American Anarchist



you you the book as I read it advocates the violent overthrow of the American government but that was very fed up with the government and but it wasn't it wasn't a call to action there's no there's no call to action in the book itself how often do you read the book I haven't haven't read it since I wrote it I don't have a copy of it I'm the original it was just the warning keep in mind that the topics written about here are illegal and constitute a threat also more importantly almost all the recipes are dangerous this book is not for children or morons it's true it's not a book for children and it's not a book for morons the book is published in 1970 you were equipping people with this knowledge to do what I'm yes I don't think that I don't think I hope they would do anything with it quite frankly this is a book for anarchists those who feel able to discipline themselves on all the subjects from drugs to weapons to explosives I don't think the book actually says this is what you should do with this information in fact it doesn't a freedom fighter can never surrender for if he does he becomes part of the problem there is no trial in times of trouble just torture and death it's not you know let's go and burn the government down I'd that's not they're the only laws an individual can truly respect and obey are those he instills in himself there is only one choice for a real man and that is revolution this country with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabited whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember forever through it so what were you advocating I think I was advocating people to think for themselves bomb-making is essentially open-source information and it has been that way for a long time it has been that way since before the internet in the late 1960s and early 1970s the u.s. went through a period when we have lots of bombings bombs went off in Southern California Northern California also in New York City from the middle of that morass emerged this the Anarchist Cookbook so many bombings in the 70s large dynamite bombs all over the place and we would frequently find Anarchist Cookbook at the bombers house when we serve the search wards the anarchists clean do-it-yourself bomb-making manual Britain in the early 1970s by William Powell then they miss you very easy publicans have a velocity of attache distal extension the senior in the movie would you say you're uncomfortable identifying yourself as an American I'm not comfortable with an identity and that links me with one patriotic group over the years have you been contacted by the media oh there was a string of invitations to interview requests from BBC News we the Guardian Charlie Rose didn't know whom Charlie Rose was there were several others which I turn when I'm out of touch with the media and the media culture and I've been living outside the United States for the last 36 years that's where I'm comfortable 1967 I was 16 17 years old started to hitchhike towards New York City it was the summer Lower East Side hot and psychedelic call they reject we're a society they can build a better one was Eddie times people were left-wing there was certainly anti-war people were very much aware of the civil rights movement feminism was coming into its own you had the beginning of the gay pride movement I was living on 10th Street just off Avenue a it was a railroad apartment it had the bathtub in the kitchen I worked at book masters a chain of bookstores that really prided itself on being into whatever was hip book signings by Salvador Dali Andy Warhol on The Velvet Underground Edward Gorey Richard Avedon the photographer it was it was very exciting I can remember a phone call that I got from the manager and he said the police are on the way we've just been busted for selling zap comix number four and ed Sanders fuck-you magazine of the arts get him off the the shelf the cops are on the way at that point in time some of the raunchiest book stores in the world were on Time Square x-rated pornography shops the police couldn't care less they were interested in the counterculture so that was a real eye-opener in terms of the moral squad of the police department I was in the process of forming opinions about politics about myself I went to two or three of marches on Washington the moratorium I felt that I was really involved in something larger than myself a cultural see change we were going to move from irresponsible power in the hands of a few old white men to a much fairer society where people of color and women had equal opportunity where we didn't make Wars of choice halfway around the world that didn't make any sense I was increasingly angry about the war the increasing fatalities on both the Vietnamese side and the American side which other it was a complete and utter waste peaceful demonstrations started to become more and more violent the days of putting flowers into the barrels of rifles was rapidly coming to an end up until this time there wasn't a real radical movement there was a movement of the mouse mass demonstrations are ineffective because power is so removed from the people people became impatient and demonstrators came to demonstrations more and more with the intention of provoking violence so you move from protest to armed conflict they tried to follow up one warrior we're gonna take our fists and put it right into that fat guy Washington police used tear gas to drive them away arrests were made General John Mitchell characterized this incident as evidence of the violent nature of the moratorium protests The Village Voice announced that there was going to be a Giffen at Grand Central Station a celebration of life it was enormous and people were dancing and bongo drums and singing and people were smoking dope openly really in your face to the establishment something exciting something possibly dangerous was happening there was a police presence just before midnight two young men climbed up onto the information desk that's in the middle of Grand Central Station and there's a clock above it and they ripped the hand from the clock why I don't know I suspect that they were stoned but that was a signal for the police to intervene they did and it turned very bloody very very quickly police came in swinging arms they were absolutely indiscriminate at one point I watched a girl having to run the gauntlet of police with batons I don't remember how many were arrested but it observer hundred and a lot of people were but beaten but it was it was a classic police riot I was sickened by it I was angry as frightened I felt very strongly the change needed to happen I thought the government was out of control I was going to write I was gonna turn my hand at writing the Anarchist Cookbook I had become very insolent it was a project that I was engaged in entirely by myself I didn't talk about writing the book with anyone nobody knew I started out by locating the section of the library that had military manuals army Marine Corps Special Forces the Shelf wasn't welcome it wasn't a a rare book room we had to get the librarian to unlock it they were just there on the shelf and I took them down the information about explosives came primarily from explosives and booby traps one was called escape-and-evasion things on sabotage the diagrams in the book some of them came from manuals others I drew myself I took about three and a half maybe four months to write I wrote it in solitude no one read the manuscript before it went to the publisher so your goal was what to take what the military had and what other radical group said and put it into the common domain so that it was accessible to everyone violent groups the Weathermen being one the government being another have access to this information and are using it therefore why shouldn't the rest of us also have that information and I still sort of question that that paradox who controls the information I mean whose hands should it begin I mean I I'm told that the book has has million half two million copies in print I have no idea really what the vast majority of those people have done with the book I suspect very very few have read it cover to cover and I've suspect even fewer have actually read these these passages I think people are drawn to the recipes really you don't think people are drawn in by your perspective and your voice and and inspired I guess other people would be better judges of that than I am and I'm not inspired by it I feel very strongly that every person should be armed and that he or she should be prepared for the worst there's no justice left in the system the only real justice is that which the individual creates from himself and the individual is helpless without a gun this may sound like the dogma expounded by radical right-wing groups like the Minutemen it is the time has passed with demonstrations and pseudo revolutionaries and students to occupy the political scene the time is for a mass uprising armed with single-minded deadly intolerance yeah well it's it's over-the-top exaggerated rhetoric yeah this chapter is going to kill and maim more people than all the rest put together because people just refuse to take things seriously explosives if used with care and all the necessary precautions are one of the greatest tools any liberation movement can have it will confuse the enemy cause destruction and death with power and the technology of the people the language about maiming people does seem that you are aware that the book will be used to commit acts of violence I think um I think I'm aware that there is certainly that possibility I think that's in that's inherent in the three paragraphs that I've just read it read allow the fear and the loneliness and the hatred to build up inside you allow your passions to fertilize the seeds of constructive revolution allow your love of freedom to overcome the false values placed on human life freedom is based on respect and respect must be earned by the spilling of blood I can remember writing that and I remember thinking that is a cool turn of phrase yeah I was pleased with that at the time now I think it's absolutely rubbish but at the time it sounded really good to me I can see that people might read portions of this book and find justification for doing very destructive and evil things and that fills me with remorse which is different than regret well how would you explain that difference I think maybe when at that point now it playing with words I'll just let it's time that if that has been the case and I think it probably has it fills me with remorse we're talking about censorship and when apathy and all kinds of fun things where this is Lyle Stewart he's president of the Lyle Stuart publishing company how did you go about finding a publisher wrote a query letter which I sent out to over 30 different publishers Lyle came back simple one-line let's see the manuscript I knew while Stewart's books he had a reputation for publishing books that were kind of on the edge I was award by him here was this sort of wild man that would publish anything at all of course the thing about the so-called pornography and obscenity laws is that our standards are dynamic they're always changing the thing that would have shocked us 10 years ago we don't even look at today he wasn't intimidated by anybody I'd had 30-plus rejections and I was really quite excited the book was going to be published once it was published there was a just an explosion of publicity there was also a barrage of negative commentary I've recognized that it would create controversy I grossly underestimated the controversy it would provoke the gist was that it should not have been published because it was dangerous they called it the most irresponsible publishing event of the decade or century out of the world got a couple of anonymous letters threatening to kill me it worried me it was almost like something that was getting out of hand and what did you what did you do for the gun you didn't show the notes to police or no I thought it would be ironic for the author of the Anarchist Cookbook – mm-hmm go to the police whether with with the death threats oh I didn't know I didn't go to the police that was that sort of pseudo-celebrity period and everybody wanted to interview me Lyle had organized a press conference at the hotel Americana invited all sorts of reporters and television stations about midway through the press conference someone threw a smoke bomb it was spluttering and smoking and everybody died for cover including myself but what was interesting was that when the smoke cleared the people that hadn't died for cover were Lyle Stuart and his secretary Lyle said afterwards that he thought it was a rival anarchist protesting the commercialization of the of the cookbook my hunch is that it was a publicity stunt probably designed by Lyle himself I was just way out of my depth I think I was feeling uncomfortable with some of the questions that I was being asked whether it was a correct thing to do to put this kind of information into the hands of people who might hurt themselves or others I did not try every recipe in the book I have never made a bomb I've never made LSD in my kitchen I didn't try any of the explosives recipes or I didn't try any of those the portion of the book that was increasingly difficult to justify was the part on explosives and bomb-making increasingly I was feeling that that that wasn't me and what did you do about that well I tried to ignore the fact I mean and basically just put it aside I didn't think about it and I think it's I think it's quite hard to contradict something that has gone out into print with my name on it and there's a hundred thousand two hundred thousand a million copies I don't know it's hard to come out and say I don't agree with this and then you think well why did you write it in the first place you know when he should think about it so I'm wrestling with that during this time but you did speak about it in court in 1973 yes three or four yeah yeah in a Denver courtroom Lyle Stuart and I were being sued for copyright violation the book they said that the copyright had been violated on was a hundred and fifty questions for gorilla they wanted to that I had basically plagiarized this book and your role in the trial was to oh I was on the witness stand for the most of the day the plaintiff's lawyer would ask a question I would answer the question and then I would say and furthermore da da da da da da he asked me about Bangalore torpedoes in a kind of explosive device so I gave him chapter and verse I came across as credible there had been a huge change from the New York City bill Powell who went to promote the book and the individual who showed up in Denver the judge ruled from the bench and through the plaintiffs okay so and what was your reaction to I was delighted I was delighted yeah so you don't recall during that period thinking why am i defending this book that I don't even agree no I know I wasn't defending the book or the content the focus was on winning the case I thought the plaintiff in this case was out to make a quick buck at my expense there needed to be a you know a strong strong defense during the 70s you could talk about what you did to distance yourself from the book did you do anything to distance yourself from the book not publicly I mean I didn't put out any public statements in the seventies I became a father and that was huge I went through confirmation as an Anglican so there were a number of things that were going on for me emotionally spiritually mmm but I didn't do anything during that time to publicly distance myself primarily because the book had sort of dropped off sales were weighed down there was no media attention and I thought it was just going to go and die a quiet death on its own I didn't spend much time thinking about the Anarchist Cookbook to be really frank with you yeah I decided that I wanted to be a teacher and particularly I wanted to work with kids with emotional learning these hyperactivity and deficit disorder I can recall the first day I went into the classroom it was a treatment center for children who had been taken away from their families for abuse children that were neglected the kids had basically been abandoned so I had 12 11 year old boys who had all sorts of issues in some respects I think I saw some of myself in these kids I wanted to be there for them I was born in the United States I was born on Long Island my dad worked for the United Nations the spokesman for the secretary-general and when I was about two he was transferred to Britain which is why I sound the way that I do soon after we arrived in England my dad put my name on the waiting list for one of the leading boys schools and he really had a dream I think I've been going to Cambridge we would go to Cambridge and on holidays and he would point to King's College Chapel and he would say this is where I want you to go to university kind of a dream for me which needless to say I didn't I didn't fulfill and then when I was about 11 or 12 my dad was transferred back to New York it would be fair to say that I was a royal headache to my parents I didn't see the relevance of school I had run-ins with the law and at that point mum and dad said they were going to send me to boarding school which was okay for the first year second year was difficult I didn't I didn't make it through the year I was expelled had to do with vodka and marijuana gently pushing a teacher's car into a ravine would be an exaggeration it's a sort of incline when the car rolled gracefully into a tree I decided at that point that I would make my exit towards New York City I went to work the impetus for writing the book was a combination of a number of different things there was some genuine anger I think I did want to publish I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to publish I told my father after the book was published before it came out but after I had signed the contract it was Easter Sunday I went out to White Plains to have Sunday lunch my dad and I at that point in time was sort of estranged it was just easier when I wasn't fulfilling his aspirations to maintain a distance from him initially he was quite excited by the idea that I'd published a book I think his excitement diminished when he learned about what the content was having said that he was very clear that he respected my right to express it he just didn't have to agree with it himself okay I hope they like onions I wonder I mean it's a bit of a disaster if they don't we both were working at a school for emotionally disturbed and learning disabled children Bachchan was in the elementary school and second grade as a student teacher I was teaching in the high school in bills mother's attic there used to be a big box of newspaper kidding clippings and cuttings and articles about Bill I don't think I even had a copy of the book at that point in time I think your mother did yeah yeah my mother my mother still does have a copy of it um that's kind of funny yes yes it is I think I was able to rationalize it as a young adult saying okay I can understand this as part of someone's past adolescent past I know bill must have been a very angry person as he was growing up but I didn't see that anger that is so obviously a part of that book that was never part of the bill that I had met sometimes when you're an adolescent you do dumb things not all of them put them it put it into print though that's okay the reason that we chose to show this to you at this point in the workshop is if we're not paying attention to something it's easy to miss it my wife and I travel extensively to international schools working with teachers to become more inclusive of children who learn differently the pressure and the stress does not help you kids that if the conditions are right do turn to to violence both of you have had some learning support here at Hong Kong Academy often times when we're talking with students who are getting learning support we don't ask about their strengths and I would be very interested what strengths do you have that you feel pretty good about you feel proud about being the author of the Anarchist Cookbook the irony is my career is not lost on me either from the Anarchist Cookbook to teaching emotional intelligence when was the first time you learned a connection between an act of violence and the book there was Columbine the boys who create the massacre there they had a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook I was very upset and I'm a teacher and the last thing I would want to do is to see students hurt or killed as upholding how did you learn that the book was associated with Columbine I got an email from a friend in the United States who'd seen the film Bowling for Columbine and it seemed the book in the film the thing is is I have a thing it's called the Anarchist Cookbook it shows you how to make bombs and stuff like that in it if there's anything that went wrong they're gonna come to me first just cuz you own to copy the book just because I want to kind of ever made a bomb yourself nope Oh as in like oh I've made on I imagine you've had some kind of visceral reaction yeah I mean you you I feel terrible yeah I feel sick to your stomach and where's your instinct to try to learn more and as part of me that didn't didn't want to know anything about it no as part of me that was torn apart about it that did wanna learn more at this point we're in the Internet age you know everyone Google's themself and you have a book that you can search at any point did you start to look at whether the book was connected to any other events I did do goggle search was the Anarchist Cookbook there was and hundreds of entries but I didn't I didn't spend a whole lot of time going and going through them this is the anarchist got this Amazon as you can see before you the Anarchist Cookbook the information in the book is really good information it's usable it's practical they show you how to do this somewhere along the line they appropriated William Powell's original title you can find things online that call themselves some version of the Anarchist Cookbook [Applause] this is not just a cookbook this is a book of ideas hey guys today we're gonna be playing some more super Columbine massacre the boys downloaded a page from the Anarchist Cookbook it was clear to me that had been a resurgence of interest so I put out a statement through Amazon I have recently been made aware of several websites that focus on the Anarchist Cookbook the central idea of the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change I no longer agree with this I want to state categorically that I am NOT an agreement with the contents of the Anarchist Cookbook I consider it to be a misguided and potentially dangerous publication that should be taken out of print this is your first public statement what's the response I received no direct response from anyone I didn't note that some publications The Guardian for example picked it up and they ran a very short piece author wants his book taken out of print I don't know whether it's picked up elsewhere on or not but and there was no direct response to me from anyone have you tried to stop publication of the book when the book came out it was very very clearly copyright in Lyle Stewart's name Laster it incorporated I did not recognize at the time that that might be in any way unusual I didn't know enough about publishing never published before 19 years old and Lyle let me know that the decision to continue publishing was his that that was not my decision and basically what I had a right to were the royalties until such time as basically vote me out Lyle Stuart declared bankruptcy but sold the publishing house so he wrote to me and said would I accept ten thousand dollars for all of the all of the rights and I wrote like I said absolutely I don't want anything more to do with it I thought it would just continue to fizzle fizzle away what would have happened if you had said no I don't know did you think about consulting a lawyer to find out what your options were you know I didn't I didn't think about that financially did it make sense to take the $10,000 versus continue to get well I wasn't going to get I mean I admit was very clear that Lyle wasn't going to continue to to publish it so if miles Stewart was not going to publish the book but he was asking if you would take a ten thousand dollar pay payout and continue to be published why did you not choose to have Lyle Stewart just not publish the book it's a hard question I think probably I thought that the book was just going to die its own death the $10,000 was welcome I was living on a teacher's salary yeah was that an opportunity for you to it might have been it might have been an opportunity for me to but he was he was making a lot of money out of the book so I knew how many copies were being sold and I knew what I was receiving and it was a lot a lot of sales yeah it was so the book was not fizzling it was it was um during the seventies you're being paid royalties at any time were you uncomfortable with the fact that you were receiving money while you're uncomfortable with the content of the book hmm yeah the royalties were not substantial but I was growing uncomfortable with receiving them but I continued to do so how much total of the entire period that I received royalties I probably received maybe 40 or $50,000 I mean this is not a literary masterpiece this this is a fad book and essentially my understanding was that it was going to go the way of all fads people were going to increasingly lose interest in in it oh that's what I thought I was shooting down in the athletic hall I see two shotgun shells on the ground right here her two big bangs boom sadly it's happened again and this time a 17 year old girl is in a coma fighting for her life this morning shot by one of her classmates could Karl Pearson have been quietly plotting a violent attack at his school for even a couple years Karl had been reading the Anarchist Cookbook since sophomore year I learned that the book had been found in the possession of a young man up in Colorado who had been engaged in a school shooting The Guardian sent me an email inviting me to write an op-ed piece I wrote the Anarchist Cookbook in 1969 now I see its premise as flawed for the last 40 years I've served as a teacher and a school leader in Africa and Asia working in some of the poorest and least developed countries of the world together with my wife I have been involved in supporting schools around the world in becoming more inclusive of children with learning challenges so what is the connection between the needs of these children with learning disabilities and my wish to see the cookbook go out of print the cookbook has been found in a possession of alienated and disturbed young people who have launched attacks against classmates and teachers I suspect that the perpetrators of these attacks did not feel much of a sense of belonging and the cookbook may have added to their sense of isolation it should go quickly and quietly out of print to be clear you did not approach the Guardian no I know they approached me did you think about speaking out more publicly no I'd already written in to public statements the one on Amazon and then the op-ed to the Guardian the op-ed to the Guardian came in 2013 correct thirteen years later there were many incidents between 2000 and 2013 were you aware of the incidents I learned about Columbine and then later rapaho I assumed that they were isolated kind of events the book is published in 1970 in 1976 John Adamson plants a bomb that killed a reporter investigating organized crime when all started to drive out of the hotel parking lot his car exploded a copy of the cookbook was found in his apartment I was not aware John Adamson was found in possession of the cookbook five hijackers were arraigned in New York today for the murder of a New York police officer in 1976 hijacker hi Jackson plane bombs bombs turned out to be fake and put a real bomb in Grand Central Station he'd built the bombs using the book I was not aware but I didn't really follow that kind of news at the time in 1979 I went off to Saudi Arabia and really didn't think anything more about it and really in the 80s it was it was dormant it was a dead issue during that whole time in 1981 the Black Liberation Army is arrested for a bank robbery getaway car it's filled with explosives guns and a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook in 1981 we moved to Tanzania and there was absolutely no television in Tanzania we never had a television leading have a telephone in the house eight bombings in the past year in Washington DC Maryland and Virginia mid-eighties Thomas Spinks bombed ten abortion clinics he had a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook no wave of Brussels bombs that spread terror 1989 Walter Leroy Moody armed and killed a federal judge was in possession of the book like I didn't know about them but would you say that you were interested in finding out more about these incidents if I didn't know about it and I didn't it's not a question of being interested or not being interested it's a question of being ignorant the death toll is clearly increasing as the hours go by the Oklahoma City bombing did you ever learn that there was any connection was there I had no idea that the cookbooks had been connected he gets off 51 shots brought a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook to school back at his Springfield area home Hinkle shoots both his parents there was a terrible rash of attacks on kids in schools but I hadn't associated those with multiple bomb sites three trains and a bus death toll rose from 37 to 51 public transit profits I was obviously aware of the transit bombings Zul it becomes clear that a congresswoman has been shot I was very much aware of Teddy Giffords in neither case was I reading anything about the Anarchist Cookbook or hearing it there are articles about all of these stories again I wasn't in the United States and I didn't have access to American media the internet making everything accessible I wasn't trolling the internet daily or even weekly you know looking for connections fair enough when you would learn about another incident did you think God I hope the book is not gonna know I wasn't and no I 2012 James Holmes shoots several people in an Aurora Colorado movie theater was was that the incident of the the Batman film yes I had heard about it or read about it in the paper it has been suggested that the Anarchist Cookbook was used to set booby traps for the police in his apartment homemade bombs and armed explosives large glass jars with homemade napalm filled with 40 caliber bullets around them are 11 green plastic bottles with gasoline a morass of trip wires a deadly jigsaw puzzle that had to be disarmed when you heard of that story did it occur to you that the book might have been used no it no it didn't occur to me I didn't associate it with any of those why would I make the connection you had written a book about it an instructional book yeah you know you may think that that's a very strange thing not to make but it just didn't happen I mean this is the first time that I'm becoming aware of the laundry list of associations that the book has heard you don't wrestle as much as I thought you might with responsibility your sense of how responsible you are for the way that the book has been used do you feel responsible for the ways that the book has been used yes I do feel responsible for the ways in which the books been used have you always felt that way when the cookbook has been associated with Columbine and the later Carl Pearson killing I did feel responsible but I didn't do it and I wonder what sense of responsibility the factory worker has who makes the Smith & Wesson or the colt I mean what responsibilities do they have when the weapon is misused now I I'm not comfortable with that analogy so let's not pick it apart but I think there is a sense of while I do feel responsible I didn't do it somebody else somebody else with a perverted distorted sense of reality did something awful I didn't why isn't that your answer to all of these questions why do you feel any responsibility at all why isn't the answer simply I wrote a book I didn't harm anyone mm-hmm even though there is a distance I'm not responsible for the murder of children in Columbine I'm appalled that in any way my work my book was influential or was associated with it and I do feel responsibility there I really kind of reclosed myself I mean to be really frank with you part of the fact that I don't know is that I didn't want to know the last thing I wanted to know was that it had been used in some sort of escapade that it ended up hurting people so I think there was probably some avoidance on my part as well difficult there have been times where it's made life quite difficult and so perhaps and it was always people from outside who wanted to you know get at bill 1991 I was appointed the CEO of the school in Jerusalem I went away for a conference while I was away there was delivered to my secretary a pile of envelopes and in it is an anonymous letter and a photocopy of the Anarchist Cookbook so it's an anonymous group of teachers and they're saying to the board if you don't terminate bill Powell's employment we will send copies of the Anarchist Cookbook to the Ministry of Education the Prime Minister so it's a blackmail attempt there was a terrible a very painful experience it was particularly difficult for me I remember one time when bill came home and it was really late at night and our son Colin was at the door and he was waiting and he said dad dad should we still have a job it was so it was heartbreaking to see that they advised me not to reapply for contract renewal after the end of my contract which was coming up to an end in August and the following day I resigned the parents launched a petition to throw the board out they got over 400 signatures and I stayed another five and a half years I left International School of Tanganyika of my own volition in 99 I did not put the Anarchist Cookbook on my CV you know you don't put things that you did when you were 19 that you no longer agree with on your resume I applied for half a dozen or so jobs in international schools and I wasn't shortlisted by any of them anonymous emails were going to those schools that included information about the Anarchist Cookbook I was shortlisted for the Lincoln School in Accra Ghana the interview went extremely well and the chairman of the board all but offered the position she comes to the hotel and she says we've just learned that Julie author of the amicus cookbook and I said that that that's correct she said well you're not a viable candidate it was school after school after school in American School of Paris turkey came up with a crowd I thought it was going to bring my career to an end every time there was a viable position open somebody was communicating with those schools saying if bill Powell is a candidate you need to know it came up during the interview in Kuala Lumpur I said to them if you offer me the job I'm going to write an email to every parent in the school and tell them about it and that's exactly what I did and I got absolutely no response from the parent community there was nobody who was outraged we just thought it was non-issue there's a transparency there it was successfully out of the picture go away yeah to be frank you know the Anarchist Cookbook rears its head every so often but it's not it's not a constant or continuous issue and I think to be frank also it has been a source of of pain so perhaps to protect my family it's maybe not something that I wanted to bring up because I did feel that we were under under attack we have been under attack – New York City women accused of plotting a terrorist attack court documents say they were influenced by Isis those women had been researching how to make bombs both women had copies of the Anarchist Cookbook anarchists cookbooks or mayhem manuals they became the precursors to al-qaeda's online magazine inspire and one of the articles and inspire is called how to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mouth so you can hear this incarnation of the 70s and 80s manuals the Anarchist Cookbook Senator Dianne Feinstein says she wants that book removed from the internet saying quote these documents are not in my view protected by the First Amendment more than that I think it was naive you know we say to kids to be really careful about what they put on Facebook or any other social media because those footprints last forever this has done exactly that same thing it's not easily controlled do you resent the idea that anyone would say that the book is in any way responsible for people doing bad things you know I think that's a question that should be directed to me alchun didn't didn't write the book she didn't even know me when the book because she's having to deal with you know people read books all the time so I think that at some point individual responsibility needs to kick in and I think that your visit here has kicked in individual responsibility on our part but I think that other people also must take responsibility for their actions do you feel that bill has been unfairly treated well I think that some of your questions have been leading in a way that have has perhaps made me uncomfortable oh okay no no quite all right sir no I mean do you feel that bill has been unfairly treated by others he's been given more blame he deserves you know every human being is a complex individual and Bill is a very complex person and I think that the people who know Bill would see past the 19 year old into the person who is today I would hope that people would see that in retrospect do you wish that you had done more to to deal with and confront the book Charlie I'm getting the impression that you want me to say something I'm not saying I did what I thought was appropriate I did not contact a lawyer I did not go to family friends and then say do you have any advice for me I did what I did and I didn't do what I didn't do I mean I if you're asking do I wish I had done more yes absolutely what would you like me to say because I really think you're being deliberately provocative and you want me to say something that I'm not saying I was thinking about something else too you might have limited influence with the publisher that may be limited there but I think that once we start thinking about this and thinking it through there may be other avenues that will open up for us I think what you're suggesting is that there are times in places that is where they do fight for a lost cause well there are times in places where it's worthy to fight yeah your voice could also appeal to adolescents I mean there might be other ways to get the message across is what I was thinking maybe yeah our conversation yesterday afternoon kind of disturbed me and I spent some time thinking about that in the night I wrote to Diane Feinstein because she had actually raised an issue about about the cookbook some months ago archon got a response from senator Feinstein to the email that I sent earlier today it's basically an out-of-office notice and I think this is a computer filter that that is blocking and I don't know that any live warm body is going to read what I've sent oh she says wait a minute she says because of the volume of email that's received by the office we can only respond to email that includes a california postal address I don't have a postal address in California so that's sounds like a dead end I mean I remember when your dad was alive he would call his Congressman on various issues and is that what you do in California I don't know I really don't know um what time would we have to call her I mean if you want to follow this do you want to find her phone number and at 6:30 we can call we can do that give it a go crank this guy up again what is the earliest memory you have of school I suspect there were some very good schools in Britain in the 1950s I didn't go to one I went to a pretty miserable school students were motivated through fear fear of physical punishment fear of public humiliation I can remember one particular time I must have been maybe five or six and we were learning long division and in front of the class I just got so stressed out I couldn't do it and she announced now we're going to put a problem on the board that is so simple that even Bill can solve it and she wrote up a three digit addition problem straight forward which I could have done in a snap but I was so stressed out at that point that I couldn't I couldn't couldn't manage it I couldn't think straight I think I wet my pants I remember playing the fool in a in a dance class and being chained in the Headmaster's office for that bullying was rife people were looking for opportunities to fight and I was never very good at fighting I guess I felt a sense of being an outsider not really fitting my dad was transferred back to New York I came into a culture that I was completely unfamiliar with content in school I knew nothing about people were talking about Paul Bunyan I'd never heard of Paul Bunyan the sports were different I didn't know who Mickey Mantle was I had a broad upper crust British accent people found very amusing my fifth-grade teacher used to mimic me in the classroom I was alienated in Britain because I was an American and now I came to the United States and I was perceived as being British which I wasn't and I was increasingly angry I made a habit of skipping school is the consequences in the United States were my health in comparison and at that point I went up to storm King school it was saying boys prep school one of the classmates described it as a school for rich delinquent children there was a pretty unpopular boy in the dormitory and a group of boys myself included were engaged in bullying him tied him to his bunk bed and then took bengay and smeared it on his testicles the boy reported this to the dorm master and I was the only one that was singled out and I was taken to his room late at night in my pajamas he said that he would get me to experience what the bullied boy had experienced so he told me to go and get a jockstrap and then he got bengay but instead of doing what the other boys had done to the bullied boys he fondled me at that point I said I need to go to the toilet I went to the toilet my pajamas back on and and left I didn't I didn't make it through the year I was expelled I'm sure you've given a fair amount of thought to kids who turn to acts of violence real violence who-who are those kids I nothing there is something in the human condition that draws us to violence it doesn't mean that's the only outcome that's possible but I think there is something that is intoxicating about violence for many people possibly for young people who are angry alienated who don't have a sense of belonging it may represent an endeavor to be powerful to lash out at a world that is not providing them with meaning I don't know I mean I think understanding what is going on in the minds of those people who have become radically antisocial or radicalized in the sense that they've gone off to fight with Isis that's a $64,000 question but that's very difficult to see the world through their eyes I think the author of the book myself at 19 thought that we were living in an apocalypse the very late 60s the assassinations that were taking place the tone of the book has that sense to it you read the part of the problem you're part of the solution it's a very simplistic vision of the world weak or strong or strong forcefully argued or lacking confidence the book is supremely self-confident to the point of being ludicrously self-confident its forcefully presented there's no quarrel there's very little qualification if any at all were you confident when I was alone with the typewriter I was confident no I don't think I was confident there's a it's a kind of intoxication that you come to when you're writing and you're writing more and more forcefully the world is becoming simpler and simpler you're reaching what strikes you as powerful conclusions and they go to your head and you come to believe what you're writing and there is a sort of almost a snowball effect I suspect that there may be a parallel between the young people who hurt and kill their classmates there may be a parallel between the process of that kind of radicalization that kind of distorted perception and the kind of process that I went through when writing the book and that may be a useful parallel in terms of learning what might lead people to cruel or lethal acts was it realistic for me at the time of writing the book to think that it wouldn't be used there's two answers to that one answer comes from a 65 year old and says no that's not reasonable the other answer comes from a 19 year old who hadn't thought about it you refer to the book is your constant companion what do you mean by that it's part of my history it's part of me I have to recognize that it does exist and it can't be just dismissed like I can sort of sorry you know I did that when I was 19 but that's in the past so it is with me I had half of my childhood in Britain half of my childhood in the United States and now I feel equally uncomfortable in both countries but I think I am most comfortable where I know that I don't belong now stick out like a sore thumb and it's okay for me to be the outsider looking in we first came to this whole part of France in the summer of 92 the Mossad has a very very interesting history kind of always been a village at the end of the road people were perceived as outsiders it's just so out of the way it's really remote after 68 and the failed revolution in Paris many of the would-be revolutionaries came to this area so it's a kind of an interesting blend of kind of aging hippies and masata peasants and we have nothing in common with anybody else so we have to import company is the privacy appealed sure I think it appeals to bill more than it appeals to me I think ocean is far more social than I am but I have your company Wow I like yours it's an odd place but I also find it a very welcoming place I wouldn't mind living in the United States but maybe not yet what does that like to know that something that you have put out into the world you could be reading about it tomorrow you could be reading about it a year from now you know we talked about the cliche of the skeleton in the closet but my skeletons not in the closet my skeleton is in print there's 2 million copies or whatever there it has been influential in terrible massacres and murders and killings and I live with that after the Anarchist Cookbook you wrote another book written a number of books but the book that came immediately after the Anarchist Cookbook was a historical novel entitled the first casualty it was the story of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 it was the spark that caused the first world war and it's told from the point of view of the assassin gravely Princip what fascinated you about him he was a true believer my country has been stolen from me and I'm a patriot I'm a freedom fighter he was an impressionable adolescent he really literally was a schoolboy he crafted an identity for himself and then acted on that identity he had the courage of his convictions as misguided as those may be and by accident suddenly sets the world on fire it's almost like that that butterfly effect tiny event here huge consequences somewhere else that story fascinated me and none of the description that you just offered you think applies to you applies to me you you




Comments
  1. Just because Powell wrote an instruction manual does not mean he advocated destruction and violence. He says that many times in this interview and even wrote it himself in his book. The 1960s when the book was written was a very controversial time when everyone was very angry at the government. Not to mention that he was an angry teenager, and like all angry teenagers they do express those emotions in ways that aren't always responsible. Secondly, the knowledge in the cookbook is just that. Knowledge. Everyone has the knowledge of how to stab someone or knows how to do something awful. Does that mean everyone goes out and hurts people? No, the reason why people hurt others with this knowledge is because they are disturbed and they need psychological help. A simple book is not your enemy. What about the one book that killed literally dozens of millions of people due to its controversial information? The Holy Bible is responsible for literally millions of deaths. Why aren't we banning it? Because we have to respect the beliefs of other cultures even when historically their followers have attempted to kill entire civilizations for disagreement on something that cant be proven, but we can't accept that Powell wrote a book when he was 19 and we can't get over the media craze and we can't accept that school shooters and bombers need mental health treatment rather than it somehow being the fault of a book they purchased? Edit: I'm not looking for a reply and will not respond to any. This is food for thought.

  2. I downloaded the cookbook on a BBS circa 1985 on my Commodore 64, printed it out and myself and my 3 best friends proceeded to make try all the recipes in the book!

  3. Nice propaganda hit piece. It amazes me that the powers-that-shouldn't-be, and their stooges, are still so scared of the '60s counter-culture that they have to keep churning out emotional, mind-numbing, diversionary garbage like this. As is pointed out at the beginning of this thing, the information in the Anarchist Cookbook was transferred directly from U.S. military manuals available in the New York public library at the time. Where are the crocodile tears concerning that (the fact that the information originated in U.S. government publications—not that they were in a public library)? As the author explained early on, before they finally beat him and his wife down in an effort to publicly humiliate and scapegoat him, he felt that since the information was available to the military and underground left and right wing activist groups, why shouldn't it be available to everyone? Hell, maybe it should be taught in public schools; it might make bullies think twice. It may come as a shock to anyone who has spent their entire life in a jar, but: This is a violent country. But the filmmaker relentlessly harangued and wore the author down, to make an example out of him. I've seen this kind of cheap shot tactic perpetrated before against aging '60s subculture notables. The questioner is like a nagging mosquito in the room that can't be swatted and who won't go away. Meanwhile, our modern day defenders of democracy are busy planning the next military intervention into yet another small, 3rd world country rich with natural resources that will make Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, etc. look like a Sunday school picnic. What hypocrisy. And the beat goes on…

  4. I honestly feel very bad for him and I feel passing any judgement on him for his teenage past is wrong. This guy isn’t Bill Ahrs and wasn’t out there blowing up buildings.

  5. i feel the guy that made the book is alot like the guy that made T.N.T. he went off to make the nobel prize a thing but upon the world thinking he had died, the world wished off ''the father of death'', upon reading this he felt his lifes work and intent was a waste , i feel that here

  6. Damn lol the people really turned on him listing off all the times his book was associated with death. He was tripping over his words tryin to come up with an answer.

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