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FBI Releases File On the Anarchist Cookbook 375

An anonymous reader noted that the FBI has released its file on The Anarchist Cookbook, the 1971 manual of mayhem. It's a pretty long PDF that isn't actually OCRd but there's some crazy stuff in there. But my personal favorite is the scanned in images of 3.5" floppy disks.
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FBI Releases File On the Anarchist Cookbook

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  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @10:14AM (#35198806) Journal

    Disturbing to look at letter after letter to the FBI. All these well meaning people thinking that they're doing the right thing by reporting this work to the FBI, suggesting that the FBI stop it's publication. These people are a greater threat to freedom than anyone who has bought this book.

  • by Morris Thorpe ( 762715 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @10:22AM (#35198860)

    The letter from congressman George Mahon (D-TX) is disheartening.
    He tells Hoover that "several of my constituents" have expressed alarm about the book. He then says he has not read the book but "the reviews have caused quite a bit of controversy." Finally, he asks for something to tell the constituents.
    The process is totally hollow. And isn't that the way things continue to work40 years later? If anything, it's worse. Today's congressperson would scream louder and vilify the opposition (all while willingly ignorant about the issue at hand.)

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @10:46AM (#35199058)

    From the PDF under "enclosure" from someone reviewing the book:

    "The formulas and procedures presented concerning the production of high and low explosives cannot be called incorrect but they are not always complete and therefore present a hazard to anyone using the information"

    No kidding. Darwin Awards waiting to be handed out.

    As a BBSer with my own copy back in the day, we didn't dare try any of that shit because it even looked like it was missing steps.

    The Amateur Astronomer's Handbook has recipes for silvering mirrors, and there are warnings to not keep the mixture (sugar recipe) standing around too long because it creates silver fulminate. The complete lack of similar safety warnings in the Anarchists' Cookbook is a red flag not to try this stuff. Consult a real explosives manual instead.


  • gun control is not meant to stop criminal masterminds and intelligent determined boy scouts. its meant to stop casual hotheads and insane people. if you stop people from getting guns easily someone like yourself and criminal geniuses will still have guns. nobody thinks making guns harder to get will stop someone like you

    so who won't get guns? the kind of guy who shoots up a disco because a chick looked at him funny or the guy who shot the congresswoman in arizona. these people aren't fine thinking specimens: they get guns simply because they are easy to get. so make guns less easy to get, and insane people and casual hotheads won't get guns. that's it

    you have to understand, they aren't trying that hard, at much of anything in life, and it is these sort of people that cause all of the tragedy with guns

    i would be able to understand gun lovers a little better if they didn't freak out at the most sane obvious and prudent restrictions on guns

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @11:13AM (#35199292)

    Which if nothing else should be mandatory reading for people who mistakenly believe gun control can be made to work --- I used to make black powder by collecting nitrates from underneath piles of cow manure in local fields, collecting charcoal when emptying the ashes from the fireplace and sulfur by purchasing sulfur candles from the local store (unfortunately there weren't any naturally occurring sulfur deposits w/in bicycling distance).

    I don't think anyone -- out of those who have thought about it, anyway -- think gun control can eliminate guns. The objective is to reduce the availability of guns to the vast majority of people who lack either the knowledge or the motivation to fabricate the components from scratch. In Japan, where private gun ownership is effectively illegal, the few guns in private hands are imported from relatively lawless regions like SE Asia and North America, not by Yakuza lackeys formulating black powder from cow manure.

  • by Ben4jammin ( 1233084 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @11:31AM (#35199456)
    I think there are a couple of issues here. First of all, how are you going to define a "casual hothead" before the fact? Sure it easy to see after the fact, but how do you define it beforehand in a way that isn't also going to snare a lot of people that it shouldn't?

    With someone who is insane, once they are diagnosed you have a paper trail. But what about before that? Exactly when are they insane? How can you tell before they act without also limiting the rights of everyone?

    The NICS guidelines ( can help, but what about people that up to a point have been good citizens, but for whatever reason, go off?

    And if you look at what has been going on in CA ( check this part out:

    De Leon spokesman Dan Reeves has said the local laws have helped police track down 200 criminals who bought handgun ammunition. Some were drug dealers and many had large caches of illegal guns or explosives

    So even with a BUNCH of laws, both state and federal, covering both guns AND ammo bad guys still get guns/ammo. Now true, they are referring to convicted felons, which is not what you were talking about. But none of those people were convicted felons the first time they committed a felony. Are you sure it is so easy to predict? At some point, if you aren't careful, the gun laws will just put law abiding citizens at a severe disadvantage without actually helping to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Where that point of diminished returns is, I don't know. But my point is that I think you are oversimplifying things a bit.

  • by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @11:33AM (#35199470) Journal

    I find it more sad that people think crime will be solved by removing the tools of that crime. After guns are removed and people start using knives they will be the first people to limit the size of knives people can buy. After that?

    Crimes of passion may be prevented by minor gun control... but I'd venture to say that the recent publicized acts were all premeditated and legality of purchase would have had little (if no) affect on the outcome. This wasn't some guy that decided one morning to go out and "get him a human head."

  • countries with more stringent gun control like japan, germany, etc., still have gun crime, but a heck of a lot less gun crime than the pointless carnage and mayhem that defines the usa

    furthermore, anyone can get a knife. there was a guy in japan who went into a school and stabbed a bunch of kids

    but by and large, the usa has tons more senseless homicides per capita, period, than japan. simply because more firepower = more deaths

    yes, you can kill someone with a knife. but it take work. set one guy with a knife on a crowd, versus one guy with a gun spraying that crowd with bullets, and you tell me who is going to do more killing. send a guy into a field with oxen, versus a guy into a field with a john deere tractor. the technology you use and the job you set out to do obviously makes a difference

    the tool DOES matter: it amplifies the intent to kill, it makes it easier than with knives. so cut down on guns, and there will be less senseless death

  • by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @11:51AM (#35199692) Homepage

    The book was memorable because it was prohibited. As a teenager, having a copy was one of the greatest taboos a middle-class suburban kid might violate. What better symbol of rebellion? It was common for the same reason kids in online games today scream "nigger" even though there is no indication that there are black people playing, and the kids themselves probably aren't particularly racist--it's a just violation of society's most severe taboos.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 14, 2011 @12:10PM (#35199946)
    (Posting anonymously because I don't think my employer would appreciate this post)

    I manage a gun store, and while I see two or three people a month denied guns through the formal background check process, I deny firearms to about twenty times as many people because in my "professional opinion" based on 10-60 seconds of observation they are too stupid to own a gun:
    1. The kid who comes in with his buddy, gawking at the guns, laughing and saying things like, "whoa, that shit is CLEAN, yo." That phrase automatically disqualifies at least one person a week.
    2. The guy who asks to see a semi-automatic, assault-style .22 and points it at other customers in the store, holding it sideways as if he's a gangsta' with a handgun in a movie
    3. The scent of marijuana that tells me I'm not about to sell a gun to whoever it is that's approaching the counter
    4. The guy who tells me he just wants something cheap because he's just going to shoot a bunch of people, then threatens me when I refuse to sell him anything (the police were at his house less than an hour later, he tried to run out the back door and was arrested for making a "terrorist threat" ... their term, not mine).
    5. The woman who tells me she's buying the gun for her husband/boyfriend because he can't buy it for himself (illegal immigrant/felon/domestic abuse record/etc), then tries to buy a gun at the next closest gun store 5 miles away 30 minutes later, and the next closest store 20 miles away a couple hours later, not realizing we all notify each other when straw purchases are attempted. And after pretending to allow the sale so he could record her info, the third guy points out that he knows when and where she's been for the last couple hours and that if they try another store she's going to jail.
    6. The list goes on...

    So, yes, gun control stops a lot of casually stupid people who clearly have no business owning a gun from obtaining one. It does not, and never will, stop an intelligent, determined person from obtaining one. The world is not a perfect place, but it would be a lot worse if we made it easy for casually stupid people to obtain guns.

  • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @12:16PM (#35199998)

    I also recall at least Germany having a problem with a government that systematically rounded up what they considered undesirables and putting them to death...

    The 2nd amendment isn't about hunting, self defense, or casual target shooting - it is about the ability for the citizenship to revolt against the government.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @12:41PM (#35200266) Journal

    Are you kidding? The right thing to do is to read it with your kid, and explain each and every way that following the book would get him blown up. Then you take him out and build some model rockets or smoke bombs so he has a non-destructive way to deal with the urge. This kind of material is a perfect teaching opportunity.

  • The idea that a well armed populace is safer is clearly a boy scout fantasy.

    It's not at all clear to me, nor to many scholars who've studied the issue. I assume you've read John Lott's seminal work that kicked off an ongoing debate about the effect of widespread concealed carry, right? And the many other research papers that support his finding that the more law-abiding citizens are carrying firearms the less violent crime there is? And noted the fact that the (relatively few) studies that find to the contrary, with only a single exception, find that rather than more guns increasing crime, they have no significant effect? And I'm sure you've also read the FBI reports that analyze the question from the criminal's perspective, and conclude that citizen concealed carry is the largest single deterrent in the minds of most violent criminals. I can provide links, but all of this information is readily accessible via Google.

    I think this is a case where what appears to be common sense is actually just ignorance. Real study of the issue shows that privately-owned, concealed firearms are a real deterrent to crime, and the numbers show that the otherwise law-abiding "hothead" who "flips out" and starts shooting people doesn't exist. In the case of Jared Loughner, I think the crowd is lucky he had a gun. Without that, he'd have had to fall back on simpler and far more deadly weapons -- like his truck. What would be even better, of course, is to identify mentally ill people like him beforehand and get them into treatment. People wouldn't die, and they'd have happier lives. But the presence or absence of guns doesn't significantly affect that dynamic.

    It is time for the USA to join every other sober industrialized nation in the world and severely restrict guns. Reason will prevail, it always does. Even though we will pay a horrible price in senseless deaths until the stink finally gets too high. Eventually, too high even for those with an irrational religious conviction about the virtuousness of guns. The rest of us are waiting for you to finally come to their senses. We're not too patient though, we're sick of the carnage. Hurry up and figure it out.

    What carnage?

    Yes, approximately 30,000 people die in the US annually from gunshot wounds. That's terrible. But when you break down the numbers, you learn some interesting things.

    First, approximately half of those deaths are suicides. Without access to a firearm, would those people still be alive? Perhaps some of them, only because guns tend to be a quite effective way to do yourself in. But they're hardly the only way.

    Second, the vast majority of the deaths that remain are gang- and drug-related. If you want to eliminate most of those deaths, the solution is quite apparent: Legalize drugs. Regulate them tightly, but make them most readily available through legal channels and you'll cut the legs from under the gangs. Without drugs, they have no funding. Without funding, they die. We experienced all of this nearly a century ago, yet we continue paying a horrible price in senseless deaths and loss of civil liberties, and will continue paying it until we wise up and deal with drug abuse as a social and medical problem, not a criminal one.

    Third, we get the portion that are really hard to address: domestic violence. There are about 4,000 deaths per year where an angry spouse/child/parent/whatever grabs a gun and starts shooting. Some of these people would not die if guns were unavailable, and I don't really know what we can do about it. More readily-available family counseling services, perhaps. More shelters and programs to help battered women and children escape a dangerous situation before their abuser grabs a gun and kills them -- or before they grab a gun and kill their abuser (though I have to say I find those outcomes less heartbreaking... not that they're the best outcomes, but they're better than many of the alternatives).

  • by Noren ( 605012 ) on Monday February 14, 2011 @02:35PM (#35201452)
    So why does Switzerland, where most males from ages 19-34 are required to keep an assault rifle in their homes as part of their compulsory military service, have much less senseless deaths than the USA?

    There just might be reasons other then the simple availability of tools.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"