Today the Committee on Environment and Public Works will highlight the findings of the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the issue of Eco-terrorism. The Patriot Act defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against people or property to intimidate or coerce government or civilian population in furtherance of a political or social objective.” The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security agree that eco-terrorism is a severe problem naming the most serious domestic terrorist threat in the Untied States today as the Earth Liberation Front (“ELF”) and the Animal Liberation Front (“ALF”), which by all accounts, is a converging movement with similar ideologies and common personnel.
ELF and ALF are terrorists by definition using intimidation, threats and acts of violence, and property destruction to force their opinions of proper environmental and animal rights policy upon society. ELF and ALF resort to arson, sabotage, and harassment in hopes of using fear to attain their goals of hampering development and free commerce. In fact, ELF and ALF are responsible for, estimating conservatively, over $110 million in damages and 1,100 acts of terrorism in the last decade. ELF and ALF’s weapon of choice is arson, placing instructions on how to effectively set fire to “animal abusers” on their website. [Chart #1 – “ARSON AROUND WITH AUNTIE ALF” This is a book on how to make incendiary devices and firebombs.]
Today we will hear from federal law enforcement agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, who will discuss the problem of ELF and ALF and law enforcement’s reaction to their dangerous and destructive tactics. It is these tactics, particularly the widespread use of arson, which make ELF and ALF the #1 domestic terror concern over the likes of white supremacists. militias, or anti-abortion groups.
We will also hear testimony today from victims of ELF and ALF. The University of Iowa fell victim to an ALF raid in November of 2004, in which a laboratory suffered $450,000 in damages [Chart #2 – picture of lab] and the associated professors names and addresses were published on the ALF website inviting further terror. [Chart #3 – ALF website with professors’ names and home addresses] Unfortunately, the University of Iowa is only one example of many laboratories that have been attacked by ALF destroying years of research that could have produced results that we can only wonder about now.
We will hear today from a victim of the largest ELF attack in history causing estimated damages of $22 million. [Chart #4 – picture of construction site before and after arson] Garden Communities, a development company, was building a five-story, 306 unit condominium complex in an urban area of San Diego, California that was burned to the ground, forcing over 400 people to be evacuated from their homes. A banner reading "If you build it, we will burn it, the ELFs are mad," was found at the crime scene.
Just like Al Queda or any other terrorist movement, ELF and ALF can not accomplish their goals without money, membership, and the media. ELF and ALF have received support from mainstream activists in each of these categories. We will learn today of a growing network of support for extremists like ELF and ALF. For example, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA”), a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization has given money to ELF [Chart #5 – PETA tax return] and ELF/ALF members while acting as the spokesgroup for ELF and ALF after committing acts of terrorism. [Chart #6 – PETA document stating they are spokesgroup] Ingrid Newkirk, the President of PETA was invited to testify at today’s hearing but declined the Committee’s invitation.
Along with help from above ground organizations, ELF and ALF receive assistance in recruiting membership and media relations. Dr. Steven Best, a University of Texas professor, is an example of a spokesperson for ELF and ALF that acts as a conduit for terrorists to the mainstream. [Chart #7 – ALF and ELF Contact Resource document] Dr. Best, through his writings, speeches, and the ALF website, advocates ALF and their practices, crossing the line between first amendment speech and criminal behavior inciting violence. Dr. Best declined the Committee’s invitation to testify today.
In addition to assistance from recruiters and well known 501(c )(3)s, ELF and ALF were able to raise money through the internet. A supporter of ELF or ALF could go to either the ELF or ALF website and literally click a button to give money to a terrorist movement. [Chart #8 – ALF website illustrating how one could and now cannot donate money] As a result of this Committee’s investigation, ELF and ALF are no longer receiving money through the internet from sympathizers. The same is true for corporate sponsorship for the sales of goods through the ELF website. Before this Committee’s investigation, ELF was receiving a commission of up to 30% for the sale of books and posters. For example, Amazon.com paid ELF commissions for the sale of books through the ELF website. [Chart #9 – ELF website with Amazon icon] As a result of our investigation, Amazon.com removed their add from the ELF website.
The danger of ELF and ALF is imminent. Experts agree that although they have not killed anyone to date, it is only a matter of time until someone dies as a result of ELF and ALF criminal activity. With direct actions such as cutting the brake lines of 38 seafood delivery trucks or the use of firebombs and incendiary devices, it is through luck not planning that there are no ELF/ALF casualties. As a country, we must not only condemn terrorism, but we must also condemn the support and acts in furtherance of terrorism. It is time to take a look at the culture and climate of support for criminally based activism like ELF and ALF and do something about it. As with any other criminal enterprise, we can not allow individuals and organizations to, in effect, aide and abet criminal behavior or provide comfort and support to them after the fact. Just as we can not allow individuals and organizations to surf in between the laws of permissible free speech and speech that incites violence when we know the goal is to inspire people to commit crimes of violence. This hearing will begin the process of scrutinizing criminally based activism as well as call into question the essential support received from mainstream individuals and organizations.
Before we hear testimony from our witnesses, I would like to show you just how serious this matter is. ELF and ALF recruit their membership from young people between the ages of 18 and 25. This is a video of an ELF/ALF member, Rodney Coronado, attempting to incite students with ELF and ALF rhetoric to commit direct action activism, then demonstrating to students at Washington DC-based American University, how to make an incendiary devise to commit arson for approximately $2.
Exhibit #1: ALF Instructional Guide to Fire Bombs and Arson - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #2a: ALF Raid University of Iowa Laboratory - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #2b: ALF Raid Univeristy of Iowa Laboratory - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #3: ALF Boasts of Raid on University of Iowa Laboratory Including Continuing Threat to Related Professors - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #4: Largest ELF Attack in History-Garden Communities - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #5: PETA Tax Return Claiming Grant to Terrorist Organization - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #6: PETA Supports Terrorist Activity- ALF Army of the Kind - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #7: Dr. Best Supports Terrorist Activity as Their Liaison to the Public - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #8: Contributors blocked from financing ALF through the Internet - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #9: ELF earned Commissions from Book Sales through ELF Web Site - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #10: Dr. Steven Best with 2 ALF Members. All 3 Speakers at Fresno State Conference on "Revolutionary Environmentalism" Feb. 13-14, 2003 - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #11: PETA Gives Over $70,000 to ALF Member After Burning Down Michigan State Research Lab - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #12: ELF Attacts on Development and Car Dealership - Click here for link: (.pdf)
Exhibit #13: ELF Website References EPW Committee Inquiry - Click here for link: (.pdf)