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Ricin!: The Inside Story of the Terror Plot That Never Was [Paperback]

Lawrence Archer , Fiona Bawdon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Sep 2010
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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; 1 edition (7 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745329276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745329277
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 1.3 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 930,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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A refreshing insight into how the government and security services shamelessly seized on an alleged conspiracy to promote their “war on terror”. ... The plot never existed and no ricin was found. This is an inside story of a six month trial which provides valuable lessons, not least to budding members of MI5 and the police. (Richard Norton-Taylor, Security Editor of the Guardian)

This is a praiseworthy example of a jury, better placed than anyone else to know what really goes on in our criminal justice system, exposing how injustice occurs when fear of terrorism distorts the objectivity of the prosecution process. (Sir Geoffrey Bindman, civil liberties solicitor)

The innocent suspects in Archer’s shocking but highly insightful book live in a world of deep suspicion. This world is prepared to utilise information extracted under torture, to inflate and conflate the threat of terrorism with immigration concerns and, to justify a war of occupation in response to a terrorist plot that only ever existed in the imagination of a government – a government that lied to its own people and forgot to admit it. It is left up to decent men like Lawrence Archer to help pick up the pieces of the lives shattered by this unjust process. (Moazzam Begg, Director of Cageprisoners)

Gripping! I couldn’t put it down. In telling it like it is, Lawrence Archer and Fiona Bawdon have provided some reparation to the innocent Algerians caught up in one of the UK’s most controversial anti-terrorist trials. These Algerians are still fighting to this day to establish that they are not the ‘enemy aliens’ of popular myth, but impoverished exiles struggling to survive in a crushing, hostile world. (Liz Fekete, author of A Suitable Enemy: Racism, Migration and Islamophobia in Europe (Pluto Press, 2009))

About the Author

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Everyone in the UK should read this book, so that they know just how incompetent the security services, the police and the Crown Prosecution Services are. Between them they spent a vast amount of money on prosecuting some Algerians for plotting to manufacture poisons and kill people - but from the start it was obvious that all but one had no intention of harming anyone,and only one of them was thinking of manufacturing poison, and he was utterly incompetent. There was no danger to anyone, until a bungled raid on the place where the sole plotter was staying led to the unecessary death of a police officer. The jury trying the case unanimously threw out all the charges except one, against the sole, incompetent plotter.
But then the press took no notice of this verdict, and continued to claim there had been a 'ricin plot' (it is very difficult to manufacture enough ricin to kill even a single person). And the 'security services', pretending they had some 'intelligence' they couldn't disclose, subverted the jury's verdict by detaining the harmless Algerians anyway, in conditions so stressful that it literally drove them mad.
Meanwhile US apparatchik Colin Powell used the alleged 'ricin plot' to justify the invasion of Iraq!
Read this book and find out how the security services waste public money and destroy innocent people's lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking Revelations 21 Nov 2011
By Seneca
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book at one sitting. It is well written and constructed, and difficult to put down. It tells the true story of the ricin plot, the trial and the effect on all the key people involved. Lawrence Archer, the chairman of the jury, is very brave to tell this true and powerful story that gives a unique insight into how the criminal justice system, the government and the security forces work.

Ricin! is thought-provoking, compelling and a must read for anyone who is interestedin, and cares deeply about our democracy. Highly recommended.
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