portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

actions & protests | animal rights

Congress Seeks To Split Environmental Movement

As the War On Terrorism fails to yield anyone responsible for the 9-11 attacks, the witchhunt turns on American citizens. Congress has sent a letter to various environmental organizations (Greenpeace, Sierra Club, NRDC, WWF, etc.) 'requests' that they publically denounce groups such as ELF and ALF, calling them terrorist cells.
For Immediate Release: November 2, 2001 Contact: Blain Rethmeier (202) 225-4761

McINNIS CHALLENGES ENVIROMENTAL GROUPS TO DISAVOW ECO-TERRORISM - COLORADO CONGRESSMAN TO HOLD HEARING ON ECO-TERRORISM NEXT YEAR -

Washington, DC - Representative Scott McInnis (R-Colorado) today sent a letter signed by himself, Representative James Hansen (R-Utah), Chairman to the House Resources Committee, and other Members of Congress to key environmental organizations calling on them to publicly disavow the actions of eco-terrorist organizations like Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF), terrorist cells that have exacted a substantial financial and personal toll on scores of individuals and enterprises throughout the United States.

On October 30, 2001, ELF claimed responsibility for the radical firebombing of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management wild horse corral near Susanville, California. The incendiary device set a blaze and caused nearly $85,000 in damage.

McInnis, who chairs of the Resources' Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, has scheduled a hearing to probe the threat of eco-terrorism early next year. One of the witnesses scheduled to testify is Craig Rosebraugh, the self-appointed spokesman of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Rosebraugh was subpoenaed earlier this month after rejecting earlier offers by McInnis to testify voluntarily.

"In probing the threat of terrorism, it only stands to reason that Congress should probe the threat of eco-terrorism as well," McInnis said. "It is crucial that key environmental organizations join with us in combating these underground eco-terrorist organizations."

The text of the letter is as follows:

October 30, 2001

As our Nation begins the recovery and healing process following the tragedy of September 11, we believe it is critical for Americans of every background and political stripe to disavow terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. No matter its shape, source or motivation, Americans simply cannot tolerate, either overtly or through silence, the use of violence and terror as an instrument of promoting social and political change.

With this understanding, we are calling on you and your organization to publicly disavow the actions of eco-terrorist organizations like Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Eco-terrorist cells like these have exacted a substantial financial and personal toll on scores of individuals and enterprises in all corners of the United States. In the dark of night and under the cover of anonymity, environmental radicals have firebombed government offices, research centers, schools, homes, and businesses. In so doing, they have sent a ripple of fear through all the many communities in their destructive path. While the attacks of eco-vigilantes have not yet reached the magnitude of what America experienced over the last several weeks, their tactics are no less deplorable, their methods of pursuing political change no less appalling, and their use of fear and terror no less repugnant.

In February, then FBI Director Louis Freeh identified radical eco-terrorist organizations like ELF and ALF as one of America's leading domestic terrorism threats. The FBI's announcement came on the heels of a January 1st ELF communiqué proclaiming, "This year, 2001, we hope to see an escalation in tactics against capitalism and industry." In the time since, ELF has made good on its threat to ratchet up the violence in 2001, using incendiary devices to, amongst other things, level the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture, torch an entire fleet of trucks owned by a private timber company, and burn the Oregon Offices of Superior Lumber Company. Alarmingly, ALF arsonists struck a biomedical lab in New Mexico just nine days after the horrors of September 11, destroying property estimated at $1 million. This year's attacks, together costing local businesses and taxpayers upwards of $5 million, are in addition to the over $40 million in damage that ELF and ALF have inflicted since their inception. Even during this hour of national crisis, ELF and ALF continue to terrorize Americans in pursuit of their militant agenda.

We trust that you will join us in publicly condemning this source of domestic violence. Your statement would send a profound and powerful message to these organizations: Americans of every background and political persuasion repudiate the use of terror in every form, including environmental terrorism.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this important issue. We look forward to receiving a timely response to this letter.

Sincerely,
James V. Hansen
Scott McInnis
Chairman
House Subcommittee on House Resources Committee Forests and Forest Health

homepage: homepage: http://www.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=84626&group=webcast

NO more military actions 06.Nov.2001 11:06

greener

I do feel this will make some serious devisons in the movement in general, but maybe it should be done. Green peace and the other groups have choosen non-violence and education to persuade the greater public. ELF EF! ALF, is not persuading the greater public. In fact they are turning a lot of long term activist that are pacifict, and not able to deal with the rage these groups put off.
They are groups that have taken military action against corporations and out of control technology. In my mind green peace ect, should make a strong statement against violence, and for peace. That statement should be word smithed to be against all military tatics to cause political and social change. Not to just single out ELF ALF EF!.

no hipocracy 06.Nov.2001 11:29

raven

if a group is going to disavow ELF and ALF, then to be honest and consistent on their non-violent stand they have to disavow the United States which is itself a terrorist organization and in fact fits the bill far more closely than either ELF or ALF

if any organization such as the Sierra Club does condemn ELF as a terrorist 'group' and does not do the same for the entire military/corporate structure, then it is hypocritical and false and not worthy of any respect

The "Eco-Terrorist" Propaganda Machine 06.Nov.2001 17:42

Speak Truth To Power

The label "terrorist" today is a joke. It's applied without discussion or dialog to any individual or group that speaks out on the ills of the status quo. It's an effective way to marginalize people and causes, quite like calling someone a "racist". You can't defend yourself against being called a racist (or terrorist), and the accuser doesn't have to "prove" the allegation. Peaceful protesters in Seattle and elsewhere are now regularly slapped with the label "terrorist."

When I hear the word Ecoterrorism, I think of the thousands of corporations that have dumped toxic waste, spewed smoke into the air, poisoned our water, and so on. These aren't "accidents", they are calculated costs of day to day operations that corporations use to profit by externalizing costs of pollution. The real victims of these ecoterrorists are the people who suffer from a polluted environment, who die from health problems and cancer.

From a news article in the Chicago Tribune:

"The Fox, a schoolteacher who took the name of the river valley he wanted to save, got his start in Chicago's far western suburbs in 1969. He plugged sewer outlets of factories that fouled the water, crawled up belching smokestacks to cap their fumes, and once dumped a small coffin of dead fish and slime onto the white carpet of U.S. Steel's executive offices. His specialty: squirting skunk scent into buildings owned by polluters. To some environmental activists across the U.S., The Fox was the first ecoterrorist--or rather, the first ecosaboteur. In furtive conversations with reporters, the affable, ordinary-looking provocateur took pride in the clever tactics that made him something of an environmental Robin Hood: He was feared by the bad and loved, or at least cheered on, by the good. His goal was to embarrass and befuddle polluters, not destroy them. To his delight, he's never been caught, or even identified."

Note the terminology used in more honest times. "The Fox" was labeled a "saboteur", not a "terrorist". The burning of a few houses (regardless of any merit as a tactic) would have been more accurately called "arson" or "vandalism". It's quite a leap from there to terrorist status. Applied equally, the U.S. has achieved terrorist status abroad (hundreds of unilateral, international acts of war, not sanctioned by the U.N.), and at home (e.g. Waco, where a structure was burned down with people inside it, those trying to leave were shot; peaceful protesters in Seattle who were shot and teargassed with carcinogenic chemicals by police; Cuban-Americans in Florida terrorized by federal police.)

Terrorism is also not applied equally to corporations like Shell and Chevron, who back undemocractic, military regimes in Africa and elsewhere, and have citizens shot or executed for speaking out against pollution. Or to U.S. corporations such as Unocal in richmond, CA, which is responsible for thousands of cases of cancer and other health problems from it's yearly "accidents," which release thousands of pollutants, toxics, and carcinogens onto the air (in part due to "safety" mechanisms which violate the law).

Now, the word ecoterrorist is hyped to divide and marginalize the environmental movement, through infighting and association. Discussion is steered away from the real ecoterrorist acts of corporations, and focused on a few tiny cases of arson here and there; cases which have only caused property damage, and not human injury. Don't miss the message here: property is more important than people.

This sort of "terrorism" is an American tradition, ever since the Boston Tea Party was thrown to make a point about economic injustice (which is what pollution and unfair labor practices is all about).

Stick the ecoterrorist label where it belongs: on companies like Shell, Chevron, Exxon, Union Carbide, Bechtel, DuPont, McDonalds, Mitsubishi, etc. etc. etc.

"Ecoterrorist" - label brought to you by corporate-sponsored government propaganda.

what are the real motivations behind this? 06.Nov.2001 19:22

looking deeper

Yanking non-profit status may be what's being set up here.

What I wonder is what happens to these environmental non-profit organizations if they refuse. I wonder if the government isn't setting groups up to lose their non-profit status by creating a precedent with this thinly veiled threatening letter.

In the anti-terrorist legislation that passed last week there was mention of allowing gov't officials to retroactively use evidence that was previously inadmissable to prosecute potential terrorist organizations or people. If a group refuses to denounce ALF/ELF, they may end up being the precedent setting groups that will determine how easy it will be to yank non-profit status from smaller environmental organizations...

AP article 07.Nov.2001 01:39

AP reader

Environmental radical groups haven't been slowed by Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

< http://enn.com/news/wire-stories/2001/11/11072001/ap_45496.asp>

Wednesday, November 07, 2001
By Christy Karras, Associated Press


Looking deeper 07.Nov.2001 01:43

paranoid

Yanking non-profit status may be what is being set up here.

I wonder what happens to these environmental non-profit organizations if they refuse. I wonder if the government isn't setting groups up to lose their non-profit status by creating a precedent with this thinly veiled threatening letter.

In the anti-terrorist legislation that passed, there was mention of allowing gov't officials to retroactively use evidence that was previously inadmissable to prosecute potential terrorist organizations or people. If a group refuses to denounce ALF/ELF, they may be the precedent setting groups that will determine how easy it will be to yank non-profit status from smaller environmental organizations...

FBI Are the Terrorists 07.Nov.2001 17:17

Speak Truth To Power

From the AP Article:

'The FBI defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce" the government or the civilian population. Steele said that definition fits the acts for which the ELF and the ALF have claimed responsibility over the years.'

By it's own definition the FBI is a terrorist organization. Review the history of COINTELPRO, among other collections of FBI citizen abuse and manipulation.