Friday, May 20, 2005


Environmental and animal rights activists who have turned to arson and explosives are the nation's top domestic terrorism threat, an FBI official told a Senate committee on Wednesday. Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty are "way out in front" in terms of damage and number of crimes, said John Lewis, the FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism. "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," Lewis said.

ALF says on its Web site that its small, autonomous groups of people take "direct action" against animal abuse by rescuing animals and causing financial loss to animal exploiters, usually through damage and destruction of property. ELF is an underground movement with no public leadership, membership or spokesperson. The British-based SHAC describes itself as a worldwide campaign since 1999 to rescue animals tortured in research labs and shut down the businesses that rely on their use. It says it "does not encourage or incite illegal activity."

Lewis said the FBI concluded that after analyzing all types of cases and comparing the groups with "right-wing extremists, KKK, anti-abortion groups and the like." He said most animal rights and eco-extremists so far have refrained from violence targeting human life. "The FBI has observed troubling signs that this is changing. We have seen an escalation in violent rhetoric and tactics," he told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "Attacks are also growing in frequency and size."

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'"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.

The FBI said 35 of its offices have 150 open investigations, with activists claiming credit for 1,200 crimes between 1990 and mid-2004. Investigators cite examples of people using arson, bombings, theft, animal releases, vandalism, harassing phone calls, letters rigged with razor blades, and office takeovers. Such tactics have been used in what officials call "direct action" campaigns to disrupt university research labs, restaurants, fur farms and logging operations. Newer targets include SUV dealerships and new home developments as signs of urban sprawl.

Officials say the incidents have caused more than $110 million in damage. The biggest so far was an arson at a five-story condominium under construction in San Diego in August 2003 that caused $50 million in damage. In the past few years arson fires and explosives have been used increasingly, Lewis said. "We have a serious movement afoot," he said. Since 1993, when ELF declared solidarity with ALF, "there has been a convergence of agendas," said Carson Carroll, deputy assistant director for field operations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the nation's premier bomb investigators. "The most worrisome trend to law enforcement and private industry alike has been the increase in willingness by these movements to resort to the use of incendiary and explosive devices," Carroll said.



Corporate concern about the environment is a fine thing. But there's a growing, and dangerous, trend among corporations to jump into bed with radical environmentalists — people who are intent on destroying the very free-enterprise system that their new-found bedmate represents. The latest industry group guilty of "sleeping with the enemy" is the nation's big banks. Specifically, Citigroup, Bank of America, and, most recently, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., have all adopted new environmental policies, at the behest of the ardently anti-capitalist Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

RAN claims to promote "peaceable solutions," but its tactics include ugly protests at CEO's homes. And it was reportedly was among the prime organizers of the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests and the resulting riots. Another RAN initiative stopped Burger King from buying $35 million worth of beef from Costa Rica and Guatemala — because ranches in those countries had once been forested. The result of that boycott, of course, was to deprive Third World workers and countries of export income. Adam Smith, in short, isn't exactly the Rainforest Action Network's patron saint.

The troubling J.P. Morgan Chase-RAN alliance hits particularly close to home for me. In the '70s and '80s, when it was known simply as The Chase Manhattan Bank, I served as Chase's senior vice president and director of public affairs, responsible for the bank's philanthropic giving program, which awarded $12 million a year to a wide range of charities — from educational institutions and hospitals, to inner-city arts groups and international public-policy foundations. Chase's wide philanthropic reach in those days largely reflected the eclectic interests of our CEO, David Rockefeller. Not only did we give to groups with vastly diverse purposes, we also donated to institutions of different political persuasions. We gave grants to conservative organizations, like the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, as well as to more liberal organizations, like the Brookings Institution and Planned Parenthood. We had one overriding philanthropic intent — to award grants to worthy groups, regardless of political philosophy. All we required was that our grantees basically supported the private-enterprise system that allowed us the resources to grant such meaningful philanthropic gifts. Conversely, we refused to support any nonprofit group that rejected what our company stood for and fundamentally opposed capitalism. Subsidizing such groups would be akin, we felt, to "feeding the hand that bites us," and that's where we drew the line. Boy, how times have changed at poor old Mother Chase.

Last month, JPMorgan Chase announced the adoption of a sweeping new environmental policy, created in cooperation with RAN. For months, the militant group had harangued the bank with public demonstrations, posters and protests that extended from the company's Park Avenue headquarters all the way to the palatial Greenwich home of CEO William Harrison. A year earlier, RAN had completed a similarly successful sniping of Chase's arch rival, Citigroup, and its own Greenwich-domiciled CEO at the time, Sandy Weill. That earlier triumph, which took RAN four years of guerrilla warfare to complete, included such niceties as blockading branches, "crashing" Citigroup community parades, and distributing "Wanted" posters with Weill's picture to Greenwich grocery stores. Apparently, Harrison wasn't interested in seeing his likeness overlooking the frozen vegetables. So Chase folded meekly — after demonstrations at Chase branches and at its annual meeting — to RAN's demands.

Among the concessions to which JPMorgan Chase capitulated are new standards tying carbon-dioxide emissions to loans for power plants, new strictures on loans for energy development and logging, and new "no go" criteria to protect biodiversity and critical habitats. What Chase's new environmental policy failed to address was what the bank would do if its interpretation of such concepts as "endangered conservation values" or "adversely impacting a critical natural habitat" differs materially from the viewpoint of its friends at RAN. Nor did the company speculate on what might happen when other similarly "well-meaning" advocacy groups approach JPMorgan Chase to ensure that their own chosen policies of societal improvement are applied to the way the bank does business.



Hands up all those mothers who feel a green glow when filling their washing lines with pristine nappies [diapers] and who pooh-pooh the disposable variety for destroying the planet. You can wipe those smug smiles off your faces: according to a four-year study commissioned by the Environment Agency, disposable nappies are just as eco-friendly. Or unfriendly. The agency checked the environmental impacts of disposable nappies and compared them with real nappies washed at home and real nappies collected and delivered by a professional laundry. All three involved destruction of raw materials such as trees and plants, leading to a depletion of resources.

All three contributed to global warming, from the air miles involved in flying in cotton to Britain from China, Pakistan and the United States, to the electricity used in washing and drying nappies at home; to the fuel used to collect and deliver clean nappies to a household; and to the methane produced from disposables that biodegrade in landfill sites.

The pollution watchdog's verdict - that there is "little or nothing" to choose between real and disposable - is the first official blessing to young mothers who have felt guilty every time that they placed another bumper pack of Pampers into the shopping trolley.

The result is particularly amusing for the novelist Wendy Holden, whose latest bestseller is The Wives of Bath. The real versus throwaway nappy is one of the main contrasts between her protagonists, Alice Duffield, former media lawyer, and Amanda Hardwick, celebrity interviewer for a glamorous magazine. Alice, married to eco-warrior Jake, is limited to three real nappies a day for baby Rosa, while Amanda's Theo is thoroughly Pampered.

Ms Holden, mother of Andrew, 2, and Isabella, 1, said: "It's a great relief to know that all that messing about with flushing linings away, endless fiddling with the temperatures of washing machines and so on doesn't put anyone on the moral high ground - more probably back in the landfill site with everyone else.

The Environment Agency has, nevertheless, called for improvements in all nappy use and production. Tricia Henton, the director of environmental protection - a mother who used disposable and reusable - said: "Although there is no substantial difference between the environmental impacts, it does show where each system can be improved." She was concerned particularly about the 400,000 tonnes of disposables, some 2.5 billion nappies, that end up in landfill sites.

Real-nappy champions can continue to save the planet by changing their laundry routines. "Parents should consider if the nappies can be washed in a bigger load at a lower temperature," Ms Henton said. She also advised parents to use low-temperature detergents, wash only in full loads and avoid pre-soaking and fabric softeners, which affect absorbency of nappies.

Not everyone was happy with the results of the research. The Women's Environmental Network condemened it last night as "seriously flawed" and appealed to parents to stick with the reuseable variety. Yet manufacturers of disposables were cock-a-hoop. Tracey Stewart, director-general of the Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers' Association, said: "We are over the Moon. Parents can no longer be demonised for using disposables. No one any more can claim the moral high ground on nappies."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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