Andy Coghlan has a May 29, 2012 article on the New Scientist’s website outlining the recent history of violence and renewed threats against scientists,
It’s like something out of Kafka. Anti-science anarchists in Italy appear to be ramping up their violent and frankly surreal campaign. Having claimed responsibility for shooting the boss of a nuclear engineering company in Genoa, the group has vowed to target Finmeccanica, the Italian aerospace and defence giant.
In a diatribe sent on 11 May to Corriere della Sera newspaper on 11 May, the Olga Cell of the Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front said it shot Roberto Adinolfi, head of Ansaldo Nucleare, in the leg four days earlier. “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 statement said. It also pledged a “campaign of struggle against Finmeccanica, the murderous octopus”.
This group has also claimed responsiblity for the 2010 attempted attack on a nanotechnology centre in Switzerland (mentioned most recently in my July 25, 2011 posting) and, according to Coghlan’s article, the Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front is associated with the, in English, Individuals Tending to Savagery (ITS) group who claimed responsibility for the August 2011 attacks on ‘nanotechnology researchers’ in Mexico (mentioned in my August 11, 2011 posting).
The anarchists seem to be turning their attention away from nanotechnology to focus on the nuclear industry. This quote from Coghlan’s article stimulated a new line of thinking on the topic of violence and science for me (I’ve been horrified by it all),
“At least with animal rights activists, you know what they want, but with these anarchists, I’m not sure,” he says. “Do they want us to stop all scientific experiments, stop driving cars or go back to living in caves? I don’t know.” [Michael Hagman, head of communications at the Empa institute in Duebendorf, Switzerland]
The cynic in me finally awoke when I put that quote together with the group’s shift to a new target. After last year’s Fukushima incident and the huge amount of interest and concern, I imagine the Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front has concluded they will get far more attention and notoriety, their primary and only goal, by focusing on the nuclear industry.
If you’re interested, the details about the most recent attack, the group’s international links, and some good writing are featured in Coghlan’s article.
ETA Aug. 30, 2012: I corrected the author’s name from Coughlan to Coghlan.
ETA Feb. 21, 2013: Leigh Phillips contacted me to mention that there was a May 28, 2012 article for Nature, Anarchists attack science, which preceded Coghlan’s article for New Scientist and to which Coghlan provides a link. Phillips’ preceding article was subtitled, Armed extremists are targeting nuclear and nanotechnology workers. Phillips opens with the then recent attack on a nuclear engineering executive and subsequently focuses on attacks in the nanotechnology sector.