In Wednesday's Le Monde, a short account of the sentencing of 25 people, all of them Algerian radicals, by a French court in connection with the so-called "Chechen network" case. The five main defendants, including the were each given prison terms of 8 to 10 years, while the others received lesser sentences. Two of the defendants were acquitted. All except one had been accused of helping Islamic fighters in Chechnya. According to the prosecution, the case pointed to the "globalization of the jihad movement."
However, as Norbert Strade points out at chechnya-sl, many details of the case remain unresolved and shadowy. The longest sentence of 10 years went to Menad Benchellali, the groups's alleged "chemicals expert". Yet no evidence that a chemical attack was being prepared has been found. Some of the news reports yesterday repeated the old canard that "ricin" had been discovered. And, Norbert adds:
What they found were typical household chemicals (most people don't even know that they keep stuff in their household which, when mixed in the correct way, will produce a nice bang). The "ricin" were products containing castor oil, the source from which the substance is distilled. Castor oil is widely used in medications, cosmetic products, lubricants, break fluid, laundry detergents, paints, varnishes. Again, it would be very difficult to find a household with no trace of it. And so on. The fact that the prosecution couldn't prove any attack plans including chemicals shows that this was a constructed accusation.
What really happened was that some Algerian Islamists collected money for the usual Islamic charities (including those trying to aid Chechnya) and thus were automatically targeted by the "fight against terror". The anti-terror careerists of the Bruguière type connected "Chechnya" and "terror" with "ricin" (the propaganda garbage about the Pankisi "ricin labs"), and subsequently had to find "ricin" and other terrorist staples connected to the "suspects".I won't be surprised if the story about a planned attack on the Russian embassy was delivered by the notorious "evidence" providers from the Lubyanka (we all remember the "evidence" produced against Zakayev). Of course this didn't suffice, they needed some important French target in order to make the case intersting for the locals, something similar to the Twin Towers. And what would be more symbolic than blowing up the Eiffel Tower? Why the "terrorists" wanted to blow up Les Halles, as mentioned in another story, a place full of Muslims, is a little more obscure. Perhaps they had an opinion about the architecture, who knows.
Finally, I wonder in which closet the typists from the mainstream agencies and the corporate media keep their IQ when they faithfully reproduce everything they are told by the authorized truth mongers. There is one common trait in all those official terrorist stories: they are absolutely inconsistent and of worse quality in the realm of conspiration theories than even some of the fringe stuff. Like this one: Some Islamists of Algerian descent get the idea that they could take revenge on Russia for Chechnya by blowing up French tourist targets and carrying out chemical attacks against French civilians! A total no-brainer, on the same level as the Manhattan flight chart "found" in a Chechen cave.
What this case and its unsatisfactory resolution show beyond doubt is that Russian special services are still actively supplying "intelligence" to Western governments in the "war against terror", and that this information – or disinformation – is being accepted uncritically at many levels by the press, the media, the judiciary, and even by Western goverments themselves, with potentially and actually disastrous consequences for security.