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Julie Smithson

We're Watching, Too
By Julie Kay Smithson (
Aug 4, 2008 - 11:45:23 AM

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In the Associated Press story of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) attacking a Forest Service laboratory in Wisconsin eight years ago, ELF claimed responsibility: "We are everywhere and nowhere and we are watching. For wildness and an end to industrial society."

Yeah, but ... only for us, the "useless eaters" the ELF and its masters intend to vanquish, leaving only robotic peons in "service industries" to serve the masters.

Well, we are watching, too, and networking, educating, and empowering.

We are not as effective a force for our interests, because there are far too many of our number that are complacent and don't yet see the vital importance of supporting our efforts. We don't lower our standards to the level of terrorism, arson, criminal vandalism, etc.

Buy something from catalogs like Patagonia, Sundance or a host of other "enviro-friendly" businesses, and you likely support the other side -- perhaps not directly, perhaps not the ones that have been trained to carry out "direct actions," but probably the general agenda and goals.

What's so difficult about supporting us good guys/gals? You can't afford not to support us, but that's often the case. We starve, the bad guys jet hither and yon, the armchair politicians rant and rave about "change," unwilling to do more than rant, rave and babble. Go figure.

Smithson's educational and empowerment website:

More on the "non-movement:"

"The ELF is an underground movement with no leadership, membership or official spokesperson. The intention of this web site is to inform and chronicle issues related to E.L.F. This web site's management, webmasters, affiliates, or other participants are not to be considered spokespersons, members, or affiliates of The Earth Liberation Front."


The Actions

Undated, no author provided at originating website address/URL

"In Oregon, a 65-count indictment charges 11 defendants with involvement in seventeen arson and property-destruction attacks between 1996 and 2001. The incidents involve meat processing plants, lumber companies and other public and private targets.

Defendants in California are accused of conspiring to use fire and an explosive to damage property of the US Forest Service Institute of Forest Genetics, a fish hatchery, cellular telephone towers, and electric power stations. Though their alleged plot was reportedly foiled by a federal informant, two of the defendants face up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Over the past quarter century, the ELF and ALF have taken responsibility for numerous crimes of arson, vandalism and property destruction against institutions the groups say harm people, animals or the environment.

The FBI says that these and related groups have committed more than 1,100 "criminal acts" since 1976, causing more than $110 million in damage.

In an October 2001 press release, the ALF claimed responsibility for one of the activities listed in the Oregon indictment: releasing 200 horses and setting four timed incendiary devices in Litchfield, California. The group accused the BLM of rounding up wild horses for slaughter to clear public land for cattle grazing.

Similarly, ALF spokesperson Dr. Jerry Vlasak said the motive behind the arsons of a ski resort expansion in Vail, Colorado in 1998 was to prevent the destruction of land inhabited by the lynx, which was added to threatened species list after the attacks.

After the recent arrests, FBI Director Robert Mueller called animal rights and environmental "extremism" one of the Bureau's highest domestic terrorism priorities.

But the activists say they are on a mission to defend, not terrorize. Vlasak said property destruction is used after other avenues of environmental and animal-rights activism are exhausted.

"There are people working on legislation, there are people working on public education, there are people holding protest signs, but those things alone will not achieve the end result of animal liberation," Vlasak told The NewStandard.. "So people who are willing to break the law to stop animals being exploited are just one part of a liberation movement."

As a policy, the decentralized, anonymous groups do not harm humans during their activities. Rather than directly instilling a sense of fear in individual humans, the ALF and ELF engage in acts of property destruction as a means of raising the costs of doing business until they are a deterrent to conducting practices the activists oppose."

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