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Winning the war on terror!
May 18, 2005 11:40 PM   Subscribe

Winning the war on terror! International fundamentalist terror groups must surely be on the run if the FBI now lists animal rights groups as the top domestic terrorist threat facing the US
posted by UbuRoivas (87 comments total)

 
I think they must define domestic to mean perpetrated by US citizens.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:43 PM on May 18, 2005


Don't foget those SUV burnin' pinko's and those bastards that burned up the best place to get a descent cup of coffee on the mountian.
posted by Balisong at 11:46 PM on May 18, 2005


(* ducks in anticipation of being told that this is a jurisdictional issue between the CIA & FBI or ... what Pretty_Generic said on preview ... I interpreted "domestic" to mean perpetrated on US soil)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:47 PM on May 18, 2005


even then, wouldn't that anthrax mailer be a larger threat?
posted by Iax at 11:55 PM on May 18, 2005


Balisong - I assume the descent cup of coffee that you mention is sipped whilst schusching down the mountain...? ;)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:57 PM on May 18, 2005


Pretty_Generic writes " I think they must define domestic to mean perpetrated by US citizens."

I am pretty sure "domestic" means "national", in this case, American. Now that's the sad state of the Anglo-Saxon radical utopians in 2005, reduced to releasing animals from pharmaceutical laboratories. On the other hand, targeting this groups are certainly a lousy waste of money. I quote:

"Investigators cite examples of people using arson, bombings, theft, release of animals, vandalism, telephone harassment, letters rigged with razor blades and office takeovers.
Such tactics have been used in what officials call "direct action" campaigns to disrupt university research labs, restaurants, fur farms and logging operations. Newer targets include SUV dealerships and new home developments as signs of urban sprawl."


Elsewhere the article states that "most animal rights and eco-extremists so far have refrained from violence targeting human life.".

When you start thinking about it, these groups end up looking quite tame and cozy compared to real hardcore terrorists, for whom animals in laboratories aren't of any concern. Then you think some more and notice that probably this kind of action is now pissing off some very powerful industrial and commercial groups. Nothing more logical than putting the government they paid for in the problem.
posted by nkyad at 11:57 PM on May 18, 2005


I'm an animal rights protestor, I often go on protests, but I wouldn't exactly list myself as a threat to anyone's society. I don't think US animal rights protestors are any different. However, there are animal rights militants, in the US and the UK. Once, a group of these militants confronted a man who bred guinea pigs for vivisection to stop doing so. When he refused, they dug up his recently-deceased grandmother and refused to return the decomposing corpse until he stopped breeding guinea pigs for experiments.

There are also people who break into labs and free the animals and such, but I don't think that animal rights protestors, even the extremist militants, would, for example, firebomb houses. Unlike the racist groups, like the Black Hand and the KKK.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:00 AM on May 19, 2005


It does list the ELF as one of the top three, which as previously discussed (can't find the link) did go on a fire-bombing spree throwing molotov cocktails at fully fuelled SUVs. You can agree or disagree with their politics, but fire-bombing cars (including some parked in driveways) in wildfire-prone Southern California is definitely an organized threat.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:06 AM on May 19, 2005


these groups end up looking quite tame and cozy compared to real hardcore terrorists, for whom animals in laboratories aren't of any concern.

This is true, but the FBI is limited to domestic action and can't exactly go after people outside the US. These are a list of threats from within the jurisdiction of the FBI. I would hope that other groups (State, CIA, etc) are working on the external terrorist threat.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:08 AM on May 19, 2005


Indeed, fire-bombing anything anywhere is an organised and dangerous threat. However, it seems that people's motives are often blown out of proportion in this. For example, many people think that Nazism is similar to Fascism. Anyway, the SUV's (are those like Land Rovers?) belonged to... who? Did they contain people? Were they in a showroom? Were there people in the building? Many things have to be taken into account.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:13 AM on May 19, 2005


Also, I suggest you visit www.animalliberationfront.com and watch a couple of videos. Even a hardened meat-eater would stop and think before tucking into their steak after that.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:20 AM on May 19, 2005


Considering the end goal of these groups as well as the methodology, I'd say the best description would be "habitual rioters", not terrorists. Any single white supremacist with a small arsenal and a handmade nailbomb would be more threatening to human life and general infrastructure. These groups target material goods more than anything.

The war on terror is so easy to compare with the war on drugs. A lot of money is being thrown around aimlessly, small jurisdictions with no business accepting grants are getting ridiculous amounts, the source of the problem is spread out throughout a handful of poor and weakly policed nations with lots of coerced public support for these groups, and the primary losers in this war are the taxpayers and undesirable minority groups with possible tangential connections to some group that hates America in some poor country.

Domestically, our biggest threat is, has been, and will be hard right-wing white supremacist nutjobs, abortion clinic bombing groups, anti-homosexual hate groups, and of course, the America-hating bastards at that interwebsite, Metafilter.
posted by Saydur at 12:21 AM on May 19, 2005


Yes, it does appear that all animal rights groups seem not to intentionally harm human life. I am an animal rights protestor, but I do not think I would ever harm someone on the basis of their actions and beliefs. The groups you mentioned are indeed the biggest threat to all societies. Except theocratic states such as Iran, which are of course, "allowed" to have such groups.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:25 AM on May 19, 2005


The groups you mentioned are indeed the biggest threat to all societies.

Again, this is a list of groups that the FBI has jurisdiction over. As much as the honchos at the FBI may or may not want to change politics in Iran, that's not their jurisdiction.

Did they contain people? Were they in a showroom? Were there people in the building?

I don't have the indictment available, but in the other ELF thread it was mentioned that some of the firebombings were in the driveways of occupied private residences, which strikes me as a problem given the way that fire spreads in LA (hint: fast). Not as big of a problem as international terrorism, but the FBI has limited jurisdiction over that.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:38 AM on May 19, 2005


malusmoriendumest- You seriously underestimate the tenacity of meat-eaters. Whether it's a love of meat, an insistence on the natural order of things for people to eat meat, or good old fashioned Western fatass laziness, it's pretty tough to separate people from their meat.

Sadly, it seems all too true for far more unnatural things like SUVs and active corporate pollution. Still, firebombs are no way to convince people of the need for change. The ELF may not be a terrorist group, but they are pretty hardcore vandals. Not the top threat, but I won't complain about the FBI chasing down groups destroying stuff and knowingly putting people at risk like that.

As for theocratic states, who says the US does anything about those groups? The current government stops just short of supporting some of these groups. Anti-homosexual hatred is actively spread by a notable faction of the right wing, and I've heard more than a few people who would be tempted to let off abortion clinic bombers because "they're just killing murderers".

In what kind of God are we trusting, anyhow?

on preview- thedevildancedlightly- No jurisdiction over international groups, but plenty of jurisdiction over highly armed nutcases who actively advocate widespread murder of certain groups. When PETA actually puts it in their mission statement to kill meat-eaters and laugh as they're burned in a sea of fire for all eternity, I'll clamor for the FBI to take them on as a top priority risk.
posted by Saydur at 12:51 AM on May 19, 2005


When PETA actually puts it in their mission statement to kill meat-eaters and laugh as they're burned in a sea of fire for all eternity, I'll clamor for the FBI to take them on as a top priority risk.

It wasn't PETA they were after. It's groups way to the extreme of PETA.

No jurisdiction over international groups, but plenty of jurisdiction over highly armed nutcases who actively advocate widespread murder of certain groups.

It's bad that it exists at all, but abortion clinic violence is WAY down from the peak in the late 1980's. That suggests that it makes sense for it to no longer be a "top priority." As for the religious whackos who are currently advocating violence against judges, I would suspect that they'll be at the top of next year's list. They just aren't as much of a coherent organization with a track record like ELF, etc. It's hard to list "those guys without a name who watched that nutty religious broadcast" as a threat, especially since they don't have the history (yet). I hope that the FBI is watching the nutcases and prevents anything from happening beforehand. They're just not an organized group yet.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:59 AM on May 19, 2005


An organized threat? Hardly.

Because these newly categorized terrorists might commit an act of terror in a "fire-prone" area, the said terrorism then becomes somehow criminally exacerbated? You wanna talk about a premise that holds no logical water, this is one if I've ever heard of it. Under this methodology, why not claim everything unfortunate that happens also as an act of terrorism? God wouldn't last five minutes.

And I suppose you would have a case. A careless smoker driving through a bone dry pine forest who casually, idiotically, flicks a butt out of his car window which goes on to destory thousands of acres of forest and property, perhaps even killing people -- one could emotionally make a case for terrorism. But would it be right when we all know that an accident is an accident is an accident? Yet, since smokers are relatively villified as being weak and irresponsible, most would agree the idiot, should he be caught, strung up and "same done to him". Vengeance creates the mood for terror -- even, I might add, when it is not terror we're dealing with at all.

Attacks against property and person are certainly always a crime, but the primetime philosophical and legal thrust against a loose and largely regarded as wacky subset of leftist activism, I think is the beginning of an assymetrical reaction to social disagreement in general. It's just lazy concept synthesis to slough off the term "terrorism" into the same bin as one places the term "ideological zealots". This rigidness of law carries with it the threat of creating delusional enemies, scapegoats and smokescreens of the terrorism that is truly happening round the world, ridding people not of their insured property, but of their very lives.

Insurance companies have recently begun enacting new policies that declare themselves exempt from coverage in an act of terrorism. Shouldn't then, those who drive aggressively and cause accidents, traffic deaths and freeway backups also be deemed terrorists as well? I know I have been frightened, no terrorized, by carloads of drunken male revelers, post sports event or debaucherous night of grunt clubbing in the past. Should I make the claim that they are terrorists as well? No.

What these leftist extremists do is no more terrorism than it is pure property crime and the law should be rational to reflect such.

Terrorism is merely a catchword meant to envelop all the state finds propagandistically expedient. It is the enforcement, stark and real, for the first time generally applied to thoughtcrime. It is an arbitrary label that only provides confusion and never any closure. Which is also why the term has become politically useful.

Blame those who point out the terrorists, not those who would ever claim themselves as such. What kind of an idiot would? It's clear to see that the day will come when anybody who stands in disagreement with statist policy will also themselves be one day labeled as a terrorist. There is no moral bearing on this vessel and that is why third or fourth rate zealous activists are being lumped in with the real deal -- The need for domestic scapegoats in the ludicrous "war on terror" to make it seem even more real to those plugged in to the program.

What is the "real deal"? That's for you to figure out. Just don't be a terrorist about it.
posted by crasspastor at 1:07 AM on May 19, 2005


An organized threat? Hardly. ... Terrorism is merely a catchword meant to envelop all the state finds propagandistically expedient...

Sorry, but "terrorist" is appropriate to the ELF in light of their activities. They aimed to enact social change by placing people in fear of violence. That is the definition of terrorism. (1 - "the use or threatened use of violence for the purpose of creating fear in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological goal" 2 - "The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives"). I don't know enough about the activities of the other organizations to comment on them.

Firebombing somebody's car while it's parked in their driveway is not a casual act. It's designed to make people afraid that next time an SUV explodes they'll be in the car. That, intentionally, places people in fear. The hope of the ELF is that the fear will cause social change, namely to make people stop buying SUVs. They have previously stated that they will "no longer hesitate to pick up the gun to implement justice." That is a direct threat of violence in addition to violent actions. By definition, that is terrorism. (Note that the last source is the Southern Poverty Law Center, a reasonably liberal group. When the SPLF call you a terrorist, you know you're in trouble.)

The Unabomber was a terrorist. He wanted to change the world by placing innocent people in fear by blowing up packages. Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist. He wanted to change the world by placing innocent people in fear by blowing up buildings. So is the ELF today.

You can argue whether all of ELF's supporters (since there is no "membership") agree with the tactics chosen by the firebombers, but I can think of no description for firebombing cars parked in driveways followed by a threat of taking up arms other than the intentional use of fear to achieve a political end. That, by definition, is terrorism.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:33 AM on May 19, 2005


Animal rights activists?

Puh-leaze.

At least in the '60s and '70s COINTELPRO spied on the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, the Civil Rights movement and the Free Speech movement.
posted by Tlahtolli at 1:35 AM on May 19, 2005


I find it interesting that nutball Christians that assasinate doctors that perform abortions fail to make the list. They are not digging up corpses, they are making them. Well actually it was just one guy, never mind. Oh wait a sec.

Terrorist
adj : characteristic of someone who employs terrorism (especially as a political weapon); "terrorist activity"; "terrorist state" n : a radical who employs terror as a political weapon; often uses religion as a cover for terrorist activities

How did our own goverment not make the list?
posted by Mr_Zero at 1:57 AM on May 19, 2005


fire-bombing cars (including some parked in driveways) in wildfire-prone Southern California is definitely an organized threat

That has all the logic that you expect to find in a largely ineffectual government bureaucracy like the FBI.

One person can be throwing molotov cocktails, is that an "organized threat" and therefore a terrorist activity? I could definitely see the FBI saying that...
posted by joedharma at 1:58 AM on May 19, 2005


It's bad that it exists at all, but abortion clinic violence is WAY down from the peak in the late 1980's.

Wasn't the peak in fact in the 1990's, not the 1980's?
posted by joedharma at 2:05 AM on May 19, 2005


Firebombing somebody's car while it's parked in their driveway is not a casual act.

You're exactly right.

Firebombings, though a sexy term in this cesspool of inaccurate terms of description, don't happen enough to EVEN WARRANT the environmentalist zealots being labeled as the TOP domestic terrorist threat extant in the USA. There are far greater threats. And I suppose it depends on your demographic insofar as how threatened it is socially acceptable to feel.

I'm only saying the term terrorism has been thrown around so much that it has effectively become useless as a method of describing the world around us. It is a catchword. It delivers a sentiment to minds dulled by all the other meaningless words. The extremism no longer exists in its act anymore, but in the hysteria it invokes and then continues to manage as though it were real.
posted by crasspastor at 2:05 AM on May 19, 2005


Wasn't the peak in fact in the 1990's, not the 1980's?

Yes, it was the early 90's, not late 80's. I wasn't paying close enough attention to the data and my memory of the events were stronger in the late 80's when it was on the rise. Good catch, thanks.

I find it interesting that nutball Christians that assasinate doctors that perform abortions fail to make the list.

As mentioned above, the number of those incidents has declined dramatically. According to this data there hasn't been a killing of an abortion doctor at a clinic since 2002. Prochoice.org doesn't list a murder since 1998. Any violence targeted at a doctor is bad, but it seems like it has become rare enough for the FBI to deem it reasonable to no longer rank abortion-related violence in the top three threats. The enforcement of RICO laws against anti-abortion disrupters may have played a big part in that.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:19 AM on May 19, 2005


I've dealt with idiot reactionary left wing anarchists (full disclosure: at the end of the day I am a left wing anarchist myself) and they've nearly come to blows with me a number of times. But you see, I've dealt with them -- respectfully and upholding my own dignity, preserving theirs in the process.

Nobody is ever really a threat when they are only acting on impulse. They need to be intervened with by a civil and humane legal system that rationally deals with social problems in a way a rational and educated, not entertained, public deems necessary. To label any violent act that appears as politically motivated is to ignore, at our peril, the root cause of the need that one commit a pathological crime in the first place.
posted by crasspastor at 2:20 AM on May 19, 2005


Again, this is a list of groups that the FBI has jurisdiction over. As much as the honchos at the FBI may or may not want to change politics in Iran, that's not their jurisdiction.

The FBI spokesman sites Britain-based SHAC, or Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. How's that in the FBI's jurisdiction and Al Qaeda isn't?
posted by joedharma at 2:21 AM on May 19, 2005


How's that in the FBI's jurisdiction and Al Qaeda isn't?

SHAC has a US-based subsidiary organization, "SHAC USA." See their website, "SHAC USA."

"The campaign spread to the United States, where a federal grand jury in Newark last May indicted SHAC USA and seven individuals... He returned to the United States and founded SHAC USA. Kjonaas is one of seven activists facing federal animal terrorism charges for allegedly conducting and encouraging violence, vandalism and intimidation against Life Sciences, Stephens Inc. and other companies. " (WaPo, use bugmenot)

"Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) is an international animal rights campaign gainst against Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS)... [HLS] is based in Huntingdon, England, and New Jersey in the United States" (Wiki)
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:32 AM on May 19, 2005


I am aware I have not posted for a while, but I would like to respond to Saydur's comment: I am not in the US, and was not indicating anyway that any country has any jurisdiction over how laws and customs are cast in foreign countries: theocratic or not; I was merely pointing out that a system of government which is fundamentally based on a set of dogmatic rules and laws does have a problem in that groups such as hard right-wing white supremacist nutjobs, abortion clinic bombing groups, anti-homosexual hate groups, are allowed or dealt with leniently because the bias inherent in the group is supported by governmental and religious policy, if the actions of the group in harming persons or destroying property are not.
Also, I am not Christian, so I don't really understand the "what god are we trusting" statement. I seem to remember it from somewhere. I think... it's printed on currency? Yes, that's it- the US dollar. Oh. Does that mean that the US government is inherently Christian, or is it terminology used from the days of Pilgrims, etc. etc.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 2:43 AM on May 19, 2005


hard right-wing white supremacist nutjobs

I don't think that white supremacists or black nationalists have a place on the right-left scale. They're off that linear scale into some other dimension. Thankfully most white-supremacist groups in the US have become pretty ineffective at doing anything other than being idiots (possibly because they're run by inbred morons). I guess it's hard to be a threat when you're getting married to your cousin. Here's a decent list of hate group incidents from the serious (life sentence for Matthew Shepards' attacker) to the silly ("A swastika made of plastic cups was placed on a fence"). My guess as to why the KKK isn't in the top 3 is that they're a very constant low-level threat that everybody is aware of and have naturally become less effective over time. But, hey, I'm not the FBI so don't quote me.

abortion clinic bombing groups

See above, there haven't been any for years.

anti-homosexual hate groups

Definitely a problem. I am actually suprised that Phelps (aka, Mr. "God Hates Fags") didn't show up higher, but he seems to be pretty limited to speech and the idiots who engage in violence (eg, the idiots who killed Matthew Shepard) seem to be acting alone.

Does that mean that the US government is inherently Christian, or is it terminology used from the days of Pilgrims[?]

The latter, even though our current leadership is actively Christian. Given that "under God" in the Pledge might not be constitutional (depends on which court you ask) the whole "God" thing on the money seems to be pretty much a throwback that nobody wants to get rid of. Same for the funky masonic symbols (pyramids with the eyes, etc).
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:10 AM on May 19, 2005


I see. And all oaths taken by senators, representatives, presidents, etc. as they are sworn in have to be sworn by the Christian God? Or is it a free choice? For example, here in the UK, one can swear in different ways, like a Buddhist breaking a piece of crockery to signify the breaking of their soul if they lie. And I think Muslims can swear on the Koran.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 3:15 AM on May 19, 2005


That's right - for Jury Duty, I burnt an effigy of Princess Anne.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:25 AM on May 19, 2005


I can hear Inhofe thinking 'need more enemy, need distraction' all the way here over the ocean...

But I fear these kind of actions will only occur more and be more extreme if we (citizens of the world) don't take a halt and realise how and what we are collateral-damaging while consuming.. We are, you know.
posted by borq at 3:33 AM on May 19, 2005


In other words, activist = terrorist = communist.

You see?
posted by deusdiabolus at 4:02 AM on May 19, 2005


jeese louise. fear fear fear fear. soon it will be required to wear full body padding in order to leave the house, and vegetarians will have to wear a scarlet "V". how much more fear can we manufacture? my personal favorite fear days are a "code red" ozone day (don't do anything more physical than walk to your car) combined with a "red alert" terrorists day (be very suspicious of anyone of foreign persuasion, or letting their freak flag fly). for christs sake.
posted by tarantula at 4:16 AM on May 19, 2005


Hey, deus, what's wrong with communism? And how does it lead on from terrorism? Hitler's acts could have been considered terrorist, but he was dead against communism.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 4:18 AM on May 19, 2005


But then again, communism was antithesis to his views, ideals and governmental style...
posted by malusmoriendumest at 4:33 AM on May 19, 2005


I think deusdiabolus was being sarcastic, or something.
posted by gsb at 4:42 AM on May 19, 2005


Jesus, didn't any of you people see 12 Monkeys? You seriously undervalue the threat of animal rights activists to our future... and our past!
posted by psmealey at 4:53 AM on May 19, 2005


here's my post of the Dept of Homeland Security's list, saying much of the same bullshit.

I'd like anyone anywhere to tell us of the people killed by these animal-rights/environmental groups--or are SUV's more important nowadays?
posted by amberglow at 5:37 AM on May 19, 2005


and the FBI is targeting more than just animal-rights groups in the name of "fighting terror": The American Civil Liberties Union charged today that the FBI and local police are engaging in intimidation based on political association and are improperly investigating law-abiding human rights and advocacy groups, according to documents obtained through a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. ACLU affiliates today filed FOIA requests seeking similar documents in ten states.

"Since when did feeding the homeless become a terrorist activity?" ...

posted by amberglow at 5:44 AM on May 19, 2005


amberglow:

In fairness, "terror" need not entail actual killing, though that certainly heightens the fear of death among potential victims. That said, I'm finding it interesting that "terrorism" is being defined with a seeming concern for assets over people. If they were concerned with human life over wealth, there are a hell of a lot of organizations and even companies that should make that list before ELF or animal-rights nuts.
posted by trigonometry at 6:04 AM on May 19, 2005


Crasspastor, we have so little violence of that type that just one or two firebombings might very well make a group the "#1 terrorist threat". Being #1 does not mean a threat is significant, which of course the bureaucrats in charge won't tell you. Their goal is always to expand, and if they said 'terrorism in this country is a negligible threat', they wouldn't get as much money and couldn't grow their tiny fiefdoms.

Up above, you took a whole lot of words to basically say this: it's only a matter of time before legitimate political controversy/disagreement becomes terrorism.
posted by Malor at 6:19 AM on May 19, 2005


Why all the debate? Just crush the fucking violent hippie/Weathermen/SLA wannabes and get it over with. The Sixties are dead, why won't these people go away?
posted by MikeMc at 6:22 AM on May 19, 2005


So does this at least mean we can put Ingrid Newkirk in Gitmo now? Please?
posted by davelog at 6:24 AM on May 19, 2005


MikeMC, get real; animal rights protestors are not hippie/Weathermen/SLA wannabes , I've been an animal rights protestor for years, and I'm not. But if your ignorance provides a protective shield, I certainly won't shatter it for you. You should do that yourself.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 6:33 AM on May 19, 2005


I take great pleasure in pointing out that the Boston Tea Party was an act of terrorism.
posted by elderling at 6:39 AM on May 19, 2005


Those organizations won't make the list, trigonometry, because unlike ELF they contribute money to the government.

As much as I despise the ELF/ALF members who feel that blowing up buildings and firebombing labs is the best way to show how much they love the planet, I can see the disparity in the FBI watchlist here.

But for the groups targeted here... I mean, fuck. You lead by example, not by threats. Threats only undermine your position. The people who are quietly trying to make the world better are lost in the shadow of the bastards with the bombs. The general public is left unable to mentally separate the cause from the methods used to advance, and we end up with shit like this. The same thing happens elsewhere, like the view many Americans have of muslims: tainted by the actions of a few radicals.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:45 AM on May 19, 2005


..... waiting for the night of broken glass....... The Bush administration has consolidated an enormous (and entirely unconstitutional) amount of political power. The FBI says what Dear Leader wants the FBI to say. It starts with something outrageous (fanatical suicidal Muslim baby-eating freedom-hating trrrists!!!!!!!) and then it moves on to something less outrageous, and so on and so on... (those SUV-hating environmental wacko commie hippies).... soon it'll be people who speak out against the pResident in public. This isn't a sign that the FBI is failing, it's a sign the FBI is trying to expand its definitions of terrorism to include people over whom it DOES have jurisdiction (not that jurisdiction will matter when Bush declares martial law and FEMA arrests us by the thousands....
posted by krash2fast at 6:59 AM on May 19, 2005


In an attempt to deconstruct what the FBI said:
#1. 1200 incidents since 1990.
#2. Incidents include such thing as harrassing phone calls.
#3. Some incidents have been serious with total damage to property at 110 million dollars, although half of that occurred in a single burning of an under construction building.
#4. Violence is hinted at, but no figures are given. (I would guess at single digits in terms of deaths? I hear an occasional story of a logger hitting a spike in a tree)
#5. All these groups are lumped together, since the environmental rights and animal activists aren't working in concert, I assume they are lumped together by a "liberal theme."
#6. Counting back to 1990 liberal themed groups have done the abovementioned damage, but conservative themed groups were responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, abortion clinic bombings, etc. Hard to imagine less than 110 million damage (probably just from OKC) and a lot more loss of life.
#7. And yet somehow our number one threat is animal rights and environmental activists.

In conclusion: this person is jumbling together time and diverse events to tell an idiot like Inhofe what he wants to hear.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:01 AM on May 19, 2005


In my fantasy world the Creationists would head the FBI's list of Domestic Terrorists. They are certainly terrorizing me with their threats to spread their superstitions and ignorance. Oh, if only I was President of the United States!

Also on my list:

WalMart...threat to local businesses

US Food Manufacturers...threaten the health of Americans with overuse of corn syrup

Voles in my garden...threaten the life of my hostas
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:13 AM on May 19, 2005


At least in the '60s and '70s COINTELPRO spied on the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, the Civil Rights movement and the Free Speech movement.

Indeed, it's a sad state of affairs for dissent and the first amendment in this country, when the group provoking the title of "worst domestic terrorists" is made up of animal rights activists. As a lefty, I somehow feel cheated.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:15 AM on May 19, 2005


are SUV's more important nowadays?

According to this administration, yes. But you knew the answer already.

I have a close relative who's a cop in a jurisdiction bordering DC. He's far more to the right than I am, but it's interesting to hear him talk about the post 9/11 allocation of *billions* of dollars of extra resources and equipment to protect the Reich, err, Homeland. In a nutshell? It's bullshit all the way up and all the way down. DHS is a joke, but not a very funny one, considering how many tax dollars go into it.

Do you feel any safer than before? Do the morons who check your bags strike you as the type of people who could foil a moderately competent bombing/hijacking/shooting spree? I mean, it's not like two idiots in a cessna can still fly into DC airspace.
posted by bardic at 7:22 AM on May 19, 2005


The FBI says what Dear Leader wants the FBI to say.

Please have the decency and common sense to not mock the horrific reality of North Korea's nightmare state.
posted by gsh at 7:24 AM on May 19, 2005


"Special interest" or "single interest" is a relatively new catagory for the the FBI's classification of terrorist groups. Remember, they only have jurisdiction inside the US and to a limited degree elsewhere (embassies mostly).

The "single interest" catagory was introduced in the mid-1990s so they didn't have to classify anti-abortion terrorists as a group. The "single interest" catagory was ironically balanced by so-called ecoterrorists.

Promoting the ecoterrorism panic was a big deal in 1994 (see that years annual FBI report Terrorism in the United States 1994).

The whole set of annual reports can be found here.

On the day the Oklahoma City bombing occurred, the FBI was firmly aligned to face the non-violent and virtually non-existent threat of ecoterrorism. Why? Because they are a highly political agency and anti-abortion terrorism has too many politically powerful sympathizers. The same bogus orientation towards the phony ecoterrorism threat contributed to the Bureau having it's pants firmly around its ankles on 9/11. Only a little while before, the FBI had once again elevated a leftist-seeming threat to the top of their list for political reasons.

It's really worthwhile reading over the whole series of reports if you want to get an understanding of how the FBI operates vis-a-vis domestic terrorism. They are first and formost, the national political police. And they have a political agenda as an institution. Just see how they responded to anti-abortion terrorism 1985-1997. Fah!

They would change their statistical base from one year to the next to make sure that "domestic terrorism" always meant leftists, even when there weren't any incidents they could label "left wing" for that year. And the anti-aborts were NEVER treated as terrorists until Eric Rudolph tried to kill a bunch of first responders with a second bomb and then later succeeded in killing an off-duty cop.

We used to joke about the following thought experiment: suppose there was a left wing coup in America. Would the FBI oppose it or sit on the sidelines? Now suppose there was a right wing coup. Same question....

Of course, that stopped being a joke in November 2000.
posted by warbaby at 7:29 AM on May 19, 2005


you'd think I'd have learned to spell category by now....
posted by warbaby at 7:39 AM on May 19, 2005


" MikeMC, get real; animal rights protestors are not hippie/Weathermen/SLA wannabes , I've been an animal rights protestor for years, and I'm not. But if your ignorance provides a protective shield, I certainly won't shatter it for you. You should do that yourself."

A little touchy today are we? Protesting is one thing, criminal acts of destruction and threats of violence are another. If you want to protest in front a research lab, fine, that is your right. If you want to "liberate" animals from labs and firebomb things that offend you then you are a criminal (if not a terrorist). Even if ALF/ELF members don't meet some folks definition of a "Terrorist" they would most likely meet the definition of an organized criminal enterprise and should be prosecuted under the RICO statute.
posted by MikeMc at 7:45 AM on May 19, 2005


And all oaths taken by senators, representatives, presidents, etc. as they are sworn in have to be sworn by the Christian God? Or is it a free choice?

The latter. I don't know that there are any formulations for breaking pottery, but you can simply substitute a neutral and secular "affirm" for "swear."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:53 AM on May 19, 2005


Mike, I don't think anyone is arguing that it's okay to break into labs and steal research animals. I think what scares people is labeling this terrorism which has a very specific legal meaning now... it means you can be disappeared, without legal recourse. No innocent-until-proven-guilty. No habeas corpus. Government says you're a terorrist, and off you go to Guantanamo, and there's not one goddamn thing you can do about it.
posted by Malor at 7:53 AM on May 19, 2005


Argh. Man, I wish you could edit posts here. "terrorist".
posted by Malor at 7:55 AM on May 19, 2005


Of course, if you lumped in their actions together over the last fifteen years, the FBI has killed dozens of innocents (Waco), destroyed buildings, harassed citizens. . . maybe they are the number #1 terrorist group? (For those who don't get irony or satire, this is satiric.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:58 AM on May 19, 2005


"Government says you're a terrorist, and off you go to Guantanamo, and there's not one goddamn thing you can do about it."

Hence my reference to RICO. I don't know that I would place ALF/ELF on the same level as Bin Laden et al but they are definitely criminal conspiracies. I don't like the idea of the government "disappearing" people (especially their own citizens) but these people are more dangerous than I think some people are willing to acknowledge.
posted by MikeMc at 8:01 AM on May 19, 2005


Just as a barely on topic part of the discussion. Dont forget the pilgrims were essentially tossed out of England for being too religiously uptight.

They claimed they were persecuted, and then proceeded to do so when they got here. So far i dont think anything has changed.
posted by MrLint at 8:01 AM on May 19, 2005


Sometimes breaking the law is ok.
posted by tr33hggr at 8:10 AM on May 19, 2005


What's really great is that the Feds can't do a damn thing to stop the heroes that are liberating animals and making environmental destruction just a little bit more expensive.

Sure, they can raid the press offices all they like, but it's still coming down to them trying to stop a group of anonymous individuals that are organized only in terms of sharing an ideology. And no matter how many people they send to jail, there'll always be one more dedicated person out there with a conscience.
posted by cmonkey at 8:11 AM on May 19, 2005


Malor writes "I wish you could edit posts here."

Malor, I think lots of people share your wish. I myself have a couple of posts here and elsewhere I would like to change in order to make my past views agree with the way the facts I was talking about eventually unrolled.
posted by nkyad at 8:16 AM on May 19, 2005


I think some judges might beg to differ.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:36 AM on May 19, 2005


In which way?
posted by malusmoriendumest at 8:50 AM on May 19, 2005


Ditto. I don't get it.
posted by tr33hggr at 8:51 AM on May 19, 2005


That was in reference to the original post about environmental and animal rights groups being the #1 domestic terrorist threat, not anyone's comment.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:10 AM on May 19, 2005


Preventing such criminal activity has become increasingly difficult, in large part because extremists in these movements are very knowledgeable about the letter of the law and the limits of law enforcement.

Lewis has certainly described acts that are truly criminal (fire bombings, etc.), but I doubt being knowledgeable of legal loopholes will keep these activists from being prosecuted. So what I’d like to know is what other “criminal activities” this man is talking about. If being legally informed has kept some activists out of trouble, their acts, by definition, can’t be criminal can they?

Therefore, the existing statutes may need refinements to make them more applicable to current animal rights/eco-extremist actions and to give law enforcement more effective means to bring criminals to justice.

So this is what Lewis was getting at. Expand the list of criminal acts so that what was once legal is now illegal.

It’s interesting that the FBI will “disrupt and dismantle” activist groups that commit crimes whereas corporate criminals are merely punished with fines. Does that mean extremist orgs would have more protection if they applied for legal status as corporations?

Hmmm …. Mefi inc., who wants in?
posted by Chomskyfied at 9:12 AM on May 19, 2005


Lewis provides a good example of defining terrorism by ideology. If religious fanatics burn abortion clinics, it's arson, isolated incident, not an FBI problem, etc. If ecotwerps torch a McDonald's, it's terrorism.

Of course, Lewis is testifying before the committee that created the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which is a perfect example of applying criminal law to political purposes.

Before 9/11 the AETA was the only federal law that defined terrorism. The administrative definition quoted above (way back in the thread) is uselessly vague and never applied in practice. It's only invoked when they want to frame a case as criminal, as opposed to when they want to ignore an incident.

The upshot is, of course, the FBI routinely decides to place US citizens at risk by ignoring political violence if its done by the right people against the right people.
posted by warbaby at 10:00 AM on May 19, 2005


So women's breasts are no longer on the list since John Ashcroft "retired?"

This list is silly enough that the famous cross-dresser J. Edgar Hoover might have done it himself.

My list:

1) right wing talk radio (publically advoating violence)

2) Ann Coulter (publically advocating violence)

3) 101st Fighting Keyboarders (yep, you guessed it, publically advocating violence)
4) Fox News (sheer stupidity)

5) Reverend Sun Yung Moon and his acolytes (advocating the overthrow of our democratic government)
6) Tim LaHaye (advocating the overthrow of our democratic government)
7) James Dobson (advocating the overthrow of our democratic government)
8) the American Blastocysts (advocating the oppression of women's rights)
and on and on ...
posted by nofundy at 10:15 AM on May 19, 2005


Even if ALF/ELF members don't meet some folks definition of a "Terrorist" they would most likely meet the definition of an organized criminal enterprise and should be prosecuted under the RICO statute.

They already are, Mike--criminal acts are investigated and prosecuted. This "terrorism" label really takes away all their due process and other rights under the Patriot Act--rights that even Timothy McVeigh got. It's wrong, especially when other groups--the white supremacist backing group for the Minutemen, the Minutemen themselves, the CCC, etc, aren't listed.
posted by amberglow at 10:20 AM on May 19, 2005


This is true, but the FBI is limited to domestic action and can't exactly go after people outside the US. These are a list of threats from within the jurisdiction of the FBI.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on there, pard'ner.

Wasn't one of the big lessons of Sept. 11 the fact the the FBI did have significant quantities of information on the terrorists, but failed to properly coordinate and act on this information? This was Coleen Rowley's point, right? And a major conclusion of the 9/11 commission.

The FBI certainly does have jurisdiction over foreign-born terrorists organizing and operating in the U.S. I certainly hope that they're acting on this jurisdiction, rather than saying, as you seem to suggest they should, "they're not Americans; they're not our problem."
posted by mr_roboto at 11:06 AM on May 19, 2005


"Sorry, but "terrorist" is appropriate ... They aimed to enact social change by placing people in fear of violence....
Firebombing somebody's car while it's parked in their driveway is not a casual act. It's designed to make people afraid that next time an SUV explodes they'll be in the car..."

Now, what if someone was to use a mass medium to communicate to citizens that they should hit bicyclists with their SUV's.

Given your statements, wouldn't such statements be 'terrorism'?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:18 PM on May 19, 2005


Now, what if someone was to use a mass medium to communicate to citizens that they should hit bicyclists with their SUV's.

Given your statements, wouldn't such statements be 'terrorism'?


Clear Channel already has. When do we round them up?
posted by a_day_late at 3:16 PM on May 19, 2005


Does that mean that the US government is inherently Christian, or is it terminology used from the days of Pilgrims[?]

The latter, even though our current leadership is actively Christian.


Nuh-uh. Civil War.

The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War.

The Founders would have never gone for that bullshit. The United States was supposed to have a secular government.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:49 PM on May 19, 2005


Now, what if someone was to use a mass medium to communicate to citizens that they should hit bicyclists with their SUV's.

Given your statements, wouldn't such statements be 'terrorism'?


Two differences. 1 - ELF has engaged in actual violence rather than just encouraging it by others. Speech tends to be more protected than action, whether we like that or not. It was not a threat directed at bikers, rather an incitement of idiotic behavior by drivers. Hence, it fails the first half of the test for terrorism (violence or threat thereof) 2 - The intent of ELF was to put SUV drivers in fear in order to change society, wheras the Clear Channel morons were not trying to make a social change. They just wanted attention and ratings. Thus, it fails the second half of the test for terrorism. The second half is probably the most important.

If they had broadcast "Attention all bikers in your stupid spandex outfits, we're going to run you off the road and kill you because bicycles suck" then we'd be at least closer. However, it can't be a threat if the targets of the violence aren't ever aware of it (since they were on bikes at the time, not listening to the radio). Further, their original statement was just to be morons, not to change how many people bike to work.

Not all violence is terrorism.

That said, as a long-distance biker (1x trans-am, hoping to do SF to San Diego soon) I really hate the Clear Channel people. But, again, they're lacking the second element of terrorism (trying to make social change) even though they are violent morons. I think there's a fair case to be made for incitement and they didn't do enough to make up for the damage they did, but they're not terrorists.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 5:16 PM on May 19, 2005


I think the reference everybody keeps making about "firebombing SUVs in the driveway" is in reference to the guy who got 30 years in jail for setting a car dealership on fire. There are some distinct differences in the details.

And anyhow, consider that a guy outside of DC was arrested setting about 10 houses on fire because he didn't want black people moving into the area. A much more dangerous offense.
posted by destro at 7:35 PM on May 19, 2005


This is true. As it has been said before, the other hate groups are often the ones that are the most dangerous. The early-discussed hard right-wing white/black supremacist nutjobs, abortion clinic bombing groups, anti-homosexual hate groups are definitely the greater threat to society. The ELF and ALF protestors can be classed as vandals, arsonists, etc, but they do not compare to the human-based harassment, assault, and killing performed by these hate groups. Being personally a member of ALF and ELF groups, I can say that even though I have never heard of these acts (I suppose they wouldn't want to scare me off), these people have just as much respect for humans as they do for animals. I challenge anyone to cite an incidence in which a person has been killed as a result of animal rights activism, destruction of property, liberation of animals, or any other activity, including the destruction of a mountain ski resort. Except for that Bonn abattoir protest, that was stupid.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 11:27 PM on May 19, 2005


I think the reference everybody keeps making about "firebombing SUVs in the driveway" is in reference to the guy who got 30 years in jail for setting a car dealership on fire.

"ELF is believed to be behind the firebombing of more than 30 SUVs, mostly in auto dealerships, in Virginia last summer and fall. No one was hurt in any of the fires, though some of the attacks occurred in driveways in residential neighborhoods." (Source: ABC News)

these people have just as much respect for humans as they do for animals

What happen to [union] workers when trees are spiked: "A 12-foot section of the huge sawblade had broken off and hit George in the throat and face, ripping through his face mask and cutting into his jugular vein. His jaw was broken in five places and a dozen teeth were knocked out. The blade was wrapped around him, and his co-workers had to blowtorch it off while they tried to keep him from bleeding to death."
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:29 AM on May 20, 2005


That's a pretty grousome story, TDDL, but the fact is, saw shops are generally pretty dangerous places, and people get injured. I am missing a half my ring finger from a table saw, The guy I worked with, 25+ years my senior, lost his thumb. within six months of my accident.

We had pushed thousands and thousands of board feet of lumber through double-end trim saws, table saws, cutoff saws, and gang saws with 5 blades and an automatic feed.

I've cut into steel before, and even broken blades, but the fact is that lumberyards are dangerous places.
This case was probably from sabotage. A deplorable act, if one was to cut through that tree with a saw blade.
posted by Balisong at 1:01 AM on May 20, 2005


It was not a threat directed at bikers,

Really? Advocating the striking of cyclists with cars isn't a threat. Sure sounds like a threat to me.

However, it can't be a threat if the targets of the violence aren't ever aware of it

Really? Huh. So if someone says they wish to do violence to, oh say, President Bush - Mr. Bush must be told of the event for it to be a threat and therefore able to be investigated by the SS?

Who'd thunk it. Wonder how many hours a day every US president gets to hear about threats so the SS can then investigate?

But, again, they're lacking the second element of terrorism (trying to make social change) even though they are violent morons.

Really? Huh. 'violent morons'. Guess the 'morons' part makes up for the 'violent' and therefore can't be actually threating eh?

Not trying to make social change, an interesting claim. Here I thought marketing and selling ads is all about the hope of making a social change in someone's life, one dollar at a time.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:25 AM on May 20, 2005


Do we need another acronym to go with IOKIYAR for the right wing terrorist nut jobs who get a free pass?
I suppose my terrorist is their freedom fighter on the right.
posted by nofundy at 7:54 AM on May 20, 2005


It appears that everyone on the axes have different points of view. For example, in the context of the Third Reich, a "dangerous left-wing liberal" would be someone who was fine with Jewish persecution, but didn't like the death chambers. Also, in countries that have communism, communism itself is not given the stigma that it is in several countries.
It also appears that everyone has different views on terrorist definition and the flexibility of legal and moral codes. One man's terrorist is indeed one man's freedom fighter. And indeed, many hard-line conservatives would probably view it as IOKIYAD. A good view, nofundy. If a tiny bit overwrought. *ducks, trembling, in anticipation of verbal annihilation*
posted by malusmoriendumest at 8:15 AM on May 20, 2005


Really? Advocating the striking of cyclists with cars isn't a threat. Sure sounds like a threat to me.

I don't know why this is so difficult for you. Both of the definitions of "terrorism" posted above involve two parts. The first is violence or a threat thereof in order to create fear or coerce.

A "threat" has to be heard by the threatened party before it can create fear If I tell you "RA, I'm going to kill you" then that's a threat, but if I IM'd with amberglow and said "Man, let's kill RA" that's not a threat because you never became aware of it. The whole point of a threat is to strike fear into the hearts of the threatened. Here, bikers never heard the message. The message wasn't directed at them. Inciting stupid behavior is stupid, but it isn' t a threat.

The second element is "in furtherance of political or social objectives" or "in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological goal". That means the fear created by the threat must be in furtherance of the political or social goal.

Even if you accept the false proposition that advertising is somehow a "political or social goal" (it seems that "profit" was the goal), it's still not terrorism since the fear did not further the goal. If the speech were "if you bikers don't stop wearing spandex then we're going to run you off the road" then you might be closer because the speaker wants the party in fear (here, bikers) to take some social action (here, stopping wearing spandex). If the Clear Channel morons place a group in fear, but aren't trying to get a poltiical or social reaction from them, then it's not terrorism.

Sorry. The word has an actual meaning, despite your attempts to show otherwise. Read the definition carefully and apply each part of the test to conduct. There must be violence or the threat thereof, that is designed to induce fear, in order to advance a political goal.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:00 AM on May 20, 2005


And with a slow sigh, the thread slides silently into the shallow, rotting grave.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 5:34 AM on June 17, 2005


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