Islamic terrorism may be a distant threat for Shearer Lumber Products, a timber company based in Idaho. But eco-terrorism is a very real one. In November, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), an underground organization, gave warning that it had“spiked”trees in the Nez Perce national forest to protest against logging. Spiking involves hiding metal bars in tree trunks, thereby potentially crippling chain saws and hurting people. More such attacks are expected. How do they fit into America’s war on terrorism?
The nation’s forests have seen a sharp increase in violent incidents—equipment vandalized, people intimidated—over the past ten years. Shearer now carefully inspects every tree before cutting and has been using metal detectors to check every trunk being processed. Yet Ihor Mereszczak, of the Nez Perce Forest Service, says it has been hard to get the FBI’s attention, and investigations have got nowhere.
The ELF is only one thread in a web of underground radical environmentalists. Its aim is to inflict as much financial pain as possible on organizations or people who, by its lights, are exploiting the environment. The ELF, though made up of anonymous cells, nonetheless operates a website offering tips on how to cause fires with electric timers. Until recently, it also had a public spokesman.
Together with the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which operates along the same lines, the ELF is estimated to be responsible for over $45m-worth of damage in North America over the past few years. In 1998, it caused fires that did $12m-worth of damage in Vail, Colorado, to make the point that the ski resort’s expansion was threatening places where lynxes live. Earlier this year, the ELF burned down the offices of a lumber company in Oregon. Since September 11th, the ALF and ELF have claimed responsibility for starting a fire at a primate research center in New Mexico, releasing mink from an Iowa fur farm, and firebombing a federal corral for wild horses in California.
Are they terrorists? The two groups reject the label, claiming to take all precautions against harming “animals, whether humans or not”. But earlier this year Louis Freeh, the FBI’s boss, listed both organizations among the most active domestic terrorist groups. Scott McInnis, the Republican congressman whose district includes Vail, argues it is only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt, and he now expects the FBI to put in more resources.
The House subcommittee on forests, which Mr McInnis heads, will hold a hearing on eco-terrorism in February. But he has annoyed some mainstream green groups by asking them to denounce the ELF’s and ALF’s methods. Greenpeace, for instance, says that its disapproval is self-evident, and resents being asked to express it. Mr. McInnis still wants their answer by December 1st, but the war on eco-terrorism is off to a rocky start.
1. What did the ELF do to Shearer Lumber Products?
[A] Hurt its employees. [B] Crippled its equipments. [C] Hid metals in its trees. [D] Protested against its spiking.
2. We can infer from the passage that_____.
[A] Shearer has experienced many violent incidents [B] new tools have been used to investigate terrorists
[C] FBI has been active in the war on eco-terrorism [D] ELF openly declares its beliefs and ends
3. According to ELF, all of the following are environmentally harmful except_____.
[A] causing fire in the houses [B] expanding ski resort [C] doing research on animals [D] invading into animal habitats
4. It is true of radical environmentalists that they_____.
[A] aim at causing damage to companies [B] resort to violence to achieve their purpose
[C] will do no harm to real people [D] are divided on opinions about terrorism
5.The best title for the text may be_____ .
[A] The Green Threat [B] Protecting Forests [C] Earth’s Liberation [D] Terrorism Defeated
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