Can White People Be Charged with Use of a WMD?

Let’s look at the following two examples of men arrested in the last week to see how the federal crime “Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction” is used.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud: Mohamud was arrested Friday on charges of “attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction” for trying to detonate what he believed to be a car bomb in the crowd attending Portland, OR’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. Here’s how the FBI described that bomb:

The bomb was contained in the back of a late-model, white full-size van. The bomb was inert and constructed by FBI bomb technicians. It consisted of six 55 gallon drums containing inert material, inert detonation cord, inert blasting caps, and approximately one gallon of diesel fuel which gave off a strong odor. In the front seat of the van agents placed a detonation mechanism which consisted of a cellular telephone, a 9volt battery, an arming switch and a phone-jack plug.

The FBI set up this sting possibly because of a tip from Mohamud’s family, and definitely because of some emails Mohamud sent to a friend in Yemen and–later–Pakistan, and some pathetically unsuccessful attempts to email someone he allegedly believed could help him join Jihad.

George Djura Jakubec: After Jakubec’s gardener tripped off an explosion in his back yard last week, local authorities tried to search Jakubec’s house, which was said to have “the largest quantity of homemade explosives found in one location in the history of the United States,” including PETN (the explosive the TSA agents are searching for when they grope you) and HMTD (which has been used by al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists). But authorities withdrew, twice, after determining Jakubec’s house too cluttered and dangerous to search. Jakubec is being held in county custody on 12 state charges of possession of a destructive device in public (one of which is tied to the injuries suffered by his gardener), 14 state charges of possession of the ingredients to make a destructive device, and two charges of robbery tied to bank robberies on June 25 and July 17 of this year.

So Jakubec–who had apparently large quantities of the explosives that terrorists favor and the ability to make more–is in San Diego County custody on state charges. Mohamud–who never had contact with a live bomb–is in federal custody on a charge that carries a life sentence.

Now, as odd as it may seem, explosives do qualify as WMD under this law, which includes chemical, biological, and radioactive weapons, as well as “destructive devices” including things like bomb, grenades, and missiles. The FBI is charging Mohamud with the following:

A person who, without lawful authority, uses, threatens, or attempts or conspires to use, a weapon of mass destruction against any person or property within the United States, and the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce is used in furtherance of the offense shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

I guess they’re arguing this constitutes an “attempt” to use a WMD (the car bomb), even though no WMD existed. And I assume they’re claiming an interstate or foreign commerce because they first contacted Mohamud pretending to respond to his unsuccessful emails to an alleged al Qaeda recruiter, though the bomb site is also in front of the US Appeals Court which they presumably could define as a federal target if pressed, though they don’t seem to be doing that.

Now, as compared to Mohamud, there may be reasons why they can’t or haven’t charged Jakubec with use of a WMD. Quite simply, they don’t know if Jakubec planned to use this arsenal, and if so, on what. Mind you, they appear to have decided they couldn’t construct an elaborate plot to find out because if they did they risked having him blow up southbound I-15 by mistake; they had to arrest him right away because his explosive were such a threat.

Which is not dissimilar to a pair of guys from last year. Najibullah Zazi, because his overseas contacts got him targeted for surveillance, got busted before his efforts to bomb the NY subway could develop completely. Zazi now appears to be cooperating with prosecutors. But Benjamin Kuzelka, who was developing the same TATP explosive as Zazi was, and who had white supremacist literature at his house when he set off an explosion, got off with a four year sentence.

Mind you, I think Zazi is a great person to charge with using a WMD (as is Faisal Shahzad, who was also charged with using a WMD). But I bet Kuzelka’s associates weren’t cross-checked for their hydrogen peroxide purchases, as Zazi’s appear to have been.

That’s my biggest concern: that the quickness with which the government slaps a WMD charge on someone experimenting with explosives reflects its interest or disinterest in fully investigating that person’s goals and associates. One of the more notable cases of a white supremacist plotting to use WMD–with actual chemical weapons, in fact–died in prison without ever being charged with WMD charges and before authorities discovered what he intended to do with his chemical weapons.

That said, we do have at least one very notable case where white people got charged with using and conspiring to use WMD: the Hutaree militia. Mind you, the FBI found them before they exploded themselves or their gardener.

      • Mary says:

        No problem – it’s worth more than one comment when scientists and their wives are being murdered left and right. Some of the articles mention the fact that both scientists bombed today were travelling with their wives – others don’t. Some articles mention the other two Iranian scientists who have been killed recently – bombing and gas – and others who have disappeared. Eisler opened one of his books with his protagonist assassinating an Iranian scientist.

        Obama would only be concerned if the scientists being blow up had been working on torture experiments. *sigh*

  1. Rayne says:

    Maybe a part of the problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of what WMD really are.

    You’re thinking,

    WMD = Weapons of Mass Destruction

    And what the USDOJ is really worried about preventing,

    WMD = Weapons of Mass Diversity

    (bad case of snark here too, this morning…)

  2. msobel says:

    I am sure that white muslim people can be charged. It’s only if they are two time losers, non white and non christian that the charge is applicable.
    I believe the precedent if the Roberts Court interpretation of the original intent of Dred Scott v Stanford (The Next Generation)

  3. ondelette says:

    Not saying there isn’t a prejudice involved but the WMD stuff is all written specifically into the same laws that involve mass casualty incidents (incidents involving 25 or more casualties), at least the way they teach it in emergency medicine classes, so there is probably a prejudice to only use the charge when there is an intent to use the explosives or bomb to cause lots of injuries.

  4. Gitcheegumee says:

    O/T,but of value:

    Published 52 mins ago by London Evening Standard

    Iranian nuclear scientist killed in James Bond-style attack

    Assassins on motorbikes killed a top Iranian nuclear scientist and injured a second in James Bond-style hits this morning.

    They attached magnetised bombs to their cars which exploded within seconds as they drove to work in Tehran.

    Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad immediately blamed Israel and…

    (What others report on the same story)

    Attack on professors kill 1, wound 1 in Iran
    NEW: EU recently imposed sanctions on one of two academics attacked in Iran The professor and wounded was linked in reports to nuclear or missile research A nuclear … – [13 mins ago – Britain News.Net]

    Iran accuses CIA, Mossad of nuke scientist killing
    Twin blasts in Iran’s capital killed a top nuclear scientist and wounded another Monday, with Tehran swiftly blaming the CIA and Mossad for the attacks apparently … – [40 mins ago – France24 – europe]

    The Life Expectancy of Iran’s Nuclear Physicists
    Earlier today, Majid Shahriari, a professor in nuclear physics at Martyr Beheshti University, was assassinated in Tehran. Fereydoun Abbasi Davani, professor in nuclear … – [47 mins ago – National Review]

    (Courtesy- Silobreaker)

  5. PierceNichols says:

    It seems the dividing line in the law is demonstrable intent to use explosives to cause mass casualty incidents. That strikes me as appropriate — some guy making explosives without proper permits because he thinks chemistry and big bangs are cool is a much less serious threat to the general public than someone attempting to obtain explosives in order to kill a whole bunch of people.

    FWIW, a plurality of the scientists and engineers I know where way into stinks & bangs as teenagers.

  6. bluewombat says:

    This is probably unwarranted cynicism on my part, but isn’t the use of the term “weapon of mass destruction” in the criminal charge, rather than, say “explosive,” designed to draw a straight line in the public’s mind between this non-crime and our illegal and unprovoked invasion of Iraq, and to somehow justify both in the public’s mind?

    • PierceNichols says:

      I don’t think you can describe it as a non-crime; this kid clearly intended to kill a whole bunch of people and took significant steps to realize that intention. He’s certainly guilty of conspiracy to commit murder if nothing else. Further, I’d rather wannabe mass murders like this one find only spooks and plods when they try to contact someone who can help them.

      • bmaz says:

        There is scant evidence that he was necessarily violent before being “radicalized” by the freaking FBI. The FBI then prevented him from gaining meaningful employment and talked him into the bomb plot. You are biting off on the spoon fed from the government news reports; the actual affidavit in the case, when you understand FBI protocols, tells a far different story. This is a bullshit case.

        • AitchD says:

          True. Now, assuming that no ultra-enhanced methods of coercion (such as torture, operant conditioning, or drugs) were employed in the radicalizing of the perpetrator, you have to acknowledge that the FBI and its superiors learned, by proving so, that a perfectly innocent young person can be made into a mass murderer. I can provide a quote from Chinatown if you’re not convinced.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          I don’t know if this WaPo article has been discussed here ,as it was published on Thanksgiving eve afternoon,but Jeff Kaye has been talking about related issues for some time now.

          The info contained therein about the veterans’ lawsuit and the allegations are quite startling-even to me…and I have posted aboutthis suit before.

          (Please God, let my link work. )

          CIA brain experiments pursued in veterans’ suit
          5 days ago

          ‘Executive action’ was the CIA’s euphemism for assassination.” The CIA pursued such experiments because it was convinced the Soviets were doing the same. …Washington Post (blog) – Shared by 20+

          ►SpyTalk – CIA brain experiments pursued in veterans’ suitNov 24, 2010 … The CIA is notorious for its Cold War-era experiments with LSD and other chemicals on unwitting citizens and soldiers.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          Not to put too fine a point on it, this article delineates info about implants being placed into brain tissue- facilitating remote control activation..and that much of the work was done at Tulane University in New Orleans.

          The documentation that the judge is demanding was allegedly destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, reported the Wa Po article .

        • onitgoes says:

          Thanks for your comment. I was mostly “offline” over the past several days and avoiding the “news.” I read the NYT piece about this into today’s paper on a commuter flight (where I requested the pat-down rather than go thru the cancer-death ray machine). From the NYT article, all I could do was go: Huh? Doesn’t pass the smell test to me.

          Geez. Seems like a set-up.

          And no, WHITE people never ever are terrorists, esp if they are rightwingers spouting off all kinds of junk about Jesus.

          Weird. Also felt the reference to WMD was a big old red flag. More: booga booga scary scary. Plus now Portland’s mayor and/or Police chief are reconsidering working more closely with the feds on stuff… coincidence?????? Doubtful. Looks very made up to me. But that’s just me, what do I know??

      • bluewombat says:

        Perhaps “non-crime” wasn’t the best choice of words, but my point stands: he could have been charged with a crime using “explosives,” not “weapons of mass destruction,” the point of which, in my opinion, is to “gratuitously scare the shit out of the public and gain their compliance in accepting the encroaching police state.”

    • emptywheel says:

      Yup. That’s one of the reasons I ask the question. Because the Jakobec stuff is, IMO, much more troubling (if the person who said he had the biggest stash in the history of the country was right–though I suspect that was hyperbole). But look what got the press? The sting operation, not the guy capable of operating on his own.

  7. alank says:

    WMD have some megaton cut-off, I do believe. FBI were never good at math, though they often have a degree in accounting. But if you need money, they’ll give it to you. They want to protect you from people like them.

  8. alank says:

    Here’s one definition:

    The term “WMD” is defined as weapons—nuclear, biological,
    chemical and radiological—and their means of delivery that are
    capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in
    such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people or cause
    significant infrastructure damage. 108

  9. alank says:

    The Cold War superpowers so-called remain the greatest threat in terms of WMD in terms of their own populations as well as others. They’re still bristling with such weapons and making more every day along with newer and more expensive delivery systems. It’s good for business, mainly.

  10. VJBinCT says:

    My gut feeling says ‘entrapment’. When you look at the FBI’s record of taking down sad sack jihadi poseurs who just want to feel important and so are easy prey to flattery and material inducements by undercover agents, you have to conclude that mostly there is no ‘there’ there. Why weren’t Bernie Madoff’s pigeons arrested for gullibility? I don’t see much of a difference–aside from the amount of cash at stake.

    I would SO like to see a sting on the FBI, getting them taken down by a local SWAT team.

  11. AitchD says:

    Bad coinage & glossing in the first place. WMD is fine, but it should be glossed to mean ‘weapons for’, not ‘of’. And instead of the ambiguous ‘mass’, it should be the more precise ‘massive’. But it’s too late.

    Believe it or not I had a dream that (from an entry in my personal journal of November 4) “Marcy Wheeler was allocating acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations on a first-come, first-served basis”.

    • VJBinCT says:

      ‘Weapons of Math Instruction’

      Always wanted to see a cartoon where algebra, geometry, and calculus texts are destroyed for the sake of protecting all humankind.

      Obviously snark, as math is good food (for thought!)

      • thatvisionthing says:

        “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” — Albert Einstein

  12. Mary says:

    Not directly related, but to file under AP’s analysis of things that go boom –
    Apparently the AP reporters for this piece think that the CIA ALMOST got Zawahiri in 2006 when they bombed an area. The only teeny tiny thing that kept them from getting Zawahiri with that bombing is that … he wasn’t there. He “did not turn up at the attack site” but other than that, they almost got him. What the hell kind of journalism is that?

    • fatster says:

      U.S. Pressured Germany Not to Prosecute CIA Officers for Torture and Rendition
      Wikileaks Release Reveals Meeting About ACLU Client Khaled El-Masri


  13. Blue Texan says:

    Can White People Be Charged with Use of a WMD?

    Silly, EW. White people aren’t terrorists, and the only people who can’t have WMD are terrorists, therefore, no.

  14. ursu5 says:

    I am glad to see there are many comments about the meaning of WMD. Personally, I believe the term has been greatly overused and misapplied. This would be an example. If a car bomb is a WMD then what are the more powerful bombs the US drops frequently? If they are also WMD, then the US is regularly committing war crimes; daily. If they are not, then we need to be very much more pointed about our use of exciting labels.
    I tend to agree that WMD means nuclear; not radiological, chemical, biological or conventional.
    The scale of ambition here is nothing even remotely close.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      What about Agent Orange in Vietnam and depleted uranium in Fallujah? Is there a date this stuff ever quits killing and maiming? I think it’s open ended. I think our shame is huge — and open ended. This isn’t a “heat of the moment” war response at all, it’s — monstrous malice aforethought. It’s mad PandoraBox generational murder.

      • Gitcheegumee says:



        Does that not preclude a sense of decency?

        (Pardon, I didn’t see that your comment was addressed to another.)

        • thatvisionthing says:

          I think… it’s like the sum of all my comments ever leads to a few simple ideas. That it’s all about the difference between those who act with reason, empathy and conscience and those who don’t or can’t. It’s about the disconnect of conscience and consciousness from value and authority.

          old comment I left on Daily Kos

          Corporations are by definition incapable of acts of conscience. They buy the candidates and write the laws and capture the regulators. Bill Black calls it control fraud and criminogenic. The whole derivative thing is when money gets disconnected from reality but instead measures its worth against other fantasy investment instruments and has every incentive to keep bubbling and churning. It overwhelms all else. It sucks real wealth away from people and jobs and puts it instead in fantasy casino betting that it can’t lose. It doesn’t create more wealth, it destroys real wealth and real people. Not that a corporation can care, and the last guy standing will be the CEO — he won’t “see” it until it’s too late. TBTF is exactly Titanic. Sure we will all go down with the ship, but he’ll be top last, and I doubt the Titanic will know whether its floating or sunk anyway. It never lived, it never dies, it’s a creation of man. But now it’s a person.

          Same with law. When juries quit being tasked with judging the justice of convicting, and instead were not allowed to be told about their constitutional power and duty to do so, were restricted to only determining whether a legal checklist of facts had been met — that’s when we took empathy and conscience out of due process and started down the road to psychopathic government. Fine lawyers and judges now think jury nullification is legal heresy. They don’t seem to know anymore that it’s exactly why juries were written into the Constitution so often. It’s what kept law real and just for all.

          You need a flow, you need the hats to rotate among everyone equally, rock scissors paper. Checks and balances need to include citizens, what goes round has to come round, to keep grounded in reality, humanity and sanity. To keep healthy. Which is exactly what’s not happening now, either in finance or in law. We have purposefully incomprehensible finance laws, which keeps judges from understanding enough to rule competently, or else keeps matters away from judges at all. The laws the corporations wrote may have been bad (last two minutes) to begin with. Should it ever come to a jury, the law is out of reach. Juries are not allowed to hear legal arguments anymore, they’re not allowed to look at the whole wisdom of a whole thing and reason that. Liberals and conservatives don’t meet on the same page in the jury room and reason there as Americans; no, we stay monsters to each other, never recognizing we are part of the whole and need each other. When it comes to governance, national secrets disables citizens (third snip). We’re unconscious and deconscienced consumers and passengers now, not original authority, not in the loop, not checking and balancing, not legitimizing. In the American Devolution, the citizens have withered away.

          Every time I see something indecent, I see the absence of common citizen input. Our votes are herded and hijacked, our function as jurors disabled. Do you even recognize the president we get from the candidate we chose? (Obama, really?) It’s not supposed to be like this. This is the opposite of constitutional, the opposite of America.

          Sorry, got wound up here. Like I said, I’ve been saying pieces of this for a long time.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          I didn’t abdicate. Did you? We were shoved out of civics, shoved out of authority, and it started before we were born. And sometimes by people who say they’re doing the right thing, the constitutional, patriotic thing. That was one of the things David Swanson was saying in the War is a Lie book salon yesterday, that people sign up for war and act heroically and horribly out of patriotism, not out of evil. When jurors agree to leave their conscience at the door, do they know better? Do they have a choice? The whole point was to keep them ignorant of their Constitutional powers to begin with, to dissuade them from thinking it was ok to use them. Sure juries can do wrong, but so can the government, which the government won’t admit. It all seemed to happen around the same time, post Civil War — unbelievably wealthy railroad magnates, 1886 corporate personhood by erroneous redefinition (thanks ex-RR-Prez Supreme Court clerk!), 1895 jury disabling by redefinition. We get the most horrendous abuses done by those claiming our authority to protect us. Anybody hiding behind National Secrets, I’m looking at you– oh, that’s right, I can’t.

          Things fall apart.

          The world is babbled to pieces

        • bmaz says:

          Jurors do not “agree to leave their conscience at the door” and the bit about “point was to keep them ignorant of their Constitutional powers to begin with, to dissuade them from thinking it was ok to use them” is simply uninformed claptrap. Have you been biting off on Federalist Society rubbish or something? This is the precise kind of nonsense that people who don’t know anything about jury practice buyt what they read in conspiracy crap regurgitate. It is sheer conspiracy theory crapola.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          I actually had this same debate with Mason, in the Bruce Fein book salon:

          thatvisionthing September 12th, 2010 at 12:47 am
          In response to Mason @ 173

          Yes it does, and I’m glad to hear a lawyer say that jury nullification survives as a legal strategy still practiced, even though in strangled form. But I am not a lawyer, and I’m guessing you’re not in California if you are able to mention the word “conscience” to a jury in court and not have a mistrial declared.

          Justices Say Jurors May Not Vote Conscience
          Ruling: The law must be followed even if panelists believe the result will be unjust, state’s highest court finds.

          SAN FRANCISCO — Jurors must follow the law–not their consciences–even when they strongly believe the law will produce an unjust result, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

          The court rejected a centuries-old doctrine called “jury nullification,” which gives jurors the power to follow their convictions rather than the law.

          When I was being questioned in a jury pool once, I got shamed by the judge and kicked out of the courtroom when I said I would vote my conscience.

          That’s a pretty stunning thing when you consider how juries were supposed to function, as a check and balance on government, when the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written and juries were called out multiple times — three times in the Bill of Rights alone. Holy shit, that was integral to what We the People meant, that’s my epiphany. But who knows that now?

          I asked earlier if Bruce and Glenn had read the dissent in Sparf. I read the opinion years ago, and as I recall the 5-4 majority decision was sucky and the dissent was encyclopedic and terrific, impassioned, could find its legal butt in the dark. Sparf was a sailor accused of murder, and, like you, his lawyer wanted the jury to hear about their power to nullify law and forgive, I guess, but the trial judge would not allow it. It got appealed to the Supreme Court, which sided with the judge. You place a lot of faith in the law and the court with a dumbed-down cowed jury, but not me. Sparf was 1895, it’s been a long time since juries could be fully informed, and the growing failures and injustice of unchecked and unbalanced and unintelligible law are pretty plain now.

          “Now is the seed time of continental union, faith and honor. The least fracture now will be like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak; the wound will enlarge with the tree, and posterity read it in full grown characters.” –Thomas Paine, Common Sense

          Disengaged, devolved citizens go hand in hand with empire and collapse. I call it the American Devolution: “E pleb neesta.”

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Which means these guys couldn’t serve on a California jury today:

          Quotations and Comments on Fully Informed Juries

          JOHN ADAMS (1771): It’s not only …(the juror’s) right, but his duty, in that case, to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgement, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.

          THOMAS JEFFERSON (1789): I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.

          JOHN JAY (1794): The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.

          ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1804): Jurors should acquit even against the judge’s instruction… “if exercising their judgement with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction that the charge of the court is wrong.”

          SAMUEL CHASE (1804): The jury has the right to determine both the law and the facts.

          OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES (1920): The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both the law and the facts.


          And neither could the jurors who sat on the trials of John Peter Zenger in the colony of New York in 1735 or William Penn in England in 1670 — who nullified the law because they found it unjust; kinda important to what became our First Amendment — freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Sparf vs US 1895:

          The case has occasionally been simplistically described as: Since the law has no way to prevent the jury from judging the law, they shall have that right, but only if they do not know it.

        • bmaz says:

          This is classic Federalist Society and FIJA jury nullification horseshit. You actually thinks juries should be instructed they don’t have to follow the law? This is just pure bunk and anybody who has much actual experience with juries knows it; it would literally be one of the worst and dumbest things imaginable.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Yes, yes, YES I think the jury CONSTITUTIONALLY needs to be told that its function is to QUESTION AUTHORITY and FIND JUSTICE as — well, as John Adams said @70:

          JOHN ADAMS (1771): It’s not only …(the juror’s) right, but his duty, in that case, to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgement, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court.

          Sure, he was a Federalist, but I don’t think all the other guys were, and certainly Zenger’s jury and Penn’s jury were not, and we have their nullifying hearts to thank in no small measure for the First Amendment.

          Basically I think you’re saying that even though the law may get hopelessly fucked up like a bloated Windows program, there shall be no Ctrl-Alt-Del, there shall be no way out of an unjust blue screen of death, not by reason, not by empathy, not by conscience; that justice = legal, always. To which I’d like to quote William Kunstler, since I went to the trouble of transcribing it while I had the DVD checked out:

          WILLIAM KUNSTLER: “And that’s the terrible myth of organized society. That everything that’s done through the established system is legal. And that word has a powerful psychological impact. It makes people believe that there is an order to life and an order to a system and that a person that goes through this order and is convicted has gotten all that is due him. And therefore society can turn its conscience off and look to other things and other times. And that’s the terrible thing about these past trials is that they have this aura of legitimacy, this aura of legality.

          “I suspect that better men than the world has known, and more of them, have gone to their death through a legal system than through all the illegalities in the history of man. Six million people in Europe during the Third Reich? Legal. Sacco/Vanzetti? Quite legal. The Haymarket defendants? Legal. The hundreds of rape trials throughout the South where black men were condemned to death? All legal. Jesus? Legal. Socrates? Legal. And that is the kaleidoscopic nature of what we live through here and in other places. Because all tyrants learn that it is far better to do this thing through some semblance of legality than to do it without that pretense.”

          (From film “William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe”)

        • thatvisionthing says:

          This IS from FIJA (PDF) — it’s history, do you dispute it? Please say something a little more substantive than “horseshit,” thanks.

          There is no doubt that jury nullification was one of the rights and powers that the people were exercising in 1791 when the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution was adopted. As legal historian Lawrence Friedman has written:

          In American legal theory, jury-power was enormous, and subject to few controls. There was a maxim of law that the jury was judge both of law and of fact in criminal cases. This idea was particularly strong in the first Revolutionary generation when memories of royal justice were fresh.

          Jury nullification is therefore one of the “rights…retained by the people” in the Ninth Amendment. And it is one of the “powers…reserved…to the people” in the Tenth Amendment.

          Jury nullification is decentralization of political power. It is the people’s most important veto in our constitutional system. The jury vote is the only time the people ever vote on the application of a real law in real life. All other votes are for hypotheticals.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          You actually thinks juries should be instructed they don’t have to follow the law?

          I believe that a jury’s empathy, reason and conscience are part of Constitutional due process and that in fact jurors need to know that that is their Constitutional function. It’s how you keep the law healthy, just and legitimate, since the original authority is the people, and the test is “self-evident.” If not, why even have juries? A judge alone would suffice. The judge whose instructions you insist they must follow. By your reckoning, traffic court and Florida’s Rocket Docket should be the height of justice. Instead the Founding Fathers wrote… “We the People”: The biggest, boldest, tallest words in the Constitution. Not even fine print. And “jury” “jury” “jury”… OMG! O. M. G. (Once you see it, you see it.)

          Just saying.

        • thatvisionthing says:

          Chris Busby, co-author of the epidemiological study “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,” interviewed on Antiwar Radio in August:

          Busby: …And the other thing about all of this is that all of these different pieces of information put together, they add up to a picture. So in other words, we are not just finding increases in cancer, which is a genetic disease, but we are also finding increases in infant mortality, increases in congenital malformation – which weren’t reported, incidentally, in the paper for reasons which I can go into – and also this peculiar sex ratio change which only occurred in those children who were born after 2004. So all of these things together point to the introduction in 2004 into that population of a very, very powerful genetically mutating agent – a mutagen.

          Busby: …I mean of course you can go into any hospital and find children with deformities, but in Iraq, and also incidentally in Kosovo too, we have had reports of peculiarly horrible deformities, ones that don’t normally get reported and don’t normally turn up. So there does seem to be some agent that’s common to these areas where depleted uranium has been used which result in these very, very peculiar and unusual deformities.

          You can search on uranium in that interview and get lots of hits, none for phosphorous. I’m not saying no to white phosphorous, I’m just saying this guy said weaponized uranium.

  15. rosalind says:

    is there something in the water? Escondido man suspected of bomb making

    Escondido police have arrested a man on suspicion of possessing explosive devices and converting fireworks into bombs in the Emerald Heights community, and have confiscated his gun collection.

    Richard Hinkel, 45, is charged with 18 counts of possessing explosive devices and one count of possessing materials to construct an explosive device.

    The incident appears to be unrelated to what authorities called a “bomb factory” discovered Nov. 18 at a home on Via Scott…

    (emphasis mine)

  16. Gitcheegumee says:

    Ya know, the title of this thread reminds me of when the guy crashed his plane into the IRS building in Dallas not long ago.

    I can’t recall-was he ever deemed a domestic terrorist, or even a terrorist,at all?

    He was Caucasian,btw.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      Joseph Stack — good catch

      Terrorism: the most meaningless and manipulated word
      Glenn Greenwald
      Feb 19, 2010 07:20 ET

      Despite all that, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter documents the deep reluctance of cable news chatterers and government officials to label the incident an act of “terrorism,” even though — as Dave Neiwert ably documents — it perfectly fits, indeed is a classic illustration of, every official definition of that term. The issue isn’t whether Stack’s grievances are real or his responses just; it is that the act unquestionably comports with the official definition. But as NBC’s Pete Williams said of the official insistence that this was not an act of Terrorism: there are “a couple of reasons to say that . . . One is he’s an American citizen.” Fox News’ Megan Kelley asked Catherine Herridge about these denials: “I take it that they mean terrorism in the larger sense that most of us are used to?,” to which Herridge replied: “they mean terrorism in that capital T way.”

      All of this underscores, yet again, that Terrorism is simultaneously the single most meaningless and most manipulated word in the American political lexicon. The term now has virtually nothing to do with the act itself and everything to do with the identity of the actor, especially his or her religious identity. It has really come to mean: “a Muslim who fights against or even expresses hostility towards the United States, Israel and their allies.” That’s why all of this confusion and doubt arose yesterday over whether a person who perpetrated a classic act of Terrorism should, in fact, be called a Terrorist: he’s not a Muslim and isn’t acting on behalf of standard Muslim grievances against the U.S. or Israel, and thus does not fit the “definition.”

      • thatvisionthing says:

        Joseph Stack

        Austin police chief Art Acevedo stated that the incident was not the action of a major terrorist organization. He also cited “some heroic actions on the part of federal employees” that “will be told at the appropriate time.”[47]

        The Federal Bureau of Investigation stated that it was investigating the incident “as a criminal matter of an assault on a federal officer” and that it was not being considered terrorism at this time.[48]

        However, two members of the United States House of Representatives made statements to the contrary. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) stated, “Like the larger-scale tragedy in Oklahoma City, this was a cowardly act of domestic terrorism.” Mike McCaul (R-Texas), told a reporter that, “it sounds like it [was a terrorist attack] to me.” Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is also asking the federal government to classify this as an act of terrorism. In a statement on February 19, he said, “Whenever an individual or group attacks civilians in order to make a political statement, that is an act of terror. Terrorism is terrorism, regardless of the faith, race or ethnicity of the perpetrator or the victims. If a Muslim had carried out the IRS attack, it would have surely been labeled an act of terrorism.”[49] Georgetown University Professor Bruce Hoffman stated that for this to be considered an act of terrorism, “there has to be some political motive and it has to send a broader message that seeks some policy change. From what I’ve heard, that doesn’t appear to be the case. It appears he was very mad at the [IRS] and this was a cathartic outburst of violence. His motivation was the key.”[50] A USA Today headline used the term “a chilling echo of terrorism.”[19]

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          Thanks so much for that info…and the courtesy,too.

          I do however, find this passage intriguing:

          Georgetown University Professor Bruce Hoffman stated that for this to be considered an act of terrorism, “there has to be some political motive and it has to send a broader message that seeks some policy change. From what I’ve heard, that doesn’t appear to be the case. It appears he was very mad at the [IRS] and this was a cathartic outburst of violence. His motivation was the key.”

          Can someone tell me how this professor is capable of infallibly divining Stack’s motivation,based upon the repetitive use of the word “appears”?

  17. Gitcheegumee says:

    I just read where actor Mark Ruffalo has been added to terrorism watch list for his alliance with movie “Gasland.”

    He’s Caucasian,too.

    Source: The Guardian

    Actor reportedly put on US advisory list after organising screenings of documentary criticising natural gas drilling

    Ben Child
    Monday November 29

    Actor Mark Ruffalo has reportedly been placed on a US terror advisory list after campaigning in support of a documentary highlighting the alleged dangers of natural gas drilling.

    Ruffalo attracted the attention of Pennsylvania’s Office of Homeland Security when he organised screenings for Gasland, which won the special jury prize at this year’s Sundance film festival, and said he was concerned about the impact of drilling on water supplies. The actor has addressed the subject in the latest edition of American GQ.

    Gasland, directed by Josh Fox, follows the film-maker as he visits communities in Pennsylvania where natural gas has been drilled. Fox decided to document his trip after a natural gas company wrote to him in 2008 offering to lease his family’s land in Milanville, Pennsylvania for $100,000 (£64,000).

    The documentary attracted attention for a particular scene in which a local man shows that he is able to set his tapwater on fire (see 2.25 of video, above). Others claim they are suffering from numerous health issues due – they believe – to their water having been contaminated.

    Read more:

    • thatvisionthing says:

      I don’t know where to put this… it smacked me… while the NY Times cannot even say the word “torture” to describe anything America does that is clearly, plainly, legally torture, Ford is placing banner ads on Bob Cesca’s website (I assume elsewhere too, but that’s where I saw it) for their “torture tested” trucks that are “built Ford tough.”

      This is the future of truck
      THE NEW 2011 F-150 with the new EcoBoost Engine
      We didn’t just test it.
      We tortured it.
      Watch the torture test

      takes you to Ford site with ECOBOOST TORTURE TEST

      (in light of @40 — shouldn’t Ford be on the US terror advisory list?)

      I’m just dumbfounded.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Didn’t the WaPo recently ,and equally, pussyfoot around when NOT referring to waterboarding as to what it actually is?

        Seems they used some fluffy euphemism such as enhanced interrogation technique or a variation of some such.

        Cotton candy-a little sugar and a whole lot of hot ,spinning air .

        Adds immeasurably to the carnival atmosphere of today’s circus media.

        (FWIW, Ford is a GMAC rival..Interpret that as you will. *G*)

        • thatvisionthing says:

          We the Consumers.

          Buy torture, salivate for torture, torture good means testing. Use that word here, shiny object, torturing trucks is good. Be desensitized and disengaged from real torture done in your name.

          You buying? Not me.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          Reminds me of the continued use of the term “doorbusters’ when advertising holiday sales .

          Google Doorbuster trampling death sometimes.

  18. Gitcheegumee says:

    A few days ago, over at FDL, Jane Hamsher had a thread about the Nation and ‘Don’t Touch my Junk “John Tyner.

    Forthwith,FWIW, an exchange between myself and another commenter:

    Elliott November 24th, 2010 at 12:56 pm138In response to AitchD @ 136 (show text)
    Considering that women have larger speech centers in their brains than men
    and that males start speaking later than females,
    and females are less likely to have speech defects, I think speech/language developed to care for children and to teach them and to get them to maturity. IOW – look to the distaff side.

    — as well as getting together to make children –

    Gitcheegumee November 24th, 2010 at 1:00 pm141In response to Elliott @ 138 (show text)
    Which may explain the old adage:

    “Men fall in love through their eyes,women fall in love through their ears“

    NOTE: I do not know if TVT is female, but women ARE attuned to nuances of speech that many males fail to grasp. Hence, much print and audio PR is aimed at them-and there’s good reason why.

    BTW, didn’t the Nation issue an apolgy to Tyner, or did I misread that somewhere?

    • bmaz says:

      I fail to see why any human would have the sufficient confusion of fact and principle to not be able to discriminate between the two uses of a common word. Ford torturing a truck model as part of its testing probably indeed a good thing. They are not putting humans on a waterboard or in a small coffin; it is simply not the same thing.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        But isn’t that the entire purpose of PR?

        Perception vs. reality?

        And on further consideration,and not that I am carrying TVT’s water(nor that anyone needs to), I don’t recall the word torture ever being used to promote ANY product …until now.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      “Men fall in love through their eyes, women fall in love through their ears“

      NOTE: I do not know if TVT is female, but women ARE attuned to nuances of speech that many males fail to grasp. Hence, much print and audio PR is aimed at them-and there’s good reason why.

      Oh yeah. My answer to the question.

  19. Gitcheegumee says:

    My apologies if I did not read your excellent commentary @#58 more carefully.

    My reference to abdication of humanity referred to those who are in position of authority over our lives-politicians,clergy,education, medics ….those who have been either anointed or appointed to do a job for us ,yet more often than not-and increasingly more and more often- wind up doing a job on us .

  20. thatvisionthing says:

    P.S. Jurors could have “just said now” a long time ago and put an end to the insane War on Drugs, one case at a time, just as they did in Prohibition