Federal prosecutors are seeking “terrorism enhancements” for the sentences for 10 animal rights activists and environmental radicals 18 months ago, says the Christian Science Monitor. Among their crimes were a string of arsons and other attacks across five Western states totaling more than $40 million in damage. Targets of the group calling itself The Family were timber companies, meatpacking plants, an SUV dealership, a Colorado ski resort, and the University of Washington Horticultural Center.
The defendants have pleaded guilty in Oregon. One of their defenders says: “This is the first time in the history of the US that the federal government is seeking this enhancement for property crimes that did not result in injury or death to humans.” Said a prosecutor in court this week: “This was a classic case of terrorism, despite their protests of lofty humane goals. It was pure luck no one was killed or injured by their actions.” In recent years, the USA Patriot Act and other legislation have broadened the application of antiterrorism laws and punishments to include radical environmental and animal-welfare activists.