Wednesday, August 01, 2007

PERFIDY OF POWELL STILL UNANSWERED: Man fingered as part of London poison cell in UN Security Council speech gives interview

Member of alleged poison cell loved Hollywood and imagined the west to be a fine place. Then he anonymously wound up in Colin Powell's trumped up reasons-for-war presentation.

"The wide-eyed young man who arrived in London a decade ago to enjoy all that the west had to offer ended up standing trial at the Old Bailey, accused of being a member of a fanatical al-Qaida-related gang intent on spreading poison through the streets of London," wrote Duncan Campbell for the Guardian last Friday. "If convicted in the so-called 'ricin case,' he faced the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars."

Moloud Sihali was part of the alleged London ricin gang, pictured above as a conncection between al Zarqawi in Iraq, al Qaeda and poison plots aimed at the west. And it was used as part of the rationale for war in Iraq.

Like everything else in the odious presentation, it turned out to be trash.

In late 2002 Sihali was arrested and taken to Paddington Green police station, according to the Guardian. He was interrogated. "They turn on the air-conditioning late at night so you freeze ... You are totally crushed," he said.

"After nine days, he was charged with possession of items that could be used in preparation for acts of terrorism," continued the newspaper. " 'Those items can mean anything - a false passport would do,' [said] Sihali."

Sihali was then apparently fingered by Mohammed Meguerba, a man who had been swept up in another investigation, bailed and fled to Algeria where he was again imprisoned.

"There he told the police - probably after torture - of someone who really was really was planning mayhem in Britain, albeit in a very amateurish fashion: another Algerian, called Kamel Bourgass," writes Campbell.

"Sihali was now alleged to be part of a conspiracy that had led to the murder of a British police officer and had became known in the media as the 'ricin plot.'"

"I felt sick when I read about the ricin plot in the papers. I would go to the toilet and vomit," Sihali told the Guardian. Sihali did not even meet Kamel Bourgass until they were both in the dock during the ricin trial.

The trial went on for over half a year. The jury took a month to render a verdict and furnished it in April of 2005. Everyone except Kamel Bourgass was found not guilty. A subsequent trial with more defendants was cancelled because of the collapse of the idea of a London ricin ring.

Kamel Bourgass was found guilty of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance with poisons. In a previous trial, he had been convicted of the murder of a British policeman, Stephen Oakes. The murder, a stabbing, occured while Bourgass was being apprehended.

DD as GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow consulted to the defense during the trial. Evidence was examined, discussed privately and requested source material published in America was passed on. The purpose of it was to plumb the provenance and meaning of poison recipes seized from Bourgass and their relationship, or lack of one to poison recipes taken from al Qaida hideouts in Afghanistan.

The US newsmedia declined to cover the results of the trial of the so-called London ricin ring. The verdict came at a time when much of the newsmedia was still toeing the line on the Bush administration's reasons for war with Iraq.

Most of the US news agencies which tried to play catch-up had to go through your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow. A write-up published on GlobalSecurity.Org had scooped them. Walter Pincus at the Washington Post, for example, had no information on it except that which he could read at GlobalSecurity.Org, a fact he complained about on the telephone.

At Newsweek, Mark Hosenball also got his details from the GlobalSecurity posting. Newsweek's subsequent article was a disgrace, attempting to spin the verdict as evidence that if accused terrorists were allowed to go to trial in England, a jury would bring in the wrong verdict. Hosenball shoved my name in at the bottom of his article in an attempt to bury where the news actually came from. No one wanted to hear or print the real story about a big terror plot that had turned out to be tiny or that innocent men had been found not guilty during a lengthy and fair process.

"A much-touted ricin-plot terrorism case in the United Kingdom ended in a muddled verdict today, raising new questions among U.S. officials about the ability of British authorities to secure convictions against major terrorist suspects," Hosenball wrote.

The jury had left off guilty men, Newsweek implied. It was a setback in the war on terror.

"The mixed outcome dismayed U.S. counterterror specialists who were convinced that Bourgass and his four codefendants were in fact acting as part of a broader international terror plot," continued the Newsweek journalist.

Hosenball then roped in a source, Evan Kohlmann, who had nothing to do with the ricin trial.

"This is very disturbing," Kohlmann, billed as a U.S. government consultant on international terror cases, told the reporter. "These are dangerous people ... "

Kohlmann has subsequently become a professional prosecution witness for terror trials in the United States and the United Kingdom. Defense lawyers have called him a "wind-up toy" for the U.S. government.

As for the appearance of the "UK poison cell" in the UN Security Council presentation, Colin Powell has never seen fit to explain it.

Read the Sihali interview at the Guardian.

Ricin trial suspect cleared, earlier this year, at el Reg.

UK Terror Trial Finds No Terror at GlobalSecurity.Org


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