From Diana Artemis -
The animal- and eco-rights movements already are in the
crosshairs of the Bush administration. The savvy
U.S. Sportsmens Alliance has set up a lobbying group, the American
Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to cozy up with Dick Cheney, John
Ashcroft and Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge. They are using this
alliance to label any groups opposed to their business interests as
"terrorists" in order to strip them of their citizenship and assets.
"Model" legislation has been introduced in OHIO, OREGON,
MISSOURI AND PENNSYLVANIA by ALEC and legislation has ALREADY PASSED in
OKLAHOMA. Residents of these states are asked to call their state
senators and representatives/delegates to state their opposition to
these bills. It would be even better if you schedule an appointment to
meet with them or their staff to discuss why these bills spell the end
to our free society.
EVERYONE with contacts at the American Civil Liberties
Union (ACLU) and other groups who fight for civil rights are asked to
call and discuss a strategy to oppose the Neo-Nazi tactics of
freedom-hating groups like ALEC.
This is serious, people. The organizations we belong to
are under attack which means they need us to speak up and contact our
officials. There's nobody else who's going to do this for you, me and
the organizations we care about. We're the last line of defense for the
animals and the groups who are still able to speak up on their behalf.
See the article below for more details.
The Village Voice, Ginger Adams Otis, November 12 - 18, 2003
More than fur would fly when animal rights activists
and, perhaps, environmental groups mount protests in New York, under a
new law proposed by an upstate legislator: Protesters would be
New York is one of several states currently considering
legislation that could define certain animal rights and environmental
groups as terrorist organizations. The sponsor of the bill, Assembly
Member Richard Smith, a Democrat from the Buffalo suburb of Blasdell,
says it was written to curtail the activities of extremists who "bomb
research labs and torch ski camps." Opponents of the bill point out that
much of the wording of bill A4884 (and a companion bill in the state
senate) was lifted directly from language created by the American
Legislative Exchange Council, an influential conservative D.C. lobby.
ALEC's model legislation, drawn up by its "Homeland
Security Working Group," is called the Animal and Ecological Terrorist
Act, and it ostensibly focuses solely on groups like Earth Liberation
Front and Animal Liberation Front, which have attacked homes and
development projects that threatened the habitat of several species. But
more mainstream groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals (PETA), are also targeted by ALEC as a "threat," and the bill
would back that up with severe action.
For activists, the danger lies in how A4884 defines
"terrorist" organizations, as "any association, organization, entity,
coalition, or combination of two or more persons with the primary or
incidental purpose of supporting any politically motivated activity
through intimidation, coercion, fear, or other means." Activist groups
fear that lawful dissent, such as demonstrations, letter-writing
campaigns, and leafleting, might fall into any one of those categories,
particularly the catchall phrase "other means." The bill also seeks to
prohibit people from gathering photographic or videotaped evidence of
illegal or harmful activities, effectively shutting down the camcorders
and other tools used by 21st-century protesters. Additionally, the bill
calls for the creation of a state-run website where people convicted of
"eco-terrorism or animal-rights terrorism" would be identified with
photographs and stigmatized, much as states do with child molesters.
Some version of the bill may make it to the general
assembly floor, perhaps not until 2004, but PETA takes it seriously.
"There are already numerous laws on the books to prosecute activists who
cross the line, like trespassing, breaking and entering, and burglary,"
says PETA general counsel Jeffrey Kerr. "This bill is clearly aimed at
stifling opposition to animal and environmental exploitation by
companies that make a living from it."
Assemblyman Smith insists that the bill doesn't threaten
First Amendment rights. "My bill in no way aims to stop picketing or
leafleting," he says, "but there are some radicals out there who
consistently brag that they've started fires and destroyed property, and
they've got to be penalized. Those radicals are the ones I'm looking
Other states considering the legislation are Ohio,
Oregon, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. Oklahoma enacted such a bill last
spring, but similar legislation introduced in Texas recently died in
committee. In New York, ALEC established a beachhead through the U.S.
Sportsmen's Alliance, one of several powerful pro-hunting groups active
in upstate areas. ALEC, says spokesman Bob Adams, talked about the
legislation with the hunting lobby, and Smith says the hunters talked
about it with him.
Kerr and other lawyers contend that the animal- and
eco-rights movements already are in the crosshairs of the Bush
administration. At the moment all eyes are on Greenpeace, which ran
afoul of the Department of Justice last year after two activists boarded
a boat carrying wood that Greenpeace says was illegally exported from
the Amazon and hung banners over the side that read "President Bush:
Stop Illegal Logging." For that act, Greenpeace has been charged with
violating an obscure and ancient "sailor mongering" law that prohibits
unauthorized persons from boarding a boat before it's moored.
And when it comes to proposed laws like the one being
considered in New York, ALEC has the administration's ear. Its annual
meeting this past July in D.C. drew such speakers as Vice President Dick
Cheney and Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge. The group gave Cheney its
Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award, praising him for his "commitment" to
"individual liberty." Cheney told the gathering of more than 2,000
legislators and others, "We will not wait in false comfort while
terrorists plot against innocent Americans. We will not permit outlaw
states and terror groups to join forces in a deadly alliance that could
threaten the lives of millions of Americans."
Go on to Fly!
Return to 30 November 2003 Issue
Return to Newsletters
** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been
specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this
not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the
copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright