"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ricin - of Mice and Men

A curious (and it appears comical) case appears again of a wannabe killer who was said to be using the terrorists wonder poison, ricin.

Dr. George Allen, Chairman of the Neurosurgery Department at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center had blighted the life of Dr. Ray W. Mettetal Jr by blocking his career as a nuerosurgeon. Mettetal held a grudge which resulted in on August 22, 1995 ( a 90 degree hot day) donning a fake beard, an “afro” wig, and a dark suit and wandering around the campus.

He was arrested for trespass and offered “British West Indies” identification (“ID”) in the name of Steven Ray Maupin. For about the next thirty minutes the officers had their dispatcher run computer checks on the name Steven Ray Maupin. In the meantime, Mettetal was perspiring heavily in the hot sun, and his fake beard and moustache had begun to peel off. He had a black nylon bag containing sketches and information about an automobile, fake tattoos, and a large hypodermic syringe filled with a clear liquid. They found more identification in the name of Steven Ray Maupin.

The next day, the Nashville police learned from the FBI that he was Ray Wallace Mettetal, Jr., a medical doctor from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

On August 25, 1995, three days after Mettetal’s arrest, Virginia police obtained warrants to search his home and office, in Mettetal’s home the police found bogus identification documents in the name of Steven Ray Maupin, fake hair, moustaches, makeup, a hospital uniform from the Vanderbilt medical center, and a book on disguise techniques that contained notes describing the home, cars, and personal history of Dr. Allen. The Maupin identification materials had Mettetal’s photo on them. After a news story appeared an employee at a Harrisonburg mini-storage unit facility saw the story and reported to the police that he had rented a unit in December 1994 to someone purporting to be Steven Ray Maupin.. The search of the unit turned up a large jar of ricin.

He was subsequently found guilty twice, Convicted in 1998 and 2000 of possessing ricin for use as a weapon, he spent seven years behind bars until an appeals court cleared him in both cases.

Mettetal cannot get a job and has asked the Court to test the “ricin” which he claims was not toxic on mice. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have today decided that Mettetal’s case against Vanderbilt Univerisyt and the Nashville police could proceed and that mice be tested at his cost ($750).

Mettetal has maintained all along he was only acting out a fantasy with the costume and trip to Vanderbilt.

Ricin is of course, an extract of castor oil beans and is often claimed to be a powerful toxin. It is however a large molecule and cannot be ingested or inhaled and has to be injected to be used as a poison.

Recent blogs on same topic here

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