Anarchist group targets scientists in terrorist attacks

Last year, I told you about Individuals Tending Towards Savagery, a terrorist group that has mailed bombs to nanotechnology researchers in Mexico, Chile, France, and Spain. Their stated goal: Stop technological innovation. And they aren't alone.

At Nature News Leigh Phillips reports on a group called the Olga Cell of the Informal Anarchist Federation, which is dedicated to the suppression of science in general and technological innovation in particular. The group is behind several bombings and shootings, mostly targeting nuclear scientists and nuclear energy advocacy groups. Now, the Olga Cell says that it's joining forces with other anti-science terrorist groups around the world. This group is apparently communicating with Individuals Tending Towards Savagery, though it's not clear how close the collaboration is.

On 11 May, the cell sent a four-page letter to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera claiming responsibility for the shooting of Roberto Adinolfi, the chief executive of Ansaldo Nucleare, the nuclear-engineering subsidiary of aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica. Believed by authorities to be genuine, the letter is riddled with anti-science rhetoric. The group targeted Adinolfi because he is a “sorcerer of the atom”, it wrote. “Adinolfi knows well that it is only a matter of time before a European Fukushima kills on our continent.”

“Science in centuries past promised us a golden age, but it is pushing us towards self-destruction and total slavery,” the letter continues. “With this action of ours, we return to you a tiny part of the suffering that you, man of science, are pouring into this world.” The group also threatened to carry out further attacks.

Read the rest of the story at Nature News


  1. “Adinolfi knows well that it is only a matter of time before a European Fukushima kills on our continent.” 

    Is that for real?  It is too dumb to be real. 
    Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, with it’s mid-1950s technology, was, and is under no circumstance an example of scientific advance or new technology. 

    1. 1.) Japan got lucky. Most of the radioactive material was blown out to sea, where it (more or less) safely dispersed. Still, there will be long-time problems.

      2.) Most reactor technology in western Europe is not exactly new, either (think 1960s to 1980s), not to say anything about eastern Europe.

      3.) If a reactor blows in, say, France (and they have a lot of reactors over there) – THAT’S IT. Virtually all arable land in Europe would get contaminated. The cities, too. And we are talking about one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

      All in all: fission reactors in Europe are a moronic idea.

      DISCLAIMER: I’m a singularitarian. I am absolutely contrary to those people. I only spoke up, because the statement

      it is only a matter of time before a European Fukushima kills on our continent

      happens to be a statistically correct one.

      1. Orders of magnitude more people were killed by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that caused the catastrophic failure of the Fukushima reactors.

        If you’re going to merely try to be *statistically* correct, you would still have to say that in a comparable situation, even if statistically inevitable, a tsunami that makes its way inland to a nuclear reactor in the middle of Europe’s arable land is going to give you more to worry about than radioactive contamination.

        I don’t know the situation in the rest of Europe, but in the UK, all nuclear installations now have to meet stringent requirements that directly came out of the experience at Fukushima.

        The next big disaster will be one you *didn’t* expect.

        1.  Who is talking about tsunamis, specifically? (Btw.: that’s actually a possibility – if the norwegian continental shelf destabilizes, we are all so very fucked. But that is even more unlikely to happen in a human timeframe (say, 10.000 years?), than a “killer-asteroid” hitting us. Just sayin’.)

          I’m talking about the statistical likelihood of a major nuclear disaster happening (in whatever way) in Europe versus the probable impact it would have ON Europe.

          1. Would you kill scientists over that statistical likelihood? Because that’s kinda the point. Logic is irrelevant when it’s being used to justify idiocy.

  2. If they were serious in their cause they surely wouldn’t allow themselves any science products in their attacks and just restrict themselves to bare hands and teeth or something? No. Didn’t think so.

        1. No, but hypocrisy is a good indicator of fundamentally unworkable (and therefore stupid) ideas.

        2. Of course it is. An inconsistent ethical position is just as wrong as any other inconsistent set of propositions.

          But these guys fail at logic so hard that I don’t suppose there’s any reasoning with them.

  3. Curiouser and curiouser, interesting and interestinger. One way to model this – I’m influenced by Robert Anton Wilson here – is that, with the acceleration of information flow-through in the culture, concomitant with technological development speeding up exponentially, people will, as RAW predicted, begin to “freak out” in ways that reflect their conditioning, values, educations…it’s fight-or-flight Writ Large. Right wing know-nothing activists, splinters of PETA bombing medical researchers’ homes, and conspiracy theories multiplying and flourishing as far as the eye can see…

    These groups Maggie cites seem in the mold of Kaczynski, and further back, Jacques Ellul (who was a christian anarchist scholar and did not bomb anyone that I know of…worked with the French Resistance in WWII, smatter fact); I’m sure it goes back much further. The original Luddites were against the very machines that threatened their ability to make a living; they were not, as is popularly thought, against all technologies…

    1. Furthermore, there are almost no anarchists who would support or engage in terrorism.  It’s been pretty firmly rejected after a look at the historical results.
      I’ve posted this link before, still appropriate:

      While these folks call themselves anarchists, I’m not sure how many other anarchists (even primitivists) would claim any affinity with them.

        1. Yeah, yeah, “no true Scotsman”, blah blah.  But they’re really not anarchists – they’re wannabees-archists who may not want the responsibility of being in government, but do want to make decisions that everybody else has to follow.    If you want everybody else to have to follow your decisions or you’ll blow them up, then you’re not serious about being an autonomous collective, you’re just mad that the strange women lying in ponds handed out swords to somebody other than you.

      1. “Anarchist” is an extraordinarily general term.  In fact, I would say that there is no political ideology that is as varied as anarchism.  If someone tells me they are a leftist, they might range from Stalinist, to hippie, to a boring old Swede, but they share at least some similarities in terms of their core beliefs.  If someone tells you that they are an anarchist, the only thing you have learned is that they don’t like large central governments.  They could be anarcho-capitalist, collectivist, primitivist, a religious nut, believe in violent resistance to the state, believe in absolute pacifism to the point where they won’t defend them self from death, and so and and so forth.  

        So yeah, lots of anarchist are peace loving hippies.  Pretty much all envision a utopia with minimal amounts of violence, but there are plenty that advocate violence in the face of those already in power to reach said utopia.

        Arguing over what is “mainstream” anarchism is more than a little goofy when you are talking about a political philosophy so wildly divergent internally, yet makes up such a minuscule portion of the population and rule (er, um, unrule?) so few people.

        1. So? There is a form of anarchism to suit all tastes. We are all anarchists really, we just don’t realise it. When we do we can deal with the nutters. That said, I really dislike the word – it sounds much too organised and fascistic to me to identify with any sort of -ism. I generally use a very British cop out and say that I am not unsympathetic to anarchist aims.

    2. The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent
      lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere when thought roams gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put it to us in this way–marking the points with a lean forefinger–as we sat and lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we thought it) and his fecundity.

    3. thanks for the article Guido. It’s really dangerous the equivelence established between primitivism and anarchism. 

      1. Plus, it serves really well the purpose of those interested in keeping things the way they are. 

        “Oh, Anarchists, of course, violent, stupid technophobes that want people to die by the billions so they can hunt bison wrapped in furs. Unlike us, with shiny gadgets and the latest blockbuster. They do not know what they are talking about…”

  4. From

    By putting names on the war against civilization like those of “revolution,” “revolutionaries,” “pseudo-revolutionaries,” we are falling in the same thing that the Marxists preach when they brand some as counterrevolutionaries, furthermore we would be falling into a religious dogmatism like the leftists’ schemas.


    It seems from their manifesto that they hold “affinities” with certain ‘green’ and ‘eco’ anarchists – but they EXPLICITLY distance themselves from revolutionaries” and leftists in general in that they do not believe in changing civilization so much as tearing it down.

    Titling this article as “Anarchist group…” is very misleading, especially when a goodly amount of the verbage in their manifesto intends to refute the validity of a revolution; anarchist or otherwise. Bombs are sensational enough — no need to drag real communists down along with these lazy terrorists.

      1. These people are luddites not anarchists.

        Actually, Luddites were protesting the loss of jobs, not technological advances.

      1. Well terrorism comes in waves and never had a large state failure, where as Marxism is so 80’s.

  5. Too bad they didn’t start their campaign before the technological invention of bombs. 

    1. The real Luddites had clubs and muskets, but I guess you can’t have anarchy that requires close order drill.

  6. Its the simple 100 to 1 rule.

    Whats that? Very simple, imagine a standard village of 100 people, out of all those people there will always be the village idiot i.e. the one person who is at the lowest end of the average intelligent scale.  This is so common that there is a common phrase that everyone knows i.e. village idiot.  So the ratio is for every 100 people you get 1 idiot.

    Now lets increase the size to 1000 a good sized town now.  Does this mean that we have still only 1 village idiot? Nope when you increase the population so you increase the amount of people at the lowest end of the average intelligence scale so now you have around 10 people who would each be considered the village idiot.  These guys tend to stick together as most people do(people try to find and stay with other people of the same average intelligence and personalities)

    So whats the problem you say? We can handle 10 idiots hmmm well there are a bit more than just 1000 people on the planet now there are about 7,000,000,000 so that makes 70,000,000 village idiots…..yea and each of them can usually vote as well :/ that’s where people in the article come from.

    1. Ideology is not necessarily idiocy. Some people can be very intelligent and rationalize very dumb ideas. Ted Kaczynski for example.

  7. It’s impossible not to be reminded of Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent” about a failed anarchist assault on Greenwich Observatory, which has weird parallels to the Unabomber case.
    It’s also worth pointing out that any Joseph Conrad story has more literary mojo than Hemingway’s entire body of work.

    The Secret Agent

    “……This is what you should try for.  An attempt upon a crowned head or on a president is sensational enough in a way, but not so much as it used to be.  It has entered into the general conception of the existence of all chiefs of state.  It’s almost conventional—especially since so many presidents have been assassinated.  Now let us take an outrage upon—say a church.  Horrible enough at first sight, no doubt, and yet not so effective as a person of an ordinary mind might think.  No matter how revolutionary and anarchist in inception, there would be fools enough to give such an outrage the character of a religious manifestation…..A murderous attempt on a restaurant or a theatre would suffer in the same way from the suggestion of non-political passion: the exasperation of a hungry man, an act of social revenge.  All this is used up; it is no longer instructive as an object lesson in revolutionary anarchism.  Every newspaper has ready-made phrases to explain such manifestations away.  ….

    ….I am about to give you the philosophy of bomb throwing from my point of view…….;  You anarchists should make it clear that you are perfectly determined to make a clean sweep of the whole social creation.  But how to get that appallingly absurd notion into the heads of the middle classes so that there should be no mistake?  That’s the question.  By directing your blows at something outside the ordinary passions of humanity is the answer…..  

    ….Of course, there is art.  A bomb in the National Gallery would make some noise.  But it would not be serious enough.  Art has never been their fetish.  It’s like breaking a few back windows in a man’s house; whereas, if you want to make him really sit up, you must try at least to raise the roof.  There would be some screaming of course, but from whom?  Artists—art critics and such like—people of no account…..Nobody minds what they say….  

    But there is learning—science.  Any imbecile that has got an income believes in that.  He does not know why, but he believes it matters somehow.  It is the sacrosanct fetish….. But I wouldn’t expect from a butchery the result I want.  Murder is always with us.  It is almost an institution.  The demonstration must be against learning—science.  But not every science will do.  The attack must have all the shocking senselessness of gratuitous blasphemy.  Since bombs are your means of expression, it would be really telling if one could throw a bomb into pure mathematics.  But that is impossible. ….. What do you think of having a go at astronomy?”……“There could be nothing better.  Such an outrage combines the greatest possible regard for humanity with the most alarming display of ferocious imbecility…….The whole civilised world has heard of Greenwich.  The very boot-blacks in the basement of Charing Cross Station know something of it.  See?”

    1. I love Conrad, but that book scarred me from his work for awhile. Even he admits, in the intro of my edition, that the story is super dark and he doesn’t know where it came from. Agree on the Hemmingway thing.

      1. Conrad also deserves props for becoming famous writing in English, which was his third language. That would be like me becoming famous in mandarin.

        They made a movie of the story and Robin Williams had an uncredited cameo was the mad bomb maker who went everywhere wearing a nitroglycerine suicide vest to avoid capture.  Robin Williams never really makes the switch from comedy to bad guy, Jim Cary has tried it a few times, John Lithgow does it effortlessly.

        1. A movie? I’ll check it out! Another good book with an anarchist theme is Chesterson’s “The Man Who was Thursday,” although that wanders into some pretty surreal territory.

          1. It stayed pretty close to the novel, and you know the best books make the worst movies and vice versa, so it was OK.   Robin Williams was good, he was just a bit distracting.  I would have liked to see them do more with the anarchist that seduces Mrs. Verloc – I picture him a charismatic narcissist. 


  8. Could someone please rub John Zerzan’s nose in this poop, and spank him soundly? How much you want to bet some primitivist articles or books by Zerzan are prominently displayed in the tents or tipis of these anti-tech terrorists, just like Anders Breivik talked up his admiration for hater of muslims Daniel Pipes?

  9. It always seems to me that anyone who purports to champion anarchy would probably seriously reconsider their philosophy when faced with the wrong end of a gun. Or put more simply, it’s easy to argue for survival of the fittest until you’re not the fittest person around. Or put even more simply, anarchists think like bullies.

    I’d like to witness the trial when these people are brought to justice. I wonder if they’ll renounce the various legal protections extended to them by the state and just demand a summary execution in keeping with their beliefs. After all, law and governance is superfluous – just let the arresting officers do whatever they like to them.

    DISCLAIMER: I am actually a pacifist first and foremost, and would resort to violence only as a last resort. I do not condone violence of any kind where it is not quite apparently necessary. I do not judge or condemn the people who ascribe to the philosophy of Anarchism, I merely condemn the philosophy itself.

    1. I’m afraid you’re not condemning the philosophy of anarchists; you don’t understand it well enough to condemn. The philosophy you’re condemning is a straw man bearing no resemblance to the beliefs of most anarchists.

      (Hint: the following two sentences are not equivalent.  “Governments are historically bad and we should learn to do without them.”  “People who are good with guns should boss us all around.”)

      DISCLAIMER: I am neither an anarchist nor a pacifist. I lack the moral character for either. I am, however, a dedicated nitpicker.

  10. Jack Vance, a recent topic here, had the Institute, a quite advanced, murderous and devious, out in the open, but private group of anti-technicals who believed man needed to be more primitive in general,  in his  Demon Princes series of SF novels. They were a large and seemingly hyper-intelligent organization, but manipulated by their leaders into all sorts of nasty things under the blanket of “natural advancement.”

    Another interesting pair of anti-science plotted SF novels are ” The Cloud Walker” by Edmund Cooper, a prototype steam-punk novel, and Keith Robert’s “Pavane”, both with a theme of enforced anti-science.

    1. There was a dream sequence in the Hermann Hesse novel Steppenwolf where Harry and a friend are up in a tree platform on a mountain road shooting passing cars.  This seems to be the start of general attack by an anti-technology guerilla movement.  Down the mountain they can see town start to burn. A young lady joins them and she asks if it isn’t hypocrisy to use rifles.  They say “We’ll smash them eventually.”

  11. statistically it may only be a matter of time before a nuclear accident hits europe. But what about the effects of climate change? its already here and maybe the best way to minimize the effects is to use nuclear power then built renewables and as you have extra power production, one by one retire non renewable plants with fossil fuel plants as first priority and nuclear as last priority

    1.  I tell people this all the time- of the non-renewable energy resources, nuclear should be the lowest priority to get rid of.

  12. It’s incredibly dodgy that they chose the same initials as the Italian Anarchist Federation, who denounce terrorism and propaganda by the deed.

    These people aren’t anarchists, they are primitivist terrorists.

  13. As I’ve said previously, it is impossible for me to become interested in the “philosophy” of anarchism no matter how often they insist on explaining it. 

    1. Most people aren’t strong enough, smart enough or moral enough to survive without govenment. It’s just so much easier to have things done for you at another persons expense.

  14. Well, all they need to do to see if their theory works is to create an hypothesis and test it. 

    Oh, right, no science.  Hmm.  Blow some shit up and see if anything changes.  But don’t observe results or look to duplicate success, because that would mean scientific advancement. 

    Maybe they just need to get back to drinking and eating the blood and body of an ancient zombie to appease the angry sky ghost, like most rational people.

  15. Come on people. Anarchists are not purer or saner than the rest of humanity. They/we can also be terrorists. You can be an Anarchist and a Primitivist. Of course, by definition your ideas are stupid then.

  16. This stupid people blot Anarchism and they should just die. Science is the greatest anarchist endeavor of humankind. People should really wear gloves when reading Zerzan’s books, which by the way, are not too bad, but have terrible consequences

  17. You know… I kinda wish these people would catch an entirely reversible and curable form of cancer and then watch them agonize whether or not to refuse the treatment created by the science slave overlords.

    Maybe I appreciate the irony, or maybe I’m just a vindictive dude with a labcoat.

  18. I always thought that anarchists don’t like rules imposed upon them… So, what give you the right to impose your anarchist ideas on my anarchism?

    Anarchists aren’t violent? What gives you the right to impose that rule? Who do you think threw the Haymarket bomb. Who killed President William McKinley? Historically, anarchists have been very violent. After all, they’re out to destroy the evil state and their lackeys, and the rules of society don’t apply to them.

    The problem with anarchists and other so-called revolutionaries is that they insist on being judge, jury, and executioner. If you’re not for ’em, you’re against ’em which makes you a fair target.

    1. “The problem with anarchists and other so-called revolutionaries is that they insist on being judge, jury, and executioner. If you’re not for ’em, you’re against ’em which makes you a fair target.”

      In what way does this differ from the Governments they oppose?

    2.  It was likely the police that threw the Haymarket bomb, but hey why pollute your rant with facts?

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