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>>> Also heard the test price being floated for Sue is $20 million.
>>Yes, I've heard this as well from a commercial dealer. The ironic
>>thing is that there were all those members of the SVP who fought hard
>>to get the specimen away from the BHI to prevent its sale, despite
>>Larson stating they wanted the skeleton for their proposed museum. The
>>preparation of Sue is being overseen at the South Dakota School of
>>Mines by an archeologist! This whole episode should show that the bozo
>>in charge of the FBI raid had his own agenda all along. Well, at least
>>I refused to get in bed with the Devil when I was approached to be a
>Just wanted to publicly applaud Dr. Kenneth Carpenter for his brave
>stance and statements regarding Sue. Bravo!
>Kelly Milner Halls
When Ken Carpenter wrote of "getting into bed with the devil" he
was referring to the request made of him to assist in the ill-conceived
plan to remove SUE from BHI custody(on what even the Dept. of the
Interior now admits was a faulty legal premise). This plan was the
"brainchild" of former acting U.S. Attorney Kevin Schieffer along
with a group of collaborators.
Ken wasn't exactly a lone wolf in opposition, with the likes of Robert
Bakker, Dale Russell, Greg Retallack, Jack Horner, Don Wolberg(to name
just a few) also of the opinion that until such time as ownership is
established, the fossil should remain in the hands of the BHIGR and
open to the public.
To the extent that any of Schieffer's collaborators made Mephistophelian
bargains I cannot say. However, scientists such as Ken and others
who smelled a rotten fish *deserve* to be congratulated. He had the guts
to say so despite a level of professional pressure emanating from places
such as the SVP executive committee(NOTE: This is *NOT* the SVP as
a whole, just the executive committee) to adopt their rigidly anti-
commercial viewpoints and political agenda.
It's fair enough to debate whether or not fossils should be bought or sold,
but if any scientists actually *encouraged* Schieffer to undertake the
seizure of SUE and thus remove this wonderful specimen from the public,
they should be ashamed. Any scientists who *cooperated* with
Schieffer also have to be disillusioned at this juncture. Their intent
was apparently to put the BHI out of business and send a "signal" to
commercial fossil dealers, while assuming SUE would end up someplace
such as the Smithsonian. Well, *please* remember the SUE case next time
you trust politically motivated or inexperienced acting U.S. Attorneys
to lead you down the yellow brick road. The BHI is still in business, the
legal case and trial was an expensive disaster, and SUE the T. rex is now
for sale to the highest bidder. I can't imagine anyone on either side is
satisfied with the situation(except of course Maurice Williams).
Step right up...who's got an extra 20 mil to give Mr. Williams so that
the public might get a glimpse of SUE again?
How could anyone(regardless of any political views on commercial
activity) suggest in retrospect that Ken isn't right on the money?
Exactly what did the actions of the Schieffer swat-team coalition
accomplish? Lets see...
- The best T. rex skeleton ever found(SUE) was removed from the custody
of well-trained scientists at a non-profit museum(open to the public)
and awarded to Maurice Williams who is now attempting to sell her for
20 million (if the rumors are accurate). Williams is a private party.
He can sell to anyone. He can cut SUE into parts and auction her off.
He can sell her to some wealthy overseas private collector who will
whisk her off to some exotic Asian palace, never again to be seen or
studied by western scientists. When the seizure occurred, one of the
frequently heard myths was that the Feds were "preventing" such a
sale of SUE. In reality, they have "facilitated" the open market sale
of SUE. Can you smell the rotting fish yet?
- The best T. rex skeleton ever found(SUE) was subjected to needless
and *certainly* damaging transportation at the behest of acting U.S.
Attorney Kevin Schieffer. Schieffer was never actually confirmed as
a full U.S. Attorney. He had been on the job for only a few weeks,
and had never even tried a case before. He used the 1906 Antiquities
Act as the basis for the seizure which even the Dept. of the Interior
now concedes was bogus. At some point in the future, SUE will be
subjected to more damaging transportation to some new owner.
- The BHIGR was subjected to at least two major events of search and
seizure many months *before* any criminal criminal charges were filed.
The trial which ultimately occurred was seen as a huge defeat for the
federal government while costing American taxpayers somewhere between
5--->15 million dollars (the data is not being released, thus the
estimate). That amounts to several times over the annual federal budget
for the science of paleontology. The charges that the BHI eventually
faced didn't even involve SUE, although seizing SUE was the premise
for the initial raid on the institute.
- The whole tourism industry around the Black Hills hamlet of Hill City
has been hit hard by Schieffer's trashing of the Black Hills Museum
of Natural History plans for a truly world-class T. rex exhibit
featuring SUE. Despite the onslaught, the museum is open and can be
visited at the BHI main building in Hill City. A site nearby has already
been acquired for the new museum building. SUE won't be there, but STAN,
DUFFY, and fully mounted casts of other famous T. rex fossils can be
seen along with the rest of the fabulous BHI collections. SUE is down
the road at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, but she has
not been accessible to the public since it left the BHI :-(
- The Feds have enraged many Americans by their actions in this matter.
Seldom are the lines of right and wrong so vivid. I don't want my
taxdollars being spent on outrageous and unconscionable persecution of
scientists that are clearly serving the public interest and are not
criminals. The BHIGR had lined up a consortium of over 30 contributing
scientists(including Ken Carpenter) to work on a common monograph on
SUE as well as enlisting NASA engineers to cat-scan SUE's beautifully
articulated skull. The Schieffer swat team coalition saw fit to
halt this public-private partnership of scientific investigation
as part of their effort to thwart commercial fossil activity by
driving the BHI out of business. Schieffer ordered the seizure of
SUE just 4 days before her skull was to be sent for the cat-scan,
and explicitly would not allow the scan to proceed despite requests
from NASA and National Geographic.
So, hearty congratulations to Ken Carpenter and others for illuminating
the truth surrounding these contentious issues. They were right all along.
The Feds should have listened to Ken, Bakker et al rather than bottom
feeding for a batch of rabid anti-commercial scientists who would gladly
tell Schieffer's swat team what they wanted to hear and provide a semblance
of scientific cover for their witch-hunt and railroad job on the BHI.
Ken is right, the handling of the SUE case has been a politically
motivated, scientifically detrimental, unmitigated fiasco from day one.