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CASH Courier > 2003 Spring Issue

Selected Articles from our newsletter

The C.A.S.H. Courier

WHO ARE YOU CALLING A DOMESTIC TERRORIST?

By Anne Muller

"Domestic terrorist" is a term that is unbelievably being hurled at any organization or individual engaged in animal or environmental protection. Beyond using the media to spout this view, certain special interests that exploit animals and the environment have managed to persuade legislators to co-sponsor a "Domestic Terrorism" bill. A careful look at the language reveals an attempt to prevent any change in the society. It would cause all but the most conservative groups (most of which simply support the status quo while they siphon off funds with glossy promotional literature) to cease operating. How low can these killers sink? Don’t bother to answer that, we know.


Freelance Artist and Retired Computer Systems Engineer; Activists

On a TV program following our last publication, the author was accused by a hunter of being a "terrorist" and operating a "terrorist organization." – Hello? – They’re the ones with firearms and other "WE-MAD"! My term for WEAPONS OF MASS ANIMAL DESTRUCTION. I like the acronym WE-MAD because it works for both the hunter and the anti-hunter. "We-Mad" is the hunters’ state of mind, and it’s also the anti-hunters’ reaction to hunting (although my mother used to say, "don’t say ‘mad’ say ‘angry.’"

I waited for the commercial break to tell the hunter that I was sure that what he had said was actionable. He seemed concerned. "Say that on the air," the moderator jumped up and down. He was hoping to further liven the already lively show.

Due to budget cuts at the station, the program has been playing ad nauseam for months. More and more people tell me they’ve seen the program. "So, what did you think?" I ask. They all say my opposition looked like a buffoon and bully. Nevertheless, his accusations felt ominous to me. It was my first inkling that this was the new tack of the anti anti-animal protection movement. It was not a spontaneous, off the cuff remark; it was far too rehearsed and laden with statistics.

"You burn down buildings, send threatening messages to people, cause millions in property damage," he continued.

"Wait a minute," the moderator chimed in, " -- are you saying that Anne has done all that? Are you saying that Wildlife Watch has done that?"

He backpedaled. "No, maybe not her group in particular, but groups like hers have." At first I thought it was a simple reaction to our aired video and appeal to reason to stop hunting in the wake of 9-11. "Why on earth," we asked on air, "should the government allow armed people near the gas pipelines, nuclear power plants, and large electrical power grids that flow through forested areas?" We weren’t accusing hunters of being terrorists (though there’s no doubt that they are just that to wildlife), we were saying that the real terrorists could easily blend in with hunters during hunting season and do tremendous damage to the power infrastructure of the country. By banning hunting, any armed individual or group lurking about in the woods would be suspect.

HOW DARE YOU CALL OUR NOBLE WORK “TERRORISM”


Retired School Administrator; Activist

My hunch that his attack was not spontaneous was confirmed when we discovered NYS Bills S. 2996 and A 4884.

The bill is insidiously written in that it combines actions that range from the most physically extreme to the most physically harmless and throws them into the same basket. It would deprive most organizations from being able to fulfill their missions and be responsible to their members. It would also turn the members into supporters of a terrorist organization! Like it?

Here are excerpts from the bill:

"ANIMAL OR ECOLOGICAL TERRORIST ORGANIZATION" MEANS 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 THAT IS INTENDED TO OBSTRUCT, IMPEDE OR DETER ANY PERSON FROM PARTICIPATING IN A LAWFUL ANIMAL ACTIVITY, ANIMAL FACILITY, RESEARCH FACILITY, OR THE LAWFUL ACTIVITY OF MINING, FORESTING, HARVESTING, GATHERING OR PROCESSING NATURAL RESOURCES.


Psychiatric Rehabilitation Specialist

Clearly that would criminalize talking to individuals, or writing a newsletter such as this one.

ENTERING AN ANIMAL OR RESEARCH FACILITY TO TAKE PICTURES BY PHOTOGRAPH, VIDEO CAMERA, OR OTHER MEANS WITH THE INTENT TO COMMIT CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES OR DEFAME THE FACILITY OR ITS OWNER


Retired Graphic Designer and Grandmother; Activist

If the result of merely airing or publishing an individual’s words or behavior results in their defamation, then something must be wrong with the words or behavior and the law that allows it. Many organizations rely on exposure; we certainly do. It’s exposure that will influence the opinion of the public.


Account Coordinator; Activist

…. PARTICIPATING IN OR SUPPORTING ANIMAL OR ECOLOGICAL TERRORISM TO INCLUDE RAISING, SOLICITING, COLLECTING OR PROVIDING ANY PERSON WITH MATERIAL, FINANCIAL SUPPORT OR OTHER RESOURCES SUCH AS LODGING, TRAINING, SAFE HOUSES, FALSE DOCUMENTATION OR IDENTIFICATION, COMMUNICATIONS, EQUIPMENT OR TRANSPORTATION THAT WILL BE USED IN WHOLE OR IN PART, TO ENCOURAGE, PLAN, PREPARE, CARRY OUT, PUBLICIZE, PROMOTE OR AID AN ACT OF ANIMAL OR ECOLOGICAL TERRORISM, THE CONCEALMENT OF, OR AN ESCAPE FROM, AN ACT OF ANIMAL OR ECOLOGICAL TERRORISM.


Secretary, Hospital Union; Activist

This is a direct threat to members of organizations that would publish or expose words or behavior of those this bill is designed to protect. It is in direct conflict with the mission of any advocacy and activist organization.

THERE IS HEREBY CREATED THE REGISTRY OF ANIMAL AND ECOLOGICAL TERRORISTS. A PERSON WHO IS CONVICTED OF OR PLEADS GUILTY TO AN ACT THAT VIOLATES SUBDIVISION FOUR OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE REGISTERED WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ON A FORM PRESCRIBED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. THE REGISTRY SHALL CONTAIN THE NAME, A CURRENT RESIDENCE ADDRESS, A RECENT PHOTOGRAPH AND SIGNATURE OF THE OFFENDER. THE OFFENDER IS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE WRITTEN NOTICE TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL REGARDING ANY CHANGE IN NAME OR RESIDENCE ADDRESS WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF MAKING THE CHANGE. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHALL CREATE A WEBSITE CONTAINING THE INFORMATION SET


Daddy and Artist; Activist

FORTH IN THIS SUBDIVISION FOR EACH PERSON WHO IS CONVICTED OR PLEADS GUILTY TO SUCH A VIOLATION. INFORMATION REGARDING AN OFFENDER SHALL REMAIN ON THE WEBSITE FOR NO LESS THAN THREE YEARS AT WHICH TIME THE REGISTRANT MAY APPLY TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR REMOVAL AFTER A HEARING ON THE APPLICATION FOR REMOVAL.

"Other means" in addition to "intimidation, coercion, and fear," could be education, talking, showing a video, etc. The person who is being talked to or educated could claim that it is intimidation.

"Deter" is another word that is too general. If someone is deterred, it could be because they have a change of heart or mind following education. This would make it illegal to change someone’s heart or mind. If someone talks someone out of chopping off his dog’s head, and chopping off a dog’s head is legal, the person who deterred the action has now committed a criminal offense, if this becomes law.


Attorney; Activist

If this bill becomes law, it would protect someone from being defamed who is engaging in a horrendous act.

Many of us know that activists who have been arrested have an array of charges against them. That allows for bargaining, dropping this for that. Often they just want the fine! So anyone who pleads guilty to any ridiculous charge would now be placed in a registry.


University Professor; Activist

The special interests that are behind this bill should be charged with attempting to harass and defame animal and environmental protectors and from attempting to keep them from fulfilling their mission.

To summarize:

The Bill attempts to equate animal and environment protectors with the terrorists of 9-11.

The bill is so broad that it would basically prevent even the most conservative environmental or animal protection groups from operating.

It would frighten anyone from donating to animal or environmental organizations that expose what the abusers are doing.

It would also prevent journalists or anti-cruelty law enforcers from doing inquiries or investigations.

In our case, for example, it would criminalize our patrolling hunted property with a video camera. It would criminalize our exposes of what the government is doing to wildlife, and it would criminalize our educational efforts. It is really an attempt to prevent public education.


Medical Writer, Editor; Activist

There are other laws in existence that deal with destroyed property or harassment. The domestic terrorism bill is an obvious ruse to suppress public education that could bring about change. Hopefully it will be nipped in the bud. Is it surprising that the US Sportsman’s Alliance is in back of it?

[Anne Muller was interviewed on 4/23 on WBAI radio (NYC) regarding this Bill. Many progressive organizations are concerned. If this passes, special interests will target other movements. It must be defeated. Please see "What We’ve Been Up To" in this newsletter.]

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