The Federal Bureau of Investigation is attempting to broaden the criminalization of dissent by equating the posting of stickers with terrorism. The environmental movement is being specifically targeted for this latest attempt by the bureau by using the term eco-terrorism to describe actions as mundane as posting stickers along with actions such as arson and animal liberation, according to an article by San Fransico Chronicle staff writer Mike Weiss.
After the conviction of two activists last week, the next development will soon take place that has many activists concerned. "On Feb. 12, the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health is scheduled to hold a hearing about eco-terrorism. Environmental activists have called for nationwide protests against the hearings." (Weiss)
Environmental direct action organizations such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are regarded by the FBI as terrorist networks. They have consistently frustrated the bureau's attempts at stopping the organizations activities as few arrests and convictions were forthcoming in comparison to the outstanding charges against them and the unknown number of people involved with their actions.
David Babarash,who functions as something of an officail spokesperson for the ALF, works for that group from Vancouver. The FBI has confirmed his claim that "No people have been killed or injured as a result of an ALF activity." The insistence of equating the ALF with a terrorist network is the most recent example of the zeal with which the bureau attacks environmentalists. A prime example of this may be the terrorist assault on Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. Mounting evidence has feuled speculation that the bureau itself is the source of the car bombing that the environmental activists were initially blamed for. Both of the Earth First! activists sued the FBI for false arrest and civil rights violations.
According to Bari, "The FBI files show that no legitimate search for the bomber was ever conducted. Instead, the FBI used this case as an excuse to investigate environmentalists and their associates, both locally and nationally, in a sweeping campaign reminiscent of the 1950's red scare." The authorities have consistently used the September 11th bombings as an excuse to scale back civil liberties and crack down on ever broader definitions of what constitutes terrorist activity. This is most recently evident by the shut down of raisethefist.com by federal authorities and Los Angeles law enforcement. Babarash has stated, ""To compare the horrific actions we witnessed on Sept. 11, to the actions of people who work to save animal lives and our planet while not using violent means is, frankly, ridiculous."
Judi Bari has since died as her health steadily deteriorated in the wake of the bombing which also ruined the Bari/Cherney relationship. Their case is still ongoing and evidence has been mounting in the midst of legal delays that included three failed attempts by the FBI to throw the case out of court.
Read Judi's testimony here:
More info about this brave woman can be found here:
Mike Weiss' article can be found here:
Editorial cartoon and article on raisethefist: