Principal engage in a threatened
Terrorism is a “premeditated and unlawful act in which groups or agents of some principal engage in a threatened or actual use of force or violence against human or property targets. These groups or agents engage in this behavior intending the purposeful intimidation of governments or people to affect policy or behavior with an underlying political objective” (Martin, 2010). This is the operational definition that will serve as the foundation for this case analysis of the 1984 Rajneeshee Bioterror Attack.
The Rajneesh religious movement was founded by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the 1960s (Urban, 2005). During that period of time Rajneesh taught his ideas of free love and meditation. He later moved to in 1974 as he continued to attract more and more followers. The Rajneesh religious movement incorporated fundamentals from diverse aspects of and Zen (Clarke, 2006). Rajneesh's religious movement proved, however, to be very controversial in India, the United States and Europe (Clark, 2006). The followers of Rajneesh were sometimes referred to as called neo-sannyasins (Idinopulos and Yonan, 1996). At times they were also referred to as orange people because of there attire which was usually orange (Chryssides, 1999). One of the odd things about Rajneesh's religion was that the women were discouraged from marrying or having children (Pike, 2007). Rajneesh had instructed them not to reproduce because families were seen as inherently dysfunctional and destructive. He also asked the followers to practice forms of and(Pike, 2007). When Rajneesh moved to Oregon some of the women actually justified leaving their children reasoning that spiritual development was more important (Pike, 2007). Along these same lines, no children were born at the commune in Oregon or the commune in England (Pike, 2007).
In 1981, Rajneesh transitioned his movement into the United States. He and his followers bought the Big Muddy Ranch which consisted of about 64,000+ acres near the little town of Antelope, Oregon. Rajneesh would soon rename the Big Muddy Ranch to Rajneeshpuram. Initially, about two thousand followers joined him at Rajneeshpuram (Goldman, 1997). This move to Oregon was unexpected by Rajneesh's followers as it was never discussed before it happened.
It was during this time that Rajneesh and his religious movement was in complete political control of Antelope, Oregon.is a small town and has a total population of about 75 people. Once they had taken political control of Antelope they changed the name to Rajneesh (FitzGerald, 1987). Rajneesh group was initially viewed in a favorable light with the local population, but that soon turned negative with the commune's continuing expansion (FitzGerald, 1987). In order to continue expansion the Rajneesh leadership wanted to gain a political majority by influencing Wasco County in the 1984 county election (FitzGerald, 1987). Rajneesh's first goal was to win a few seats on the Circuit Court of Wasco County and win the sheriff's office. The Rajneesh's also attempted to influence the election by bringing in thousands of homeless people. These homeless people were brought in to Rajneeshpuram to add to the overall number of voters for the Rajneesh candidates (Carus, 2002). The Wasco County Clerk was able to counteract this attempt by enforcing a regulation that required all new voters to present their information when registering to vote (Entis, 2007).
When their initial plan failed, the Rajneesh leadership made a new plan to sicken and debilitate voters in The Dalles Oregon. A majority of the voting population live in The Dalles. Their plan was to incapacitate the voting population of The Dalles so that Rajneesh's candidates would be elected into office during the 1984 elections (Urbano, 2006). They decided to do this by contaminating food ingested by the voting public so as to defer them from coming to the voting polls on the Election Day. First, however, the group wanted to try this method out in a trial run. The salmonella bacteria were purchased from a Seattle medical supply company and the bacteria was cultured in labs located inside of Rajneesh. They then deliberately contaminated Salad bar at ten local restaurants with Salmonella. The salmonella bacterium was the primary delivery tactic. The bacterium was delivered by one member that had a concealed plastic bag. This plastic bag would contain a light brownish liquid that contained the bacteria and the liquid was either spread over the food at one of The Dalles salad bars, or was poured directly into the salad dressing. On September 24, 1984, more than one hundred and fiftypeople were already violently ill. And by the end of September, over seven hundred and fifty-one cases of severe Gastroenteritis were documented. The results from the lab showed that all the victims were contaminated with salmonella. The symptoms from salmonella include fever, diarrhea, chills, vomiting, nausea, headaches and severe abdominal pain (Urbano, 2006).
Also during this incident, two commissioners from Wasco County were poisoned with salmonella bacterium that was in water that they drank during an August 29, 1984, visit to Rajneeshpuram. As a result both commissioners got sick and one was hospitalized. The victims of this bioterrorism attack ranged from infants to the elderly. These events resulted in what is now called the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack, as this group ended up poisoning the food of more than 750individuals in.
The 1984 Rajneeshee incident was considered to be the firstattack in the United States. It is also considered the largest bioterrorist attack in the history of the United States (Wheelis, 2006). It was also documented that this bioterrorism attack was the only incident that used biological weapons to harm humans (Wheelis, 2006). In addition, the plotters also attempted to dump pathogens into The Dalles water system (Carus, 2002). If the trial run proved to be successful, then the plotters were planning to use the same technique closer to Election Day. The second part of the bioterrorist attack was never implemented because the the election was boycotted by the commune. The commune boycotted the election when it became clear that the homeless people brought in wouldn't be allowed to vote in the election (Carter, 1990).
The chief planners of the bioterrorism attack included Rajneesh's chief lieutenant Ma Anand Sheela (Ma An and Sheela), a trained Nurse practitioner, and Diane Ivonne Onang (Ma An and Puja), secretary-treasurer of the Rajneesh Medical Corporation (Carus, 2002). Roughly twelve people were involved in the plots to use biological agents and at least eleven people were involved in the planning process. It was also reported that four appeared to have been involved in the development of the bacteria at the Rajneeshpuram medical lab. The report also mentioned that eight individuals were involved with the actual delivery of the salmonella (Carus, 2002).
It didn't take to long before the local residents suspected that Rajneesh's group was behind the poisonings. As a result, the local residents of The Dalles turned out on Election Day in droves to prevent Rajneesh and his followers from winning any county positions. This essentially rendered Rajneesh's terrorist plot unsuccessful. With these events taking place the Rajneeshees ultimately withdrew their candidates from the election. Out of the communes 7,000residents only 239 voted that election.
In the aftermath of the attack, local restaurants spent thousands of dollars as health officials had to close the affected restaurants. Also, after the attack most of The Dalles residents were scared to go out for fear of further attacks. Also, a number of investigators and officials from different agencies were dispatched to The Dalles to look into the cause of the occurrence. The investigation identified that the bacteria used in the bioterrorism attack was typhimurium. The investigation concluded that the occurrence was due to poor personal hygiene by the food employees because the workers that prepared the food at the affected restaurants were ill before most customers got sick.
Despite the investigators' diagnosis of the situation, Oregon Congressman James H. Weaver continued to investigate the bioterrorism attack because he felt the investigators conclusion did not explain all the facts. Congressman Weaver then contacted physicians at the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies to urge them to investigate Rajneeshpuram. On February 28, 1985, Congressman Weaver gave a speech at the United States House of Representatives during which he accused the Rajneeshees of contaminating salad bars at eight restaurants with salmonella. Weaver's well-reasoned case was confirmed several months later as investigators gained access to the Rajneeshpuram and observed the evidence (Carter, 1990).
On September 16, 1985, Rajneesh held a series of press conferences where he claimed that Sheela and other commune leaders left Rajneeshpuram to go to Europe over the weekend. Following their departure, Rajneesh also said that some of the residents informed him that Sheela and some of her team had committed a number of very serious crimes. Rajneesh then proceed to call Sheela and her team a gang of fascists. Rajneesh said this because Sheela and her team were going to poison his doctor. They were also planning to poison Rajneesh's female companion, the district attorney of Jefferson County and The Dalles' water system. Rajneesh also believed that Sheela and her team may have poisoned Judge William Hulse and possibly a county commissioner. Rajneesh further stated that Sheela and her team may have been to blame for the salmonella bacteria outbreak in The Dalles, and invited investigators to come to the Rajneeshpuram to investigate. His allegations were initially viewed with skepticism by outside observers (FitzGerald, 1987).
Soon thereafter,formed a task force among the local Oregon State Police, the local Sheriff's office, the National Guard, the Immunization and Naturalization Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The task force set up there headquarters at Rajneeshpuram to investigate the allegations. The task force also obtained subpoenas and search warrants because they felt they needed a greater authority to perform an effective investigation. They also feared that if they didn't some of the evidence might be destroyed. On October 2, 1985, 50 investigators entered Rajneesh where Dr. Skeels found glass vials that contained salmonella bacteria. This salmonella bacteria was found at the Rajneeshpuram medical clinic laboratory. An analysis by the Centers for Disease Control lab in Atlanta determined that the salmonella bacterium found at the medical laboratory was an exact match to the people that got sick from eating at the The Dalles restaurants. The investigation also revealed prior experiments at Rajneeshpuram that dealt with chemicals, poisons and bacteria. Investigators also found a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook, and books on how to manufacture explosives and military biowarfare. Also, the investigators alleged that there may have been similar bioterrorism attacks carried out in , Salem and possibly other cities in Oregon. According to the testimony, the terrorists also boasted that they poisoned a nursing home and the salad bar at the. These attempts were never proven in court though (Miller, Broad and Engelberg, 2002). As a result of the investigation, law enforcement officials also discovered that there was an Rajneeshee assassination plot to murder , a former for Oregon.
The mayor of Rajneeshpuram, David Berry Knapp, turned the Turn states evidence over and gave a report of the salmonella attack to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During his report Mayor Knapp claimed that Sheela spoke with Rajneesh about the plan to reduce voter turnout in The Dalles by poisoning people with salmonella. Mayor Knapp also claimed that Rajneesh told Sheela that it would be best not to harm people, but if there were a few casualties not to worry. On September 25, 2984, investigators did find an invoice from American Type Culture Collection. The invoice showed that an order was received by the Rajneeshpuram medical laboratory for salmonella typhi, which was the bacterium used in the bioterrorism attack.
Rajneesh ended up leaving Oregon on October 27, 1985 and was Arrest warrant when he landed in. Rajneesh was charged with 35 counts of deliberate Illegal_immigration to the United States. As part of his plea bargain agreement, he pled guilty to two counts of to immigration officials. Rajneesh ended up receiving a fine for $400,000 and a ten year suspended sentence. Along with the suspended sentence and fine, Rajneesh was also deported and banned from reentering the United States for five years. It ended up that Rajneesh was never prosecuted for salmonella bioterrorism attack. Both Sheela and Puja were detained on October 28, 1985, while in Germany. After long-drawn-out negotiations, Sheela and Puja were extradited to the United States. On February 6, 1986, they arrived in Portland and were charged with attempted murder of Rajneesh's personal physician. They were also charged with first-degree assault for the poisoning of Judge William Hulse and second-degree assault for the poisoning of The Dalles Commissioner Raymond Matthews. The U.S. Attorney's office handled the prosecution for the cases that dealt with the poisoning at the ten restaurants and the Attorney General's office from Oregon handled the prosecution for the cases that dealt with the poisoning of Commissioner Matthews and Judge Hulse (Carter, 1990).
On July 22, 1986, both Sheela and Puja entered no-contest pleas for the salmonella bacteria poisoning and the other charges. Sheela and Puja's sentences ended up ranging from three years all the way up to 20 years. Sheela received 20 years for the attempt to murder Rajneesh's physician. She received another 20 years for first-degree assault in the poisoning of Judge Hulse and 10 years for second-degree assault in the poisoning of Commissioner Matthews. Sheela also received four and a half years for the salmonella bacteria poisoning and four and a half years for wiretapping. Lastly she received five years of probation for immigration fraud. Sheela's accomplice Puja received 15 years for attempted murder of Rajneesh's physician. Puja received 15 years for first-degree assault in the poisoning of Judge Hulse and seven and a half years for the second-degree assault for poisoning Commissioner Matthews. Puja also received four and a half years for the salmonella bacteria poisoning and three years probation for wiretapping. After only serving 29 months of their sentences both Sheela and Puja were released early because of good behavior. After being released Sheela was deported, and went on to operate two in Switzerland (Carter, 1990).
In June of 1985, The The Oregonian ran a series on Rajneesh's movement which included an investigation into the salmonella bioterrorism attack. As a result of this follow-up investigation, The Oregonian learned that one of their investigative journalist, Leslie Zaitz, had been placed on Sheela's group top ten hit list.later commented on the bioterrorism attack saying that the: "The Rajneeshees committed the most significant crimes of their kind in the history of the United States ... The largest single incident of falsified marriages, the most massive scheme of wiretapping and bugging, and the largest mass poisoning” (Garrett, 2000). In looking back at the attack Dr. Skeels made the statement that, "We lost our virtue over this ... We really learned to be more apprehensive ... The first major biological attack on a U.S. community was not carried out by foreign terrorists smuggled into New York, but by legal residents of a U.S. community. The next time it happens it could be with more deadly agents ... We in public health are really not ready to deal with that” (Garrett, 2000).
In conclusion, the Rajneesh group is the only known organization to have cultured there own bacteria for bioterrorism purposes. Also, because of the nature of the bioterrorism attack state and federal investigators asked that details of the attack not be printed in the for a period of 12 years. Investigators made the request for fear that the account of the events would spark a Copycat crime (Garrett, 2000). As a result no repeat attacks or copycats consequently occurred. In 1997 the Journal of the American Medical Association published a detailed account of the incident. Also, in 1999 the Centers for Disease Control published in there journal Emerging Infectious Diseases the six motivational factors associated with bioterrorism. These motivational factors included the following: no outside constituency, charismatic leadership, loner or splinter group, apocalyptic ideology, defensive aggression, grandiosity, and sense of paranoia (Bromley, 2002).