So the anarchists are killing scientists now…

I’m getting this from Nature, although New Scientist has also been covering it. A group called “the Olga Cell of the Informal Anarchist Federation International Revolutionary Front” is waging war – with guns and bombs – against nuclear researchers and nanotechnologists:

The Olga Cell, named after an imprisoned Greek anarchist, is part of the Informal Anarchist Federation, which, in April 2011, claimed responsibility for sending a parcel bomb that exploded at the offices of the Swiss nuclear lobby group, Swissnuclear, in Olten. A letter found in the remains of the bomb demanded the release of three individuals who had been detained for plotting an attack on IBM’s flagship nanotechnology facility in Zurich earlier that year. In a situation report published this month, the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service explicitly linked the federation to the IBM attack.

The Informal Anarchist Federation argues that technology, and indeed civilization, is responsible for the world’s ills, and that scientists are the handmaidens of capitalism. “Finmeccanica means bio- and nanotechnology. Finmeccanica means death and suffering, new frontiers of Italian capitalism,” the letter reads.

The cell says that it is uniting with eco-anarchist groups in other countries, including Mexico, Chile, Greece and the United Kingdom. Mexico has already seen similar attacks: in August 2011, a group called Individuals Tending Towards Savagery sent a parcel bomb that wounded two nanotechnology researchers at the Monterrey Institute of Technology. One received burns to his legs and a perforated eardrum and the other had his lung pierced by shrapnel (G. Herrera Corral Nature 476,373; 2011). The package contained enough explosive to collapse part of the building, according to police, but failed to detonate properly.

Earlier that year, the same group sent two bombs to the nanotechnology facility at the Polytechnic University of the Valley of Mexico. One was intercepted before anyone could be harmed, but the second detonated, injuring a security guard. It is not clear how closely the group is tied to the Informal Anarchist Federation, but in online forums the two bodies offer “direct support” for each other’s activities and talk of a “blossoming” of a more organized eco-anarchist movement.

In general, I’d be sympathetic with a crowd that called itself “eco-anarchist.” And blowing up lobbyists… well, not my thing, but OK. But nanotech researchers?