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Thread: PETA/ELF: Animal & Environmental Extremists and Homeland Security

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Default PETA/ELF: Animal & Environmental Extremists and Homeland Security

    My personal experience w/ state and local law enforcement relating to GWOT can be summed up by the response I saw at a terrorism class in Portland for LEOs. The officers had very little to say or add as we talked about international terror organizations, but when the topic of "animal rights" groups came up, the officers had a great deal of comments and questions. Afterwards in the group planning piece, the officers could only think about how they were going to use this new information to catch these eco-terrorists. I walked away very disheartened to learn that a lot of "homeland defense" money was going to be wasted tracking down what were essentially petty vandals. Oversight and training is needed.
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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-03-2008 at 08:22 PM. Reason: Over-site changed to oversight.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    My personal experience w/ state and local law enforcement relating to GWOT can be summed up by the response I saw at a terrorism class in Portland for LEOs. The officers had very little to say or add as we talked about international terror organizations, but when the topic of "animal rights" groups came up, the officers had a great deal of comments and questions. Afterwards in the group planning piece, the officers could only think about how they were going to use this new information to catch these eco-terrorists. I walked away very disheartened to learn that a lot of "homeland defense" money was going to be wasted tracking down what were essentially petty vandals. Oversight and training is needed.
    Reed

    You're kidding, right? Earth Firsters, ELF (Earth Liberations Front) and PETA are the largest active terrorist group(s) in CONUS.

    Petty vandals? ELF alone has caused BILLIONS of dollars of damage in the last decade and have killed and seriously injured people in terrorist attacks.

    The Portland area is the epicenter of ELF at the current time. The last time we convoyed through the Portland area, a bunch of construction equipment was in flames from an ELF attack.

    I guess some people's "petty vandals" are actually other people's murderous terrorists....

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    You're kidding, right? Earth Firsters, ELF (Earth Liberations Front) and PETA are the largest active terrorist group(s) in CONUS.

    Petty vandals? ELF alone has caused BILLIONS of dollars of damage in the last decade and have killed and seriously injured people in terrorist attacks.

    The Portland area is the epicenter of ELF at the current time. The last time we convoyed through the Portland area, a bunch of construction equipment was in flames from an ELF attack.

    I guess some people's "petty vandals" are actually other people's murderous terrorists....
    Gotta agree with this one. I suspect one reason they don't show up more is that they are both decentralized and can piggyback onto a fair amount of celebrity support.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Gotta agree with this one. I suspect one reason they don't show up more is that they are both decentralized and can piggyback onto a fair amount of celebrity support.
    Add me to the list of agreement.
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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    You're kidding, right? Earth Firsters, ELF (Earth Liberations Front) and PETA are the largest active terrorist group(s) in CONUS.

    Petty vandals? ELF alone has caused BILLIONS of dollars of damage in the last decade and have killed and seriously injured people in terrorist attacks.

    The Portland area is the epicenter of ELF at the current time. The last time we convoyed through the Portland area, a bunch of construction equipment was in flames from an ELF attack.

    I guess some people's "petty vandals" are actually other people's murderous terrorists....
    Please cite your sources that people have been murdered. All I can find is vandalism actions. Federal crimes? Yep, Terrorism (AKA crimes against people)? How? Murder for political purpose and vandalism for political purpose are different, period. Homeland defense is to stop a MAJOR terror attack, not to solve states or even inter-state criminal problems. There is no evidence that even the whackos at Peta and ELF would try to make a major attack against the citizenry, say by smuggling in a nuclear or biological device, but there are lots of organizations that would. Those are the people I am worried about. Do I think ELF and PETA whackos should be arrested for criminal vandalism, Yes, but not with homeland security funds.
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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-04-2008 at 07:10 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    You're kidding, right? Earth Firsters, ELF (Earth Liberations Front) and PETA are the largest active terrorist group(s) in CONUS.

    Petty vandals? ELF alone has caused BILLIONS of dollars of damage in the last decade and have killed and seriously injured people in terrorist attacks.

    The Portland area is the epicenter of ELF at the current time. The last time we convoyed through the Portland area, a bunch of construction equipment was in flames from an ELF attack.

    I guess some people's "petty vandals" are actually other people's murderous terrorists....
    Amen. Ever see what kind of damage a railroad spike, secretly embedded in a Douglas Fir, can cause to a logger when his chain saw hits it without warning?
    Ranks closely to IEDs in my book.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    You're kidding, right? Earth Firsters, ELF (Earth Liberations Front) and PETA are the largest active terrorist group(s) in CONUS.

    Petty vandals? ELF alone has caused BILLIONS of dollars of damage in the last decade and have killed and seriously injured people in terrorist attacks.

    The Portland area is the epicenter of ELF at the current time. The last time we convoyed through the Portland area, a bunch of construction equipment was in flames from an ELF attack.

    I guess some people's "petty vandals" are actually other people's murderous terrorists....
    I think those numbers are a bit high. In 2002, the FBI estimated that "the ALF/ELF have committed more than 600 criminal acts in the United States since 1996, resulting in damages in excess of 43 million dollars." During 2005 Senate hearings,
    "Senate Environment Committee Chairman James Inhofe estimated the cost of damages from militant environmental and animal rights supporters at more than $110 million in the past decade."

    PETA has supported so-called "direct action," but has rarely engaged in it itself. Some PETA activists are clearly Animal Liberation Front supporters/sympathizers, however (although some radical environmentalists accuse PETA of being too soft-line).

    Amen. Ever see what kind of damage a railroad spike, secretly embedded in a Douglas Fir, can cause to a logger when his chain saw hits it without warning?
    Ranks closely to IEDs in my book.
    I'm only aware of one incident where tree-spiking caused significant injury, back in 1987 (to a saw-mill operator). Of course, once is one too many.

    This is in no way to condone such actions, which I think are both reprehensible and politically counter-productive. I do think, however, that it is important to be clear about the magnitude of the threat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b
    Please site your sources that people have been murdered. All I can find is vandalism actions. Federal crimes? Yep, Terrorism (AKA crimes against people)? How? Murder for political purpose and vandalism for political purpose are different, period. Homeland defense is to stop a MAJOR terror attack, not to solve states or even inter-state criminal problems. There is no evidence that even the whackos at Peta and ELF would try to make a major attack against the citizenry, say by smuggling in a nuclear or biological device, but there are lots of organizations that would. Those are the people I am worried about. Do I think ELF and PETA whackos should be arrested for criminal vandalism, Yes, but not with homeland security funds.
    Reed
    Homeland defense activities are meant to detect, deter, disrupt, prevent and/or mitigate any terrorist act - not just major terror attacks. If you dismiss PETA and ELF simply because they are not likely to attempt an attack using WMD, then you are also dismissing quite a large spectrum of real threats from a variety of transnational terrorists.

    Just as those responsible for homeland security have the duty to anticipate the realization of worst-case scenario threats to the US, they also have the responsibility to deal with what actually exists on our doorstep. Domestic terrorism - not just homegrown radical jihadis - is a real threat, and PETA/ELF and spin-off animal/eco extremists are a piece of it.

    Animal extremists have been getting very personal in the past year, targeting the residences of university researchers with arson and making direct threats to several research personnel. Threats of death and violence have significantly increased since early last year, with a concurrent drop in vandalism type crimes. Although no one has been murdered yet, the nature of the personal threats being made, the improvised incendiary devices that have been used at several scenes (causing property damage as part of the death threat), and the cross-state lines operations of the bad guys make them a legitimate focus of homeland security efforts on the west coast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Animal extremists have been getting very personal in the past year, targeting the residences of university researchers with arson and making direct threats to several research personnel. Threats of death and violence have significantly increased since early last year, with a concurrent drop in vandalism type crimes. Although no one has been murdered yet, the nature of the personal threats being made, the improvised incendiary devices that have been used at several scenes (causing property damage as part of the death threat), and the cross-state lines operations of the bad guys make them a legitimate focus of homeland security efforts on the west coast.
    I have not seen any documentation on the personal threats, however, if this is true, then yes, I feel that they would qualify as a homeland security issue. Thanks for knowledge. Be aware that at the time of the training that I attended however, this was not an issue that was brought up or discussed, only their acts of vandalism.
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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-04-2008 at 07:10 PM. Reason: spelling

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    It's been in the news in the past month

    Feldheim and the unidentified faculty member who received the threatening message were named on pamphlets that were left on a stack of newspapers in a downtown Santa Cruz coffee shop last Tuesday, Clark said. The unsigned pamphlets at Caffe Pergolesi, which printed 13 researchers' pictures and addresses, called them murderers and torturers and said, "Animal abusers everywhere beware."

    The name of the researcher whose car was bombed was not on the pamphlets, Clark said.

    The attacks may mark an escalation in a series of protests against UC researchers that prompted a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to issue a temporary restraining order against three animal rights groups in February.

    In January, a Molotov cocktail exploded on a UCLA researcher's porch. A month later, six people in masks tried to force their way into the home of a UC Santa Cruz researcher and hit her husband on the head, police said.

    And at UC Berkeley, officials said 24 animal researchers and seven staffers have been harassed in recent months, with some homes and cars vandalized.
    Definitely a DHS issue.
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

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    Default Of Course...

    This also qualifies several pro-life organizations as domestic terrorists. Are they on the FBI list?
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    Some of them most likely are.
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    Default They should be

    and it appears they are.

    Special Interest Terrorism
    SPECIAL INTEREST terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to influnce specific issues, rather than effect widespread political change. Special interest extremists conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments of society, including the general public, to change attitudes about issues considered important to their causes. These groups occupy the extreme fringes of animal rights, pro-life, environmental, antinuclear, and other movements.
    Analysis of the terrorist threat posed by special interest extremism can be complicated by the nature of activities in which special interest extremists engage. For example, the assaults and murders of doctors who perform abortions
    fall under the parameters of guidelines for hate crimes, rather than terrorism, investigations. Likewise, some tactics being employed by radical environmental activists –such as “treespiking” and mailing parcels rigged with razor blades to perceived adversaries of the environment–generally are not formally designated as acts of terrorism, though they are clearly intended to intimidate. The overall threat posed by special interest extremism appears to be rising. The increasing level of violent and threatening activity perpetrated by extremists within the animal rights and environmental movements, in particular, appears to be increasing, not only in the United States, but also in Canada and especially throughout Europe. In fact, a growing number of movements, such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), are international in scope and exploit the nearly universal communication opportunities of the Internet to disseminate propaganda, coordinate activities, and issue claims of responsibility for extremist activities.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-04-2008 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Tidy up quote spacing
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

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    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
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    And I continue to learn. I still feel that Homeland security funds are better spent shoring up the most likely and damaging threats (i.e. a focus on N.Y., L.A. and major ports as opposed to millions spent in the high threat state of Montana), but I think we have effectivly concluded that domestic terrorism is real and valid. Thanks for the feedback and open discussion.
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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-05-2008 at 08:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b
    This also qualifies several pro-life organizations as domestic terrorists. Are they on the FBI list?
    Reed
    Your question has already been answered. But to add context, I'd just like to point out that violence from the extremists in that camp peaked in the late '90s. They did carry out several murders, and a large number of bombings and arson (remember Rudolph?). Although there are still a few scattered arson incidents attributed to'em, the worst of it appears to have passed.

    The concern related to the the radical fur-lovers and tree-huggers is that the significant uptick in personal threats over the past year may indicate that they intend to escalate. The IIDs, although they have not resulted in any deaths yet, are an indicator of capability - as is their boasting of tracking/monitoring potential targets.

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    Default Counter-terrorism and Domestic Violent Extremism

    In the U.K. for several years now domestic violent extremism (DVE), which includes animal rights and the political extremists in various causes has been split off from counter-terrorism. The political priority given to DVE has varied and after several animal rights attacks pressure led to more resources. At one stage, now many years ago, the Special Branch approach was applied, with their expertise in covert intelligence techniques and then lessened as other threats took priority.

    CT is kept apart from DVE. This is well explained on this official website: http://www.netcu.org.uk/about/domesticextremism.jsp

    The threat here is different, with specific campaigning in a few places, notably Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) and Oxford University - who are building a new laboratory. Ecological extremism to date has been rare, although one airport was "invaded" and a power station.

    Local priorities differ and will affect funding priorities. I can understand why in the USA access to DHS funding can cause controversy; time to think about stopping "pork barrel" allocation of funds?

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Your question has already been answered. But to add context, I'd just like to point out that violence from the extremists in that camp peaked in the late '90s. They did carry out several murders, and a large number of bombings and arson (remember Rudolph?). Although there are still a few scattered arson incidents attributed to'em, the worst of it appears to have passed.

    The concern related to the the radical fur-lovers and tree-huggers is that the significant uptick in personal threats over the past year may indicate that they intend to escalate. The IIDs, although they have not resulted in any deaths yet, are an indicator of capability - as is their boasting of tracking/monitoring potential targets.
    The FBI's 43 million dollar figure is laughably low. The 2003 San Diego firebombing of the 200 condo unit was $50 million by itself. While property damage at U of Washington and Michigan State was only six figures to low seven figures, the research material destroyed is estimated into the multi-million dollar range by the USDA.

    BTW - "Political Vandalism" is the buzz-word phrase that the terrorists at ELF and ALF use to justify destroying property and endangering people's lives. Their leadership has publicly stated that actually killing researchers/support staff would not be a bad outcome. And that's at a PETA convention.

    On the subject of the anti-abortion activists, they are routinely prosecuted for criminal, or even incipient criminal activities. As they should be.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    I couldn't find the cash figure for the Colorado resort ELF burned down but it had to be many millions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    The FBI's 43 million dollar figure is laughably low. The 2003 San Diego firebombing of the 200 condo unit was $50 million by itself. While property damage at U of Washington and Michigan State was only six figures to low seven figures, the research material destroyed is estimated into the multi-million dollar range by the USDA.
    That was a 2002 FBI estimate, so it didn't include damage from the 2003 fire. It was presumably included in Inhofe's estimate of $110 for 1995-2005.

    I absolutely agree with Ted's comment that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh
    Homeland defense activities are meant to detect, deter, disrupt, prevent and/or mitigate any terrorist act - not just major terror attacks. If you dismiss PETA and ELF simply because they are not likely to attempt an attack using WMD, then you are also dismissing quite a large spectrum of real threats from a variety of transnational terrorists.

    Just as those responsible for homeland security have the duty to anticipate the realization of worst-case scenario threats to the US, they also have the responsibility to deal with what actually exists on our doorstep. Domestic terrorism - not just homegrown radical jihadis - is a real threat, and PETA/ELF and spin-off animal/eco extremists are a piece of it.

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    Yes, ELF/ALF are "terrorists" per the dictionary definition. However, it's important not to exaggerate the threat they pose. Resources in combatting them should be based on the relative threat they pose and not because of their categorization as "terrorists."

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