NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 25, 2006

Osama bin Laden's latest tape was such big news last week that its coverage swamped some other major terror news: that the Bush Administration has rounded up some of America's most dangerous domestic terrorists, says the Wall Street Journal.

The Justice Department on Friday released a 65-count indictment against 11 members of an animal-rights and ecoterrorism outfit that had spread violence and destruction across five Western states for more than four years. Using fire and explosives, the individuals stand accused of targeting ranger stations, animal-holding facilities, lumber companies, timber farms, a ski resort and even a police department. Eight have been detained; another three are believed to be hiding outside the country.

  • Credit here goes to the FBI, which in recent years has listed green extremists as a top domestic terror threat -- responsible for more than 1,200 criminal acts and millions of dollars in damage.
  • Recently these outfits have been expanding their scope, targeting bodies that are only marginally linked to practices they resent.
  • The New York Stock Exchange's recent decision to postpone the listing of Huntingdon Life Sciences -- a U.K. animal-research company that has been a top terrorist target for years -- was put down to the Exchange's worry that it would be next on the hit list.

Law enforcement agencies have made some important arrests in recent years, yet they still face difficulties tracking down these thugs -- who operate in underground cells linked to organizations such as the Earth Liberation Front or Animal Liberation Front, says the Journal.

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe last year introduced legislation to give authorities more tools to prosecute ecoterrorists; current statutes don't cover many ecoterrorist activities, such as threats or coercion against third-party targets. The sooner Congress takes this up the better, and more news coverage of their widespread threats and violence wouldn't hurt either, says the Journal.

Source: Editorial, "Terrorists, by Any Name," Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2006.

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