What's in a name? The answer to that question might shock you. Terrorism, destruction, intimidation all come to mind where the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are concerned. These Eco-terrorism organizations have nothing to do with liberation. They have everything to do with holding the interests of their fellow citizens hostage and destroying their livelihoods.
The FBI has declared both groups to be terrorist organizations. As defined by this agency, terrorism is, "the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce the government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." It seems these folks qualify.
Testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Armed Services, and Select committee on Intelligence in May 2000, then FBI Director Louis Freeh outlined the domestic terrorism threats to this nation. The FBI classifies ALF and ELF as Extremist Special Interest Groups. Such groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather then effect more widespread political change.
In this case of ALF, the specific issues revolve around raising animals for domestic consumption, medical research involving animals, raising animals for their products such as fur, eggs, milk etc.. Animals are to be free roaming in the view of the ALF. They have no mercy on vegetables, however, they eat them. So much for 'sensitivity' to the plant kingdom!
Director Freeh labeled ALF .an extremist animal rights movement that has become one of the most active extremist elements in the United States. Destroying laboratories, wild horse facilities of the Bureau of Land Management, fur farms, etc. etc. A look at their web page: www.animalliberation.net gives one a new look at the meaning of 'liberation'.
The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is equally busy. A review of that web page: www.earthliberationfront.com proudly lists ELF's terrorist actions over the past years. It exists to protect all species on earth! Aren't we lucky! Its 'library' offers books on arson; how to deal with federal investigators should they knock at your door; developing a secure or secret culture as a defense against 'outsiders'.
Eco-terrorism has been on the rise. Incidents are up from a confirmed 2 in 1995 to 12 in 1999. The damage is in the millions of dollars according to the FBI. Eight of the twelve confirmed terrorist attacks in 1999 have been committed by animal and earth liberation extremists. Although 7 other actions were planned, but not carried out, the evidence points to the same source.
A special concern expressed by Mr. Freeh at this committee hearing, was the clear shift in interest by these groups to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the potential to use the Internet and cyberspace to commit acts of terrorism. The FBI takes such indicators seriously, and categorizes these threats as significant priorities.
Financial resources of our nation have to be increased and diverted to address these threats. For example, the FBI has requested a budget increase totaling $12,302,000 just for security needs for the 2002 Winter Olympics. This request came well before September 11.
Terrorists come in many shapes and forms. Unfortunately, more and more are originating from within our own citizen ranks. It appears that many of our fellow Americans subscribe to a school of thought that leaves no room for a difference of opinion. In the world of the terrorists only their view matters.
Urban America has come face to face with the unreasonableness and intimidation of terrorists. Rural Americans as well as the research and development sectors of our society have been living with this nightmare for many years now.
Americans had tried again and again to get lawmakers to pay attention to the damage of illegal immigration before it reached the current level of a national security risk. So too did citizens and law enforcement professionals repeatedly try and make our government take a serious look at the threats of domestic terrorism and the legal barriers protecting such terrorists.
Not until September 11 made it crystal clear just what the unreasonableness of terrorists means in the practical, everyday lives of Americans have the laws and regulations been made more "user friendly" in terms of tracking and apprehending.
This war on terrorism is going to last a very long time according to our President. Domestic terrorists have a perfect opportunity to take destructive actions under the smoke screen of extreme religious fundamentalists. It would serve the American public well for our government to include the likes of ALF and ELF as it brings its formidable talents and resources to bear on terrorism.
~ America's Voices - November 28, 2001
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