New McCarthyists Proclaim “Mission Accomplished”: Activists Lay Groundwork to Fight AETA

by Will Potter on December 11, 2006

in Activism & Activists' Response,Terrorism Legislation

I just ran across an announcement from the Fur Commission on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, where the industry group proclaims “Mission Accomplished!” The New McCarthyists have been eager to appropriate much of the War on Terrorism rhetoric, but this one was an interesting choice. Bush stood on the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” in 2003, only to be dogged by that hubris months, and now years, later.

If the purpose of AETA is to go after underground activists, that mission is far from accomplished. And if the purpose of AETA is to go after “the above ground,” activists are organizing to challenge that mission as well.

Just a few weeks ago, student activists in Massachusetts got a promise from U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern that he would work to repeal the law.

And this week, activists in Colorado are doing the same. According to the Colorado Indymedia website:

There will be a demonstration against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act at the office of US Representative Diana DeGette @ 600 Grant St on December 12, at 12:00 PM. This demo is not against Representative DeGette, as she has represented her constituents fairly well on other animal issues. We want her to understand our frustration at the passing of this bill.

Oh, and then there were dozens of community events around the world to raise awareness about labeling activists as “eco-terrorists.” Ahem.

And on top of the grassroots and student organizing, animal welfare organizations and civil liberties advocates are coming together at the national level. They had formed the Equal Justice Alliance leading up to the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and aren’t backing down. The coalition has resolved to proactively fight this legislative wing of the Green Scare. Here’s an excerpt from the statement recently put out by the alliance about their plans.

We plan to pursue three ways of neutralizing AETA:

* By convincing federal district attorneys not to prosecute under AETA because the law is too broad and vague to make it through the courts;
* By convincing federal courts to dismiss a test case because the law is too broad and vague;
* By convincing Congress that the law is unworkable, unconstitutional, and should be repealed.

Activists around the country are proving that the mission of corporations and industry groups to label activists as “terrorists” is far from accomplished. Frankly, though, I’m a little disappointed that the New McCarthyists didn’t put more into this PR stunt. I know, I know, aircraft carriers are expensive. But considering animal rights activists and environmentalists are labeled the “number one domestic terrorist threat” by the FBI, you’d think they’d at least rent a tug boat.

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