Thursday, July 06, 2006

THE JAILBIRD BOOKSHELF: Survivalist poison books good for convictions

"It is bad to poison your fellow man . . . " writes Kurt Saxon, on the back of his "The Poor Man's James Bond, Vol. 3." He closes with "It is completely legal to sell or buy [the information in this book]. If it were not so, I would have told you."

Technically, Saxon is correct. The ricin recipe in his book can be shared with everyone. And it has been courtesy of the Internet. But it's also true that if federal lawmen catch you with Saxon's books, or similar literature from the survivalist far right, the books become convincing exhibits in the case against you, particularly when accompanied by actual possession of the materials recommended in them.

"A federal jury [in Phoenix] on Friday convicted a man of attempting to produce a biological weapon, a year after he was arrested for possessing explosives and illegal silencers, reported Associated Press.

"Police found a large number of castor bean plants, which can be used to make ricin, in Denys Ray Hughes' apartment . . . Hughes, 59, also was found guilty on charges of possessing a pipe bomb and illegal gun silencers. He faces 10 years in prison for each of those convictions and life in prison on the biological weapons conviction."

"Authorities said they searched Hughes' cabin in Wisconsin and found formulas for producing ricin, six bottles of castor beans and dimethyl sulfide [sic], a solvent that can penetrate the skin and has been combined with ricin in other incidents."

The evidence list from US vs. Hughes is illuminating in that it shows the standard books discussed previously in "From the Poisoners Handbook to the Botox Shoe of Death" here.

From Hughes' "library:" "The Weaponeer," a Saxon pamphlet with a ricin recipe, "The Poor Man's James Bond, Vol. 3", also containing a ricin recipe, "The Poor Man's James Bond, Vol.2," Festering Publication's "Silent Death," containing yet another ricin recipe, "Deadly Brew," "Deadly Substances," and an assortment of what Dick Destiny blog calls really bad science books -- cf., "Grandad's Wonderful Book of Chemistry" -- for idiots or young boys.

Accompanying the books in evidence were a mortar and pestle, bottles of castor seeds, castor beans in a package, castor beans in a bin, and Red Devil lye -- which is another reagent dumbly recommended by survivalist literature as useful in purifying ricin. Lye, or sodium hydroxide, is a strong base. Strong bases destroy proteins, like ricin, but for decades the literature of the domestic terrorist has cited it in their ricin recipes and it has become a marker of intent in federal cases where the US is going for a conviction on making or attempting to make a biological or chemical weapon.

Another incriminating marker is dimethyl sulfoxide, also attributed in the Hughes case. Ricin is not a contact poison but because the domestic terrorist-in-training takes seriously material like Hutchkinson's "The Poisoner's Handbook," which insists it would be handy to combine dimethyl sulfoxide with ricin in plans to poison the Pope or a government employee through the skin, it has been adopted as key part of their chemical armory.

The federal case against Hughes appeared to be an easy one, based simply on showing the jury the man's books, chemicals, equipment for bomb-making -- and one pipe bomb.

The stupidly equipped survivalist's ricin squirter
For example, it cannot help a defendant to have the jury shown any of Saxon's books. They tend to include drawings, like Dick Destiny blog's similar rendition (to the left), on how to attack someone with poison or explosives.

To review: The survivalist jailbird's bookshelf is best interpreted as romance literature for the neo-Nazi right. These books, when they address poisons, don't contain much of anything that an expert could take seriously about the chemistry of toxins. But for the uneducated, or the layman, they have a convincing sinister and mean-spirited vibe. It is for this reason that they appeal to the survivalist nut, too.

" . . . if our Capitol should fall to the enemy within, I expect you to do your duty," asserts Saxon on the bookcover of "James Bond, 3." And that duty was to destroy foes with speed and great vigor.

Freedom of the press is a great thing. But in cases such as this, the US government also has the freedom to use the vanity press of survivalist literature on your bookshelf against you. American juries don't seem to care much about the possession of such books for entertainment and educational purposes.

A copy of the original complaint against Hughes from last year describes ATF/FBI flypaper --gunpowder, fuses, road flares, instructions on how to build a bunker, an assortment of guns, silencers and pipe-bomb-building materials.

An unspecified “clandestine manufacturing process was discovered” in Hughes' Wisconsin cabin although authorities maintained all along there was no evidence for any specific attack.

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