Eco-Nazis Keep it in "The Family"
ASHLAND, ORE. - The group called itself "The Family." After meticulously casing a horsemeat packing plant in Redmond, Ore., they made a firebomb using soap and petroleum products (a napalm-like substance known as "vegan Jell-O") and a time-delayed incendiary device called a "Cat's Cradle."Why is when politicians and "Homeland Security" types talk about terrorism ashore, they always leave out these pieces of human debris.
Arriving at the staging area after dark, they dressed in dark clothing, masks, and gloves, and checked their walkie-talkies and police radio scanner. Quietly, they crept through the sagebrush toward the target. They drilled holes through the wall so the fuel would pour into the building. Then, they set the firebomb against the wall and retreated to the staging area. There, they dumped their dark clothes and shoes into a hole and poured in acid to destroy DNA and other evidence. By the time the packing plant, Cavel West, Inc., was engulfed in flames, "The Family" had vanished into the night.
Five days later, through an anonymous communiqué, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) took credit for the fire that destroyed the facility in July of 1997. But it would be years before the alleged plotters were apprehended. And until then, according to a 65-count indictment announced last week by the US Justice Department, the 11-member group of activists launched 17 similar attacks across Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, and California in what authorities consider one of the most extensive campaigns of "ecoterrorism" in US history.
Documents and other information revealed in recent court hearings provide an inside look at how a band of extremists - 20th century Luddites, in a way - tried to leave their explosive imprint on a society whose commerce and industry they believed was overwhelming nature.
Edward Abbey, the desert curmudgeon whose 1975 novel "The Monkey Wrench Gang" inspired the environmental group Earth First!, once declared that "sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." Most who took this to heart had no intention of breaking the law.
But somewhere along the way, vandalizing log trucks and "liberating" lab rats escalated into firebombs, plots to blow up electrical towers and dams, code names, and anonymous communiqués boasting of destroying millions of dollars in property.
Other targets allegedly attacked by "The Family," for instance, include US Forest Service ranger stations, wild horse corrals used by the US Bureau of Land Management, a Bonneville Power Administration electrical tower, and an SUV dealership. There were also three forest products companies, the University of Washington Horticultural Center, a Colorado ski resort, and a police station in Eugene, Ore.
Those close to the underground activists say the FBI has targeted the wrong people. "What law enforcement has done is round up a bunch of above-ground, well-known, peaceful animal-rights activists and environmental activists and charged them with being members of the ALF and the ELF [Earth Liberation Front] simply because they can't find the real members," says Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office in Canoga Park, Calif. "These people are completely innocent of the charges."
Activists writing online blogs have issued veiled threats against two "snitches," one of whom has been charged in the destruction of an electrical transmission tower in 1999. The sister of one of the informants, describing herself as "brokenhearted," speculated that law-enforcement officers may have provided drugs to her heroin-addicted brother.
"Just assume every conversation you have is bugged, assume everyone is an informer if you must, and don't talk about ANYTHING to ANYONE," another person wrote on an Internet site.
That warning seems to be well-founded. Evidence supporting the indictments reportedly includes 35 compact discs of recorded conversations and 40,000 pages of transcripts, police reports, and photos. Earlier this month, three more people were arrested for conspiring to destroy a US Forest Service genetics institute near Placerville, Calif.
Open Post Thanks to The Mudville Gazette, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, bRight and Early, Is It Just Me?, Jo's Cafe and Don Surber.