage he can gain from the Scottish police. Although demanding, Paul Gauci remains an asset to the case but will continue to explore any means he can to identify where financial advantage can be gained.
(c) that the Gauci family had financial problems
Where is the clarity in that? Where is Stuart Henderson's "he was well aware that there was no such thing as a reward being handed to him ... Didn't enter his head."

No response needed or expected.

29 - FullInquiry said...
I appreciate Mr. Marquise commenting on my post. Perhaps he will address the following?

Michael Scharf, who is said to have been legal counsel the the US counter-terrorism bureau at the time of 0the idictment was quoted in an article by Liam McDougal published in the Sunday Herald, November 12, 2006. Some excerts of the article are:
Michael Scharf, who was the counsel to the US counter-terrorism bureau when the two Libyans were indicted for the bombing, described the case as “so full of holes it was like Swiss cheese” and said it should never have gone to trial".
He claimed the CIA and FBI had assured State Department officials there was an “iron-clad” case against Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and al-Amin Khalifa Fimah, but that in reality the intelligence agencies had no confidence in their star witness and knew well in advance of the trial that he was “a liar.”
Scharf branded the case a “whitewash” and added: “It was a trial where everybody agreed ahead of time that they were just going to focus on these two guys, and they were the fall guys.”
It was largely based on this inside guy [Libyan defector Abdul Majid Giaka]. It wasn’t until the trial that I learned this guy was a nut-job and that the CIA had absolutely no confidence in him and that they knew he was a liar.
Mr. Marquise posted above he did not know about the existence of the Giaka CIA cables until the Trial. Apparently Michael Scharf was similarly unaware.

So one can reasonably conclude that the CIA withheld the Giaka cables from virtually everyone involved in the investigation until the Trial (and hoped the redacted sections never had to be revealed).

Questions for Mr.Marquise:

1. Who exactly is the person you feel lied in their testimony at the trial?

2. Do you believe that the investigation was misled by the CIA, either diliberately or by way of them withholding the contents of the Giaka cables?

3. How important is the credibility of Giaka?

My personal opinion is that if an "intellegence" agency like the CIA is involved in a criminal investigation, any outcome of such investigation becomes highly suspect by way of the very nature of what intellegence agencies do. This is particularly true if the FBI or any of the prosecuting authorities actually felt the CIA was a trustworthy source.

In any event Michael Scharf and the Trial Judges clearly have a different take on Giaka than Mr. Marquise does. I can only conclude that Mr. Marquise was rather gullible if he believed anything Giaka had to say.

Believing Giaka is a long way from following the "EVIDENCE" in my book.

Like Rolfe, I will try to find Chapter 34 if I can do so without paying Mr. Marquise for it.

Beyond having a basic belief in the need for justice and the belief that the full and real truth has yet to emerge in this matter, I have a huge personal problem with the fact that Giaka was a key factor in the UN Sanctions being imposed on Libya. Such sanctions were imposed largely on the basis of what a known liar told a Grand Jury in private. One can only conclude the CIA wanted such sanctions imposed and was willing to withhold key facts to accomplish that end and that the Grand Jury did not have access to the Giaka cables either. The UN Security Council certainly was never informed of all the evidence.

30 - FullInquiry said...
Oh and in addition Mr. Marquise:

I did follow this matter long before the trial, followed the trial, read all the transcripts from the trial daily that I could obtain, and most importanty I READ THE TRIAL JUDGEMENT, WHICH DID NOT MAKE SENSE AND BASED ON WHICH NO REASONABLE PERSON COULD CONVICT MEGRAHI, at least in my reasonably-informed opinion.

And I lived the effects of the Sanctions and still do. I'm no armchair second-guesser. People like you that were involved in the investigation and played a part are accountable in my book. You had and still have a duty to at least acknowledge where the investigation was misled or could have made mistakes.

My concerns are that you were (and still are) more concerned with obtaining a conviction than with seeking the truth or justice and are a patriot. But I guess that is what your job was and what you were paid to do. That doesn't make the outcome the proper one even if you did follow the laws of the US, Scotland, or Timbuktu.

PT/35(b) MOVE CLAIMS, pt. one

23 October 2009
re-posted here March 23 2010
last edits 31 October 2010

The recent hubbub regarding overly-mobile Lockerbie evidence started with Dutch journalist Gideon Levy’s early 2009 video Tegenlicht: Lockerbie Revisited. It’s a well-made video, with good music, some informative bits, and an unusual format of having interviewees watch and respond to recordings of others. Its prime focus was the crucial evidence PT/35(b), the Mebo timer fragment “tying” the bombing back to Libya. It’s therefore a little embarrassing that Levy announces another famous fragment, of general Toshiba circuit board displayed on a fingertip – as the article in question. This confusion surfaces elsewhere in the film, but manages to not become a big deal.

The main attraction that has generated some buzz was a curious discrepancy revealed and captured regarding the whereabouts of this historic find during the course of the investigation. As evidence from Scottish soil it was, should have been, in control of the Scottish police investigation, headed by the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), a spot first held by Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) John Orr (Strathclyde police, now Sir John Orr), and then by Orr's deputy, DCS Stuart Henderson (Lothian and Borders police, whom we meet below). The Scots would work in tandem with – but not give their evidence to – the American FBI's task force for the "SCOTBOM" investigation.

Officially the fragment was definitely taken outside Scotland - in the proper hands - to a RARDE lab at Kent, England and, as we’ve more recently had confirmed, to a private lab in Germany, both times for forensics testing. The understanding of then-Lord Advocate Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, which should have been quite good: “As far as I’m aware it’s always been in the UK,” he told Levy’s camera in 2008. He obviously didn’t know everything.

Besides the trips to England and Germany, which neither Lord Fraser nor Gideon Levy seemed aware of, there’s an alleged journey by this little blue key across the big blue sea to the United States. In the first of two interviews with Levy, FBI SCOTBOM chief Dick Marquise casually states that this one crucial piece of evidence, and nothing else, physically was brought to the FBI’s main lab in Washington.
“I’ll just tell you, not one piece - no I shouldn’t say that – the evidence – no, I’m not choosing my words carefully, I just want to make sure I say the right thing – all the evidence that was found in Lockerbie never made its way to be examined by the FBI laboratory. PT/35, as far as I remember, was the only piece of evidence that made its way to the laboratory, in the possession of a RARDE examiner. He brought it, he did the comparison, and he’s a scientist, and he took it back.”

Well that's an interestingly worded twist to the story. FBI Special Agent James “Tom” Thurman, the man publicly credited with making the identification of the fragment as from a Libyan-supplied MST-13 timer, on June 15 1990, also made an appearance. Levy caught up with him, wearing his years well in retirement, at a December 2008 ceremony to marking the 20th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster. Levy came across a bit wormy, in my opinion, using the solemn ceremony mostly to make Thurman squirm and deny he was dismissed from the FBI for altering evidence. More to the point, he challenged Thurman if comparing with a photo – as he has previously stated – was really scientific. Thus provoked, he responded:
Thurman: I did the real thing ... I had the real piece of evidence.
Levy: That pointed to Libya.
Thurman: Absolutely. Absolutely. The photograph was the first thing, then the real piece of evidence was brought over. And at that point –
Levy: It was – it was on your finger, the chip was on.
Thurman: At that point - then there was a one-to-one identification made. The real piece of evidence, to the timer, the MST-13 timer, was made in the FBI laboratory. It wasn’t just a photograph. The photograph started it, and then the authorities from England brought over the real piece of evidence. That piece of evidence was examined in the FBI laboratory, along with the MST-13. That examination was verified in the forensic science laboratory, in England. So, it wasn’t only my examination, it was verified by other peoples’ examination as well.
Suspicions condensing around the Thurman link here is natural; PT/35(b) was apparently taken outside normal channels to his lab, and put under the grip of a known manipulator of evidence. Problem is, the charges against him were not over physically altering physical evidence, but for his explosives unit allowing conclusions to be overstated in the prosecution’s favor, in multiple instances unrelated to this one. Agent Fred Whitehurst told Levy how Thurman altered his reports when he deemed that his own political science training trumped Whitehurst’s chemistry smarts.

This will and certainly should cast doubt on Thurman's general investigative even-handedness and his certainties over his own lab work (“I knew we had it,” it "absolutely, absolutely" implicates Libya, etc.). In fact why Thurman was selected is beyond me – any idiot with the two photos could affirm they’re the same, and this selectee has become a real liability. All the rage at the 1991 indictment, he was discredited and never called as a witness by the time of the big trial at camp Zeist in 2000.

But presenting this side-by-side with concerns over the “tampering with” of this evidence once taken somewhere dangerous is quite leading. The fact is, I can see no sign of tampering with the evidence, nor much of a reasons to suspect it. The problem is the thing itself, not where it was taken and who touched it in these dark corners.

At that same chilly cemetery, as the people were leaving to more private venues, Levy caught up again with Mr. Marquise, as it so happened accompanied by his Scottish counterpart DCS Henderson. When standing side-by-side with the prime guardian of that fragment Marquise was of a different recollection altogether from his first interview. Levy was granted an answer to one question, and that's about what he asked, for almost four minutes.
Levy: When I asked Lord Fraser about the circuit board, he said something that contradicted what you said. He said it had never been to the United States. And if it was in the United States, then he would have known.
Marquise: No, I don’t know that I told you the circuit board was in the United States.
Henderson: The circuit board was never in the United States.
Marquise: Let’s back up, we’re talking two different things. There was a circuit board of MST-13 timer in the United States, but the fragment PT/35 was never in the United States. Photographs of it were in the United States.”
Levy: It was never in the United States? (murmured agreement) Oh, I thought it was…
Marquise: No the fragment never came to the United States, but the circuit board was in the United States, because we had the MST-13 timer, which we turned over to the police in Scotland.
Levy: Ah, but but… Tom Thurman, who was here today, also said it was in the United States.
Marquise: No, he never said that.
Levy: No?
Marquise: The fragment PT/35 was not in the United States.
Levy: But it was in England, but it came…
Marquise: It never came to the United States
Levy: It never came to the United States.
Marquise: I don’t believe so – I’m 100% sure it was not here.
Levy: Oh, it has never been here.
Henderson: Never released out of evidence control of ourselves. Couldn’t afford to let something like that …
Levy: I thought it was brought in the possession of Alan Feraday.
Marquise: Feraday’s over in RARDE. He’s in England. It’s in his possession.
Levy: Yes, yes, but I thought he came – I thought you told me that it came in his possession to the United States.
Marquise: I don’t know that…
Henderson: His possession and my possession. But it was never released for any reason (inaudible).
Levy: And who are you?
Henderson: Detective Chief Superintendent Henderson, I conducted the investigation.
Levy: Okay. My name’s Gideon Levy, and I’m from Holland - from the Dutch television. So it has never been in the United States.
Henderson: Confirmed

From the video: Levy, Henderson, Marquise (l-r) discuss whether or not it was ever in the United States. But it wasn't? No, wasn't it?
Levy: At all.
Henderson: Couldn’t be, ‘cause it was such an important point of evidence it wasn’t possible to release it. It had to be contained to be produced to the Court, therefore you couldn’t afford to have it waved around for everybody to see because it could have got interfered with.
Levy: Aha
Henderson: So it was far too valuable to be other than made available – couldn’t be.
Levy: Okay
Henderson: Very valuable piece of evidence.
Levy: (shouting over) But you said it was in the possession of Alan Feraday and brought to the United States.
Marquise: You know, its – you’ll have to talk to Alan Feraday about what he brought to the United States. I don’t remember…
Henderson: Alan Feraday had it in his possession with me, but he did not release it to anyone
Marquise: No, no, no, he said bring it with him. Did he bring it to the, I don’t remember.
Henderson: No, they came to us to see it.
Marquise: Yes. I saw it – I saw it in London.
Levy: Oh, you saw it in London?
Henderson: They came to where we had it, see. Because it wasn’t possible to remove any evidence out of the jurisdiction of the – Scottish control.
Levy: So you were the same – you were the FBI investigator and you were the Scotish investigator. Ultimate inestigators.
Both: affirmations
Levy: Okay.
Henderson: That’s why I’m here, to go and see the relatives.
Marquise: We need to go.
Henderson: We’ll have to go. Pleasure to meet you, gentlemen.
Levy: Thank you very much.
Henderson: And by the way, there is no hidden holes to find because the culprit is in custody. (with a smile and wink) Take my word for it. Okay?

So I would come away from this with an impression that it may well have not been in the United States, whatever Marquise and Thurman said to same guy ten minutes earlier. But I’m weird hat way, denying Henderson’s bait that I imagine was dangling there. A more normal reaction would be to get a little confused, and for many to solve that by taking their own default position. Some would just dismiss this all as faulty memory two decades on, while others will surely latch onto it as more proof of a cover-up, or at least something to make some more noise over.

My main concern with PT/35(b) is that this much-fretted over fragment may have been planted outright to begin with, or at least has been overstated as direct evidence pointing only to Libya. This hullabaloo about where the possible fraud was carted to adds little to an understanding of either level of worthwhile inquiry.

Update, 10/28: Something I saw later that fits best here: Marquise's unacknowledged about face here was short-lived. In September 2009, months later with Henderson not present, he again affirmed an American trip. This was in a response to Gareth Peirce, and sent into Robert Black's blog. I haven't been able to verify it, so do please take a grain of salt:
Once he identified the fragment, he asked Alan Feraday to come to Washington. Feraday brought the original fragment of the timer with him and they both examined it under a microscope. They independently agreed it was identical to the MEBO timer. The fragment was never out of the control of Mr. Feraday and returned with him to the lab at RARDE.

Second update, Nov 24 2009: Mr. Marquise responds to the confusion that indeed the fragment did come to the US, and he and Henderson were both confused by the tone of Levy's Arlington ambush. Again from Black's Lockerbie Blog:
With regard to the "travel" of PT-35-- once again-- it was the sharing of information which led to the solution of this case. If the fragment had remained behind in Scotland, never shared, it would possibly be unidentified today. No one would ever have discovered it was a piece of one of 20 timers given to Libyan intelligence. It is clear no one ever attempted to "cover" that up-- I freely admitted it in my book, Mr. Henderson stated such in his precognition and I again said so to Mr. Levy. My "confusion" at Arlington last December over whether it had come to the US or not, was due more to the tone of the question, the setting and the allegation I may have lied to him when he first interviewed me. Unlike Mr. Megrahi, I do not tell lies when it comes to the evidence in this case. I said it right when Mr. Levy first interviewed me. We had nothing to hide because we did the right thing and there has never, never, never been one scintilla of proof that PT-35 was altered or changed in any way.

In his 2006 book, Marquise relates how it was at an investigator’s conference in Virginia on June 11 1990 that the Scottish authorities finally made their puzzlement over the fragment known to all. 55 companies had been checked to no avail. At this point, four days before his identification, that Thurman “approached Henderson and asked if he could take photographs of PT-35 and attempt to identify it. Henderson, who believed the Scots had done all they could do, agreed.” [2, p 60]

This passage is crucial to move claims, and rather ambiguous. It seems to read that Thurman, in Arlington, was allowed to take a picture of evidence Henderson had there with him. It could also mean a request to retain one of the photo-prints there, or to take a picture of the single photo they brought, or fly to Scotland to photograph PT/35(b). The last option seems out, given the mechanics of identification that followed. I remain agnostic on the reading here, and on its value as one of Mr. Marquise’s sometimes confused recollections. (and there is a hell of a lot of confusion and amnesia surrounding this investigation)

Thomas Hayes

The Political Scientists of Lockerbie, part 1/3
22 October 2010

last edits 29/10

At the time of the Lockerbie investigation of 1988-1990, Dr. Thomas Hayes was head of the Forensic Explosives Laboratory at the Royal Armaments Research and Development Establishment (RARDE), at Fort Halstead, in Kent. Having worked at RARDE since June 1974, Hayes was promoted to head the lab, also called EC3, in 1985. David Leppard, in his 1991 book On the Trail of Terror, caled Hayes “probably one of the best forensic explosives experts in the world.” [p 74] Not everyone agrees.

Among the dirt dug up by those who've come before me is only one high-profile case later overturned that he was involved in, but resulting in seven convictions. This was of course the "Maguire Seven" - arrested in 1974 based on supposed IRA connections, a series of pub bombing using nitroglycerine bombs, and a finding from RARDE that Mrs. Maguire's gloves had kneaded nitro. The Guildford Four were convicted under the most unsafe of circumstances for carrying out the bombings and sentenced to life. The Maguire family of four and three friends were convicted in 1976 for supplying the explosive.

Alastair Logan, the Solicitor for the Maguire family, spoke to the Maltese Double Cross and explained Hayes' involvement in the case:
"The evidence was entirely forensic in nature. There was no other evidence at all. They made no confessions. In fact they consistently denied any involvement in any terrorist activity ... Dr. Hayes had carried out a test on gloves belonging to Mrs. Maguire on a second occasion, and detected the presence of nitroglycerine on that test. ... his role during the course of the trial as a qualified chemist ... was to reinforce what was being said [by others less qualified] and to provide the explanations that the court needed in order to be able to comprehend case against these people." [1:00:35]
Mr. Logan's view from the vantage of the mid-90s, following the convictions' annulment, was rather unsparing.
"[The expert witnesses] were all saying the same thing. They were all saying that the test was specific .They were all saying that there wasn't enough sample to run a second test. They were all saying there was no other substance known to them that could be confused with nitroglycerine. And I frankly do not believe that all of them could have been saying that if they hadn't put their heads together to say it. Because all of them were saying something that they knew and must have known was a lie. ... The only logical explanation for the pattern of conduct in not revealing all of these things that should have been revealed, including the tests that they had secretly carried out in their laboratory in order to determine their theories, which had in fact been supportive of the defense case and not their own - is that they were engaged in a giant conspiracy, which resulted in these people being convicted." [1:01:52]
They were sentenced to between four and 14 years, and had their first appeals denied. The eldest among them, Guiseppe Conlon, died in prison in 1980. The rest served their sentences through the 1980s, despite widening public pressure to review the case against all eleven imprisoned for the bombings. This would achieve a popular public inquiry that finally in 1991 quashed all convictions. But that phase of the Maguire saga had yet to unfold as Pan Am 103 was torn down on 21 December 1988, on Dr. Hayes' watch at the top of RARDE's forensic science establishment.

A Career Ends
Having covered the period before Hayes' work on Lockerbie, let's skip over it for now and turn to the period just at the other end of it. The exact date he left as head of EC3 wasn't pinned down at trial. At one point he said “the exact date of my leaving is a little circumspect, but I believe it was in 1990.” Later the cross-examination got more specific.
Hayes: I have the dates recorded. I don't have the date in my memory.
Keen: Would that be sometime in the course of 1989?
A It would, sir.
Q But did you continue to work on as a consultant working on the Lockerbie case?
A Yes, sir, I did, for approximately three months, initially.
Q And was that extended?
A It was.
Q And did it continue until the summer of 1990?
A I believe that is correct.
So he left during the course of this most important investigation, but remained on only unofficially as his deputy Allen Feraday took things over from late 1989 and on. What amazing opportunities called Hayes away? Dr. Ludwig de Breackeleer has an interesting piece on the end of his career at RARDE, which segued into a new career as a chiropodist (otherwise known as a foot doctor, or podiatrist as we say in the States). Further, the timing is interesting, as this portion of the questioning shows.
“KEEN. Dr Hayes, you told us in your earlier evidence that you were head of the Forensics explosives laboratory at RARDE until 1989? And your change of career from forensic scientist to chiropodist would appear to coincide in point of time with the decision of the Home Secretary to appoint Sir John May to inquire into the trial of those known as the Maguire Seven. Is that true?
HAYES. I believe so. I don’t recall clearly.”
On two occasions Hayes was called to give evidence to that inquiry, which was first announced on 19 October 1989 and holding hearing some time after. The first time he was called by virtue of being one of the involved scientists. The second time was after Sir May had a chance to look at his RARDE notebooks and found numerous things not disclosed either at trial or in Hayes' first appearance. The final report of the commission reflected the second interview and was discussed in the Camp Zeist trial transcripts, [day 16, June 6 2000] - the report was entered as evidence for the second accused (Fhimah). Some highlights:
"It is clear from the notebooks that when hand kits were tested RARDE was not looking for PETN. The explanation advanced to me for this exclusion of PETN by [then EC3 head] Mr. Higgs and Dr. Hayes was that in the context of IRA terrorism they believed it to be irrelevant. I accept as genuine. It was nonetheless improper for the scientists to presume in that way to exclude it. At the time the material tests were carried out and reported on, the failure to report the confusion of nitroglycerine with PETN was honest but mistaken. However, before long an element of calculation crept into the continuing failure. When Mr. Higgs prepared a list for the consultation on the 13th of January 1976 which purported to exclude all substances which might mimic nitroglycerine by reference to three criteria, he deliberately left out PETN, which could not be so excluded."  
"Inspection of the RARDE notebooks also shows that positive results were recorded on several occasions despite wider parameters than given in evidence at trial, or to me. For instance, in one case at which the inquiry looked quite closely, a positive finding was recorded and reported to the police where the Rf value was as much as 0.12 lower than the standard. Dr. Hayes, who had confirmed the results, was unable to give an explanation so long after the event."  
"The whole scientific basis on which the prosecution [...] was founded was in truth so vitiated that on this basis alone, the Court of Appeal should be invited to set aside the conviction."
The Juicy Middle: 1989
Now that we've given it a nice frame relating to the Maguire case, let's turn to the pinnacle of Hayes' career, the largest mass-killing on Great Britain, and a case that still hasn't been overturned.  For this, Hayes' contribution cannot be fully untangled from that of his ambitious deputy, Allen Feraday (see part two). The contributions of both weave together sometimes imperceptibly, but here well try to isolate Hayes' own calls on  the science that led to Libya being blamed and Abdelbaset al-Megrahi being convicted for bombing Pan Am 103.

The previous sources dishing on Dr. Hayes' involvement latch onto one obvious red flag - his apparently inserted page 51. This is the standard old hat by now, and at this site I’ve documented numerous strange cases so far. Starting with that one, it seems to me the examination notes have two pages missing (the original pages 50 and 56) and two pages inserted – the famous page 51 and the one before it, both detailing the work of 12 May that it seems he never performed (at that time). And of course the point to take from this is the same as before - page 51 detailed the finding of the crucial PT/35(b), the Libyan timer fragment, and the point where it was vouched for as originating from the blast evidence.

Hayes examined Toshiba manual cover PK/689 (left, bottom) on 16 May 1989 (by the lab notes) and decided "that the two-page fragment of paper appears to have survived a close-range explosion involvement." [p 2544] He fails to specify if he meant a small firecracker type of explosion, or a high explosives rupturing an airliner sort. But context makes it seem he accepts this as a genuine article from within the primary suitcase, as taken elsewhere, just a couple of inches from the blast center. Its not but torn and lightly singed at the edges, and was reportedly in even better shape before RARDE got hold of it. That's not a normal conclusion. Others can believe it only because they want to and because Dr. Hayes said so.

Then there's the strange evasiveness on his and Feraday’s part over damage to a "purple coloured holdall." Being of London origin and apparently from the neighboring container AVN 7511, it was likely damaged by whatever punched the hole in that fiberglass container. But the duo from RARDE insisted in their report it was damaged some way other than the blast. I can see no reason to be so adamant about that, aside from maintaining the dogma that all blast-damaged luggage was inside container 4041. It's not clear why exactly they couldn't just admit one piece in the next container over also was damaged. The dissembling and rambling amnesia of Hayes confronted with his insane work is evident here, as are some underlying dynamics of the method Hayes and Feraday used in their collaboration. (see "purple" link)

On the other hand, some of Hayes' conclusions on the evidence are apparently honest and potentially extremely relevant, until overridden. A one-foot square piece of hard-shell suitcase dubbed PI/911 is perhaps a smoking gun for what actually happened (see The Monster of Newcastleton Forest). By the examination notes of January 1989, Hayes felt the fragment's size and condition suggested it was the underside of a case beneath the bomb bag, resting directly on the container floor. By the time of the final report he co-signed with Feraday, flecks of blue plastic on it had changed that to the primary case, resting atop a blue soft-shell suitcase from Frankfurt.

This decision may have been crucial to the whole case, given the evidence of John Bedford and one or two brown hard-shell Samsonites, which, if stacked one on the floor and the other upon the first, would explain the explosion with eerie precision. Officially, the science has ruled this out - this had to be a second (or third) such case, coming in from Malta. The first one (or two) simply never turned up.