Saturday, January 21, 2006

alf/elf aren't terrorists

The feds have indicted 11 for "eco-terrorism" incidents -- arson and sabotage of new developments and in one case, a Hummer dealership, in the west. Pro-torture de facto attorney general Alberto Gonzales took to the airwaves to proclaim this victory over the forces of terrorism.

We should grovel before the knees of the Bush Department of Justice for this huge advancement in the war against terrorism -- after all, the 17 heinous attacks perpetrated by the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, from 1996 to 2001, caused $23 million in damage and killed ... uh, well, actually they killed nobody, and nobody was injured, except for the wallets of some developers, lumber companies, meat plants, and SUV dealerships (or more accurately, the INSURERS of these folks).

Look, I won't defend the actions of ELF and ALF. Agree with them or not on the wisdom of expanding the human footprint into wilderness areas, or whether it is ever right to eat meat, or the stupidity of Hummers, fact is that arson and other acts of vandalism are illegal, even if you believe in the cause.

But Gonzales said "Today's indictment proves that we will not tolerate any group that terrorizes the American people, no matter its intentions or objectives." That's absurd. ELF and ALF terrorized nobody -- they are a pain in the ass for many people, yes, but they are not terrorizing the American people. Using "terrorism" to describe their activities grossly overstates their threat AND cheapens the word. Call them "criminals" and that is factually accurate in that they've committed criminal acts, whether you are sympathetic to their aims or not.

I have to wonder whether, if these groups had conducted similar acts of vandalism against say abortion clinics or the ACLU, they would have been labelled "terrorists" or not.