Congressional Update - February 13, 2002:
ECO-TERRORISM HEARINGS HELD IN CONGRESS
Former Earth Liberation Front Spokesman Refuses to Testify
He may not care about Private Property, but the Fifth Amendment was Craig Rosebraugh's refuge when questioned by the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.
He resorted to "Taking the Fifth" when refusing to answer questions that could be self-incriminating on February 12. However, Earth Liberation Front's former spokesman Rosebraugh had maintained a web site that announced with "ideological...support" each violent instance of the organization's damage to private property, including a fire that caused $12 million in damage to a ski resort in Vail, Colorado in 1998 and put the national spotlight on the danger posed by eco-terrorism.
Earth Liberation Front (ELF) had confined its acts of destruction to private property to the West for many years. In late 2000, however, ELF expanded its acts of terrorism to the East Coast, when they caused multi-million dollar damage to new homes on Long Island.
In spite of his protestations, Mr. Rosebraugh apparently couldn't resist testifying. He submitted an 11-page written testimony, available from the subcommittee or by visiting the web site of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, where the entire hearing record is posted.
Congressman urges: Cut off funding of eco-terrorists.
Rep. George R. Nethercutt, Jr. (R., Wash.) presented written testimony as well as an oral statement:
"Free the hands of law enforcement authorities. Isolate terrorists from allies and assistance. Cut off their funding. Give them no rest and no quarter," he urged.
"National environmental groups need to know, you are either for us or against us," he said, drawing a parallel with the current U.S. campaign against international terrorism. "...Financing and harboring terrorists is no different from directly completing the acts."
Terrorism has hit home in Rep. Nethercutt's district. On May 21, 2001, ELF firebombed the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture. It burned to the ground, sustaining $5.3 million in physical damage, as well as the loss of a lifetime of work for some researchers. "That same day, a poplar tree farm in Oregon was firebombed with almost identical devices," he pointed out, to make clear the interstate connections justifying federal action. The Representative was concerned that too long these acts of terrorism were noted locally, while their national scope was ignored.
The committee members crossed party lines in their condemnation of U.S.-based eco-terrorism. Rep. Greg Walden (R, Ore.) said. "Let's call ELF and ALF for what they truly are terrorist organizations," he said. "They destroy private and government property. They teach others how to conduct dangerous and illegal acts."
Rep. Nick Rahall (D, W. Va.), who is the ranking member of the full Resources Committee, said that eco-terrorism includes the theft of valuable government-owned timber.
Nethercutt quoted a recent magazine article about the ELF's reaction to September 11 where Rosebraugh said, "Anyone in their right mind would realize the United States had it coming." The article quoted another ELF activist saying, "I cheered when the plane hit the Pentagon."
One of the committee's two bills to counter eco-terrorism is the Agroterrorism Prevention Act of 2001 (H.R. 2795) sponsored by Rep Nethercutt, which would extend federal protection of all commercial and academic agricultural research and would give the FBI additional intelligence authority. New implementation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) would strengthen the FBI. Rep. Walden and Rep. Darlene Hooley (D, Ore.) are sponsoring another bill with somewhat similar ideas, the Environmental Terrorism Reduction Act (H.R. 2583), but with a twist of defining a "high-intensity environmental terrorism area" that would make an area eligible for federal funds.
Congressman Scott McInnis is the Chairman of the Subcommittee
on Forests and Forest Health.
Center for Defense of Free Enterprise web site:
(Full testimony of the February 12, 2002 Eco-Terrorism Hearing in the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health)
Address of Members of the House of Representatives:
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121