Scott Tibbs
Published by
Hoosier Press
January 7th, 2006

Back to Opinion columns.

Is the FBI "spying" at Indiana University?

The American Civil Liberties Union issued a press release claiming that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been conducting surveillance at an animal rights conference at the "University of Indiana". The FBI denied monitoring the conference in the December 21 Herald-Times. All snickering about the ACLU's unique way of referring to Indiana University aside, the civil liberties advocacy group may want to rethink raising the alarm bell about this.

Bloomington and Monroe County are quite familiar with eco-terrorism and "animal rights" terrorism. Both the Earth Liberation Front and its sinister sister organization, the Animal Liberation Front, have been actively engaged in violence and terrorism in this area for the past six years. Other Leftists, unaffiliated with the ELF/ALF axis of evil, have also engaged in behavior ranging from uncivil to violent over the same period. A reminder of Leftist misbehavior over the last six years:

  1. January 2000: The ELF torched a home in Sterling Woods to protest development.
  2. April 2000: The ELF attacked logging equipment, causing an estimated $500,000 worth of damage.
  3. June 2000: the ELF claimed responsibility for spiking trees in Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests to "discourage" logging. Tree spikes can be deadly to loggers if not discovered in time.
  4. September 2000: The ELF attempted to burn down the headquarters of the Monroe County Republican Party to protest Interstate 69 and send a message to Congressman John Hostettler.
  5. October 2000: The ELF destroyed logging equipment in Martin State Forest.
  6. March 2001: The ELF called for "militant" action against the FBI.
  7. April 2001 A "Critical Mass" activist tackled a police officer and trapped him under a bicycle as he was arresting another activist.
  8. September 2001: Sport Utility Vehicles are attacked, eco-terrorists (who have a history of destroying SUV's) are suspected.
  9. May 2002: The ALF firebombed a poultry distribution plant in Bloomington.
  10. June 2002: The home of local engineer Steve Smith is set ablaze and destroyed. No one claims responsibility, but eco-terrorists are suspected as this development was a bitterly opposed by local environmentalists.
  11. August 2002: Opponents of Interstate 69 turned a public meeting into a circus, and former Monroe County commissioner Kirk White had to be escorted out of the meeting for his own safety.
  12. October 2003: The ELF claimed responsibility for an attack on a Martinsville Wal-Mart. The ELF later retracted the claim, but the attack was done by opponents of development.

Such behavior is not new to this millennium. "Environmentalists" protesting logging brought a chainsaw into the office of Congressman John Hostettler in October of 1997, running it in the office doorway. Anti-interstate activists have also vandalized stop signs to promote their cause. It is clear that this area has a major problem with not only incivility, but that the presence of the ELF/ALF axis of evil is a major threat to the safety and property of people here in south central Indiana.

Unfortunately, the ELF is not as universally reviled as it should be. David Haberman, an associate professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University, defended the Earth Liberation Front in a February 2001 column in the Herald-Times. The Unitarian Universalist Church invited ELF/ALF spokesman Craig Rosebraugh to Bloomington for a panel discussion in 2000. Rosebraugh moved on to advocating for other terrorists, including calling for anti war activists to "attack the financial centers of the country", engage in "large scale urban rioting", and "actively target U.S. military establishments" and "use any means necessary to slow down the functioning of the murdering body."

There is a major concern that the Animal Liberation Front, which has in the past prided itself in not hurting animals or people, may soon escalate their violence from arson and bombings to cold blooded murder. ALF spokesman Jerry Vlasak said "I don't think you'd have to kill assassinate too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives." "Animal rights" terrorists in the United Kingdom have already resorted to attacking human beings, including the brutal beating of an executive of Huntington Life Sciences.

Indiana Civil Liberties Union executive director Fran Quigley had this to say about the alleged FBI spying: "It's hard to see how surveillance of animal-rights groups makes us safer from terrorism." Obviously Quigley has not been paying attention for the last several years. The Herald-Times chimed in with an editorial showing they are living in a September 10th world.

It goes without saying that any surveillance of "animal rights" or environmentalists groups must be done within the law and all protections under the Bill of Rights bust be observed. But the FBI has not only a right but a responsibility to keep an eye on radical activists in the Bloomington area. There have been too many acts of terrorism for the FBI to not be working to prevent future terrorist acts and to hunt down and imprison eco-terrorists and "animal rights" terrorists in order to keep law-abiding citizens safe.