Texas Rainmaker
Misplaced Priorities
April 26th, 2007 7:58 pm

It was bad enough when I heard last week that a memorial stone had been erected for Virginia Tech murderer Seung-Hui Cho.

Now this.

The University of Oklahoma has put up a memorial to a student who died when a homemade bomb exploded near the OU football stadium.

A stone with the name of Joel Hinrichs III was placed outside the OU student union by the student affairs division.

Hinrichs died Oct. 1, 2005, when the bomb he built detonated as he sat on a campus bench near Memorial Stadium while a football game was under way.

We’re erecting memorials to murdering gunmen and suicide bombers on campus while opposing memorials to real heros.

Welcome to “higher” education in America.

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (3) Comments
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*5 Updates below*

Authorities are investigating an explosion at an apartment complex in Texas City (home to one of the largest petrochemical complexes in the world) yesterday which killed one man and injured another. (hat tip: Nita Rene)

One man died Wednesday in an explosion at a Texas City apartment complex, KPRC Local 2 reported.

A resident was working with combustible materials inside a unit, sparking the explosion, investigators said. That man, whose identity was not released, died at the scene.

Today, investigators have identified the materials:

Authorities ordered two apartment complexes evacuated and set off a small explosion inside a unit today in an attempt to remove a substance believed to have caused a fatal blast Wednesday.

In a news conference today, federal and local officials said they believe the substance was peroxide-based.

The FBI refused to say whether it believes the men were preparing some kind of attack.

But Texas City Mayor Matt Doyle said: “If we thought this was a terrorist act, the action would be a lot different than we’ve seen here today. Certainly, the FBI would have raised the level of security inside the city.'’

Salway described the substance as similar to TATP, organic peroxide and a primary high explosive. It takes the form of a white crystalline powder with a distinctive acrid smell and has been described as a weapon of choice for suicide bombers.

TATP was also the explosive of choice of suicide bomber Joel Hinrichs outside a packed football stadium in Oklahoma last Fall, as well as the 07/07/05 London bombers.

Of course, the official line is… “Authorities … don’t believe terrorism was involved.”

Here are photos of the scene, courtesy of the Galveston County Daily News:

UPDATE:
The two victims have been identified.

The survivor of yesterday`s explosion, Curtis Jetton, is charged with making a false police report. Police say Jetton and the victim, 21-year-old Matthew Rugo, were working with chemicals inside the apartment when the first explosion took place.

According to public records, it appears Matthew Rugo was arrested two years ago on a misdemeanor weapons violation.

He was also charged in March 2005 with burglary of a habitation. Kohen said Rugo and co-defendant Christopher J. Distefano, 20, of Bellville, were accused of stealing rifles and other items from a home. He had pleaded guilty in the case but had not yet been sentenced. Distefano also was facing sentencing.

UPDATE 2:
Contradictory reports about their possible affiliations:

A college student killed Wednesday afternoon in a blast at the Lakeview Apartments likely was part of a growing subculture of young people who like to see things blown up, authorities said.

Those same authorities insist he and a friend injured in the blast were not associated with any terrorist group — domestic or otherwise.

That word contradicted TV news reports attributed to unnamed, highly placed federal sources that said the pair might be members of a four-person domestic terrorist group.

UPDATE 3:
The injured man had recently been fired from his job cleaning offshore storage tanks and oilrigs:

Mickey Greene, the operations manager for Will Duett, a Galveston firm that specializes in cleaning offshore storage tanks and oilrigs, confirmed Jetton worked for him until recently. He said he told Jetton he wasn’t needed anymore after failing to report to work Saturday.

UPDATE 4:
A friend of Matt’s has posted a tribute to him here.

He had a special interest in explosives and firearms, as many guys do at the age. The only thing is he was a little more active in his interest. I have no doubt he enjoyed just seeing what he could accomplish with them and knowing that he had the knowledge and ability for them. If it wasn’t for this accident, I bet he could have truly been a great pyrotechnician someday or something of the sorts.

I’m not condoning what Matt did, but I just want to clear up any question on his intent. Matt was not a violent person and there really isn’t a doubt in my mind that he did not meant any harm to anybody or anything. I’m sure the most he would have done with any of his materials was take them out to some pasture or somewhere and see what he could do with them. They where basically his toys, though dangerous as they where. He had no more intent with his actions then someone with a bottlerocket aimed at an object in a junk heap.

Rest in Peace, Matt. The one true regret I have about this is that I can’t tell you all the stir you made after the fact… with the FBI, news reporters, bomb squads, the police blowing up the apartment complex, and helicopters going crazy. You would have truly loved it, and thought it an extremely befitting end.

UPDATE 5:
(hat tip: Mrs Peel) Stories still not adding up. Despite what those close to the guys are saying, Jetton is telling a different story…in his own words:

Texas City police told a different story in a court affidavit released Friday. That affidavit alleges Jetton told police he not only knew about the explosives but went with Rugo to purchase the items used to concoct the volatile mixture.

“He was fully aware of the ingredients for making an explosive in detail,” according to the affidavit.

The document states that moments after the fatal blast, Jetton told police there were no more explosives in the apartment. Police said Jetton later changed his story and said the items could be found in a closet.

That bit of misdirection is what led to the charge of filing a false police report.

Jetton also described what happened in the moments leading up to the blast that killed Rugo, according to the affidavit. In the report, police said Jetton explained that Rugo was taking the explosive material, believed to be similar to a peroxide-based explosive known as TATP, out of a container. That is when the explosion occurred.

Jetton bonded out of state jail and was promptly picked up by federal authorities. Questions remain…

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (4) Comments
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Big Terror Bust, Eh….
June 3rd, 2006 1:17 pm

Looks like Canadian domestic spying programs worked to uncover and thwart a major terror attack planned for Toronto.

Lots of blogosphere coverage already.

I noticed something curious…

“This group took steps to acquire three tons of ammonium nitrate and other components necessary to create explosive devices,” said assistant Royal Canadian Mounted Police commissioner Mike McDonell.

and…

“The men arrested yesterday are Canadian residents from a variety of backgrounds. For various reasons, they appeared to have become adherents of a violent ideology inspired by al-Qaida,” said Luc Portelance, the assistant director of operations with CSIS — Canada’s spy agency.

and…

Officials showed evidence of bomb-making materials

and…

The Toronto Star reported today that Canadian youths in their teens and 20s

Hmmm… 20-something men, with a group of guys from varying backgrounds, interested in explosives and trying to acquire an excessive amount of ammonium nitrate?

Sounds familiar. Maybe officials will simply determine this is a case of a bunch of “lonely kids who just wanted to stop living”.

Update: Let’s also not forget to ask our liberal friends just what it was that Canada did to the islamonutjobs to deserve this? Afterall, the Left keeps telling us it’s all America’s fault. Another liberal theory bites the dust.

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (16) Comments
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You give a story long enough, the truth eventually finds it’s way out. The Oklahoman is reporting on a Norman bomb expert who believes Joel Hinrichs didn not intend to commit suicide when he was killed in an explosion on Oct. 1 less than 200 yards from a football stadium packed with more than 80,000 people (hat tip: Mark).

I believe he accidentally blew himself up,” Sgt. George Mauldin said.

Mauldin said Hinrichs, 21, an engineering student, had two to three pounds of triacetone triperoxide, commonly known as TATP, in a backpack in his lap when it exploded Oct. 1.

When asked if he believed Hinrichs meant to enter the stadium with the explosives, Mauldin replied, “I don’t believe he intended for an explosion to occur at that spot (on the park bench).”

So what “spot” was he intending to detonate? That’s the million dollar question. He had 2 to 3 pounds of TATP, “the most unstable explosive known and the explosive of choice in the Middle East”. Even a miniscule amount can cause an big explosion. He had 2 to 3 pounds. That’s quite a bit of “mother of satan” for a lonely kid to use when he decides to “just quit living”.

Officers also removed “a lot” of military rounds, many of them live, and pieces of metal from the student’s apartment, Mauldin said.

Metal fragments often are added to explosives to make them more deadly, he said.

The explosives Hinrichs had outside the stadium were pure, with no fragmentation added, Mauldin said.

However, he said, the student kept careful notes of experimentation with explosives in the weeks leading up to the Oct. 1 blast.

Notes indicated Hinrichs experimented with adding fragmentation to explosives as if “he were trying to make a damaging product,” Mauldin said.

Most of Hinrichs’ experiments occurred at Red Rock Canyon, according to the notes.

Let’s not forget he also inquired about purchasing a “large quantity of ammonium nitrate” a few weeks before the bombing, as well. That’s a lot of preparation for a simple suicide, isn’t it? And if he didn’t intend on harming others, why was he practicing making a shrapnel-laden bomb?

If this was an “accidental” suicide, then we’re left to wonder if it was a dry run, or a failed attempt at the real thing. I guess we’ll just have to wait for more of the truth to surface.

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (0) Comments
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I’ve had a few readers contact me regarding their FOIA requests on the case of the lonely kid who decided to stop living by acting like a Palestinian with a Metro card near a football stadium holding over 80,000 unsuspecting folks.

I’ve had a few readers contact me regarding their on the case of the lonely kid who decided to stop living by acting like a Palestinian with a Metro card near a football stadium holding over 80,000 unsuspecting folks.And now, I’ve finally received a response as well. It appears all of the responses are identical. They call come from David M. Hardy, Section Chief, Records Information Dissemination Section, Records Management Division of the FBI.

Basically, it acknowledges receipt of the FOIA request and asks the requester to submit to the FBI a “privacy waiver” from the individual in question. Apparently the reference to the “individual in question” blowing himself into a million tiny pieces didn’t clue the records folks into the difficulty of obtaining such a waiver. To say nothing of them completely ignoring the request for documents, etc pertaining to the explosion and subsequent investigation.

So, I shall try again. Here is the post containing the contact information and FOIA form if you’d like to submit one as well. Maybe if enough requests are submitted, one will be fulfilled.

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (0) Comments
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Mark Tapscott finally got a response back on his FOIA request regarding the Joel Hinrichs’ case. (Maybe that means the response to my October inquiry is shortly forthcoming) The government’s response raises more questions than answers:

…in a Jan. 25, 2006, letter denying my Freedom of Information Act request for all documents referencing Hinrichs, a Justice Department official says the requested documents cannot be released because the government’s investigation is still open and “release of this information could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.

As Mark rightly asks:
“Why are federal anti-terrorism officials and investigators who could otherwise be tracking down real terrorists still spending time and tax dollars on a case they insist isn’t connected to terrorism?”

I have an answer. Maybe they actually are following up on Hinrichs’ visits to Zacarias Moussaoui’s mosque, his desire to purchase large amounts of ammonium nitrate, his use of TATP, the huge cache of weapons in the apartment he shared with Fazal Cheema, a Pakistani who had an airline ticket for a flight to Algeria the day after Hinrichs’ bombing near a stadium packed with more than 80,000 civilians, and the visiting Algerian professor who had his bags packed to leave the country the day after the bombing also, or the coincidence that three Algerians were recently arrested in Italy for plotting to come to the U.S. and blow up, among other things, stadiums… but were thwarted by Italy’s use of wiretaps.

I mean, if that’s not the reason the federal investigation remains open, then I’m also confused that the feds’ anti-terrorism investigators are still investigating a lonely kid who decided “to just quit living“?

Here’s a call to action for visitors of this site. File your own FOIA request to the FBI by clicking this link. It will open a PDF file that you can type directly into and click a send button therein. Clicking the send button will open your email program and create an outgoing message to julia.eichhorst@ic.fbi.gov with the pdf attached. All you have to do is click send. If you want to send a hard copy, here is the address:

Record/Information Dissemination Section
Records Management Division
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Department of Justice
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535-0001
(202) 324-5520

Good luck. I’ll post all responses and maybe with enough inquiries, we can learn something more about this unprecedented federal investigation into a lonely college student that just decided to quit living.

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (3) Comments
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The news seems on the surface to be completely unrelated. But the ever-vigilant Mark Tapscott lays the stories side by side to produce an interesting theory:
  1. Three Algerians that were recently arrested in an anti-terrorist operation in southern Italy are suspected of being linked to a planned new series of attacks in the United States… The attacks would have targeted ships, stadiums or railway stations in a bid to outdo the September 11, 2001 strikes by Al-Qaeda in New York and Washington…
  2. In searching Joel Hinrichs’ apartment, “…sources say agents seized an airline ticket. Destination: Algeria, for a future date. The name on the ticket reportedly links back to Hinrichs’ roommate, 24 year old Fazal Cheema. Raising the question, “were others involved?”
  3. …one of the men in the apartment (with Cheema) was a visiting professor from Algeria who had his suitcases packed and was ready to leave the country on an airplane the following day, Barakat said.

Says Mark:

Here’s a theory: Joel Hinrichs was an unwitting guinea pig in a trial run.

Nahhhh, couldn’t be. He was just a lonely kid who decided to “just stop living” by blending a cocktail of chemicals favored by islamic terrorists, walking out into public near a stadium of 84,000 folks and pushing the button… but not until after he’d attended Moussaoui’s favorite mosque and inquired about purchasing “a significant amount of ammonium nitrate.” Just a shy and lonely kid ready to end it. Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket.

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (0) Comments
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The BOOMer Sooner Unsealed
November 29th, 2005 5:22 pm

The search warrant in the OU Suicide Bomber case was unsealed on November 18 and Michelle Malkin has now received the documents from the Clerk’s office. She says they don’t provide any closure on the case.

As Michelle points out, the documents confirm the reports of the presence of TATP, called “Mother of Satan”, by Islamic extremists and the same explosive as used by shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Such explosive has rarely been used in the US.

Other than that, the documents don’t seem to include any new bombshells… neither do they answer all of the questions that remain outstanding.

I must admit it is pretty humorous to see CBS lecturing on accountability and correcting the record. Yes, that CBS!

Hey Bloggers, It’s OK To Correct The Record

A good many bloggers had no problems theorizing about the intentions, motivations and connections of Joel Hinrichs in the days after he blew himself up outside of a University of Oklahoma football game. But they have been strangely silent since FBI documents relating to the incident were made public last week. The young man was clearly troubled and had a dangerous fondness for explosives, but the evidence doesn�t appear to go beyond that.

It may seem anti-climactic given all the talk about a possible connection between Hinrichs and terrorism, but those who engaged in that discussion should acknowledge this. After all, isn�t it just that accountability they demand of the MSM?

Sure he was clearly troubled. That wasn’t the question. But to say the evidence doesn’t go beyond that is not addressing the issue or the the questions that remain unanswered, even by these newly unsealed documents. Like:

  1. Why did Hinrichs attempt to buy ammonium nitrate fertilizer.
  2. Or what about Hinrichs’ alleged visits to the same mosque as Zacarias Moussaoui. (according to Michelle, News 9 is standing by the mosque story)
  3. Why did OU implement an emergency evacuation plan in the wake of a lonely kid who decided “to just quit living“?
  4. And the FBI still says it “may never know if Hinrichs tried try to enter the stadium or purchase a ticket for the game.”
  5. In fact, why was the FBI/Joint Terrorism Task Force even investigating the event when it was labeled at the outset a suicide of a lonely student.

If you got the answers to those questions, Vaughn, the public would love to hear them.

I don’t necessarily think this has to be a case of Hinrichs being some sort of Al-Qaeda member or just a kid committing suicide. This could be a case of an individual, acting alone, who decides to copycat run-of-the-mill terror methods. I think the bigger question surrounds his intent. Was it simply a loner suicide or was he attempting something bigger but just failed? Regardless of whether he had ties to organized terrorism or not, that question remains. The records confirm he was experimenting with some pretty unique explosives… and he certainly used a very unique method of killing himself

Mark Tapscott has also provided excellent coverage of this story and again has a big question.

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (0) Comments
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Here we go again. Once again the focus is on the coverage instead of the story itself. Cathy Young, writes an editorial titled “When blog hysteria does real harm(hat tip: Mike) in the Boston Globe today and tries to paint bloggers as rabid, tin-foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, yet still doesn’t bother to discuss the obvious undisputed facts the have led us to our questions.

Within days of Hinrichs’s death, a number of Internet websites were speculating that he had planned to blow himself up inside the stadium — and that he was a radical Muslim terrorist. Blog headlines screamed, ‘’Jihad at the University of Oklahoma?” and ‘’The Oklahoma Suicide Bomber.”

Taking issue with a title like “The Oklahoma Suicide Bomber” is a pretty thin way to make your argument, Cathy. Are you disputing that Hinrichs committed suicide, used a bomb or was in Oklahoma?

And sure, there will always be an onslaught of rumors at the outset of any major story. But like I have repeatedly said (and like I told the WSJ guys when they called to interview), even if you discount all of the disproven claims and just look at the proven ones, there’s still much more to this story than meets the eye.

1. Joe Hinrichs detonated a bomb on or near his body and killed himself.
3. Investigators found a huge cache of explosive material in Hinrichs’ apartment.
4. Hinrichs inquired about purchasing ammonium nitrate just before the event.
5. The FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force have been leading the investigation.
6. The search warrant was sealed from public view.
7. OU officials have taken an unprecedented step and distributed emergency evacuation procedures to fans now, which happens to include a focus on backpack searches.
8. The FBI initially told Hinrichs’ father there was no suicide note, then contradicting such 2 weeks later.

Even if we dismiss the other proven circumstantial information (like Hinrichs’ being a rare caucasian resident of an apartment complex popular with islamic students, his residence being in close proximity to Moussaoui’s mosque, his use of TATP, the nationality of his roommate, his appearance, his fitting the profile of terror recruits) there are still more questions than answers in the case.

Then Young laughably cites the WSJ article as “proof” of the debunking of claims. Well, heck, if WSJ says so, it must be true. Hey Cathy, perhaps you ought to check the way the WSJ “journalists” handle their research before you go citing them as the final authority on anything.

Of course, Cathy tries to manufacture her own credibility by calling this a case of “bloggers vs. MSM” then quickly dismissing such “unfounded hysteria” by citing her own “love of blogs”. (Well, golly, she has her own, so it must be true) Sounds like those liberals who like to post comments on this blog and try to establish immediate credibility by claiming to be a Republican, only to disprove such in the very content of their message.

The mainstream media can be arrogant. But the bloggers and their readers are sometimes too willing to accept trafficking in rumor and speculation as a process from which the truth will ultimately emerge through the self-correcting power of debate.

Again, Cathy, let’s all agree to ignore the rumor and speculation and focus on the undisputed issues above. There’s still a story there.

By the time it emerges, too much damage may be done. If the ‘’citizen journalists” want respect, they must hold themselves and one another to higher standards of accuracy.

Standards like this, this, or this? Sorry, Ms. Young, that’s not the kind of respect we’re seeking.

But since you have all the answers, perhaps you can explain why the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force are still investigating a simple suicide. Of course, to answer that would require an actual examination of the facts of the case instead of those who are seeking the answers.
Posted by TexasRainmaker | (0) Comments
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Yesterday, reporter Nolan Clay told us OU suicide bomber Joel Hinrichs had left a suicide note. This story was surely intended to close the speculation on the case, though its real effect was to spur more questions.
Today, Nolan Clay reports that OU President David Boren has announced that the University will pass out emergency evacuation plans to all fans at Saturday’s game. Boren also included an advisement that fans should come “to the game a little earlier since searches at the gates will be particularly thorough.”

Why? Wasn’t Hinrichs just a simple suicide? Why all the extra precautions in the wake of a lonely kid who decided “to just quit living“?

The article goes on to say:

The FBI has been investigating. FBI officials have said they may never know if the troubled student tried or intended to get inside the stadium.

Why would that matter if he was just taking his own life, and didn’t intend to harm others?

The article goes into further details of the evacuation plan, including where to exit, helping others, and exiting in a controlled manner. It ends with a quote from President Boren:

“Your saftey while on the OU campus will always remain our top priority.”

One would hope. But why the need to repeat such a line in the wake of a “simple student suicide”?

It’s quite interesting how OU is “responding” to “just a suicide”.

Update: Is the University of Texas fearful of lonely students deciding to quit living, too? (h/t: BlancoBrawler)

Posted by TexasRainmaker | (0) Comments
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