Thursday, May 19, 2005

Earth Friendly Terrorism

In Senate testimony yesterday, the FBI's John Lewis summarized the domestic terrorism threat:

John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, said animal and environmental rights extremists have claimed credit for more than 1,200 criminal incidents since 1990. The FBI has 150 pending investigations associated with animal rights or eco-terrorist activities, and ATF officials say they have opened 58 investigations in the past six years related to violence attributed to the ELF and ALF.

He also said that terrorism from right wing associated groups in on the decline. The Southern Poverty Law Center's intelligence report has a pretty good roll up of that type of extremism. Their info shows that although hate is alive and well in our country, groups like the KKK have not committed many bold, damaging attacks lately. Compare this roll up of ELF activities, and those "bunny huggers", as the Brits like to call them, are certainly more effective.

I was working for the Division of Emergency Management when the hoof and mouth disease crisis was raging in England. There were reports that animal rights groups were going to try to bring the disease over here. We took the threat seriously, and ended up doing a bunch of contingency planning. The state even sent some folks over the the UK to see how they were dealing with the crisis.

If hoof and mouth had spread to Texas, accidentally or otherwise, the results would have been catastrophic for the economy. We never got any follow up as to whether anyone had actually tried to contaminate US beef, but the consequences would have been far-reaching if they had.

Homeland Security is about more than AQ and Islamic extremism. We face many threats, and only some of them can be mitigated. Better policy in the Middle East can help neutralize radical Islam. But, are we really prepared to stop eating beef to mitigate the ALF threat?

I guess its all good job security for Mrs. Alexander's number one son.


At May 19, 2005, Anonymous Grant Henninger said...

The reason they call them 'bunny huggers' is because they have already clear cut all of their trees, so 'tree hugger' makes little sense.

At May 20, 2005, Blogger J. said...

Okay, so we won't slow down our beef and chicken consumption. But you have to admit, one might understand their frustration - when working with the system results in Bush declaring 65 million acres of previously virgin forest to be open for logging, some real anger must come out. When HUMMER owners complain about their high gasoline bills, you might want to do more than just sigh, "oh those silly people."

Not saying that I support their work, but I can sympathize with their frustration, and (to the best of my knowledge) they don't try to kill people as much as torch cars and houses. To me, ecoterrorism is a much preferable course of action from dealing with militias and gunnuts.


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