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ICG Risk Blog - [ November 6, 2004 ]

Expect a rise in terrorism from US nationals: single-issue , left wing ideological, and cyber


Reflecting upon the divisiveness and anger of the recent election, and the rationale that give rise to single-Issue terrorism, I predict that we will see a rise in single-issue terrorism, left wing ideological terrorism (until recently in decline), and cyber terrorism, all from US nationals and quite independent of any non-state sponsored actors such as al Qaeda.

My reasons for this spike have to do with the myriad of articles that I see regarding election rigging, vote tampering, malfunctioning voting machines, self-censorship by major news media during the election campaign. I detect an emotion of having been "doubly cheated" in two successive presidential elections such that the only recourse for some will be extralegal.

Certainly most emotions will cool, but this is an election whose partisan divide is unlike any that I have heretofore seen, and it only takes a modest few retaining that firebrand vision to make great mischief. (Think of the Unabomber with access to vastly greater technology and communications skills.)

Consider the definition of single issue terrorism: "extremist militancy of individuals or small groups protesting a perceived grievance or wrong attributed to governmental action or inaction. Under this heading, three issues have gained salience: the "fight" for animal rights, environmentalism and the "fight" against abortion. Authorities have been expecting a rise in single-issue attacks in all categories well before the 2004 presidential election, but I suspect that new feelings of grievance coupled with what two of the three categories would expect of a continuance in current administration will accelerate that pace.

There are also ample opportunities to link an activist without prior "tools skills" to an anarchist/patriot solidly in possession of them. Take the example of Timothy W. Tobiason, a self taught individual who has authored three books (which he sells inexpensively at gun shows around the country): "Bio Toxic Weapons," "Military Phosphorus Chemical Weapons and Nerve Agents," and "Scientific Principles of Improvised Warfare and Home Defense Volume 6-1: Advanced Biological Weapons Design and Manufacture":

The sale of survival and doomsday books is not unusual at gun shows and elsewhere, and the Internet is filled with advice on how to make explosives. What makes Mr. Tobiason's writings more dangerous, germ-warfare experts who have read it say, is that it offers anyone with $10 the ability to build crude biological weapons capable of killing thousands of people. Those experts say Mr. Tobiason's 250-page book does not give specific directions for producing the finely milled anthrax that was sent to Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader, and, in fact, contains some errors. The book deals mostly with the production of wet anthrax, though it does suggest a way to grind clusters of anthrax into microscopic pieces, which can settle into the lungs. But Dr. Alibek [former First Deputy Director of the USSR's Biopreparat] said Mr. Tobiason's work "could be a step on the road," for someone intent on producing highly lethal anthrax. Richard Spertzel, a former head of biological inspections in Iraq for the United Nations, said Mr. Tobiason's instructions would produce "a low- grade product" at best but added that the book, "ought to be damn near illegal, if it's not now."

Now consider an interaction with an environmentalist that Tobiason recounted in a rambling essay, Identifying Undercover Activity and Agents:

A couple more interesting anecdotes come from this same time frame. While selling my books at Las Vegas, an environmentalist came up at the end of the show to look at my books. I had just finished the chemical weapons book and he looked at it for a couple of minutes. He then came up and asked me if I was some kind of a nut to put information like this out. I told him not to worry, as soon as someone takes a bunch of herbicide, makes it into nerve agent and wipes out a city, the government will take all the organophosphates off the market. It took a few seconds for the light bulb to finally go off in his head and then I saw him grin ear to ear and say "Yeah, that would be good for the environment"!.

Those are not the kind of odds that leave me with comfort that miscreants with intent cannot quickly acquire the base knowledge to jumpstart their own secular jihad.

In Utah, a Government Hater Sells a Germ-Warfare Book
New York Times
November 21, 2001

Terrorism from Newly Empowered Pressure Groups Poses a Threat
By Charles E. Boyle
Insurance Journal
June 18, 2001

New York Times Killed "Bush Bulge" Story
FAIR Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
112 W. 27th Street New York, NY 10001
November 5, 2004

Ballot Boxing
Joel N. Shurkin
Baltimore Jewish Times
OCTOBER 29, 2004

Gordon Housworth

InfoT Public  Strategic Risk Public  Terrorism Public  


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