Relevant notes and citations provided to TED by Will Potter.
"U.S. Government Watchlisting," American Civil Liberties Union, March 2014
Today, there are an estimated 900,000 people on these terrorist watch lists, which are based on secret standards and secret evidence.
Jerome P. Bjelopera, "The Domestic Terrorist Threat," Congressional Research Service, May 15, 2012
Like all social movements, the animal rights and environmental movements have had both legal and illegal elements. The more radical groups, like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front, have sabotaged property, stolen animals and committed arson in the name of their causes. However, unlike some other social justice movements, they target property, and stop short of injuring human beings.
As the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service noted, "This line of reasoning suggests that the crimes committed by animal rights extremists and eco-terrorists cannot be compared to clearly violent attacks by groups such as al Qaeda."
Henry Schuster, "Domestic Terror: Who’s Most Dangerous?," CNN.com, August 24, 2005
In 2003, the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General audited the FBI and told the bureau to stop treating animal rights and environmental activists as terrorists. Instead, the Bureau should focus on violent threats. The FBI refused.
Meanwhile, research by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center has documented a 400-percent increase in right-wing violence since 1990. That's about 190 injuries a year, and 30 deaths, that aren't classified by the FBI as "terrorism." For instance, in the three years after 9/11, the FBI says that every act of domestic terrorism except for one was the work of "eco-terrorists"; according to West Point, right-wing violence in that period resulted in 283 injuries and 71 deaths.
Will Potter, "Congressional Testimony on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act," Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, May 23, 2006
I was invited to testify about my reporting as the only witness opposing the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. This is the full transcript of the hearing, along with my written testimony.
Eight people climbed 80 feet into the trees to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. Nonviolent tactics like this are also used to stop clear-cutting of forests. If crews cut down the trees, the protesters could fall to their deaths.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society halts illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. In this photo, volunteers steer a small, inflatable boat called a Zodiac between the whalers' harpoon and the whales, in hopes of stopping the killing.
A protest in Italy against Green Hill, a breeding facility for dogs used in animal experimentation, spontaneously turned into a daylight rescue when dozens of activists rescued more than 40 dogs who would have been used in testing.
Lisa Levitt Ryckman, "Environmental 'Warriors' Use Radical Tactics to Make Point," The Los Angeles Times, January 26, 1986
This "eco-terrorism" rhetoric emerged in the 1980s, as the public and mainstream press was sympathetic to even the more radical protest tactics. As one example, check out this 1986 article in The Los Angeles Times.
Ron Arnold, "Eco-Terrorism," Reason, February 1983
Ron Arnold (proudly) claims to have invented the word "eco-terrorism."
"The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act," United States Congress, January 3, 2006
Will Potter, "The Green Scare," Vermont Law Review, 2009
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act passed the House using a procedure called "suspension of the rules," which is intended for noncontroversial legislation. The same week, it was used to honor the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the World Series.
Rep. Bobby Scott, Speaking on Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, House Session, C-SPAN, November 13, 2006
Even supporters of the law, like Representative Bobby Scott of Virginia, acknowledge that it is so broad it could be used against civil disobedience. On the House floor, Scott said, "There are some who conscientiously believe that it is their duty to peacefully protest the operation of animal enterprises to the extent of engaging in civil disobedience. … While the losses of profits, lab experiments or other intangible losses are included, it must be proved that such losses were specifically intended for the law to be applied.”
In other words, those who conscientiously believe that it is their duty to peacefully protest through civil disobedience could be labeled terrorists, but only if they intend to hurt corporate profits. (Begins around 46:25)
Will Potter, "TransCanada Is Secretly Briefing Police About Keystone XL Protests and Urging Terrorism Prosecutions," Green Is the New Red, June 12, 2013
The briefing notes that protesters "tell the police they are nonviolent and will remain peaceful." TransCanada even gives Daryl Hannah her own slide.
Juliet Eilperin, "As Eco-Terrorism Wanes, Governments Still Target Activist Groups Seen as Threat," The Washington Post, March 10, 2012
As The Washington Post reported, the FBI and local law enforcement has maintained these policies even though crimes by these groups have decreased. Today, these FBI training materials describe "eco-terrorism" as a "public relations war."
Christopher Zara, "Ag Gag Law in Idaho Sparks ACLU Lawsuit and Fierce Battle Over Press Freedom, Animal Rights and Food Safety," International Business Times, March 19, 2014
I'm a plaintiff in this lawsuit as a journalist whose work is directly and unconstitutionally threatened by ag-gag laws. I'm proud to say that 16 professional journalism organizations — including NPR and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press — have authored an amicus brief in support of our case.
Eli Epstein, "Nation's first 'ag gag' prosecution dismissed in Utah," MSN, May 1, 2013
When Utah's ag-gag bill was being considered, the Utah Sentencing Commission warned that it could be used against anyone who merely takes a photograph of a farm or slaughterhouse. At the time, Rep. Greg Hughes of Draper replied, “Who would really pursue that in terms of prosecution?”
Amy Meyer was prosecuted — in Draper, no less — for precisely that. It was the first ag-gag prosecution in the country. Just 24 hours after I broke the story, and a massive public outcry, all charges were dropped. I later published her video footage, which clearly shows she was standing on public property when she filmed a sick cow being moved by a tractor.
Will Potter, "Counter-Terrorism Unit Keeps Files on Journalists," Green Is the New Red , July 26, 2012
There's more to this story than just the Counter-Terrorism Unit documents, unfortunately. I have been working with Ryan Shapiro, a doctoral student at MIT — and the "most prolific" Freedom of Information Act requester, according to the Justice Department — to obtain additional FBI documents regarding my work. In response to Mr. Shapiro's effective requests for records, the FBI is now saying that releasing the documents is a threat to national security. For a detailed look at this historic lawsuit, check out my story in Mother Jones.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, Vintage Classics, 1994
The full quote by Dostoyevsky's unnamed narrator is: "I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key!"