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U.S. | Animal Liberation | Environment & Forest Defense

FBI says animal and eco-extremists are now top domestic terror threat
by foa
Thursday May 19th, 2005 10:12 AM
As we have seen here lately in the Bay Area, the FBI and other authorities are turning up the heat and shaking down anyone they think might have ties to or information on direct action groups. Now they are publicly declaring the ALF, the ELF, and SHAC public enemies #1 for property destruction, economic sabotage, and harrassment of corporations, institutions, and individuals responsible for despoiling our environment and abusing animals.
FBI surprise on top domestic terror threat
It's not abortion foes or Klan, but animal and eco-extremists

Associated Press
9:53 a.m. ET May 19, 2005

WASHINGTON - Environmental and animal rights extremists who have turned to arson and explosives are the nation’s top domestic terrorism threat, the FBI has told lawmakers.

Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front and the Britain-based SHAC, or Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, are “way out in front” in terms of damage and number of crimes, John Lewis, the FBI’s deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, told a Senate hearing Wednesday.

“There is nothing else going on in this country over the last several years that is racking up the high number of violent crimes and terrorist actions,” Lewis said.

The Animal Liberation Front says on its Web site that its small, autonomous groups of people take “direct action” against animal abuse by rescuing animals and causing financial loss to animal exploiters, usually through damage and destruction of property.

The Earth Liberation Front is an underground movement with no public leadership, membership or spokesperson.

SHAC describes itself as a worldwide campaign that began in 1999 to rescue animals tortured in research labs and shut down the businesses that rely on their use. It says it “does not encourage or incite illegal activity.”

'Escalation' seen
Lewis said the FBI made its conclusions after analyzing all types of cases and comparing the groups with “right-wing extremists, KKK, anti-abortion groups and the like.” He said most animal rights and eco-extremists so far have refrained from violence targeting human life.

full article here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7908466/

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see also Indybay's "Feds Target Bay Area Activists" here:
http://indybay.org/archives/archive_by_id.php?id=3154&category_id=58

§website to watch the hearing
by nonsense Thursday May 19th, 2005 10:47 PM
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearings on ELF and ALF is available in Real One Player format at:
http://epw.senate.gov/epwmultimedia/epw051805.ram

Senator Inhofe sounds like Senator McCarthy, accusing legal activists you of "criminal incitement," demonstrating his complete ignorance of constitutional law (surprise, surprise). Senator Jeffords, while being completely spineless in condemning direct action, at least said that they should instead be focusing on right wing terrorism. Senator Lautenburg,
thankfully, rebuked the use of the terrorism label (but threatened to punch
Rod Coronado!). But of course the overall tone was completely alarmist
and authoritarian.
And they had the gall to invite a representative from the Center on Consumer Freedom to represent industry in front of the US Senate!
(Info on this bogus front group is at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Consumer_Freedom)
Go watch the hearings. They're good for a laugh. And a scare.
§Direct Action mentioned in hearing
by foa Saturday May 21st, 2005 12:24 PM
You should watch/listen to the hearing yourself, but here's a list of a number of the Direct Action [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Action] groups named in hearing:

http://earthliberationfront.com/
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Liberation_Front]

http://freefreenow.org/ (torched 3 SUVs and got 22 years)

http://www.animalliberationfront.com/ and http://www.animalliberationpressoffice.org/
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Liberation_Front]

http://www.shacamerica.net/ (in Britain: http://www.shac.net/)

http://nocompromise.org/


These mainstream groups were mentioned as playing supporting roles:

http://www.peta.org/

http://sierraclub.org/


Here's the industry front group attacking environmentalists and AR groups, both direct action and mainstream:

http://www.consumerfreedom.com/
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Consumer_Freedom]


Here's the congressional webpages with transcripts of testimony:

http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=237836
http://epw.senate.gov/pressitem.cfm?id=237813&party=dem

http://epw.senate.gov/epwmultimedia/epw051805.ram
(video/audio of entire 2 hour hearing)


Happy Surfing!

§The Humane Society of U.S.
by foa Saturday May 21st, 2005 1:04 PM
Add this to "These mainstream groups were mentioned as playing supporting roles" in previous comment:

http://hsus.org/

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by LINDA SAFLEY
( lindasafley [at] hotmail.com ) Saturday May 21st, 2005 11:40 AM
What do we mean about direct action???
It could mean, holding up a sign, down at the capitol, blocking a street, or, taking over a park legally, which they tried to disbain the crowd, in NYC, as we know on occasion. So what are we talking about now, shutting down a logging company, blocking the doors, stoppiong the logging trucks from doing disastor from the land, sitting in a tree, or what? For I weould sxurely want to know, what is the terminology.
Anyway, what ever we do, is causing problems for the law. How far will this go???
by or violence...
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 8:41 AM
Direct Action...what does it mean? I don't know, I am not a member of the AR movement or the FBI , just a member of society...but I expect it should refer to anything more 'active' than sitting on your duff and talking about issues, and thereby could include anything frmo peaceful protests and sit-ins to burning down buildings.

The mainstream, 'normal' human beings who take an active part in trying to change problems they see in the world, be it strip mining in brazil, clear cutting on Vancouver Island, or seal hunt in eastern Canada, must re-claim (or not lose control of...) the movement and keep it in the realm of sane and peaceful actions. Otherwise, the few violent wing nuts who actually burn things down, blow things up , or smash up computers and lab equipement, or simply threaten to do so..., will hijack the movement. and you knwo what will happen next? OF course you do because its coming...you will all be tarred with the same brush and a peaceful sit-in will be considered 'the same as' arson or bombing.

Now is the time to drag the violence-mongers out into the light and to not let them hijack the movement.

Keep it real and keep it peaceful, or expect to come up with bail and legal fees...
by Don't forget to vote
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 8:59 AM
And brush your teeth after every meal

Change will swing our way
by vampire slayer
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 9:52 AM
<change will swing our way>

just what 'way' is that? is this an obscure suggestion that the wing nuts will one day rule the roost? Do these people dream of a popular movement where no one balks at torching a building or smashing a lab, or threatening to harm a labworker, or to assasinate a scientist, or the wife and children of those who oppose them as a means to effect change? They seem to lurk in the shadows for the moment, dreaming of the day when they can walk abroad on in the light of day...

seems to me that a reality check is needed, and fast. That road leads to rack and ruin...and will marginalise and demonise the entire enviromental movement.

Even the IRA have reaslised that violence is not the way to effect meaningful change.
by get sarcasm much?
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 10:19 AM
guess not

as for the IRA, since you brought it up, they actually got much of what they wanted through their various tactics, political and violent. I'm not suggesting that is right or wrong, but it is a fact. terrorists, those who actually kill people, often receive what they want. this goes way back. Reagan swore he would never deal or negotiate with terrorists and low and behold, he sold arms to hostage-takers in Iran. guerillas sometimes get blown away by the state, but sometimes they succeed. America was founded by a guerilla army. the Vietnamese kicked our asses despite losing one or two million people in the war. some guerillas in South America have not fared so well.

others, like MLK and Gandhi, accomplished much through non-violence and civil disobedience, and most people consider that the higher road to take to justice. of course, civil disobedience often involves breaking unjust laws and will be met with the force of the state as well. Indians took many beatings and worse in their quest to get the Brits off of their backs.

the sarcasm in the previous comment was intended to highlight that if we all rely on "acceptable" means to force change (voting, singing, etc.), odds are things will stay the same. many people are happy with the same, but many are getting a raw deal in this country and across the globe, and some are more impatient than others as they watch ongoing atrocities by the powerful
by ARAB ANARCHISTS RULE
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 10:55 AM

Let's also look at history:

(A) the second intifada is the number one reason for the emergence of the israeli peace movement;

(B) another example: the rise of the ARAB ANARCHIST MOVEMENT throughout the world and its use of the "PROPAGANDA OF THE DEED" - see also dirutti of spain, etc, e.g. USE OF violence to change repressive american foreign policy;

(C) Note how acts by ARAB ANARCHISTS have begun to turn US public opinion against the Iraq and Afghanistan genocides OF Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney.
by to occupation
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 11:00 AM
some of the above references to terrorism/violent acts reaping the intended benefits are not suitable comparisons to 'direct action' in terms of using violence to stop animal testing or stopping clear cutting, and other social/business issues...

such events as the American Revolution, the Iran Hostage Crisis, vietnamese vs US...were about nations clashing with nations, not groups within the nation trying to dictate (by violence) the policies of that nation. Closer comparison to the idea of Direct Action (violent type) to force social/policy change woudl be the Nazi brown shirts...there is a distinct difference between a freedom fighter (opposing foreign occupation) and an eco fascist who feels its 'okay' to burn things in order to intimidate people to change their behaviour.

Forcing change in your own society through violence, fear and intimidation is indeed 'fascist'.

by don't believe the blur
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 12:16 PM
the "references to terrorism/violent acts reaping the intended benefits" was a direct response to the comment regarding the IRA and violence, in their case which included mass murder. it was also noted that oftentimes, such means do not accomplish the goals of those committing such acts. it could be added that sometimes the results for the "freedom fighters" is mixed at best, as there can be two steps forward and three back in their aims with such tactics.

those references were not a "comparison" to direct action, and indeed, if anything, highlight the differences between most direct action and what is commonly understood as terrorism

and that is where the FBI, industry front groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom, and others would like to blur the lines between various "violent" acts that might inspire "fear and intimidation." they would like nothing more than a general populace that cannot distinguish between flying planes into economic/military targets or blowing up federal government buildings in the US "heartland" which kill hundreds and thousands and trashing of medical labs or burning logging equipment. if the powers that be can get enough people to buy into that blurring of incredibly disparate forms of "violence" then it will not be much of a leap to brand all acts of civil disobedience, direct action, or lawbreaking as terrorism. if these authorities can get all activists to volunteerly give up direct action and civil disobedience as one set of tools for change, then they have effectively assured that such change is even less likely to occur. they know they already have an unfair advantage and they would very much like to keep it that way.

you see, "violence, fear, and intimidation" are all relative terms, not Bush-ism good-vs-evil black and whites. a generation ago, civil rights activists pursued many avenues for change simultaneously, a good number of them inspiring fear and intimidation in much of the general public. anarchy could break out if laws were to be flouted by "inferior" races and classes who wanted change. from average Joes to J Edgar Hoover, many people were very afraid of civil rights activists and the civil rights movement itself and what changes they would wreak on American society. fortunately, what most people came to see later was that a number of these tactics were temporary means to an end, not the beginning of some new lawless and more dangerous society

yes, broken windows put people at unease, arson can be scary and provoke fear, and even subtle implied threats of violence to a person can technically be labeled terrorism, but murder, especially mass murder, hostage-taking, and other acts that actually physically hurt people inspire a truely higher level of fear. direct action, even that which is "violent" against property, could be said to invoke fear, but often the aim is economic sabatoge, not terror, and the fear inspired is relatively small on an individual and on a societal level.

activists can be wise to be wary of counterproductive tactics, but it is conversely equally UNwise to allow ourselves be led around by our noses by the FBI et al and knee-jerk into a confused and desensitized reality whereby activists engaged in various direct action that may include property losses but inflicts zero actual harm on anyone are judged as harshly as actual murderers and mass murderers who truely inspire terror in the public

don't believe the hype - don't believe the blur
by blurr
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 2:34 PM
there is a difference between social activism and civil disobedience that might make some people 'afraid' of change, or 'afraid' that they might have to sit next to a black man,..., and making people afraid that you are going to put a brick through their window or burn down their house. Direct Action of 'the violent type' (arson, smashing computers...) is just like the KKK burning crosses on people's lawns, whereas Direct action of a Civil Disobedience type is like Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus.

You are creating the blur by saying they are the same.

by clearly I did not
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 3:34 PM
my entire case was predicated on the notion that various actions should be distinguished and judged separately as living on a spectrum rather than an either-or proposition of "acceptable" vs. "terrorism"

and, sure, where you sit on a bus is an easy one to place on that spectrum. how about other more aggressive actions taken by civil rights activists, some more militant than others? do you dare to look beyond the easy answers and examine ethical grey areas?

as for smashing computers being just like the KKK burning crosses on people's lawns, I have to differ, and I find that racially insensitive. I believe those two examples are a good deal apart on the spectrum I mentioned above. the KKK burning a cross on someone's lawn was a sign that the next step would very well be to torch the resident's house with the residents in it or even to drag them out of their house and lynch them -- it was a deadly serious threat of impending physical violence -- and there were hundreds and thousands of lynchings and other murders over the years to back up that threat. the threat (and associated fear) of having your computers smashed at an office or laboratory when no one is around, if there is one beyond one-time economic sabatoge, is that the activists will return to do it again in the dead of the night. certainly, it unnerves the loggers or vivisectionists who find their workplace wrecked, but if they have any sense of history and are thinking people, they know that they did not receive even close to the very real "threat" that an African-American family did with a burning cross or shotgun fire through windows. those threats were tied to the very real fear of personal safety made believable by countless previous attrocities.

to be abundantly clear, I'm not arguing the rightness or wrongness of anything, just for a level-headed perspective on the "dangers" in supposed threats the government throws our way all too often to keep us confused and afraid, thereby less likely to express our various disagreements with it in whatever way. when they don't think we have enough to be afraid of, they pile on new things that they want to broadstroke as terrorism. as if 9/11 weren't enough to wrack this country's heart, Saddam suddenly had massive WMDs and BushCo "knew" where they were. Bush's admin has infamously manipulated the "terror alert system" in strategic ways to benefit themselves and their allies. they warned the public to watch what they say after 9/11 regarding criticism of US actions. it's all part and parcel with labelling vandals as terrorists. the vandals may be judged as wrong by the public or various individuals, deserving of contempt, fines, or jail time, but they certainly are not one of the largest domestic threats in this country today.

by I beg to differ on some...
Wednesday Aug 3rd, 2005 7:41 PM
I take your points about fear mongering and generalising, and perhaps smashing computers in the dead of night just doesn't have the same history as burning crosses...however, I put forward that it is a wrong direction and a slippery slope. If you endorse arson (as someone in one of the posts above pretty much said...'gee its only arson'...) as acceptible, then its only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt...I read about how its the 'corporations' , 'the MAN", etc, but when someone tosses a maltov cocktail, or a brick through a window, its workers/people/their families that are going to be hurt. If thats your goal, come right out and say it. In that sense, using violence to intimidate people and force change in policy and practices is terrorism. Google the definition.
by bunk logic
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 6:59 AM
>when someone tosses a maltov cocktail, or a brick through a window, its workers/people/their families that are going to be hurt.

That depends entirely on which window.
by but call it like it is
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 4:27 PM
One can go on however you like about the feds and industry fronts intentionally blurring the lines between international terrorism/mass murder types and 'direct action' ...but when you cut the crap- torching a lab or making threatening phone calls, or putting bricks through windows (whichever ones) goes far beyond the pale of 'mere vandalism' and does cause fear in those it is directed at (as its intended to do). That fits one of the many definitions of terrorism (google this- 'terrorism, definition'). Just because no one has yet been killed by such 'direct actions' in the US or Canada, doesn't mean it can't or won't happen.

by you know it to be true
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 4:41 PM
...it will be an accident.

You are free to disagree with the groups that the FBI is fear-mongering about, but the fact is that no such accident has happenned in almost two decades of actions.

Direct Action groups pride themselves on not hurting anyone and they take care to be sure they don't. They are not infallable and one day they might make a mistake but it is certainly no accident that they have not hurt someone, it's a part of their plan.

There are people out there who do indeed want to kill us here in America, and many of them are Americans, and they actively plan to do so. Others kill just in the heat of passion. We have something like 20,000 murders a year in the U.S. This is real and happenning now. It is not some hypothetical future situation.

How many people have REAL terrorists killed in this country in the last two decades? How many murders have been committed? How much fear did all that create?
by hard left
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 4:44 PM
This tension between non-violent civil disobedience and more violent/destructive/combative methods of resistance has been a feature of leftist discourse in the US for many decades, but until 9-11 NOBODY but a right-wing asshole would have referred to the methods used by ELF, ALF, Earth First, etc. as "terrorism." And yet now here you are doing it. That's how much the Orwellian spin machine has gotten to you. That and your own baby insecurities. It's your own fault, too -- strong-minded free-thinking staunch leftists wouldn't let their guard down this way. But apparently those are a dying breed. Too much television, too much money, too much of everything -- that'll do it every fuckin time. Spoiled babies and genuine radicals live in separate universes
by hard left
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 5:02 PM
Oh but don't forget the case of Judi Berry, whom the FBI tried to kill with a car bomb so they could PORTRAY radical environmentalists as "terrorists." Also another Earth First group in Arizona drawn into a plot to blow up powerline pylons by an FBI agent provocateur, who were then busted by same and locked up as "terrorists."

"Leftist" posers everywhere should by all means leap on the 'terrorism hysteria' bus. That way we can tell who the jello-brained assholes are.
by stuck in the middle
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 5:14 PM
perhaps 'terrorism' is overused but wether it ecos or lefties, or right wing nut jobs...using violence to get what you want is wrong in 'civilized' societies (not under foreign occupation or invasion)...perhaps i am naive to think so but I do. Thats how momma raised me...

If 'terrorism' doesn't apply ,then vandalism, arson or whatever, uttering threats, are still criminal acts of violence and thus cause for people to be concerned.
by okay then
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 5:23 PM
not as clear-cut as you seemed to imply

first listing, ranges from targeting civilians in non-military situation to teaching "wrath of god" stories, some definitions include "state" terrorism, and others do include property destruction but those seem to be the exception to the plethora of definitions

second listing, focuses almost entirely on injury to civilians

third listing points to problem in accepting government-favored definitions of terrorism

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listing #1: http://tinyurl.com/c4ukw

Definitions of terrorism on the Web:

* The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives. (JCS Pub 1-02)
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/100-20/10020gl.htm

* The use of extreme violence or the threat of violence by states, groups or individuals to generate fear in individuals and thus manipulate their behavior. Currently, most terrorism is drug or religion based. Some define the term widely to include topics like spanking of children or the teaching of an eternity of torture in Hell as forms of physical or spiritual terrorism.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/gl_t.htm

* A criminal act that is undertaken with the purpose of achieving political gain. It may or may not be directed against a particular government, and it may or may not be state-sponsored. Defining terrorism is a very controversial subject because of the differing motivations of those who practice it. As the old saying goes, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."
http://www.icons.umd.edu/pls/reslib/display_glossary

* The systematic use of violence to achieve political ends is not new – among many other examples, it featured during The Troubles in Ireland before its independence in 1922. In recent decades, it has become a common tactic among a wide variety of groups, from independence movements to the secret services of various countries. Random bombings, shootings and/or 'disappearances' – and the fear and panic they provoke – put pressure on governments, proving that they are unable to protect their populations, or can be used by dictatorships to frighten their people into submission and obedience.
http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/H/history/browse/glossary.html

* Acts of murder and destruction deliberately directed against civilians or military in non-military situations.
http://www.jafi.org.il/education/hasbara/glossary.html

* Any act including, but not limited to, the use of force or violence and/or threat thereof of any person or group(s) of persons whether acting alone or on behalf of, or in connection with, any organisation(s) or government(s) committed for political, religions, ideological or similar purposes, including the intention to influence any government and/or to put the public or any section of the public in fear.
http://www.ecis.org/finance/paisdefin.htm

* As I explained in my first post on C&R, I use the same definition general definition of terrorism as the State Department: The Intelligence Community is guided by the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d): The term terrorism means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience. The term international terrorism means terrorism involving the territory or the citizens of more than one country. The term terrorist group means any group that practices, or has significant subgroups that practice, international
http://www.clarityandresolve.com/candrlexicon.php

* use of terror, especially the systematic use of terror by the government or other authority against particular persons or groups; a method of opposing a government internally or externally through the use of terror
http://www.imuna.org/c2c/app_a.html

* The use of violence for political purpose.
http://www.regentsprep.org/Regents/global/vocab/topic_alpha.cfm

* "Systematic use of terror, manifesting itself in violence and intimidation. Terrorism has been used by groups wishing to coerce a govt in order to achieve political or other objectives, and also by dictatorships or other autocratic governments in order to overcome opposition to their policies." [BFH] Often anti-terrorist mercenaries will only do a job if they have a carte blanche to do whatever they want. The sole aim of the mercenaries is to enter the country, kill the terrorists, collect their money and leave as soon as possible. Innocent civilians nearby are expendable. It's up to the govt to
http://www.embassy.org.nz/encycl/t3encyc.htm

* Area: Human Psychopathology Text Pages (est.): 3 Paul Bell South and East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust
208.164.121.55/reference/STRS/strestoc.htm

* a violent act in violation of the criminal laws of the United States, which is intended to intimidate or influence the policy of a government.
http://www.njsbf.com/njsbf/student/respect/spring02-glossary.cfm

* the unlawful use of or threat of, violence against persons or property to further political or social objectives.
http://www.saskschools.ca/curr_content/law30/international/internationalvocab/vocab.html

* employing acts or threats of violence. Terrorism is often used today as a political weapon to bring attention to a group’s goals or to gain those goals.
web.isp.cz/jcrane/Glossary.html

* refers to the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of achieving a political goal, on a scale smaller than full-scale warfare. Acts of terrorism can be perpetrated by individuals, groups, or states, as an alternative to an open declaration of war, and are often carried out by those who otherwise feel powerless. States that sponsor or engage in the use of violence against civilians use neutral or positive terms to describe their own combatants, – such as freedom fighters, patriots, or paramilitaries. ..... Click the link for more information. and spies
encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/POWs

* the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimindation or coercion or instilling fear
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* Terrorism refers to the use of violence for the purpose of achieving a political, religious, or ideological goal. The targets of terrorist acts can be government officials, military personnel, people serving the interests of governments, or civilians. Acts of terror against military targets tend to blend into a strategy of guerrilla warfare. According to one view, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter. Random violence against civilians (noncombatants) is the type of action
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism

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listing #2: http://www.therationalradical.com/dsep/other/terrorism-definition.htm

TERRORISM DEFINITION
Definition of "Terrorism": Let's Have Some Clarity

October 5, 2001

"Terrorism" is a word used so often and so loosely that it has lost a clear meaning.

This is a proposal to lend some clarity to the definition, and thus hopefully to the use, of the word "terrorism."

Currently, the term "terrorism" is applied to the use of force most often on the basis of whether the speaker agrees with the goal of the violence. Hence the expression "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

Alternatively, or sometimes even in conjunction with the foregoing, some people condemn any violence by a non-governmental entity -- whatever the target -- as terrorism, and approvingly label any action by a sovereign country's military forces -- again, whatever the target -- as "military strikes" or the like.

In determining whether an act is "terrorism" or not, it would be more useful to eliminate subjective evaluations of the goals of the violence, and instead, utilize two other factors -- the expected result of the violence, and the nature of the actor -- to then distinguish among four different types of acts involving the application of force:

Expected result of the violence: Let's define an action as "terrorism" if the use of violence would reasonably be expected to harm innocent civilians. This is to be distinguished from a "military" action, where the use of violence is not reasonably expected to harm innocent civilians.

Nature of the actor: A "state" action would be one conducted by a sovereign government. A "guerrilla" action will be one conducted by a non-governmental entity.

Four different types of violent acts: Hence, we can have both state military actions and state terrorism actions. Likewise, there can be both guerrilla military actions and guerrilla terrorism actions.

Under these definitional guidelines, if a country sends its bombers to destroy the water system or other civilian infrastructure of another nation, this would be a state act of terrorism, because harm to civilians would reasonably be expected to result. On the other hand, if a country sends its bombers to attack military airfields of its enemy, that would be a state military action.

Similarly: if a group fighting to overthrow a government or end an occupation by a foreign power sends a suicide bomber to blow up a civilian pizzeria, this would be a guerrilla act of terrorism. In contrast, if such a group sends a small boat filled with explosives to blow up a military vessel, that would be a guerrilla military action.

While these definitional results may stick in the craw of some, the value is that the killing of innocents will be condemned equally no matter who does it, and for however allegedly wonderful the ends sought.

Some may correctly point out that even striking a military airfield may kill some civilians who happen to be on the base, and that is true. But similarly, a guerrilla group blowing up a military vessel may also kill some civilians who happen to be on board. In defining "terrorism," as with all definitions, a bit of common sense has to be applied.

And again, since no subjective evaluations of the validity of often complex socio-political goals are involved in applying these definitions of "terrorism," the level at which likely or actual harm to civilians would trigger the "terrorism" label can be applied evenly to both governmental and non-governmental actors.

Moreover, by not allowing the use of the term "terrorism" to be used as an "argument-closed" condemnation of guerrilla military actions, those discussing the situation will be forced to debate the merits or not of the goals of the guerrillas, not hide behind an inappropriate labeling of the guerrilla's tactics.

At the same time, guerrilla forces committing atrocities against civilians would not be able to deny committing acts of terrorism because of the alleged validity of their goals.

All in all, then, these suggested definitions in connection with "terrorism" would tend to force the parties involved to focus on avoiding harm to civilians, and to deal with the real issues at stake in their disputes -- two results I hope most people would welcome.

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listing #3: http://www.globalterrorism101.com/UTDefinition.html

Definition of Terrorism

Webster's University Dictionary

Systematic use of violence, terror, and intimidation to achieve an end.

US Dept of Defense

The calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.

US State Department

International terrorism is terrorism conducted with the support of a foreign government or organization and / or directed against foreign nationals, institutions or governments.

FBI

Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

The Problem

According to these definitions the "Boston Tea Party" was a terrorist act and the British troops had every right to fire at the "Boston Massacre."

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backed up by this google definition suggestion, I would submit that the most universal definition of terrorism involves targeting civilians for violence

the FBI would obviously prefer if the more universal definition placed the property of businesses and institutions on the same level as harm to people

if you want to be a literalist and say property destruction with the intent of changing some policy or whathave you is terrorism, you are welcome to cling to that, but understand that you are largely placing property on the same level as people and belittling the lives all those people who have physically suffered and died as a result of what I would call REAL terrorism
by right ON, dude!
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 7:12 PM
"if you want to be a literalist and say property destruction with the intent of changing some policy or whathave you is terrorism, you are welcome to cling to that, but understand that you are largely placing property on the same level as people and belittling the lives all those people who have physically suffered and died as a result of what I would call REAL terrorism"

loved it!

by been there
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 7:18 PM
The only definition that counts in a courtroom is the legal definition.
by the British are coming!
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 7:29 PM
<The Problem
According to these definitions the "Boston Tea Party" was a terrorist act and the British troops had every right to fire at the "Boston Massacre." >

I would suspect that British authorities of the day would have called it something else , like 'insurrection'...which under the laws of the day would likely have been a 'hangin offence', so by the law of the land, of the day, they probably did have the right to fire on them. That said, I agree that its very wrong today. But what's that got to do with anything? ...clearly the wide ranging definitions of terrorism (above) does include 'acts of violence against property designed to achieve changes' ...so, all that means is that there is more than one type of terrorism, and property violence, etc, is one of them.

I agree that the Feds getting heavy on 'peaceful' protest is wrong, but you seem to interchange 'peaceful protest' and 'violent protest' when making that case.

To say 'well its really not that bad cause we don't actually kill people, we know what we are doing...' is a kinda weird way of thinking. So you haven't killed anyone yet......"Gee its only Arson"...to claim that its 'okay' because your not as bad as Bin Laden is a poor excuse.
by Done that
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 8:41 PM
One of these wankers said: "The only definition that counts in a courtroom is the legal definition."

Yeah, well until I wind up in one, I'll just make up my own mind about definitions, m'kay pal?
by are really about the descent into facsism
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 9:50 PM

the government, as would be expected, is using the politics of fear to commit atrocities. the people that suffer are those who live on the edge: activists, minorities, etc.

we live in a new age where "political prisoner" will become a household word. many people have seen the light and are getting out before it's too late.

i read the other day that some 80+ year old holocaust survivors are packing their bags and moving to germany where they will feel more safe. they know quite well what the beginnings of fascism are like.

after the november election many people, the smart ones, packed their bags and moved to canada and points beyond.

for a brief moment in the 60s and 70s our country reached the peak of democracy like the world has never seen before and will never see again.







by on terror
Thursday Aug 4th, 2005 9:59 PM

Groups such the Britain-based secret service, our CIA, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task force, the US Pentagon, Alberto Gonzales and others are “way out in front” in terms of damage and number of crimes, reports Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Defense of Children International and other groups.

“There is nothing else going on in this country over the last several years that is racking up the high number of violent crimes and terrorist actions,” states a coalition of peace groups, the ISM, and others before the Congressional committee.
by vampire slayer
Friday Aug 5th, 2005 3:45 AM
just because the feds are worse doesn't make arson and other 'property' crimes 'right'. That line of thinking just leaves the door wide open to excusing everything thats 'not as bad' as the Feds or the REAL terrorists. Your on the slippery slope...
by got it?
Friday Aug 5th, 2005 8:15 AM
the thread is about how the FBI is saying these groups are the #1 domestic terror threat

regardless of your personal feelings and "slippery slope" arguement, the FBI claim is ludicrous and apparently they're using it as a pretext to go after larger groups such as PETA, the Sierra Club, and the HSUS

to continue with this line of arguement is to fall in line with FBI propaganda