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Eco-Terrorist Academic Chic
By Bill Croke
Published 1/29/2003 12:04:00 AM

Special Report

American academia has long found conservative ideas and their proponents to be
anathema. Every speech or seminar appearance by a conservative is an occasion
for the typically ugly histrionics of the Left, with people censored or shouted
down. We've heard the horror stories from Jeane Kirkpatrick, William Bennett,
et al.

At the same time, the liberal academic world has lately embraced terrorist-
chic. This past fall Harvard found itself fending off criticism for inviting
(then disinviting, then reinviting, etc.), a rabidly anti-Semitic Irish poet
named Tom Paulin to deliver a lecture on campus. In March, Duke will host Laura
Whitehorn, whose intellectual achievements include the bombing of an empty
conference room at the U.S. Capitol in 1983 to protest the U.S. intervention in
Grenada, thus earning her fourteen years in the slammer. Feeling left out, a
small frontier institution in the provinces will soon hold an eco-terrorism
extravaganza. So there, Harvard and Duke.

On February 12-14, California State University-Fresno will host a colloquium
entitled, "Revolutionary Environmentalism: A Dialogue Between Activists and
Academics." A conference brochure laments that "tree spiking and animal rescues
have received little public attention." Therefore, "faculty members at
California State University-Fresno invite environmental and animal rights
activists, and scholars to participate in a conference on the practical,
political and spiritual aspects of 'revolutionary environmentalism.'"
Roundtable discussions will cover such topics as: "The Ethics of Sabotage"
and "Is Environmentalism a Spirituality?"

If anybody in America could legitimize eco-terrorism, especially post-September
11, 2001, it would be academia. It was only a matter of time. The list of this
gathering of eco-mobsters reads like the Green equivalent of Sunday dinner at
the Ravenite Social Club.

"Don" Paul Watson will be there. Watson is currently wanted in Costa Rica and
Iceland for eco-sabotage that resulted in the sinking of ten ships, mostly
whalers. He is the author of Seal Wars: Twenty-five Years on the Front Lines
with the Harp Seals (foreword by West Wing actor Martin Sheen). A cheerful
Godfather of the Eco-Mob, Watson once smilingly told a reporter: "There's
nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win."

"Capo" Gary Yourofsky of "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals" (PETA)
has been arrested a dozen times for mink "liberation" and other fur farm
vandalism. Yourofsky once said: "What we must do is start viewing every cow,
pig, chicken, monkey, rabbit, mouse and pigeon as our family members." In the
Green Cosa Nostra, evidently, there are not only "made guys," but "made

"Consigliere" Craig Rosebraugh, former media liaison for the "Earth Liberation
Front" (ELF), exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination
over fifty times during testimony before a Congressional committee
investigating eco-terrorism in February 2001. Fifty times! Lucky Luciano would
have been proud. The ELF -- among other capers -- is most famous for the
October 1998 torching of the Two Elk Lodge and some smaller surrounding
buildings at Vail, Colorado, in defense of lynx habitat (the wild cat, not a
golf course), costing the Vail ski resort $12 million in insured damages. By
way of introduction to the world, accompanying Rosebraugh to Fresno will be the
new ELF media mouthpiece, James Leslie Pickering.

"Soldier" Rodney Coronado of the "Animal Liberation Front" (ALF) is a convicted
arsonist who served four years in prison for burning a Michigan State
University research lab. In case you're wondering how eco-pyromaniacs like
Rodney Coronado get on with the banal unpleasantness of making a living, they --
like Coronado -- take $70,000 in support from PETA over a period of years,
thus putting to good use its donation base and non-profit tax exempt status.
Craig Rosebraugh has also been the recipient of PETA largesse. For eco-
terrorists, this is like winning a Nobel Prize. Call it: "getting a PETA."

Eco-Mob theorist Ric Scarce of Michigan State University (which seems to be
Grand Central Station for many of these guys) is the author of Eco-Warriors:
Understanding the Radical Environmental Movement. In his book, Scarce lives up
to his surname concerning the future of humanity by arguing that wholesale
human extermination would be -- if nothing else -- certainly "an environmental

"Soldier" Kim Marks of "Earth First!" might update seminar participants on the
latest cutting edge (excuse the pun) techniques in tree spiking and the "monkey
wrenching" of logging machinery. Or do a workshop on wire fence and gate chain
cutting. Or how to survive months of "tree-sitting" (probably some much-needed
info there, as "Earth First!" lost one of its own recently to a fall from the
top of a very tall California Redwood).

The Green Gangster conclave is controversial, of course, and the California
media -- especially the Fresno Bee -- has taken notice. In response to press
inquiries, CSU-Fresno President John Welty issued this painfully familiar
statement: "The role of the university is really to provide a place where ideas
can be freely exchanged and dialogues can occur." And University of Texas-El
Paso philosophy professor and seminar participant Steven Best (another Eco-Mob
theorist) concurs: "If we can't speak freely at a university, I don't know
where we can. We are not there to do anything but talk."

Tell that to the Fresno Police Department, who are advising local SUV
dealerships and agricultural interests to take extra security precautions
because the conference may draw a horde of eco-terror wannabes looking to make
a name for themselves.

As for Welty and Best's pathetic paying of lip service to free expression on
college campuses, one wonders whose ideas they would consider more dangerous:
Jeane Kirkpatrick's and Bill Bennett's; or Paul Watson's and Rodney Coronado's.
And one further wonders what California taxpayers -- staunch supporters of the
CSU system -- think of all this.

Eco-Mob chic. Coming to Cal. St. University-Fresno, February 12-14, 2003.

Bill Croke is a writer in Cody, Wyoming

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