COMMENT: Strangely, in recent days, there have been a series of suspicious devices received in Italy, including those containing firearm cartridges and threatening letters mailed to Italian Justice Minister Paola Severino and Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno.
Last week an Italian anarchist group claimed responsibility for two letter bombs sent to the chief of a state tax collection agency and a top banker in Germany. The letter sent to Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann was intercepted in Germany before it was opened. The other blew up in the hands of the tax collection agency chief, destroying part of a finger and injuring his eyes.
A year ago the same anarchist group claimed responsibility for two parcel bomb attacks against the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Italy just before Christmas 2010, which wounded two people, as well as a device that wounded two people in the offices of a Swiss nuclear lobby group in March.
As most of our readers know, I filed a posting several days ago concerning a professor at Hidalgo Polytechnic University in Zempoala (Mexico) who sustained minor burns on December 7, when a parcel sent to the university was opened. Although the professor did not recognize the return address [a major clue to any suspicious package, and one which should have prompted x-raying the package], the package was nevertheless opened, resulting in minor burns.
As a result of the incident, senior officials of the university gathered to review security procedures. Yet, if a suspicious package reached the hands of the addressee without the contents being electronically examined and identified, it is possible that the university's security protocols are flawed. Left unchecked, a similar event could easily occur in the future.
Two scientists were also wounded in August, when a parcel-bomb sent by an anti-technology group calling itself Individuals Tending to Savagery (ITS), detonated at a Monterrey Institute of Technology campus in the central state of Mexico, injuring two professors who received the package from a local courier service.
Again, if courier deliveries are made directly to addressees in any organization, this is a risk that is not being managed properly, particularly given the times we now live in.