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News :: Environment : Human Rights : Social Welfare
Environmental & Animal Rights Activists Charged with Terrorism
22 Jan 2006
On January 20, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller stood behind a podium in Washington, DC, pounding their chests in a collective display of government testosterone gone awry. The two Bush administration officials appeared at a joint press conference to announce the indictment of 11 environmental and animal rights activists, including the detention of 8 individuals, in Oregon.

In an 83-page indictment, the 11 individuals are charged with 65 criminal violations for acts allegedly committed as members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) or the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). According to Gonzales, the ELF and ALF are “extremist movements known to support acts of domestic terrorism.” These groups, the attorney general indicated, occupy the forefront of the federal government’s domestic terrorism attention.

The indictment, which refers to 17 incidents of property damage, “marks significant progress in our efforts to combat animal rights extremism and eco-terrorism,” Mueller said.

If convicted of using a “destructive device” during the commission of a “crime of violence,” the activists face a minimum of 30 years in prison. The 11 also face up to 20 years in prison for knowingly damaging or attempting to damage an energy facility. Indicted were Joseph Dibee, Chelsea Dawn Gerlach, Sarah Kendall Harvey, Daniel Gerard McGowan, Stanislas Gregory Meyerhoff, Josephine Sunshine Overaker, Jonathan Mark Christopher Paul, Rebecca Rubin, Suzanne Savoie, Darren Todd Thurston, and Kevin M. Tubbs.

Speaking only a day after Osama bin Laden, formerly the obsession of Bush administration terror watchers, reappeared in a videotaped message, Gonzales hailed the government’s efforts in targeting environmental and animal rights activists. “We will not tolerate any group that terrorizes the American people, no matter its intentions or objectives,” Gonzales said. According to Mueller, the 17 incidents of damage to public and private property “cause[d] millions of dollars in losses by acts or threats of violence.”

The indictment came a week after 3 activists were arrested in California and also accused of domestic terrorism for their alleged activities as part of the ELF or ALF. Eric McDavid, Zacharay Jenson, and Lauren Weiner were charged with targeting such locations as a meat packing plant in Oregon, a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, and a truck dealership in Oregon.

The affidavit by FBI agent Nasson Walker that was used to secure the arrests does not accuse the activists of injuring or attempting to injure humans. According to Walker, “The ELF is a recognized eco-terrorist group that advocates ‘direct action’ (i.e. criminal activity) against targets identified as contributing to the destruction/exploitation of the Earth.”

Walker’s affidavit indicates that the government largely relied on the accusations of an undisclosed confidential source “who is deeply embedded within the defendants’ [activist] cell.” The unnamed source has provided information to the FBI in at least 12 separate cases brought by the government against anarchists, the affidavit says.

Almost 7 pages of the 14-page affidavit are devoted largely to a discussion of the anarchist political philosophy allegedly espoused by the activists. McDavid was initially questioned because he is allegedly an anarchist and a letter sent to Sacramento-area newspapers claiming responsibility for two earlier attempted arsons were signed “Agent Emma Goldman,” a reference to the prominent turn-of-the-century anarchist trailblazer. Walker’s affidavit specifically mentions that McDavid maintains no permanent residence, does not use cell phones, and travels the country by hitchhiking.

The affidavit also refers to Jenson’s myspace and livejournal accounts. Walker quotes the livejournal entry in which Jenson wrote, “what happened friday night cant be told here online,” as evidence of Jenson’s criminal activity. In addition, the affidavit specially mentions a book written by the anarchist collective CrimethInc that Jenson cites on myspace as one of his favorite books.

The indictment announced by Gonzales and Mueller similarly indicates that Gerlach and Thurston possessed a book entitled “Advanced Anarchist Arsenal: Recipes for Improvised Incendiaries and Explosives.”

While the federal government has long targeted environmental and animal rights activists it had recently backtracked from its aggressive pursuit. In November, the FBI agreed to pay Josh Connole $100,000 and issue a letter of regret for mistakenly jailing him.


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Re: Environmental & Animal Rights Activists Charged with Terrorism
22 Jan 2006
ABC Boston and Chicago is having a benefit show today. Now more than ever we have to support ABC.
Re: Environmental & Animal Rights Activists Charged with Terrorism
24 Jan 2006
“We will not tolerate any group that terrorizes the American people,"

I love this, as if he is trying to say that these people are who are committing the direct actions are not americans because they oppose and act against the current rate of american environmental devestation.

and "no matter its intentions or objectives"

Basically you're all allowed to run amuck and do whatever the hell you want, IF you're american, and if there's anyone who trys to prevents this, then we'll just sic the FBI on them.

Again, isn't there a murderer still on the loose? Is this how the US is trying to cover up their mistakes on the war on "terror"?