Volume 5, Number 4—August 1999
Historical Trends Related to Bioterrorism: An Empirical Analysis
|Weather Underground (1970)||Temporarily incapacitateU.S. cities to demonstrate impotence ofthe federal government||Revolutionary movement opposed to American imperialism and theVietnam War||Urban populations in theUnited States||Reportedly sought to obtain agents at Ft. Detrick by blackmail of gay soldier||Reportedly planned to put incapacitating CW/BW agents in urban water||Report originated with U.S. Customs informant; case probably apocryphal|
|R.I.S.E. (1972)||Kill off most of humanity to prevent the destruction of nature, then star human race over with a select few||Perpetrators were college students influenced by ecoterrorist ideology and1960s drug culture||Initially entire world population, later narrowed to residents of five states around Chicago||Eight microbial pathogens including agents of typhoid fever, diphtheria, dysentery, and meningitis||Planned BW aerosol attacks (dispersed by aircraft) and contamination of urban water supplies||Attack aborted when cultures were discovered; the two main perpetrators then fled to Cuba|
|Red Army Faction (1980)||Allegedly planned BW attacks against West German officials and business leaders||Marxist- revolutionary ideology||Specific targets unknown||Group member allegedly cultivated botulinum toxin in a Paris safe-house||Unknown||Probably an erroneous report, later repudiated by German government (BKA)|
|Rajneeshee Cult (1984)||Scheme to incapacitate voters to win local election, seize political control of county||Indian religious cult headed by a charismatic guru||Residents of the town of The Dalles and Wasco County, Oregon||Salmonella Typhimurium||Multiple methods, mainly contamination of restaurant salad bars||Plot revealed when the cult collapsed and members turned informant|
|Minnesota Patriots Council (1991)||Cause harm to the federal government, obtain personal revenge||Anti-government tax protesters; right-wing "patriot" movement||IRS officials, U.S. deputy marshal, local law enforcement officials||Ricin extracted from castor beans obtained by mail-order||Planned todeliver ricin through skin with DMSO and aloe vera, or as dry aerosol||Group was penetrated by FBI informants; four key members arrested|
|Aum Shinrikyo (1995)||Prove an apocalyptic prophecy, eliminate enemies and rivals, halt an adverse court ruling, seize control of Japanese government||New Age doomsday cult seeking to establish a theocratic state in Japan, with a charismatic, power-hungry leader||Mass civilian populations, individual opponents of cult, judges ruling against and police investigating cult||Biological agents (anthrax, botulinum toxin, Q fever Ebola virus) and chemical agents (sarin, VX, hydrogen cyanide)||Attempted on at least 10 occasions to disperse BW agents in aerosol form; all known attacks failed||Multiple CW attacks (in Matsumoto, Tokyo, and assassination campaign) killed at least 20 people and injured more than 1,000|
|Larry Wayne Harris (1998)||To alert Americans to the Iraqi BW threat; seeks separate homeland for whites in the United States||Links to Christian Identity and white supremacist groups (e.g., the Aryan Nation)||Made vague threats against U.S. federal offcials on behalf of right-wing "patriot" groups||Obtained plague and anthrax (vaccine strain), reportedly isolated several other bacteria||Discussed the dissemination of BW agents with crop-duster aircraft and other methods||Arrested when he talked openly about BW terrorism and made threatening remarks to U.S. officials|
BW, biological weapons; CW, chemical weapons; DMSO, dimethylsulfoxide; IRS, Internal Revenue Service; FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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