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Rajneesh Movement

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Rajneesh is a multicultural movement following the teachings of the mysterious Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, an Indian extremist who lived between the years 1931 and 1990. It appears to be an amorphous peculiar religious cult which still has its following today. However, it can also be regarded as a terrorist group because of its subversive acts. Its threat was greatly felt in the 1970s and 1980s when it prolifically wrecked significant havoc to the communities living in India and Oregon.

One of the major threats associated with this movement is bioterrorism. This is an act of intentionally releasing harmful microorganisms, like various viruses, bacteria and toxins, in order to poison, contaminate or even kill people. The emergence of this lethal act can be traced to the early 1980s when the cult members applied such methods to cause tension in Oregon City (Carter, L.F. & E.Q. Campbell, 2000). They performed such actions because they were in dire need of influencing the local election in order to gain certain power and position in the newly established regime. Thus, the organization also resorted to other strategies like food poisoning. They believed that conducting such actions would help them to be much stronger than any other minority group in Oregon.

Today, bioterrorism has become one of the major issues affecting the world’s security. Since the world and its societies have become more divided along religious and geographical lines, many people have taken advantage of this state of affairs to resort to the use of this deadly weapon in dealing with potential enemies. In the United States of America (USA), bioterrorism has been in existence since the attempt by the members of Rajneesh cult who deliberately poisoned 75 people. In other words, it has become a major threat to both the local, state and federal governments as well as innocent American citizens. Sporadic cases of bioterrorist activities have emerged in the recent past. For instance, in 2001, anthrax was used to kill at least five innocent Americans. Hence, the government has responded by instituting the US Army's 20th Support Command (CBRNE) and the United States Marine Corps' Chemical Biological Incident Response Force as specialized units to tackle the menace (Tucker, J.B. & C.W. Seth, 2008). 

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