It explains, in part, how preliminary tests of apparatus seized during a police raid tested positive for protein - which could have been ricin - but two days later, an ELISA assay (for ELISA read very sensitive) showed that no ricin was present. Yet for months everyone was mislead to believe that ricin was present in apparatus seized by the police.
"Gould's evidence that no ricin had been positively identified showed that the ricin-plot hare had been set running by a false positive test result and a decision taken by a non-scientist employee at Porton Down. What's more, no one had sought to calm public fears by correcting the wrong information which had been given to police until three months later, despite the raft of alarming and inaccurate press stories the false reports of a ricin find had generated."Other threads in the book describe what life is like for an illegal immigrant: petty thieving, poor housing, fear of authorities, exploited by employers. The illegal immigrants in this story were from Algeria, a western friendly dictatorship, that seems not to be a part of the Arab Spring. A place where the security forces are feared, where torture is conducted and who send spies to London, not to spy on the UK gov, but to spy on the illegal immigrants so that they can find reasons to attack their families back in Algeria. Against this background everyone has false documents and everyone goes under a number of different names.
The other thought that came to mind as I read the book was that, if it's possible to be so mislead by the fear of the ricin plot when none exists, couldn't the same be said of Al-Qaeda itself?
Salvador Dali was fascinated by Vermeer's painting, The Lacemaker: he copied the painting and discussed it in lectures. His fascination was for the tip of the lacemaker's needle in the painting since, the needle is visually suggested but not actually depicted. Like the Lacemaker's needle, everything suggests that Al-Qaeda is there but do we really know that it even exists?
Update 3rd October 2011. It appears from the wikileaks 'cablegate' that I'm not the only one who has these sorts of difficulties. A cable titled, "Ergenekon: it all depends on where you sit" where ambassadorial ace, Sandra Oudkirk writes,
""Ergenekon" remains an all-encompassing term after nearly a year of indictments, investigations, arrests, and search warrants. There seem to be as many perceptions of the reality of Ergenekon as there are agendas..."Transpose Ergenekon with Al-Qaeda and the statements make as much sense.