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The other terrorists

By Alan Caruba
web posted June 14, 2004

Amidst the government warnings that al-Qaida has targeted America for further attacks was a news story concerning another kind of terrorism, some of whose perpetrators were indicted on May 26. They were members of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC).

Federal authorities in New Jersey and three other states charged that the defendants, six men and one woman, belonged to SHAC and had engaged in acts that included vandalism, sending threatening letters, making threatening phone calls, home invasions, and physical assaults. "Their business, quite frankly, is thuggery and intimidation", said US Attorney Christopher Christie at a press conference following the indictments.

The domestic terrorism perpetrated by groups like SHAC, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), and Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has until now involved 190 investigations into their activities, but with the exception of one or two among them, has not resulted in the kind of arrests that made headlines.

SHAC was formed in 1999 in England to put the parent company of Huntingdon out of business and this company's business is the vital testing of new life saving pharmaceuticals. Its US laboratory in Somerset County, New Jersey, like its British counterpart, uses thousands of animals, mostly rats, for such testing. The five-count indictment asserts that the defendants crossed the line from civil demonstration to domestic terrorism, i.e., criminal acts.

Tracking down the members of ALF and ELF has taken on a new priority among federal law enforcement authorities. These and other domestic terrorists have committed more than 1,100 criminal acts in the United States since 1976, resulting in damages that are conservatively estimated at $110 million. In August 2003, they burned to the ground a 206-unit apartment complex that was under construction in San Diego, causing $50 million in damage. That same month, a bomb exploded at the biotech Chiron Corporation's Emeryville, California, business office. There were no casualties, but the bomb did a lot of property damage. In September, ALF terrorists destroyed much of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine's office in Baton Rouge.

In April 1999, ALF terrorists vandalized a cancer research center at the University of Minnesota, destroying the work of university researchers seeking ways to treat brain tumors.

ALF, ELF and SHAC do not care about humans who would benefit from medical research, nor do they care about the need for the building of apartment complexes and new homes for a growing population. Nor should we be surprised to learn that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has admitted to donating $1,500 to ELF in 2001. According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, PETA also donated at least $70,000 to ALF.

A PETA spokesperson, following the arrests, referred to the defendants as "longtime activists" and asserted they were "well respected." There is a significant difference between activism and criminal behavior, or support for it. The PETA spokesperson said they suspected "the government's motives and wonder if the right of freedom of association and free expression is now being stripped away in this country." This is a mere smokescreen for the true nature of their activities.

The ability of PETA to manipulate the media is well known. Less well known, however, is the true agenda of these organizations or their increasingly violent methods of achieving it. PETA should be considered an unindicted co-conspirator.

ALF and ELF are terrorists, no less than al-Qaida or any other organization that uses violence. In 2003, the groups claimed responsibility for 75 actions, striking against fur farms, logging operations, Forest Service facilities, slaughterhouses, and other targets throughout northwestern states. With few arrests, they were becoming more and more emboldened.

Even the Sierra Club, an environmental organization, felt compelled to disassociate themselves. "The ELF are not environmentalists. They are arsonists," said Carl Pope, the head of the Sierra Club. Not true. ELF and ALF are environmentalists and reflect the fundamental objective of all environmental organizations to shut down every manner of business and economic activity deemed to threaten the earth by their use of its natural resources. The Sierra Club and other so-called conservation groups are engaged in efforts to put as much of the US landmass off limits to any use for any reason. In this, they are often aided by federal programs that actually fund this effort.

One can only hope these indictments lead to many more. It is essential that Americans wake up to the threat the entire environmental and animal rights movements pose to property rights, research that will benefit those suffering from cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease. Veterinary research, with considerable irony, has also been targeted.

So, while Americans worry about when or where the next Islamic Jihad attack may occur, we have been waiting since the late 1970s for a long overdue crackdown on these other terrorists.

Alan Caruba writes "Warning Signs", a weekly commentary posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the website of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba 2004

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