[dc-critmass-list] Of interest from TomPaine.com
adventure_pup at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 5 12:49:25 EDT 2003
Here's a link to an article (full text also below), which will be of
interest to all the 'terrorists' on this list.
P.S. Ride tomorrow?
Environmentalists = Terrorists: The New Math
Karen Charman is an investigative journalist specializing in agriculture,
health and the environment.
Have you ever signed a petition in support of an environmental or
animal-rights issue? Do you belong to the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources
Defense Council, or Greenpeace? Have you publicly protested some
environmental or animal rights outrage? If legislation crafted and promoted
by the ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
becomes law, these fundamental rights of American citizenship could become
Exploiting the current political climate against terrorism, ALEC has
teamed up with the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, a pro-hunting group, to create
a model "Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act." The legislation is part of an
intense backlash against increasingly effective and vocal citizen campaigns
aimed at halting -- and holding corporations accountable for --
environmental, animal-rights and public health abuses.
Forging this kind of marriage to produce anti-progressive legislation is old
hat to ALEC, now in its thirtieth year of policy bending. With an annual
budget of nearly $6 million, ALEC's funders read like a Who's Who of the
right, and include organizations like the National Rifle Association, Family
Research Council and Heritage Foundation. It counts conservative activists
and politicians such as Jesse Helms, Jack Kemp and Henry Hyde among its
alumni. Enron, Phillip Morris (now Altria) and several oil companies rank
among ALEC's corporate sponsors. And to bring the loop full-circle, ALEC
boasts 2,400 state lawmakers representing all 50 states among its current
In light of this, it's hardly shocking that ALEC is no friend to green
groups. According to a 2002 report by Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural
Resources Defense Council, corporations and trade associations "funnel cash
through ALEC to curry favor with state lawmakers through junkets and other
largesse in the hopes of enacting special interest legislation -- all the
while keeping safely outside the public eye."
The strategy obviously works. ALEC spokesperson David Wargin estimates that
out of about 1,000 ALEC model bills introduced in the last legislative
session, 200 were enacted.
The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act may be next. Intended for states, it
criminalizes virtually all forms of environmental or animal-rights advocacy.
Versions of the proposed law were introduced in Texas in February and in New
York in March. New York Assembly member Richard Smith (D-Blasdell), who
introduced that state's bill, says four or five other states have also
The Texas bill defines an "animal rights or terrorist organization" as "two
or more persons organized for the purpose of supporting any politically
motivated activity intended to obstruct or deter any person from
participating in an activity involving animals or... natural resources." The
bill adds that "'Political motivation' means an intent to influence a
government entity or the public to take a specific political action."
Language in the New York bill is similarly broad.
Michael Ratner, a human rights lawyer and vice-president of the Center for
Constitutional Rights, has never seen such draconian legislation in the
"This is unique. Even under the definition of domestic terrorism in the
Patriot Act, you have to at least do something that arguably threatens
people's lives," he says. "The definitional sections of this legislation are
so broad that they sweep within them basically every environmental and
animal-rights organization in the country."
Sandy Liddy Bourne, director of the ALEC task force that came up with the
model bill, insists the legislation is narrowly targeted at environmental
and animal-rights extremists who blow up buildings or destroy research
"We're certainly not attempting to interfere with anybody's civil rights to
protest or express their opinion on environmental or animal-rights issues,"
she says. However, "there are legitimate business operations across our
country that are being targeted by environmental extremists, and it's time
to bring this kind of activity to a halt."
Ratner points out that there are laws against trespassing, vandalism,
destruction of property, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. The
only reason for this legislation, he says, is to eliminate all forms of
dissent, including the time-honored democratic traditions of nonviolent,
peaceful protest and civil disobedience.
Civil rights advocates who thought the Patriot Act was bad should turn their
attention to this legislation. Because if ALEC is successful, millions of
people might just lose the only tool they have left: the right to loud and
Dr. Kenneth Mayer
Department of Classics and Egyptology
Locke Hall 264
pythian at comcast.net
quae tamen inde seges? terrae quis fructus apertae?
quis dabit historico quantum daret acta legenti?
"What's the payoff in the end? What the fruit of the hard-plowed field?
Who will give a historian as much as a law-clerk gets?"
--Juvenal VII 103-4.
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