USA Patriot Act also Covers Terrorist Acts of Radical Animal Rights, Environmental, and Anti-capital
By: Norma Bennett Woolf Date: 01/9/2012 Category: | Animal Legislation | Animal Rights Extremism |
On October 26, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act into law.
Although the Act was written and passed as a bipartisan blow to terrorist cabals responsible for the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings, its provisions mirror those in several prior proposals to strengthen penalties for crimes against animal enterprises.
While not specific to animal rights and environmental terrorism, the USA Patriot Act signed by President Bush nonetheless gives government the tools it needs to go after those who use intimidation, vandalism, harassment, arson, theft, and other crimes to frighten researchers, farmers, and others whose livelihood depends on animals and to cripple businesses and research efforts that the activists don’t like.
Congress is also considering HR 2795, The Agroterrorism Prevention Act of 2001, introduced by Representative George Nethercutt of Washington State on August 2. This bill that gives the federal government the authority to deal effectively with those who steal, burn, and vandalize in the name of animal rights or environmentalism by increasing penalties for crimes against animal and plant enterprises, establishing a clearinghouse for information about these crimes, and providing grants to improve security at colleges and universities.
While many American still consider crimes committed by animal rights and environmental radicals to be stunts or the work of a few passionate but misguided extremists, an upsurge in arson, vandalism, threats, and Internet harassment has gained widespread notice in the wake of the September 11 raids.
On November 1, a USA Today editorial column by Richard Berman,1 executive director of a coalition of restaurant and tavern operators, quoted Bruce Friedrich of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as he touted violence as a desirable strategy at an animal rights conference in Virginia during the summer:
“It would be a great thing if, you know, all of these fast-food outlets and these slaughterhouses and these laboratories and these banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it’s perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows. . . . Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.”
Berman also noted that PeTA’s Ingrid Newkirk said in April that a US outbreak of hoof and mouth disease wouldn’t be a bad thing.
“I openly hope that it comes here,” Newkirk said in an April 2 interview with Reuters news service. “It will bring economic harm only for those who profit from giving people heart attacks.”
On September 26, Brian Carnell reminded readers of his animal rights website that a mass mailing of razor blades to researchers brought this comment from Newkirk: “Perhaps the mere idea of receiving a nasty missive will allow animal researchers to empathize with their victims for the first time in their lousy careers. I find it small wonder that the laboratories aren’t all burning to ground. If I had a more guts, I’d light a match.”3
An editorial in The Daily Oklahoman4 on November 5 took perpetrators and their supporters to task: “Because these domestic terrorists have so far managed to avoid killing people, their activities have been largely ignored by the general public,” the editor wrote. “But terrorism is terrorism, and any war on terrorism must include these twisted and unjustifiable attacks.”
The editor concluded: “To paraphrase President Bush after the September 11 attacks, you are either in the battle against terrorism or you are abetting it. Extremist animal and environmental activists have made it clear which side they’re on.”
In 1998, attendees at the National Animal Interest Alliance conference approved a “Request for Action by the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Congress of the United States” that asked Congress to
- hold hearings into animal rights and environmental terrorism;
- commission a study on the effects of such terrorism on all animal interests;
- consider improvement of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act; and
- investigate the use of tax exemptions by organizations that indulge in or support such terrorism.
In 1999, in the wake of increased violence among youth gangs terrorizing animal-related businesses in Utah and other states, senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Diane Feinstein of California crafted an amendment to the Senate’s juvenile crime bill that would have tightened federal statutes dealing with gang-related attacks on farms, businesses, and laboratories by such groups as the Animal Liberation Front and its Straight Edge youth gang affiliate.
The Hatch-Feinstein amendment easily passed the Senate but died in the conference committee.
Late in the following year, Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham of California took up the cudgel with HR5429, the Researchers and Farmers Freedom from Terrorism Act of 2000. Like the Hatch-Feinstein amendment, Cunningham’s bill included several items from the NAIA “Request for Action”: It increased penalties in the Animal Enterprises Protection Act; allowed prosecution of terrorist crimes under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization law; and held groups responsible for crimes committed in their names.
“I am introducing this legislation because groups such as the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front are openly advocating the destruction of property through pipe-bombing, firebombing, sabotaging, and raiding of facilities that house both animals and medical research personnel,” Cunningham said when he introduced the bill. “More dangerously, these groups advocate harassment of people that have a prime goal for the betterment of mankind.”
Cunningham’s bill died in the lame duck session of Congress. Representative George Nethercutt of Washington State then took the lead in proposing the latest version of the bill in 2001. The Agroterrorism Prevention Act of 2001 added plants to the legislation to protect scientists who have come under attack by extremists for research intended to improve crop yields and disease resistance of grains, trees, and other flora. Representatives Cunningham and Chambliss are cosponsors.
“Six years ago, in Oklahoma City, 168 people were killed in the worst domestic terrorist attack in American history,” Nethercutt said in a May 27, 2001, commentary in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation and national intelligence agencies have dedicated significant resources to a generally successful effort at protecting citizens from the threat of paramilitary organizations and foreign extremists. But domestic terrorism has not faded from the scene, and this week Seattle became the latest target.
On Monday, a fire gutted the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, causing up to $3 million in damage. Environmental ‘activists’ are suspected in this incident. These new domestic terrorists are misguided and delusional, weaving a grand conspiracy of environmental exploitation punctuated by bombing and intimidation, while dismissing unintended consequences as ‘collateral damage.’”
The Earth Liberation Front, a shadowy organization that recently posted instructions on making and planting firebombs on its website, admitted that activists committed this crime and a raid on an Oregon tree farm on the same weekend.
Along with a steady stream of incidents that have caused millions of dollars in damage and the loss of animal lives, these incidents have occurred since September 11:
- September 11: ALF claimed responsibility for the torching of a McDonald’s Restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, that was carried out on September 8.
- September 20: ALF claimed responsibility for the 4:15 a.m. arson at Coulston Foundation Labs in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Damage was estimated at $1 million in tools, equipment and records. Researchers at the lab study cures for aids, hepatitis and other illnesses.
- October 15: ELF claimed responsibility for a firebombing at the horse collection area operated by the federal Bureau of Land Management. Fire destroyed a hay barn; damage estimated at $85,000.
- October 16: ALF raided a mink farm in Iowa and released 2000 mink.
- October 23: ALF returned to the mink farm and released all of the mink that had been recaptured.
- November 5: Two unexploded bombs were found near research buildings at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan.
- November 5: ELF claimed responsibility for spiking trees in a logging area in Idaho. Loggers risk serious injury if a chain saw hits a spike.
For a complete list of the hundreds of terrorist acts committed in the name of animal rights and radical environmentalism, see the NAIA website.
About The Author
All Authors Of This Article: | Norma Bennett Woolf |