Radical environmental group torches SUVs in latest eco-terrorism act

Associated Press/January 5, 2003
By Todd Spangler

Pittsburgh -- In the latest in a string of vandalism carried out in the name of the Earth Liberation Front, members of the radical environmental group are claiming responsibility for a fire at a Pennsylvania auto dealership.

A posting on the group's Web site said the "attack" targeted SUVs in a fight "to remove the profit motive from the killing of the natural environment."

Jugs of gasoline were set ablaze under three vehicles, engulfing them and a nearby car in flames Wednesday at a dealership in Girard, about 110 miles north of Pittsburgh, FBI Special Agent Bob Rudge said. Three other vehicles also had jugs of gasoline set under them but failed to ignite.

"I have no reason to doubt that it's an individual who committed the acts on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front," Rudge said.

The FBI considers the Earth Liberation Front one of the nation's most prolific domestic terrorist organizations. It is thought to be responsible for the 1998 torching of a ski resort in Vail, Colo., an arson that caused $12 million in damage and is considered the most destructive act of eco-terrorism in U.S. history.

ELF is loosely organized. Anyone who carries out an action under the group's guidelines and claims responsibility as part of the organization is considered a member. Over the past year, its name has been attached to a string of vandalism in Pennsylvania.

Last month, the group's Web site said ELF members and cells from the Animal Liberation Front set a Nov. 26 fire at a mink farm in Erie. The fire destroyed a barn, but no animals or people were harmed.

The group also claimed responsibility for an Aug. 11 fire at an unoccupied forest research station near Warren and the torching in March of a construction crane at a bridge work site in Erie, Rudge said.

ELF's claims of responsibility typically come through its Web site, where managers say they serve only as a media conduit for the group. A manager who did not provide an identity said in an e-mail that the communique about Wednesday's fire came in anonymously, as do all reports of ELF attacks.

Rudge said that communique, posted on the Web site, appeared to be authentic because it included information that hadn't been made public.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.