The Misguided Hunt for Terrorist

“This bill is an attempt by corporations to manipulate people’s fear of terrorism in an effort to stop the peaceful animal protection movement. ”

The FBI claims that the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are the number one domestic terrorism threat, stating that “from January 1990 to June 2004, animal and environmental rights extremists have claimed credit for more than 1,200 criminal incidents, resulting in millions of dollars in damage and monetary loss. “The government cites no human loss or injury because there has never been any. In fact, the ALF credo states that “it is a nonviolent campaign” in which activists take “all precautions not to harm any animal (human or otherwise). ” Conversely, FBI statistics also show that there were more than 7,400 hate crimes motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation in 2003 alone and 450 environmental crimes by industries violating clean air and water laws and inappropriate transportation and disposing of hazardous waste. Since 1977, there have been 13,000 incidents against abortion clinics and doctors, including 7 murders. Between 1991 and 2001 there were 2,100 acts of violence against unions including bombings, shootings, and near fatal injuries. So why, then, is it the animal rights activists who are the number one domestic terrorist threat? Why hasn’t the FBI focused their attention on other groups such as white supremacists or anti—abortionists who have and will continue to take human lives and pose an actual threat to the American public?

AETA and the FBI’s obsession with “eco—terrorists” detracts from other investigations and prosecutions of real terrorist threats and jeopardizes the security that is so aptly being promised by the Bush administration.

Animal industries have exploited people’s fear of terrorism since the September 11th attack in order to further their corporate agenda. The public associates terrorism with airline hijackers and church bombers; but now, with the passage of the AETA and the perverse corporate media coverage of “eco—terrorism,” the terrorism label is being applied to nonviolent animal welfare activists who fight against senseless cruelty. Only money could net that kind of spin doctoring. In addition to discrediting their political campaigns, the AETA label gives the federal government authority to conduct wiretapping surveillance of any activist who might be involved in interfering with an animal enterprise.

Overall, it is the manipulative use of fear that the government uses in an attempt to label animal activists as terrorists that has allowed for corporate interest to take precedence over constitutional rights. Who’s next? The environmental activists? Social justice activists? Surely there is corporate interest in suppressing the voice of these groups as well. In order to protect the 1st Amendment rights of all people we need to defend those groups who garner government repression at any given time.

In Germany they first came for the communists
and I didn’t speak up because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the Jews
and I didn’t speak up because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists
and I didn’t speak up because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
– Pastor Martin Niemoller