- People of Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Font
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals provides aid and comfort for the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). The two groups are responsible for more than 600 crimes since 1996, causing (by a very conservative FBI estimate) more than $43 million in damage. ALF’s “press office” brags that in 2002, the two groups committed “100 illegal direct actions” -- like blowing up SUVs, destroying the brakes on seafood delivery trucks, and planting firebombs in restaurants.
The FBI calls ALF and ELF the nation’s “most serious domestic terrorism threat.” Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s “vegan campaign director” and third-in-command, didn’t seem to care when he addressed the Animal Rights 2001 convention in Virginia, telling a crowd of over 1,000 activists that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation.”
“It would be great,” he added, “if all the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories and the banks who fund them exploded tomorrow.”
PETA’s connections to ALF and ELF are indisputable. “We did it, we did it. We gave $1,500 to the ELF for a specific program,” PETA’s Lisa Lange admitted on the Fox News Channel. PETA has offered no fewer than eight different explanations of what the “specific program” was, but law enforcement leaders have noted that since the Earth Liberation Front is a criminal enterprise, it has absolutely no legal “programs” of any kind.
For instance, in 2003, ELF set fire to an unfinished, 200 unit condominium complex near San Diego. The arson caused $50 million in damage, and according to a San Diego Fire Captain: “It could have killed someone.” ELF left its calling card in the form of a twelve foot sign that read: “If you build it -- we will burn it -- the ELF’s are mad.”
PETA also has given $2,000 to David Wilson, then a national ALF “spokesperson.” The group paid $27,000 for the legal defense of Roger Troen, who was arrested for taking part in an October 1986 burglary and arson at the University of Oregon. It gave $7,500 to Fran Stephanie Trutt, who tried to murder the president of a medical laboratory. It gave $5,000 to Josh Harper, who attacked Native Americans on a whale hunt by throwing smoke bombs, shooting flares, and spraying their faces with chemical fire extinguishers. All of these monies were paid out of tax-exempt funds, the same pot of money constantly enlarged by donations from an unsuspecting general public.
PETA president Ingrid Newkirk is also an acknowledged financial supporter of a publication called No Compromise. This periodical operates on behalf of the radicals of ALF, and often publishes underground “communiqués” and calls to arms from ALF leaders.
Most ominously, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk was involved in the multi-million-dollar arson at Michigan State University that resulted in a 57-month prison term for Animal Liberation Front bomber Rodney Coronado. At Coronado’s sentencing hearing, U.S. Attorney Michael Dettmer said that PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk arranged ahead of time to have Coronado send her a pair of FedEx packages from Michigan -- one on the day before he burned the lab down, and the other shortly afterward.
The first FedEx, according to the Sentencing Memorandum, was delivered to a woman named Maria Blanton, “a longtime PETA member who had agreed to accept the first Federal Express package from Coronado after being asked to do so by Ingrid Newkirk.” The FBI intercepted the second package, which had been sent to the same address. It contained documents that Coronado stole before lighting his firebombs, as well as “a videotape of the perpetrator of the MSU crime, disguised in a ski mask.” Since Coronado was convicted of the arson, we now know that he himself was that masked man. “Significantly,” wrote U.S. Attorney Dettmer, “Newkirk had arranged to have the package[s] delivered to her days before the MSU arson occurred.” (emphasis in the original)
A search warrant executed at Blanton’s home turned up evidence that PETA’s other co-founder, Alex Pacheco, had also been planning burglaries and break-ins along with Rodney Coronado. The feds seized “surveillance logs; code names for Coronado, Pacheco, and others; burglary tools; two-way radios; night vision goggles; [and] phony identification for Coronado and Pacheco.”
Shortly after Coronado’s arrest, PETA gave $45,200 to his “support committee” and “loaned” $25,000 to his father (the loan was never repaid and PETA hasn’t complained). Now free from jail, with an expired parole, and with the benefit of an expired Statute of Limitations on his many earlier arsons (to which he readily confesses in his standard stump speech), Coronado stood before a crowd of hundreds of young people at American University in January 2003 and demonstrated how to turn a milk jug into a bomb. A few days later, ALF criminals tried to burn down a McDonald’s restaurant in Chico, California, using a firebomb that matched Coronado’s recipe.
The following month, Ingrid Newkirk told ABC News that Rodney Coronado is “a fine young man.”
Newkirk wrote a book called Free the Animals! The Untold Story of the U.S. Animal Liberation Front and Its Founder, ‘Valerie.’ In it she writes: “The ALF has, over the years, trusted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to receive copies of the evidence of wrongdoing … I have also become somewhat used to jumping on a plane with copies of freshly purloined documents and hurriedly calling news conferences to discuss the ALF’s findings.” Indeed, PETA has held such press conferences just hours after ALF arsons and other break-ins.
PETA has published a leaflet called “Animal Liberation Front: the Army of the Kind.” In another pamphlet, “Activism and the Law,” PETA openly offers advice on “burning a laboratory building.”
“I will be the last person to condemn ALF,” says Newkirk. And in another interview: “I find it small wonder that the laboratories aren’t all burning to the ground. If I had more guts, I’d light a match.” In ALF’s publication Bite Back (yes, this terrorist group has a newsletter), Newkirk has said: “You can’t have all politeness and patience, all potlucks and epistles … Some people will never budge unless [they are] pushed to budge.”
Perhaps Newkirk’s most telling comment, though, came in a 2002 U.S. News & World Report feature. “Our nonviolent tactics are not as effective,” she admitted. “We ask nicely for years and get nothing. Someone makes a threat, and it works.”