03.31.14

The poisons handbook & one more young and stupid churl

Posted in Bioterrorism, Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks at 9:14 am by George Smith


Someone else who thought his smartphone gave him a technological edge.

Michael Piggin, an English teen who used his smartphone to download the old Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, a bowdlerized copy of Maxwell Hutchkinson’s The Poisoner’s Handbook, has had England’s heavy artillery called out and arrayed against him in court.

A Porton Down chemist was called to testify on the digital text, which has been judged a seditious document in the United Kingdom for over a decade. That is, possession of it potentially gets you jail for having materials deemed likely to be of use to terrorists or in terrorism.

From the unparalleled archives of this blog, 2007:

“Defendant after defendant has discovered that a long-forgotten internet search has left an indelible record sufficient for a conviction under the profoundly disturbing section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows prosecution for simple possession of an item likely to be useful to terrorists, and carries a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment,” wrote Gareth Piece for the Guardian on the 21st.

Pierce is a well-known defense lawyer in England. Her firm was notably reponsible for the defense in the trial of the notorious so-called London ricin gang and she has represented many others in England’s ongoing terror trials.


This blog has repeatedly analyzed and published portions — even entire copies — of documents which are now, for practical matters in the UK courts, considered seditious publications. For the legal system, there are only two working justifications for having them: Being a jounalist or a professional tasked with analyzing them.

For the trial of Samina Malik, aka The Lyrical Terrorist, DD was asked by the defense to contribute a short analysis concerning the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook.

It was found in Malik’s possession and is considered, wrongly, to be a document of potential use to terrorists. It contains many errors and some rather large fabrications which, while not obvious to laymen, are glaringly apparent to professionals trained in chemistry and biology.

DD has combed over it many times in the past year, tracing its origins and showing that it is fundamentally just an abridged and Bowdlerized copy of a pamphlet that had been published in the US in 1988, Maxwell Hutchkinson’s The Poisoner’s Handbook (Loompanics).

Samina Malik, from Southall, west London, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of owning terrorist manuals,” reported the BBC simply in November.

“The jury heard Malik had written extremist poems praising Osama Bin Laden, supporting martyrdom and discussing beheading … Malik worked at WH Smith at Heathrow Airport until her arrest last October.”

Malik was convicted for possessing records deemed to be of potential use to terrorists, including the document pictured above. It has been published many places on the web and the above snapshot was published in a Sunday edition of the Washington Post newspaper in 2005. Naturally, it is an object of great curiosity, and not just to aspiring terrorists.

However, if you reside in the United Kingdom, have downloaded it and are swept up in a counter-terror dragnet, you are in big trouble.

“[She] was acquitted on a more serious charge of possessing articles for terrorist purposes, a fact that the judge said he took into account when deciding on a suspended sentence,” reported the Los Angeles Times in early December.

However, Malik’s sentence was subsequently suspended by the judge on the condition she stay out of such trouble going forward. Which apparently she did.

In 2007, the law was used to get those suspected to be in on Islamic terrorism.

In the case of Michael Piggin, the circumstances are reversed.

If one is to believe the BBC, he wanted to firebomb schools and a mosque with molotov cocktails. That alone will, in all probability, guarantee he is kept at Her Majesty’s pleasure for a substantial period of time.

In 2004-2005, the UK government trotted out Porton Down experts for the famous London ricin trial. Porton Down is England’s ultimate biological and chemical weapons defense installation, historically famous.

In the infamous Wood Green ricin trial, Porton Down’s testimony on poison recipes and ricin was ineffective. And that story is retold, in great detail, by me, here in Playtime Recipes for Poisons, which is a good way to describe material similar to that included in the Mujahideens Poisons Handbook [1].

However, Michael Piggin will go down for it, this time. And the Porton Down expert will have been effective.

From the BBC:

Dr Paul Rice, employed at Porton Down since 1987, said fireworks and bleach found in Michael Piggin’s bedroom could be used to make chlorine gas.

Mr Piggin, 18, is accused of planning attacks on a mosque and a school.

He denies two Terrorism Act charges but has admitted possessing explosives.

The Old Bailey heard a copy of the prohibited Mujahideen Poisons Handbook had been found by police, downloaded on Mr Piggin’s mobile phone …

Dr Rice, a chemical and biological weapons expert, told the court that the Mujahedeen Poisons Handbook, was a publication he had come across before and contained details about “homemade chemicals, gases and drugs” …

The handbook contained instructions on how to make poisons such as ricin, which could prove lethal in tiny quantities, the court heard.

Time and the instruments of technology have changed. People haven’t.

Now your ricin recipes are downloaded by smartphone, rather than the old home pc.

Perhaps someone should write a handy app called …

iWantRicin.

Do you think the iTunes store would allow it?


The Piggin trial arrived in the British news in early March.

Excerpting from the Guardian on March 4:

The teenager, who has Asperger’s syndrome, had drawn up a hitlist that included his college, a mosque, a cinema, Loughborough University and the town’s council offices, the Old Bailey heard.

On the back of his notebook, Piggin had scribbled “Fuck Islam born in England, live in England, die in England”, and inside he wrote that he was a member of the EDL (a far right soccer hooligan gang for English purity) in opposition to the “Islamic invasion of Europe” …

Piggin stockpiled nine partially assembled petrol bombs [molotov cocktails made from beer bottles], as well as improvised explosive devices, air rifles, a gas mask, a crossbow, a camouflage flak jacket and other weaponry, the court heard. Detectives also found the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook in Piggin’s bedroom, the jury was told.

One is taken aback when confronted by an anti-Islamic bigot teenager with a copy of the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook and an alleged plan to take a Columbine-like revenge on his community.


1. From Steven Aftergood’s Secrecy Bulletin at the Federation of American Scientists, in 2005:

“The first time I saw [the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook],” said chemist George Smith of GlobalSecurity.org, “I thought it must be a hoax.”

“Careful examination of the document shows that it is crammed with errors, seemingly the work of someone with little discernible sense, profoundly ignorant of the nature of simple compounds and incompetent in even minor [laboratory] procedures,” Dr. Smith wrote in National Security Notes in March 2004:

Link: http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/nsn/nsn-040304.htm

In short, the Mujahideen Poisons Handbook that was excerpted on the Washington Post web site indicates something nearly the opposite of what the Post article on terrorist use of the internet claimed to show.

“The ‘Poisons Handbook’ is an example of someone professing to know what he is doing on poisons who profoundly and obviously does not know what he is doing,” Dr. Smith said.

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