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Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online
Internet Bigotry, Extremism and Violence
Table of Contents

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Responding to Extremist
Speech Online:

10 Frequently Asked Questions
Bomb-Making Manuals:
Explosive Content

In November 1995, Ray Lampley, Cecilia Lampley, and John Baird began construction of a bomb with the help of the bomb-making manual entitled "Homemade C-4." When the FBI arrested the conspirators, law enforcement agents recovered the bomb-making manuals Anarchist's Cookbook and Homemade Weapons, in addition to the "Homemade C-4" text, from the Lampley residence.

Many of these bomb-making instructions are available online. Numerous pages devoted to terror manuals are currently present on the Web, and explosives enthusiasts regularly post information at USENET newsgroups.

Additionally, some white supremacist pages sites, such as Death 2 ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government), have posted bomb-making instructions. Covered with Nazi and World Church of the Creator symbols, this site urges its readers to "Kill the jew [sic] pig before it's too late" and proclaims its support for "black on black violence." Death 2 ZOG contains downloadable copies of bomb-making manuals such as "Jolly Roger Cookbook," "The Big Book of Mischief" and "Anarchy Cookbook."

William Powell's legendary Anarchist's Cookbook, first published in 1971, has inspired many Web pages. Though Powell's book has not been available on the Web in its entirety, a number of Web pages contain works named after it, such as "The Anarchist Cookbook IV," otherwise known as the BHU Pyrotechnics Cookbook. Explosive-related sections of this document, which is widely available on the Web, include "Making Plastic Explosives," "Napalm" and "Revised Pipe Bombs
Numerous pages devoted to terror manuals are currently present on the Web, and explosives enthusiasts regularly post information at USENET newsgroups.
4.14." "The Anarchy Cookbook IV" also contains instructive information about lock picking, computer "hacking," and robbing Automated Teller Machines.

Many versions of another popular online manual, the Terrorist's Handbook, include a disclaimer that warns, "don't try anything you find in this document!!! Many of the instructions doesn't [sic] even work." Yet these directions are posted nonetheless, instructing readers how to construct "High Order Explosives" such as "Ammonium Nitrate," "Dynamite," and "TNT" as well as "Molotov Cocktails," "Phone Bombs," and other destructive devices. Significantly, this Handbook also includes a "Checklist for Raids on Labs," concluding that "in the end, the serious terrorist would probably realize that if he/she wishes to make a truly useful explosive, he or she will have to steal the chemicals to make the explosive from a lab."

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Federal agents investigating at least 30 bombings and four attempted bombings between 1985 and June 1996 recovered bomb-making literature that the suspects had obtained from the Internet.76 In these investigations, the possession of bomb-making literature has been taken by law enforcement authorities as strong circumstantial evidence that this literature has been used to plan crimes.

Like other extremist material on the Internet, bomb-making manuals are readily accessible to children. In fact, these tracts have already been accessed by eager, impressionable youngsters. The Washington Post has described discussions among 14-year-olds about "which propellants are best to use, which Web sites have the best recipes and whether tin or aluminum soda cans make better bomb casings."77 Furthermore, children have used recipes found on the Web to create and detonate bombs. For example, two 15-year-old boys from Orem, Utah, landed in a juvenile-detention center after they constructed a pipe bomb using online instructions. Similarly, three high school students in Ogden, Utah, who ignited a bomb at a Jehovah's Witnesses church later told police they learned how to make the device from a Web page devoted to the Anarchists Cookbook.78

Next: Conclusion


76 "Report on the Availability of Bombmaking Information, the Extent to which its Dissemination is Controlled by Federal Law, and the Extent to which such Dissemination May be Subject to Regulation consistent with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution," prepared by the United States Department of Justice, submitted to Congress April 1997

77"Easy-to-Make Pipe Bombs Becoming Toys for Teens" by Fern Shen, Washington Post, April 4, 1998

78 "Bomb-Building Made Easy on the Internet" by Vince Horiuchi, Salt Lake Tribune, August 11, 1996


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2001 Anti-Defamation League