THE GREEN SCARE is something you need to know about if you are an environmentalist, an animal advocate, or even a social justice advocate, regardless of the types of action you participate in. The term ‘green scare‘ specifically refers to the government’s expanding efforts in prosecuting, harassing, and villianizing animal and ecological activists. It draws parallels to the “Red Scares” of the 1910’s and 1950s. In essence, it is a deliberate effort to “chill” dissent, activism, and campaigning that economically damages the industries benefiting from the exploitation of animals and the natural environment. It is first known to have appeared in 2002 in the wake of the February 12 congressional hearings titled “The Threat of Eco-Terrorism”, and its most notorious incarnation is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (S. 3880), a current United States federal law introduced by Republican Thomas Petri of Wisconsin. The law was passed under a suspension of rules (a motion made in order to accomplish something that is normally not allowed.) Of the six representatives present to vote, Dennis Kucinich is the the only one who expressed opposition, saying the bill was “written in such a way as to have a chilling effect on the exercise of the constitutional rights of protest… people who, the law says, well, their first amendment rights are protected…“
The Green Scare has resulted in animal and environmental activists being legally considered on-par with murderous terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda – equating property destruction and liberating animals with taking lives. Prosecutors and juries now consider any criminal activities conducted in the name of animal advocacy or environmentalism ‘terrorism‘, and trials in the United States and the UK (having similar laws), have resulted in activists being condemned to especially lengthy prison sentences – sometimes lengthier than those given to many rapists, child molesters, and murderers.
Friend of DB, Kelly Overton wrote on CounterPunch in 2007, “The imprisonment of the group, known as SHAC 7, is nothing more than history repeating itself. Those who first called for an end to slavery were imprisoned. Those who believed women should vote went to jail. Civil rights activists, supporters of gay and lesbian rights, and now animal rights activists have all been jailed.”
The United States Department of Homeland Security names the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front as the top two domestic terrorist threats, even though no person has ever been injured or killed in an action claimed by those groups. This may seem illogical, but it clarifies the true interests and role of government in curbing activism – protecting the profits of corporations at any cost, even when corporate activities threaten to undermine the stability of the planet’s ecosystems (which our lives depend upon). Television shows like Law & Order have parodied the ‘eco-terror’ phenomenon, often exaggerating the circumstances to involve murders, which paints a very inaccurate picture in the minds of mainstream, television-watching people.
Corporate news sources do a poor job of objectively covering (or covering at all!) the chilling effect of this campaign – so much so that most people don’t even know it’s happening! One of the most worrisome aspects of this campaign is that it is suspected to be part of a broader initiative to chill dissent in general – and since animal and environmental advocates have fewer mainstream sympathizers than most, they are the easiest targets.
A scene from the upcoming documentary on the Green Scare:
For More Info:
ELP News: ecoprisoners.org
Civil Liberties Defense Center: www.CLDC.org
Break the Chains: www.breakthechains.info