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OldDog/NewTricks

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Daily News item from Meatingplace.com

THE VOCAL POINT: Feds finally bag suspected meat plant bomber
by Dan Murphy on Friday, December 16, 2005

Media trends are often tough to assess. Is the coverage of a single story indicative of a shift in social mores? Probably not, but certain watershed events cast a powerful shadow across subsequent interpretation of similar occurrences.

One obvious example is the attacks on 9-11. Since then — and in hundreds of ugly suicide bombings since — society, and the media that (allegedly) reflect it, have gained a profound new perspective on morality of using violence to achieve political objectives.

Not that we should have needed a catastrophic incidence of terrorism to conclude that people who preach destruction, vandalism and the accompanying threat of personal injury and death are fanatics who have no rational agenda.

But such is the glacial pace at which the media move that nearly 40 years after the waves of campus "radicals" first started torching ROTC buildings and blowing up science labs in this country, only recently could one read a story about bombings done in pursuit of some activist cause that treated the event as a criminal act meriting condemnation and punishment, if not a swift, satisfying dose of frontier justice.

Such is the case with the arrest this week of several suspects responsible for a series of so-called "eco-sabotage" attacks on ski resorts, condominium developments and a research laboratory here in Seattle.

One of the felonies that ringleader Chelsea Gerlach, an Oregon woman long suspected of being a front-line Animal Liberation Front operative, and several other accomplices are about to be charged with is the June 1999 firebombing of the Childers Meat Co. plant in Eugene, Oregon, a town where I spent a decade listening to anecdotes about underground activists and the brain-dead sympathizers who lionize their crimes and make martyrs of them when they're finally apprehended.

That wasn't my main activity when I lived there. The point is, like a Berkeley Lite, the place was crawling with people so consumed with hatred against "the system" that blowing something up was less a strategic maneuver and more an outlet for the rage.

So far, Gerlach, known in the movement as "Country Girl," has been indicted on one charge and named as a suspect in several other high-profiles incidents of eco-terrorism, according to assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Engdahl. Federal authorities have arrested six other men along with Gerlach in Oregon, Arizona, New York and Virginia in conjunction with the string of arson attacks and vandalism.

Along with the meat plant fire, Gerlach is suspected of participating in these attacks:

A May 2001 arson fire at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture in an attempt to destroy a genetics project aimed at developing fast-growing poplar trees. Decades of records from the Urban Food Garden project were destroyed, and the damage exceeded $7.2 million.
An October 1998 attempted arson at Bureau of Land Management wild-horse corrals in Rock Springs, Wyo.
The October 1998 firebombing of a ski resort at Vail, Colo., which caused $12 million in damage and was done to protest the planned addition of a ski lodge.
The Dec. 25, 1999, arson of the Monmouth, Ore., offices of Boise Cascade, a company targeted for its timber harvesting practices.
The December 1999 attack on a Bonneville Power Administration transmission tower east of Bend, Ore., done by loosening bolts and support components that caused the tower to topple.
The May 2001 firebombing of the Jefferson Poplar Farm in Clatskanie, Oregon.
Even as you read this, evidence is being presented to an Oregon grand jury to seeking indictments against Gerlach in the Childers Meat Co. fire and the 2001 firebombing at the Clatskanie tree farm.

It's heartening to see that in the wire service reports from Knight Ridder and the Associated Press that the language reflects the standard manner in which the media handle crime stories. With the exception of a few "eco-saboteurs" and similar terms that glorify the violence, Gerlach and her accomplices are portrayed exactly as they should be: As violent felons.

Of course, even if Country Girl and the other six suspects are indicted, convicted and sentenced to appropriate terms of incarceration, the idea that true believers can detonate their way to some shift in social consciousness will endure. There will still be disciples willing to rationalize that violence is necessary, because "the enemy" simply refuses to do the right thing, and can only be persuaded by having a deserved dosage of violence inflicted upon them.

However such a warped mentality defines "them."

But what a swift and certain conviction for these particular defendants does do is re-establish the bright line that divides partisan passions from criminal initiatives. Without exception, what separates a reformer from a radical is the willingness to abandon the well-worn path to social change followed by nearly every successful campaign aimed at getting people to adapt their lifestyle choices.

Those groups and those leaders who either openly or tacitly support eco-violence, or whatever trendy label they try to concoct, are as far from role models as it's possible to be. It doesn't even matter which end of the political spectrum they choose to isolate themselves. Whether blowing up abortion clinics or meatpacking plants, the very action itself undermines whatever shreds of legitimacy can be claimed.

There can be no underestimating the threat to the industry posed by (alleged) firebombers like Gerlach.

There is likewise no doubt that, long term, society will neither respond positively to their messaging nor passively to their crimes.

From the coverage of this latest incident, it appears that the timeframe might finally be getting a little bit shorter.

Dan Murphy is a freelance writer and former editor of MMT magazine based in the Pacific Northwest . His column, THE VOCAL POINT, appears in this space each Friday.
 

OldDog/NewTricks

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More From A Friend @ USDA
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[Ag-Intel] Animal Rights Activity Commentary

FYI. I know I am preaching to the choir, but we are seeing a lot more intel traffic concerning AR/ET groups. Take notice on this. You should expect significant activity to remain prominent short to medium term. Long term there are some indications that industry is starting to take notice, which in turn may lead to action.

Comments?
Bob


Source: http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/13231588.htm


GARY BOGUE

A lynch mob mentality won't help animal rights

I'm taking a break this week to spend my Thanksgiving reminiscing with a bunch of my old wild turkey friends.

I'll be back on Nov. 29. While I'm gone, our editors will be printing a few of my yellowed columns from the past that I found in a box under my house.

Today's column is from Nov. 18, 1984.

Dear Gary:

Your criticism of the Animal Liberation Front for vandalizing the laboratories of vivisectionists and releasing the poor victims of their research shows your total lack of concern for the rights of animals. Caring people have been campaigning for more than 100 years for animal rights and have gotten nowhere.

Lobbying for legislation to protect animals is a dead end.

The ALF, by taking direct action, is saving animals now. So your ignorant criticism is invalid.

We don't harm or threaten people ... we damage their property as punishment for their abuse of animal rights ... and then we take the animals away from them.

Your attack on our actions does not help the animal rights cause.

An Active Member of the ALF, Berkeley
------------------------------------------
Dear Misguided Soul:

Your kind of thinking is just what I'd expect from the member of a lynch mob .. not from a member of the animal rights movement.

I do not quibble with your motivations.

Animals have been misused ever since the first caveman kicked a dog out of his path. It's time we recognized the rights of all living things and take action to correct widespread animal abuse throughout the world ... but not the kind of action you espouse.

The animal rights movement is stronger and more effective than it has ever been before. But your kind of thinking can destroy everything. It destroys public support for the cause, and it bathes us all in the blinding light of hypocrisy.

You cannot justify the rights of one creature by abusing the rights of another one.

What you are doing is a very dangerous thing. You say that you "don't harm or threaten people." Maybe you specifically don't hurt anyone ... but other members of ALF certainly do.
-----------------------------
On Sept. 5, 1984, ALF members left "ticking" packages on the doorsteps of two directors of the California Primate Research Center at UC Davis. Bomb squads were called and nearby homes and businesses were evacuated because of fears that the packages were bombs. They weren't, but the implied threat was there.

How long is it going to be before some wacko, caught up in the excitement of the ALF cause, thinks it is justified to plant a real bomb? How are you going to control that?

Several weeks ago in England, an ALF gang wearing ski masks and gloves and wielding sledgehammers attacked the Wickham Laboratories, which use animals for toxicity tests, smashing doors and windows and filing cabinets. At the same time, the director of the laboratory was attacked in his home with an iron bar, and doors and windows were smashed with sledgehammers at another laboratory and local kennel that had no connection with animal research.

So you don't harm people, eh?


Robert A. Norton, Ph.D.
Professor
Veterinary Bacteriology and Biosecurity
Department of Poultry Science
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849-5416
Phone: (334) 844-2604
Fax: (334) 844-2641
Mobile: (334)524-4494
Email: [email protected]
 
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