In the aftermath of the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against America, the US government updated its list of foreign terrorist organizations to include Aum Shinrikyo:
The U.S. administration on Friday
added 22 groups, including Japan's AUM Shinrikyo cult, to a list of foreign terrorist organizations subject to an asset freeze in the United States.
''Listing these organizations under the Sept. 24 terrorist financing executive order underscores the administration's objectives to disrupt the financial base of terrorists,'' the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The executive order, signed by President George W. Bush, enabled the administration to freeze the assets of designated terrorist groups in the U.S.
The 22 are all on a list
of 28 foreign terrorist organizations issued Oct. 5 by the State Department.
As an aside, this was an interesting move on the part of the U.S. government. After all, on the one hand Washington chides countries like France and Germany for keeping tabs on the Church of Scientology - a cult whose scriptures promote and condone unethical behavior, including hate- and harassment activities - but which America's IRS (tax collection office) has deemed to be a 'religion.' On the other hand the USA not only supports Japan's surveillance of Aum Shinrikyo, but also declares the group to be a terrorist organization.
In January, 2001, the Henry L. Stimson Center - a U.S. nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to enhancing international peace and security, issued a report titled, "Ataxia: The Chemical and Biological Terrorism Threat and the US Response."
Ataxia is a comprehensive research report that examines the many facets of the unconventional terrorism issue in the United States. The first sections examine the actual threat of terrorism involving chemical and biological weapons, including technical feasibility, statistical trends, and a re-examination of the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo sarin attack in the Tokyo subway system. From there, Ataxia inventories the various federal response assets and training and equipment programs, and airs widespread feedback from the front lines on these federal efforts. Chapter 6, "Metropolis, USA," offers chronological descriptions of local responses that would follow a chemical or biological terrorist attack and shares innovative ideas from local emergency personnel on coordination, plans, tactics, and capabilities for dealing with these type of incidents. Finally, the report concludes with an extensive series of observations and recommendations for policy makers in Washington and beyond.
Authored by Amy Smithson, director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project,and project research associate Leslie-Anne Levy, Ataxia builds on more than 135 interviews with government officials, outside experts, and emergency response personnel from 33 cities. Over 400 print sources are referenced throughout the body of the text. The report also includes 21 explanatory text boxes and 39 diagrams and tables.
The full report is available online:
» Aleph PR Department: A series of items from Aum's (Aleph's) official english-language web site explaining why the movement believes it should no longer be considered dangerous.
» 1993 Failed Biological Attacks Offer Scientists Important Lessons, ABC News, Oct. 5, 2001
» Japanese sect was close to bioterrorism, journal says, Miami Herald, Aug. 30, 2001
» Terrorism: Question and Answers - Aum Shinrikyo This site is operated by the Council on Foreign Relations (USA): "a nonpartisan membership organization, research center, and publisher. It is dedicated to increasing America's understanding of the world and contributing ideas to U.S. foreign policy."
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