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Author: Subject: intent to possess 30 ml methylmercury = 12 yrs prison
S.C. Wack
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[*] posted on 8-4-2021 at 13:48
intent to possess 30 ml methylmercury = 12 yrs prison


A couple days ago, Columbia MO social studies teacher Jason Siesser "pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to acquire a chemical weapon" and using a fake ordering name (with his real address). His vendor (at an unnamed contact site, who took bitcoin) was said to be a LE informant or employee, so the FBI made a controlled delivery of 30 ml water from an unnamed return address. They say they had evidence he wanted to use the chemical as a weapon...obtained after they searched his house. One has to wonder why this exactly was being advertised, what the ultimate goal was...to set a precedent? If guilty pleas were ever helpful to non-celebrity defendants, those days seem to be long gone.

The news all speak of licenses and CW but AFAIK there are no organomercurials specifically on any US list...difficult to forbidden to transport, work with, and dispose of maybe...but not otherwise on a control list. How can you have a license to buy, sell, or make something when the license doesn't exist? Intentionial mercury spillage has been prosecuted as chemical weapon use, so anyone buying or selling it needs a chemical weapon sale permit? Potassium ferrocyanide? Boric acid?

IDK what he was charged under exactly, but here's 18 USC §229a:

Unlawful conduct. Except as provided in subsection (b), it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly

(1) to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, transfer directly or indirectly, receive, stockpile, retain, own, possess, or use, or threaten to use, any chemical weapon; or

(2) to assist or induce, in any way, any person to violate paragraph (1), or to attempt or conspire to violate paragraph (1).

[definitions]

Chemical weapon: A toxic chemical and its precursors, except where intended for a purpose not prohibited under this chapter as long as the type and quantity is consistent with such a purpose.

The term “precursor” means any chemical reactant which takes part at any stage in the production by whatever method of a toxic chemical. The term includes any key component of a binary or multicomponent chemical system.

List of precursors: Precursors which have been identified for the application of verification measures under Article VI of the Convention are listed in schedules contained in the Annex on Chemicals of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The term “toxic chemical” means any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals. The term includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, and regardless of whether they are produced in facilities, in munitions or elsewhere.

List of toxic chemicals: Toxic chemicals which have been identified for the application of verification measures under Article VI of the Convention are listed in schedules contained in the Annex on Chemicals of the Chemical Weapons Convention.




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clearly_not_atara
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[*] posted on 8-4-2021 at 14:33


Quote:
Writings located within the home articulated Siesser’s heartache, anger and resentment over a breakup, and a desire for the person who caused the heartache to die.


It appears that he bought a toxic chemical with the intention of using it as a weapon. It also sounds vaguely like he bought dimethylmercury, which is not only toxic but both highly potent and volatile, and thus could be useful to kill a lot of people very quickly (unlike, say, sulfuric acid, or even HF).




[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
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[*] posted on 8-4-2021 at 15:19


The word "chemical weapon" does not directly correlate with the conventional term. The analogue would be similar to "assault weapon", which is just a popular term for certain looking firearms.

The charges were apparently for preparation of murder. The text describes the perpetrator having various circumstantial evidence indicating that they were in planning of homicide, and an attack on public was not ruled out at the time of warrant. Pleading 12 years would appear better if facing a trial for life term.

So, ordering hazardous material does not itself lead to such outcome. There will be separate terms for actual conventional chemical weapons and CCW precursors, but, personally, in my country, I'm not quite sure what the charges would actually be, if one obtains or makes for example VX. The conventions are more for governmental supervision, and the amounts are listed in tons, as usual, and, if no malicious intent can be proven, the mere possession/attempt would be of it's own matter. In the most macabre case, only some charge for endangering public could be filed. Certain is, something would be dug up, because no one can just walk away with something that has a GHS label on it without at least some sort of sanction, once the process has started.

A real life example of rules: I inquired about limits of hazardous materials storage in private houses, and after talking and looking for a while, the official actually admitted that there were actually no specific laws or statutes concerning possession and storage of hazardous materials, except for flammable(fuel, gas), explosives(ammunition, fireworks, etc), etc. In practice, the official admitted, that, technically it would be completely legal to hold 50kg drum of cyanide in your living room, if it was in a locked cabinet so it is not readily accessible to third parties or children.
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[*] posted on 8-4-2021 at 16:00


Quote: Originally posted by Fyndium  
So, ordering hazardous material does not itself lead to such outcome.


The outcome was predetermined by LE when they offered the possibility of a sale.




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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 02:50


Aren't chemical weapons covered by the Second Amendment right to bear arms?
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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 03:19


He was planning something monstrous. Now, he might never have followed through, but it sure looks bad.

So..... Well enough! He pled guilty, let him do the time.

This isn't just making a little dope; it's murder. Possibly, Mass Murder.

Dimethyl Mercury is a WMD. Nasty stuff. And, it's a horrific way to die.

I haven't the slightest sympathy for his situation.

There was a similar situation a few years ago, where the Feds busted a guy for buying Phenol. I assume they had their reasons. In these troubled times; I assume their premise was, that he intended to make the easy conversion to Picric Acid.

Once again, I have no sympathy for mass murderers.

The use of explosives for entertainment, construction projects, or mining.... is fine. Blowing unsuspecting human beings to smithereens, is really not OK.



[Edited on 9-4-2021 by zed]
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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 04:16


If, under similar circumstances, he had bought a knife, what would the penalty have been?

Yes. I know- there's a difference the knife won't kill bystanders. That's my point. I'm trying to separate the ideas.

What if he had bought enough dimethyl mercury to kill only one person?

Would the penalty have been the same as for a knife- or a hammer?
What if he had put an overdose of some toxic drug (or household product- like a pesticide)in her food? (having bought it for that purpose).
How would the law enforcement reacted to that?

What about if he planned to run her over in a car?


And what if he actually tried- he administered the poison or hit her with the car?
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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 04:43


Quote: Originally posted by S.C. Wack  
The outcome was predetermined by LE when they offered the possibility of a sale.


Good thing European LE do not make honeypot sales, they only make covert purchases.

It's hard to say else if one directly admits "using it soon" after receiving something malicious.

This kind of purchase is so exceptional it is easy to give some LE attention to it. Busting someone buying a car for suspecting him gonna run someone over would be far reaching to say the least.

What I wonder though, why and how on earth the DMM was put up for sale in the first place, and how the guy managed to tumble upon in? Is there really an agency putting false ads of hazardous stuff and fishing suspects online? I somehow think that this guy has posted something somewhere, likely deep web, which has caught attention of LE and they offered him DMM, possibly along something else(perhaps totally harmless to show intention to buy selected items) and things went on.

[Edited on 9-4-2021 by Fyndium]
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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 04:57


It was a stupid attempt at a most basic level.

It's a very popular search result if you Google "most poisonous chemicals" or "most toxic substances" as popularized by the Wetterhahn incident. This is despite the fact that there are plenty of far more insidious things out there, which anyone in the art should reasonably know.

It's also a fairly facile (albeit dangerous) synthesis with off-the-shelf glass and innocuous precursors; anyone skilled and willing to die should be able to come up with a lot more than 30mL in short order. Again, as with most terrorism, the chemistry is the means to an ideological end and is (luckily) often overlooked.

Environmental implications alone should prohibit a private purchase of such a substance without demonstration of handling capability. I have been outspoken about preventing the restriction of substances and I stand by that; however, there is just no hobby purpose for something like this and I think the authorities did right by opening an investigation.
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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 05:10


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
If, under similar circumstances, he had bought a knife, what would the penalty have been?

Yes. I know- there's a difference the knife won't kill bystanders. That's my point. I'm trying to separate the ideas.

What if he had bought enough dimethyl mercury to kill only one person?

Would the penalty have been the same as for a knife- or a hammer?
What if he had put an overdose of some toxic drug (or household product- like a pesticide)in her food? (having bought it for that purpose).
How would the law enforcement reacted to that?

What about if he planned to run her over in a car?


And what if he actually tried- he administered the poison or hit her with the car?
There is a huge difference. A non-chemist has absolutely no reason to own dimethylmercury, while there is good reason for anyone to own a car, a knife, a hammer, or pesticide. Owning it without owning other chemicals and without having clear intentions about what reactions you are going to use it for is nothing less than intent to commit murder. As others have pointed out, even amateur chemists should not be working with dimethyl mercury, so nobody should be buying it. Absolutely no sympathy for this man.



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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 05:34


Quote: Originally posted by Fyndium  
Is there really an agency putting false ads of hazardous stuff and fishing suspects online?


That's what the news articles imply...not that we're going to let facts get in the way of a good story.

Quote: Originally posted by zed  
He was planning something monstrous. Now, he might never have followed through, but it sure looks bad.

So..... Well enough! He pled guilty, let him do the time.

This isn't just making a little dope; it's murder. Possibly, Mass Murder.

Dimethyl Mercury is a WMD. Nasty stuff. And, it's a horrific way to die.

I haven't the slightest sympathy for his situation.

There was a similar situation a few years ago, where the Feds busted a guy for buying Phenol. I assume


That's the point. Normalization. First, RICO. Now, possession of money during any crime is a crime.

He would have been convicted regardless, because the non-existent item was obviously offered with the intent of convicting someone for ordering it. Finding the poem turned out conveniently for them, but naturally someone interested in buying the substance is quite possibly the person he is portrayed as. As said in my ebay sodium thread, the crime is whatever the government says it is; any defense you've got is guaranteed (in advance) to be ignored.




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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 09:07


Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16)  
Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
If, under similar circumstances, he had bought a knife, what would the penalty have been?

Yes. I know- there's a difference the knife won't kill bystanders. That's my point. I'm trying to separate the ideas.

What if he had bought enough dimethyl mercury to kill only one person?

Would the penalty have been the same as for a knife- or a hammer?
What if he had put an overdose of some toxic drug (or household product- like a pesticide) in her food? (having bought it for that purpose).
How would the law enforcement reacted to that?

What about if he planned to run her over in a car?


And what if he actually tried- he administered the poison or hit her with the car?
There is a huge difference. A non-chemist has absolutely no reason to own dimethylmercury, while there is good reason for anyone to own a car, a knife, a hammer, or pesticide. Owning it without owning other chemicals and without having clear intentions about what reactions you are going to use it for is nothing less than intent to commit murder. As others have pointed out, even amateur chemists should not be working with dimethyl mercury, so nobody should be buying it. Absolutely no sympathy for this man.


Did you deliberately miss the point?

What would have happened if he had deliberately bought one of those things to kill someone with?

And, I am a chemist, but I have no legitimate "reason" to own dimethyl mercury.

I don't have a "reason" to own a lacquered brass galvanometer. (It's just pretty)

But it's not illegal for me to do so.

So, yes, the concept of "intent" is important in law.
Owning a hammer, or a brick, or a knife or a bottle of dimethyl mercury is legal.
Using one of them to kill someone is illegal.

The point of the story is that he (reportedly) did buy the stuff to kill.
My question was, if he had bought something else (like a knife) to kill her, what would the penalty of buying- but not using- that object have been?


(An obvious choice of thing to buy to kill someone would be a gun, but let's leave that debate for other threads).
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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 12:45


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Did you deliberately miss the point?

What would have happened if he had deliberately bought one of those things to kill someone with?

And, I am a chemist, but I have no legitimate "reason" to own dimethyl mercury.

I don't have a "reason" to own a lacquered brass galvanometer. (It's just pretty)

But it's not illegal for me to do so.

So, yes, the concept of "intent" is important in law.
Owning a hammer, or a brick, or a knife or a bottle of dimethyl mercury is legal.
Using one of them to kill someone is illegal.

The point of the story is that he (reportedly) did buy the stuff to kill.
My question was, if he had bought something else (like a knife) to kill her, what would the penalty of buying- but not using- that object have been?
I did not deliberately miss the point. It just wasn't a very good point. Buying a knife, a hammer, or pesticide, even with a record of interest in murder, does not constitute intent because those items all have other uses. Buying dimethylmercury after showing interest in murder doesn't have any excuse. Especially for someone who isn't a chemist. Sure, maybe he just wanted to buy an ampoule of it to sit on a shelf and not use it for anything illegal and/or dangerous /s. I say let the lawyers figure that out. That still calls into question though: is it even legal to own dimethylmercury? Even if it is technically legal to own it, it would very likely be illegal to possess it in a residential setting.

If you're trying to imply that it should be fine for someone to buy an ampoule of dimethylmercury just to have it sit on a shelf, I'm gonna have to disagree with that. Chemical restrictions may be too tight, but there is still a line that has to be drawn somewhere.




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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 13:09


Quote: Originally posted by RedDwarf  
Aren't chemical weapons covered by the Second Amendment right to bear arms?
I never leave home without my mutated anthrax

Quote:

My question was, if he had bought something else (like a knife) to kill her, what would the penalty of buying- but not using- that object have been?


The reason the consequences for buying dimethylmurcury are different from buying a knife no matter what your intentions happen to be is because dropping a knife doesn't cause a potential local tragedy. I don't think that's an exaggeration.




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[*] posted on 9-4-2021 at 17:51




Women to man on bus.
Get out of my way you big ooof. If you were my husband I'd poison you.
Man back to women. If you were my wife I would gladly take it.

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[*] posted on 10-4-2021 at 00:58


Quote: Originally posted by Praxichys  
It's also a fairly facile (albeit dangerous) synthesis with off-the-shelf glass and innocuous precursors; anyone skilled and willing to die should be able to come up with a lot more than 30mL in short order. Again, as with most terrorism, the chemistry is the means to an ideological end and is (luckily) often overlooked.


I'm glad that bad people tend to be mostly also very stupid people. It's not that few times I've read on news about some idiot attempting to get or do something and got caught, and I've wondered how anyone could be so stupid to think *that* would work, as you could have just get those and these and do this and even get a much better result. Also the concept of (attempting to) buying something that will 100% make a knock on your door amuses me. Apparently the basic restrictions do prevent idiots from getting things.
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[*] posted on 10-4-2021 at 03:35


Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16)  
t

If you're trying to imply that it should be fine for someone to buy an ampoule of dimethylmercury just to have it sit on a shelf, I'm gonna have to disagree with that.

On what grounds do you say you should interfere with my freedom of action?

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[*] posted on 10-4-2021 at 04:00


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16)  
t

If you're trying to imply that it should be fine for someone to buy an ampoule of dimethylmercury just to have it sit on a shelf, I'm gonna have to disagree with that.

On what grounds do you say you should interfere with my freedom of action?



In my mind there are two types of laws. Those that prevent harm by criminalizing the harmful action itself, and those that prevent harm by criminizing something that is known to be linked to harm. For example, it is illegal to stab someone, since it is hurting them directly. It is also illegal to speed, even though speeding itself may not be harmful, it increases the likelyhood and severity of a crash. Having an ampoule of dimethylmercury "just because" falls into the second catagory.
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[*] posted on 13-4-2021 at 04:38


The guy deserves prison but his case illustrates that it's never in your interest to talk to the police, whether or not you're guilty of something this terrible. It seems the most likely chain of events is: subject finds a common honeypot vendor (someone offering explosives and firearms.) Subject sends a private message about poisons, likely with unnecessary and potentially incriminating detail, which raises suspicions. He is detained after controlled delivery for weak or limited reasons -- is possession of dimethyl mercury even illegal? Police apply pressure and little by little, or possibly all at once, the subject digs his own grave.

In this case the subject was guilty by his own admission (or maybe not, who knows how quickly and badly he folded under threat of a brutal railroading by what may have been an overzealous prosecutor.) Now imagine a different scenario. You're an amateur chemist buying a legal reagent for a legal purpose. You're arrested for bullshit reasons and questioned. Imagine your reactions under the stress of questioning and consider whether or not you could possibly say something, at one point or another in a multi-hour videotaped interrogation, that could incriminate you (not necessarily in fact, but in appearance) before a layman jury.

[Edited on 4-13-2021 by monolithic]
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[*] posted on 13-4-2021 at 11:02


Nothing says "I am innocent" like taking the fifth...
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[*] posted on 13-4-2021 at 12:32


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Nothing says "I am innocent" like taking the fifth...


Quote:
” Indeed, the Supreme Court of the United States has specifically noted that “[t]oo many, even those who should be better advised, view this privilege as a shelter for wrongdoers. They too readily assume that those who invoke it are either guilty of crime or commit perjury in claiming the privilege.” (Ullmann v. United States, 350 U.S. 422, 426 (1956).) The Court has also noted that “[t]he layman’s natural first suggestion would probably be that the resort to privilege in each instance is a clear confession of crime.” (Lakeside v. Oregon, 435 U.S. 333, 340, n.10 (1978) (quoting 8 Wigmore, Evidence § 2272, at 426).) That danger will naturally be greatest if the witness is heard to admit that the truth would be “incriminating.”


https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1998119 (an accompaniment to the famous video video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE)
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[*] posted on 13-4-2021 at 13:52


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Nothing says "I am innocent" like taking the fifth...


No I'm not IS I just wanted to kill this chick.

Nothing says truth like anything you say can and will be used against you.

All the time. Notice how there's nothing there about people interpreting what one says correctly, or using it in a way that doesn't benefit their perspective.

You're going to prove that you weren't going to use these chemicals for whichever unsavory purpose they end up choosing, really? LE came at you like, we're going to throw this scumbag in a hole forever, and you're totally going to make them apologise, return your shit unbroken, buy you lunch?

"Cooperation" with the authorities doesn't mean what they want you to think it does. Few defendants are actually in a position to have their sentences reduced.

Presumably, everyone will similarly support the prosecution of future cases like someone wanting, having, or making more of this substance, methyl or ethyl sulfate (imagine the enhancement if it was someone who babysat their grandchildren in the same house), NaCN, KClO3...I wonder about the cases that don't have press releases.

[Edited on 13-4-2021 by S.C. Wack]




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[*] posted on 13-4-2021 at 19:29


Nice. all i now have to do is order 30ml of that stuff and list my Archenemy's address as the delivery point.



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[*] posted on 13-4-2021 at 21:06


Quote: Originally posted by rockyit98  
Nice. all i now have to do is order 30ml of that stuff and list my Archenemy's address as the delivery point.

* quietly withdraws from next year's secret santa....*




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[*] posted on 13-4-2021 at 21:30


Quote: Originally posted by S.C. Wack  


Presumably, everyone will similarly support the prosecution of future cases like someone wanting, having, or making more of this substance, methyl or ethyl sulfate (imagine the enhancement if it was someone who babysat their grandchildren in the same house), NaCN, KClO3...I wonder about the cases that don't have press releases.

[Edited on 13-4-2021 by S.C. Wack]


I don't know... It depends. If every one of those relatively easily handled, widely available, and highly useful compounds were properly stored and someone prosecuted you, I'd be absolutely outraged.

If , however, your grandkids were admitted to the hospital after breathing vapors from the alkyl sulfates that were leaking, or the NaCN turned out be in the form of a bath tub holding saturated aqueous solution, then I might understand the logic behind their prosecution.

Even if it was just KClO3, but it had been mixed with more than 10% low molecular weight organic peroxides, and there was more than 10 kg of this mixture in your posession, and you had made vague statements about interest in using it for a nefarious purpose, then I'd say fair enough, theres some circumstantial evidence here.

Dimethyl Mercury is a dangerous substance to handle. If you're trying to buy it, you almost certainly have a motive, a reason to take those risks and precautions. If you have no ability or interest in the type of experiments that need it, but show an interest in killing people, you're implying that that is your intent. You may be investigated and, if it appears that is not your intent, then you will not be charged. Yes, the same goes for a knife, or a brick, or anything really. If circumstantial evidence points to it being used for a crime, purchasing it will be treated as a crime and this can be disputed in the courts later.

The special thing about the mercury is that, in the particular circumstances of this one person, buying it implies intent to use it in a crime, and that will get attention from the authorities. If they find more evidence, that can be used in court to convict.




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