A man intentionally flew his airplane into an IRS office in Austin as a part of suicide attack yesterday, and left behind a manifesto outlining his anti-government grievances, but politicians and the press are somehow unsure about whether it should be labeled terrorism. Meanwhile, a bill was introduced in Washington State this session labeling civil disobedience and First Amendment activity as “eco-terrorism.”
It’s not an isolated instance. Across the country, at the state and federal level, both pre-9/11 and post-9/11, corporations and the politicians who represent them have campaigned to label animal rights and environmental activists as the “number one domestic terrorism threat.” Even the most radical underground groups like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front have never harmed a human being.
Yet those who have murdered abortion providers and flown planes into building escape the label.
Let’s take a closer look at the systemic disparities.
These have all been labeled terrorism in the press, state houses or the courts:
- Washington “Eco-terrorist” Bill Includes Civil Disobedience and First Amendment Activity
- Utah Bill Would Make Environmentalists Like Tim DeChristopher “Eco-Terrorists”
- Animal Rights Activists Charged As Terrorists for Chalking Slogans on Public Sidewalks and Wearing Masks at Protests
- Canadian Politician Says PETA Throwing a Pie is Terrorism
- ELF Activist Receives Longer Prison Sentence Than Racists Who Attempted to Assassinate Obama
- Ag Industry Calls for Prosecutions of Undercover Animal Activists
- Appellate Court: Encouraging Civil Disobedience is Not Protected Speech
According to the FBI, none of these recent crimes are terrorism:
- Threatening to kill or injure police officers at a public tax protest assembly called a “Tea Party”
- Louisiana Man Convicted of Civil Rights Violation in Connection with Cross-Burning
- E-Mailing Threatening Communications to Judges
- Threatening Employees of Latino Civil Rights Organizations
- Man Held Hostages at Gun Point inside Post Office
- Homeland Security Says Timothy McVeigh Isn’t a Terrorist, But Peace Activists Are
Focusing scarce anti-terrorism resources on animal rights and environmental activists, while there are clearly domestic groups who have, and will continue, to carry out physical violence, puts all Americans at risk. Perhaps if the government spent less time preparing for attacks by environmentalists, events like this could be prevented.