Dead Men Left

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ricin is a crap poison, anyway

Where to start with this one?

1. Some of the details on Kamel Bourgass' alleged connection with al-Qaida were supplied by Mohammad Meguerba, who helpfully told his Algerian captors an inventive story involving Afghan training camps and Nivea cream. Of course, information supplied by the Algerian security services is always reliable and accurate and never, ever obtained under torture.

2. The ricin recipe, in Bourgass' handwriting, was discovered in his Wood Green flat during a raid. Bourgass was not, and turned up only later, by accident, in Manchester, where he murdered a policeman. (The Manchester flat was described by Newsnight as an "al-Qaida safe-house", but there is precisely no evidence for this.) The claim was made by the prosecution that Bourgass' ricin recipe matches that found in what they allege was an al-Qaida handbook, the "Manual of the Afghan Jihad". In fact, it differed substantially, matching instead the recipe given in Maxwell Hutchkinson's The Poisoner's Handbook, widely available on the internet. (via Chicken Yoghurt)

3. On January 5, Martin Pearce, leader of the Biological Weapons Inspection Group at the UK government's weapons research lab, Porton Down, concluded the lab's research on substances found at the Wood Green flat. He wrote that, "Subsequent confirmatory tests on the material from the pestle and mortar did not detect the presence of ricin. It is my opinion therefore that toxins are not detectable in the pestle and mortar." He rejected an earlier, cruder test's claim that ricin could be deteced, citing this as a "false positive". Incredibly, this finding was subsequently reported to the outside world as confirming the presence of ricin in the Bourgass' flat. This claim then made its way into Colin Powell's absurd presentation to the UN regarding Iraq's WMDs to highlight the seriousness of the terrorist threat.

4. Bourgass' four alleged co-conspirators were released without charge. The case against another four suspects has also been dropped.

Q: Where is this "missing ricin"?

A: the same place as those Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

There was no "ricin ring". There was no "terrorist conspiracy". There was one murderous loner with a nerd's guide to making poison. Vote Labour.