Hiroshima on a light switch

It’s always sad to see science perverted to serve hatred, and here’s an awful example: two KKK members have been arrested in a plot to kill Muslims en masse.

A plot to design a radiation weapon that could fit in a small van and be used to silently kill humans was unraveled by an FBI task force that charged two men — a General Electric Co. industrial mechanic from Saratoga County and a computer software expert from Columbia County -— with conspiring to sell the weapon to Jewish groups or a southern branch of the Ku Klux Klan.

A federal complaint unsealed Wednesday in Albany said the vehicle-mounted radiation gear was intended to be remotely controlled and capable of aiming a high-energy lethal beam of radioactivity at human targets. The concept was that victims would mysteriously die from radiation poisoning within days.

The FBI on Tuesday arrested Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, of Providence, Saratoga County, and Eric J. Feight, 54, of Stockport, who are accused of developing "a radiation emitting device that could be placed in the back of a van to covertly emit ionizing radiation strong enough to bring about radiation sickness or death against Crawford’s enemies," according to an FBI agent’s sworn complaint.

I’m glad that they were caught. It would be small consolation if they’d succeeded, and managed to poison themselves during their development efforts.


  1. wondering says

    The men … were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists for use of a weapon of mass destruction. They face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

    Just supporting terrorism? They personally planned to use the weapon, both as a test and “against Crawford’s enemies”. How is it that they get to avoid a terrorism charge? Because they were stopped before they could do it?

    Was that the same charge that the teen who was given a fake bomb by the FBI was charged with?

    Or the man who left a fake bomb – again provided by the FBI – at Wrigley Park?

    It’s curious to me that people who were encouraged to plant fake bombs (that were provided to them by law enforcement agencies) were charged with more than people who were building actual weapons. Well, curious until I realize that the radiation gun guys are most likely white, while the fake bomb guys were middle eastern.

  2. says

    Calling it science is pushing it. It’s more like pseudoscience in the service of hatred.

    It would be small consolation if they’d succeeded, and managed to poison themselves during their development efforts.

    As far as I can tell, they couldn’t have succeeded. The device they were trying to build couldn’t have worked the way they planned. If they’d actually gotten their hands on significantly radioactive material, they could still have done a pretty good job offing themselves and their families, though, so it’s still just as well they couldn’t.

  3. brucegee1962 says

    Surely we can all agree, though, that “Hiroshima Light Switch” would be an awesome name for a band.

  4. Louis says


    I saw them play the colosseum in 02.


    P.S. Rednecks with Deathrays were the supporting act. Coincidence?

  5. says

    @ Nemo #6

    KKK members…. want to sell a weapon to… Jewish groups?

    Strange times.

    The racist paranoid mind is a terrible thing. But sometimes it provides some free entertainment.

    But seriously, according to the article they wanted to kill Moslems. The investigation started when the secretaries at a synagogue in Upstate New York called the cops after Mr. Death-ray inventor tried to find someone interested in helping him build such a device. He “asked to speak with a person who might be willing to help him with a type of technology that could be used by Israel to defeat its enemies, specifically, by killing Israel’s enemies while they slept.” The old “the enemy of my enemy” idea.

  6. anuran says

    Nemo, there’s a large overlap between Christian Identity and Dominionist ideology. On one hand the Klan hates Jews, just plain hates ’em. On the other hand their god isn’t allowed to come back just yet. First the Jews have to be shipped off to Israel. Then most of them have to be killed by Arabs and Russians. At the very last minute Dead Jew Onna Stick will come back and save the day.

    So we can’t go killing ALL the heebs just yet. We have to save some for Super Zombie.

  7. says

    Please note, stoopid plot stopped by citizen reporting and good old-fashioned detective work. Yes, phone lines were tapped, but 14 months of surveillance should have been enough to not have to resort to data mining phone and internet records. I am making a big assumption here, but this plot doesn’t feel like it needed a civil liberty spying program to foil.

    I believe it’s important to call these out so we have a chance of getting our Fourth Amendment Rights back and perhaps to not be so terrified, either.

  8. says

    I’d love to get a look at these idiots reading habits. I suspect amongst the Neonazi crap you’d find a bunch of action -adventure novels, as their plot sounds like it comes from one.

  9. stevem says

    re timgueguen @11:

    Sure, let’s just build a death-ray, ‘how hard could it be’? Those “Jews” think they are so smart, we’ll show’em. Those “towel heads” deserve to die, and slow, painful death at that, that’ll get them while they’re sleeping even.

  10. Jerry says

    While I doubt this device would have worked as intended, it is a mistake to think that *all* domestic hate groups and domestic terrorists will only have members stupid enough to poison themselves or get caught before killing other people. The average intelligence of their followers is not necessarily indicative of the top intelligence of their leaders or plotters. Even a person of above average intelligence can be filled with hatred and do great harm, e.g. with a truck bomb like McVeigh. In short, we cannot be complacent. [I agree this is a victory for police work, not mass domestic spying.]

  11. damien75 says

    I am flabbergasted, and at the same time something tells me I shouldn’t be.

    It had to happen, right? With so many hateful people around, sooner or later, somebody had to pull something like that.

  12. JohnnieCanuck says

    There’s a fine mix of confusion over ionising radiation and radioactive materials here. Both in the comments and the quoted material in the post. About the only confusion that’s missing is non-ionising radiation such as microwaves, a common faux-pas in the media.

    I’ve no interest in analysing the actual effectiveness of available Xray components in achieving their goal, but certainly for a sufficiently short range over a long enough time, there would have been damage.

    No special reason they would have exposed themselves to the beam while constructing or testing it, beyond carelessness. It’s not like they were grinding Pu-239 to make a dirty bomb.

    More like a weapon of quite localised sickness, possibly death than a WMD. Beware of trucks with big generators humming 24/7 near synagogues or mosques.

  13. Sili says

    KKK members…. want to sell a weapon to… Jewish groups?

    Strange times.

    Perhaps they can get the Catholics to finance the deal while they’re at it.

  14. says

    @ andrewphilips #10

    Yes, phone lines were tapped, but 14 months of surveillance should have been enough to not have to resort to data mining phone and internet records.

    This is a very important point. And all I have to add is that it did take a call to the cops to start an investigation. Meaning that the NSA spying on everyone did not turn up anything. Maybe neither e-mailed the other. We don’t know. The point is that for whatever reason data mining didn’t do squat in this case.

    As an aside, every news report and documentary about paranoid racist lunatics indicates that they are already convinced that law enforcement are spying on them and likely do not transmit any useful, actionable information over the phone or internet anyway.