Real quote: “Our team got a kick out of the Ricin Mama song,” Assistant US Atty.
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Real quote: “Our team got a kick out of the Ricin Mama song,” Assistant US Atty.
If you’re going to do anything with real goods, illicit, dangerous, or both, you can’t hide on the Dark Web. If there’s enough manpower to investigate and it’s present at the right time, your anonymity is pierced.
A Swedish court has sentenced a 27-year-old German man to one year’s imprisonment for stealing toxic substances from a university where he was a student.
The Uppsala District Court on Friday said Gurkan Korkmaz used the alias LarryFlow to offer lethal substances like ricin on dark-web online markets, but added that it could not be proven he actually sold the substances.
Swedish police started the investigation in the fall of 2015 after receiving tips from U.S. police.
The FBI has put a not insignificant amount of resources into penetrating marketplaces on the dark web. The most public part of the operation has been the tracking, arrests and convictions of those buying and selling poisons like ricin or abrin.
Korkmaz was arrested as the supplier of a ring of blackmailers that had sent ricin letters to a government offical in the Czech Republic in hopes of extorting payment in bitcoins through the use of threats. No digital money was paid out.
[Events] follow the initial arrest of the [Korkmaz] in April on suspicion of selling poison through the internet to a group that blackmailed a Czech minister for large sums of money.
“There was an attempt to blackmail the Czech state. There was a threat to spread different kinds of poison among the general public in the country if the state did not pay out quite a lot of money in bitcoin to the blackmailers. This man’s participation is that he is alleged to have supplied the poison,” prosecutor Henrik Söderman explained.
Swedish authorities were initially alerted to the man’s trail when the FBI notified their colleagues in Sweden that poison had been sold via a website.
The police have not yet identified the buyers …
Korkmaz did not attempt to make ricin. Instead, he stole it from a lab, one that presumably used a purified source for research.
Translated, another plug for Old White Coot, still under construction. But a great 20 minute listen with the hit, “Ricin Mama,” featuring Blind Poison CastorSeed on blues harp.
Two people have tried to commit suicide by castor this year. One, in Boulder, was successful.
“The Athens Fire Department assisted in the weekend raid of an Athens home.
“Fire Chief John McQueary explained their involvement.
” ‘There was a situation that our HAZMAT team, they’d like us to be involved with to support federal agents…’
“McQueary describes the decontamination role his team played. ‘Our role for the Athens Fire Department was to decon their agents when they got out… Deconning is outside the hot zone.’ The hot zone of a product suspected to be ricin.
“Homeowner Richard Fulton said in a statement that his teenage son had been attempting to make ricin out of castor beans … “
Before 9/11 and Homeland Security, there were no ricin squads. Now they’re everywhere. And though it may be hard to believe castor bean harvesting used to big agribusiness in the US. Fields of castor bean plants existed and they were not lethal. People worked in castor bean processing plants.  AND THEY DID NOT DIE.
Those places in the world that still harvest castor don’t care about the weird war-on-terror mythologies Americans have built up concerning castor beans and ricin.
But kids, don’t get the ricin squad called to your house. It will put everything in plastic bags and tubs and haul it away.
. Health Aspects of Castor Bean Dust: Review and Bibliography provides something of a look back at castor oil and castor mash production in the United States through a looking glass of health effects associated with milling. The most noticeable were allergic reactions and asthma due to a potent small allergen, separate from ricin, but also found in castor bean mash.
Allergic reactions to the dust could be severe. The government recommended control measures and the wearing of goggles in plants that milled large quantities of castor seeds
Severe clusters of allergenic illness were associated with large quantities of very powdery dust produced after treatment with organic solvents to remove the oil component.
Much less often, ricin intoxication occured, apparently due to “incautious” consumption.
No significant hazard was associated with farming castor plants.
While castor oil was the primary product, castor mash was also diverted for use as fertilizer. In 1957, castor bean agriculture and milling was done in nine states, which included a region in southern California. The review contains some medical citations of allergic reactions and eye irritations associated with use of castor as fertilizer.
Readers of the pamphlet will note the huge piles of castor powder on the docks in Marseille, France. Their existence resulted in a large outbreak of allergic illness when the wind, or “Mistral,” went the wrong way.
And, now, the only rockin’ blues song on ricin ever. Pure Americana because that’s what castor bean religion and the ricin squad are — American as, um, pie. “Ricin Mama,” then, from the “Old White Coot” LP, an absolutely true story.
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that technological advances have made it easier for terrorist and criminal groups to obtain materials needed to make weapons of mass destruction, and some are actively trying to obtain nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to target civilians …
Gregory Koblentz, director of the Biodefense Graduate Program at George Mason University, said there are several emerging technologies that present challenges to international efforts to curb WMDs, including gene editing.
“Instead of gene drives being used to eliminate disease, they could be used to introduce new diseases into plant or animal populations,” he told the council.
Other potentially dangerous emerging technologies include the use of drones and the use of the Dark Web, which can only be accessed using special encryption software, guaranteeing anonymity to its users.
Koblentz said that in 2014 the U.S. arrested two people who had sold the toxins abrin and ricin — ricin is classified as a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention — to customers in Austria, Canada, Denmark, England, India and the United States via a Dark Web marketplace called Black Market Reloaded.
“The global reach and anonymity of the Dark Web provides a new means for criminals and terrorists interested in dual-use equipment or materials to do business,” he said.
Black Market Reloaded was fairly quickly infiltrated by US law enforcement. Agents subsequently used identities on it to initiate sting operations involving the promised sale as well as the buying of poisons like ricin and abrin.
Both accepted plea deals from the federal government with Malcolm sentenced to five years, Korff much longer.
Both were connected to the case of Ryan Chamberlain for which I served as a science consultant to the defense.
Considering the nature of the investigations and the results (there were about half a dozen arrests coming off BMR), the continued belief that the Dark Web provides anonymity in such instances is rather laughable.
For the last decade and a half the American media has raised the poison found in castor seeds — ricin — to mythic proportion. And I’ve spent years doing my best to dispel the mythology.
Ricin has never been “easy to make.” And the mash of castor seeds is not a weapon of mass destruction. I’ve even been furnished expert consultations in criminal/terror cases involving it.
There is, however, a chemical that’s come to America’s white population. Carfentanil, a knock-out compound, with no real practical use other than tranquilizing elephants. And it is quite potent and already doing a great deal of harm.
Mr. Hatmaker became one of more than 200 people to overdose in the Cincinnati area in the past two weeks, leaving three people dead in what the officials here called an unprecedented spike. Similar increases in overdoses have rippled recently through Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, overwhelming ambulance crews and emergency rooms and stunning some antidrug advocates …
In Cincinnati, some medical and law enforcement officials said they believed the overdoses were largely caused by a synthetic drug called carfentanil, an animal tranquilizer used on livestock and elephants with no practical uses for humans. Fentanyl can be 50 times stronger than heroin, and carfentanil is as much as 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Experts said an amount smaller than a snowflake could kill a person.
The implicated carfentanil is believed to be made in Mexico or China and put into heroin shipments, probably precisely because of its power, the manufacturers believing, perhaps, that it would lead to faster addiction and complicate forensic analysis.
But this is a clear miscalculation because he drug is so powerful.
“[Police] officers and sheriff’s deputies are so concerned about the potency of carfentanil and other synthetic opioids that they carry overdose-reversing naloxone sprays for themselves, in case they accidentally inhale or touch the tiniest flake,” reads the newspaper.
The chemical activity of carfentanil and the less powerful but more common fentanil, employed to spike heroin formulations now coming into the US, has catalyzed an exploding health crisis in rural and ex-urban America.
For the numbers, which are astonishing, read the rest of the piece.
In 2002, Russian special forces used fentanil when storming a theater in Moscow where 800 people were taken hostage by Chechnyan separatists who’d rigged themselves and the building with explosives. The results were catastrophic. One hundred and seventy people were killed due to the use of it.
There was a big list of “Americana” records in the Guardian today, coming from many famous artists: Bruce, the Drive-By Truckers, Dwight Yoakam, etc. Bring them on.
Because nothing beats “Ricin Mama” for REAL Americana, absolutely nothing. Torn from the pages of the news, utter desperation, zombie TV and the heart of Texas. Originally endorsed by federal lawmen, too! From an album, “Old White Coot.”
An 18-year-old Boulder man, [Ryan Levine], died Wednesday night after police say he intentionally ingested the deadly poison ricin, which he had manufactured in his home.
Boulder County Coroner Emma Hall identified the man as Ryan Levine and said that the exact cause and manner of his death are still being investigated. Levine died at the University of Colorado Hospital, according to the coroner’s office.
Levine is believed to have purposely ingested the ricin and died later that night, according to a news release.
Spotty information from July 8, no updates.
A 19-year-old man’s suicide attempt in Lakewood Monday prompted an investigation by the county hazmat team, as well as federal authorities.
Police say that the unidentified teen tried to take his own life by ingesting a poisonous substance he claimed to be ricin. Police say that he later changed his mind, vomited and went to the hospital to seek treatment.
Officials say that preliminary test results showed evidence of castor beans, one of the ingredients used to make ricin, but the substance was not ricin itself.
Reports of ricin at hospital or in the emergency activate a national security response, put in place after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks.
“Lakewood officials called in the state police, FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate the incident,” it reads.
In contrast to this odd cluster, there have been no deaths or injuries due to terrorism by ricin in the last 15 years.
From the Daily Heil, covering “Patrick Calvar, head of the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) – France’s equivalent of MI5:”
[Calvar] said he feared a move towards car bombs and more conventional explosive devices, allowing terrorists to attack without risking their own lives, and that he believed Islamist extremists will look to use booby-trapped cars in the future.
He said: ‘I’m convinced they’ll go to booby-trapped vehicles and bombs, thus upping their power.
‘We know very well they’re going to use this mode of operating.
‘They’re going to end up sending commandos whose mission is to organise terrorist campaigns without necessarily going to the assault with death awaiting them.’
He also raised the possibility of extremists using ‘dirty bombs’ and the natural poison ricin, saying several radical groups had studied the toxin in the past.
The Armed Islamic Group, which caused terror in Algeria in the early 1990s, was looking to put the substance on car door handles to create a panic effect, Mr Calvar said, and this tactic was also studied in northern Iraq and in the remote Pankisi Valley in Georgia, once a stronghold of Chechen militants.
Ricin on door handles. No. Too big a molecule, a protein made of two subunits, to pass through skin. Can’t happen.
On the other hand, you can cause a panic if enough people actually believe it does. Which this article is not helping with, particularly.
In any case, if terrorists actually are still entertaining the idea that ricin can be used as a contact poison, it shows they haven’t progressed on the subject in the last fifteen years.
The Wood Green poison plot was also said to have toyed with the idea of mass contact poisoning. A Nivea skin creme pot was found with a liquid extract of tobacco mixed in with it. The idea, one presumes, similar to a nicotine skin patch.
As to ricin, only 20some castor seeds were found, all but one in a jewelry tin.
The abyss also gazes into you.
Words to take seriously if you’re reading about the so-called Dark Web.
As far as it goes, not bad, although the professed need to have lawyers with you when browsing through TOR made me laugh a bit. Plus, it was my understanding that TOR was at least partially underwritten as a potential tool for whistleblowers in foreign countries.
What the tech podcasters don’t know, or chose not to mention, is that the FBI, as well as British law enforcement, have infiltrated the darknet, posing as buyers as well as sellers in sting operations. It’s an open secret because if you’ve followed the newspaper listings on various criminal cases (just look in the Ricin Kooks tab), you’ll see this has been so.
Most recently, in the news, a handoff from the FBI to the Brits in the case of Mohammed Amer Ali, a Liverpool man, who thought he was buying ricin.
Mohammed Ammer Ali, 32, carried out extensive research on the “dark web”, eventually arranging to buy 500 milligrams of the lethal substance.
But, unknown to him, his online vendor was in fact an FBI agent who tipped off UK police.
Detectives organised for a “controlled delivery” – with a fake consignment of ricin being sent to Ali’s Liverpool home in February 2015.
The next day, Ali was arrested and his home searched by officers clad in chemical protection suits …
It was a fairly standard case if you follow the newspaper’s timeline. The only stickout point is the nature of the so-called ricin shipment.
The theoretical amount, alleged to be enough to kill 1,400. No such amount of pure ricin has ever been accumulated. It is a number with no traction in reality.
And if perhaps think I’m commenting only from second-hand information, full disclosure: I’ve been expert consultant to a federal public defender’s office in a case that involved sale and purchase of materials vended on the darknet.