Wall Street Journal on ELF Guilty Plea

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran an unsigned piece of commentary about the guilty plea recently entered by a young man who admitted to burning homes in the Long Island, New York, area in the name of the Earth Liberation Front.

The Journal worries that,

…despite ELF’s extraordinary run of arson, public outrage hasn’t caught up with the crimes, which the group boasts about on various Internet sites. Because its targets have been corporations, construction sites and research labs, there has been an inclination to dismiss the group as misguided idealists.

…think of the reaction had that been, say, an abortion clinic or an African-American church.

Regardless of why the ELF doesn’t have a higher profile in the media, a more interesting question is whether the FBI plans on taking action against the ELF web site. In all the news reports about the plea bargain, prominent mention has been made of the fact that the arsonists in Long Island downloaded everything they needed to know about how to torch the luxury homes from the ELF site.

In fact the ELF web site distributes an Animal Liberation Front manual in PDF form, Arson Around with Auntie ALF, describing in detail how to go about committing acts of arson. Although they have standard “don’t try this at home” warnings, those are unlikely to be a very solid defense against criminal conspiracy charges, possibly under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute, and even more likely a |Racketeering Influenced and
Corrupt Organization| civil suit by developers.


Review & Outlook. Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2001.

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