‘Eco-terrorism’: A subtle chill
A few bits and pieces on the "eco-terrorism" front:
This L.A. Times piece makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside:
The FBI, while waging a highly publicized war against terrorism, has spent resources gathering information on antiwar and environmental protesters and on activists who feed vegetarian meals to the homeless, the agency’s internal memos show.
"It’s one thing to express an idea or such, but when you commit acts of violence in support of that activity, that’s where our interest comes in," said FBI spokesman Bill Carter in Washington.
He stressed that the agency targeted individuals who committed crimes and did not single out groups for ideological reasons. …
"They don’t know where Osama bin Laden is, but they’re spending money watching people like me," said environmental activist Kirsten Atkins. Her license plate number showed up in an FBI terrorism file after she attended a protest against the lumber industry in Colorado Springs in 2002.
In June 2002, environmental activists protested the annual meeting of the North American Wholesale Lumber Assn. in Colorado Springs. An FBI memo justified opening an inquiry into the protest because an activist training camp was to be held on "nonviolent methods of forest defense … security culture, street theater and banner making."
… [FBI officials] stress that they have to be aggressive in investigating terrorism in the post-Sept. 11 world.
"There’s a lot of responsibility on the FBI," said Joe Airey, head of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Denver. "We have a real obligation to make sure there are no additional terrorist acts on this soil."
Denver-area activists said that since the surveillance documents became public, there had been a subtle chill, with some people avoiding protests for fear of ending up in an FBI file. Some activists think the FBI has been watching their groups to intimidate them.
I’d feel a "subtle chill" too if I saw the phrases "street theater and banner making" and "additional terrorist acts on this soil" so closely conjoined.
In other news: "Congress Considers Tougher Eco-Terror Laws."
Also, an essay from Robert Amon about the coming trial of the 12 kids charged with arson and conspiracy in Western states notes that the 12 have become 11, as one of them — Bill Rodgers of Prescott, Ariz. — committed suicide in prison.