The Ricin Plot that never was (new book)


by Sunny
26th September, 2010 at 11:22 am    

In January 2003, the British media splashed the news that anti-terror police had disrupted an Al-Qaeda cell, poised to unleash the deadly poison ricin on the capital. Police had reportedly found traces of ricin, as well as a panoply of bomb and poison-making equipment in the cell’s ‘factory of death’ – a shabby flat in north London.

‘This danger is present and real, and with us now’ announced prime minister Tony Blair.

But, when the ‘ricin plot’ came to trial at the Old Bailey, a very different story emerged: there was no ricin and no sophisticated plot. Rarely has a legal case been so shamelessly distorted by government, media and security forces to push their own ‘tough on terror’ agendas.

In this meticulously researched and compellingly written book, Lawrence Archer, the jury foreman at the trial, and journalist Fiona Bawdon, give the definitive story of the ricin plot, the trial and its aftermath.
Lawrence Archer is the telecoms engineer who was foreman of the jury at the 2005 ricin trial. He has followed the lives of the acquitted defendants ever since, including attending their High Court and immigration appeal hearings.

Fiona Bawdon is a freelance journalist. She writes on criminal and civil justice issues for the national and specialist legal press.

The book is released October 11th 2010. More info here


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16 Comments below   |  

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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : The Ricin Plot that never was (new book) http://bit.ly/9SVBeJ


  2. fljf

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The Ricin Plot that never was (new book) http://bit.ly/9SVBeJ


  3. Noxi

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : The Ricin Plot that never was (new book) http://bit.ly/9SVBeJ #security #anti-terrorism #islamophobia


  4. Pisces Zodiac

    Pickled Politics » The Ricin Plot that never was (new book): In this meticulously researched and compellingly writ… http://bit.ly/95enJJ


  5. Nicholas Stewart

    The Ricin Plot that never was (new book) http://j.mp/aE64NB


  6. Joel Davies

    RT @jonsnowC4 Great new book on Ricin Plot That Never Was by foreman of jury in trial http://bit.ly/aRVDBS good reading in a time of plots!


  7. Brit Lefit

    Do they do this in #China? Dear @Amnesty #UK #media, #police & #Government #fabrication; why? The #Ricin Plot http://bit.ly/aRVDBS

    #Blair


  8. schloss_webb

    RT @jonsnowC4 Great new book on the Ricin Plot That Never Was by foreman of jury in trial http://bit.ly/aRVDBS #Blair http://bbc.in/9x1FRE


  9. tj zz greene

    #blair's anti-terror police had disrupted an Al-Qaeda cell, poised to unleash the deadly poison ricin on the capital. http://bit.ly/bDOIDI




  1. Richard Blogger — on 26th September, 2010 at 2:09 pm  

    Hmmm, a bit like the “threat” by the “Real IRA” on the Tory conference next week? You know, the “threat” that means that no one protesting against the despicable Conservative government can get within half a mile of the conference centre?

    Hmmm, when will the Press ever learn that being in government is as much politics as it is governing?

  2. BenSix — on 26th September, 2010 at 3:04 pm  

    Ooh, thanks for the tip!

  3. joe90 — on 27th September, 2010 at 9:28 pm  

    So it was a load of hype, damage has already been done. Funny how we dont see the same culprits and newspapers making sensation headlines claiming the plot was a load of BS!

  4. dave bones — on 28th September, 2010 at 1:55 am  

    Yeah cheers for the tip this sounds excellent

  5. raff — on 28th September, 2010 at 7:04 pm  

    looks like a fascinating book. In the end though, Kamel Bourgass was also convicted for the plot, no? (by also I mean, in addition to the charge for killing DC Oake)

  6. ukliberty — on 28th September, 2010 at 10:46 pm  

    I think people today can be forgiven for thinking there was no plot at all, based on some of the more strident criticism. The press release for the book seems to be careful to say there was no “sophisticated” plot – rather than no plot at all.

    No ricin was found – again, you would have been forgiven for thinking otherwise at the time – but there were notes purporting how to make various poisons including ricin and Kamel Bourgass was eventually convicted of conspiracy with persons unknown to commit public nuisance by using poisons. In short, there was a plot to make and use poisons.

    But the real story is the huge over-reaction and panic caused by the government and its willing partners in the press. And even after all the fuss, after all the arrests and panic stations stories, even after the trial that only resulted in one conviction for conspiracy to commit public nuisance instead of seven convictions of conspiracy to commit murder, the government continued to try to save face:

    “… the British government and prosecution had at least two days to prepare their spin campaign and they went into high gear. Knocked back by the not guilty verdicts and the implosion of the second terror trial, authorities moved forward swiftly to paint a picture of great deeds and sinister machinations, rather than the prosaic reality of bungling and distortion. This campaign was delivered efficiently to the British press. Instead of reporting that two terror trials had essentially gone off without finding the majority of people roped in on charges of being in an al Qaida-linked poison cell, the press started publishing material that had either been excluded from the jury or the speculations and claims from prosecution officials and others that a tragedy had been averted and the London poison cell broken up.” George Smith, GlobalSecurity.org

    And of course Charles Clarke found a compelling reason to have 90 days detention without charge.

    “the weekend after the end of the trial and the publication of the evidence, the Sunday Telegraph reported that we were/are faced with “chaos and panic in London’s public transport system”, and our security forces narrowly averted “our September 11, our Madrid. There is no doubt about it, if this had come off this would have been one of al-Qa’eda’s biggest strikes”, a “senior officer at Scotland Yard” told the paper.” – John Lettice, The Register

  7. Mark T — on 28th September, 2010 at 10:46 pm  

    “But, when the ‘ricin plot’ came to trial at the Old Bailey, a very different story emerged: there was no ricin and no sophisticated plot.”

    There was “no ricin” only because Bourgass was incompetent at making it. His intention was to mass murder.

    He then went on to murder a policeman.

    Your presentation is a little selective, is it not?

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