May 19, 2005

What's the biggest domestic terror threat facing the US?

Right-wing paramilitary groups? Nope. Anti-abortion bombers? Bzzzt! Wrong!

According to testimony in front of a US Senate committee today, it's eco-terrorists. FBI deputy assistant director for counterterrorism John Lewis told senators that 'there is nothing else going on in this country over the last several years that is racking up the high number of violent crimes and terrorist actions.' [We'd think that the Oklahoma City bombing alone would have put right-wingers way out in front, but we're just a magpie.] Interestingly, the list of acts counted by the FBI as eco-terrorism apparently includes harassing phone calls and office take-overs — not exactly high on most people's lists of what counts as terrorism.

We won't go into all of the rationale for this conclusion regarding domestic terror — you can get that from the article. Instead, we want to focus on a really disturbing aspect of the committee hearing:

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the panel's chairman, said he hoped to examine more closely how the groups might be getting assistance in fundraising and communications from tax-exempt organizations [and] "mainstream activists" not directly blamed for the violence.

"Just like al-Qaida or any other terrorist organization, ELF and ALF cannot accomplish their goals without money, membership and the media," Inhofe said.

Did you get that? What Inhofe is doing here is trying to make a direct connection between 'mainstream' environmental organizations and terrorism. And what Inhofe could be signalling is a direct attack by the Dubya administration on environmental groups under the pretense that they are aiding and abbetting terrorists, not engaging in political speech and activity protected by the US Constitution. And the direct beneficiaries of such an attack would be the oil companies, mining interests, big polluters, and others who've already been reaping benefits from Dubya's control of the wheel of state.

Our guess is that groups like the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense had better start getting ready for IRS investigations and covert surveillance, if not worse.

Via AP.

Posted by Magpie at May 19, 2005 03:13 PM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |

It's just like airport security - they want to bring back private security firms because...
they did such a good job stopping 9-11.

Posted by: uptown at May 19, 2005 07:06 PM