It's War! The Escalating Battle between
Activists and the Corporate-State Complex
“Many activists do not understand the revolutionary nature of this movement. We are fighting a major war, defending animals and our very planet from human greed and destruction.” David Barbarash, former ALF Press Officer
“We have given all of the collaborators a chance to withdraw from their relations [with Huntingdon Life Sciences]. We will now be doubling the size of every device we make. Today it is 10 lbs, tomorrow 20....until your buildings are nothing more than rubble. It is time for this war to truly have two sides. No more will all of the killing be done by the oppressors, now the oppressed will strike back. We will be non-violent when these people are non-violent to the animal nations.” Communiqué from the Revolutionary Cells Animal Liberation Brigade after the 2003 bombings of Chiron and Shaklee Corporations
“We who have an affinity with non-human animals and nature are finding it increasingly difficult to love our fellow man.“ Peter Singer
“The time has come for [animal] abusers to have but a taste of the fear and anguish their victims suffer on a daily basis.“ Justice Department Manifesto
Is it my imagination, or is all hell breaking loose? Through increasingly militant and globalized actions, vegan, animal rights, and environmental activists have definitely caught the attention of government and the animal and Earth exploitation industries. The struggle has escalated to intense battles in the countryside, the streets, urban centers, suburbs, courtrooms, boardrooms, classrooms, mass media, and major political forums such as the U.S. Congress. The level of conflict suggests that there is a new social war that has been long in coming. As stated earlier in this volume by British ALF press officer Robin Webb, “Animal liberation is not a campaign, not just a hobby to put aside when it becomes tiresome or a new interest catches your eye. It’s a war. A long, hard, bloody war in which all the countless millions of its victims have been on one side only, have been defenseless and innocent, whose tragedy was to be born nonhuman.”
“War“ entails violence, hatred, bloodshed, and an escalation of conflict when dialogue fails. In the insightful words of General Karl von Clausewitz, “War is the continuation of politics by other means.“ He might just as well have stated the converse—“Politics is the continuation of war by other means“—for in our uncivil global village the distinction between war and politics is meaningless. War is the intensification of the conflicts inherent in politics, and politics is the waging of war through nonmilitary means such as class warfare or economic policies that are as devastating to people as dropping bombs (as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund wreak havoc on underdeveloped countries by enforcing harsh austerity policies, or as the U.S. blockade of Iraq before the 2003 war killed over one million people, half of them infants and small children).
In the battle over animal rights, negotiations are breaking down and boundaries are being erased on both sides. Government and industry thugs unleash violence on activists while groups such as the Animal Rights Militia, the Justice Department, the Hunt Retribution Squad, and the Revolutionary Cells openly advocate violence against animal abusers. More and more activists grow tired of adhering to a nonviolent code of ethics while violence from the enemy increases. Realizing that nonviolence against animal exploiters in fact is a pro-violence stance that tolerates their blood-spilling without taking adequate measures to stop it, a new breed of freedom fighters has ditched Gandhi for Machiavelli and switched principled nonviolence with the amoral (not to be confused with immoral) pragmatism that embraces animal liberation “by any means necessary.”
A new civil war is unfolding—one between forces hell bent on exploiting animals and the Earth for profit whatever the toll, and activists steeled to resist this omnicide tooth and nail. We are witnessing not only the long-standing corporate war against nature, but also a new social war about nature.
A Specter Haunts Society: Animal and Earth Liberation
“If the animals could fight for themselves, there would already be a lot of dead animal abusers.” Robin Webb
“So far no one on the other side has ever been seriously harmed or killed. But that may now change.” Ronnie Lee
“Revolution is necessary in the United States, and that revolution would naturally have to involve the use of violence as well as other tactics … [violence] has to be used if people are serious about progressing social and political movements in this country.” Craig Rosebraugh, former ELF spokesperson
Without question, the major conflicts of the day in many nations, such as the U.K. and the U.S., are not over gender, race, class, globalization, or even the war in Iraq, but rather the exploitation of animals and the Earth. The class struggle is over; mainstream feminists, gays and lesbians, and people of color are safely marginalized in their fragmented identity politics; and Leftists and postmodernists harmlessly conjure up esoteric theory-babble in seminars and conferences while pompously posturing as “radicals.” Meanwhile, the new ecowarriors light up the night skies with their demands to free animal slaves and protect the Earth. In the U.K., one terrorism expert claims that since the ebbing of tensions over Northern Ireland, the animal rights movement is the main source of “violence.” In the U.S., the top two “domestic terrorist” groups are not the usual suspects of armed militiamen or violent hate groups who bomb federal buildings and murder people, but instead the balaclava-wearing men and women of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).
In a revolutionary rethinking of humanity’s relationships to other species and the natural world, entirely new ethical paradigms and cosmologies are being forged. With forces of change emanating from both underground and aboveground movements, animal rights and radical environmental activists are pushing and guiding human beings to a new evolutionary crossroads through the force of legal and illegal direct action tactics. Here, humanity can either come to terms with the omnicidal nature of capitalism and the violent pathologies of dominionist identities, or it can take a rapid ride into oblivion.
The animal and Earth liberation movements are vivid examples of the escalation of conflicts over the meaning and future of the natural world: should animals and the Earth exist for their own sake or for human use? Should they thrive in wild conditions or be slaughtered, altered, colonized, genetically modified, and even destroyed by technology and invading human armies? Societies are now divided over the politics of nature as intensely as the U.S. was over the politics of race decades ago.
Because the state is so strong in its monopolization of the means of violence, this is not a war of opposing tanks and troops, but rather a guerilla war in which liberation soldiers disperse into anonymous cells, descend into the underground, maneuver in darkness, deploy hit-and-run sabotage strikes against property, and attempt to intimidate and vanquish their enemies. As shown time and time again, from Vietnam to the quagmire of Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, guerilla warfare favors David over Goliath; it can bedevil and even defeat the mighty machines of the U.S. government.  Consequently, the state should not be overly confident about its ability to crush animal and Earth liberation movements, as eco-warriors in turn should never doubt their power to shake the foundations of the nihilistic, murderous, life-devouring system of advanced capitalism.
The new battlefield is a crucial testing ground for modern nation-states (can they adhere to peaceful enforcement of the law and protect basic democratic rights like free speech?) and the animal and Earth liberation movements (can they creatively exercise nonviolent approaches and refrain from harming people?). Hardly a day goes by, it seems, that the ALF and the ELF do not free animals from their cages in fur farms and laboratories or destroy the property of industries that kill animals and damage the environment. From burning biotech research labs and ski lodges to firebombing meat companies and pouring acid on SUVs, the ALF and ELF inflict substantial property damage on industries. According to FBI testimony to Congress in February 2002, since 1996 the ALF and ELF together have committed over 600 “criminal acts” that caused $43 million in damage to animal industries. The toll clearly continues to mount as, for instance, the September 2003 ELF strike on six San Diego homes under construction alone wrought $50 million in damages, the costliest sabotage action to date.
With the destruction of animals and the environment on the rise, the forms of resistance themselves have become more intense, as animal rights and environmental activists do “whatever it takes” to stop the devastation of life and land. One finds clear signs of an escalating war in their rhetoric, tactics, and targets. Where once, for instance, radical environmental groups limited themselves to rural areas such as the Pacific Northwest and focused on logging issues, now the battle has moved into urban and suburban centers such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Bloomington, and Long Island. Isolated acts of monkeywrenching against logging equipment and trees to be cut has escalated to major arson and bombing. In order to target sprawl and destruction of wilderness and wildlife, the ELF has begun to torch and attack new housing developments, SUVs, and Hummers. Some (non-ALF) animal liberation groups like the Animal Rights Militia and Justice Department advocate violence (see the Introduction), and new factions like the Revolutionary Cells use explosives, declare themselves “for animal liberation through armed struggle,” and issue chilling threats that “this is the endgame for animal killers … there will be no more quarter given, no more half-measures taken.” The Revolutionary Cell bombings of Chiron Corporation in August 2003 and Shaklee Corporation in September 2003 because of their ties to Huntingdon Life Sciences, signal a clear intensification of animal liberation struggles. Emergent groups that see even the ALF as too conservative are beginning to steer a part of the animal rights movement into more militant directions; they wish exploiters to sample a taste of the fear and pain they dole out to animals, and they intend to fight violence with violence.
As Rod Coronado observes, “There’s a whole bunch of disenfranchised Americans resisting the lifestyles they were raised in and they want an upswing in activity.” The ELF emerged in 1992 as a radicalization of Earth First! tactics that activists felt were too timid, and the dynamics of struggle can easily advance beyond property destruction. Thus, Ron Arnold, executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, rightly asks, “What happens when the next generation comes along and gets tired that these arsonists, the ecoterrorists, aren’t doing enough?” Earth First! activist Tim Ream predicts, “There is every indication that we will see more political violence. There is a war against the Earth happening today and we know the government isn‘t going to solve the problem.” Rik Scarce, author of Eco-Warriors: Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement, saw a turning point in environmental defense action with the ELF torching of a Vail ski lodge in 1998, such that “a whole different scale of sabotage had become acceptable.” Scarce believes that “the environmental movement has been radicalized permanently. I don’t rule out the next step … that people will be killed.”
When presented with ALF and ELF claims that no one has ever been injured or killed in their actions, critics respond, “Not yet.” But even some insiders believe that the day will come when extremists from the newest crop of ecowarriors will follow in the footsteps of radical anti-abortionists and begin to kill animal abusers at their homes or offices. “People who abuse animals deserve all they get,” says ex-ALF activist Keith Mann. “If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.” In a September 2002 communiqué, the ELF stated: “While innocent life will never be harmed in any action we undertake, where it is necessary, we will no longer hesitate to pick up the gun to implement justice, and provide the needed protection for our planet that decades of legal battles, pleading, protest, and economic damage have failed … to achieve.” Former ELF spokespersons Craig Rosebraugh and James Leslie Pickering openly defend violence as a legitimate tactic against exploiters and urge activists to go beyond the limitations of direct action in order to create an anti-capitalist movement. “We believe that a revolution is necessary in the United States of America to rid the world of one of the greatest terrorist organizations in planetary history, the U.S. government.”
In turn, industries and the government has stepped up their own responses to the new militant direct action movements. Under the dictatorship of Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Ashcroft, the state has so far avoided the kind of murderous assaults the FBI earlier unleashed on the Black Panther Party and American Indian Movement, while intensifying the attack on other fronts. For now at least, they have put away their guns (but not always their fists and batons) in order to play legal (and illegal) hardball with the new crop of radicals. Especially in the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration took firm measures to criminalize animal rights and environmental protests and, indeed, nearly every form of dissent. The corporate-state complex is applying old laws in new ways (e.g., using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations [RICO] act that was originally designed to stop organized crime), enforcing oxymoronic “free speech zones,” breaking up demonstrations with gratuitous force and violence, and creating new legislation such as the “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” and the Patriot Act that grant the state frightening powers of surveillance, search and seizure, and political repression.
Thus, in order to disrupt and destroy opposition to the prevailing economic and political order, the corporate-state complex deploys systems of intense surveillance, grand juries, witch hunts, police dragnets, and political repression. The war between activists and the state-corporate complex unfolds simultaneously on many levels: material (physical violence used on occasion by both sides), paralegal (civil disobedience by activists and unconstitutional repression by the state), legal (courtroom battles and statutes used against activists as they seek to enforce or create laws that protect animals and the Earth), and semantic (the politics of the discourse of “terrorism”).
With the Earth in grave crisis, animals dying by the billions, democracy under attack, and the corporate-state complex besieged by liberation, anti-globalization, and anti-war movements, the U.S. and other capitalist nations are torn asunder by intense social conflicts in which the politics of nature takes on an increasingly significant role. In conditions where compromise or negotiation seem ever more remote possibilities, the gloves are coming off as opposing sides assume positions of war.
“The state...is the most flagrant negation, the most cynical and complete negation of humanity.” Michael Bakunin
“If you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you’re just as guilty as the terrorists.” George W. Bush
After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the state created the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which enhanced state powers of surveillance, repression, and deportation of foreigners as it undermined civil liberties. When terrorists hijacked and crashed planes on September 11, 2001, a new political order was born. In October 2001, one month after the attack, the Bush administration bulldozed through Congress a frontal assault on civil liberties perversely titled the “USA Patriot Act” (a surreal acronym for “Uniting & Strengthening America Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act”). Exploiting the new climate of fear, the Bush team claimed that a free nation must give way to a secure nation. From the offices of a stolen Presidency, we now have neither.
Framed as legislation to combat terrorists, the Patriot Act proposes bold new measures to undermine the Constitution. A Trojan horse for tyranny, this 342-page tome aims to dismantle the very freedoms for which true patriots have died. It pulls together a mishmash of provisions to augment state power. Some changes eliminate existing legal loopholes that mitigate government authority, some update laws for the age of the Internet, and some grant the Justice Department powers previously proscribed by Congress but passed because of the urgency of a response to 9/11.
Perhaps most importantly, the Patriot Act builds on laws created
by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a secret
court created in 1978. The purpose of FISA was to review requests
for surveillance on suspected spies, terrorists, and other foreign
enemies of the U.S. in order to collect intelligence information.
Unlike other courts, the FISA court did not require probable cause
that a crime was being committed to obtain a warrant. Attorney
General John Ashcroft has tried to argue that the Patriot Act
grants the authority to use FISA to conduct a criminal investigation
and expand the powers of the executive branch accordingly. This
would in effect override the Fourth Amendment that “no warrant
shall issue, but upon probable cause.” The seven members
of the FISA court—which refused only one out of twelve thousand
surveillance requests over the course of two decades—unanimously
rejected Ashcroft’s interpretation of the Patriot Act, viewing
it as an abuse of government authority. In a decision that chastised
the FBI for misleading them on more than seventy-five of the applications
they had approved, they denied Ashcroft their approval in August
2002. But Ashcroft argued that the FISA court exceeded its authority,
and an appeals court overturned the decision.
The Patriot Act shifts the focus of FISA from foreign to domestic intelligence, thereby targeting not only foreign spies and terrorists but also American citizens. By weakening the already permissive nature of FISA and by applying these diminished standards to domestic criminal investigations, the Patriot Act reendows the government with COINTELPRO-like powers to spy, invade, disrupt, and violate constitutional rights. To use FISA secret courts and procedures for domestic investigations, the FBI need only claim that foreign intelligence gathering is a “significant”—but not necessarily the “primary”—purpose of investigation.
The Patriot Act dissolves the system of checks and balances that supports the Constitution, as the executive branch of government seizes control of legislation and the courts. Under the banner of fighting terrorism, power is becoming increasingly centralized in the Leviathan of the state as other branches of government become rubber-stamp mechanisms and alibis for totalitarianism. The Patriot Act violates numerous constitutional rights, such as the First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of assembly, the Fourth Amendment right to security from unreasonable search and seizures, and the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to basic protections during criminal proceedings. Among other things, the Patriot Act arrogates to the Executive office the authority— without need to show evidence of grounds for suspicion—to demand from librarians and bookstores lists of materials checked out or purchased, to undertake clandestine sneak-and-peek operations in the homes and workplaces of terrorism suspects, to monitor any citizen communications by phone or the Internet, and to allow indefinite detention of non-citizens while denying them legal counsel. In the new Panopticon Surveillance State, government agencies can collect and share information on anyone without judicial review, as the Executive office minimizes the information citizens can gather on corporations and on government itself through Freedom of Information requests. Building on infamous Carnivore data mining techniques to buttress the “Total Information Awareness” program or state variations on it (see below) that could come straight out of George Orwell or Philip K. Dick, the state can amass an encyclopedic wealth of information on any individual they target and nullify rights to privacy and freedom of speech.
Perhaps most alarmingly, the Patriot Act created a new legal category of “domestic terrorism” that is defined broadly enough to have a chilling effect on political activity. Casting its dragnet far and wide, the Patriot Act declares that the crime of “domestic terrorism” occurs when a person’s action “appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population [or] to influence the policy of government by intimidation or coercion.” Interestingly, through this new form of citizen coercion the Patriot Act falls under its own definition and by logic should annul itself. Practically, however, this definition of terrorism will stretch to fit civil disobedience and virtually any protest activity. In Bushspeak protest and coercion, citizen and terrorist, are cunningly conflated.
The new definition of terrorism is a direct challenge to liberation groups like the ALF and ELF that are deemed security threats. The penalties for liberation activities are far greater than previously defined. The crime of arson against a vivisection laboratory, for example, formerly carried a penalty of not more than twenty years, but the Patriot Act amends the law to read “for any term of years or for life.” It also has removed the statute of limitations for specific “terrorist” offenses, including those that create a “foreseeable risk” of death or injury to another person. The maximum penalty for providing material support to, harboring, or concealing a “terrorist” increases from ten to fifteen years in prison (see Black and Black in this volume).
But given the strategic vagueness of Patriot Act language, nearly any protest group can fit the terrorist definition. How much latitude is granted under the phrase “appears to be”? Just what is it to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population” or “to influence the policy of the government by intimidation or coercion”? Protests often are intimidating, and their entire point is to “influence” social policy. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), for instance, might be classed as a “terrorist organization” for their financial support of well-known animal rights “terrorists” such as Rod Coronado, Gary Yourofsky, and Josh Harper. Following bureaucratic logic, PETA is guilty of “harboring,” “aiding,” or “lending material support to” “terrorists,” all punishable crimes under the Patriot Act. Indeed, right-wing industry front groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom (see below) have a field day smearing PETA and even more conservative organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States as “terrorist” organizations. Presumably, activists who organize a vegan bake sale to support tree-sitters or political prisoners could be indicted for “aiding terrorists.” The Patriot Act is a menacing weapon in the hands of the government whereby once they vilify someone as a “terrorist,” they can then apply repressive Patriot Act laws and spread guilt by association.
This neo-McCarthyist repression and hysteria has weighty implications for grassroots activists, too. If an animal lover shelters dogs rescued from a laboratory by the ALF or houses a “terrorist,” he or she could be arraigned under the Patriot Act. A foreign student involved with PETA, Greenpeace, or certainly the ALF, can be deported for assisting a “domestic terrorist” organization. Speaking out in support of the ALF or ELF can earn one a criminal charge, as can taking pictures of animal abuse in laboratories or factory farms and slaughterhouses (see below). In the Orwellian dystopia of “Homeland Security,” where truth is falsehood and falsehood is truth, documenting animals tortured in a slaughterhouse is terrorism, but beating and killing them in unspeakably vicious ways is free enterprise. According to an official FBI definition, “Eco-terrorism is a crime committed to save nature.” It speaks volumes about capitalist society and its dominionist mindset that actions to “save nature” are classified as criminal actions while those that destroy nature are sanctified by God and Flag.
“Shock and Awe” Attacks on Democracy
“The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” John Adams
“Under current federal law, there are unreasonable obstacles to investigating and prosecuting terrorism.” George Bush, September 11, 2002
“Two years after the attacks, it is no longer possible to view these changes [brought on by the Patriot Act] as aberrant parts of an emergency response.” Michael Posner, the Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
In the era of the Patriot Act, one can expect more state repression and less government accountability to Congress, the courts, and citizens. As stated by the Center for Constitutional Rights in their “Erosion of Civil Liberties in the Post 9/11 Era” report, “These Executive Orders and agency regulations violate the laws of the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the United States, and international and humanitarian law. As a result, the war on terror is largely being conducted by executive fiat and the constitutional liberties of both citizens and non-citizens alike have been seriously compromised.” The problem is not a (legitimate) war on (real) terrorists, but the hyperbole of the threat and the exploitation of 9/11 to justify unleashing draconian rule. According to Laura Murphy, Director of the ACLU’s Washington National Office, “The [Patriot Act] goes far beyond any powers conceivably necessary to fight terrorism in the United States.” To borrow a phrase from Frankfurt School theorist Herbert Marcuse, the Patriot Act creates “surplus repression,” that is, repression far beyond what is necessary for minimal social organization or, in this case, to fight foreign terrorists.
The Patriot Act set back the struggle for civil liberties by decades and has already created a new “normalcy” of political repression, but it was only the opening volley of the Bush administration as it launches another front in its real war—the blitzkrieg on democracy. Every bad horror movie has its sequel, and it is no different in this case. Whereas the Patriot Act was enacted to hurt foreigners and non-citizens the most, its potential successor is designed to come after American citizens themselves. The Son of Patriot Act authorizes increases in domestic intelligence gathering, surveillance, and law enforcement prerogatives that are unprecedented in U.S. history.
In February 2003, a watchdog group called the Center for Public Integrity reported that they had obtained a leaked copy of draft legislation—dated January 9, 2003 and stamped “confidential”—that the Bush administration had told the Senate Judiciary Committee did not exist. The legislation is titled the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003,” or, as it is unaffectionately known, Patriot Act II. Like the opportunistic debut of Patriot Act I, which exploited the 9/11 tragedy and widespread fears of additional terrorist attacks, Patriot Act II reveals that the Bush administration was waiting for the next terrorist attack or its war with Iraq to spring more booby-trapped legislation on Congress requiring emergency passage. If approved, Patriot Act II will plant dangerous landmines in the path of every activist and nonconformist in this country. Many members of Congress, however, are more circumspect and skeptical this time around and are challenging further efforts to erode the Constitution (see below).
In addition to increasing secret surveillance and requiring even less juridical or political oversight of Executive power, Patriot Act II creates new crimes and punishments for nonviolent activities. It calls for fifteen new death penalty categories for “terrorism.” It authorizes secret arrests for anyone involved with an organization deemed “terrorist,” and it makes giving donations to such a group a criminal action. As the government and sundry industries involved in animal exploitation try to make the “terrorist” tag stick to groups like PETA and Greenpeace, contributors to those organizations risk being identified as “terrorists.” If Patriot Act II is passed, the government will keep a DNA base on all “terrorists” and put their pictures and personal information on a public Internet site. Most alarmingly, the government could strip Americans of their citizenship and deport them if they belong or give “material support” to a “terrorist” group.
These measures go far beyond Patriot Act I. They assail legal forms of protest and dissent, while threatening to exile the “terrorists” who belong to or support “terrorist” organizations—PETA and Greenpeace today, the Humane Society of the United States and the Sierra Club tomorrow. With a broad brush, the state intends to paint a scarlet letter on the forehead of every activist. This proposal subverts the very principles and logic of democracy; it does so, grotesquely, in the name of patriotism. In August 2003, Ashcroft went on a twenty-city, ten-day “Victory Tour” that advocated stiffer legislation than enacted by the Patriot Act as opposition to his policies increased in Congress and cities throughout the nation. The political war over the Constitution rages on as “pluralist democracy” degenerates into a menacing plutocracy.
Lobbying for Tyranny: The Texas Eco-Terrorism McBill
“This legislation takes more than `a bite out of crime,’ it jails and penalizes animal and eco-terrorists and their sympathetic financial agents for what they are—domestic terrorists.” Sandy Liddy Bourne, daughter of G. Gordon Liddy and advisor to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Homeland Security Working Group
While the ALF ransacks research laboratories and the ELF scorches SUVs and condos, the corporate-state complex is busy working to rig the rules of warfare to its advantage. The assault on animal rights and environmental organizations is happening from the top down and the bottom up, on the federal and state levels. The bills currently being debated in various states are the result of alliances between corporations and professional lobbying groups, and their goal is to thwart any challenge to industry rights to killing and predation.
Deepening a dynamic as old as our nation, corporations are finding new methods and resources to gain access to politicians and policy makers. Powerful corporate lobbying organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) operate as think tanks and policy makers that charge corporate clients thousands of dollars a year to join. Membership earns corporations privileged access to policy meetings that invite their input in drafting new laws and bring them into direct contact with politicians. According to a Washington Post report, “Of the country’s 6,500 state legislators, 3,000 belong to ALEC, including dozens of leaders of state legislatures and senates. Twelve sitting governors are ALEC graduates, as are 77 members of Congress.” Corporations and trade organizations can dictate laws and public policy while hiding their tracks behind such lobbying organizations. ALEC has been in the business of corporate policy prostitution for thirty years and currently operates with an annual budget of nearly six million dollars.
One key function of groups like ALEC is to draft model bills that advance corporate interests and then float them in state legislatures across the country. ALEC has written over 3,100 bills and passed 450 into law in various states. Not coincidentally, as they push legislation criminalizing dissent, ALEC has over a dozen corporate clients involved in the prison industry and has played a crucial role in passing dozens of tough anti-crime bills such as the “three strikes” laws. The group has thereby helped to significantly increase incarceration rates in the U.S., and it intends to add animal rights and environmental activists to their client list.
This is obvious if one considers Texas House Bill 433, a recent
draft legislation that seeks to capitalize on federal efforts
to criminalize animal rights and environmental activism, and is
pending in Pennsylvania, Maine, New York, and other states.
Texas HB 433 involved a partnership with ALEC and the U.S. Sportsmen’s
Alliance (USSA), a militantly anti–animal rights organization
comprised of hunters, fishermen, trappers, and “scientific
wildlife management professionals.” They defend their right
to kill animals through grassroots coalition support, ballot issue
campaigning, and lobbying efforts. In August 2002, Rob Sexton
of USSA spoke to ALEC’s Task Force on Criminal Justice about
the growing “terrorist threat” of animal rights groups.
In December 2002 the committee, headed by Representative Ray Allen
(R-Dallas), voted to accept HB 433, and in February 2003 the “Animal
and Ecological Terrorism Act” was sent to the Texas legislature.
The USSA claims that they only seek to protect “wildlife” interests and prevent illegal actions, and do not intend to inhibit the constitutional rights of their critics. This lie is contradicted first by the fact that Texas and other states already have laws in place to prohibit criminal actions against property, and second in that the bill unambiguously attacks basic rights. The real agenda of the USSA clearly is not to stop actions that already are illegal, but to criminalize any currently legal activities, such as protests or demonstrations, that pose threats to their bloodletting.
As evidence of the interests sponsoring HB 433, the bill singles out animal and environmental industries for special legal protection. HB 433 defines an “animal rights or ecological terrorist organization” as “two or more persons organized for the purpose of supporting any politically motivated activity intended to obstruct or deter any person from participating in any activity involving animals or an activity involving natural resources.” The bill criminalizes actions obstructing “any lawful activity involving the use of a natural resources with an economic value,” such as mining or foresting, or obstructing a lab, circus, zoo, or other institution that uses animals for research or economic assets.
Like the Patriot Act and its more recent counterpart, the language here is willfully vague, but the purpose is quite specific: to cripple the animal rights and environmental movements by kneecapping their right to dissent. Under HB 433 and its numerous clones, two or more people can be labeled terrorists if they leaflet a circus, protest an experimental lab, block a road to protect a forest, do a tree-sit, block the doors of Neiman Marcus, or potentially impede industry profits in any fashion, presumably even through education. HB 433 clearly violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly as it threatens the privacy rights of individuals and freedom of the press. Andrew Becker of the Sierra Club observes that “The legislation is so sweeping and nebulous it could also cover nonviolent civil disobedience or even ordinary environmental activism.” Following measures that have been attempted in states such as Illinois, Missouri, and New York, the bill classifies as a felony “terrorist” action the photographing or videotaping of animal abuse in a facility such as a puppy mill, factory farm, or slaughterhouse. HB 433 and its clones intend to make it a class D felony to unlawfully enter any animal facility for the purpose of taking photographs or using a video recorder “with the intent to defame the facility or facility’s owner.” Missouri SB 657 declares it a felony offense “if a person photographs, videotapes or otherwise obtains images without the express written consent of the animal facility, from a location not legally accessible to the public.”
This means that any and every abuse of an animal is no one’s business but that of the “property owner,” and exposés of cruelty, rather than the cruelty itself, would become outlawed, the offenses punishable by up to six months in jail. Thus, it appears that the terrorists are not the monsters who club pigs to death with metal pipes, but rather the activists, whistleblowers, or investigative reporters trying to document such sadistic abuse. Like Patriot Act II, the Texas eco-terrorist bill aims to criminalize donating money to any group smeared as “terrorist,” and requires that all guilty individuals supply their names, addresses, and a recent photograph to post on a public Internet database.
After being slammed with criticism from outraged citizens and groups including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Texas Humane Legislative Network, the Sierra Club, and the American Civil Liberties Union, Allen backed off HB 433, and it died in the House Committee on Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations in May 2003. But in March 2003 Allen resubmitted a similar bill, HB 1516, which aims to escalate criminal penalties for actions against animal and natural resource industries.
Any bills modeled after HB 433, such as those introduced or considered in Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and New York, could take effect in any state at any time. The Missouri bill attempting to outlaw photographing animal facilities died in committee in May 2003, but a similar bill passed the Ohio senate in May 2003 and won approval in the Oregon senate in June 2003. On January 1, 2004, a new California state law went into effect based on ALEC’s “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” model that banned activists from trespassing on animal farms. The law significantly raised the trespassing penalties from a citation and $10 fine to a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Clearly, animal rights and environmental activists are becoming a threat, and corporate exploiters will go to any lengths – from shredding the Constitution to creating a fascist police state -- to protect their profits and plunder. Michael Ratner, a human rights lawyer and vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, claims that the Texas bill is unprecedented in its assault on freedom. “This is unique. Even under the definition of domestic terrorism in the Patriot Act, you have to at least do something that arguably threatens people’s lives. The definitional sections of this legislation are so broad that they sweep within them basically every environmental and animal rights organization in the country.”
Pump Up the Volume: The War of Words
“Actions by special interests groups, including animal rights groups, are the most dangerous threat to this country.” FBI agent testifying before Congress, February 2002
“Let’s call the ELF and the ALF for what they truly are—terrorist organizations. It is imperative to treat all acts of terrorism equally.” Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
“Make no mistake, the violent methods used by these [eco-]criminals are nothing short of acts of terror.” Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO)
Today’s animal rights and environmental movement bears the stigma of “violent extremism” and “domestic terrorism“ and contains factions and figures that defend the legitimacy of violence, though they have yet to commit any. The new liberation movements must now confront spying, infiltration, harassment, and persecution by a government that exploits public anxiety of the “international terrorist threat” and paranoia over domestic security to advances its own agendas. The state’s goal is not merely to felonize property destruction “crimes,” but also to re-categorize them as forms of domestic terrorism, to prosecute them under racketeering laws, and, with the Patriot Act, to considerably increase the penalties for property destruction and “support” of “eco-terrorism.”
Enemies of the ALF and ELF want to change the classification of their actions from vandalism, arson, and property damage to offences punishable under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security. After the summer 2003 ELF attacks on SUVs and Hummers in California, for instance, Chris Chocola (R-IND) introduced legislation in his home state (his district houses the main assembly plant for Hummer H2s) to make arson a federal crime that falls under the rubric of terrorism. If Chocola gets his way, a convicted offender will be punished with a jail sentence of five years to life. Instead of passing legislation to force automakers to improve emission standards, Chocola bows to his corporate bosses with a measure that would severely penalize strikes on gas-guzzling, super-polluting tanks that have no place on any road.
Just as during the anti-communist hysteria of 1950s, all the government has to do to legitimate its crackdown on dissent is to define an individual or group as “terrorist,” and the repression follows as if a fait accompli. The government and exploitation industries are inciting a war of rhetoric—a Machiavellian battle that has nothing to do with truth and everything to do with a monopoly of the means of communication and the power to shape public consciousness. Appropriating the lens and pages of like-minded corporate media giants, the corporate-state complex tries to delegitimate liberationists through a verbal war based on lies, slander, misrepresentation, distortion, fabrication, and outrageous hyperbole.
On September 12, 2001, as the smoke was still rising from the rubble of the World Trade Center, U.S. representative Greg Walden (R-OR) declared that the ELF poses a threat “no less heinous that what we saw occur yesterday here in Washington and New York.” When SHACtivists set off harmless smoke bombs in two Marsh insurance buildings in Seattle in July 2002, Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske called the stunt “domestic terrorism.” The Center for Consumer Freedom found the prank to evoke “horrifying parallels with last September’s attack on New York City” and proclaimed, “It’s time to start using the ‘T’-word.”
Never mind that there is a world of difference between two smoke bombs and two passenger plane missiles, between people who were mildly irritated at most and thousands who died horrible deaths, and between an action in defense of innocent animals and a paradigmatic terrorist strike that murdered thousands of innocent civilians. Trying to inject some sanity into the debate, an ALF representative wrote: “One simply cannot compare the events of September 11 to the illegal direct actions taken by underground groups and individuals for animal and earth liberation. Flying fully loaded planes into office towers [resulting] in massive loss of life and injuries is something that is on a completely different level than the actions [of the ALF and ELF]. Aside from the obvious differences of philosophy between real terrorists and animal and earth activists vis a vis the injuring or [taking] of life, the horrific actions we witnessed on September 11 represent what real terrorism is all about, and what violent people are capable of doing. To compare this to the actions of people who work to save animal lives and our planet while explicitly not using violent means is, frankly, ridiculous. Furthermore, to label nonviolent activists as ‘terrorists’ is a slap in the face to everyone who has been killed or who is suffering as a result of September 11.”
But truth and logic suffocate in the toxic discourse environment of hysterical extremists. In an October 23, 2001 story, the ultra-conservative CNSNews.com hypothesized that the ALF could be behind a wave of anthrax attacks on U.S. citizens since they were known to invade laboratories and could be working with foreign terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. In August 2002, SHACtivists in Boston and San Antonio were brought up on the RICO act and charged with attempted extortion, threats to burn a dwelling, stalking in violation of a restraining order, criminal harassment, and conspiracy. Since the Boston activists hailed from Britain, the press did not fail to exploit the connection and to suggest that, like Al Qaeda, “terrorism” was being exported through an international ring. An August 21, 2002 Boston Herald opinion column provides this evidence of growing readiness to malign any act of resistance today as “terrorism”: “If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, call it a duck. Members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty are engaged in nothing more than terrorism that so far hasn’t killed anybody. It has no place in American life…. This moral monstrosity has to be nipped in the bud.” Nothing, of course, is said about the sadistic cruelty toward animals at HLS and the ethical motivations of activists tried and hung in the media.
The legal and rhetorical fronts of the war heated up in April 2003 when George Nethercutt (R-WA) introduced the Agroterrorism Prevention Act HR2795. This bill seeks to establish a five-year mandatory sentence for firebombing and would allow prosecutors to seek capital punishment against anyone who causes the death of another person during an attack on an animal or plant enterprise. Moreover, Nethercutt’s bill aims to create and maintain a national clearinghouse to collect data on ALF- and ELF-type crimes, while extending the RICO act to “ecoterrorism.” Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-OR) submitted a similar bill, the Environmental Terrorism Reduction Act, thereby seeking to outlaw protests “committed in the name of the environment.” House Forest and Forest Health Subcommittee Chairman Scott McInnis avers that the “ecoterrorists“ are not “nature-loving hippies,“ but rather “hardened criminals“ to be likened to Timothy McVeigh. Not to be outdone, Nethercutt called the ALF and ELF our “home-grown brand of Al Qaeda.” In a move reminiscent of the McCarthy hearings in the U.S. during the 1950s, McInnis, Nethercutt, and other members of Congress asked mainstream environmental groups to publicly disavow the tactics of the ALF and ELF—and gave them a deadline. “National environmental organizations need to know, you are either with us or you are against us. You need to choose which side you are on, and know we will be watching,“ said Nethercutt.
The Alice in Wonderland hyperbole that seems a genre rule of state and corporate criticism completely misrepresents animal liberation struggles as it undercuts the ability to identity real evil and violence in our social world. In headlines and text, reporters affix the term “eco-terrorist” to animal rights and environmental activists as if it were a neutral or natural designator that demanded no argument or explanation. Quite commonly, media reports refer to the “violent campaign“ that the ALF, the ELF, or SHAC is waging against animal exploiters without ever defining violence or suggesting that what these groups are attacking is wrong or violent. Rather, they print uncritical and false claims, as in the case of a U.S. News and World Report article on SHAC, entitled “Terrorize people, save animals.” The article states: “Commercial test labs like Huntingdon are a critical link in the healthcare system”—ignoring a half-dozen exposés that proved HLS to be a barbaric and fraudulent operation. When the corporate-state complex cautions, “It is only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt“ in the direct action movements on behalf of animals, they ignore the fact that someone already has been hurt—the billions of animals killed every year in factory farms, slaughterhouses, vivisection laboratories, and the “entertainment“ industries.
Will the Real Terrorists Please Shut Up?
“I called [animal rights activists] terrorists. I grouped all [terrorists] together because it’s really pretty hard to distinguish one from the other.” Utah state representative Paul Ray
“You could call us ‘terra-ists.’ We value animal life and more. We strive to reduce the sum total of suffering, not only to people but to all other species and to the Earth.” Ingrid Newkirk
The state and corporate deployment of the T-word in response to nearly every challenge to their corrupt and violent authority renders the highly charged term “terrorist” banal and meaningless. As many activists are unwilling to endure this rhetorical fusillade without a struggle, they have entered into the semantic battlefield with the intent of providing more accurate and objective definitions of terrorism and establishing the identity of the real “terrorists” (see Watson and “Defining Terrorism” in this volume).
The Center for Consumer Freedom provides a prime example of how exploitation industries abuse terrorist discourse for their own political agendas, as they demonize animal rights and even vegetarian groups as “fanatics,” “terrorists,” or “front groups for terrorism.” A front group if ever there were one, CCF is a coalition of thirty thousand restaurant, alcohol, and tobacco companies adamantly opposed to vegetarianism; animal rights; anti-biotechnology activists; anti-smoking lobbying; organic foods advocates; critics of fast food, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and any “food cop“ who dares to question or regulate consumption of the goods related to their industry. A vivid illustration of economically conditioned blindness, CCF denies the dangers of secondhand smoke and alcohol-impaired driving, the problem with schools hawking soda pop to students for big contract money, and even the obesity epidemic in American society, a serious problem to which the media has given considerable attention in the last few years. No vegetarian or animal rights groups fall outside the huge net they cast over today’s “nanny culture” of politically correct whiners. Their goal, completely decontextualized from weighty ethical and political issues, is to protect “the public’s right to a full menu of dining and entertainment choices.” The organization aims to wage a propaganda war against activists in a position to influence consumer behavior; hence, according to leader Rick Berman, their main strategy is “to shoot the messenger…. We’ve got to attack their credibility as spokespersons.”
Besides SHAC and PETA, CCF’s favorite target is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), an organization led by Dr. Neal Barnard and composed of scientists, medical doctors, researchers, and others who advocate veganism and the abolition of animal experimentation. Since 2000, PCRM has been featured regularly in the mass media, debating Dr. Robert C. Atkins over the validity of his high-protein diets and attacking the food pyramid as a form of institutionalized racism that neglects the health concerns of minority peoples in order to sell meat and dairy products .” PCRM also has publicly urged the government to sue meat retailers for the devastating effects of their products on public health, much in the same manner that tobacco industries have been targeted. In a September 1999 press release, Dr. Barnard writes, “Meat consumption is just as dangerous to public health as tobacco use …. It’s time we looked into holding the meat producers and fast-food outlets legally accountable.”
The CCF rejects PCRM’s claims to scientific legitimacy and denounces them as a “terrorist front group“ for PETA and SHAC. While gunning to repeal PETA’s tax-exempt status, they “expose” the financial and organizational ties between PCRM and PETA (PETA gives PCRM money, and the two groups share similar funding sources) and PCRM and SHAC (Barnard worked with Kevin Jonas, former spokesperson of the ALF and current member of SHAC, on a major letter-writing campaign). In a January 2002 press release, CCF called on PCRM to “stop portraying itself as a medical organization and come clean about its connections to extremist animal rights organizations responsible for acts of violence and millions of dollars in the destruction of property.” PCRM, they say, is “no more than a puppet for PETA to use in spreading its virulent anti-choice rhetoric.” PCRM’s superb health education campaigns are rejected as nothing but “junk science” and efforts “to dispense dangerous animal rights orthodoxy masquerading as nutritional advice.” CCF conveniently fails to discuss items such as the sixteen major research studies that link milk consumption to maladies like prostate cancer and heart disease, and they somehow neglect to disclose their own status as an organizational facade for sundry industries profiting from killing animals and poisoning the public.
CCF decries the destruction of inanimate property but shows zero
regard for the billions of animal lives destroyed every year in
slaughterhouses and laboratories. They excoriate PCRM for their
“junk science” but praise HLS—notorious for
its drugged-out and drunk employees who falsify data—as
scientifically respectable. They say that PETA and other groups
use “scare tactics [that] are designed to intimidate people
into accepting a ridiculously small set of food choices,”
ignoring the rich diversity of a vegetarian diet.
It’s clear that public discourse and thought have shifted toward more conservative directions and a deeper bias against direct action when “progressive” groups like the anti-racist Southern Poverty and Law Center join in the fray of stigmatizing the ALF and ELF as “domestic terrorists.” Their article, “From Push to Shove: Radical environmental and animal-rights groups have always drawn the line at targeting humans. Not anymore,” is a misinformed and misplaced attack on the new direct action movements. It uncritically accepts the glib propaganda of the corporate-state complex and bemoans legitimate strikes such as the action against the notorious Coulston chimpanzee compound in Alamogordo, New Mexico(so egregious that even the U.S. government shut it down). Brian Levin, a criminal justice professor and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, lumps together ALF and ELF actions against property with violent racist and homophobic assaults on people. From his blinkered perspective, both types of actions are equally “hate crimes.” Levin ignores the true hate crimes—the contempt and hatred that exploiters have for animals and the Earth—as he fails to grasp the love of life and nature that motivates ALF and ELF actions.
“The next thing you known they’ll be calling in artists, actors, and anyone else they can think of to ask of them, ‘Are you now or have you ever been a vegetarian?’ ” Bruce Friedrich
A madness is sweeping the nation no less absurd, outrageous, frightening, and irrational than the Red Scare of the 1950s. The Patriot Act expands government’s law enforcement powers as it minimizes meaningful review and oversight by an independent judicial body. The disempowered courts are compelled to grant orders authorizing surveillance so long as the FBI, CIA, or Justice Department says the magic words, “This is a terrorist investigation,” or simply, “Do it.” The Bush administration, as it acts to criminalize dissent, is straight out of the film Minority Report, where you are guilty until proven innocent, and the government condemns you even for thinking an illegal thought, arresting you before you can choose whether or not to put that thought into action.
As the U.S. government moves ever closer to tyranny, it collapses differences between violent and nonviolent protest, between terrorist and citizen, between Al Qaeda and PETA. Patriot Act I was just the first incursion in the new war against democracy, and the enemy is quickly advancing on activist positions. We are all under attack—not just the ALF and ELF, but also mainstream groups and indeed any citizen who dares to rise from his or her stupor before the TV screen to assume a political stand in the streets. Every dissenting citizen is now treated like an “enemy combatant.” Rather than bickering among themselves and condemning each other’s tactics, animal advocates ought to be lining up against the common enemy of the corporate-state complex.
The new concept of patriotism is marketed with as much truth and logic as the packaging of Happy Meals. Government doublespeak defines peace as war and war as peace, (corporate) criminality as principled moral action and principled moral action as criminal behavior. But one needs to stop expecting truth from the state and begin to see it for what it really is—a bureaucracy that monopolizes the means of violence and exists largely as a political tool for the economic interests of ruling elites. The FBI has always worked to impede domestic civil liberties and halt radical movements dead in their tracks. The stories of agent-heroes fighting to protect American democracy against gangs, the mafia, and sundry evil types are the fables (always encouraged and pre-approved by the FBI) of comic books and television shows. Since its inception the FBI has monitored domestic radicalism and dissent, and it has jailed, beaten, and murdered radicals in this country. As evidenced by their infamous counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) during the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI has infiltrated, disrupted, and destroyed radical social organizations, using techniques ranging from surveillance and agent provocateurs to framing and assassination. To the extent the animal rights, environment, anti-globalization, and anti-war movements grow strong, they will try to do it to them, too.
Liberty and democracy have precious little breathing space in the straitjacket of neo-McCarthyism and Homeland Security. Following a peaceful protest in 1998 against Neiman Marcus for selling fur, a Dallas court forbade Megan Lewis from further animal rights protests. In October 2001, the Secret Service and Durham police questioned a college freshman about an anti-Bush poster hanging in her dorm room. After the launching of the 2003 war against Iraq, national media conservatives routinely branded antiwar protestors as traitors who should be jailed. When Baghdad fell, anchor Neil Cavuto of the conservative Fox News channel, which boasts “fair and balanced” coverage, announced to critics of the war, “You were sickening then; you are sickening now.” The yellow-ribbon-tying masses equate patriotism with blinkered jingoism, as Paleolithic “America, love it or leave it” cries ring throughout the wasteland of talk radio. Across the nation, anti-war activists were surveilled, harassed, and arrested for the crime of exercising their constitutional rights. The shrill attack on the Dixie Chicks (much of it organized by conservative media giant Clear Channel Communications) for voicing their right to a critical viewpoint about President Bush is a clear indicator of the barbaric impulses stirring in the nation, irrationally oblivious to the fact that if the troops in Iraq were fighting for anything, it was precisely for the Dixie Chicks’ right to dissent. Hollywood blacklisting is back as outspoken critics of Bush’s war against Iraq (Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Martin Sheen, and others) are banned from events and suffer retaliation for their views. In February 2003, a man was arrested in a New York shopping mall for refusing to remove an anti-war T-shirt he was wearing. Many outrageous incidents involving state harassment result from one person reporting another to authorities. In 2002, John Ashcroft tried to implement Operation TIPS (Terrorist Information Prevention System), in which individuals were asked to monitor their fellow citizens and to report suspicious behavior. The program was not approved, but its website claimed that over 200,000 tips had been filed since September 11, 2001. In the case of the man detained by FBI agents in an Atlanta coffee shop in June 2003, a fellow “citizen” turned him in for reading at article entitled “Weapons of Mass Stupidity.”
For many years, conservative organizations in academia have been monitoring what “liberal” professors say about topics such as the war and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, recently founded a new conservative group, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which blasted dozens of professors for not showing sufficient patriotism after 9/11. Cheney considers college and university faculty to be “the weak link in America’s response to the attack,” perhaps because in those institutions there are still some embers of free thinking glowing. How long can it be before industries sponsor websites monitoring what professors say about vegetarianism, animal rights, environmental issues, and direct action?
Increasingly, animal rights activists are being brought before grand juries and charged with violations of the RICO Act. Grand juries are nothing but repressive mechanisms designed to coerce activists to supply them with information under the threat of eighteen months in prison for non-compliance, all without a right to have counsel present. On February 12, 2002, for instance, Congress summoned former ELF spokesperson Craig Rosebraugh to Washington, DC for its special oversight hearing on Eco-terrorism and Lawlessness on the National Forests. Rosebraugh pleaded the Fifth Amendment to most questions, exasperating his inquisitors. In written testimony, he defiantly championed the cause of animal and Earth liberation as he took the government to task for its own state-sponsored terrorism against people all over the globe. “In fact,” he notes, “the U.S. government by far has been the most extreme terrorist organization in planetary history.” Surveilled and harassed continuously for exercising his right to free speech on behalf of the ELF, Rosebraugh presents a case study in state repression and the political consequences of the Patriot Act.
SHACtivists in the U.K. and the U.S. are getting the same treatment as they face an increasing number of grand jury subpoenas, RICO charges (that they violated federal racketeering laws by banding together in an interstate network to force companies to change their business practices), and new “exclusion zone” laws that severely inhibit their controversial protest tactics. Since the precedent set by the National Organization for Women in its use of the RICO act against abortion protesters, it has become common for corporations to use RICO to fight activists. HLS and Stephens Inc., its main financial backer before it pulled out in 2002 due to relentless pressure from SHAC, filed a lawsuit against In Defense of Animals, the Animal Defense League, and SHAC, charging them with organized harassment. The state of Oregon, subject to numerous arson attacks on behalf of environmental causes, expanded the RICO laws to include actions against logging. As in the 1998 case where Stephens Inc. filed a suit against PETA, many such suits are settled out of court. But they cost organizations time, money, and resources, and often result in muffling public criticism of corporate evil.
Both in the U.S. and internationally, the state is increasingly targeting activists for undercover infiltration and raids. On July 30, 2002, nine members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada’s national police agency, smashed down the door at the home of ALF spokesperson David Barbarash. They ransacked his place, seizing computers, floppy disks, videos, photographs, mail, and personal belongings. On the flimsiest justification, an arbitrarily chosen newspaper article in which Barbarash espouses the basic animal liberation line he has championed hundreds of times, the RCMP was granted permission for a search warrant. In his August 19, 2002 statement through Frontline Information Service, Barbarash observed: “This raid was not about animal rights issues or actions; this raid was about how we all have lost a large chunk of basic civil liberties and human rights. It’s about how we really do live under the rule of a police state where it’s no longer allowable to speak your mind or express beliefs which oppose oppression, and which challenge the corporate/military governments. To do so risks raids, possible arrest and lengthy jail terms.”
Such a risk was taken in February 2003, when Fresno State University hosted a national conference on “Revolutionary Environmentalism.” Could there be free speech without state surveillance and harassment, in an academic setting, featuring radicals doing no more than expressing their views? The event brought together activists from Earth First!, former members and representatives of the ALF and ELF, and prominent academic writers in order to speak to students, faculty, and a community audience of over six hundred people. Local agricultural producers and SUV dealers were outraged that the university would sponsor “criminals” and “terrorists,” and hired extra security to foil the midnight raids of the invading terrorists who had come only to talk about urgent social issues and explain the reasons for their radicalism. To do its part in the war against terrorism, the FBI planted six agents in the hotel housing the conference participants. Critics tried to stop the conference, but the university courageously defended it on the grounds of free speech and the need to understand contemporary liberation struggles. Months afterward, however, Fresno State capitulated to the FBI when the bureau subpoenaed a tape of the conference’s evening community panel. The university and the state failed the free speech test.
After the controversial Fresno conference, Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors unanimously approved a resolution to ban from the campus any group or individual that has advocated or participated in “illegal acts of domestic violence or terrorism.” In late February, reports surfaced that Virginia Beach undercover officers had infiltrated three meetings of Dolphin Liberty, a group opposed to a proposed exhibit of dolphins at the Virginia Marine Science Museum. In early 2003, anti–animal rights forces launched an assault on numerous universities that sponsored forums for animal rights and environmental ethics. In January, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance challenged Michigan State University for hosting a site for the Animal Legal and Historical Center, which serves as a resource for animal activists and legal researchers. Mining, timber, and construction lobbyists urged lawmakers to halt funding for the University of Montana’s environmental studies program, claiming that it was damaging the state’s economy.
In a March 2003 presentation to Minnesota law enforcement officers and emergency management officials, Captain Bill Chandler noted that although his state harbored violent neo-Nazi and right-wing militia groups like the Aryan Nation and Posse Comitatus, ALF and ELF cells were the most dangerous threats, even “more dangerous in Minnesota than Al Qaeda.” In late April 2003, the FBI interrupted a University of Minnesota meeting of the Student Organization for Animal Rights, asking for the names of all members of the group during the past few years. That same day, the FBI raided both SHAC’s New Jersey office and the Seattle home of ALF supporter Josh Harper. In August 2003, FBI agents descended on a California home searching for a videotaped talk by Rod Coronado as possible evidence relating to SUV attacks during his visit to the area. Just two months before, Coronado had found a Global Positioning Device under his car, obviously placed there to monitor his movements.
These are not just isolated events, but rather strategic interventions by the state in a systematic and coherent policy of repression, particularly against the new militancy in the animal rights and environmental movements. Never strong, civil liberties and constitutional rights in this country are becoming every more fragile, tenuous, and precarious. The U.S. political system is morphing into a post-constitutional dystopia.
“We have no desire whatsoever to in any way erode or undermine constitutional liberties." John Ashcroft
“Let’s go fuck ‘em up.” Miami cop overheard at the November 2003 FTAA protest
“When a long train of abuses and usurpations...evinces a design to reduce the people under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. The oppressed should rebel, and they will continue to rebel and raise disturbance until their rights are fully restored to them and all partial distinctions, exclusions, and incapacitations are removed.” Thomas Jefferson
In September 2003, the government announced the creation of a master “Watch List” of more than one hundred thousand terrorist suspects. The list tracks suspected foreign terrorists as well as citizens the government deems tied to “domestic terrorism.” Ashcroft promoted it as “one-stop shopping” for police on the lookout for all possible “terrorists,” including those in local animal rights, environmental, or anti-war protest groups. Privacy advocates objected that the list grants the state ever-greater powers to track and compile information on citizens whose only relation to “terrorist” activities is that they are affiliated with or support legal protest and lobbying organizations.
Ashcroft’s list signifies a dangerous new trend involving the compilation, centralization, and sharing of information on citizens—between corporations and the state, and within government at the federal, state, and local levels. The airline industry is one area in which this dynamic is at work. To replace the current system of terrorist watch lists, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) developed a new airline passenger–screening system called Computerized Airline Passenger Pre-Screening System II. CAPPS II uses a vast data-mining program to check names against commercial databases and a watch list of suspected terrorists and people wanted for violent crimes. While the TSA claims CAPPS II will make flying safer without impinging on individual privacy rights, critics argue that it would create yet another plank in an oppressive surveillance system. In March 2003, Delta was the first airline to volunteer to implement the CAPPS II system, which conducts background checks on all passengers and assigns them a threat level—red, yellow, or green—to determine if they should be subjected to increased levels of security or even refused boarding. The TSA has put over one thousand citizens on a “no-fly” list, targeting “security risks” such as Greenpeace activists.
Across the country, the FBI, state anti-terrorist squads, and local police monitor, gather, and share intelligence on protest activities and groups. State authorities at all levels routinely surveil direct action sites like Indymedia and infiltrate announced demonstrations. The California Anti-Terrorism Information Center keeps tabs on political activity and uploads information into criminal and anti-terrorism databases used by law enforcement officials to surveil and disrupt protests. The involvement of terrorist watch organizations in legal protests blurs the boundaries between political involvement and terrorism. As former state Attorney General’s office spokesman Mike van Winkle sagaciously revealed to Oakland Tribune reporters, “You can make an easy kind of link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that [protest]. You can almost argue that a protest against that [war] is a terrorist act.” In May 2003 the Denver Post revealed that Denver police had gathered information on peaceful protestors and civil rights groups and delivered it to the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force and other law agencies in an eight-state region. Working with the FBI, the Denver police have created files on 208 organizations and 3,200 individuals. In addition, a Boulder law enforcement agency monitored Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, a peaceful local animal rights group, and sent the information to Denver for inclusion in spy files. Across the nation, police in numerous states are cooperating to create a centralized data base of information on citizens in forms such as the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) (see below).
Protestors of all kinds are monitored, harassed, assaulted, and prevented from congregating and demonstrating by robocops in full riot -- as blatantly occurred during the November 2003 protests of the Free Trade Areas of the Americas in Miami. Police repression was particularly intense at the Biodevastation 7 Forum in St. Louis, organized as a critical response to the World Agricultural Forum hosted by Monsanto. Over thirty people planning on attending the conference and subsequent protest were arrested beforehand on petty charges such as riding a bicycle without a license. In their pre-emptive strike, the “Pre-Crime” police repeatedly interrogated activists, searched their vehicles, and raided their homes and offices. Such actions by federal agencies and local police are clear violations of constitutional rights, but in the shadow of the Patriot Act they become standard operating procedures. In October 2003, Greenpeace boarded a vessel eight miles outside of Miami and waved a banner criticizing Bush for illegal logging policies. In retaliation, Ashcroft dredged up an 1872 “sailor monger” law and charged Greenpeace with an illegal action, thereby threatening their tax-exempt status.
In November 2003, a classified FBI document surfaced that confirmed what every state critic already knew. In a directive sent out to more than 17,000 state and local police agencies on October 15 2003, the FBI warned about planned anti-war demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco and urged authorities to report suspicious behavior to the FBI. The document proved that similar to the COINTELPRO era of the 1960s, the FBI is advocating spying on peaceful protestors engaged in nothing more than lawful forms of dissent. In its zeal to squelch dissent against the Iraq war and discontent with the federal government, The FBI policy is to treat citizens exorcizing their constitutional rights like terrorists.
Free speech cannot survive in an atmosphere of surveillance, intimidation, harassment, and arrest. The thought that one’s name might end up in a police file for speaking out or attending a protest, or that one might be severely beaten by rabid cops during a peaceful demonstration, is a strong deterrent for many citizens contemplating involvement in civic affairs. If one analyzes the key defining criteria of fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and elsewhere—such as militarism, jingoism, national security obsessions, disdain for human rights, state-controlled mass media, and bogus elections—one finds uncanny similarities in the U.S. under Bush and the Patriot Act.
A crucial element in fascist systems of domination is the loss of privacy. Clearly we live in an advanced surveillance society—what some call the “transparent society”—where our speech and movements are recorded and monitored by computers, cameras, microphones, retinal and facial recognition systems, data mining systems, and fingerprints. Some of these measures protect us from assault or identity theft, but they also erode our privacy rights and supply personal information to businesses and the government. After 9/11, retired Adm. John Poindexter resurfaced to propose a ”Total Information Awareness” project designed to collect all informational footprints an individual leaves behind, ranging from doctor visits and travel plans to ATM withdrawals, book purchases, and email correspondence. In response to public outrage, Congress cancelled funding for the totalitarian information awareness program in September 2003, but a group of thirteen states were independently working on the same effort in the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX). Appropriately titled, the MATRIX is a data mining system that under the pretense of ferreting out dangerous “terrorists” would allow states to collect and share a wealth of information on any citizen almost instantaneously. “I won’t lie to you,” said Lt. Col. Ralph Periandi of the Pennsylvania State Police, “This system is not just being used to investigate terrorism.”
The Patriot Act has not been around for long, but it has already dramatically altered the political landscape. On March 24, 2003, the Washington Post reported that since 9/11, Ashcroft personally has signed more than 170 “emergency foreign intelligence warrants,” three times the number authorized in the preceding twenty-three years. On May 18, 2003, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that in the first two months of 2003, the FBI filed terrorist charges against fifty-six people, but an investigation found that forty-one had nothing to do with terrorism. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, the FBI and the Justice Department issued dozens of “national security letters” that require businesses to turn over all electronic records on their employees’ finances, phone calls, emails, and other personal information. The story makes no mention of surveillance of political activists, although from the government’s perspective they may well fall into the vague category of “other national security threats” whom Ashcroft and crew can target at will.
Congress will re-examine the Patriot Act in 2005, but by then inertia may have set in and the new security culture and “war on terrorism” may still be considered the nation’s top priority. On May 8, 2003, Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tried to pass a bill that would make the “anti-terrorism” powers of the Patriot Act permanent, and thereby abolish the “sunshine” review of 2005. Fortunately, Hatch was firmly checked by both Democrats and Republicans who are increasingly alarmed about the Bush agenda to erode civil liberties in the name of national security. Still, a compromise bill that expands government power to use secret surveillance against “terrorist suspects” passed in the Senate by a vote of ninety to four. The struggle to preserve constitutional rights is eternal and ongoing.
Beginning with the Reagan administration in the 1980s, conservatives have labored to roll back the clock on the environmental and social gains of the 1960s and 1970s, and the social welfare policies stemming from the 1930s. Indeed, Bush’s time machine reaches back centuries, not decades, as he and his cronies methodically work to annul the U.S. Constitution and the historical gains of the eighteenth-century period of Enlightenment and emerging democratic sensibility. The Bush administration, corporate lobbying groups like ALEC, and pro-violence organizations such as USSA are exploiting fear and paranoia of terrorism for their own advantage in order to justify their assault on freedom. The Bush administration in particular is shamelessly trying to gain from the tragedy that took the lives of thousands of innocent civilians on 9/11 in order to advance its own agendas and protect corporate profits, while shielding itself from public scrutiny.
The current wave of tyranny is part of a larger class warfare plan that includes subverting liberties, destroying social programs, creating tax programs, and invading nations in order to benefit corporations and the super-wealthy. Bush has quickly distinguished himself as one of the most insane and dangerous individuals to emerge in recent history and he is hell bent on resurrecting the glory days of the Roman Empire to fulfill what he takes to be God’s plan for him and American imperialist power. The differences between Osama Bin Laden’s terrorism and George W. Bush’s terrorism are difficult to discern.
One Struggle, One Fight
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Ben Franklin
“I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and to revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.” Henry David Thoreau
We have seen only a few of many portals through which one can view the intensifying drama surrounding the struggle between vegetarian, animal rights, and environmental activists and the state-corporate complex. From the CCF to the FBI, from the USSA to Congress, industries and their government allies are fighting back at “extreme” animal rights and environment groups, as direct activists and liberationists redouble their efforts amid ferocious repression. While opponents rev up the propaganda machines in their effort to strip away the Robin Hood mystique of liberationists, ecowarriors try to unmask the government and corporations as the repressive forces they are. As evidence of increasing tensions, and especially after the events of September 11, there has been a growing tendency here and abroad to criminalize animal rights activities and to brand them not simply as “radical” or “extreme,” but rather as “terrorist”—a term that should be applied not to acts of ethical sabotage, but rather to the willful inflicting of pain and violence on innocent living beings for nefarious political or economic goals. As the CCF, George Nethercutt, Ray Allen, and others impugn the ALF and ELF as extremists and fanatics, a cursory examination of their worldview, policies, and rhetoric should suffice to establish the identity of the real zealots and dangers to society.
The ironies are all too painful. When beagle puppies are crippled and punched in the face, when monkeys are strapped into restraint devices that smash their skulls, when kittens have their brains invaded with electrodes, and when rabbits and guinea pigs are pumped with toxic chemicals until they die, we are asked to believe that this is science, not terrorism. When over ten billion animals each year in the U.S. alone are confined and killed in unspeakably vicious ways by food industries, we are told this is business, not terrorism. In this sick and violent society, property is more sacred than life, and thus only those who destroy property are branded as criminals while the real terrorists execute their “banality of evil” (Hannah Arendt) in the daily affairs of torture and killing. For every scratch an activist might inflict on an animal exploiter, an ocean of blood flows from the bodies of animals; consequently, it is the height of perversity to brand activists rather than animal exploitation industries as the ethical misfits.
Clearly, in the era of the Patriot Act, the stakes of fighting for animal rights are now much higher, and this should prompt new reflection on tactics for both aboveground and underground activists. Activists must not be afraid or intimidated, but they also need to know their rights, or what is left of them, to exercise high levels of security, and to know the costs of sabotage actions. Words define reality, and the animal and Earth liberation movements must resist being defined as violent fanatics and extremists. They must defend themselves rhetorically and philosophically, establishing a sharp distinction between animal and Earth liberation, property destruction, protests, and demonstrations on one side, and bona fide violence and terrorism on the other side. They must expose for all to see the charlatans and real terrorists in state and corporate garb who fulminate against honorable dissidents and freedom fighters from behind their Oz-like curtain.
It is imperative to spread awareness about the history and nature of state repression, from the first Red Scare of the 1920s and the COINTELPRO operations in the 1960s and 1970s to today’s Patriot Act and neo-McCarthyism. It is important to know what murderous crimes the U.S. government has committed against radical individuals and groups in the past in order to understand what it is capable of doing today. Although the U.S. government has the right and the duty to stop genuine terrorists who pose threats to the nation and its citizens, it can and must do this without violating the Constitution, basic human rights, national sovereignty, and international law. The state cannot hide its own crimes under the mantle of Homeland Security. The government wants citizens to believe that security, not liberty, must be the overriding national goal for the indefinite future. If the public lets them, they will deploy this false dualism from now on to keep chipping away at personal liberties until none are left. If the mission of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda is to destroy what is left of Western democracy, then, with the help of Bush and Ashcroft, they are succeeding brilliantly.
In addition to growing Congressional opposition to the tyranny of the Patriot Act, there is hope in the news that 159 towns and cities—as well as the states of Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont—have created Bill of Rights Defense Committees and passed resolutions against the Patriot Act. From Ithaca, New York to Oakland, California, city councils have condemned the Patriot Act as unconstitutional and devoid of moral legitimacy. Taking more than just symbolic action, Ithaca and other communities require city employees (e.g., librarians) to adopt a policy of non-cooperation with the Patriot Act if government action against terrorism violates the civil rights and liberties of people within their communities. In effect, entire cities and states are adopting policies of civil disobedience as they pit individual rights and state duties against the federal government. Where Congress often has proved cowardly and inept in its duties, city governments are taking on protection of the Constitution as their own responsibility. As one member of the Oakland Civil Rights Defense Committee said, “Congress hasn’t been able to check this unconstitutional executive grab, so it is up to us to reclaim our fundamental rights of free speech, free association, due process and equal protection.”
If it is not already obvious, the struggle for animal rights is intimately connected to the struggle for human rights—for free speech, freedom of association, freedom from search and seizure, a fair trial, and so on. The animal rights community can no longer afford to be a single-issue movement, for now in order to fight for animal rights we have to fight for democracy. As different expressions of peace and justice struggles, progressive human and animal rights organizations need to identify important commonalities and form alliances against capitalism, militarization, patriarchy, state repression, and many other social pathologies that affect everyone, whatever their gender, sexual preference, class, race, or species.
It is time once again to recall the profound saying by Pastor Martin Niemoller about the fate of German citizens during the Nazi genocide: “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out—because I was a not communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me—and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.”
Attacks on foreigners are preludes to attacks on U.S. citizens, which are overtures to assaults on the animal rights and environmental activist communities, which augur the fate of all groups and citizens in the nation. In the world of Bush, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, the FBI, the CIA, and the corporate conglomerates, we are all becoming aliens, foreigners to their pre-modern barbarity by virtue of our very wish to uphold modern liberal values and constitutional rights. Like “the war on drugs,” the “war on terrorism” is phony, a front for the war on privacy, liberty, and democracy. Only counter-terrorists can defeat terrorists. May the armies of the animal, Earth, and human liberationists rise and multiply in a perfect war against the oppressors of the Earth.
1. The figures on Iraqi deaths comes from a United Nations report;
2. “Animal rights, terror tactics,” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/902751.stm
3. On guerilla warfare, see Mao Tse tung, On Guerilla Warfare (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961) and Che Guevara, Guerilla Warfare (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985). For an excellent analysis of how low-tech guerilla warfare in Vietnam defeated the U.S. military machines, see William Gibson, The Perfect War: Technowar in Vietnam. Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986.
4. “The Terrorist Threat Confronting the United States,” Congressional Statement Federal Bureau of Investigation, http:www.fbi.gov/congress02/watson020602.htm.
5. For the text of their communiqué, see http://directaction.info/news_sept30_03.htm
6. “Activists see more violence from extreme protesters,” http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/09/06/MN258847.DTL
7. “Eco-terrorists top FBI’s list,” http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/
8. “Activists see more violence from extreme protesters”
9. “Eco-terror act at Vail unsolved 5 years later,” http://www.dailycamera.com/bdc/state_news/article/0,1713,BDC_2419_2359528,00.html
10. “Death risk as animal rights war hots [sic] up.” http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,450010,00.html.
11. See http://www.arissa.org. For Rosebraugh’s defense of violence as a political tactic, see his book, The Logic of Political Violence: Lessons in Reform and Revolution. Portland: Arissa Media Group, 2003.
12. See Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther and the American Indian Movement. Boston, MA: South End Press, 1990.
13. For the online text of the Patriot Act, see http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=12251&c=207
14. “Appeals panel rejects secret court's limits on terrorist wiretaps,” http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/11/18/spy.court.ruling/
15. A September 12, 2001 Wired magazine article explained, ‘The FBI's controversial Carnivore spy system, which has been renamed DCS1000, is a specially configured Windows computer designed to sit on an Internet provider's network and monitor electronic communications. To retrieve the stored data, an agent stops by to pick up a removable hard drive with the information that the Carnivore system was configured to record.” See http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,46747,00.html.
17. ACLU website, http://www.aclu.org/, October 14, 2001
18. Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud. Boston: Beacon Press, 1974.
19. See “Erosion of Civil Liberties Reflects a `New Normal’ in America – not Temporary Sacrifices – since 9/11,” http://www.lchr.org/us_law/loss/assessing/assessingnewnormal.htm. The site features lengthy criticisms of the Patriot Act.
20. After 9/11, thousands of Arab and Muslim immigrants, and various foreigners, were rounded up and jailed for months without formal charges or the right to legal counsel. None of them were charged with terrorism. See “Beyond Patriotic,” http:www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/9256
21. “The Assault on Liberty,” http://www.publicintegrity.org/dtaweb/
L2=10&L3=0&L4=0&L5=0; for further information on Patriot Act II, see http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=12226&c=207
22. The draft of the bill is available online at http://www.eff.org/Censorship/
23. For a critical debunking of the powerful corporate interests behind ALEC, see
http://www.alecwatch.org/; see also “Private Sector Shaping Public Policy,” http://www.opensecrets.org/newsletter/ce45/ce45.01.htm
24. “Decades of Contributions to Conservativism,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/scaifegraf050299.htm.
25. For the text of the bill, see http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/cgi-bin/tlo/textframe.cmd?LEG=78&SESS=R&CHAMBER=H&BILLTYPE=B&
26. “New laws target increase in acts of ecoterrorism,” http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1126/p02s01-usju.htm
27. See “Factory Farms Fancy Secrecy,”http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13612. Illinois House Bill 5793 — which “makes it a crime to be on a farm (or any other `animal facility’) and photograph or videotape pigs or any other animals without the consent of the owner if [there is] one” and if the “intent is to `damage the enterprise’” — passed 128 votes to 0 in the House in April 2002 and at the time of this writing is still is up for vote in the Senate. The Peoria Star reported, “The stated need for the law, according to legislative analysis, is to protect the food supply from terrorists”
(http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13612). If the law were approved, unauthorized recording of waste spillage or animal abuse would become a crime punishable by up to six months in jail, while the real criminals, the mass murderers of animals, go about business as usual. Efforts to link ALF or ELF actions to threats to the American food supply are just one step away from Nethercuttesque accusations of “agroterrorism,” a highly charged term that invites severe repression by the state.
28. The texts of these bills, along with updates about recent legislative action, can be found on the site of the Humane Society of the United States at: http://www.hsus.org/. For an overview of recent state efforts to pass anti-“terrorist” legislation, see “State Legislation Addressing Terrorism,” 29. http://www.ncsl.org/programs/press/2001/freedom/terrorism01.htm
29. As evidence of this mentality, a January 19, 2003, letter to The Salt Lake Tribune blasted the “environmental terrorists” who broke into a hog farm, but offered no criticism of the institution of factory farming and mass slaughter of pigs.
30. “Environmentalists = Terrorists: The New Math,” http://tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/7748
31. “Special Report: It’s time to start using the `T’ word,” http://www.consumerfreedom.com/headline_detail.cfm?HEADLINE_ID=1544. Other anti-animal rights lists such as AnimalRights.Net regularly feature “animal rights terrorism” in their headlines. The New York Post jumped on the bandwagon during Rosebraugh’s appearance before the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, with the headline “Terror Takes the Fifth,” (http://www.nypost.com). The Wall Street Journal joined in the fray with “Terrorist Buds: Bombing in the name of `Mother Earth’ isn’t cool” (http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/prntThis.html?id=100001681). The article berated the ELF as a “band of stoned arsonists” and “our domestic, tree-hugging Al Qaeda.” The opposition is not above lying and distortion campaigns. After the national animal rights conference in summer 2002, for instance, infiltrators from the Sportsmen’s Alliance quoted Paul Watson out of context to make it appear that he saw the taking of human life in order to save endangered species as nothing more than “collateral damage,” and wrote headline stories such as “Animal Rights Conference Encourages Terrorism.” For Watson’s rebuttal, see “Pirate or Policeman: High Seas Activist Says He Fights To Uphold Law,” http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/seashepherd020801.html.
32. “North ALF Press Office 2001 Year-End Direct Action Report,” http://www.tao.ca/~naalfpo/2001_Direct_Action_Report.pdf.
33. “The Eco-Terrorist Anthrax Connection,” http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCommentary.asp?Page=\Commentary\archive
35. “Testimony of Congressman George R. Nethercutt, Jr.” http://www.cdfe.org/nethercutt.htm
36. On the negative consequences of the deployment of terrorist discourse, see “Living in Fear: How the U.S. Government’s War on Terror Impacts American Lives” and other essays Cynthia Brown (ed.), Lost Liberties: Ashcroft and the Assault on Personal Freedom. New York: The New Press, 2003. Also see Benjamin R. Barber, Fear’s Empire: War, Terrorism, and Democracy. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003
37. http://www.usnew.com/usnew/issue/020408/usnews/8newhunt.htm. Critics think SHAC may lose the public relations war for itself and the ALF. As the Boston Globe wrote on August 22 2002, in an editorial entitled “Animal Extremism,” “If SHAC activists seek to illuminate the condition of laboratory animals, they have failed. Their own tactics reveal a disturbing willingness to inflict suffering.” Other newspapers such as The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Seattle’s The Everett Herald have also denounced SHAC as “violent criminals” and “domestic terrorists.”
38. In November, 2002, demonstrating an unusual example of academics involving themselves in public debate, two Portland State University professors decried the linkage of the terrorist label to environmental activism. They authored a faculty resolution that passed 46-9 condemning the use of “inflammatory terms such as `terrorism’ and `ecoterrorism’” and sent the resolution to the mayor and city commissioners.
39. For an expose of the Center for Consumer Freedom and the interests they represent, see “Impropaganda Review: A Rogues Gallery of Industry Front Groups and Anti-Environmental Think Tanks,” http://www.prwatch.org/improp/ddam.html
40. CCF often uses this phrase at the end of their press releases; see for instance http://www.consumerfreedom.com/release_detail.cfm?PR_ID=14
41. Berman cited at http://www.prwatch.org/improp/ddam.html
42. See, for example,“Racism in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines?”, http://www.pcrm.org/health/Commentary/commentary9906.html
43. PCRM News Release,
44. See http://www.consumerfreedom.com/headline_detail.cfm?HEADLINE_ID=1272 and http://www.consumerfreedom.com/activistcash/.
45. In September 2001, PCRM received some much-deserved legitimation when the USDA panel of experts agreed that the claims made by the “milk mustache” and “got milk?” advertisements were untruthful.
46. See http://www.splcenter.org/cgi-bin/printassist.pl?page=/intelligenceproject/ip-4w3.html. See also Friend’s of Animals critique of SPLC’s use of terrorist discourse against animal rights groups at http://www.friendsofanimals.org/civil/index.htm
47. “The New Backlash: From the Streets to the Courthouse, the New Activists Find Themselves Under Attack,” http://www.texasobserver.org/showArticle.asp?ArticleFileName=010914_f1.htm
48. See her “Defending Civilization” report at http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~stone/cheneyreport_original.pdf
49. Craig Rosebraugh, “Written Testimony Supplied to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Forest and Forest Health for the February 12, 2002, Hearing on `Ecoterrorism.’” www.protectciviliberties.com/written%20testimony.pdf.
50. For details, see Craig Rosebraugh, Burning Rage of a Dying Planet: Speaking for the Earth Liberation Front (forthcoming, Lantern Books).
51. For further details on these incidents and the use of law and the IRS to suppress activism, see Will Potter, “The New Backlash: From the Streets to the Courthouse, the New Activists Find Themselves Under Attack”
52. “Canadian Secret Police Raid Anarchist Activist's Home for U.S. Authorities,”http://www.ainfos.ca/sup/ainfos00247.html
53. See “Administration Creates Center for Master Terror `Watch List,’” New York Times, September 17 2003.
54. See http://www.boycottdelta.com/index.html which points out that information collected on passengers can be stored for up to 50 years, can be easily hacked, and background checks damages one’s credit ratings. See also “Privacy Activist Takes on Delta,” http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,57909,00.html
55. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, “CAPPS Navigates Unfriendly Skies,” http:www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,60157,00.html. On the JetBlue scandal, see http://www.dontspyon.us/home.htm
56. “Analysts saw protesters as terrorists,” http://www.oaklandtribune.com, May 18, 2003
57. “Denver police shares its `spy files,’” http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~53~1392287,00.html
58. “Warning! You Are Being Watched.” http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=16810
59. “The real extremists: Police surveillance of peaceful groups crossed the line,”
60. “FBI Publicly Denies Spying on Protestors,” http:www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-FBI-Protesters.html
61. “Still Watching: Private industry moves in to compile personal data,” http://inthesetimes.com/comments.php?id=435_0_2_0_M. Also see, “MATRIX and the New Surveillance States,” http:www.fepproject.org/commentaries/matrix.html
62. For activist legal resources, see http://www.cala-online.org/civil_liberties.htm
63. On the sordid history of U.S. political repression, see Robert Justin Goldstein, Political Repression in Modern America: 1870 to the Present. Cambridge: Schenkman Publishing Company, 1978; Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States: 1942-Present. Perennial, 2003.
64. In July 2003, for instance, the House voted 309 to 118 to advance a Republican-sponsored amendment to block Patriot Act secret “sneak and peak” searches of homes and offices.
65. See Bill of Rights Defense Committee Resolution, http://www.bordc.org/