Background on the Michigan State University Arson, From ELF Press Office

by Will Potter on March 11, 2008

in Terrorism Court Cases

elf_faq.jpgI dug through some old zines and brochures I’ve collected over the years, and found this in a publication called “Frequently Asked Questions About the Earth Liberation Front.” (And then, of course, also found it on the web in a fraction of the time). It helps shed a bit more light on one of the crimes in question out in Michigan. They happened so long, I figure that even if you follow news like this you’ve probably forgotten about (clearly, the government has not, though). Also, please check out this earlier post, first, for the basics if you haven’t already.

Just six days later, on New Years Eve, 1999 the ELF for the first time turned to the subject of genetic engineering. At Michigan State University, Catherine Ives worked as a researcher, according to her, to help feed the starving people of the world through biotechnology. One of her programs funded in part by Monsanto and the U.S. Agency for International Development involved attempts to coerce farmers in less westernized countries to give up sustainable agricultural practices for reliance on the biotech industry, in particular Monsanto who among numerous other creations brought the terminator seed to life. These seeds which do not reproduce require farmers to purchase new seeds annually from Monsanto.

The idea that there just is not enough food in the world to feed the current population is an absolute myth being used by the biotech industry as one of their reasons to continue into the
area of gene manipulation. The public relations departments at Monsanto and in other firms within the biotech industry are being far from truthful by presenting this appearance of altruism
as though they are helping people in, as they refer to them, the “developing nations” to improve their lives. It is nothing but another form of largely U.S. based imperialism
attempting to control and destroy non-westernized cultures for the sake of monetary gain. Is it just a mere coincidence that Monsanto, the U.S. Agency for International Development and
Catherine Ives, are not teaching and promoting organic permaculture in less-westernized countries? And just another coincidence that instead they are manufacturing the desire for
genetically altered seeds which Monsanto conveniently sells?

In response to this program and Catherine Ives work, the ELF set fire to her offices at Michigan State University causing an estimated $400,000-$900,000 in damages. Ives herself admitted
the fire destroyed years of her work. A communiqué sent by the ELF stated, “The E.L.F. takes credit for a strike on the offices of Catherine Ives, Rm. 324 Agricultural Hall at Michigan State University on Dec. 31, 1999. The offices were doused with gasoline and set afire. This was done in response to the work being done to force developing nations in Asia, Latin America and Africa to switch from natural crop plants to genetically altered sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, and pineapples. Monsanto and USAID are major funders of the research and promotional work being done through Michigan State University. According to local newspapers, the fire cost $400,000 in damage. Cremate Monsanto, Long live the E.L.F. On to the next G.E. target!”

Just under a month later, on January 23, 2000, the ELF set fire to a new luxury home under construction in the Bloomington, Indiana area. This home, which was to be valued at between $750,000-$1.5 million upon completion, threatened the Lake Monroe watershed which supplies clean, fresh drinking water to the Bloomington area. Damage from the fire was assessed at over $200,000 and it marked the first time the ELF had targeted what the group chose to call urban

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