Possible Tylenol-poisoning suspect Ted Kaczynski and his anti-technology manifesto

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It’s a strange combination: a government auction, the unsolved Tylenol poisonings case, the FBI, a revised and re-revised manifesto and the DNA of Theodore Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber.

The FBI had sought DNA from Kaczynski and others in connection with the still-unsolved case of poisoned Tylenol. In 1982, seven Chicago residents died after injesting Tylenol that had been laced with cyanide.

The news of the request came from Kaczynski himself, in documents filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee reports:

Kaczynski revealed that prison officials in Colorado visited him three weeks ago with a request from the FBI in Chicago for samples of his DNA. Kaczynski, 69, who is serving a life sentence at a ‘supermax’ prison in Florence, Colo., wrote that ‘the FBI wanted a sample of my DNA to compare with some partial DNA profiles connected with a 1982 event in which someone put potassium cyanide in Tylenol.... I have never even possessed any potassium cyanide.’


The FBI could have his DNA, Kaczynski said, if the government canceled a planned auction of his belongings.

The auction is being held to raise part of the $15 million in restitution that Kaczynski owes the victims of his bombings and their families. The online auction opened Wednesday as planned. ‘Not only are we helping out the victims and their families,’ governmental auction administrator Shyam Reddy told the Bee. ‘We’re also using the very technology that the Unabomber railed against in his 18-year bombing campaign.’

Included in the auction is Kaczynski’s original handwritten manifesto, listed as the ‘Unabomb Mainfesto’ (also called the ‘Unabomber Manifesto’ and ‘Industrial Society and Its Future’). It is written on lined three-hole paper; the current high bid is more than $14,000. Kaczynski’s later draft, a typed version, is selling for about $2,500. The manifesto and its contents aren’t secret: In September 1995, after four bombings in two years resulted in two fatalities, it was printed in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Although there was much controversy surrounding the initial printing, Ted Kaczynski’s brother David read the published manifesto and recognized at. He contacted authorities, ultimately leading to Ted Kaczynski’s arrest.

As Ted Kaczynski has always been a prolific writer -- his manifesto was 30,000 words long -- it should come as no surprise that he has continued to write behind bars, where he has been held since his 1996 arrest. In 1998 he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

In 2010, Feral House published a new collection of Kaczynski’s writings, including correspondence through 2006 and a 2001 interview, assembled by Kaczynski and David Skrbina of the University of Michigan, Dearborn. ‘Technology, above all else, is responsible for the current condition of the world and will control its future development,’ Kaczynski wrote in an article he titled ‘Hit Where It Hurts.’ ‘Thus, the ‘bulldozer’ that we have to destroy is modern technology itself.’

The Feral House collection, ‘Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. ‘The Unabomber’ ’ includes a revised version of his Unabomber Manifesto -- and it retails for just $22.95.

-- Carolyn Kellogg