- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Extremist environmentalists are planning a Capitol Hill protest today to coincide with a House hearing on ecoterrorism in national forests.
Craig Rosebraugh, former North American spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), has been subpoenaed to testify today before the Resources Committee's subcommittee on forests and forest health.
ELF and its sister group, Animal Liberation Front (ALF), are calling for a "national day of action against state repression" to protest Mr. Rosebraugh's forced appearance and the "rotten imperialist U.S. system."
Mr. Rosebraugh stepped down as spokesman after he was subpoenaed Oct. 31 to testify against the organization.
"We subpoenaed Craig Rosebraugh because we want to find out what he knows. He is the public face of ecoterrorism," said Rep. Scott McInnis, Colorado Republican and subcommittee chairman.
A protest permit was granted for 75 persons, but congressional aides say they expect more than 100 protesters.
"Because of threats and calls for protests, security surrounding the hearing will be very tight," said a statement issued yesterday by the subcommittee.
Additional protests on Mr. Rosebraugh's behalf are scheduled today in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit; Olympia, Wash.; and Portland, Ore.
Since 1997, Mr. Rosebraugh has been subpoenaed to appear before seven grand juries, and his home and office were twice raided by federal officials, he said in his opening statement posted on a Web site promoting today's protest (www.protectcivilliberties.com).
"As I have never been charged with one crime related to these so-called ecoterrorist organizations or their activities, the constant harassment by the federal government constitutes a serious infringement on my constitutional right to freedom of speech," Mr. Rosebraugh said.
"This congressional subcommittee hearing appears to be no different, harassing and targeting me for simply voicing my ideological support for those involved in environmental protection," he said.
The purpose of the hearing is to "probe the growing menace on the national forests" and to advance legislation to give law enforcement officials tools to identify and capture lawbreakers, according to the hearing briefing paper.
For more than a decade extremist groups have used intimidation and damage to government facilities, private homes, businesses, university buildings and research labs, causing more than $40 million in damages, Mr. McInnis said.
In 1998, ELF claimed responsibility for torching buildings owned by the Vail Resort ski company in Mr. McInnis' congressional district, causing $12 million in damage.
The group took credit for torching a building and equipment used to build a genetics lab Feb. 2 at the University of Minnesota, causing $250,000 in damage.
"We must strip away the Robin Hood mystique and perceived high ground that some have given these radicals. It's just a matter of time before a human life is taken," Mr. McInnis said.
Richard Berman, executive director for Center for Consumer Freedom, will testify that extremist groups last year claimed responsibility for 137 crimes, causing $17.3 million in damage.
"I am not talking about protests or other forms of civil disobedience that are protected by the First Amendment. Rather, America's present environmental and animal-rights terrorists have committed arsons, assaults, vandalism on a massive scale that cripple food producers and resource providers and occasionally lay waste to entire restaurants," Mr. Berman said.


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