IMPLEMENTING JUSTICE THROUGH TERROR &
GUEST COLUMNIST Kelly A.
Stoner, Executive Director, Stop Eco-Violence!
sophisticated, increasingly well-funded and potentially deadly campaign of
terror is being waged relentlessly by shadowy, fanatical operatives against
targets in the United States. This jihad, however, is not the work of Bin Laden
and his murderous al-Qaida drones who entered into the public consciousness on
September 11th. Rather, these violent criminal acts are planned and carried out
by Americans, on American soil, all in the name of an environmentally motivated
agenda to force social and political change. Make no mistake, eco-terrorism is
real, and remarkably, in this time of national vigilance, the threat it poses to
our local communities is growing.
Operating in loosely affiliated
"cells," eco-terrorists across the United States have brought about considerable
social and economic destruction and inflicted deep-seeded fear in their targets.
These environmental vigilantes have violated the law with impunity. Groups such
as the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have both
demonstrated time and again their ability to lash out against multiple targets
through various means, in all corners of the nation, but most often here in the
Eco-terrorists are not your
average criminals, but sophisticated and savvy operatives, who collectively have
a long and growing criminal track record. Yet, only a small handful of those
individuals who have perpetrated these crimes have been brought to justice. The
FBI estimates that since the late 1990s there have been more than 600 known acts
of eco-terrorism, resulting in damages of more than $43 million dollars. These
so-called incidents of "direct action" range from "monkey wrenching" equipment
and vandalizing store fronts to firebombing offices, housing developments and
university research centers.
Eco-terrorists choose their
targets methodically, though they are not as discerning as some may think—large
companies and small businesses alike have come into the crosshairs. And it’s not
property damage alone that eco-terrorists leave in their wake. The social toll
is every bit as damaging as the economic costs. These criminals terrorize
people—often into silence, fearing for their lives and the lives of their family
members. Eco-terrorist acts aimed directly at individuals in the U.S. vary from
making anonymous death threats to the more recently employed tactic of
vandalizing homes while people sleep.
Despite the fact that people are
being placed in harm’s way, amazingly, eco-terrorists are not considered a
tangible threat by many in the community. Eco-terrorists feed off of apathy and
inaction. Until they know we’re fed up, they will continue to commit even bolder
crimes. It is time we as citizens speak out against these violent criminals in
order to protect our communities and give our public officials the support they
need to do their part. Violence should not be tolerated in a free society,
regardless of the cause. Recently, eco-terrorist sympathizers essentially seized
control of a public meeting in Portland, Ore., where the issue of continued
police participation in the state’s Joint Task Force on Terrorism was being
Thunderous applause was heard at
the very mention of arson and property destruction committed in the name of
mother earth. Looking around the room, I could count on two hands the number of
people who showed up to support our law enforcement community’s continued
efforts to fight this menace. We all have a duty to participate in this process
and, until we do, incidents of eco-terrorism will grow more threatening. This
September, the ELF sent out a communiqué claiming a recent arson attack against
a U.S. Forest Service Research Station in Pennsylvania.
Not only did it boast about the
extensive damage caused by the firebombing, but it contained a thinly veiled
threat that "segments" of its "revolutionary movement" would "no longer hesitate
to pick up the gun to implement justice." The ELF used to mount the flimsy,
semantic defense that the "direct actions" for which they claimed responsibility
were "non-violent" because they were not designed to inflict physical harm
against human beings. Now that the ELF has advocated taking up arms against
those who may be destroying the planet, the battle lines have been drawn and the
world in which we all live has just gotten a lot more dangerous.
Although no one has been killed by
eco-terror, it is widely believed by law enforcement that it is only a matter of
time. No longer can we indulge ourselves in the luxury of turning the other
cheek or hoping eco-terrorists will simply go away. Stop Eco-Violence! (SEV) is
a non-profit group based in Oregon dedicated to exposing the true nature of
eco-terrorism and building the broad support necessary for public officials and
law enforcement to effectively stop it. SEV provides the media, government
officials, law enforcement and the public at large with information about
eco-terrorism and the harm it inflicts. Their efforts concentrate on:
• Monitoring radical organizations and persons that participate in eco-terrorist
• Exposing individuals and groups engaging in or lending support to
• Working with law enforcement, government officials, and other organizations to
curtail acts of eco-terror.
If you would like more
information about SEV, you can log onto their website,
www.stopecoviolence.com, or call
them directly at ph: 503.570.2848.
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