Sept Oct, 2002

 

 

 

 

IMPLEMENTING JUSTICE THROUGH TERROR & DESTRUCTION

GUEST COLUMNIST Kelly A. Stoner, Executive Director, Stop Eco-Violence!

A sophisticated, increasingly well-funded and potentially deadly campaign of terror is being waged relentlessly by shadowy, fanatical operatives against targets in the United States. This jihad, however, is not the work of Bin Laden and his murderous al-Qaida drones who entered into the public consciousness on September 11th. Rather, these violent criminal acts are planned and carried out by Americans, on American soil, all in the name of an environmentally motivated agenda to force social and political change. Make no mistake, eco-terrorism is real, and remarkably, in this time of national vigilance, the threat it poses to our local communities is growing.

Operating in loosely affiliated "cells," eco-terrorists across the United States have brought about considerable social and economic destruction and inflicted deep-seeded fear in their targets. These environmental vigilantes have violated the law with impunity. Groups such as the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have both demonstrated time and again their ability to lash out against multiple targets through various means, in all corners of the nation, but most often here in the Northwest.

Eco-terrorists are not your average criminals, but sophisticated and savvy operatives, who collectively have a long and growing criminal track record. Yet, only a small handful of those individuals who have perpetrated these crimes have been brought to justice. The FBI estimates that since the late 1990s there have been more than 600 known acts of eco-terrorism, resulting in damages of more than $43 million dollars. These so-called incidents of "direct action" range from "monkey wrenching" equipment and vandalizing store fronts to firebombing offices, housing developments and university research centers.

Eco-terrorists choose their targets methodically, though they are not as discerning as some may think—large companies and small businesses alike have come into the crosshairs. And it’s not property damage alone that eco-terrorists leave in their wake. The social toll is every bit as damaging as the economic costs. These criminals terrorize people—often into silence, fearing for their lives and the lives of their family members. Eco-terrorist acts aimed directly at individuals in the U.S. vary from making anonymous death threats to the more recently employed tactic of vandalizing homes while people sleep.

Despite the fact that people are being placed in harm’s way, amazingly, eco-terrorists are not considered a tangible threat by many in the community. Eco-terrorists feed off of apathy and inaction. Until they know we’re fed up, they will continue to commit even bolder crimes. It is time we as citizens speak out against these violent criminals in order to protect our communities and give our public officials the support they need to do their part. Violence should not be tolerated in a free society, regardless of the cause. Recently, eco-terrorist sympathizers essentially seized control of a public meeting in Portland, Ore., where the issue of continued police participation in the state’s Joint Task Force on Terrorism was being discussed.

Thunderous applause was heard at the very mention of arson and property destruction committed in the name of mother earth. Looking around the room, I could count on two hands the number of people who showed up to support our law enforcement community’s continued efforts to fight this menace. We all have a duty to participate in this process and, until we do, incidents of eco-terrorism will grow more threatening. This September, the ELF sent out a communiqué claiming a recent arson attack against a U.S. Forest Service Research Station in Pennsylvania.

Not only did it boast about the extensive damage caused by the firebombing, but it contained a thinly veiled threat that "segments" of its "revolutionary movement" would "no longer hesitate to pick up the gun to implement justice." The ELF used to mount the flimsy, semantic defense that the "direct actions" for which they claimed responsibility were "non-violent" because they were not designed to inflict physical harm against human beings. Now that the ELF has advocated taking up arms against those who may be destroying the planet, the battle lines have been drawn and the world in which we all live has just gotten a lot more dangerous.

Although no one has been killed by eco-terror, it is widely believed by law enforcement that it is only a matter of time. No longer can we indulge ourselves in the luxury of turning the other cheek or hoping eco-terrorists will simply go away. Stop Eco-Violence! (SEV) is a non-profit group based in Oregon dedicated to exposing the true nature of eco-terrorism and building the broad support necessary for public officials and law enforcement to effectively stop it. SEV provides the media, government officials, law enforcement and the public at large with information about eco-terrorism and the harm it inflicts. Their efforts concentrate on:
• Monitoring radical organizations and persons that participate in eco-terrorist activities
• Exposing individuals and groups engaging in or lending support to environmental vigilantism
• Working with law enforcement, government officials, and other organizations to curtail acts of eco-terror.

 If you would like more information about SEV, you can log onto their website, www.stopecoviolence.com, or call them directly at ph: 503.570.2848.

TW

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