activism is not terrorism stickerGreenIsTheNewRed.com (GNR) is an independent news service that publishes original, investigative journalism and breaking news about civil liberties in the post-9/11 era.

It was by founded by investigative journalist Will Potter in 2006. Glenn Greenwald described Potter as “the most knowledgeable journalist in the country on these issues,” and said GNR “exhaustively covers” civil liberties threats. Potter is currently a Knight Fellow in Law Reporting at the University of Michigan, and serves as executive editor of GNR, overseeing the news team and all editorial content.

GNR’s reporting has:

  • overturned criminal prosecutions
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Here’s an introduction to the issues we cover:

What are the Government’s Terrorism Priorities?

mcveigh not a terrorist?According to West Point, violence by right-wing groups has increased 400% since the 1990s. These groups have bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, murdered doctors, and admittedly created weapons of mass destruction.

Yet these groups are not treated as terrorists by the government. A Homeland Security official said that the Oklahoma City bomber was “not a terrorist,” and these groups are routinely ignored in terrorism documents.

Instead, the focus has been on non-violent political activists with dissident views and those who are threatening corporate profits. [Learn more: “7 Groups the FBI and Corporations Have Classified as ‘Terrorists‘”]

The FBI has singled out the animal rights and environmental movements, in particular, as its top target, going so far as to call these protesters “the number one domestic terrorism threat.”

fbi raids peace groups not terrorismThe animal rights and environmental movements, like every other social movement throughout history, have both legal and illegal elements. There are people who leaflet or protest, and their are groups like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front that break the law and destroy property. [Learn more: “14 Incredible Photos of Brazilian Activists Liberating Beagles from Cruel Lab.”]

None of these activists, though, have ever injured a human being. In fact, the only act of attempted murder in the history of the U.S. animal rights movement was coordinated by corporate provocateurs.

This disproportionate, heavy-handed government crackdown on the animal rights and environmental movements, and the reckless use of the word “terrorism,” has had dangerous consequences.

New Laws Targeting Protesters and Whistleblowers

Corporations have lobbied for new laws that carve out special protections for their profits, and special police powers to be used against their opponents.

Aggressive Prosecutions of Social Protesters 

The courts are being used to push conventional boundaries of what constitutes “terrorism” and to hit non-violent activists with disproportionate sentences.

Surveillance and Harassment of Protest Groups

peta-infiltrator-arrested-jones-mccombThe FBI and Homeland Security have used their massive surveillance resources to spy on lawful protest groups, and also to intimidate social protesters with home raids and harassment.

Corporations have begun hiring mercenary “counter-terrorism” firms to engage in similar practices, albeit without government oversight.

Corporate Scare-Monger Campaigns 

The word “eco-terrorism,” itself, was created by corporations in the 1980s to smear their opponents. [For a full account of this history, check out the book] After creating the word, they began injecting it into popular discourse through advertising campaigns and public relations efforts. The purpose of all of this is to make these non-violent activists appear to be a violent, “terrorist” threat.

Secretive Prison Units for Terrorists

The label of “terrorist” is applied to activists before they even enter a courtroom and, for those convicted, it follows them into the prison system. The government has acknowledged using secretive prison facilities on U.S. soil, called Communications Management Units, to house inmates labeled “domestic terrorists.”

The CMUs radically restrict prisoner communications with the outside world to levels that rival, or exceed, the most restrictive facilities in the country, including the “Supermax,” ADX-Florence. [For more information on CMUs and who is housed there: “Secretive U.S. Prison Units Used to House Muslim, Animal Rights and Environmental Activists.”]

Inmates and guards at the CMUs call them “Little Guantanamo.” They have also been described as prisons for “second-tier” terrorists.

According the Bureau of Prisons, these inmates “do not rise to the same degree of potential risk to national security” as other terrorism inmates. So who is imprisoned there?

The CMUs overwhelmingly include Muslim inmates, and have housed at least two animal rights and environmental activists: Andy Stepanian, who has been released, and Daniel McGowan, who is currently imprisoned at the CMU in Marion, Illinois.

Little information is available about the secretive facilities and the prisoners housed there. However, through interviews with attorneys, family members, and a current prisoner, it is clear that these units have been created not for violent and dangerous “terrorists,” but for political cases that the government would like to keep out of the public spotlight and out of the press.

Why is This Happening?

animal-rights-eco-fbi-pr-war-slideThe Department of Homeland Security, in a bulletin to law enforcement agencies, warned: “Attacks against corporations by animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists are costly to the targeted company and, over time, can undermine confidence in the economy.”

And in a leaked PowerPoint presentation given by the State Department to corporations, we learn: “Although incidents related to terrorism are most likely to make the front-page news, animal rights extremism is what’s most likely to affect your day-to-day business operations.”

Underground activists like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front directly threaten corporate profits by doing things like burning bulldozers or sabotaging animal research equipment. But they’re not the only ones.

The entire animal rights and environmental movements, perhaps more than any other social movements, directly threaten corporate profits. They do it every day. Every time activists encourage people to go vegan, every time they encourage people to stop driving, every time they encourage people to consume fewer resources and live simply. Those boycotts are permanent, and these industries know it. In many ways, the Green Scare, like the Red Scare, can be seen as a culture war, a war of values.

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Sea Shepherd crew with books at sea.