Maine White Supremacist Making Dirty Bomb?!

March 15, 2009

Why is this story not all over the news? I heard of it for the first time today via Jeffrey Lewis’s blog, armscontrolwonk.com. Here’s the gist of it from the Bangor Daily News:

“James G. Cummings, who police say was shot to death by his wife two months ago, allegedly had a cache of radioactive materials in his home suitable for building a ‘dirty bomb.’
According to an FBI field intelligence report from the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center posted online by WikiLeaks, an organization that posts leaked documents, an investigation into the case revealed that radioactive materials were removed from Cummings’ home after his shooting death on Dec. 9.

It says that four 1-gallon containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon were found in the home.

Also found was literature on how to build ‘dirty bombs’ and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60, radioactive materials. The FBI report also stated there was evidence linking James Cummings to white supremacist groups. This would seem to confirm observations by local tradesmen who worked at the Cummings home that he was an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler and had a collection of Nazi memorabilia around the house, including a prominently displayed flag with swastika. Cummings claimed to have pieces of Hitler’s personal silverware and place settings, painter Mike Robbins said a few days after the shooting.

The report stated that the uranium component was bought online from a U.S. company that was identified in the investigation, but not in the report.”

So far seems to only be a local Maine news story. How is this?? This guy had already procured the radioactive materials and knew how to put it together to make a radiological device. He had significant resources, as he had a trust fund that provided him with a multi-million dollar income. And he was affiliated with wacko violent extremist organizations.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but does this not make him a terrorist?

What sort of coverage would this story get if Cummings were not a white supremacist but Muslim?

This reminds me of the rather underwhelming public reaction to the Bruce Ivins affair. Who was Dr. Bruce Ivins, you may ask? He was, according to the FBI, responsible for the anthrax attacks, the worst bioterrorism attack in US history, that occurred immdiately after 9/11.

You may recall that originally many, including Senator John McCain and ABC News, drew connections between the anthrax attacks and not only al Qaeda but IRAQ. ABC News, for example, reported that they had information from four independent government sources (anonymous and unrevealed to this day) that the anthrax contained a substance called “bentonite” that linked it to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

Ivins, needless to say, was not a member of al Qaeda, nor was he an agent of Saddam Hussein. He was a right-wing all-American nutjob who was not only a bioterrorism expert employed by the US government at USAMRIID at Fort Detrick, but was awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service in 2003, years after the attacks, for his work on – wait for it! – anthrax.

Why is it that our reactions to imaginary crop-duster scenarios are far greater than our reactions to real-life right-wing terrorists using deadly pathogens and nuclear materials?

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