The Case of Kamel Bourgass: The sound of one hand clapping or a conspiracy of one by William Bowles

9 May 2005

COP killer Kamel Bourgass was yesterday unmasked as Osama Bin Laden’s master poisoner – with a mission to murder as many Britons as possible.
The Sun

[A]lleged plots to smear powdered castor bean on door handles are most probably rubbish, something copied from tales of American ricin trouble-makers, like the Minnesota Militia.
MORE UK TERROR TRIAL: Evil foiled or more mendacity? by George Smith, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, GlobalSecurity.Org

Kamel BourgassPerhaps the most difficult thing for your ‘average’ citizen to take in is the idea that your government would deliberately lie and deceive you over a thing like terrorism. After all, the state is meant to protect its citizens, isn’t that why we have a raft of laws and an incredibly expensive enforcement system replete with tens of thousands of state employees, surveillance systems and so forth?

And why would the state lie, what does it have to gain, for lying and fabricating a threat or danger implies a hidden agenda and hidden agendas implies a conspiracy (and we all know that conspiracies are the stuff of the lunatic fringe – right?)

Yet the reality is that the state routinely lies, deceives and invents, the issue for us is to reveal the links between the lies and the reasons for the lies.

Killer jailed over poison plot
Kamel Bourgass was jailed for life in June 2004
An al-Qaeda suspect who stabbed to death a policeman has been jailed for 17 years for plotting to spread ricin and other poisons on the UK’s streets
BBC Website, Wednesday, 13 April, 2005

Any exploration of history of the Bourgass ‘affair’ reveals the reality that the state routinely lies and invents conspiracies often of enormous dimensions – from the days of ‘Moscow gold’ through to the international ‘conspiracy’ of Osama bin Laden.

The state has its disposal a vast range of resources to utilise not only to cover up its activities but also it can rely on the collaboration of the media and most importantly, the fact that your ‘average’ citizen is loathe to think that its allegedly democratic government would deliberately deceive the populace.

And again, why would the media and an army of ‘experts’ collaborate in such an elaborate deception? On the surface it’s the stuff of fiction yet the facts point directly to a state conspiracy to create an atmosphere of fear designed deliberately to ‘soften up’ the public in order to get it to accept the imposition of laws that undermine our hard-won civil and legal rights. The question, once more, is why? What is the connection between the ‘war on terror’ and the attacks on our civil liberties?

First of all let’s dispense with all the nonsense surrounding the Bourgass ‘conspiracy’, it’s all rubbish, even the police raid which resulted in the death of a policeman was in fact, a ‘routine’ raid in search of ‘illegal’ immigrants that went badly wrong and that subsequently got rapidly transformed into an international ‘conspiracy’.[1] How was this achieved?

This is not as obvious a process as it might at first appear but it depends on the release of statements by government that are vague enough to be open to all kinds of interpretations but which leave behind a distinct impression of a conspiracy, a media-inspired ‘death by a thousand cuts’ kind of thing. And of course it needs the direct complicity of the corporate/state media as well as the police and security services in order to give it an ‘official’ imprimateur.

Hence, following the Bourgass affair we had the Deputy Metropolitan police commissioner Peter Clarke telling us that a:

“Real and deadly threat” had been thwarted and one that was hard to over-estimate “the fear and disruption this plot could have caused across the country”

A statement that was not in any way born out by the facts. In turn, this statement relied on initial lies put out by the government concerning the nature of the ‘plot’, for example, the alleged ricin and other substances allegedly found in the apartment where Bourgass was arrested, an allegation that had no foundation in reality (aside from the impossibility of making a WMD from ricin). In addition, there is the impossible to prove or disprove, al-Qu’eda ‘connection’. All it takes is the name to make the ‘connection’, so deeply rooted is the constructed ‘folk myth’ of the international terror ‘network’ through constant repetition by both government and media.

Cast your mind back, if you can, to a scant few weeks before the ill-fated invasion of Iraq in March 2003, to January 2003 when the police raided a flat in north London based upon information obtained from an Algerian named as Mohammed Meguerba who implicated Kamel Bourgass in a plot to poison amongst other locations, the London Underground in what became known as the ‘ricin terror plot’.

“The impact on the public, if he had succeeded in what he wanted to do, is incalculable”
Peter Clarke, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan police

To recap: The police raided an apartment on 14 January 2003 in Crumpsall Lane, Manchester following a ‘tip-off’ allegedly from the Algerian secret service [2]. When the special branch arrived, they found a number of men at the flat, one of whom was Kamel Bourgass who according to the press reports, nobody expected to find there and who subsequently stabbed a Special Branch officer to death and injured three others.

Beyond this little was known about what actually took place either in the flat or the trial, as there has been a complete media blackout for the past two years since Bourgass’ trial for murder started resulting in his conviction. It’s only since the ‘conspiracy’ trial ended and the acquittal of all the eight accused except for one charge of ‘conspiracy’ against Bourgass. But who, exactly, was Bourgass conspiring with? Conspiracies need more than one person in order to be a conspiracy but no other names have been forthcoming (except of course, al-Qu’eda). [3]

The source of the ‘tip-off’ was a certain Mohammed Meguerba who was arrested on 18 September 2002 as the alleged mastermind of a ‘terror plot’. He was then bailed following an epilectic fit and who then was allegedly smuggled into Algeria by an Algerian ‘terror’ organisation.

There’s something extremely ‘fishy’ about Meguerba’s arrival in Algeria. It’s not explained how a wanted terrorist managed to leave the UK without being spotted. Was he ‘rendered’ unto the Algerians I wonder, with the objective of obtaining a ‘confession’? Subsequent events would seem to validate this view.

Detained by the Algerian security services, after ‘interrogation’ Meguerba implicated Bourgass in the ‘ricin plot’, naming him as the leader of the ‘terrorist cell’ but subsequently Meguerba withdrew his original allegations[4]. It’s more than likely that they were extracted under torture.

Finally, the entire project collapsed against the other eight accused when the Crown Prosecution Service had to withdraw its case when Merguerba withdrew his ‘confession’.[5]

But this didn’t stop Bourgass being convicted on a charge of conspiring to commit acts of terror although no ricin was found, the only link being the rather tenuous one of information found on how to manufacture a variety of chemicals including one based on of all things, nicotine and, would you believe, “rotten meat” that we were led to believe could produce botulinus toxins. In any event, not a single molecule of any toxic substance was found in spite of all the misleading statements produced by the government at the time of his arrest.

Moreover, aside from the alleged al-Qu’eda connection, not a single person has been named as being part of the conspiracy.

The media, for its part, with a couple of exceptions, ignored all the expert testimony on the nature of the alleged poisons, let alone the lack of evidence of any kind of plot such as that alluded to by top cop Clarke. The BBC for example ran a story:

Mystery still surrounds killer
An Algerian man has been convicted of plotting to spread ricin and other poisons. The BBC News website looks at what is known about Kamel Bourgass.
April 13 2003

The story itself omits any reference to Merguerba’s arrest and interrogation by the Algerian authorities or his subsequent recanting. Instead it reiterates the police’s vague statements about Bourgass’ ‘al-Qu-eda connection’:

Police believe he spent time in Afghanistan

But have produced no evidence to substantiate the claim. The real mystery is why the BBC story doesn’t mention all the salient facts surrounding the Bourgass affair, especially the involvement of the mysterious Meguerba.

In another BBC story also dated 13 April, although it refers to the “abandonment” of the second conspiracy trial against four of the accused ‘terrorists’, no mention is made of why the trial was abandoned.

The story has a section headed “Cyanide Poison” but in fact no cyanide was found, instead “recipes” were found for making a variety of chemicals. The second story also has a reference to Meguerba:

Another man, Mohammed Meguerba, who jumped bail and fled Britain, is awaiting trial in Algeria.

But there is no mention of the fact that second trial was abandoned because of the suspect nature of Meguerba’s testimony. Once more, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Clarke tells us:

We must also remember that this case was about a conspiracy between a small group of terrorists

Although who they are has not been determined. And as is known, Meguerba was forced by the Algerian authorities to make a telephone call to Bourgass in an effort to provoke him into “further action”, another fact the BBC story neglects to mention. All the evidence points to the fact that Merguerba was in fact an agent provocateur employed by the Algerian authorities and raises the possibility that the UK and Algerian governments actually collaborated in the deceit. (see ‘Met police demand tighter anti-terror laws’, Observer, April 15 2003, p. 8). The same story points to the fact that Meguerba was:

…a well-travelled jihadi fighter trained in camps in Afghanistan, who mysteriously slipped the net of the international intelligence community on several occasions

Hmmm… “slipped the net” eh? One has to ask why the BBC has not raised the issue of how this “well-travelled” terrorist “slipped the net” out of the UK?

In a third BBC story, also dated 13 April 2003, all we get is the news that four of the nine accused had been cleared and no mention at all that the case against the four others (held all this time in Belmarsh) had in fact been abandoned before it even got started!

Aware of the fact that the entire ‘ricin plot’ was unravelling, the government used its notorious ‘D’ Notice to force the Guardian to pull a story it ran on the fact that the source of the ricin story was not Porton Down scientists as it had stated but the government itself![6]

In fact, aside from the three stories mentioned here from the Independent and the Guardian, the press coverage of the Kamel Bourgass case is probably one of the most pernicious cases of mis(under)reporting to currently be found in the UK, surpassing previous ‘massaging’ of the truth and exposes the incestuous relationship that exists between the press and the state. It is moreover a textbook example of how the state has engineered a non-existent plot (with the able assistance of the media) and used it to whip up a hysterical frenzy with which to justify the ‘war on terror’ and given the timing of the ‘ricin plot’, (just before the invasion) to further justify the invasion of Iraq. The ramifications of the ‘ricin plot’ even found their way into Colin Powell’s ‘Reichstag fire’ fiction presented to the UN in February 2003, illustrating the intertwined connections between the US and UK governments Machiavellian machinations in their attempts to justify the invasion and rape of Iraq.

The REAL reasons for whipping up a witch hunt hysteria is evident when we read that using the police as a mouthpiece, that following the Bourgass trial:

The way English law has developed is it doesn’t like conspiracies. It likes actual offences… We’re going to have to look again to see whether there is some other legislation around acts preparatory to terrorism, or something of that nature.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, 17 April 2003

“Acts preparatory”? What like reading or using a copying machine? Thought crimes are the basis of any authoritarian state such as the one the British state fought against for fifty-plus years, the Soviet Union!

Creating an atmosphere of fear is necessary in order to justify the creation of a de facto police state that in turn can be used to justify the Labour government’s foreign policy, for without a domestic ‘enemy’ connected to the ‘international terror network’ there can be no justification for any of our anti-terror laws.


1. Ricin: the plot that never was, The Independent, 18 April 2003.

2. ibid

3. ibid

4. ibid

5. ibid

6. British Government Ordered Shutdown Of Fake Ricin Story, Propaganda Matrix, 25 April, 2005.

Other useful background material

Fake Terror – Ricin Ring That Never Was by Duncan Campbell 14/4/05

Ricin: The plot that never was by Severin Carrell and Raymond Whitacker 18/4/05

How the bungled ricin raid led to a bloodbath by Jenny Booth, Times Online April 13, 2005.

See also

And, SpyBlog

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