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11/24.02 (ITALY) 129 DOGS LIBERATED FROM VIVISECTION BREEDER
11/23/02 (USA) NEW HLS PRISONERS
11/22/02 (UK) ALF ATTACKS MARSH EXECS
11/18/02 (CYBERSPACE) ELECTRONIC CD ANNOUNCED
11/17/02 (USA) ELF RAMPAGES THROUGH VIRGINIA
11/15/02 (USA) ELF BURNS DOWN FOREST SERVICE LAB
11/12/02 (UK) ARSON DESTROYS MEAT TRUCKS

11/11/02 (FRANCE) ACTIVISTS RELEASE 1000 MINK
11/11/02 (USA) ALF & ELF ATTACK GOLF COURSE
11/07/02 (FRANCE) MCDONALDS BURNED TO THE GROUND

 

From the New York Times -

Rash of Vandalism in Richmond May Be Tied to Environment Group
By LISA BACON


RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 17 — The authorities are investigating whether vandals who have swept through here in recent months, slashing tires, defacing businesses and damaging construction equipment, were members of the Earth Liberation Front, an environmental organization considered by the F.B.I. to be one of America's most prolific domestic terrorist groups.

"Police are trying to determine if there are any links to other incidents around the country," said Wade Kizer, Commonwealth's Attorney for Henrico County.

In September, vandals used a corrosive cream to etch the letters E.L.F. on the windows of 25 cars and three fast food restaurants. Lawrence Barry, chief counsel of the Richmond division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed that his agency was helping to investigate the incidents.

Mr. Kizer said he had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the calling cards supposedly left by the Earth Liberation Front. "But it might be some local people who have just heard of the organization," he said.

The group may have struck again Saturday night, when five sport utility vehicles had their tires slashed here. S.U.V.'s have been a target of the group in the past.

The authorities said the Richmond incidents fit the profile of the group's operations in the United States. The group has no formal leadership, just a Web site and a virtual press office to handle inquiries. A former spokesman for the group, Craig Rosebraugh of Portland, Ore., once described it as having only a shared commitment to take aim at "anyone who is destroying the environment for the sake of profit."

An e-mail message from the North American Earth Liberation Front press office said Wednesday: "As for why Virginia, it simply means that there is an active cell that has chosen to operate in that area. There are cells in operation from time to time all over North America."

On Sept. 27 or 28, vandals used a glass-etching cream to damage the fast food restaurant windows. Thirteen windows at each of two McDonald's and 25 windows at a Burger King, all in Richmond's affluent West End, were damaged beyond repair. Around the same time, vandals used a similar substance to scar the surfaces of 25 S.U.V.'s at a West Richmond dealership.

Then on Oct. 5 or 6, as central and northern Virginia were focused on the sniper attacks, vandals hacked two S.U.V.'s with hatchets in a suburban subdivision and left notes on each saying it was the work of the front.

Similar notes had been found on July 11 when there was a string of S.U.V. tire slashings in the city's historic Fan District. The authorities in Goochland County, another Richmond suburb, said that two months ago the front may also have been responsible for the destruction of construction equipment and damage to the interior of a house being built in a subdivision. A burned American flag and a message about environmental concerns were found at the scene.

The Earth Liberation Front press office said it was unaware of the Virginia vandalism until a reporter filed an inquiry via e-mail.

"We have received no statement of claim for those actions at this press office," it said, "so we are not able to pass along the motivations of these acts, other than to say that they are in keeping with other E.L.F. actions that have targeted pollution, roads and vehicle culture through attacks on vehicles such as S.U.V.'s."

E.L.F. began in England in 1992 as an offshoot of Earth First, an environmental advocacy group. While Earth First promotes mainstream ecological campaigns, elves, as they are often called, take a more direct approach, sabotaging research, burning buildings and placing spikes in trees to fend off loggers' chainsaws. The group says it has caused $50 million in damage in the United States.

The group first went to work in the United States in 1996, claiming responsibility for the torching of a Forest Service truck in the Willamette National Forest in Oregon. Within a few months, the group said it had joined forces with the Animal Liberation Front to destroy millions of dollars in commercial and government buildings and research. In 1997, the two groups burned wild horse corrals overseen by the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon, causing nearly a half-million dollars in damage to structures and equipment. The next year, the front claimed responsibility for the largest act of eco-terrorism in United States history, burning three buildings and four ski lifts at a Vail, Colo., resort. Damages were estimated at $12 million to $24 million.

The group's actions do not always succeed. In an October 2001 firebombing at a Federal Bureau of Land Management corral near Susanville, Calif., vandals caused about $80,000 in damage but failed to free the 160 horses. The group has set minks free from mink farms, only to see them run over by cars. After one such raid in Sweden, when group members painted minks' fur so that they would be useless to profiteers, the minks died of exposure.