Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A few murders

A few murders:

  1. Prominent Indonesian human rights activist Munir Said Thalib was murdered on September 6 by arsenic poisoning while on a Geruda Airlines flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam. The poison was probably in a dish of fried noodles served on the plane. Since he was the only victim, the crime should be easy to solve. After dragging their feet as long as possible, Indonesian authorities finally began an investigation. It is widely believed that the Indonesian military was behind the assassination, and thus very unlikely that the truth will come out. A pilot who was on the same flight seems to be the main patsy suspect (there is a hint that Munir was guided into a business class seat even though he only had an economy ticket, and that this seat change may have been part of the plot).

  2. A nuclear research scientist from St. Louis, John Mullen, was murdered on June 29 by a massive single dose of arsenic. It took local authorities five and a half months to officially determine the cause of death. Mullen had retired from McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in 1999, but remained active as a consultant for the successor corporation, Boeing.

  3. On January 7, the body of Jeong H. Im - a protein chemist who could introduce himself by saying 'I'm Im' - was found in a burning car in a parking garage in Columbia, Missouri, the victim of multiple stab wounds. This wouldn't be much of a story, except that he was another in the long list of dead microbiologists. It's not that they're dead, it is the many bizarre, violent and odd ways in which they died. We don't have enough information to distinguish the conspiracy from the coincidence, but it seems likely that at least some of these deaths are connected to the scientific research they were doing. The nature of the deaths also appears to carry some sort of warning. It would be interesting to know what microbiologists themselves think that warning is about.