April 30, 2000: Environmentalist attack in the US

On April 30, 2000 members of the Earth Liberation Front carried out an arson attack against logging equipment in Indiana, causing $500,000 in damage.

ELETTSVILLE, INDIANA – We can all agree – or at least I think we can agree – that the climate is going to hell in a handbasket but does that justify terrorism to stop it?

Having a passion about something can indeed be a very good thing. Say you have a favourite sports team. Me, I like the Montreal Canadiens. I am not a ‘fanatic‘ per se, but I am a fan. It is fun seeing other ‘Habs’ fans and sharing our common liking for the single most successful hockey team in NHL history.

Then there are less admirable passions. Take serial killers. They love taking other people’s lives. That is NOT a good thing.

Ukraine? What is this Ukraine thing you are on about? What about the 10 million dead in the Holodomor? (Photo: Antonio MarĂ­n Segovia on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Having a passion for nature and the environment is also a good thing – usually. Wanting to protect the great outdoors and not bring the planet to the brink of unliveability is a noble cause. But on occasion nature lovers can go too far, even to acts of terrorism.

On this day in 2000

Members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) carried out arson attacks against logging equipment in Bloomington, Indiana, causing $500,000 in damage. No one was injured in the attack in which gas tanks and oil crankcases were filled with sand, fuel and hydraulic lines were cut, and a tractor-trailer filled with wood chips was set on fire.

Go develop in Hell.

ELF words emblazoned on the tractor-trailer

I know what some of you are saying. The sabotage of logging vehicles is not a serious act of violence and hence not an act of terrorism. While I cannot say exactly what qualifies as such in US law I do know that the terrorism provisions in the Canadian Criminal Code state “…causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property…” for a political, ideological or religious cause.

Case closed.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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