[NetBehaviour] Reflections on the Case by the U.S. Justice Department against Steven Kurtz and Robert Ferrell

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue May 31 12:24:30 CEST 2005

*Reflections on the Case by the U.S. Justice Department against Steven 
Kurtz and Robert Ferrell*
by Claire Pentecost[1]

Many people have asked us why the Justice Department is pursuing this case.

Meaning, when the Buffalo Health Department affirmed that there was 
nothing dangerous in the Kurtz home and that Hope Kurtz died of natural 
causes, when the FBI saw that the possession of scientific equipment and 
materials in Kurtz's home studio was completely consistent with his 
practice as an artist and that his practice has a long, public and 
institutionally validated record, then, why didn't they drop the case? 
When it became clear even through the Grand Jury investigation that this 
was not a case of bioterrorism, why did they pursue it? Couldn't they 
see that this is art?
As often as not the questioner answers their own question, saying it 
must be a matter of saving face: the Justice Department now has to 
justify the time and money they spent on this case in the first few 
weeks and has to answer to the publicity the case has attracted.

An overview of prosecutions since 9/11 originating with suspicion of 
terrorism suggests that the Department has a different logic of 
evaluating its results than might first be apparent to the public. And 
"saving face" is not at the top of the list.


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