Skip to main content

Why Is No Attention Given To Left-Wing Extremism?

By Gregory Gethard

In a report on domestic terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security warned the American public that the climate is now ripe for a rise in right-wing motivated terrorist. And, specifically, the report told the world to be concerned for people upset about firearms-related legislation as well as returning veterans.

The report also said that no evidence exists of any right wing groups planning attacks.

Meanwhile, only days later, the FBI added a name to its Most Wanted Terrorists list. His name is Daniel Andreas San Diego, a 31-year-old vegan so driven by the pursuit of animal rights that he allegedly bombed two California office buildings, just one of many acts of domestic terror perpetrated by the extremist left.

Extremists tied to the animal and environmental rights movements have participated in a multitude of acts of domestic terrorism (“direct action” in their terminology) through the years. The most well-known groups are the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), loose-knit organizations which have planted bombs and set dozens of fires throughout their existence.

Most recently, banners left at the site of an arson fire that destroyed five newly constructed houses in suburban Seattle indicated that it was the work of the ELF. The architects of the housing development set ablaze incorporated green-friendly practices into the project’s design; however, ELF members felt otherwise, and targeted the houses over density/zoning issues.

In addition to the infamous ELF and ALF, lesser known enviro/animal rights roups have also participated in domestic terror acts. Authorities believe that San Diego belonged to the Revolutionary Cells, which claimed responsibility for bombs set off at office buildings belonging to two businesses; Chrion and Shaklee. San Diego and the Revolutionary Cells believed both organizations used animal-testing methods.

In an e-mail the group sent out after the bombings:

On the night of September 25th volunteers from the Revolutionary Cells attacked a subsidiary of a notorious HLS client, Yamanouchi. We left an approximately 10lb ammonium nitrate bomb strapped with nails outside of Shaklee Inc, whose CEO is both the CEO for Shaklee and Yamanouchi Consumer Inc. We gave all of the customers the chance, the choice, to withdraw their business from HLS. Now you all will have to reap what you have sown. All customers and their families are considered legitimate targets.

Hey Sean Lance, and the rest of the Chiron team, how are you sleeping? You never know when your house, your car even, might go boom. Who knows, that new car in the parking lot may be packed with explosives. Or maybe it will be a shot in the dark.

We have given all of the collaborators a chance to withdraw from their relations from HLS. We will now be doubling the size of every device we make. Today it is 10lbs, tomorrow 20....until your buildings are nothing more than rubble. It is time for this war to truely have two sides. No more will all of the killing be done by the oppressors, now the oppressed will strike back. We will be non-violent when the these people are non-violent to the animal nations.

Democrat politicians have overlooked the dangers of these types of groups. In 2005, anti-terror experts from the FBI and ATF testified before a Senate panel about the dangers of these types of groups. One quote from CNN:

"The Department of Homeland Security spends over $40 billion a year to protect the home front," Sen. Frank Lautenberg said. After listing al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, the Democrat from New Jersey wanted to know who else the law enforcement agencies considered terrorists: "Right to Life? Sierra Club?"

It is actually quite easy to keep track of the actions of animal/environmental extremist groups. Bite Back is a website/magazine that does more than just promote animal/environmental rights issues; it also keeps track of violent activities perpetrated around the world in the name of these causes. In this month alone, Bite Back listed 29 violent acts – including destruction of property, assault and arson – carried out by extremist left groups.

And make no doubt about it. These groups share philosophical ties, and perhaps even have links to, other extremist left groups. In their missive, the Revolutionary Cells write:

In memory of all of those fallen before us in the war for liberation: Jill Phipps (animal activist), Barry Horne (ALF), Olaia Kastresana (ETA), Arkaitz Otazua (ETA), Angayarkanni (LTTE), Babu (LTTE), Bobby Sands (IRA), Patsy O'Hara (INLA), Carlos Guiliani (anti-globilization martyr), Lee Kyung-hae (farmer and anti-globablization victim), and many more on numerous other fronts. We won't forget you, we won't let your deaths be in vain.

Further evidence of these ties are clearly seen at anti-globalization protests held around the world, the most infamous of which was 1999’s “Battle of Seattle.” There, riots broke out in the wake of protests which disrupted a meeting of the World Trade Organization. According to the left-wing

Estimates ranged from 50,000 to 100,000 protestors. Protesters came from all over the world, not just the developed countries. They ranged from human rights groups, students, environmental groups, religious leaders, labor rights activists etc wanting fairer trade with less exploitation.

These groups, along with self-styled anarchists, flood the streets and riot – domestic terrorism -- whenever a large meeting of “corporatists” converges. Examples of this include the 2004 Republican National Convention held in Philadelphia, and at the 2005 World Bank meetings in Washington. And these are just examples of violence which broke out in America as there have been countless outbreaks of violence internationally at large-scale summits involving corporate and government officials.

One interesting point made in the DHS’ report on right-wing extremism comes regarding the current economic situation. The DHS said that:

Rightwing extremist chatter on the Internet continues to focus on the economy, the perceived loss of U.S. jobs in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and home foreclosures.

While there has been “chatter” among right-wing extremists regarding the economy, left-wing extremists have actually acted aggressively towards American financial institutions. In October of 2008, members of far left-wing groups shut-down managed to briefly shut-down a Citigroup branch in Harvard Square outside of Boston. (Similar actions failed at a neighboring Bank of America branch.) Protestors focused on these bank’s “predatory” foreclosure/mortgage practices, while also saying that a local columnist was a “right-wing idiot.” While these protests were not violent, similar ones in London in February did result in assaults and vandalism.

The DHS’ report is clearly unfair as it portrays the extremist right – and the right in general – as a brewing pot of violence and terror. However, all evidence is clear that it is actually the far-left, ranging from environmentalists setting fires to anarchists rioting against globalization, that is – and has been – more capable of domestic terror.


See the Department of Homeland Security's original report on right-wing extremism.


Popular Video