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FBI Issues Eco-Terror Warning

June 12, 2004|From Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The FBI has told law enforcement agencies across the country that radical environmentalists may stage protests, possibly violent ones, this weekend in support of a jailed arsonist.

The FBI bulletin said the Earth Liberation Front reportedly was planning a "day of action and solidarity" that could include acts of eco-terrorism, according to Tor Bjornstad, a police commander in Olympia, one of nine cities named as possible targets.

Bjornstad said the others were San Francisco; Modesto; Eugene, Ore.; Morgantown, W.Va.; Portland, Maine; Worcester, Mass.; Lake Worth, Fla.; and Lawrence, Kan.

The general warning was part of a weekly intelligence bulletin the FBI distributed to about 18,000 law enforcement agencies Wednesday, said Bill Carter, a spokesman in the FBI's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

No specific targets were identified in the bulletin, Bjornstad said. He said his department contacted what it considered potential targets, including auto dealerships, building contractors and the Port of Olympia, which exports timber.

"We have to take it seriously, and one of the reasons is that this group has claimed credit for a fair amount of criminal activity in the past several years," Bjornstad said.

ELF has been linked to fires and vandalism at agricultural research labs, logging operations, car dealerships and construction sites. The group has defended its actions as efforts to stop companies from profiting from exploitation of the environment.

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