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Unabomber sends 62-page tract to 2 newspapers


NEW YORK -- Unveiling an apparent motive and a possible way out of his murderous ways, a serial mail bomber has delivered to the New York Times and the Washington Post a 35,000-word manifesto calling for revolution against what he says is a corrupt industrial-technological society controlled by a shadowy international elite of government and corporate figures seeking to subvert human freedom.

The self-described anarchist, in a series of accompanying letters, said that if the full text of his manuscript is published by one of the newspapers within three months, and if that paper prints three annual follow-up messages, he would stop trying to kill people.

But he did not pledge to stop property destruction in his 17-year campaign of postal terrorism.

The documents were contained in parcels received by the Times Wednesday and the Post yesterday and were turned over to the FBI. After examination and laboratory tests, the bureau said they were apparently authentic writings of the terrorist who has killed three people and wounded 22 others with 16 mail bombs since 1978.

The killer, known by the FBI code-name Unabomber, in a letter to the Times in April, had said he wanted to tell his story and was working on an article of 29,000 to 37,000 words "that we want to have published" in the Times or in Time or Newsweek magazines.

He said he would end his killing if his publication terms were met. The documents received this week were in apparent fulfillment of that letter.

The Times and the Post, in separate statements yesterday, said they were considering whether to publish the manifesto, a 62-page, single-spaced document that often reads like a closely reasoned scholarly tract, touching on politics, history, sociology

and science as it posits a cataclysmic struggle between freedom and technology.

If published, the document would fill about seven pages of the Times.

The manifesto sketches a nightmarish vision of a deteriorating society and a future in which the human race is at the mercy of intelligent machines created by computer scientists.

The author urges a revolution in which factories would be destroyed, technical books burned and leaders overthrown. Out the chaos, he expresses the hope that a return to "wild nature" might prevail.

The document, mixing revolutionary rhetoric and back-to-nature sentiments in a blend that might have come from Trotsky or Thoreau, laments increasingly overcrowded cities, the rapidity of social change and the "breakdown" of traditional values; rails against leftists and conservatives; and seems to add definition to the terrorist, about whom little is known.

The bomber, whom the FBI believes is a man but who generally refers to himself as "us" or "we," claims to represent a terrorist group that he calls FC. But he is believed to be a loner who lives somewhere in the area of Sacramento, Calif.

In a series of accompanying letters that were delivered to the Times, Scientific American magazine and to Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse magazine, the bomber twitted the FBI as "surprisingly incompetent."

He scoffed at journalistic inaccuracies in reporting his exploits and claimed that his recent killing of a California lobbyist was not inspired by the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City.

In addition, describing himself as "angry," the bomber appeared to be summing up the motivations and emotions of 17 years of violence and death, and, in a kind of epiphany, offered himself and the nation a way out of the killing.

Making a distinction between terrorism, which he said was intended to cause death or injury, and sabotage intended to destroy property, he reserved what he called the right to engage in sabotage even if the manuscript were published by one of what he called the "respectable" newspapers.

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