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Federal Legislation Labels Activism As "Terrorism"

InformationLiberation | October 10 2006

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) is currently pending in Congress, and industry groups are doing their best to push it through quickly and with little public scrutiny, Patriot Act style, before Fall recess. Please act now to make sure that the War on Terrorism, and the tragedy of 9/11, isn't used to push a political agenda and silence dissent.

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act expands the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/aepa. Supporters say it is meant to stem illegal actions taken against controversial animal enterprises, or any company that does business with an animal enterprise. But the sweeping language in the bill goes much, much further:

AETA labels the tactics of Martin Luther King and Gandhi as "terrorism." It spells out penalties for "an offense involving exclusively a nonviolent physical obstruction of an animal enterprise or a business having a connection to, or relationship with, an animal enterprise, that may result in loss of profits but does not result in bodily injury..." In other words, a terrorism law includes nonviolent civil disobedience.

AETA risks the prosecution of undercover investigators, whistleblowers and other activists as "terrorists." It defines "economic damage" as including "the loss of profits." The extremely vague, overly broad language in the bill puts all activists at risk. Causing loss of profits isn't terrorism. It's effective activism. And even activists that aren't prosecuted under the law will feel the chilling effect of its "terrorist" rhetoric.

AETA isn't needed. Existing laws are already overly broad: the Animal Enterprise Protection Act was used to successfully convict the SHAC 7 this year on "terrorism" charges for running a website. And AETA's penalties for violence aren't needed, because the animal protection movement has never killed a human being. All Americans should be concerned, regardless of how they feel about animal issues. The word terrorism should not be batted around against the enemy of the hour, to push a partisan political agenda. Who will be next?

- Idausa.org


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