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January 21, 2006
11 Indicted in Latest Round of FBI Environmental Witch Hunt
Washington, DC- On Friday the Justice Department announced that 11 individuals were being charged in a 65 count indictment handed down by a Eugene, Oregon grand jury for a series of events from 1996 to 2001. The indictment charged the individuals with a series of arsons, sabotage and vandalism that were claimed by the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. These acts of eco-sabotage have been falsely labeled "terrorism" by FBI director Robert Mueller, even though no one has ever been harmed.
Adding to the buzz, news that one of the state’s key witnesses is an informant who is disreputable, and a know heroin user, caused activists to speculate about how good a case the FBI could really have. Historically, the FBI has had very little success in investigating and prosecuting environmental and animal liberation activists because of the loose non-hierarchical structure of activist cells along with their penchant for a strong security culture, which serves to protect the identity of underground activists.
The indictments were announced just days after it was revealed that a tape had been received from international terrorist Osama Bin Laden, who promised a continued campaign of violence against the United States. The close proximity of today’s announcement regarding the indictments caused many to wonder if this was a diversionary tactic meant to draw attention away from the FBI’s failure in the international terrorism arena and to distract the public from the current debate regarding illegal wire taps being perpetrated by the Government.
North American Animal Liberation Press Officer Dr. Jerry Vlasak observed: "The FBI has been known in the past to ramrod weak prosecutions based on inconclusive and highly questionable sources and evidence, especially when the suspect is an environmental activist". In November, 2005 the FBI agreed to pay $100,000 and to issue a letter of regret to activist Josh Connole, who was arrested under suspicion of being involved in a string of SUV vandalisms.
Another North American Animal Liberation Press Officer, Camille Hankins noted: "If you look at the backgrounds and professions of those indicted you will find that many of them work in professions that involve helping others. One is a firefighter, one works with the developmentally disabled, all have enlarged their circle of compassion to work to protect the animals and the earth. To label these people eco-terrorists is a terrible injustice."