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"Benevolent Greens" captured

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Last Edited: December 13, 2005, 9:23 am

I'll quote directly from the site as to its purpose.  Article about FBI captures of ELF members at bottom.
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Earth Liberation Front

  • Environmentalist, anti-capitalist, eco-terrorist organization established in 1992 by radical members of the group "Earth First!"
  • Advocates "economic sabotage and property destruction" designed to "halt the destruction of the environment"
  • Has declared war against "greedy capitalists" and "rich scum"
  • Responsible since 1997 for more than $95 million in property damage
  • Has been declared America's top domestic terrorism threat by the FBI
  • Former ELF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh has stated: "Terrorismcan be O.K., can be justified. . . . It can be effective."
  • Rosebraugh described a 1998 arson of a Vail, Colorado ski resort "not an act of ecoterrorism, but an act of love" aimed at saving the environment from "greedy capitalists."
  The New York Times reports that on Thursday, "after years of investigation, federal officials announced one of the biggest roundups yet of people involved in a string of ecoterrorist attacks in the Pacific Northwest dating to 1998." "Six people from five states," says the Times, "from New York to Washington, were arrested on Wednesday, and indicted on charges related to arson attacks and sabotage in Washington and Oregon, including the millennium eve destruction of a transmission tower owned by the Bonneville Power Administration. The arrests are intended to strike a blow against two related groups, the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front, which have claimed responsibility for burning and bombing research facilities, timber operations and sport-utility vehicle dealers, among other targets." 

ELF is an underground organization with no centralized authority or board of directors. Its membership is composed of autonomous groups of people who embrace ELF's overall objectives and carry out direct actions in pursuit of those aims. Above all else, ELF advocates "economic sabotage and property destruction" designed to "halt the destruction of the environment." Toward that end, ELF candidly advocates "monkeywrenching," a euphemism for acts of sabotage and vandalism directed against industries and businesses that the group deems harmful to wild animals and plants - or as ELF puts it, "those profiting from the destruction and exploitation of the natural environment."

This mission dovetails seamlessly with the organization's self-declared war against "
greedy capitalists" and "rich scum."Among ELF's chief targets are the timber, construction, and automotive industries. The group commonly conveys its contempt for people engaged in those industries via such methods as tree-spiking, the sabotage of logging or construction equipment, arson, and all manner of vandalism. Responsible since 1997 for more than $95 million in property damage, ELF has been declared America's top domestic terrorism threat by the FBI. In many cases, the group carries out its terrorist activities in conjunction with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a radical and violent animal-rights organization.

 

Notwithstanding its violent and destructive modus operandi, ELF purports to "take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human." Implicit in this statement is the axiom that human beings are just one of a multitude of equally valuable life forms inhabiting the earth, possessing no more intrinsic worth than trees, dogs, or fleas. ELF exhorts people to shed their "anthropocentric" worldview in favor of an "ecocentric" alternative - wherein the well-being of the natural world (and all of its living members) takes precedence over the well-being of mankind. As one leading environmentalist has put it, "Ecocentrism means rejecting the position that some life forms (such as humans) have greater inherent worth than other life forms." Similarly, Gary Yourofsky, a national lecturer for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), says: "What we must do is start viewing every cow, pig, chicken, monkey, rabbit, mouse and pigeon as our family members.

ELF also strives to "reveal and educate the public on the atrocities committed against the earth and all species that populate it." But because the group is an underground, terrorist entity that plots its destructive, illegal deeds in secret, its "public education" consists largely of anonymous press releases disseminated to the media in the wake of its acts of sabotage. ELF operatives also use spray paint and banners to communicate messages and claim responsibility at the sites of their crimes.
Following is a very partial list of criminal acts for which ELF claimed responsibility between 1996 and 2001 (Courtesy, Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise):
Oct. 28, 1996. Detroit, Oregon: A U.S. Forest Service pickup truck is torched on the parking lot of the Detroit Ranger District headquarters. The saboteurs tag the building with "Earth Liberation Front" and other graffiti. A plastic jug rigged as an incendiary device is later found on the roof. It did not detonate. Damages: $15,000. Joint ALF / ELF claim.
October 30, 1996. Near Eugene, Oregon: Arson destroyed U.S. Forest Service Oakridge Ranger Station south of Eugene. Cost estimate, $5.3 million. Not officially recognized as an ELF arson; disgruntled law enforcement officers assert that a joint ALF / ELF claim was received but not published.
March 14, 1997. Near Eugene, Oregon: Tree spiking at Robinson-Scott timber harvest site in the Mackenzie River watershed, Willamette National Forest. Joint ALF / ELF claim.
July 21, 1997. Redmond, Oregon: Arson of Cavel West meat packing plant in Redmond. Estimated cost over $1 million. Joint ALF / ELF claim.
November 29, 1997. Hines, Oregon: Arsonists destroy a U.S. Bureau of Land Management horse barn, chutes, pens and equipment. Four hundred horses are released, but they are later recaptured. The Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front take joint responsibility. Damages: $474,000.
July 3, 1998. Middleton, Wisconsin: Break-in and release of 171 mink and ferrets from United Vaccines laboratory. Joint ALF / ELF claim.
June 28, 1998. Boston, Massachusetts: Sprayed red paint on the Mexican Consulate in Boston to protest the treatment of peasants in Chiapas, Mexico. ELF claim without ALF.
June 2, 1998. Olympia, Washington: Two U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife stations, miles apart, go up in flames on the same morning. The Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front take joint responsibility for both of the attacks. Damages: $1.9 million.
October 10, 1998. Rock Springs, Wyoming: Would-be saboteurs cut the locks off horse pens at a BLM corral, freeing about 40 wild horses. Failed incendiaries are found next to a pickup truck and a building. The Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front take joint responsibility. Damages: negligible.
October 18, 1998. Vail, Colorado: Fires ravage a portion of the Vail ski resort, destroying seven structures: four ski lifts, a restaurant, a picnic facility, and a utility building. The Earth Liberation Front later claims it torched the resort because of proposed expansion into the declining habitat of lynx. Damages: $12 million. Following the incident, ELF issued this public statement, addressed to the Vail, Colorado sheriff's department and various media outlets: "On behalf of the lynx, five buildings and four ski lifts at Vail were reduced to ashes on the night of Sunday, October 18th. Vail, Inc. is already the largest ski operation in North America and now wants to expand even further. The 12 miles of roads and 885 acres of clearcuts will ruin the last, best lynx habitat in the state. Putting profits ahead of Colorado's wildlife will not be tolerated. This action is just a warning. We will be back if this greedy corporation continues to trespass into wild and unroaded areas. For your safety and convenience, we strongly advise skiers to choose other destinations until Vail cancels its inexcusable plans for expansion."
October 26, 1998. Powers, Michigan: Release of 5,000 mink at Tom Pipkorn's Mink Farm near Hermansville in the upper peninsula. An estimated 500 of the animals are run over on roads, starve, drown in a swimming pool, or disappear. Damages: $100,000. ELF claim of responsibility is faxed to Associated Press offices by North American Animal Liberation Front.
December 27, 1998. Medford, Oregon: Fire ravages the headquarters of U.S. Forest Industries. An Earth Liberation Front communiqué issued weeks later by the Liberation Collective in Portland, Oregon says the strike was payback to a company it accused of razing forests and killing wild animals for profit. Damages: $700,000.
August 7, 1999. Escanaba, Michigan: A fishing boat is set ablaze in the driveway of a veterinarian who once worked as a mink rancher. A garage door is tagged with graffiti 18 inches high, which reads: "FUR IS MURDER. E.L.F." The Earth Liberation Front later claims in an Internet posting that it targeted the veterinarian after finding a "Fur is Enough" sign outside his home. Damages: $15,000.
December 25, 1999. Monmouth, Oregon: Fire burns down a Boise Cascade timber management office. "Let this be a lesson to all greedy multinational corporations who don't respect their ecosystems," the Earth Liberation Front writes in a claim of responsibility to The Oregonian. "The elves [a name by which ELF members frequently identify themselves] are watching." Damages: $1 million.
December 31, 1999. Lansing, Michigan: Arson breaks out in the offices of Catherine Ives, Room 324, Michigan State University's Agriculture Hall, a campus landmark. The Earth Liberation Front later issues a communiqué saying it doused an office with gasoline and set it ablaze because the university had financed the development of genetically modified crops to force developing nations in Asia, Latin America and Africa to switch from natural crop plants to gentically engineered sweet potatoes, corn, bananas, and pineapples. Monsanto and USAID are major funders of the research and promotional work being done through Michigan State University. According to local newspapers, the fire caused some $400,000 in damage. In the wake of this incident, ELF relead a message that read: "Cremate Monsanto, Long live the E.L.F. On to the next GE target!"
January 23, 2000. Bloomington, Indiana: Fire destroys a luxury home under construction at the Sterling Woods Development. Investigators find a cryptic message spray-painted in black on a sign near the house: "No Sprawl - ELF." Damages $200,000. An ELF statement obtained by the Environment News Service says, "The house was targeted because the sprawling development it is located in is in the Lake Monroe Watershed. This is the drinking water supply for the town of Bloomington, Indiana and the surrounding area. It is already being jeopardized by existing development and roads."
April 30, 2000. Bloomington, Indiana: At least six pieces of logging and heavy construction equipment are sabotaged and a trailer full of wood chips is set ablaze at a road construction site just outside the city. A communiqué from the Earth Liberation Front states its plan was to punish those developing wooded areas around Bloomington, which "have turned what was once forested land into parking lots, luxury houses for rich scum and expanded roads." Damages: $75,000.
July 20, 2000. Rhinelander, Wisconsin: Vandals hack down thousands of experimental trees, mostly poplars, and spray-paint vehicles at a U.S. Forest Service research station. The Earth Liberation Front claims the attack was against bioengineering, although researchers say the trees were bred naturally to grow faster and resist diseases. Damages: $1 million.
September 9, 2000. Bloomington, Indiana: Fire erupts at the headquarters of the Monroe County Republican Party Committee headquarters. Investigators say a flammable liquid was poured on the building and ignited. The arson was a reminder, according to the Earth Liberation Front communiqué, that it would not sit quietly as politicians pushed for plans to extend an interstate highway. Damages: $1,500.
October 18, 2000. Shoals, Indiana: Vandals find four pieces of heavy logging equipment in the Martin State Forest and cut hoses, slash seats, destroy gauges, and pour sand in the engines, fuel tanks, and radiators. They leave spray-painted graffiti that reads: "Earth Raper," "Go Cut in Hell," and "ELF." Damages: $55,000.
November 27, 2000. Niwot, Colorado: Arson hits one of the first luxury homes going up in a new subdivision. The Earth Liberation Front later sends a note, made of letters clipped from magazines, to the Boulder Weekly newspaper: "Viva la revolution! The Boulder ELF burned the Legend Ridge mansion on Nov. 27th." The underground group explains in a follow-up communiqué that the arson was driven by defeat of a statewide ballot measure to control growth. Damages: $500,000.
December 9, 2000. Middle Island, New York: Fire erupts in a condominium under construction. The Earth Liberation Front claims responsibility, saying the homes were "future dens of the wealthy elite." The group, announcing "an unbounded war on urban sprawl," claims it checked for occupants - human and animal - in 16 condos before setting incendiaries in them. Damages: $200,000.
December 19, 2000. Miller Place, New York: A house under construction goes up in flames. "Building homes for the wealthy should not even be a priority," the Earth Liberation Front writes in its communiqué. "Forests, farms and wetlands are being replaced with a sea of houses, green chemical lawns, blacktop and roadkill." Damages: $50,000.
December 30, 2000. Mount Sinai, New York: Three luxury homes under construction are set ablaze, and a fourth is spray-painted with graffiti: "If you build it, we will burn it," says the Earth Liberation Front. ELF also issues a communiqué saying, "This hopefully provided a firm message that we will not tolerate the destruction of our island." Damages: $160,000.
January 2, 2001. Glendale, Oregon: Fire ravages the offices of Superior Lumber Company, one of the region's leading employers. The arson is the third holiday conflagration of an Oregon timber firm in as many years. It summons investigators from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Damages: $400,000.
February 15, 2001. Suffolk County, New York: Several ELF members plead guilty to charges of arson and arson conspiracy in connection with the torching of a number of New York homes.
In more recent times, ELF has been responsible for acts of vandalism that damaged crop fields at university research centers in the Midwest, fur farms in the Pacific Northwest, meat vendors in the San Francisco Bay area, and department stores on the East Coast.

On August 1, 2003, ELF took credit for torching a 206-unit condominium complex that was under construction in San Diego County; damages exceeded $20 million. Only the quick response of more than 100 firefighters saved the hundreds of nearby homes in the densely populated neighborhood from being engulfed by flames. The attack also destroyed a 100-foot construction crane valued at $7 million, and blew up a 500-gallon fuel tank. At the scene of the crime, the arsonists left behind a 12-foot banner reading, "If you build it, we will burn it - The E.L.F.s are mad."

Three weeks later, ELF operatives vandalized dozens of SUVs and Hummers at car dealerships in east suburban Los Angeles - spray-painting the vehicles with slogans such as "Fat, Lazy Americans" and "I love pollution" - and burned down a warehouse at one dealership. It is believed that these vehicles were targeted because of their poor fuel efficiency, which ELF considers an assault on the environment.
The most recognizable "public face" associated with ELF is that of Craig Rosebraugh, who was the group's spokesman from 1997 to 2001. Rosebraugh, who cultivated his activist roots as an anti-Gulf War protester and animal-rights agitator in the early 1990s (he has been arrested at least a dozen times for "civil disobedience" at demonstrations he has attended over the years), enthusiastically promoted the group's use of violence in spreading its radical message. Rosebraugh made his endorsement of violence plainly evident in his 2003 Master of Arts thesis at Goddard College: "Rethinking Nonviolence: Arguing for the Legitimacy of Armed Struggle." During his years with ELF, Rosebraugh openly advocated property destruction, explaining that "f you can hit them [businesses and capitalists] hard enough in their pocketbook, perhaps they will stop all the unjust acts they're carrying out." He told one reporter from the Williamette Weekly, "Terrorismcan be O.K., can be justified. . . . It can be  effective." On another occasion, Rosebraugh explained that illegal acts of sabotage could serve as crucial agents of social change; he likened the nobility of his cause to that of the abolition of slavery in the United States, the civil rights movement, and the liberation of India.

In early 2002, after his days with ELF were over, Rosebraugh was called to testify before the House Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health - in a special session called "The Emerging Threat of Ecoterrorism." But when questioned, Rosebraugh would not cooperate, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than fifty times during the hearing. He did respond to written inquiries, however, and when asked if he had ever feared that an ELF act of terror might result in someone's death, he stated, "No, I am more concerned with massive numbers of people dying at the hands of greedy capitalists if such actions [of sabotage, arson, and vandalism] are not taken."
Rosebraugh described the aforementioned 1998 arson of a Vail, Colorado ski resort as "not an act of ecoterrorism, but an act of love" aimed at saving the environment from those same "greedy capitalists."

 

Entry #135

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