Ricin blues (the details)

Posted in Bioterrorism, Ricin Kooks at 7:59 pm by George Smith

Curtis Wilke — “I’ve thought, ‘God, I wish I were still a reporter; it’d be fun to cover this story’ … Neither of them seems very sophisticated. Make a weapon of mass destruction from a bunch of beans????

Pounding castor seeds is always a fool’s idea. J. Everett Dutschke was an amateur, never thinking things through. He blabbed to a friend about being able to make a contact poison powder. (Ricin isn’t a contact poison.) He ordered castor seeds off eBay, paying through PayPal, records of which it took the FBI no time at all to access.

It also does not do to be seen disposing of garbage when the FBI is in town. It has mobile surveillance and this appears efficient when it counts.

The investigation can also tie Dutschke to the mailed letters through addresses and other materials found in his residence.

Two snaps from the FBI complaint describe much of it.

Someone unnamed in the affidavit would seem to be available as a witness if it goes to trial.

The complete affidavit concerning the matter of ricin mailer J. Everett Dutschke, unsealed today, is here.

After a slightly fumbled start, for which the US government will presumably pay, the FBI recovered nicely in collection of evidence for what looks like a very tight case.

Industry of Fear

Posted in Bioterrorism, Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks at 2:38 pm by George Smith

On display in USA Today, a journalist ropes together a bunch of experts from the academy, all attached to bioterrorism studies departments that arose in the wake of 9/11.

They express varying views on both sides of the line. None of them say anything I didn’t almost a decade ago, from the critical thinking side. None have been involved in any bioterrorism cases.

It’s important to remember nothing could get into the media that counteracted the idea that bioterrorism was easy and you could just make stuff from downloading instructions from the Internet.

The J. Everett Dutschke incident has been convenient in that it shows, in an almost comically elegant manner, the badness of many of the arguments used by the national fear industry.

No one could possibly believe that such a fellow could make a WMD.

And, indeed, it took a journalism professor at Ol’ Miss, not a terror expert to put it in perspective over the weekend:

Curtis Wilke — “I’ve thought, ‘God, I wish I were still a reporter; it’d be fun to cover this story … Neither of them seems very sophisticated. Make a weapon of mass destruction from a bunch of beans????

Yet this fool’s belief has been the gospel for the last 12 years.

To which I add this wire quote, from today, for emphasis:

The 41-year-old Dutschke also made two eBay purchases in late 2012 for a total of 100 red castor beans, which can be used to make ricin …

One hundred red castor beans! Get your WMD from eBay! (Horselaugh.)

For USA Today, there’s now recognition that something is off, but no one is willing to let go of it entirely:

Homemade and improvised biological weapons, such as ricin, pose a slimmer risk to national security than the mind-set needed to carry out such attacks, security and bioterrorism experts say.

Despite the interest in ricin that was amplified by the recent letters sent to President Obama and other government officials, it is a more specialized and targeted weapon, said Joel Selanikio, a Georgetown University epidemiologist.

“Ricin is more easily produced but more difficult to distribute to large numbers of people than, say, botulinum toxin or tetanus,” Selanikio said in an e-mail. “So it has really been more of an assassin’s weapon than a mass-attack weapon.”

There have been ZERO homemade biological weapons during the war on terror. Failed attempts and wishes do not count.

There was Bruce Ivins, from the heart of the bioterror defense research establishment, and anthrax.

And there was production and sale of purified botulinum toxin to the unscrupulous by a small US private sector research laboratory whose business was dependent on the national biodefense
effort. And I examined it in great detail here.

So who profits from the idea that homemade biological weapons might be a really serious threat despite their total absense? The industry that’s set up to defend against them. And the mainstream media that profits from scary stories, as the need arises.

In 2005, well before the USA Today story, the industry of fear cranked up the idea that it might be easy to make enough homemade botulinum toxin from instructions in trivial documents and that this had the potential to fatally poison hundreds of thousands.

And I and Milton Leitenberg critiqued it in detail for an essay mounted at the Federation of American Scientists.

What the Stanford scientist who came up with mass death botulinum toxin scenario did not know at the time was that it wasn’t terrorists who were disseminating botox, it was List Labs, an an American firm just down the road from him in the Silicon Valley. And the incident I linked to above, one in which this was uncovered after a cosmetic surgery salesman administered it to himself and some friends, putting them all on the slab and on ventilators after they suffered near lethal botulism.

This is the scary clown show the US became during the war on terror. Lots of terror experts saying be afraid of this and that because it’s all so easy to do. That was the national line. Period.

In the meantime, the real world told us quite other things. It was untrustworthy professionals, highly trained in the art and science, who caused two problems.

But back to USA Today:

Potent materials, such as the castor plants used to make ricin, could be siphoned and processed from nature with basic microbiology kills, said Leonard Cole, director of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Program on Terror Medicine and Security.

But others … argued that complex scientific knowledge and access to more sophisticated laboratory environments with built-in safety precautions would be necessary to carry out an attack of worrisome scale.

For the newspaper one man acknowledges that “homemade weapons” are not going to bring down the United States.

However, then the piece shows a certain lack of self-awareness:

“The psychological ramifications are hard to measure and they could be pronounced,” he said. “If you had, you know, an event and then another event, another event on a small scale… that would be more of a psychological issue – you know, loss of faith in how things are done by government, that kind of thing.”

In this sense, said Moran, terrorists achieve a sort of victory.

“That’s what the terrorists’ goal is – is just to create fear in the population and make people worried and make people change what they do,” Moran said.

But who has played one of the central roles in creating an environment in which incidents are blown out of proportion?

Who has been telling everyone, for years, that ricin is easy to make?

If anything, the story of J. Everett Dutschke tells us the opposite.

Dutschke was a strange fellow who held grudges, one who indulged one of his weird obsessions in an entirely unique way, not with the obvious aim of terrorizing a populace but with the desire to frame an acquaintance!

And it is in just the way that we can see how the industry of fear works. It twists reality around with what-ifs and hypotheticals proffered by people whose livelihoods depend either wholly or partially on the national security megaplex.

In lending so much power and influence to this structure and process, and now pardon my vulgar reference, we’ve jumped up our own assholes. It’s a dependency that is sickness, one that has done far more harm to the national reputation and character than any good.

There’s no lesson about bioterrorism and its potentials to be had from the J. Everett Dutschke episode. Only that the FBI would have been better off had it not jumped so fast on an initial arrest.

Ricin blues (continued)

Posted in Ricin Kooks at 1:13 pm by George Smith

Baby, c’mon in my kitchen, yeh-yeh, because it’s going to be ricin outside.


A dust mask and other items linked to a Mississippi martial arts instructor contained ricin, a deadly poison found in letters sent to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a state judge, according to an FBI document released Tuesday.

The contaminated items were found April 22 in a trash can nearJames Everett Dutschke’s martial arts studio in Tupelo, Miss., states the affidavit, which prosecutors filed in federal court. Traces of ricin, which is made from castor beans, were also found in his studio.

Dutschke bought castor beans on the Internet, the FBI said.

The 41-year-old Dutschke … made two eBay purchases in late 2012 for a total of 100 red castor beans …

The weirdest most gone cat in the domestic war on terror history of them.

Who would think of “Joe Jobbing” someone else with castor powder mail?

Jimmie Riddle

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll at 11:42 am by George Smith

With Jackie Phelps, most famously.

With Bob Luman.

Why? Because it’s not depressing.


WhiteManistan concerned about potential ammo shortage

Posted in WhiteManistan at 1:18 pm by George Smith

Pump up the count. Understanding a serious social problem through art and music.

From the great believer in the scientific conspiracy to fool the public on global warming:

Republicans want to limit the number of bullets federal agencies can purchase so American gun owners can buy more.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas have introduced a bill that would prohibit every government agency — except the military — from buying more ammunition each month, than the monthly average it purchased from 2001 to 2009.

The lawmakers say the Obama administration is buying up exceedingly high levels of ammunition in an attempt to limit the number of bullets the American public have access to on the open marketplace.

“President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Inhofe.

“One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition.???

More distillate of all that is the paranoid and hateful style.


Ricin Blues

Posted in Ricin Kooks at 10:19 am by George Smith


Blues man, accused fondler, convicted for indecent exposure in neighborhood, failed GOP politician, failed Dem politician, Glenn Beck fan, accused ricin bioterrorist.

Final, from the wire:

A dust mask and other items linked to a Mississippi martial arts instructor contained ricin, a deadly poison found in letters sent to President Obama, a U.S. senator and a state judge, according to an FBI document released Tuesday.

The contaminated items were found April 22 in a trash can nearJames Everett Dutschke’s martial arts studio in Tupelo, Miss., states the affidavit, which prosecutors filed in federal court. Traces of ricin, which is made from castor beans, were also found in his studio.

Dutschke bought castor beans on the Internet, the FBI said.

Of course there has to be a movie and a book in it.

Best quote of the day:

Another perspective is offered by Curtis Wilke, a former national correspondent for the Boston Globe who teaches at the University of Mississippi.

“I’ve thought, ‘God, I wish I were still a reporter; it’d be fun to cover this story.’ ” Wilke says. “Neither of them seems very sophisticated. Make a weapon of mass destruction from a bunch of beans?

As I’ve written many times before, America’s white guy castor bean pounders are always damaged goods.

“It’s hard to say whose image has fared worse — the FBI’s or Tupelo’s, a city of 37,000 proud of its reputation for tolerance and a certain elegance,” reads the piece.

“There’s Delta blues, Chicago blues, Texas blues, Piedmont blues and Jump blues, to name a few, but Everett “Dusty??? Dutschke is taking the blues to new places,” reads a piece from three years ago, also mentioning a second unlistenable Robodrum album, Guitar Czar, here.

The two sparred over music, too, Paul Kevin Curtis told Talking Points Memo. At one point, he said, Dutschke sent him an email that read: “I’ve created a band called Robodrum and we’re going to throw you off the national circuit.???


A 2011 interview with J. Everett Dutschke, conducted by a local web DJ named Vinny Bond, is here.

Advance to the 67 minute mark. If you can endure all of it, eventually Dutschke speaks about Robodrum changing into a blues disco hip-hop act.

Indeed, there is a video of this in performance, in Tupelo, Mississippi, from 2012. It is on YouTube.

See it before everyone else finds out.

“College students are going to eat this up,” said Dutschke, at the time. “Isn’t it exciting?”

Dutschke averred he was a “workaholic” who gets only two or three hours of sleep a night. “If I hadn’t been writing music for tv and movies for the last six months or so, I would have starved.”

One wonders what the people who performed with J. Everett Dutschke are thinking this afternoon.

In January of this year Dutschke was arrested and charged with two counts of child molestation at his karate studio in Tupelo, which then closed. Bail was originally set at 1 million dollars but Dutschke successfully argued this was the equivalent of no bond at all and it was reduced to $25,000.

On-line on his YouTube video channel, Paul Kevin Curtis goaded him about the arrest one month ago.

It is almost but not quite impossible to keep up with the music websites J. Everett Dutschke seeded with hard-to-believe plaudits for a band you have never heard of — Robodrum. It is a bizarre exhibition of promotion, a demonstration of the computerized Google search engine pathological bullshit that is instantaneously made on the web, containing nuggets of truth but much larger quantities of elaborate fabrications.

In the space of the last three years, Dutschke appears to have tried to sell four different Robodrum records, all with different band members except for him. Three are for sale on CD Baby, one on Allmusic.

The two newest, on CD Baby are String Theory and Big Bad Wolf. These in addition to Guitar Czar and For Your Leather, mentioned previously.

Another unusual and off music video, for a tune called Superhero, is here.

“I am a superhero these days,” sings Dutschke.

An article in the Clarion-Ledger newspaper of Jackson, Mississippi, interviewed former acquaintances who called him “eccentric:”

Dutschke, a Texas native, apparently ended up in Tupelo in the late 1990s after living in Meridian and Hattiesburg, respectively, according to those who knew him.

Richard Hamner, of Meridian, who is also an insurance salesman and Taekwondo instructor, said he coached Dutschke from a white belt to a black belt at his studio.

Hamner said the talented student’s persistence prompted him to hire Dutschke as manager at the Meridian studio. He eventually allowed Dutschke to run his operation in Hattiesburg.

Hamner said he dismissed Dutschke around 1996 when he believed Dutschke was stealing money from the studio, Hamner said.

Those interviewed, although no longer friends with Dutschke, said they did not believe he was a ricin mailer.

The article mentions that Dutschke has been married three times.

One of many music site biographies, containing a plethora of grandiose accomplishments, most of them unverifiable, for the Robodrum is here. Another is here.

“The RoboDrums [sic] 8 minute guitar oriented version of ‘You Shook Me’ [is] featured on the Reality Entertainment Led Zeppelin Tribute Album sponsored by Epiphone guitars,” reads one of them.

It was impossible to determine if such an anthology even exists.

Unbelievably, Dutschke’s Robodrum biographies even boast of a show at The Staples Center. Yes, the Staples Center.

Previously — The strange history of outsider music and America’s white accused bioterrorists.


The Purpose Drive Life: King of the Republic of CyberBunker arrested

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 2:56 pm by George Smith

No truth to the rumors about cryptic ‘help wanted’ ads looking for a “tech Otto Skorzeny.”

From the wire:

Spanish police have arrested a Dutchman suspected of being behind one of the biggest ever web attacks …

The 35 year-old-man was detained in Barcelona following a request from the Dutch public prosecutor.

The attack bombarded the websites of anti-junk mail outfit Spamhaus with huge amounts of data in an attempt to knock them offline.

It also slowed data flows over closely linked networks and led to a massive police investigation.

The man arrested is believed to be Sven Kamphuis, the owner and manager of Dutch hosting firm Cyberbunker that has been implicated in the attack.

In a previous dispatch from the Republic:

“Within [Cyberbunker’s] 15ft reinforced concrete walls are 175,000 cubic feet of office space, airlocks, a 750KW diesel generator, fuel reserves and a 2,500-gallon freshwater tank.

“Its inhabitants can allegedly survive for ten years without assistance from the outside world.

“CyberBunker’s website claims: ‘Dutch authorities and the police have made several attempts to enter the bunker by force. None of these attempts were successful.’”

Industry of fear

Posted in Ricin Kooks, Uncategorized at 1:33 pm by George Smith

Art, from the Chicago Tribune.

Castor plant, not quite a mile from me, in Pasadena.

Still another.

And another.


It’s not hard finding castor plants in Pasadena. What’s hard is dealing with the consequences of the industry of fear.

Why should there be a vaccine? The castor powder in the recent incident, described as the result of throwing seeds in a blender, was of no consequence in terms of capability as a weapon.

The ineffably strange history of ‘outsider’ music and accused American bioterrorists

Posted in Ricin Kooks at 10:24 am by George Smith

J. Everett Dutschke.

No more outsider music, please. It is a genre that apparently holds some coincidental attraction in the very small recent coterie of accused white American bioterrorists.

Bruce Ivins, the anthrax mailer, fancied himself a country music entertainer. Months after his death a friend of your host found Ivins’ vanity white label single at a used record bazaar in Maryland.

I posted the outsider music of Bruce Ivins here.

And in the earlier part of the decade, an autistic man, Robert Alberg, listed in my article The A-Z of ricin crackpots, purchased five pounds of castor seeds with the intent to make ricin and was arrested.

The court recognized Alberg was profoundly impaired and released him under a five year parole sentence. He promptly went back to trying to obtain castor seeds and was jailed.

Alberg was known in Kirkland, WA, as another outsider musician, one who sang songs, now mounted at YouTube.

Here is a cartoon describing him. (And Alberg, or friends, sell it as an album on CDBaby.)

Now J. Everett Dutschke joins the crowd. Like the first man wrongly arrested in the ricin case, Paul Kevin Curtis, Dutschke professes to be a musician, in this case a member of the band called Dusty & the Robodrum.

An album, entitled For Your Leather, is on sale at CD Baby. Dutschke advertises it as the blues. If so, then I am Ernest Hemingway.

The outsider disco blues of J. Everett Dutschke.

Readers can sample the fare here. For those with knowledgeable ears, it’s what results when someone makes a record singing over the mechanized rock and pop muzak loops that come with every copy of Apple’s Garageband for iPads and iPhones. In other words, it doesn’t sound like anyone’s actually playing instruments in real time on the thing, but rather just cutting and pasting from digital libraries provided by iJunk.

While the history of white male ricin kooks is, yes, kooky, the latest episode exposed an incredibly strange feud between two white guys in Mississippi. It pushes the envelope for the bizarre.

Today the US is loaded with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of seemingly functional but mentally ill people who believe in various tortured conspiracies. And In the last twelve years Alex Jones and others have made an industry of them and their beliefs and stories in which the US government is always said to be behind terror plots for which others have been framed.

But this is the first case, to my knowledge, where someone has engaged in terrorism, one purpose of which, at least, was to conspiratorially frame someone else.

On Thursday J. Everett Dutschke was said to have gone on the lam in Mississippi. By Friday, a friend had come forward to say Dutschke was being sheltered from the media.

During the hearing in which a federal judge released Paul Kevin Curtis, Dutschke had been fingered by the first suspect’s attorney. His house was subsequently searched a second time by the FBI and the media descended upon him.

Dutschke and Paul Kevin Curtis very visibly sniped at each other on-line as late as one month prior to the mailing of the ricin letters. Dutschke maintained a channel on YouTube with hard-to-watch videos of himself explaining things like the quality of “perseverance,” all since removed.

News stories chronicled how the quarrel had gone on for years.

Today J. Everett Dutschke was arrested by the FBI in the apparent belief that he is the ricin letter mailer. However, at this point there are still no reports of castor seeds, castor powder or ricin recipes found to be in his possession.

Charged with attempted use of biological weapon.

The outsider country music single of anthrax mailer Bruce Ivins.

Court transcript showing what the FBI had to say on the quality of material found in the letters during the Paul Kevin Curtis hearing:

Friday, different processes… crude… or weaponized. In talking with officials from WMD director this is crude form.

By Looking at it and description of experts… it is preliminarily testing as ricin, a crude form. Appears that someone took castor beans, put them in blender. Looks like sand.


Ricin assessment — crude

Posted in Ricin Kooks at 8:24 am by George Smith

If you’ve read this blog and the reposts at GlobalSecurity.Org you’ve been kept abreast of the nature of the powder in the ricin-letter mailings.

From Reuters, a piece which contains information I had a hand in:

An FBI agent testified in court in Mississippi that the ricin found in the letters was in a crude form and looked like castor beans ground up in a blender, according to press accounts. Experts have said ricin in this form would have a low potency …

Milton Leitenberg, senior research scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at the University of Maryland, said that the vast majority of ricin cases since the 1960s have involved crude ricin preparations made from recipes published in manuals and on the Internet.

“You could ingest this crude stuff, swallow a couple of tablespoons and you’d probably vomit, but not much more,” Leitenberg said in a telephone interview.

To do more harm, he said, “you have to make a good material, and then you have to get it someplace.” A material like that described in the ricin court hearing would pose little danger, Leitenberg said.

It’s an excellent assessment.

Milton Leitenberg is a valued colleague. In the past we’ve worked together and I have been forwarding him (along with the reporter) materials published on past ricin cases here, at GlobalSecurity and at the Register in the 2008’s “A-Z of ricin crackpots.

And I highlighted this yesterday in e-mail when people still seemed largely unaware that preliminary results on the quality of the material had come in.

These results, reprinted here, are unlikely to change:

FBI: Friday, different processes… crude… or weaponized. In talking with officials from WMD director this is crude form.

By Looking at it and description of experts… it is preliminarily testing as ricin, a crude form. Appears that someone took castor beans, put them in blender. Looks like sand.

That testimony was from a raw court transcript published here at a Mississippi news agency.

It had been buried and likely missed by the majority of news media (but not me) because of the poor presentation. It’s all jumbled up and there’s no clear notation of who, exactly, is saying what in the courtroom.

Anyway, this is the reason you should recommend me and DD blog.

I have spent a decade looking at ricin recipes on the web and in terror documents, and consulting — free — in a number of criminal cases on such matters. When there is information in the news about the nature of these recipes and where they come from in the American fringe survivalist literature it is because of a foundation I worked to establish.

For the war on terror years, this was information the US government and mainstream media would not or could not disseminate. The received wisdom, the national line, was always that such things were serious enablers of terrorism, as easy as 1-2-3.

The information here is reality, as opposed to our vast body of war on terror myth-making.

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