ALF Visits Bel Air

No, not that ALF, this one. Basically these are the guys that break into labs and set animals free. There’s obviously more to it that that, but that’s the basic jist of it. It should be noted that unlike any other organization there is no central leadership in the ALF, anyone who does anything to help further the cause of stopping tests on animals is said to be an ALF member. It’s super popular with idealistic high shcool and college kids, and there are endless punk rock bands who have written songs supporting them.

_41161261_alfpa203ind.jpgAccording to the ALF Press Office, some people, perhaps members of the UCLA Primate Freedom Project set out the other night to scare Lynn Fairbanks, who works at UCLA testing drug addition, criminality and violence on 725 monkeys in her care. (On a side note the PFP notes that “…it is shocking that a researcher is using animals to study social problems unique to humans. Ask Fairbanks about alcoholism and bank robberies in monkeys.”) I say they set out to scare her, because the press release states that they left a moletov cocktail on her door step and unless I have no idea what I’m talking about (which is always possible), moletov cocktail’s are pretty much usless unless thrown at something causing them to break and ignite. Anyway, that’s not the interesting part – this morning the LAFD Blog points to an FBI Press Release saying this was a “terrorist attack”, but also suggesting someone had the wrong address. The FBI release doesn’t name names, but does reference an “unintended target” and says “Investigation has determined that a residence in the neighborhood is the frequent target of protests by animal rights groups.”

Sounds like they went to the wrong house to me, but is this really a “terrorist attack”? Or is it just a few people who took something way too far. The ALF creedo posted clearly on their site says that theirs is “…a nonviolent campaign, activists taking all precautions not to harm any animal (human or otherwise).” which would pretty much rule against them trying to kill someone which seems to be implied in the FBI Release. And what if it is, is the FBI going to swamp high schools and start rounding up students who have ALF stickers and patches on their book bags, or start questioning the kids who hang on Melrose with Crass t-shirts? I mean really, are people who set lab rats free in the same boat as Al-Qaeda or Hamas?

28 Replies to “ALF Visits Bel Air”

  1. They intentiuonally placed an explosive device on someone’s property to scare them into doing or not doing something. That’s a terrorist act, pure and simple. Doesn’t matter who they are, that should earn them jail time.

  2. I’m not defending these guys who can’t even figure out a street address, or suggesting that putting a bomb on someone’s doorstep, intending for it to go off or not, is a good idea. It’s a stupid idea. A stupid, illegal, and dangerous idea. I’m asking if throwing around terms like “terrorist” in relation to outwardly non-violent groups is a good idea, and if the actions of a few idiots should reflect on others who don’t share their methods, and how that will effect other people associated with any kind of animal rights work? If the ALF is a terrorist organization, is the Min Pin Rescue an offshoot? Where is line?

  3. Good question. I’d say its probably overkill to call them a terrorist group.

    I’m sure you know about the high number of straight edge animal rights activist kids in SLC. They were even named by the FBI as a top 10 terrorist group to watch during the SLC Olympic Games. I mean, c’mon…

  4. A Molotov cocktail is a weapon. The message is clear: “You are not safe. We can get you. We can destroy your home and hurt you and your family.”

    Clearly, ALF seeks to achieve its ends by terrorizing people.

    They are terrrorists, plain and simple.

  5. Are these guys as much of a danger as Al-Qaeda? Not by a long shot. But with all due respect, you’ve got your head up your ass if you think that putting an explosive device on someone’s doorstep is anything but a violent act. I guess it’s okay to point a gun at your head, as long as I don’t pull the trigger, right?

  6. Um, yeah, never said it wasn’t a violent act. Is putting a gun to my head terrorism? That’s what I’m asking, where is the line between terrorism and just a crime?

  7. Sounds to me like terrorism, and should be treated as such. The Unabomber was considered a terrorist, and he was only one man.

    The definition, I believe, is using intimidation or acts of violence to reach a political or religious mean.

    While it could be some rogue ALF members who left the molotov cocktail, its clear that the ALF Press Office are unapologetic and even sympathetic of terrorist acts.

  8. These individuals are terrorists and should be treated as such. They are misguided individuals who threaten the lives of researchers at UCLA and other universities. They are terrorists because they seek to distroy or slow the progress of science that is being conducted for the betterment of mankind. These researchers undergo rigorous animal and research ethics committee approvals for the work they do and are not exactly having fun working with unruly, aggressive, and filthy animals.

    The animals are treated with respect and the amount of money spent on making sure they are comfortable, have a stimulating environment, and are healthy is quite possibly more than what it costs to maintain a 3 year old child.

    It’s sad that a bunch of uneducated individuals (terrorists) can place such strain and stress on researchers who are trying to further science and make life better for us all. I wonder how those terrorists would feel, or if they would even be alive, if all the vaccines, medicines, and other medical discoveries they benefit from, which were discovered in large part through animal research, were taken away from them.

    They’re terrorists, period.

  9. The unabomber killed a bunch of people, I’m comfortable with that classification as a terrorist. Telling a child he/she is going to burn in hell and suffer for eternity if they don’t follow your set of rules is pretty clearfly using acts of intimidation to reach a religious mean, are many chrisitian churches terrorists then?

    And to the Secret Anon guy who isn’t even comfortable backing up his statements with his real name, let’s not turn this discussion into if testing on animals is valid as that debate is still out in much of the scientific community, or if the end justifies the means, as that debate is still out in most of civilized society. We’re talking about a specific situation, please keep to that.

  10. “Telling a child he/she is going to burn in hell and suffer for eternity if they don’t follow your set of rules is pretty clearfly using acts of intimidation to reach a religious mean, are many chrisitian churches terrorists then?”

    I don’t know if warning that bad things will happen to someone in THE AFTERLIFE is terrorism by the definition I provided. Very unusual comparison…

    But if the conversation is just about THIS particular incident, YES its an act of domestic terrorism.

    If you look at the other communiques on the website, you’ll see that the group has called in bomb threats at Red Lobsters and bombed city politcians with military grade smoke bombs.

    Are bomb threats acts of terrorism or just pranks?

    I’d say the former, especially in the wake of 9/11. People don’t take these sorts of things as jokes.

  11. I don’t know, the high school I went to closed early a few times every year because someone called in a bomb threat. Same thing happened to the other schools in the area, and it was almost a rite of passage for Varsity Footbal Players to call in threats to get the day off. Some people were really upset about it, some people thought it was a big joke. I’d never say my highschool was the subject of repeated terrorist attacks.

  12. Sean, you specifically implied that ALF is an “outwardly non-violent group.” I’m a little curious if you would choose to give the same benefit of the doubt to an anti-abortion group whose members had threatened abortion doctors. I’m guessing the answer to that is a resounding “no.”

  13. Considering that ALF’s bomb threats were coordinated, had a purpose, were apprarently made by adults who have now gone above and beyond created molotov cocktails… yeah, still domestic terrorism.

    Kids do stupid shit. Like calling in bomb threats to get a day off from school. But there is no political or religious intent. Regardless, police and administrative officials will look at the bomb threats, try and determine INTENT (important to determine in all prosecutions). ALF’s intent is to scare the crap out of people so they fear for their lives unless they change their day to day actions.

  14. I’m just not buying it.

    I don’t think abortion protestors are terrorists either, even if the blow up buildings, even if they kill people. Criminals yes, terrorists no. I think since 9/11 people throw that term around non-stop to the point where it has little to no meaning anymore, which is dangerous because of things like the patriot act which deny anyone classified as a terrorist a whole set of rights most people have. I think it takes a lot more than phoning in a bomb threat or leaving a molotov cocktail on someones doorstep to be a terrorist, even if both probably deserve a visit from the athorities.

  15. The theoretical timeline you’re going by is off, Sean. Anti-abortion and animal rights extremists were classified as terrorist groups well before 9/11. To chalk this up to post-9/11 hysteria is misguided and simply not borne out by the facts. As for me, I’m more than happy to classify someone who blows up an abortion clinic as a terrorist. The only other place I’ve seen this sort of moral equivocation on anti-abortion zealots is in the far right wing of the Republican Party.

  16. I agree with Sean that the term terrorist is used way too much, but I don’t see how people who blow up abortion clinics couldn’t be considered terrorists – I would say that is a given.

    ALF breaking into labs to set rats free isn’t a terrorist act, but threatening and intimidating lab techs and others certainly is. Maybe my definition should include that the targets are typically engaging in legal activities…

    Sean – I’m curious to hear what your definition of a terrorist is. Was Tim McVeigh a terrorist? Was the Unabomber? And if so, what differentiates them from Eric Rudolph or others who attack abortion clinics?

  17. I think the sheer death toll of McVeigh speaks for itself, obviously he’s a terrorist. I don’t think simple murder or vandalism is terrorism, no matter how terrorizing it might be.

  18. Rapstar – so my only option is to be a hypocrite or a right wing republican?

    And David, sorry I missed this, I’m of the opinion that the Unabomber was more akin to a serial killer than a terrorist, even if he wasn’t that successful.

  19. I think the key thing to remember about the Unabomber was that he was politically motivated. He used the threat and history of violent acts as a means to an end. His goal was to promote a particular world view through the publication and dissemmination of his writings in hopes of converting people to stop technological progress.

    The Unabomber was a terrorist. He was successful, in that his goal of being published was achieved. He put a bomb on a passenger jet, for heaven’s sake … only through his incompetence were the passengers spared. If he blew up the plane, you would certainly count him as a terrorist, wouldn’t you?

    A serial killer is widely regarded as a murdered who kills for thrills either sexual or to feel powerful. The goal is the kill. They may enjoy the game, but the game is all a way to make the kill more invigorating.

    By this definition hit-men do not qualify as serial killers. They’re motivated by money and/or loyalties.

    Terrorists work outside the law to achieve their goals – through intimidation, threats, false alarms and outright violence. When political/religious/ideological messages accompany such acts, they’re considered terrorism.

  20. I’m pretty sure the FBI doc I’m referring to in the post is following law enforcement definitions which is what I’m questioning. My comment about the unabomber was that he wasn’t a sucessful serial killer, having only killed 3 people.

  21. Yes, this was a terrorist act. Yes, the ALF are terrorists. They are using real violence/the threat of real violence to push their ideology.

    Does a church that threatens hell count as a terrorist group? No, but a church that threatens the lives of its members is a terrorist group.

    It really doesn’t matter that they claim to be non-violent. Typing “I’m the Queen of England” here doesn’t make me the Queen of England, seeing as how I’m not.

  22. ALF = Terrorists

    “Animal Rights Groups and Ecology Militants Make DHS Terrorist List, Right-Wing Vigilantes Omitted”

    http://www.cq.com/public/20050325_homeland.html

    The ALF individuals are insane and irrational and have done horrible things to threaten and terrorize the lives of some of the people I have worked with in the not-so-distant past. In response to Mr. Bonner, I post as “Anon,” to protect my identity and safety so as to avoid threats. I hope you never have to find out how militant and insane these individuals are. They also lead to tons of wasted tax dollars as security at the UCs is beefed up and additional resources are expended whenever they make threats or have rallys/protests on campus.

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