Marie Mason: Victimized by Green Scare State Terrorism - by Stephen Lendman
In May 2005, then FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism, John Lewis, told a Senate panel that ecoterrorism is "one of today's most serious domestic terrorism threats," the 2001 USA Patriot Act creating the crime of "domestic terrorism," broadening the definition to apply to US citizens as well as aliens - henceforth, the Bureau dividing the crime into two categories, international and domestic, the latter changing dramatically in the past decade.
Then FBI's Domestic Terrorism Section Chief, James Jarboe, said two organizations are principally responsible: the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF), committing over 600 criminal acts since 1996, causing over $43 million in damage. Lewis cited over 1,100 acts since 1976, resulting in about $110 million in damages, and on June 30, 2008, the FBI used the same figure for over 2,000 crimes since 1979 - against "international corporations, lumber companies, animal testing facilities, genetic research firms," and other companies harming the environment or animals, defining the crime as follows:
"the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally-oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature."
The FBI calls ELF and ALF 'loosely-organized movements whose adherents engage in crimes like arson, fire bombings, vandalism, intimidation, assaults, (and) stalking, etc."
On their web sites, ELF says its "mission is to defend and protect the Earth for future generations by means of direct action," nonviolent civil disobedience it calls "the moral road," adhering to Hippocrates' dictum, to "do no harm."
ALF defines animal rights as "the philosophy of allowing nonhuman animals to have the basic rights that all sentient beings desire: freedom to live a natural life, free from human exploitation, unnecessary pain and suffering, and premature death."
Direct action qualifies anyone for membership. No formal organizational structure exists.
Through surveillance, harassment, and infiltration, the FBI pursues suspects, "taking advantage of the 2006 revision to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (ACTA)," a law the Center for Constitutional Rights calls:
"unconstitutionally vague and overbroad in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments....because it criminalizes protected speech that causes an animal enterprise to lose profits or goodwill, and (uses) undefined terms," requiring guesswork to define their meaning and scope. "Neither the AETA's overbreath nor its vagueness can be cured by the statute's rules of construction." Only rescinding the law can do it.
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)
On November 27, 2006, AETA amended the 1992 Animal Enterprise Protection Act, making it harsher by criminalizing First Amendment activities advocating for animal rights, including peaceful protests, leafleting, undercover investigations, whistleblowing and boycotts.
The law exempts "lawful public, governmental or business reaction to the disclosure of information about an animal enterprise," applying it only to economic disruption claims, not damage, and makes it hard distinguishing between the two. It also:
-- expands the kinds of facilities covered to any using or selling animals or animal products for profit, food or fiber production, agriculture, education, research, or testing - including zoos, aquariums, animal shelters, pet stores, breeders, furriers, circuses, rodeos, other competitive animal events, or any advancing agricultural arts and scientific interests;
-- covers any person, entity or organization connected to an animal enterprise;
-- applies to any form of advocacy;