Environmentalism

The Scarlet "T"

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Byron York reports that in the mid-'90s, "future Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan was involved in a bizarre controversy in which the Clinton White House was accused of siding with an eco-terrorist group locked in a standoff with federal agents." If you want to read about the Kagan allegations, you can click through to the York story. What interests me here is the inflation of what qualifies as "eco-terrorism."

I never cared for the word in the first place. Sometimes it's applied to bona fide bombers, but it's also attached to activities that don't deserve the "terrorist" label, no matter how deplorable and damaging they might be. The yo-yos who destroy genetically modified crops are criminals, but the proper word for their acts is vandalism, not terrorism.

Still, that's nothing compared to the way the word is stretched in the York piece. Here's what the greens in his article were up to:

The story began in September 1995, when loggers planned to harvest timber from Warner Creek, an old-growth area that had been hit by a 1991 arson fire. The Forest Service approved the harvesting of dead and damaged trees, but some environmentalists claimed the clearing would endanger healthy trees as well.

A group of activists took over the road leading into the forest and blocked it with large rocks and chunks of concrete. They dug trenches, some six feet deep, to prevent trucks from passing, and in one trench they embedded a car in concrete. They built a fortress and settled in for a showdown.

This is "an eco-terrorist group"? By that standard, the students who occupied college offices in the '60s were terrorists. In this case, the standoff ended when "the Forest Service took action, using a bulldozer to break up the protesters' barricades. The protesters were arrested without injury and the road was ultimately re-opened." Not exactly 9/11.

There's a school of thought that says we're in the midst of a Green Scare, with overbroad laws and dicey arrests that blur the boundaries between violent and nonviolent dissent. I don't think those trends add up to a hysteria on the scale of the Red Scares and Brown Scares that dot American history, but I do think there's cause for concern here; I'm certainly sympathetic to the civil libertarian arguments against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and the SHAC prosecutions. And it's sheer fearmongering to describe just any lawbreaker with the t-word. Those weren't terrorists in Warner Creek, Oregon. They were hippies. Adjust your threat levels accordingly.

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  1. I wouldn’t even call them hippies. They were just dumb asses. Sadly they are damaging dumb asses whose dumb shit brand of thinking often keeps us from doing proper resource management. But, you are right they were not terrorists by any definition of the term. I think “criminal morons” would be a more proper term.

    1. John,
      I’m curious – why the kneejerk reaction to assume that the feds knew how to properly manage the resource?

      Anywho, those “dumb asses” achieved their goal: “The government called off the logging.” I don’t know that I am smart enough to subvert federal forces without getting my ass whupped or worse.

      1. The Feds mess up to. But the environmentalists are no help either. They object to any logging anywhere anytime. That has done great damage. The inability to cut undergrowth in Arizona caused a massive forest fire a few years ago that damaged a lot of habitat needlessly. They object to things like logging out juniper trees where they are weed species to protect hardwood forests.

        I am saying the Feds are not bad. They often are. But the environmentalists in my experience are just nuts.

  2. If being a neo-Luddite hippie qualifies as terrorism, well, go ahead and nuke Missoula, Montana. There are so many fucking terrorists here that it’s a national-security threat to NOT nuke it.
    Sure, I will be dead, and my parents, and my friends and my dog, but hey — the collateral damage will have been well worth it.

    1. We’re like Darth Vader, we prefer the “ship to ship” approach. You say you have a dog….?

    2. I took a shit in Missoula once. And here it is posting on H&R. Freaky!

      1. You forgot to wipe your filthy asshole.
        So I stocked away some TP to wipe the cum off your mother’s ass.

  3. Does that make “The Monkey Wrench Gang” a terrorist handbook?

    1. What about the Apple Dumpling Gang. That Don Knotts was a trained killer you know.

    2. Yes. So there should be a sequel where they have their citizenship stripped from them and are detained without trial indefinitely.

      And, the original book should be banned.

      1. I Live!

  4. Well, remember, we are in a law enforcement environment now that says that if you lie down in the street as a protest, it’s OK for the police to torture you with electric shocks or attack you with chemicals until you decide to get up and move.

    When the LEO system no longer knows how to recognize a distinction between activities that make enforcing the law inconvenient, unpleasant and expensive and activities that resist the law with violence, it’s not surprising that people who dig holes are classified as terrorists. They failed to obey police orders instantly and undertook a physical act that made enforcing a police order difficult. That makes them “violent”. I’m surprised none of them were shot.

    1. So what are the cops supposed to do? Ask them politely to get up? What happens when they don’t? Sometimes it is justified to use violence in order to defend property rights.

      1. They’re supposed to pick them up and move them. If they’re too heavy, get a wheelbarrow. As Fluffy said, tough shit if doing your job is inconvenient. It doesn’t mean you get to beat someone until they do what you ask.

        1. +eleventy. You get to use force on people who are violent, not people who are passively resisting you.

          1. exactly. we’ve had some good court cases in this regards recently. meeting passive resistance with violence is wrong, imo.

        2. Wait, what?

        3. If someone breaks into my house and refuses to leave, I don’t have to pick them up myself. I can get a tazer and say, “get the hell out”. I don’t see why cops shouldn’t be able to do the same thing.

          1. If they lie down on your floor and make no aggressive moves towards you, and you attack them with a taser, you better be prepared to lie and say you feared for your life.

            The law [and I] side with homeowners who use violence against intruders because it’s almost always automatically reasonable for the homeowner to assume that someone who has broken into their home is a physical threat to them. But if there were circumstances where it was not reasonable for you to think that, if you shot someone or tased someone rather than calling the police then you would deserve to be convicted of assault.

            The police should only be allowed to use pepper spray or tasers in situations where they fear for their safety or the safety of others, but where the use of a gun would not be appropriate or proportional.

            Because saying, “You need to do what I want or I will shock you with electricity until you do” is torture. It’s pretty much the dictionary definition of torture.

            One other reason why “cops shouldn’t be able to do the same thing” is because cops stand in a different relationship to public property than you do to your private property. If I break into your house with an axe, and you have to fight me, you are combating the crime of burglary and home invasion. If I lie down in the middle of the street and refuse to move, the police are combating the crime of jaywalking.

        4. Cops should have to go back to using night sticks. They give the arms more exercise and burn more calories than pushing a taser trigger.

      2. And some people feel it is OK to use violence to combat stupidity. You better get out of the country now before SWAT finds you.

    2. Poor Fluffy. Never met a cop you didn’t hate. There are very effective therapies out there now, some as simple as taking a pill. Seriously, though: get help.

      1. Question: What’s funnier than a dead cop?

        Answer: A dead cop in a clown suit.

        1. A dead cop killed by “friendly fire”. That is fucking hilarious! It never gets old and always brings a smile.

        2. I knew there was a reason cops all wear the 70’s ‘stache – the red nose wasn’t enough to be able to tell the difference because of all the alcoholic cops.

      2. Let’s say that I hate every cop living.

        I don’t, but let’s say that I do.

        Even if I did, it would make no difference to the question of whether or not police should be allowed to torture people who lie down in the street rather than volunteer to move when arrested.

        1. fuck, i *am* a cop and i don’t think they should be able to use pain compliance on passive resistance. it’s a reasonable stance to take, regardless of whether or not one loves, hates, or whatever da police

  5. Ecoterrorism has ranged from mostly harmless stunts to the truly harmful (the Unabomber fitting into the latter). Tactics such as tree-spiking and arson can be correctly classified as terrorism quite besides the “eco” affix. In this case, though, it appears that the ecoterrorists in question fit in the former category.

    On a side note, is anyone else surprised that Sugarfree hasn’t indulged in some Kagan slashfic yet?

    1. I don’t know that even tree spiking shoudl be considered terrorism. Sabotage, and assault if anyone is hurt might be more appropriate. I think terrorism must necessarily have a broader impact and be intended to cause fear in large populations.

      1. How fearful are you of IEDs in Iraq? Or is that just “war.”

        1. War.

          For fun let’s assume the shoe was on the other foot and some foreign power was occupying the US with overwhelming force. They’ve instituted a communist society, eliminated private property and have done many other things offensive to your belief system.

          You want them to leave and take their puppet government with them. Given their overwhelming power you resort to bombings, sniper attacks and assaults against populations who back them.

          Are you a terrorist or a “freedom fighter”, revolutionary (or counter-revolutionary), enemy combatant, soldier (which if you have an organized group might fit) .. etc. I suspect you would not consider yourself a terrorist and neither did the Viet Cong, the French Resistance, the Norwegian Milorg, or our own Revolutionary Army…

          I’m not saying that the Iraq opposition are right — in fact I consider many of their factions enemies — but I am not sure all of them count as terrorists – with the possible exception of Al Qaeda.

          1. For fun let’s assume the shoe was on the other foot and some foreign power was occupying the US with overwhelming force. They’ve instituted a communist society, eliminated private property and have done many other things offensive to your belief system.

            Shhhhhhh…..

      2. “”I think terrorism must necessarily have a broader impact and be intended to cause fear in large populations.””

        Like David Berkowitz?

        1. Terrorism is a means to a political end. Berkowitz’ goals were personal, not political.

      3. I don’t know that even tree spiking shoudl be considered terrorism.

        Hitting a spike with a chainsaw would probably change your mind.

        1. Collateral damage. Besides, loggers aren’t really human like us. They all deserve to die. Just like the pigs.

          1. Can I make bacon from loggers?

            1. There’s a reason it’s called long pig.

            2. Yes

        2. The way I remember it back when spiking was the thing, spikers were careful to identify areas that had been spiked.

          You know, because the goal was to have them not be cut down. The goal was to make the trees more expensive to harvest, a sort of hippy version of what military types call ‘area denial’, only without the explosives and kids missing limbs and stuff.

          Had the goal been to hurt people, trees be damned, then they wouldn’t have warned anyone. And that would be more like,

      4. Perhaps before tree-spiking was widely known to be potentially fatal to loggers and mill workers, I would agree with you.

        But with its potential to hurt or kill others being common knowledge, I would say that tree-spiking at the very least carries the threat of violence with the intent of effecting political or social change. Given that such acts are perpetrated by ideologically motivated political groups, it seems hard to define it as anything other than terrorism.

  6. Jeepers, Jesse; anybody who disobeys a lawful order from a government official is a terrorist. Pay attention.

    1. a lawful order from a government official

      but there are so few of those.

      1. OH, there are plenty of laws, so it is always ‘lawful’. Whether it is constitutional is another question.

    2. Anybody who disobeys an lawful order from a government official is a terrorist.

      FIFY

  7. On a side note, is anyone else surprised that Sugarfree hasn’t indulged in some Kagan slashfic yet?

    He’s probably rubbing out an epic masterpiece, the reading of which would no doubt cause the strongest man to weep. I’ve already taken the precaution of removing all sharp objects from within reach of my desk, lest i be overcome, and go after my own junk with an Xacto knife.

  8. Interesting article about thousands of pages of conversations involving Gorbachev, Biden, KGB etc.

    Who would have thought that Biden and Gorbachev really don’t care if innocent people are murdered? it seems many here believe these are just foolish people who have no concept of what is happening…very naive.
    http://www.city-journal.org/20…..hives.html

    1. Only serves as proof that most people are only concerned with the ends, not the means.

  9. Had a ‘brown scare’ this morning. Just made it, thanks for asking.

  10. I don’t know that even tree spiking shoudl be considered terrorism.

    I wouldn’t call it terrorism, nor would I call sabotage and vandalism of expensive equipment terrorism. But it wouldn’t exactly break my heart if the saboteurs got the shit kicked out of them by the people whose livelihood they are attempting to destroy.

  11. And let’s not forget the hell-hounds from Massachusetts, the terrorist-in-a-tux, the Boston Terrierorist.

    1. Shit. Don’t get that meme started, even as a joke, Aresen. I own lots of guns and live in a house with 5 Westies. I don’t need a SWAT raid because of my dogs being classified as foreign nationals and terrorists.

      1. I would say you are over-reacting.

        If I hadn’t just been over at Radley’s blog and seen today’s “Lunch Links”, that is.

        1. It’s my new codicil to Hanlon’s Razor. Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity, but when the stupid get malicious, all bets are off.

  12. If you want to read about the Kagan allegations, you can click through to the York story. What interests me here is the inflation of what qualifies as “eco-terrorism.”

    But neither of those things is interesting. The Warner Creek events themselves were.

    It seems to have been a case of the state staging (or at least assisting and prolonging) a protest against another part of itself in order to play-terrorize its way to a policy change.

    And the Warner Creek standoff-ers were terrorists (and feds), even if that’s not an example of it. Look ’em up. I don’t know how to not SugarFree a link, so?start with “Aikido Ferguson.”

    1. I’m familiar with the saga of the Eugene anarchists. Some of the Warner Creek protesters got into arson later on, along with forms of sabotage that I wouldn’t classify as terrorism but which certainly go beyond this sort of protest. But at this point even that subgroup wasn’t doing anything terroristic. The general consensus among the protesters at the time was that violence and vandalism would hurt the cause.

  13. Yep terrorists use fear and intimidation.

    That is terrorism.

    Walker seems to want to redefine the meaning of the word.

    They may be hippies but they are also terrorists.

    Jesse needs to go back and read some of ELF’s literature.

  14. This is “an eco-terrorist group”? By that standard, the students who occupied college offices in the ’60s were terrorists.

    The intent of the students usually was to get the college in question to do something specific. The eco-terrorists intent was to intimidate loggers in general by destroying and limiting access to their property.

    One thing that should be noted is that terrorism is defined by its intent. This is a good reason to keep the term terrorism out of law books (better to prosecute terrorists for their actions rather then their intent) it is not a good reason to redefine its meaning as Walker seems to want to do.

    1. The intent of the students usually was to get the college in question to do something specific.

      The intent of the Warner Creek protesters was also to get the loggers to do something specific: to not log the area they were blocking.

      But the important issue here isn’t the intent. It’s the tactic. Blocking a road is not terrorism.

    2. Guess what, Joshua –

      If I had people surround your employer with protestors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until they agreed to fire you, and I did this to every employer in the country, it would probably count as the use of “fear and intimidation”. But it wouldn’t be terrorism.

      Terrorism is the use of violence to instill fear and intimidation. Not people standing near you or lying down in your way.

      1. Have you seen some of these environmentalists? Having them lie down in your driveway would be pretty terrifying.

    3. um, intent is a big part of the law.

      to paraphrase an old legal analogy, if a man falls out of a window and onto a woman and his penis lands in her vagina, that’s an accident. if he puts his penis in his vagina on purpose without her consent, that’s rape

      same action, different intent. one is a crime, one isn’t.

      i think you mean “motivation” not intent.

      hate crime laws, for instance, which i am against, use MOTIVATION for additional penalties.

      but intent is extremely important.

      if i intend to run you over and do so, that’s murder

      if i do it unintentionally because i am a crappy-ass driver and i overshoot a turn, it isn’t (generally speaking)

  15. let’s assume the shoe was on the other foot and some foreign power was occupying the US with overwhelming force. They’ve instituted a communist society, eliminated private property and have done many other things offensive to your belief system.

    Assume?

  16. The definition creep surrounding the term “terrorist” and the overbroad use of the term by law enforcement and politicians makes me deeply suspicious of any attempt to carve out any “terrorist” exceptions to the application of the bill of rights. It is too easy to label dissenters with the terrorist label and justify removing any pretense that they enjoy civil liberties and rights under our constitution.

    In my view a terrorist is a person who physically attacks civilians for political purposes. I exclude from the definition anyone who attacks a military or paramilitary target. Attacks on property are only terrorist acts if they are performed without consideration of the possibility of human casualties.

    1. The definition creep surrounding the term “terrorist” torture

      FIFY

  17. I wonder how you would feel if instead of being a “hippie” making a point, you were a lumberman who couldn’t make any money that week because no logging could be done?
    It was not a prank to them

    1. Uh, Dale, this site is called “Reason” for, well, a reason. Emotional appeals, like “how would you feel” are not a valid substitute for facts and logic here.

      Sit quietly in the corner with the other noobs, and post when you have something meaningful to contribute.

      kthxbai!

  18. Encasing a car in concrete is not very green.

    1. They just want to get laid. The green stuff is just an act.

      1. Every time someone says this, I want to strangle them. Not only is it not possible for you to know all hippies’ motivations, but where is the evidence that professing eco-lefty leanings results in more sex? Isn’t the simpler explanation that people actually believe the things they profess to believe? Inability to reason isn’t limited to hippies, apparently. Moron.

        1. Some but not all of them do it just to get laid. Some but not all of them are true believers. Some but not all of them have entirely different motivations, like just wanting to fuck shit up.

        2. No, dipshit.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Maslow‘s_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg

          Breathing
          Food
          Water
          Sex
          Sleep
          Homeostasis
          Excretion

          1. Well, that clears things up. I take it all back now. Huh?

        3. There is a theory that everything males do, they do to get laid. YMMV.

        4. nobody said it results in more sex. they said the motivation (at least for many) is to get more sex. they may, or may not, be successful at same. pj orourke and many others have admitted to joining various lefty causes (back in the day) for pussy. it’s not an uncommon admission, at least from former hippies.

          PETA plays into this by putting hawt-ass-wimmins in skimpy outfits (or nothing at all), in some adverts.

    2. This was pre-global warming. Only Al Gore and Mike Mann were hip to carbon footprints.

    3. Depends if there was an “environmentalist” in the car at the time.

      😀

  19. I agree, Jesse. I have the same problem with calling libertarianism a movement. It’s more like a cult. Twenty or so (not counting trolls) posting nonsense here don’t constitute a movement. Let’s call a spade a spade.

    1. Ooh, you got us. We’re going to do our two minute “not caring about your opinions” now.

    2. Wah! Jesse’s point is unassailable, so I’ll just say stupid shit about how libertarianism is a cult, even though that has nothing to do with his argument! Wah!

  20. A group of activists took over the road leading into the forest and blocked it with large rocks and chunks of concrete. They dug trenches, some six feet deep, to prevent trucks from passing, and in one trench they embedded a car in concrete. They built a fortress and settled in for a showdown.

    Stop the fuck right there. Did they do an environmental impact study before doing all this shit out in the woods?

  21. If I had people surround your employer with protestors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until they agreed to fire you, and I did this to every employer in the country, it would probably count as the use of “fear and intimidation”. But it wouldn’t be terrorism.

    Unionism, sure. Terrorism, not so much.

  22. So if I understand correctly, these guys were non-violent terrorists who didn’t scare anyone. I am more pro-law enforcement than most people here, but I’m comfortable saying that if you don’t hurt anyone and you don’t scare anyone, you’re not a terrorist.

    1. How about “irritationist”?

    2. Well, since the Canadian Armed Forces don’t scare anyone, I guess they can’t be terrorists.

      1. There are many dead Americans, Germans, Italians and Afghans who would disagree with you.

  23. Isn’t the simpler explanation that people actually believe the things they profess to believe?

    In other words, People Are Idiots.

  24. I can understand why you resist the terrorist label, Jesse, as it is typically the state that is doing the defining, and the minions of the state that always do so to enhance their reach. However, on a personal level defining whom I would like to take a flamethrower to if I could get away with such actions, ‘ecoterrorist’ is a fine, even outstanding, word. It may not even be the antagonistic ideologies at play, but a matter of how much entertainment value you could get from the popping sound of lice exploding as you apply heat to hippie flesh.

    I get along with many lefties, hippies who bathe even, but smelly ecoterrorist need to be cleansed. On that note, have you ever passed Michael Stipe on a street in Athens GA? I don’t pay enough attention to his words to know if he is an ecoterrorist or not, but that mo fo can smell like a pile of rotting flesh baking in the sun. Bleh, don’t go to Athens GA without a handy flamethrower. Bring a lot of napalm. He isn’t the only one.

  25. Another great example of the expansion of the word terrorist. http://www.roanoke.com/news/nrv/wb/173027

    1. Jesus. I found another one just now by accident. I wasn’t even looking for it.
      http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/new…..tch-051310

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