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House Passes Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act With Little Discussion or Dissent
by GreenIsTheNewRed
Monday Nov 13th, 2006 5:19 PM
They did it. Corporations, industry groups and the politicians that represent them rushed through legislation labeling activists as “terrorists” on the first day back from Congressional recess. Just moments ago the House passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act as part of the suspension calendar: in other words it was put on a list of non-controversial bills to pass with one swoop by voice vote.

House Passes Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act With Little Discussion or Dissent: Notes from the House Floor “Debate”

November 13th, 2006 by Will Potter

Here’s a recap of some of my notes from the House floor. I apologize that this is not in a more polished form, but I wanted to get this out to you all right away:

Representative Bobby Scott, often called the go-to guy in the House on civil liberties and civil rights issues, came out swinging in support of the “eco-terrorism” bill. Not only did he not oppose the legislation, he lined up with the corporations, industry groups and conservative extremists in full support of it. Scott, a Democrat, said existing laws have been “reasonably effective” but “gaps and loopholes” prevent law enforcement from going after animal rights “extremists.” Scott failed to note, even in passing, that the existing law– the Animal Enterprise Protection Act– was used to successfully prosecute the SHAC 7 on “animal enterprise terrorism” charges for running a website. Scott dishonestly ignores this crucial bit of information, and said that activists are “taking advantage of the fact that” AEPA doesn’t cover “affiliates and associates” of animal enterprises: but that was, precisely, what the SHAC campaign was all about.

Disturbingly, Scott said in passing that civil disobedience would be covered in the bill– something other supporters of the bill have denied– but he tried to ease public fears by saying that the civil disobedience must cause disruption and loss of profits, and “it must be proven that such losses were specifically intended.” Bobby Scott, who frequently praises the achievements of the civil rights movement, stood on the House floor and advocated the inclusion of the tactics used by that movement in a “terrorism” bill. The only things that’s different between then and now, between the civil rights and animal rights movement, is the cause.

Representative Thomas Petri, a Republican from Wisconsin usually in stark contrast to Scott, said much of the same. He had the nerve to stand on the House floor and say, with a straight face, that “current federal law,” including the AEPA, has been “inadequate” in going after animal rights activists. Petri knows full well that ALL the crimes listed in this bill are already crimes, that the original bill has been used successfully, and that the animal and environmental movements have never claimed a single human life. Petri and the corporations that support him call the existing legislation “inadequate” because, in their mind, the true threat is not the underground wing of the movement, but the movement itself. That’s where this vague and overly broad legislation comes into place, wrapping up civil disobedience, undercover investigations and other non-violent activity as “terrorism.”

Only Representative Dennis Kucinich spoke up against this dangerous legislation. “This bill was written to have a chilling effect,” he said, “on a specific type of protest.” He also said that, “We have to be very careful of painting everyone with broad brush of terrorism.” And, in an interesting spin on the debate, Kucinich said lawmakers would be better off addressing animal issues and demonstrating their compassion.

He also raised what’s essentially a very conservative argument about the bill preempting existing law. A section of the bill says it shall not be construed

(3) to provide exclusive criminal penalties or civil remedies with respect to the conduct prohibited by this action, or to preempt State or local laws that may provide such penalties or remedies.

Kucinich noted that that’s precisely what the bill does. It provides exclusive penalties based on the beliefs of those who are accused.

Kucinich got in a little back and forth with James Sensenbrenner about the bill, with Sensenbrenner repeatedly citing a provision of the bill that “exempts” First Amendment activity. (Thank you to Senenbrenner and our patriotic members of Congress for reminding us that their is still a First Amendment. However, saying “this is Constitutional!” doesn’t make it so. If anything, it’s an admission that the bill has serious flaws.) At one point, Sensenbrenner read off a list of quotes from animal activists that he said exemplified the targets of the legislation. It was the same tired old list of quotes from the mid-90s and from a fairly recent Congressional hearing. Kucinich promptly noted that the quotes were exactly that: “Constitutionally-protected speech.” It’s misleading, he said, to say the bill exempts First Amendment activity, then use First Amendment activity as an example of why the bill is needed.

But perhaps the most disturbing segment of this whole scare-mongering debacle was when Sensenbrenner ended his comments, and ended the floor debate, by talking about the American Civil Liberties Union. He said the ACLU is the guardian of the First Amendment. He said the ACLU has a proud history of being a constitutional watchdog. And he said he has a letter, from the ACLU, saying they would not oppose this legislation and had no substantial concerns, essentially giving the Green Scare a green light.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by shame
Monday Nov 13th, 2006 7:57 PM
ACLU went from this position

ACLU Letter to Congress Urging Opposition to the Animal Enterprise Act, S. 1926 and H.R. 4239 (3/6/2006)

to the following one, touted on the floor of the House today by a fearmonger,

ACLU Urges Needed Minor Changes to AETA, But Does Not Oppose Bill (10/30/2006)

They'll defend the rights of Nazis and NAMBLA but not animal rights activists.
by more, from blog
Monday Nov 13th, 2006 9:53 PM
Vote on the "activism = terrorism" bill today
By Devon | bio

5 of 5 people recommend this blog entry.

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is slated for a vote in the House of Representatives this afternoon; despite serious concerns about is constitutional validity, it has been scheduled for a vote without any debate. If the House passes it, AETA will almost certainly become law.

This act is ostensibly intended to curtail violent protest by animal rights and environmental activists, but its broad language threatens many legitimate forms of protest. If AETA passes, it will be a crime – a form of terrorism – to engage in activities that target animal testing labs and related businesses and cause those businesses to lose money. Under the language of the bill, this encompasses not only extremists who use arson and death threats, but also (in the house version) "non-violent physical obstruction of an animal enterprise"

Says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the ACLU: "The way the new bill is drafted is not particularly artful. "What we're concerned about is an instance… where protesters conduct a sit-in that causes lost profits. While they may be engaging in civil disobedience and have committed trespass, we don't want them prosecuted for 'terrorism' where the only damage is lost profits."

The vote is scheduled for 6 p.m. For more information (including a campaign to call your Representative), see; another fax campaign is available here.

Update: Unconfirmed reports that AETA has been passed on a voice vote.
by Let's Take It To Court!!
Tuesday Nov 14th, 2006 4:56 PM
My personal belief is that animal rights activists should (worth the risk to 'reputation') carry on non-violent protests against animal abusers as usual, the first court case that invokes the AETA will be challenged in court on the basis of a violation of freedom of speech..

Both thumbs down for psuedo-Democrat Diane Feinstein who joined up with right wing Republicans in revoking the freedom of speech of people throughout the U.S. with the introduction of the AETA. Both thumbs up to Dennis Kucinich for speaking up for protecting civil liberties by denouncing the AETA!!

"The AETA bill (S 3880) recently passed in the Senate on Sept. 30th, 2006, was introduced by Mr. Inhofe (R-OK), Mrs. Feinstein (D-CA), Mr. Thune (R-SD), and Mr. Isakson (R-GA).

Its counter-part is currently pending in the House (H.R. 4239) and will be voted on sometime in November after congress reconvenes from recess on November 9th.


• AETA risks having a chilling effect on First Amendment protected speech for everyone including law abiding citizens, who risk being tarnished a terrorist even if wrongfully charged. On the chance that a law-abiding citizen wins his/her case, the damage to their reputation will already be done. Appeals often take years."

read on @;

by enemy's side
Tuesday Nov 14th, 2006 11:30 PM
Science Now has their apparent bias, and you can only wonder about the spelling and grammatical technical errors (but hey, we do get to see that they question their own phrasing as "[biased phrase?]", leaving the phrasing in this piece but forgetting to remove the editorial comment.

"Research groups exulted" == animals cried and died

U.S. to Crack Down on Animal Terrorists

By Constance Holden
ScienceNOW Daily News
14 November 2006

The U.S. CongressHouse of Representatives has passed legislationThe Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), a measure that is expected to makinge it much easier to prosecute animal-rights activists who target enterprises that deal with research animals. Research groups immediately hailed the measure, called the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, action as a milestone in protecting science, while animal activists warned that the measure labels peaceful demonstrators as terrorists.

The law, which passed the Senate in September, is expected soon to go to President George W. Bush for signature. The House of Representatives approved the act yesterday by a voice vote following similar action bywhich passed the Senate in September. The new law, tightens provisions in the existing Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992, which. That act makdes it a federal offense to interfere with the conduct of "animal enterprises" from university labs to slaughterhouses to circuses. The new measureact extends thate protection to anyone whotargeted by activists because they do does business with an animal enterprise, including accountants and suppliers. It also calls for reimbursement ofstitution for economic damages caused to such entities. Offenders will face fines or jail terms ranging from 1 year to life for various forms of harrassment and intimidation, including property damage, trespassing, and death threats as well as property damage and trespassing.

The bill measure is largely a response to the tactics of a group called Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC). SHAC, active in both the U.K. and the U.S., has targeted devoted years to harassing[biased phrase?] U.K.-based Huntingdon Life Sciences, which uses animals to test drugs, food additives, and pesticides. Last year, SHAC reportedly intimidated the New York Stock Exchange into declining to list Huntingdon's parent company, New Jersey-based Life Sciences Research.

Research groups exulted over passage of the billyesterday's House action. FASEB, a coalition of biology groups, called it a "momentous step." Frankie L. Trull, president of the National Association for Biomedical Research, predicted that the new lawe bill will counter "the climate of fear that presently surrounds medical discovery and the research enterprise."

Activists believe that the measure is too restrictivethemselves have been crusading against the measure. The Humane Society of the United States saysid that the law it will criminalize as " 'terrorism' ... ..a broad range of lawful, constitutionally protected, and valuable activity.", including Ddemonstrations that block the doors of a facility and cause it to lose money would be illegal, for example.

The law is expected to go to President George W. Bush is expected to sign the bill into law.

George Bush, or as he is also known, Mr. Sensitive, has no idea what this bill is about but he will sign it because his corporate puppet-masters will tell him to, as they did all the Repugs and so-called Democrats who signed on without a second thought. After signing it, dubya will then eat most he can of some animal and be in bed by 9pm, regardless of how many deaths he caused that day.
by Tahler
Wednesday Nov 15th, 2006 3:55 AM
The ACLU does NOT support this.
by hello
Friday Nov 24th, 2006 10:44 PM
you must have missed this

when you posted a link to their original position on the law

while their latest position is not necessarily SUPPORT, they clearly backed off their opposition to the law

their letter saying they DO NOT OPPOSE THE AETA was flaunted on the floor of the House by supporters of this new law which attacks animal activists at the behest of animal profiteers

without the ACLU's opposition, the House took it to mean there was no major opposition and passed the law on a mere voice vote. their latest position on it (at the time of this writing) helped facilitate its passage. the ACLU is complicit in this new attack on one specific class of activists -- animal rights activists -- and no others. apparently the free speech rights of Nazis matter more to the ACLU than the same for animal activists

for a thorough analysis of the AETA, see