Originally published by The Community Press Group in September 2013


Whilst the bravery, dedication and loyalty of military personnel who carry out the agenda given to them by their Governments are acknowledged, we also know that soldiers are trained to follow orders, and it is not their place to question the rights and wrongs of those orders.

But we can and I do.

When weighing up the pros and cons of launching a strike on Syria, we would do well to remember that it wasn’t only the WMD intelligence ahead of the Iraq war, which was “false” but there was also the “Ricin Conspiracy” which was huge news ahead of the decision to invade Iraq and was much cited as a justification for the invasion and for the introduction of more anti-terror laws.

The case potentially illustrates the “Problem-reaction-solution” technique where a problem is engineered in order to generate a reaction which will guarantee support for your solution. Here is how the “Ricin Conspiracy” unfolded:

5/1/3 Police found a few castor-oil beans, potentially the raw material for the poison ricin at Mouloud Sihali’s flat in Wood Green. They also claimed to have found equipment needed to produce ricin.

7/1/3 Tony Blair announced, without waiting for a trial to determine if the arrests were justified, that “The arrests which were made show this danger is present and real and with us now. Its potential is huge”

8/1/3 The Sun reported the discovery of a “factory of death” and other newspapers warned that 250,000 of us could have died and a poison gang was on the loose. (In reality, ricin has never been a weapon of mass destruction; it has only been used in one on one assassinations.)

5/2/3 Colin Powell said: “The ricin that is bouncing around Europe now originated in Iraq – not in the part which is under Saddam Hussein’s control, but his security forces know all about it”

20/3/3: The USA with UK support, invaded Iraq.

30/3/3: The head of US forces in Iraq announced “And it’s from this site where people were trained and poisons were developed that migrated into Europe. We think that’s probably where the ricin found in London came from”

Eighteen months later, the evidence came to light and finally in 2005 April, in a British court, a jury acquitted Sihali due to the gaping holes and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case. It had even emerged that the only tests carried out on the substance were preliminary ones, which were completed by 8th January. The most that could ever be said was that there was a weak positive result for manufactured ricin from a presumptive test carried out on a mortar and pestle. (A presumptive test fails to eliminate a substance from suspicion; it merely confirmed that the substance could have been ricin, but the same could have been said about numerous other substances)

Additionally the Porton Down analyst “Witness H” admitted to not keeping any records of the tests or of the communications of the findings of the tests to the police. It was revealed during the trial that the lead scientist, “Dr A”, and others with whom he worked, had arrived at the collective conclusion that the traces could not be attributed to ricin and the result was to be regarded as negative, not positive. Despite this, on the 6th January, the Operations Manager at Porton Down communicated to the police that they had found a positive result when testing for ricin, and did not tell the police that there may be a problem with the test until late March, by which time the invasion had occurred.

On 13/4/5 legal affairs analyst for the BBC Jon Silverman wrote: “A key unexplained issue is why the Porton Down laboratory which analysed the material and equipment seized from a flat in Wood Green said that the residue of ricin had been found when it had not”

Cameron’s case for an attack on Syria takes Britain to a new low. Why? This time not only are he and Obama not bothering with obtaining evidence of the chemical attack (as was the case with the WMD in Iraq) but they are not even claiming that the country they are about to attack represents a threat to them. If the grounds for intervention are humanitarian, then that it surely a decision for the UN to take. Not that the UN instills me with any great confidence; it is hopelessly conflicted because its leading nations are also the world’s biggest arms dealing ones, and it was founded at the behest of bankers who profit from the debts which wars bring. There have been far more wars since the UN was founded in 1957 than in the entire history of the planet before then. And it’s curious that the supposed chemical attack happened within days of the UN arriving in the country and basing themselves twenty minutes’ drive away from the scene of the crime.

There’s another curiosity to mention. On 29th January 2013 the online edition of the Daily Mail ran a major story by Louise Boyle which was that a leaked email revealed that the US had backed a plan to launch a chemical attack in Syria and blame the Assad regime. The story was taken down a few days later.