This document is an archived copy of an older ADL report and may not reflect the most current facts or developments related to its subject matter. While some activists have been captured, ecoterror cells - small and loosely affiliated - are extremely difficult to identify and most attacks remain unsolved. Although it has been overshadowed by Islamic terrorist threats since September 11, ecoterrorism remains one of the country's most active terrorist movements. In recent years, an increasing amount of terrorist activity in the United States has been carried out in the name of animal and environmental protection.
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Environmental radicals and animal rights activists say it's "ludicrous" for the FBI to call them the No. But their rhetoric and increasingly extreme criminal actions are making the "eco-terror" label stick. A Chicago insurance executive might seem like one of the last people who'd be opening a letter with this succinctly chilling message: "You have been targeted for terrorist attack. The reason?
Marsh provides insurance for one of the world's biggest animal testing labs. This British-born group, now firmly established in the United States, is waging war on anyone involved with Huntingdon Life Sciences, which tests drugs on approximately 70, rats, dogs, monkeys and other animals each year.
In the process, SHAC is rewriting the rules by which even the most radical eco-activists have traditionally operated. In the past, even the edgiest American eco-warriors drew the line at targeting humans. But spokespeople for the two most active groups in the U. Since , however, members of both groups have been involved with SHAC's campaign to harass employees of Huntingdon — and even distantly related business associates like Marsh — with frankly terroristic tactics similar to those of anti-abortion extremists.
Employees have had their homes vandalized with spray-painted "Puppy killer" and "We'll be back" notices. They have faced a mounting number of death threats, fire bombings and violent assaults.
They've had their names, addresses and personal information posted on Web sites and posters, declaring them "wanted for collaboration with animal torture. When cowed companies began responding to the harassment by pulling away from Huntington, many radical environmentalists cheered — even when SHAC's actions clearly went over the "nonviolent" line. Still, the ELF and ALF insist that they remain dedicated to what their spokespeople describe as nonviolent "economic sabotage," such as tree-spiking and arson.
They vigorously deny the label that increasingly sticks to them: "eco-terrorist. Spokespeople continue to chant the public-relations mantra that the ALF's David Barbarash invoked again on National Public Radio this January: "There has never been a single case where any action has resulted in injury or death.
SHACs escalating violence is not unique. North America's most active and widespread eco-radicals — the ELF and ALF took credit for "direct actions" in alone — have clearly taken a turn toward the more extreme European model of activism. The rhetoric has begun to change along with the action. In the s, the standard-bearer of the movement was EarthFirst! Using the model of "leaderless resistance" long advocated by white supremacist tactician Louis Beam — small, independent underground cells carrying out actions, with no hierarchy for law enforcement to go after — EarthFirst!
The most controversial of EarthFirst! Typically, tree-spikings were accompanied by warnings designed to cut down on the possibility of injuring or killing timber workers. But timber companies pointed out that some of the spikes would remain in trees long after the warnings had been forgotten, and said the technique put loggers and sawmill workers at risk of severe injury or even death. Such tactics resulted in the first references to environmentalists as terrorists.
Responding to criticism in the early s, EarthFirst! In its video, "Igniting the Revolution," the ELF says it realized "that to be successful in the struggle to protect the Earth, more extreme tactics must be utilized. Thus the Earth Liberation Front was born. Coming to America It wasn't until , when one of the ELF's underground cells burned down a major part of a new ski resort near Vail, Colo.
But news reports failed to note this was not a homegrown movement. The ELF, in fact, is an outgrowth of the European animal-rights movement more than American environmentalism. And while U. Eco-activists there are seen by many as dangerous and reckless criminals — and they often live up to the billing, as the SHAC campaign along with letter bomb attacks that have maimed one secretary and injured a furrier and his 3-year-old daughter so vividly demonstrates.
In February , Huntingdon's managing director in Great Britain, Brian Cass, was badly beaten outside his home by three masked assailants swinging baseball bats. At around the same time, Andrew Gay, Cass' marketing director, was attacked on his doorstep with a spray that left him temporarily blinded, writhing on the ground in front of his wife and young daughter.
But Rosebraugh did answer written questions from a congressional subcommittee, and he didn't mince words. From the start, they made pledges of solidarity, and they clearly shared a coterie of hard-line activists. They were also structured similarly, with a handful of activists designated as spokespeople who would announce and encourage "direct actions.
Essentially, anyone who carried out one of these actions — whether or not they were acquainted with the groups' aboveground spokespeople — became, in effect, a member. The structure is remarkably similar to that of the so-called Army of God, a violent anti-abortion "group" that is "joined" by simply carrying out an attack and claiming credit. Although there is no real "membership," these groups can appear large because every attack undertaken in their name generates significant publicity.
At the Hilton, Violence is Cheered Rosebraugh signed on to the movement after spending a night in jail with a prominent ALF activist in The ELF didn't set up its own site until To this day, the ELF has much more in common — sharing both members and tactics — with the ever-more-radical ALF than with any other environmental group in the U.
ELF activists like Rosebraugh are regularly invited to speak at the animal rights conference held every year in the Washington, D. The conference setting is surprisingly highbrow, held for the past two years in the marble-clad McLean Hilton, which employs a well-known Vegan chef. But the discussions are down and dirty, dealing forthrightly with the role of violence in the fight for animal rights.
I think it's a great way to bring about animal liberation, considering the level of suffering, the atrocities. I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them, exploded tomorrow. Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it. The assembled activists applauded. And as they milled around between speeches and panels, there was still more evidence that the edge of American eco-advocacy is becoming even edgier.
On the back of one of the shirts was a typical slogan: "Words Mean Nothing Action is Everything! But something did change when those attacks brought down the World Trade Center: Americans' tolerance for anything that smacks of terrorism. Activists continued to insist that the eco-terror label was "ludicrous," and that law-enforcement officials were engaged in a witch hunt cheered on by corporate interests.
Barbarash went on: "Property damage is a legitimate political tool called economic sabotage, and it's meant to attack businesses and corporations who are profiting from the exploitation, murder and torture of either humans or animals, or the planet.
Their case was bolstered in June, when a San Francisco jury found that law-enforcement officials including three FBI agents violated the civil rights of EarthFirst!
Bari and Cherney were on their way to an EarthFirst! Authorities claimed that the two were planning to use the bomb, but Bari and Cherney consistently denied any knowledge of the explosives, saying they had been falsely pegged as eco-terrorists and in fact were the victims of an assassination attempt.
The increasingly inflammatory rhetoric of the groups hasn't helped. The booklet goes on to offer handy tips for relatively mild sabotage — gluing locks, spray-painting slogans and threats, smashing windows, "rippin' shit up" — but it also includes easy-to-follow instructions for "a few simple incendiary devices" like Molotov cocktails.
A more detailed "ALF Primer" has three single-spaced pages devoted to arson. Last year, Barclay's Bank in the United Kingdom pulled its financing of Huntingdon Life Sciences, saying it "couldn't guarantee the safety" of its employees. Charles Schwab, an American financial firm, also pulled out after protesters occupied its offices in Birmingham, England.
When Huntingdon moved to the U. SHAC-USA's Web site boasted that a company vice president here "was visited several times, had several car windows broken, tires slashed, house spray painted with slogans.
His wife is reportedly on the brink of a nervous breakdown and divorce. In July , a related group, "Pirates for Animal Liberation," took responsibility for trying to sink the private yacht of a Bank of New York executive to protest the bank's connection with Huntingdon.
After backing out this February, CEO Warren Stephens said the company had been "aware of the activists, but I don't think we understood exactly what lengths they would go to. Targeting Scientists, and Others Scientists have been increasingly targeted — with similar success.
In July, Dr. Podell, who was using cats to study why drug users seem to succumb more quickly to AIDS, received nearly a dozen death threats after PETA put the experiment on its "action alert" list. Podell was sent a photograph of a British scientist whose car had been bombed.
The use of animals in research has decreased in the last few decades, according to government estimates — and the use of cats has dropped a whopping 66 percent since But scientists say that some research, like Podell's, cannot be done with computer modeling or with human subjects.
But that argument did not hold water with PETA, or with the local protest group that sprung up in Columbus. Eventually, they wore down Podell. The ALF is like the bully in the schoolyard for them. Pumped up by their victories, eco-radicals have made it clear that their agenda is broadening in a big — and potentially dangerous — way. The ultimate target, as the ELF says in a video, is nothing short of "the entire capitalist system.
Since it sprang up in , the so-called Justice Department has claimed responsibility for hundreds of violent attacks in the U. With an underground cell structure similar to those of the ALF and ELF, the Justice Department has made creative use of letter bombs, which have injured several people, and sent out scores of envelopes rigged with poisoned razor blades.
The London Independent called the Justice Department's attacks "the most sustained and sophisticated bombing campaign in mainland Britain since the IRA was at its height. In January , after the group became active in North America, the Justice Department claimed responsibility for sending envelopes with blades dipped in rat poison to 80 researchers, hunting guides and others in British Columbia, Alberta and around the United States.
The blades were taped inside the opening edge of the envelopes, poised to cut the fingers of anyone opening the letters. Authorities in Great Britain have suggested that Keith Mann of the ALF currently serving an year prison sentence in Britain, founded the Justice Department, although that has not been proven.
How do these groups defend their methods? A similar thought occurred to one of America's legendary terrorists, Ted Kaczynski. And the connection is more than philosophical. During his trial, Kaczynski admitted that he was in contact with EarthFirst! In fact, he found at least one of his targets — Thomas Mosser, a New Jersey advertising executive, who was killed instantly when he opened a package from the Unabomber — by reading about Mosser's firm in the EarthFirst! In his manifesto, Kaczynski sounded for all the world like an eco-extremist as he took credit for Mosser's violent death: "We blew up Thomas Mosser last December because he was a Burston-Marsteller executive.
Among other misdeeds, Burston-Marsteller helped Exxon clean up its image after the Exxon Valdez incident. Officials noted that Kaczynski misspelled the company's name — it should be Burson, not Burston — precisely the same way that EarthFirst!
They also noted that, as reported in the. Washington Post, the EarthFirst! A Murder in the Netherlands Frustration with the slow pace of nonviolent change appears to be epidemic in the movement.
Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty Threatens Terrorist-Style Attack
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