Is there a double standard for eco-terrorists?

By Henry Lamb
web posted January 10, 2000

Eco-terrorists are known to have launched at least 33 major acts of terrorism, with damage estimated to be in excess of $28 million, in the last four years. Instead of launching a national offensive against these known terrorists, the FBI chose to denigrate Christians and opponents of global governance, in its infamous "Project Megiddo" report. Instead of profiling law-abiding citizens to label as "potential" terrorists, perhaps the FBI would better serve the country by profiling the idiots who get their kicks by blowing up other people's property.

The Earth Liberation Front (E.L.F.) proudly claimed responsibility for burning Boise Cascade's regional headquarters in Monmouth, Oregon on Christmas day. Their press release announced: "Early Christmas morning, elves left coal in Boise Cascade's stocking. Four buckets of diesel gas with kitchen timer delay, destroyed their regional headquarters."

It's been more than a year since E.L.F. claimed responsibility for destroying the Vail, Colorado ski resort, causing $12 million in damage. No arrests!

The Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F.) has left a long trail of break-ins and destruction at animal testing labs across the country. Letters containing razor blades were sent to 83 scientists involved in animal research. Edward Walsh of the Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, received a fax that said: "I'm coming to Omaha to see the three of you (wife & 5-year old son) very soon. We'll have so much fun together. I'm glad you like experiments. I have a few of my own to perform. And I hope that you die and your death will come soon."

Where is the FBI?

David Tubbs is a former national chief of counterterrorism for the FBI. He says, "Attempting to open a case against A.L.F is like trying to grab Jell-O."

What about profiling? The FBI was not at all reluctant to issue a report identifying the characteristics of so-called "potential" terrorists who believe in Christianity or national sovereignty. Why is there not a similar report identifying the characteristics of potential eco- terrorists?

Those characteristics are widely known. Begin with Edward Abbey's novel The Monkeywrench Gang, made more famous by Earth First founder Dave Foreman's "Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching." Dave Foreman, and colleague Reed F. Noss are the fathers of the prized "Wildlands Project," which Bill Clinton is implementing by Presidential Decree in his 40-million acre land lock-up. The FBI could hardly identify someone like that as a potential terrorist, now could they? Reed Noss was employed by Clinton's Department of Interior. It could be quite embarrassing to identify the characteristics of potential eco-terrorists.

What are the characteristics of an eco-terrorist? We don't have to look too far. The Unabomber is a classic example. Is it reasonable to consider his philosophy, as expressed in his widely publicized "Manifesto," and compare his philosophy to statements made by others. Should others who share the Unabomber's philosophy be labeled as potential terrorists, as the FBI has labeled Christians and patriots?

If the same tactics employed by the FBI against Christians and advocates of national sovereignty are applied to potential eco-terrorists, then most of the Clinton administration would turn up on the list. Al Gore would probably be at the top of the list. Even a casual read of Gore's Earth in the Balance, and the Unabomber's "Manifesto," reveal striking similarities of thought.

In his book, Ecoterror: The Violent Agenda to Save Nature, author Ron Arnold carefully compares Gore's statements with statements made by the Unabomber (pp. 57-59). The statements came from two people of the same mind.

No one wants to believe that eco-terrorism is rampant and on the rise because the Clinton/Gore administration is in agreement with their goals. But it is hard to justify how the FBI and the ATF can get so hot and bothered about the "potential" acts of the guy in Ruby Ridge, or the poor folks at Waco, while apparently ignoring the very real deeds of eco-terrorists.

Somehow, it just doesn't wash to hear the FBI excuse its ineffectiveness by saying the A.L.F. is like Jell-O. FBI chief, Louis Freeh, told a Senate Committee last February, that "the most recognizable single-issue terrorists at the present time are those involved in the violent animal- rights,...and environmental protection movements." Why, then, did the FBI's November Megiddo report target Christians instead of eco-extremists who fit the eco-terrorist profile?

Every time there is a shooting somewhere, the President and most of Congress race to a television camera to call for stricter gun-control legislation. There was no press conference calling for stricter control of eco-terrorists after the Boise Cascade office was torched, or after any of the other acts of terror committed by those who share the Unabomber's world view.

The only conclusion that can be reached is that there is, indeed, a double standard for eco- terrorists.

Henry Lamb is the executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, and chairman of Sovereignty International.

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